Qunshu Zhiyao (A Compendium of the Essentials of Governance) (Lecture 1) by Professor Yuli Liu 2014/12/24
《群書治要》 （第一集） 劉余莉教授 2014/12/24 檔名：
Respected friends, greetings! 尊敬的諸位朋友，大家好！
Today is December 24, 2014. It’s Christmas Eve in the West, a night for peace and joy. To commence the lecture series of Qunshu Zhiyao (A Compendium of the Essentials of Governance) on Christmas Eve has an especially important meaning—that our wish for global peace may come true.
Qunshu Zhiyao is a compendium compiled during the reign of Emperor Taizong, Shi-Min Lee, of the Tang Dynasty. Comprehensively, it excerpted the essences on the subjects of personal cultivation, clan harmony (family order), governance of the state, and the maintenance of world peace from myriads of Chinese classic scriptures, philosophies (writings of the great philosophers), and history books written before the Tang Dynasty. This compendium can be said to be the crème de la crème of the excellence of traditional Chinese culture. Nowadays people have realized the importance of traditional culture and aspire to propagate such wonderful traditional culture. But where shall we begin? My answer is to begin with Qunshu Zhiyao, which can shorten our learning curve but maximize our benefits.
The edition we choose to study from, entitled Qunshu Zhiyao 360, is compiled by Chung Hua Cultural Education Centre (
Leaders who study Qunshu Zhiyao will understand what the most important quality of an excellent leader is. Here, an excellent leader not only embraces the personal morals, ethical conducts, good characteristics, and multiple talents, but also include the methodologies and the art of his or her leadership. For example, how to choose and observe a person in order to recruit true talents; how to govern a country, how to manage a business, and what is the key to effective team leadership; how to disseminate moral education that can penetrate into people’s hearts and can be implemented with results; how to stop corruption and promote a honest and clean government that cures corruption from the buried causes and not just the surface symptoms, etc.
For the ordinary people, studying Qunshu Zhiyao can help them understand how to navigate the course of life to make it a smooth sailing; how to avoid calamities and retain merits; how to make life meaningful; and what kind of life pursuit is most important. Of course, it also includes how to build up good relationships; to know the nexus to personal success or failure, glory or defamation, good fortune or ruination; how to change one’s destiny, how to turn disasters into blessings; and how to become a gentleman with a clean conscious, without regrets or remorse in good times or bad times (in the vicissitudes of life).
Especially, in Today’s democracy people can vote in elections to choose the kind of leader that can truly benefit their country and to avoid choosing the wrong candidate that derails the entire country. In addition, it can elevate one’s morality, to have a happy and prosperous life, to make the family relations harmonious. Furthermore, it can even to open up one’s innate “illuminating virtues,” or “ to illustrate the illuminating virtues” as stated in The Great Leaning, in order to achieve the goal of benefitting the self and others, awakening one’s self-nature and others’. From the above, we can discern the importance of Qunshu Zhiyao as a compendium that every one should study seriously, and not just for the political leaders.
Before we begin to learn Qunshu Zhiyao 360, the Venerable Master Chin Kung had written a Preface fore the reprinting of Qunshu Zhiyao. The Preface is concise and illuminating. It introduced the circumstances under which Qunshu Zhiyao was compiled, the compendium’s historical contributions, the processes of its circulation, the learning methods, and its value to the modern world. Hence, we shall study this Preface first.
“Qunshu Zhiyao was compiled under the royal command of Emperor Taizong, Shi-Min Lee, of the Tang Dynasty in the first year of Zhen Guan.” We all know that Taizong, the second emperor of Tang Dynasty, was the second son of Emperor Gaozu as well. According to the Old Book of Tang History when he was born there was an auspicious sign of two dragons playing outside the door for three days before leaving. When he was four years old, an intelligentsia of self-acclaimed fortune-teller fame came to visit Gaozong and told him that “you are a noble person and will have a noble son.” After the intelligentsia saw Taizong, he praised him as having the “demeanor of dragon and phoenix, the presence of heaven and sun, and at the age of 20 shall benefit the world and pacify the people.” Dragon and phoenix are symbols of emperors, or heaven’s son, in ancient
Taizong ascended the throne in 626 A.D., and died in 649 A.D. He ruled for 23 years and was one of the greatest emperors in Chinese history. Some gave him the accolade of “The Emperor in a Millennium.” Emperor Taizong of Tang is best known for his abilities to employ sagacious people, his willingness to accept admonitions from his subjects, his respect for Confucianism and Taoism (his emphasis on Law and order???), his diligence in governance, and his compassion for the people. He ruled the empire with a council of erudite scholars (not generals), advocated frugality throughout the nation, allowing people to live comfortably without heavy taxation or corvée. Consequently, the Tang Dynasty enjoyed unprecedented prosperity; people lived and worked in peace. Taizong’s governance created the historically famous era known as the Reign of Zhenguan and all his measures laid a solid foundation for the Tang Dynasty to flourish for more than a century.
