Burton, Watson - Han Fei Tzu by Han Fei Tzu : basic writings

By Han Fei Tzu : basic writings

Consultant of the Fachia, or Legalist, university of philosophy, the writings of Han Fei Tzu (280?-233 B.C.) confront the problems of protecting and strengthening the nation. His classes stay well timed as students proceed to ascertain the character and use of strength. Burton Watson offers a brand new preface and a worthy advent.

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56 Han Fei Tzu T he state of Chin was visited by a great drought that seared the land for three years, and sores broke out all over Duke P’ing’s body. Hence I say: To give no ear to government af­ fairs but to long ceaselessly for the sound of music is the way to plunge yourself into distress. 5. What do I mean by greed and perversity? Long ago Chih Po Yao [d. 453 B . C . ] led the troops of Chao, Han, and W ei in an attack on the Fan and Chung-hang families and wiped them out. After returning to his territory, he disbanded his troops for a few years, and then sent one of his men to request territory from the state of Han.

I )o not let your power be seen; be blank and actionless. (Jnvernment reaches to the four quarters, but its source is in thr center. The sage holds to the source and the four quarters n»me to serve him. In emptiness he awaits them, and they kjionianeously do what is needed. W hen all within the four unis have been put in their proper places, he sits in darkness to observe the light. W hen those to his left and right have taken their places, he opens the gate to face the world. He changes nothing, alters nothing, but acts with the two handles of reward and punishment, acts and never ceases: this is what In called walking the path of principle.

His page Ku-yang came forward with a flagon of wine and presented it to him. " said Tzu-fan. " But Ku-yang insisted it was not wine, until Tzu-fan finally accepted it and drank it. Tzu-fan was the kind of man who is so fond of wine that, once he had tasted it, he could not stop until he had gotten drunk. Mean­ while the battle came to an end and King Kung, hoping to resume it again the next day, sent an order summoning his commander Tzu-fan, but Tzu-fan excused himself, saying that he had a pain in his heart.

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