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Ruiyan

Need help with some Confucian texts

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Ruiyan

Hi everyone, I am an amateur trying to translate some neo-Confucian texts and I hope folks here can help me!

 

First up is a passage from Xie Liangzuo’s commentary in the Analects. This is referring specifically to Analects 12:1 where Confucius talks about the importance of self-restraint and returning to the rites (克己复礼)

 

Here is Xie’s remark

克己须从性,偏难克处克将去.

 

My attempted rendering is something like: Self-discipline must accord with nature; deviating [from nature] it is hard to discipline and command.

 

I’m pretty sure I’ve got this wrong, possibly entirely wrong. Please help! Thanks.

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somethingfunny

I'm sure someone will be along to help you out, but as a fellow amateur, I'd like to have a go as well.

 

I'm not sure I'd translate 性 as "nature" here.  I know these words have different meanings depending on which era we're looking at, but I think something like "Self-restrain must come from within" might align better with the section of Analects he is commenting on.

 

I understand how you've translated the second part: 偏 (deviate) 难 (hard) 克处 (discipline) 克将去 (command), with the 难 covering both 克处 and 克将去.  I don't really see how this relates to the section this commentary is for. 

 

I'd like to read it as: 偏难克 (Incorrect and difficult to restrain/conquer) 处 (places) 克将去 (go and restrain/conquer them).  The part of Analects commented on is the line: 为仁由己而由人乎哉?So the commentary would be: Self-restraint must come from within, places (within you) which are wrong and difficult to conquer - those must be conquered.  I've taken a bit of license with the meaning of 克 as "restrain"/"conquer".  This also leads nicely into the whole 非礼勿视 bit.

 

Well, that's my two cents.  But, like I said, I'm an amateur too.  Now we wait for someone who knows what they're talking about to come along...

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Ruiyan

Thanks! Your version actually makes a lot of sense in the context, because this passage is preceded by another comment by Cheng Yi, saying, “To become humane, everyone must completely conquer their selfishness.” This fits pretty well with the idea of finding stubborn parts within yourself and subduing them. I’ll wait to see what others say but you’ve definitely made me see a possible solution.

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Ruiyan

I suspect Somethingfunny has it right, but I would of course welcome the thoughts of others. In the meantime here's another difficult text for me. This is a comment by Yang Guishan on a passage in the Yijing. To put it in context, here is the relevant Yijing passage (from the commentary on the second yin for the Kun hexagram):

 

君子敬以直内義以方外敬義立而德不孤直方大不習无不利則不疑其所行也

 

Richard John Lynn translates this thusly:

 

The noble man keeps his inner self straight by means of reverence and keeps his outer life square by means of righteousness. With the establishment of reverence and righteousness, one keeps one's virtue free from isolation. "He is straight, square, and great, so without working at it, nothing he does here fails to be fitting." Thus he has no doubts about what he should do.

 

So here is the comment by Yang Guishan:

 

尽其诚心而无伪焉,所谓直也。若施之于事,则厚薄隆杀一定而不可易为有方矣。所主者敬而义,则自此出 焉,故有风外之辨.

 

My tentative rendering:

 

When the heart is thoroughly sincere and without affectation, that is what is called straight. In conducting affairs, to keep sure and unmoved, through thick and thin, prosperity or disaster- that comes from being square. Governed by reverence and righteousness, one henceforth goes out with unshakeable discernment.

 

My chief difficulty here is the last part: 则自此出 焉,故有风外之辨.particularly 风外之辨 which I think would literally mean discernment outside the winds; I take this to be discernment not affected by changing circumstances, hence I say "unshakeable discernment." But I could just be completely misreading this. Help!

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Ruiyan

Bump! So now that more people are on lockdown maybe someone will have time to respond.

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