How great indeed was the Reign of Zhenguan? We can observe its prosperity from three aspects. First, agriculture achieved unprecedented development with a cornucopia of crops. According to historical records, in the 6th and 7th years of Zhenguan, because of timely rains and winds which resulted in continuous harvests, people were able to travel to the northern provinces, such as Shandong (east of Mountain Hua), without bringing food with them; in other words, travelers can buy food locally. Travelers entering the villages of
Second, the law and order of the society during the Reign of Zhenguan was unbelievably good. In the 4th year of Zhenguan, there were only 29 death sentences in the whole country. Although in 632 A.D. there were 290 people sentenced to death, but at the end of the year, Taizong allowed them to go home to take care of their final matters before death and the execution was scheduled in the fall of next year. This is a Chinese tradition of executing prisoners only in the autumn, a way of ruling a country according to the seasons. So what happened to the released prisoners with death sentences? All 290 of them came back in September of next year, not a single one of them escaped. This is how good and clean the government was in
Third, the Reign of Zhenguan was the only government in the history of
In Zhenguan Zhengyao, “Discourse on Politics (Governance of People),” a dialogue on the success and failure of the historical nations’ governance, between Emperor Taizong of Tang and his head librarian Wei Zhen in the 7th year of Zhenguan, was recorded. Taizong commented: “In view of the aftermath created by the recent political tumult, we probably should not immediately educate people to be ethical in order to achieve good governance?” Wei Zhen replied: “Not so, your majesty, whenever people are suffering in the war zone or in a crisis, they will be worried about death. Such worry will make them wish for peace(ful times). Such wish will make them easy to teach and be transformed (into good persons). Therefore, after a revolution, people are more susceptible to moral education, just like a hungry person can be easily satisfied with food.”
Taizong agreed with Wei Zheng’s theory. But other subjects, such as Fon Deyi argued: “After the three dynasties of Xia, Shang, and Zhou, people gradually became wicked and treacherous. Consequently, the subsequent Qin Dynasty ruled the nation with strict laws and severe punishments. The Han Dynasty, after Qin Dynasty, governed with benevolence and justice but also mixed in laws and punishments. All the rulers wished to transform people to be ethical but failed. If the rulers could transform them, would they be reluctant to do so? The nation would be in chaos and tumble down if we listened to Wei Zheng.”
Wai Zheng retorted: “During the reign of the five legendary emperors and the three sagacious kings, these rulers were able to transform the same people, without replacing them, to be morally responsible (and accomplish good governance). Thus, one who rules with the way of emperors will be emperors; one who rules with the way of kings will be kings. The key is whether or not the ruler implemented moral education. Examining the ancient records, we find that Emperor Huang, the first legendary emperor, had warred against Chi-you, leader of the Juli Tribe, for more than 70 times; the state was in great turmoil, but he was able to make the people live harmonious quickly. The second legendary emperor Zhang Xu launched war against the Juli Tribe’s revolt and conquered them. He did not lose his good governance by moral education after the revolt. The depraved and despotic King Jay of the Xia Dynasty was overthrown by the sagacious King Tong, who founded the Shang Dynasty. During the reign of King Tong, the state was peaceful (and people were ethical). Eventually, the Shang Dynasty fell under the rule of the decadent and cruel tyrant King Zho, and the dynasty was overthrown by King Wu, who founded the Zhou Dynasty. By the time King Wu’s son, King Cheng, ascended the throne, the state was peaceful (and people were ethical). If people were gradually becoming vicious and treacherous and could never be good and honest again, then they should all be evil spirits today. How can anyone transform them? Fon De-yi and the other subjects could not find any counter-argument. But they were not persuaded by Wei Zheng and do not believe in the feasibility of his governance by moral education theory.
From this dialogue we can perceive that to govern by moral education and the teachings of the saints and sages not only raise doubts in today’s people, but were also questionable in Tang Dynasty (approximately 1300 years ago). When Taizong of Tang wished to implement the education of the saints and sages, he encountered the opposition from his subjects. Fortunately, Wei Zheng was an erudite scholar and had a very thorough understanding of historical experiences and lessons. He could cite myriads of classic scriptures and examples to quiet the arguments of the opposing parties. Taizong of Tang was indeed a sagacious ruler in a millennium. A sagacious ruler’s wisdom lies in his ability to distinguish right from wrong, good from bad, aesthetic from unaesthetic. Taizong steadfastly and tirelessly implemented moral education. The outcome of his efforts was that within a short few years, the country recovered from chaos, his kingdom was peaceful and prosperous, and the Turks were defeated and subjugated.
Thereafter Taizong told his subjects: “In the early years of Zhenguan there were arguments against the governance in the ways of the legendary emperors and sagacious kings, and doubts about the effects of moral education and the teachings of saints and sages. Only Wei Zhen advised me to implement them. I listened and within a few years, the central regions (state) achieved peace and the northern boundary’s invaders, the Turks, subjugated. Turks had always been the strongest enemy of ours. But what happened to them today? The leader of Turks became my royal guard with his scabbard. His tribal people wear Chinese robes and hats. In other words, they are greatly influenced by Chinese culture. All my accomplishments are attributed to Wei Zheng.” He then looked at Wei Zheng and said: “The beauty of Jade, if covered in rocks and without the carvings of skillful craftsman, cannot be revealed and is no different than a piece of rubble. But if the covered jade encountered the craftsmanship of an artist, it will become a national treasure to be appreciated for generations. Although I am not of the caliber of an imperial jade for you to carve and polish, but luckily you used benevolence and justice to discipline me and the luminosity of morals to make me shine so that I can have these accomplishments today. You are indeed an artist of high craftsmanship.
From this story we can see that Taizong of Tang is most respectful towards Wei Zheng and treat him as a teacher. He contributed all his accomplishments during the flourishing Zhenguan Epoch to Wei Zheng and showed true humility in himself.
Currently, our venerated Master often gave speeches in UNESCO to promote and explain the contributions of the traditional Chinese culture. He advocates that good governance can be achieved through the traditional Chinese culture and can bring world peace as well. But the Ambassadors of UNESCO were doubtful.
In around 2005, the Master conducted an experiment in his hometown, the
The successful experience and the model town of harmony told us that “People are innately good in the beginning; self-natures are similar but habits separate people afar; if people were not educated to be good, their good nature will mutate;” as stated in the opening verses of San Zi Jing (Tri-Word Couplets). Through the education of ethical relationships and moral ways, the society can be restored to peace, order, and harmony in a short time. This proves that people can be easily taught to be good. The nexus is the correct methodologies, the sincere attitudes, and the paradigm set by the teachers.
