《中庸·十九》 子思 with English Translations

《中庸》是一篇论述儒家人性修养的散文,原是《礼记》第三十一篇,相传为子思所作,是儒家学说经典论著。经北宋程颢、程颐极力尊崇,南宋朱熹作《中庸集注》,最终和《大学》、《论语》、《孟子》并称为“四书”。宋、元以后,《中庸》成为学校官定的教科书和科举考试的必读书,对中国古代教育产生了极大的影响。

《中庸·十九》 子思

子曰:“武王、周公其达孝矣乎!夫孝者,善继人之志,善述人之事者也。春秋修其祖庙,陈其宗器,设其裳衣,荐其时食。宗庙之礼,所以序昭穆也。序爵,所以辨贵贱也。序事,所以辨贤也。旅酬下为上,所以逮贱也。燕毛,所以序齿也。践其位,行其礼,奏其乐,敬其所尊,爱其所亲,事死如事生,事亡如事存,孝之至也。 郊社之礼,所以事上帝也;宗庙之礼,所以祀乎其先也。明乎郊社之礼,禘尝之义,治国其如示诸掌乎!”

Confucius remarked: “The Emperor Wu and his brother, the Duke of Chow, were indeed eminently pious men. Now true filial piety consists in successful carrying out the unfinished work of our forefathers and transmitting their achievements to posterity.
In Spring and Autumn they repaired and put in order the ancestral temple; arranged the sacrificial vessels, exhibited the regalia and heirlooms of the family, and presented the appropriate offerings of the season.
The principle in the order of precedence m the ceremonies of worship in the ancestral temple is, in the first place, to arrange the members of the family according to descent. Ranks are next considered, in order to give recognition to the principle of social distinction. Services rendered are next considered as a recognition of distinction in moral worth. In the general banquet those below take precedence of those above in pledging the company, in order to show that consideration is shown to the meanest. In conclusion, a separate feast is given to the elders, in order to recognise the principle of seniority according to age.
To gather in the same places where our fathers before us have gathered; to perform the same ceremonies which they, before us, have have perfomed; to play the same music which they before us have played; to pay respect to those whom they honoured; to love those who were dear to them –in fact, to serve them now dead as if they were living, and now departed as if they were still with us– this is the highest achievement of true fillial piety.
The performance of sacrifices to Heaven and Earth is meant for the service of God. The performance of ceremonies in the ancestral temple, is meant for the worship of ancestors. If one only understood the meaning of the sacrifices to Heaven and Earth, and the signification of the services in ancestral worship, it would be the easiest thing to govern a nation.

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