|字體：小 中 大|
Qunshu Zhiyao (A Compendium of the Essentials of Governance) (Lecture 5) by Professor Yuli Liu 群書治要》 （第五集） 劉余莉教授
Respected friends, greetings! Today we will continue with the Fourth Passage of Qunshu Zhiyao 360.
“Color’s five hues from the eyes their sight will take;
This passage is selected from Qunshu Zhiyao vol. 34, Laozi (Dao De Jing or Tao Te Ching). “Color’s five hues from the eyes their sight will take,” this verse refers to the five solid colors of
Here, “their sight will take” does not mean blindness only; it also means the blindness of the heart. In other words, we cannot see the needs of others. Since the invention of television, computer, and cell phone, more and more people wallow in the stimulation of the spectacular visual effects. People spend more time seeing movies, watching TV programs, and play video games. In contrast, they ignored the interactions between people; their family members no longer exist in their sight and they can no longer perceive the needs of people around them. It is a common phenomenon nowadays to see people busy texting, reading text messages, or talking on their cell phones even in the social gatherings of classmates, friends, or colleagues. With the development of modern science and technology, people rely more and more heavily on external communication devices. In turn, the face to face direct communications become less and less; and the ability of telepathy, what the ancients would call the ability to read people’s mind by observing their visage and speech, is already a lost art. If we observe other’s facial expressions, especially when we care about them, one look from their eyes will make us understand their physical and mental conditions. Are they under pressure or such? When we truly care for another person and constantly think of that person, we can even telepathically communicate with that person without seeing each other face to face. The two minds can telepathically communicate with each other. The ancients had demonstrated this ability showing that they had higher transcendental spirituality.
For example, once Zeng-zi (505–435 BC), one of the Four Sages of Confucianism, was away from home and a friend came to visit. His mother was very kind and became anxious about the two friends missing each other. What can Zeng-zi’s mother do under such a situation? Since she knew that mother and son can communicate with their hearts, she bit her finger. At the same moment, Zeng-zi felt a sharp pain to his heart and knew immediately that something happened to his mother. He hurried home and found that his mother was well and only a friend came to visit. His mother was just using this method to notify him.
We may feel such story is unbelievable. That is because parents are never on the mind of today’s children. All their thoughts are about selfish desires--chasing after external fame and riches. They cannot see the needs of their mother even when she is right next to them. Even if the mother were to bite all her fingers and bleed, the son will feel nothing. This shows that modern people’s ability of telepathy and their spirituality are declining.
As for us practitioners, the purpose of cultivation is to elevate our spirituality. Therefore, we must keep far away from the visual stimulations of televisions, computers, and cell phones. Why our minds are no longer telepathic? It is because our minds are totally occupied by desires, afflicted thoughts, and vexations; hence can no longer retain our innate supernatural powers. The ancients had a phrase called “vacuous spirituality.” This phrase is very interesting. Only when we empty our minds can they become sensitive and alert in order to better perceive other’s needs. In Buddhism there is a terminology called “Ceto-pariya-ñāna,” the intuitive mind or the supernatural power to know other’s mind. This intuition that knows other’s mind actually is an innate ability of mankind. The reason we don’t have such abilities any more is simply because we are lost in the external phenomena world and gradually our innate abilities are lost as well.
This is especially true of today’s people who live in the midst of 忙 (máng, busy) --盲(máng, blind) --茫 (máng, confused). The first máng (忙, busy) combined the semantic of忄 (meaning heart) and the phonetics of the word 亡 (wáng, death, destruction). From this combination we can decipher what the word忙 (máng, busy) is trying to tell us. When we are hustled, our mind is engrossed with so many things, it can no longer be sharp and enlightened. The second máng (盲, blind) is what the first verse is referring to-- we are blind to the needs of our family and the people around us. The third máng (茫, confused) means confused, clueless. Many people may have a successful career--success in the eyes of today’s people is symbolized by high income--but in exchange they only gained the grievances and resentment of family members, divorces from their (successive) wives, and losing the custody of their children. Eventually, they become very confused, clueless, and innocently complained: “I am so busy, working day and night, and isn’t everything I do for our family? How come none of you understand me?” Such complaint demonstrates that we have not seen the true needs of our family members.