To keep the harmony of today’s societies and to have good governance of today’s countries, we can still borrow from the important historically experiences and lessons. When Chairman Xi addressed the 18th Session of the Group Study of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee in October of 2014, he stated: “History is the best teacher.
Let’s continue, “Taizong joined his father’s army at the age of 16, busy and urgently (倥傯kǒng zǒng) conducting military affairs, on war horses (戎馬róng mǎ) fighting under the flag of righteousness to put down revolts and upheavals at various territories for more than a decade.” “戎馬” (róng mǎ) originally means war horses, here implies military affairs. “倥傯” (kǒng zǒng) means numerous activities and urgent matters, to describe the myriads of urgent military activities. After Taizong had been fighting for more than ten years, the nation was settled and unified and Tang Dynasty was established. “After ascending the throne at the age of 27, he ceased war (偃武 yǎnwǔ) and encouraged culture and education (修文xiūwén).” Taizong became the emperor at the age of 27, which is very young. He then ”偃武修文”(yǎnwǔ xiūwén). The word “偃”( yǎn) means stop, stop military affairs; “修文”(xiūwén) means promoting the education liberal arts, to set up systems of rites, rituals, and etiquettes, to compose transcendental music, and to teach citizens the ways to be a good person, to cultivate the self and to keep family order. If every one focuses on personal cultivation, to pay attention to personal morals and grace, and every family does the same, then societies will naturally be in harmony. “Especially focus on the way to peaceful and just governance, let citizens rest and support them.” “Peaceful and just governance” means the ruling principles of nations that bring world peace. “Just” means justice and equality, how to make the world just and peaceful.
Here, it mentioned that Taizong had been busy leading military forces to fight wars since a teenage. As a result, he was apparently lacking in the knowledge of the ways of governance by the saints and sages. Taizong clearly is aware of this disadvantage. But he is very smart. For example, in Zhenguan Zhengyao, “Discourse on Politics, 2nd scroll,” recorded a conversation between Taizong and his subject Xiao Yu in the first year of Zhenguan[A3] . Taizong said: “Your Sovereign loves archery and liked to shoot arrows. I thought that I was an expert and can distinguish good bows from bad ones. Recently, I got more than ten good bows and showed them to the court bowyer. To my surprise, the bowyer told me that these bows are not good bows. When I asked for the reason, the bowyer told me that the center of the wood is not straight making the wood veins crooked. The arrows projected from such bows, although strong, would not shoot straight; therefore, these bows were not superior. From this incident, I had an epiphany. I conquered the nation with bows and arrows and had used numerous bows. But I am still wanting in the expertise of recognizing good bows. If I am still lacking in the recognition of good bows after years of experiences, a priori, my knowledge of the principles of good governance must be even less as I have only ascended the throne for such a short time. If my understanding of bows can go haywire, then, my control to the nexus of good governance is not worth mentioning.
Since then, Taizong would regularly receive (have conferences with) top officials, above 5th ranking, stationed in the capital and the primary ministers from his cabinet. During the meeting, Taizong would grant them the privilege of seating, with two-way communications, and questioned them carefully regarding affairs outside the palace in order to have a comprehensive understanding of the problems and difficulties of the citizens and the successes and failures of policies and education systems.
From these stories, we can discern that Taizong of Tang was eager to learn, modest, and aware of his shortcomings. He recognized his disadvantage in good governance; therefore, he sought council from experienced subjects in humility and treated them with respect and honor. To understand one’s shortcomings, this awareness, is very difficult for leaders.
In the second year of Zhenguan, Taizong asked one of his famous prime ministers, Wang Gui, what was the reason that caused the emperors, kings, and their subjects in recent history to be mediocre compare to ancient times. Wang Gui replied: “Emperors and kings in ancient times aspired and venerated the selfless governance and put the common people’s welfare foremost in their hearts. The emperors and kings in recent times, in contrary, would harm people’s benefits in order to satisfy their selfish desires. They no longer recruited the erudite scholars. During the Han Dynasty the prime ministers were all experts in at least one scripture and there were no unsolvable issues or problems. If there was a problem they all could cite scriptures and base their decisions thusly. Hence, citizens were knowledgeable of etiquettes and ethics and the country was peaceful and stable under their governance. In contrast, rulers of recent times would either venerate military power, despise Confucianism, or use law and punishment to govern their kingdoms. Since Confucianism was in decline, social norm of honesty and kindness disappeared.” Taizong wholeheartedly agreed to his statement. Since then he would promote officials who were erudite Confucian scholars and capable administrators of good governance.
We can observe that Taizong is good at listening to advice as well, especially his emphasis in adopting the Confucian concept of ethical relations and moral education to rule the state. This is a very rare in political leaders. Because most rulers can easily see the quick results of strict laws and severe punishments and would implement the governance by law. But Taizong was different; he put emphasis on the establishment of legal systems but also emphasized the Confucian concept of ethical relations and moral education. This is the root cause that founded the Reign of Zhenguan.
