Sunday, April 25, 2010

Providing Nourishment

In the commentary to the Judgment of Hexagram 27 Yi, Wilhelm and his mentor penned this:

In bestowing care and nourishment, it is important that the right people should be taken care of and that we should attend to our own nourishment in the right way. If we wish to know what anyone is like, we have only to observe on whom he bestows his care and what sides of his own nature he cultivates and nourishes. Nature nourishes all creatures. The great man fosters and takes care of the superior men, in order to take care of all men through them. Mencius says about this:

“If we wish to know whether anyone is superior or not, we need only observe what part of his being he regards as especially important. The body has superior and inferior, important and unimportant parts. We must not injure important parts for the sake of the unimportant, nor must we injure the superior parts for the sake of the inferior. He who cultivates the inferior parts of his nature is an inferior man. He who cultivates the superior parts of his nature is a superior man.”

[Mencius bk. VI, 1. 14]

In Book VI, Mencius discoursed why human nature is good. For that principle alone he was acknowledged a sage, since he knew human nature, heaven and earth, well.

In Part 1 Verse 14, he discussed more than quoted above. And a correction need to be made to the quote – “He who cultivates the inferior parts of his nature is an inferior man (Xiao Ren). He who cultivates the great parts of his nature is a great man (Da Ren).”

In his discourse, philosopher Kao, a student of Mozi was worsted.

If we think about Xunzi, said to be a follower of Confucius, who holds to the principle that human nature is evil (the direct opposite to that of Mencius) and taking his most prominent student, Li Shi, as an example then perhaps he was right. This student of his was evil. It was Li Shi the prime minister who advocated to the first emperor of Chin, Shih Huangdi, to burn all ancient books except those of Chin and to bury hundreds of dissenting Confucian scholars alive.

If we look at Hexagram Yi, the lower three lines did not turn to the summit for nourishment and therefore face misfortune. (Li Shi was a good example if we know how he died.) While the fourth and fifth lines which turn to the summit have good fortune. The sixth or top line being the sage and the source of nourishment also obtains good fortune.

In line with the advice of Mencius and what Hexagram Yi depicts, perhaps you know what is the right thing to do to provide nourishment in the cultivation of self,and how to obtain good fortune?

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