For example, on mother’s day, many reporters would interview successful people and ask them: “What do you think is the best way to show filial piety to parents?” These successful people would bombastically talk about making lots of money, buying good cars and big houses so that their parents can ride in limousines and live in mansions. However, this is the way to display one’s riches so as not to lose face. Then those reporters would interview these people’s mothers. The reporters would ask: “What do you think is the best way for your children to show filial piety?” Surprisingly, all the mothers’ answers are the same without exception: “I don’t want to live in mansion or ride in limousine; I just want my children to come home more often and to spend some time chatting with me.” From this answer we can conclude that all our busy efforts chasing after monetary gains have blinded us to the true needs of our parents. We may be busy working, but actually we are working for riches and fame, which cannot exchange for true happiness.
Of course, many people would argue that in this age we cannot live without TVs, computers, and the Internet. If we do not understand these high-techs, our skills will become obsolete. These arguments are specious. In reality, fortune and calamity are interdependent. Let’s look at the following story.
A middle-aged, unemployed man was looking for a job. He saw that Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”) was looking for a janitor and applied for it. The supervisor from Microsoft’s human resource department interviewed him and asked: “Do you have access to the Internet? If you are hired, we will post your employment on Microsoft’s website.” The guy answered: “I am sorry, but I don’t know how to use the Internet.” The interviewer said: “You are absurd. How can you apply for a job at Microsoft and do not know how to use the Internet?” He was shown the door.
The man was a little upset and found that he only had ten dollars left. Suddenly, he had an inspiration and bought a large bag of potatoes in the market and started to sell his potatoes door to door. Unbelievably, he quickly sold all the potatoes and made a profit of U.S. $30.00.
From then on he worked even harder to sell his potatoes door to door everyday. Gradually, he had his own business. With a few hundred dollars, he started a company to distribute fresh produce and soon established a big chain store. Eventually, he became a billionaire.
One day a salesperson came to sell insurance to this billionaire. Before leaving his office, the salesperson said: “All of our company’s insurance products are introduced in detail on the Internet. If you have any needs, we can provide you with instant service.” The billionaire replied: “I don’t know how to use the Internet.” The salesperson was greatly surprised and asked: “How can you manage such a big company without knowing how to use the Internet?” The billionaire told the story of his interview for the janitor job at Microsoft and said: “if I knew how to use the Internet at the time, I would still be a janitor today.”
The fortune and calamity in life are interdependent and can transmute. Sometimes a calamity may actually be a blessing in disguise. As the ancient proverb has said in the story of “the old man from the frontier losing his horse, how could anyone have known that it would not be fortuitous?” Therefore, in today’s society we cannot follow the crowd, drift with the currents, or conform to other’s opinions (by peer pressure). We must differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad, aesthetics and ugliness. What are their standards? It all depends on whether they are on a par with our innate virtues.
Why do practitioners stress on the importance of personal cultivation? It is because “[t]he Way to Great Learning is to illustrate the illumining virtues; to have an affinity with the people; and to rest in the highest excellence,” as stated in the prologue of the Great Learning. The purpose of personal cultivation is to illustrate the illumining virtue, to unveil our innate virtuous luminosity and make it manifest. Our original nature is pure and never stainable. It is still, never changing, and forever illumining. How come our original nature does not illuminate anymore? The reason is simple. It is obstructed or concealed by selfish desires and external phenomena. Our mind seeks externally without cessation; hence it is further and further away from its pure and pristine original nature.
Our true nature “neither moves nor stays,” or our self-nature originally is undisturbed, as the Six Patriarch of Chan Buddhism, Venerable Master Hui-neng had said. The mind that moves or is disturbed is called the false heart. Actually, our true heart and our false heart are one and the same (in the noumenon). When it is still or immobile, it is called the true heart; when it is disturbed, it is called the false heart. The patriarchs often used water and wave to analogize their relation. They are one entity and not two, just like water and wave are one and the same. When the water is disturbed, waves are produced like the false heart. When the water is still like a mirror, not moving, it is just water without waves like our true heart. Therefore, when our mind is reposed, when there are no thoughts activated, no differentiation nor obstinate attachments as instructed in Buddhism, at such moments, our true heart is revealed.