你看唐太宗他也很善於聽取諫言，特別重視用儒家的倫理道德教育來治理國家。這一點確實很難得， 因為一般的人都會看到嚴刑峻法的迅速有效的效果， 可能也會推行法治。但是太宗卻不是這樣，他在重視制度建設的同時，能夠重視儒家倫理道德的教育，這才是使他建立了貞觀之治的根本原因。
Criminal Laws can only punish personal behavior but cannot change the wrongdoer’s mentality. It is a punishment of passive remedy, a remedial measure to ameliorate the aftermath of criminal conducts and not an active preventive measure to stop crime before its occurrence. The legal system cannot evoke any shame or remorse in the wrongdoer. When people do not feel they have done anything wrong or shameful, they would only find ways to escape from punishment; even take pride in their evasions of law as a result of their cunning. Therefore, while the system of crime and punishment is implemented, the implementation of moral education and ethical relations should be given the same emphasis. To let people unwilling to do anything wrong from the bottom of their heart, to regard illegal conduct as something deeply shameful, thus building a levee against evil deeds in people’s mind.
The reason Taizong gave the royal command to compile Qunshu Zhiyao shortly after he ascended the throne was because that he realized his wanting in the knowledge of the governance to achieve world peace by the saints and sages. Therefore, he wished not only to seek counsel from his subjects in the expertise of governance, but also to have reference materials at hand to study the teachings and experiences of the governance by the saints and sages.
“Taizong was skilled in military warfare and astute in judgment.” Taizong was an excellent commander in chief, with sharp intelligence and good judgment. When he was leading the army and facing the constant permutation of military intelligence, he was adaptable and could make strategic decisions. It could be said that he was undefeatable and a general of the highest caliber. “[H]e regretted joining the army at an early age and did not read much.” He concentrated his early life in warfare causing his regret at the present for not reading many scriptures and not cognizant of the governance to achieve world peace by the saints and sages. “In view of the downfall of the former Sui Dynasty, he fully realized that it is not easy to found a dynasty and it is also difficult to make the dynasty last and survive.” The former dynasty of Sui only lasted for a short history of some 30 years. The ancients valued historic lessons especially. History is deemed as a mirror that reflects the past for us to foresee the future so as to avoid the repetition of the same mistakes. For example, the proverb “the mirror of Yin is not afar,” meaning the downfall and painful lessons of the Yin family’s dynasty, the Shang dynasty before Zhou, is not yet too distant from us, we should take it as a warning and do not make the same mistakes again.
After he became the emperor, Taizong was very good at recapitulate history lessons and events as a mirror. In the 9th year of Zhenguan Taizong had a discussion with his subjects regarding the lessons he learned from the demise of the former Sui Dynasty. He commented that “when the Sui Dynasty was first established and settled in the capital, every room in the palace was full of beautiful objects d’art and beautiful women. But Emperor Yang of Sui was still not satisfied. He taxed people to the bone, endlessly searching for treasures and curios. In addition, he was on the rampage of war against the neighboring states in the East and West; to indulge in his wars of aggression, he used up all the national resources to raise armies. Eventually, he made people’s lives unbearable and caused the demise of the Sui Dynasty. I have seen all these happen personally. As a result, I worked from morning till night, diligently and tirelessly, with the one wish of governing my empire selflessly so that the world can be without upheavals, corvée can be stopped, farmers can have a cornucopia of crops, and the people can live and work in peace and prosperity. The governance of a nation is like the planting of trees. So long as the roots are stable and unshakable, the branches and leaves will flourish. A ruler who can implement the governance of selflessness, how can the citizens not live and work in peace and prosperity.” Taizong was indeed good at summarizing the teachings of the downfall of Sui and had a good perception of the difficulties in founding an empire and making it last.
The hardest part about making an empire last is whether the ruler can retain his virtues. The same applies to a cultivator. In fact, to cultivate in comfort is more difficult than in tribulations. Trials and tribulations sometimes can toughen up a person. They can stimulate and strengthen a person’s will and tenacity. In contrast, favorable conditions can make people effete. Without a high degree of alertness and self-discipline, it is very difficult not to be ruined by luxury and depravity, rich and fame, power and social status. Thus, in the Scripture of Filial Piety, it stated: “Be apprehensive, be cautious, as if on the brink of a deep abyss, as if walking on thin ice.” When facing the lure of luxury and depravity, rich and fame, and all kinds of favorable conditions, raise one’s guard and do not be lost in them.
Let’s continue with the Preface. “During his reign, he encouraged his subjects to give him admonitions.” The greatest characteristic of Taizong’s leadership is his ability to encourage his subjects to give him admonitions, he even proactively asked for admonitions. For example, in the 11th year of Zhenguan, Wei Zheng continuously submitted admonitions in court documents. Taizong personally answered Wei Zheng in an imperial rescript as follows: “Your Sovereign after reading your, his favorite subject’s, court papers was deeply touched. After reading such sincere words expressing your loyalty and righteousness, often makes me forget my fatigue. If you, my favorite subject, are not familiar with the situation of state, how can you make such appropriate proposals and correct my mistakes timely? I have heard that after King Wu of Jin vanquished and merged the
Taizong opined: “In the past, historians’ comments about this event is to praise Ho Zheng as someone with great insight. But I hold a different view. In my opinion, Ho Zheng can be said as the most disloyal subject and should be held in contempt. As a court official, he should consider how to critique current events and political situations with loyalty and honest suggestions when in court. After court appearance, he should think how to amend the mistakes of the king diligently as to forget food and sleep. Thusly, the king’s virtues can be developed uninterruptedly and mistakes corrected without failure. This is the way of concerted minds between the ruler and his subjects. However, Ho Zheng, with grand status and great power, should give admonitions with honest words to discuss the way of good governance, to correct and support good policies, instead, he gave his opinions on court order after he returned from court and lacked the courage to admonish the king directly. Isn’t it ridiculous to praise him as a man of foresight? Do we need officials who cannot assist and support a nation when she is in danger of demise? As you suggested in your court papers, which I have read seriously, I will put them on my desk of your words of wisdom, like the mementos of caveat in ancient times. I believe I will receive benefit in this way day by day and after a few years, our state will flourish with booming economy. Because of your wise counsel and support, I can rest easy as the fish in water. Everything will go as I wish and run smoothly. As I am now humbly replying the court paper you courageous submitted without any subtlety, I will be as humble in listening to your good suggestion in governance in the future.”
