Chinese Sages Series: A Selected Collection of Mencius
Language: English, modern Chinese, and classical Chinese
Published by Sinolingua, 2006
Format: Paperback, 245 pages, 145 mm x 210 mm
ISBN: 7802002192, 9787802002197
The Mencius (孟子, Mengzi) is a collections of conversations of the scholar Mencius with kings of his time. A Selected Collection of Mencius contains chosen parts of Mencius in classical Chinese, modern Chinese and English translation. Annotations and illustrations are included.
The Chinese Sage Series contains the Four Books, which refers to the 4 canonical books of Confucianism, which have been compiled by the Neo-Confucian Zhu Xi in Song Dynasty:
大学 / 大學 Daxue (The Great Learning)
论语 / 論語 Lunyu (The Analects)
中庸 Zhongyong (The Doctrine of the Mean)
孟子 Mengzi (The Mencius)
A Selected Collection of the Great Learning, the Analects, the Doctrine of the Mean and Mencius, as a set of Chinese Sages Series, are compiled to introduce the essence of traditional Chinese culture to the world. These four books began to show their splendors as early as over 2400 years ago between the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States periods. Now they are published in classical-modern Chinese and English versions as a help to people of interest to know the basic ideas of Confucianism.
Mencius (c.372-289 BC) was a native of the minor State of Zou (now Zouxian County, Shandong Province). His personal name was Ke and courtesy name Ziyu. He was the outstanding Confucian sage of the Warring States period (457-221 BC). He received instruction first from his mother and later from a pupil of Zisi, a grandson of Confucius. He traveled and taught in the states of Liang and Qi, being employed as a “guest minister” by King Huan of the latter state. But, disappointed that his political and philosophical ideas were not put into practice by his master, he retired to teach his disciples and write books.
Mencius developed the idea of benevolence, a key theme of Confucius’ doctrines, and extended it to encompass benevolent government. Such a political system, he maintained, would be the foundation for the unification of the world. Like Confucius, he championed justice for the people above the might and right of rulers, and deplored the practice-all too common at the time-of states annexing each other by force. His theory that man is naturally good occupies a significant position in the history of Chinese thought. He stressed that goodness was the result of the “cultivation of the heart”.
During the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties Mencius’ teachings were absorbed as the mainstay of ruling class ideology. In 1330 he was awarded the exalted title of “Lesser Sage of the State of Zou”, and in 1530 accorded the title “Mencius, the Lesser Sage”.
The seven chapters of the Mencius comprise one of the classics of the Confucian school, and, together with The Great Learning, The Doctrine of the Mean and Analects of Confucius, one of the “Four Books”. There are various opinions as to the compilation of the Mencius. One theory has it that it was composed by Mencius himself with the assistance of his disciples, chief of whom were Wan Zhang and Gongsun Chou; another theory is that it is simply a collection of the sage’s sayings compiled after his death by his disciples and their pupils.
In the book are recorded the views of Mencius and his disciples on politics, education, philosophy and ethics, as well as accounts of some of their doings. It is an important document for the study of the Confucian School and its development, and essential reading for an understanding of Mencius and his doctrines.
To help young readers understand this great Chinese classic, a translation into the modern vernacular is appended, passage by passage, as is a version in English for the benefit for readers abroad.