Why people’s mind is disturbed? Our deluded mind’s disturbances are the affections conditioned upon the external world. Therefore, in the Book of Rites, the “Records of Music” began with
“All the modulations of the voice arise from the mind, and the various affections of the mind are produced by things (external to it). The affections thus produced are manifested in the sounds that are uttered…. On this account the ancient kings were watchful in regard to the things that affect the mind.”
This prose tells us that the disturbance of the deluded mind is produced by external phenomena. The various affections of the mind are responses to things external to it (like wind making waves on the water). In other words, our eyes are beguiled by the five hues of colors; our ears are attached to the five notes of music; our tastes are lured by the five flavors of food; our mood swings accordingly; and eventually our mind loses its originally correct and temperate state.
“On this account the ancient kings were watchful in regard to the things that affect the mind.” For beginners especially, to recover their illumining virtues, to hold onto their original nature, they must first be prudent in what they see and hear. In other words, adhere to what Confucius had instructed: “Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety.” This instruction was also the methodology prescribed by Master Cheng (Cheng-zi, 1033-1107), an influential neo-Confucian scholar of Song dynasty. Master Cheng said: “To renounce the external in order to cultivate the mind.” Master Cheng was prohibiting what one sees, hears, eats, speaks of, and thinks of. The purpose is to keep the mind still. We all know that the purpose of personal cultivation is to illustrate the illumining virtues. Therefore, we cannot be careful enough when it comes to the things in direct contact with our sensory organs, such as our eyes, ears, mouth, nose, body, etc. We must abide by what Di Zi Gui proscribed: “Never go near rowdy places; never ask about devious or perverted things.” Especially in today’s society, rowdy places are everywhere, such as casinos, KTVs, Karaoke bars, discothèques, etc. All these rowdy places will lead people astray. With the external temptations of the five human desires and the six perceptions and the internal poisons of avarice, anger, and ignorance in the mind, it is very difficult not to be contaminated and distracted by the modern environments. This couplet is reminding beginners to proactively keep away from the source of contaminants when the mind has not yet reached the state of “no attachment to external phenomena; no disturbance within the mind.” One will not be tempted if insulated from such places.
Qunshu Zhiyao adopted the “Commentary of Laozi by Ho Shang Gong (Elder Living next to the River)” to explain this verse. According to this Commentary, “Color’s five hues from the eyes their sight will take” means that “licentiousness and lasciviousness will harm a man’s vital energy and cause blindness (weaken his vision).” In the Commentary, the word “color” is not interpreted as the contour of forms and colors, but as the female contours or their sex appeal. From this interpretation we understand that classic text has more than one meaning; the so-called “the benevolent sees benevolence; the wise sees wisdom.” Moreover, even the same person reading the same text will have different interpretations and perceptions at different age. All the text in the classics is in accord with our original nature and innate virtues. Therefore, every sentence has infinite meanings. Every time we read them, we may have an epiphany in the semantics and context. Thus, in the Analects, Confucius said: “Is it not a pleasure to learn with constant reviews and applications?” The ancients began to study the Analects in their formative years and would still be reading the Analects in their seventies and eighties. Why would they find constant reading of the same book such a pleasure? It is because the increments of experiences gained with age gave them different and more profound understandings of the text.
“Licentiousness and lasciviousness will harm a man’s energy and cause blindness (weaken his vision)” means that lust for female physiques will harm men’s visions. This annotation is reminding males not to be infatuated with female appearances, to restrain desires, and don’t let the hormones run wild. Confucius also cautioned: “In puberty, the physical body and energy levels are not fully grown and developed, adolescents must guard against lust.” The vital energies and Chi of adolescents are not stable and their bodies are not fully developed or mature; they must guard against lust and renounce sex. Otherwise, the Chi of the kidneys will be harmed and eventually impair their visions. According to the ancient Chinese, human body is a miniature of the cosmos. Once we indulge in carnal desires, the body will lose its equilibrium.