Can we observe the wisdom of a sagacious leader from this event? Taizong’s wisdom is in that he was not offended or felt lost face when Wei Zheng continuously submitted his admonitions, when Wei Zheng directly pointed out his mistakes. On the contrary, Taizong praised Wei Zheng and deemed it his best quality as a subject. Taizong believed that he needed Wei Zheng is like a fish needs water and Wei Zheng can make his governance smoother. Only when an emperor has such humility to seek admonition can a loyal subject, like Wei Zheng, can give admonitions with honest words and not euphemism. Taizong proactively sought and encouraged his subjects’ admonitions demonstrated the rare quality of a magnanimous ruler.
A leader should learn and emulate the paradigm of Taizong. Whether in a family or in a team, as a leader, s/he should emulate the sage when finding one, encourage admonitions from his subordinates, accept their criticisms regarding the flaws and weaknesses of policies; in other words, to let the subordinates point out all the mistakes and weaknesses. Why? It is because a wrong decision can affect the lives of thousands of people. “Heaven’s Son” represents that compassion and protection of heaven for his children. How can a ruler make his citizens suffer due to his mistake? Taizong understood that it is difficult to make an empire last, therefore, he not only wished for his subjects to admonish him, but also wished to learn from the saints and sages, the lesson of historic events to remind him not to make the same mistakes. This was also his original intention in compiling Qunshu Zhiyao.
“He commanded Court Admonishers such as Wei Zheng and Yu Shinan to go through the records of the governance of historical emperors and kings, to excerpt the essentials of personal cultivation, clan harmony (family order), governance of the state, and the maintenance of world peace from the Six Scriptures, the Four History Books, and the myriads of philosophers and a hundred schools of thoughts, and to compile them into a compendium.” From this paragraph we can tell that the contents of Qunshu Zhiyao include six scriptures, which are the Classic of Poetry, Book of Documents, Book of Rites, Book of Changes, Book of Music, and Spring and Autumn Annals. Confucius used the Six Scriptures to teach his students. Later on the Book of Music was lost and there were only Five Scriptures; therefore, the Han Dynasty set up the Doctorate of Five Scriptures. Qunshu Zhiyao is comprehensive of the Five Scriptures. The Four History Books are Shiji (Records by the Grand Historian), the History of Han Dynasty, History of the Latter Han Dynasty, and Records of the Three Kingdoms. Of course, Qunshu Zhiyao is comprehensive of the Four History Books; additionally, it contains the History of Jin Dynasty. Shiji (Records by the Grand Historian) is a very important history book. It recorded the long history from the first legendary emperor Huang (2700 B.C.) to Han Dynasty (220 A.D.). Besides history, there is also the myriad of philosophers and a hundred school of thoughts, which flourished during the periods from Spring and Autumn to the Warring States, such as Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism, Legalism,
下面接著說，「令諫官魏徵及虞世南等，整理歷代帝王治國資政史料，擷取六經、四史、諸子百家中，有關修身、齊家、治國平天下之精要，匯編成書」。這個就告訴我們，《群書治要》的內容包含六經，這個六經就是《詩》 《書》 《禮》 《易》 《樂》 《春秋》，孔老夫子就是以六經教導學生。後來六經中的《樂經》失傳，所以到漢代的時候就是置五經博士。在《群書治要》中這個五經的內容都涵蓋其中。四史，這個四史就是《史記》、《漢書》、《後漢書》、《三國志》。當然《群書治要》中包括了四史，還包括了《晉書》，晉朝的歷史。這個《史記》也是一部重要的史書，記載了從黃帝一直到漢朝這麼長的歷史。除了史書之外還有子書，也就是諸子百家，像在春秋戰國時候百家爭鳴，有儒、墨、道、法、農家、兵家等等，這些言論，關於國家治理的經驗也都蒐集在《群書治要》之中。
“From the Five Legendary Emperors to the Jin Dynasty, 65 different kinds of books were selected from more than 14,000 collections, over 89,000 scrolls of ancient records, and comprised of more than 500,000 words.” The time span of the historic books and documents included in Qunshu Zhiyao is more than 3000 years, from the Five Legendary Emperors (2700 B.C.) to Jin Dynasty (420 A.D.), the Dynasty before Taizong of Tang. From this paragraph we can discover how meticulous and serious the compilation of Qunshu Zhiyao was. It was a selection from more than 14,000 collections, over 89,000 scrolls of ancient records, which we cannot even finish reading them in our lifetime, Finally, 65 books were selected and the essence on the teachings and experiences of governance and world peace were distilled from them, and Qunshu Zhiyao was completed. It is not an exaggeration to call Qunshu Zhiyao the crème de la crème of the excellence of traditional Chinese culture. Once we learned this compendium, we control the golden key to Si Ku Guan Shu.
“When the compendium was completed, as stated in the preface written by Wei Zheng, it is a compendium that can be used in the present--sufficient as a mirror the reflect the past and a heritage to be handed down to future generations as a canon of good governance.” Qunshu Zhiyao took five years to complete; in other words, it was complete in the fifth year of Zhenguan. After its completion, Wei Zheng wrote the preface and praised the compendium’s historic value. His opinion is that the compendium used at that time could be a mirror to see the past as it reflected the wisdom and experiences of the ancients in managing their lives, especially for political leaders to avoid pitfalls and as paradigms to emulate. They can grasp the experiences, teachings, methodologies, wisdom, and principles of governance from the time of the five legendary emperors to Jin Dynasty. As a political canon to be handed down to future generations, it can benefit our descendants to plan their lives well so as to have a blissful life. Because the rich contents of the compendium included the knowledge of personal cultivation, family order, governance of the country, and the maintenance of world peace, it is a treasure to be handed down from generations to generations. It can enlighten our descendants to manage their family life properly and to bring welfare to the people if they have the chance to be civil servants. Thus, Qunshu Zhiyao is indeed a canon of governance that mirrors the past and foretells the future.
