Author Topic: Motse  (Read 3170 times)

Saber

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Motse
« on: September 03, 2009, 01:22:34 PM »
Motse on the principle of Universal Love

A somewhat unknown, yet significant, Chinese thinker goes by the name of Motse, or Mo Ti.  He was a contemporary of Confucius, and lived in the epic of 450 B.C.  He is an interesting figure for many reasons. I know of him through a translation by Y. P. Mei.  Mei considers him to be a religious teacher, with an emphasis on universal love.  Here is an excerpt of an essay, “Universal Love,” taken from The Wisdom of China and India, edited by Lin Yutang, 1942, Random House Publishers.

Motse said: The purpose of the magnanimous (footnote: Jen, variously translated as “benevolence,” “charity,” “love,” “kindness.” …Throughout this translation the word “magnanimous” refers to jen.)  is to be found in procuring benefits for the world and eliminating its calamities.

But what are the benefits of the world and what of its calamities?

Motse said: Mutual attacks among states, mutual usurpation among houses, mutual injuries among individuals; the lack of grace and loyalty between ruler and ruled, the lack of affection and filial piety between father and son, the lack of harmony between elder and younger brothers – these are the major calamities in the world.

But whence did these calamities arise, out of mutual love?

Motse said: They arise out of want of mutual love.  At present feudal lords have learned only to love their own states and not those of others.  Therefore they do not scruple about attacking other states.  The heads of houses have learned only to love their own houses and not those of others.  Therefore they do not scruple about usurping other houses.  And individuals have learned only to love themselves and not others.  Therefore they do not scruple about injuring others.  When feudal lords do not love one another there will be war on the fields.  When heads of houses do not love one another they will usurp one another’s power.  When individuals do not love one another they will injure one another.  When the ruler and ruled do not love one another they will not be gracious and loyal. When father and son do not love each other they will not be affectionate and filial.  When elder and younger brothers do not love each other they will not be harmonious.  When nobody in the world loves any other, naturally the strong will overpower the weak, and the many will oppress the few, the wealthy mock the poor, the honored will distain the humble, the cunning will deceive the simple.  Therefore all the calamities, strifes, complaints, and hatred in the world have arisen out of want of mutual love.  Therefore the benevolent disapprove of this want.

Now there is disapproval, how can we have the condition altered?

Motse said: It is to be altered by way of universal love and mutual aid.

But what is the way of universal love and mutual aid?

Motse said: It is to regard the state of others as one’s own, the houses of others as one’s own, the persons of others as one’s self….And it is all due to mutual love that calamities, strifes, complaints, and hatred are prevented from arising.  Therefore the benevolent exalt it.

But the gentlemen of the world would say: “So far so good. It is of course very excellent when love becomes universal.  But it is only a difficult and distant ideal.”

Motse said: This is simply because the gentlemen of the world do not recognize what is to the benefit of the world, or understand what is its calamity. Now, to besiege a city, to fight in the fields, or to achieve a name at the cost of death – these are what men find difficult.  Yet when the superior encourages them, the multitude can do them.  Besides, universal love and mutual aid is quite different from these. Whoever loves others is loved by others; whoever injures others is injured by others.  Then, what difficulty is there with it (universal love)?  Only, the ruler fails to embody it in his government and the ordinary man in his conduct.

Qifully, George

Saber

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Re: Motse
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2009, 10:31:40 AM »
Here is a second sample of Motse on a topic we all enjoy.
Motse
The Will of Heaven (II)

Translation by Y. P. Mei.  Excerpt of an essay, “The Will of Heaven,” taken from The Wisdom of China and India, edited by Lin Yutang, 1942, Random House Publishers.

Now Heaven loves the whole world universally.  Everything is prepared (footnote: the term here used in the text is “chiao sui.” Its exact meaning is not ascertainable) for the good man.  Even the tip of a hair is the work of Heaven.  Substantial may be said of the benefits that are enjoyed by man.  Yet there is not service in return. And they do not even know this to be unmagnanimous and unfortunate.  This is why I say gentlemen understand only trifles and not things of importance.