The proverb says: “Licentiousness is at the top of all sins.” A practitioner aspiring to cultivate the person and to be virtuous must renounce sex; prohibiting lewd behavior is a top priority. “Self-discipline should start with the affliction that is most difficult to eradicate,” said the ancient. A person wishing to overcome selfish desires must begin with the desire that is the hardest to quit. If we can extinguish our lust and licentious desires, not only can we overcome our desires, we can also become saints or sages. In addition, we will be full of vitality with a strong physique to cultivate and transcend into celestial beings or a Buddha. Otherwise, we will age fast. Moreover, if we cannot bridle our desires, we will easily become degenerates and perpetrate myriads of transgressions that will invoke unspeakable sufferings in samsara.
Therefore, the ancients emphasized caution when it comes to “sensuality.” Various canons told us to renounce sex. In the Precious Canon of Health and Longity, a story is told of a man named Lan Ren-yu. Lan had displayed remarkable talents before attaining adulthood. He was handsom with gracious manners. All his classmates believed that he would become a high ranking government official who would wait at the Golden Horse Gate to be received by the emperor, have conferences with other ministers in the Jade Hall, and enjoy the riches and noble ranks life can offer. His neighbor was a government minister and had a daughter whose beauty and talents were outstanding and widely known at the time. She was already engaged but not yet married. Once Lan saw a beautiful girl riding in a carriage and was infatuated and could not stop thinking about her. One day he was strolling in his backyard and heard a melodious female voice from next door. He climbed on a ladder and took a peek of the girl. He immediatley recognized the girl as the one he saw in the carriage. Thereafter, he dugged a hole in the dividing wall and peeked at the girl everyday. Half a year had passed and the girl got married. Lan had no more chance to look at her and was melanchony. He wrote a poem called “Long in Rememberance.” A friend of his saw the poem. After reading it, his friend did not say anything; instead, he burned it right away and cautioned Lan not to mention this to anyone because it is extremely detrimental to his latent merits. Not only did Lan paid no heed his friend’s advice but also laughed at him as being pedantic, “a stickler of propriety’s rules.” Soon he took the imperial examination (which traditionally took three days to finish and students are enclosed in the testing place). During this time Lan dreamed of a deity who dugged out his eyes. When he woke up, his pupiles were hurting like needles puncturing them. He could not open his eyes or finish the exam. When he returned home, his eyes were still hurting and eventually he became blind. When the exam result was posted, of course, Lan failed and his friend who burned the poem passed with flying colors.
Stories like this are too numerous to count in ancient times. They warned us that licentiousness not only harm our bodies but also harm our latent merits. Although Lan Ren-yu did not put his desires into action, just by peeking at the girl he had harmed his career as a government official by passing the imperial examination. Thus, the ancient scholars were apprehensive and cautious when it comes to the word “sex” and would be a stickler of rules and never overstep the boundaries of propriety.
The Precious Canon of Health and Longity recorded a positive story as well. It was about a man named Tang Hao. One day Tang was reading under the window. A young girl heard someone reading with a baritone voice in the study and thought that this person with such a good voice will definitely accomplish great deeds in the future. She licked the window paper and made a hole to look at Tang admiringly in the hope of expressing her affection. When Tang Hao saw this, he immediately patched up the hole in the window and wrote a two-line verse: “Easy to patch up the hole in the window paper created by licking; hardest is to patch up the detriment to one’s latent merits.” He was not beguiled by female sex appeal and activated his correct thoughts immediately. Soon after he passed the imperial examine with the highest scores and became famous in the empire. If everyone who studied the teachings of the saints and sages are like Tang Hao, never does anything to harm his latent merits, never deviates from propriety, how can there be so many misconducts that offend public decency? How can there be so many indecent pictures and videos on the Internet?
From the ancients’ perspective, to write pornography and disperse such materials to incite people’s lust are detrimental to one’s latent merits and will invoke calamaties upon oneself. A man named Qian Da-jin from the
There are many similar stories in such books as the Precious Canon of Health and Longity, the Complete Collection of Mr. An-shi, the Treatise on the Response of Rewards and Retributions, etc. Contemporary people would not read the classics written by the saints and sages. Instead, they are influenced by the immoral concepts of the West and become promiscuous. Females are lacking in the virtue of chastity. With the wide reach of TV broadcast and the Internet, the relationships between the sexes are utterly in disarray and the pheonomena of pruriency prevails.