“Taizong likes the compendium’s comprehensiveness and concise precision.” After the compendium was completed, Taizong like it very much because the compendium included vast material and the excerpts are precise and concise. In other words, it is not verbose and every verse is enlightening. If the compilers did not have a profound understanding of the scriptures, histories, and myriads of schools of thoughts, they could not have such precise selections. Taizong was “reading it daily and cannot put it down.” We have to ask why is it that Taizong was studying so hard? The answer is that his compassion for his people and his aspiration to make the empire stable and peaceful are his momentum. Not only that, he embraced the world and wishing not only to govern his state well, but also as a paradigm for other countries to follow.
Taizong absorbed the classic wisdom of the ancient sagacious rulers, and also used them in his governance. He later said: “Making me reading the classics and not disturbed when facing crisis are your, my subjects’, contributions.” Here, reading the classics implies examinations and contemplations. Whenever Taizong faced a problem he could used the seasoned wisdom of thousands years of history to make judgments, decisions so that he would not be confused and could handle matter with confidence. The reason he could face any matter and knew how to manage them was because of his reading of this compendium, which has such effects. When Taizong made this comment he was full of gratitude, therefore, he contributed his capability to the efforts of his subjects. So we can see, as the emperor, the Son of Heaven, Taizong still constantly remembered the contributions of his subjects. To constantly have a sense of gratitude is another rare characteristic of a leader.
“From this, we can conclude that the peaceful and flourishing state of the Reign of Zhenguan can be contributed greatly to this compendium!” The reason an empire can reach its prosperity is due to the leadership of its highest ruler, the emperor. In other words, the ruler has correct thoughts and correct principles of governance. Taizong’s political savvy was inherited from Qunshu Zhiyao. “This compendium is indeed the must read canon of states men.” Politicians should all read this precious compendium.
We all know that when the Venerable Master met with the former prime minister of
After Qunshu Zhiyao 360 was completed, a copy was presented to Elder Mahathir. Upon completion of reading this translation, Elder Mahathir commented that if he were able to read this compendium earlier, he would have made less wrong decisions. Thus, it can be said that the ruling principles in Qunshu Zhiyao not only applies to ancient
Our ancestors and the saints and sages were all broad-minded. We should follow their examples and have such magnanimity to launch Qunshu Zhiyao to the world in order to contribute to world peace. This compendium is not just a must-read for the politicians or leaders. It should be a must-read for parents, teachers, and entrepreneurs. The knowledge of cultivation, order, governance, and world peace has a commonality. The principles of governing a flourishing nation are the same as managing a fortune 500 company, or the upkeep of a harmonious family.
Let’s continue reading the next paragraph. “At that time the printing press was not fully developed. Fortunately, the Japanese monks had a complete hand-written copy of Qunshu Zhiyao, which was in the Japanese literary collection of Jinze during the
“In the 60th year of Emperor Chen-long (1711-1799) of the Chin Dynasty, the Japanese brought this compendium back to
“At the yearend of 2010,” this is talking about the time and the auspicious condition under which the Master received this compendium. “[R]eading repeatedly, I was full of infinite joy.” The reason the Master was able to have this compendium is just as the ancient Chinese saying depicted: “A person with good will, the providence will grant.” It is just because the Master thought constantly about the continuation of Chinese culture, knowing that it not only can bring social harmony, prosperity and peace to the Chinese, but also the grand unity of the world.
The Venerated Master’s viewpoints are exactly the same as the famous British historian, Arnold Toynbee. Professor Toynbee stated in his book ______ that only the Chinese culture can save the world and will be universally disseminated in the future.
Why is it that a British would not hold the view that the Western culture can bring world peace but put faith in Chinese culture? It is because that the crucible of Chinese culture is “benevolence, love, loyalty, and forgiveness.” “The benevolent loves people.” The ideogram “仁”( rén), meaning humanity, benevolence, combines the pictographs of 亻( rén), meaning a person, and 二, (èr) meaning two. It implies empathy that when we think of ourselves, we should think of others as well, to stand in other’s shoe, to think from other’s perspective. Therefore,
The ancients often used “the Benevolence of Oneness” to describe the compassion and humaneness of a benevolent person. What is the “the Benevolence of Oneness”? it is like our body, when there is an itchiness in the right hand, the left hand will scratch it unconditionally because our body is one unity, without any separateness. Therefore, the meaning of benevolence in Chinese emphasizes the relationships between people, between people and societies, and between people and nature. In addition, the relationships between races and countries are all of Oneness. Only when one understands the myriads of relationships in Oneness, can we accomplish the love of the benevolent; “don’t do to others as you would not wish done to yourself.” It is this kind of education of benevolence and compassion that can bring world peace and not world annihilation.
The Chinese culture also appreciates the art of “harmony in diversity.” What does it mean? It is like a splendid garden with a sea of flowers in various species and a profusion of colors that displays the most beautiful scenery, which the eyes can’t glean all at once. If a garden has only one kind of flower, in one color, it will be too monotone and boring. Hence, the Chinese stress the “harmony in diversity” and respect and appreciate the differences in different ethnical groups and religions. Under such mandate there can be mutual respect and mutual learning to reconcile the conflicts created by different cultures. Professor Toynbee, recognizing this, was of the opinion that only Confucianism and Mahayana Buddhism can resolve the social problems in the 21st century. His opinion is 100% correct.