Moreover I know heaven loves men dearly not without reason.  Heaven ordered the sun, the moon, and the stars to enlighten and guide them.  Heaven ordained the four seasons, Spring, Autumn, Winter, and Summer to regulate them.  Heaven sent down snow, frost, rain, and dew to grow the five grains and flax and silk so that people could use and enjoy them.  Heaven established the hills and rivers, ravines and valleys, and arranged many things to minister to man’s good or bring him evil.  He appointed dukes and lords to reward the virtuous and punish the wicked, and to gather metal and wood, birds and beasts, and to engage in cultivating the five grains and flax and silk to provide for people’s food and clothing.  This has taken place from antiquity to the present.  Suppose there is a man who is deeply fond of his son and has used his energy to the limit for his benefit.  But when the son grows up he returns no love to the father.  The gentlemen of the world will all call him unmagnanimous and miserable.  Now Heaven loves the whole world universally. Everything is prepared for the good of man.  The work of Heaven extends to even the smallest things that are enjoyed by man.  Such benefits may indeed be said to be substantial, yet there is no service in return.  And they do not even know this to be unmamnanimous.  This is why I say the gentlemen of the world understand only trifles but not things of importance.

Qifully, George

Saber

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Re: Motse
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2009, 08:52:56 AM »
Here is a third entry by Motse.  Hopefully you have enjoyed them and see how Master Ou's philosophy, expressed in "kindness and benevolence"  has roots that go deeply into the past; the will of Heaven and proper conduct, treating all with courtesy.

Motse on the “Necessity of Standards”

Translation by Y. P. Mei.  Excerpt of an essay, “On the Necessity of Standards,” taken from The Wisdom of China and India, edited by Lin Yutang, 1942, Random House Publishers.

        Now, what is it that heaven desires, and what that it abominates? Certainly Heaven desires to have men benefit and love one another and abominates to have them hate and harm one another.  How do we know that heaven desires to have men love and benefit one another and abominates to have them hate and harm one another?  Because it loves and benefits men universally.  How do we know that is loves and benefits men universally?  Because it claims all and accepts offerings from all.  All states in the world, large or small, are cities of Heaven, and all people, young or old, honorable or humble, are its subjects; for they all graze oxen and sheep, feed dogs and pigs, and prepare clean wine and cakes to sacrifice to Heaven.  Dos this not mean that Heaven claims all and accepts offerings from all?  Since Heaven does claim all and accepts offerings from all, what can make us say that it does not desire men to love and benefit one another?  Hence those who love and benefit others Heaven will bless.  Those who hate and harm others Heaven will curse, for it is said that he who murders the innocent will be visited by misfortune.  How else can we explain the fact that men, murdering each other, will be cursed by Heaven?  Thus we are certain that Heaven desires to have men love and benefit one another and abominates to have them hate and harm one another.
   The ancient sage-kings, Yú, T’ang, Wen, and Wu loved the people of the world universally, leading them to reverence Heaven and worship the spirits.  Many were their benefits to the people.  And, thereupon Heaven blessed them, establishing the emperors; and all the feudal lords of the empire showed them respect.  (On the other hand) the wicked kings, Chieh, Chow, Yu, and Li, hated all the people in the world, seducing the people to curse Heaven and ridicule the spirits.  Great were their injuries to the people.  Thereupon Heaven brought them calamity, depriving them of their empire and their lives; and posterity condemned them to this day.  Chieh, Chow, Yu, and Li, then are those that committed evil and were visited by calamities. And Yú, T’ang, Wen, and Wu are those that loved and benefited the people and obtained blessings.  Thus we have those who obtained blessings because they loved and benefited the people as well as those who were visited by calamities because they hated and harmed the people.
Qifully, George