restricted access Shen-chien 1Essence of Government
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Shen-chien 1 Essence of Government (Cheng-fi) 1.1 (la4) Humanity (jen) and Righteousness (i) are the foundation of the Way. The Five Classics are its warp, and all other writings its woof.1 It manifests in poetic recitation, singing, stringed music, and dance.2 The reflection of history (chiert) is already clear.3 [Its meaning], however, needs to be 1 The Five Classics (ching) consist of the Book of Poetry (Shih), the Book of History (Shu), the Book of Changes (I), the Book of Rites (Li), and the Springand -Autumn Annals (Ch'un-chhu), These were established as canonical works, ching,, of the official Confucian orthodoxy under the Han dynasty. Ching in this sense means the "permanent" canons. Ching also has the broader meaning of "warp," which, together with the wei, or "woof," are said to constitute the cardinal threads of all things—whether a state, a society, or the cosmos. Wet, like ching, also has a more specific meaning. The wei were a set of apocryphalprognostic works that emerged during the Han dynasty, allegedly repre­ senting the esoteric teachings of Confucius. This claim was repudiated by many important Confucians of the Later Han such as Hsun Shuang (A.D. 128-190), Hsiin Yiieh's uncle, and Hsiin Yiieh himself (see SC 3:15 below). Although Hsiin Yueh did not deny the value of the wei writings, he would not accept them as the cryptic words of Confucius and the only supplement to the canonical Classics. In the passage presented here, he upheld the Five Classics as the "warp" of the Way and all other books as its "woof." A similar attitude of compromise can be found in many discourses in the Shen-chien. 2For the importance ofsong and dance in ancient China, see Marcel Granet, Festival and Songs of Ancient China, tr. by E. D. Edwards (London, 1932). 3ϋί> bronze mirror, often decorated with cryptic signs and joyous inscrip­ tions. Its root character ^ signifies a person looking into a tray of water, hence to oversee, observe, and reflect. The variant Jg means to see, to read. Thus the term conveys the notion of reflection, reflective thinking, learning by example and from the lessons of history. The founder of the Chou dynasty was said to have been deeply affected by the tragic example of the fallen Shang dynasty, and frequently admonished his people to be mindful of the lesson of the Shang, Yin-chien (lit. Mirror of the Yin—Yin being another name for the T H E S H E N - C H I E N extended and restated in later times.4 Therefore the ancient Sage-kings devoted themselves to extending and stressing Humanity and Righteousness. Faithfully following this through time everlasting is what I call Shen-chien (Extended Reflec­ tions).5 1.2 (la7) The sacred Han [dynasty] receives the Mandate of Heaven.® Verily it reveres and assists in this timely work,7 resulting in merits encompassing the universe.8 There are valiant ministers who bring order [out of disorder];9 wastes and ruins are recovered in time, according to the grand Shang dynasty). Such reflective wisdom (historical knowledge in a peculiar sense) had been construed as one of the factors enabling the Chou to receive the Mandate of Heaven, a concept vigorously espoused by the founders of the Chou to legitimize their conquest of the Shang. Hence the loss of chien, i.e., ignorance of historical lessons, would doom a dynasty. iSken, to notify, to order, or to extend and to repeat. Here the appearance of the character Ju (again) clearly denotes the act of reiterating. 6For the translationof Shen-chienas ''Extended Reflections," see Introduction. 6The paragraph beginning with iiSheng-Han" consists of fourteen sentences in an extremely archaic style. Most of them, as will be seen in the following notes, are quotations from the Sku-ching (the Book of History), while others are not direct quotations but allusions or new combinations consisting ofa number of archaic characters from the same work. iiSheng-Han Cung-Cien''' may be rendered either as "the sacred Han commanded [all under] Heaven" or "the sacred Han acquired her lineage from Heaven" (Cung-Cien or Cien-Cung, the heavenly lineage). The paragraph may be compared to the passage in Shih-chi 8:39b, SH . . . "The Han rises .. . [and] acquires her lineage from Heaven." Cf. Watson, i, pp. 118-119. weit to think, to think only, only; tsung, to honor, to worship one's ancestors, ancestral lines; shih, time, this...


pdf