Let’s continue. “The most important key is that we Chinese must truly understand our traditional culture without doubt and full of confidence.” Here talked about the key to world peace through traditional Chinese culture is that we as Chinese must renew our understanding of traditional culture, re-established our self-confidence in our race, our culture, and eradicate our doubts about the effectiveness of the teachings of the saints and sages. The reason we need confidence in our traditional culture is that universal law is forever true and never changeable, as the saying “Heaven never changes, Tao never changes either[A8] .” The contents in scriptures are infallible truth or the Tao. Tao is the never changing rule, like the sun rises in the East and sets in the West in the present as well as in the past. More importantly, the temperament of the ancients was more serene than today’s people. The minds of today’s people are agitated and cannot be still, therefore, their cognition is not as aware as the ancients. The advancement in technology and the development in our times do not mean that we are smarter than the ancient. This truism comes from a profound understanding of the traditional Chinese culture that eradicates doubts and invokes confidence.
“The traditional culture of the saints and sages is truly the manifestation of the Self-Nature of all sentient beings, which is eternal and self-generating, transcending time and space.” Here, the Master pointed out the key factor as to why the civilization of the saints and sage is never outdated as it is the manifestation of our Self-Nature. The Self-Nature of the ancients is the same as ours today. It is never outdated. The classics and scriptures passed down by the saints or sages were not created by them either. They were not the authors but the narrators. “It is a transmission, not a creation,” as Confucius said, meaning his literary work was a legacy inherited from the saints and the sagacious kings. These saints and sagacious kings were not ordinary people either. The reason they were called saints and sages was because they edified their Self-Nature, unveiled their illuminating virtues, and ruled the state according to their innate virtues. Therefore, how can the traditional culture be an anachronism? As long as we genuinely follow these teachings, we can and will also merge into the luminosity of our innate virtues. When we reach that state we will truly understand how to interact with people and handle things according to our innate virtues. Qunshu Zhiyao can also guide us to merge into the luminosity of our innate virtues and to return to our True-Nature. This compendium can enlighten us and open the door to our original innate goodness and illuminating virtues. Thus, the “manifestation of our self-nature” means that these scriptures are from our true nature, which is eternal and unchangeable, transcending time and space.
The next paragraph discusses how to study this compendium and what kind of attitude we should have when learning this.
“The linchpin to learning can be said in two words: sincerity and respectfulness.” When we accept the teachings of the saints and sages, we must be most sincere and respectful in our attitudes. The 13th Patriarch of the Pure Land School of Buddhism, Venerable Master Yin Guon (1861～1940), advised us that studying with one part of sincerity and respectfulness will result in one part of benefits; two parts of sincerity and respectfulness will result in two parts of benefits; and one-hundred percent of sincerity and respectfulness will result in one-hundred percent of benefits. Without respect, one cannot benefit from one’s study. Traditional culture is the edifying of the mind, therefore, only genuine mind can ingress. Without respeyct, one cannot even touch the surface. In the Buddhist history of
Next, “The Summary of the Rules of Propriety says: Always and in everything let there be reverence.” At any time, at any place, one should always maintain such respectful attitude. In the Doctrine of the Mean, it also stated: “Tao is the proper course for everything that may not left even for a moment. If it can be separated from, then it is not Tao.”. In other words, when the sincere and respectful attitude disappears, the cultivating mind disappears simultaneously, and the mind is in afflicted thoughts and is on the path of depravity. Thus, we should be respectful at all times and at all places. The philosophy of the saints and sages advocates reverence and preserves sincerity. The degree of the preservation (perseverance) of reverence and sincerity is in direct correlation with the assimilation of knowledge. This is the correct cultivation.
How and where can we elevate our mentality of sincerity and reverence? We should actualize them in the details of daily life. For example, when we read the classics of the saints and sages, we should treat the books and open them with reverence as if we are in front of the saints and sages. When we listen to the lectures of the classics, our mind should be tranquil, sincere and respectful, and don’t let the mind wonder off. At work, most of us are just punching the clock; often perform our task carelessly, without respect and sincerity. Our work attitude is just to get the job done and the mind is not on the proper course, but on the path of arrogance and affliction. This way we cannot elevate ourselves. If we scrutinize Di Zi Gui carefully, we will find that the whole book is teaching respect, starting with the respect of our parents and siblings to the respect of people, things, and objects. Therefore, to implement the teachings of Di Zi Gui is actually to constantly maintain our reverent attitude.