To avoid the temptations of carnal desires, first we must be cautious and guard against what we see and hear. We must "look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; act not which is contrary to propriety." We should isolate ourselves from contaminants and uphold our pure heart. Second, we must deeply believe in the law of cause and effect, the doctrine that rewards and retributions are invoked by our thoughts and deeds, and understand that the loss is greater than the gain if we have a propensity for lascivousness. Especially, the harm of promiscuity is grave. Thus, “do not commit adultry” has been proscribed as a major precept by all religions.
Let’s recapitulate the various detriments of promiscuity/adultery. It will harm the latent merits and blessings in this life. For instance, a person who is supposed to advance in rank would lose the promotion; those who could make a fortune failed to have any profit. In addition, they will be restless, uneasy, and worry about the exposure of their transgressions that will ruin their reputations and bring shame to their families. It will also make their careers full of obstacles. They will contract numerous illnesses, such as the various sexually transmitted diseases that are deadly. Moreover, infidelity will also illicit the violations of other precepts such as false speech and frivolous speech because they need to lie to their family members, relatives, and say words to lure and beguile others. “Desire is a bottomless abyss.” Lost in sensuality is developing the animalistic side of mankind and ignoring the transcendence of our spirituality. Some would say that they cannot let go of the beautiful friendship between them. However, if one party has sexual desire toward the other, it will destroy this beautiful friendship. It is the equivalent of leading each other to the fire pit, as if going to hell together. Hence, it is not loving that person but harming him or her. To a Buddhist, “committing adultery” is traducing Buddhism with
The next verse in the Fourth Passage is “[m]usic's five notes the ears as deaf can make.” The five notes of Gong, Shang, Jue, Zhi, Yu are the pre-Tang names of the five notes of the pentatonic scale, corresponding roughly to do, re, mi, sol, la. The annotation to Qunshu Zhiyao
In the Book of Rites, the Records of Music also stated:
“Thus we see that the ancient kings, in their institution of ceremonies and music, did not seek how fully they could satisfy the desires of the appetite and of the ears and eyes; but they intended to teach the people to regulate their likings and dislikings, and to bring them back to the normal course of humanity.”
cultivate people to have them but it has to be like the hymn with serene harmonies;nerve-wrecking to the spiritbridle their passions s
In the Classic of Filial Piety, Confucius said: “For changing their manners and altering their customs, there is nothing better than music.”,social morēs of this locality
Music's five notes the ears as deaf can makecrystals formed after ing’s songs,the “Boom, Boom, Boom” produced by
Music's five notes the ears as deaf can make
The flavors five deprive the mouth of tasteOf coursealso toethat insensitiveif has strong taste or;s/he cantaste the originalof whole foods, one’s and
Good taste is“”the five flavorsgood more demandingeverytheir; and eventually they will ewill discover false heart isactivatedinappropriatefalse heart is activated,e speechfrivolous, , and rude wordsMore important, tangry speech make you more enraged, false heart and t
,our speech has great impact on oous
The chariot course and the wild hunting waste make mad the mindnextwild hunting waste
Mencius said: “The
of wild animals doin reality have rules to the next level of the gamenumber of people the player edthey have eddaily and apatheticwouldgames
finalobjects rare and strange
social morésIn Huai Nan Zi (
Once the social morés of “
In Qunshu Zhiyao, Shang Shu (the Book of Documents), a vicious ,,, and caution;ingstatescornertoforeign rulerstokens of their so in their duchyThe dukes monarchslight, or be discourteousthespeople in the leader’sthemonarch slightsthe common , theynot be diligent
Trifling with people destroy one’s virtues.
can completely hopeless
The ancients said: “It is easy to accumulate merits in governmental bureaus.” and,vice versa, ,The pictures in harehim with lovingand emphasizesis bestknownbook loves to read the mostguidinfocus on; Chairman Xi
Today’s lesson will end here. I welcome everyone’s corrections and criticisms due to my insufficiencies. Thank you all!
 Laozi is a Chinese classic text. According to tradition, it was written around 6th century BC by the sage Laozi (or Lao Tzu, literally meaning "Old Master"), a record-keeper at the Zhou dynasty court, by whose name the text is known in
 Confucians considered Zengzi to be his second most senior student, after Yan Hui. Zengzi taught Zisi (Kong Ji), the grandson of Confucius, who was in turn the teacher of Mencius, thus beginning a line of transmitters of orthodox Confucian traditions. Along with Yan Hui, Zisi, and Mencius, Zengzi is considered to be one of the Four Sages of Confucianism. He was said to have composed and/or edited the Classic of Filial Piety under the direction of Confucius. He was also associated with transmission of the Great Learning.
 Venerable Master Hui-neng ( 638–713) was a Chinese Chán (Zen) monastic who is one of the most important figures in the entire tradition, according to standard Zen hagiographies. Hui-neng has been traditionally viewed as the Sixth and Last Patriarch of Chán Buddhism. The original verse by the Six Patriarch Hui-neng when he became enlightened can be translated as “How amazing our self-nature neither moves nor stays!: Our original nature is in the absolute, therefore, moving or staying cannot be in the absolute of our self-nature.
 One of the six great masters of Song dynasty. See, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheng_Yi_(philosopher)
 The five human desires are riches, sexuality, fame, food and drink, and slumber. See, http://www.chinabuddhismencyclopedia.com/en/index.php/Five_desires
 The six dusts or six perceptions are: color/forms, sound, scents, aroma, tactile sensations, thoughts.
 The Revel Bible Dictionary defines "lasciviousness" as "wanton, licentious. The Greek word means unrestrained greed, or an animal-like indulgence in any passionate desire. Lasciviousness appears in several lists of immoral behavior (Mark 7:22; Galatians 5:19). Paul describes its nature well: 'Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality [lasciviousness, KJV] so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more" (Ephesians 4:19). Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines "Lasciviousness" as the "KJV word for LICENTIOUSNESS. In turn, it defines "Licentiousness" as "undisciplined and unrestrained behavior, especially a flagrant disregard of sexual restraints (Mark 7:22; 2 Corinthians 12:21); (lasciviousness, KJV). The Greek word translated as licentiousness means "outrageous conduct," showing that licentious behavior goes beyond sin to include a disregard for what is right."
See, Lewdness (Lasciviousness) by Mayberry, Mark http://www.watchmanmag.com/0405/040518.htm
 The Lü shih ch'un ch'iu is an encyclopedic of Chinese classic text compiled around 239 BCE under the patronage of the Qin dynasty Chancellor Lü Buwei. It is praised as unique among early works in that it is well organized and comprehensive, containing extensive passages on such subjects as music and agriculture, which are unknown elsewhere. See, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%BCshi_Chunqiu
 Huai Nan Zi is a 2nd-century BCE Chinese philosophical classic from the Han dynasty that blends the concepts of Daoism, Confucianism, and Legalism, including theories such as Yin-Yang and Five Phases. It was written under the patronage of Liu An, Prince (King) of Huainan, a legendarily prodigious author. The text, also known as the Huainan Honglie 淮南鸿烈 ("The Great Brilliance of Huainan"), is a collection of essays presented as resulting from literary and philosophical debates between Liu and guests at his court, in particular the scholars known as the Eight Immortals of Huainan. The Huainanzi is an eclectic compilation of chapters or essays that range across topics of mythology, history, astronomy, geography, philosophy, science, metaphysics, nature, and politics. It discusses many pre-Han schools of thought (especially Huang-Lao Daoism), and contains more than 800 quotations from Chinese classics. See, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huainanzi
 Translation by James Legge. See, http://ctext.org/dao-de-jing, paragraph 57.
 The Book of Documents (Shujing, earlier Shu-king) or Classic of History, also known as theShangshu, is one of the Five Classics of ancientChinese literature. It is a collection of rhetorical prose attributed to figures of ancient
[A1]“Color’s five hues can make people blind; music’s five notes can make people deaf; the foods’ five flavors can make people crave; the racing and hunting sports can make the mind mad; rare and precious objects can make men’s conduct evil.”
[A2]What does it mean? Can’t let go of the friendship, affinity, closeness?
|( 不分類｜不分類 )|