“The Emperor Kangxi of the Chin Dynasty said:” Emperor Kangxi (1654-1722) of the last dynasty (1644-1912) have my full admiration. He was of the Manchu race, originally called the Jurchens, from the Aisin Gioro clan. But once the House of Aisin Giorro ruled
「前清康熙曰」，康熙皇帝說到，康熙皇帝確實讓我們非常的佩服，你看他們本來是女真人，是滿族人，但是入主中國之後，對傳統文化的重視學習和深入遠遠超過漢人。特別是康熙的祖母孝莊皇太后，她教育康熙的時候就非常的認真，而且對漢族的文化也非常的認同。這樣的話才非常的重視國師，重視對皇子的培養，所以他們能夠有這樣的成就也不是偶然的。像在清朝的時候，《四庫全書》 《四庫薈要》 《乾隆大藏經》等等，都是在那個時候編撰出來，對中華傳統文化的保存也做出了重要的貢獻。最令人佩服的就是康熙皇帝他以身作則，自己好學、真學、真幹，帶動文武百官都深入經藏，自己坐在前面聽講，結果怎麼樣呢？上行而下效。所以清朝能夠出現一百多年的盛世，也絕非偶然，正是他們對經典有恭敬心，能夠依教奉行，對百姓有誠敬心，希望百姓安居樂業，所以才取得了這樣的成就。
Let’s see what Emperor Kangxi said? “Interactions with the citizenry should be based on respect.” Always treat citizenry with a mentality of respect and to protect them. Actually, these were the instructions of Confucius. In the Analects, Ji Kang asked Confucius how to make the people revere their ruler and be loyal to him? Confucius answered, "Let him preside over them with solemnity; then they will revere him." In other words, if the ruler respects the people, likewise, the people will respect the ruler. As said by Mencius: “Those who respect others will always be respected by others.” Examining the history of the three dynasties of Xia, Shang, and Chou, Dayu was the saint who founded the Xia Dynaty; but he was very frugal and lived a simple life. However, when he appeared in court, he would dress in elaborate clothing with great decorum to show his respect for his military and non-military subjects and his people. King Yu had done so, Confucius had taught so, and when such attitude was passed down to Kangxi of Chin Dynasty, he also accepted the instruction of the saints and sages. Hence, to cultivate his sincerity, he always maintained the attitude of reverence no matter the status of the people he was in contact with.
“The Chinese philosophy that has been transmitted for thousands of years cannot surpass sincerity and reverence.” Emperor Kangxi fully realized this cultivation of the mind that has been propagated for thousands of years, which cannot go beyond these two words—sincerity and reverence.
Chengzi (1033～1107), the erudite Confucian scholar of the Song Dynasty, had said: “Reverence overcomes one hundred evils.” ‘Evil’ here means afflictions or wicked thoughts. ‘One hundred’ is not the countable number but an adjective to describe many, meaning that a sincere heart can prevail over all kinds of devious thoughts. “explains
“It illustrates that with only these two words—sincerity and reverence—all can be accomplished perfectly; from self-cultivation that elevates our morals to benefitting the world that augments the welfare of the people.” With the nexus of sincerity and reverence, we can cultivate and make our conducts virtuous; educate the people to live happily; and rule the nation with good governance. In other words, we can perfectly accomplish the career of benefiting the people and the world through our perfect knowledge.
“Without sincerity and reverence of the teachings of the saints and sages, even if one read all the books in the world, one cannot truly benefit from them.” Here, the Master cautioned us that if we are disrespectful and insincere with respect to the teachings of the saints and sages, even if one read all the classics, one cannot obtain true benefits. Why is this? It is because the teachings of the saints and sages are from their True-Nature, which will only respond to True-Nature. If we are disrespectful and insincere, we cannot perceive their intentions, or enter into their state of mind. Therefore, the traditional culture is the cultivation of the mind, not the accumulation of secular knowledge. Once it unveils a person’s filial piety and compassion, one can then enter into the mentality of the saints and sages and be edified.
“This is what Confucius meant when he said: “I am a transmitter and not a creator; I love and have faith in the ancients.” We must learn from this attitude of Confucius’. “[A] transmitter and not a creator” means that Confucius revered the teachings of the saints and sages of the past and did not mix in any of his own viewpoints. This is the learning attitude that is without pride but with modesty. “Humble people are always willing to learn from other’s strength and follow their examples. Thus, the kind deeds of the humble are boundless.” Today’s people lack the virtue of humility and aspire to be creative and innovative. Nonetheless, if we learn the classics and understand history, we will find that the so-called innovations have already been mentioned in history. Often, such innovations are proven to be wrong by history but, because of our lack of knowledge of historical lessons, we treat them as truism and follow them. This is truly regrettable.
“Love and have faith in the ancients” means that Confucius do not doubt the teachings of the saints and sages. Why? As we mentioned before, the teachings of the saints and sages are the outflow from our true-nature. If we can enter this state, unveil our innate illuminating virtues, we will definitely understand their mentalities. But since we are not at their level, what we see from our angle will raise our doubts of what they see. It is like what we see on the second floor will be different from what others see on the tenth floor. Our doubts and judgments will only harm ourselves but not the ancients. If we have such bad habits of avarice, anger, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt, we are not in accord with sincerity and reverence. This is why people of today have difficulty in learning. This difficulty arises from our disbelief in the teachers, in the past saints and sages. As a result, we cannot receive any benefits.
“In his speech on the Three Principles of the People, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen (1866-1925) said: “The European advancements in science and the material civilization happened mostly in the last 200 years. When it comes to the essence of political philosophy, Europeans still need to look to
“Professor Arnold Toynbee, a British historian, asserted that in order to resolve the social problems of the twenty-first century, we must rely on the teachings of Confucius and Mencius, and on Mahayana Buddhism[A10] .” Toynbee was more definite than Dr. Sun. His affirmation is that we can only rely on the philosophies of Confucius and Mencius and Mahayana Buddhism. All of them are persevered in
“In contemplation of the chaotic situations in the world today, only the education of traditional culture can save
“The wisdom, ideologies, methodologies, experiences, and effects of governance transmitted to us today from our patriarchs are the crystalline of precious experiences that have passed the test of the time in the millenniums.” We Chinese have five thousand years of wisdom, five thousand years of methodologies, five thousand years of experiences, and five thousand years of administrative effects. If we wish to learn the management style of an enterprise, would we choose one that has a couple centuries’ experiences or one with five- thousand years of experiences? The answer definitely will be to learn from the company that has lasted for five-thousand years. There were four ancient civilizations in the world and three of them had disappeared. Only the Chinese civilization has lasted for five-thousand years and still exists today and let
If the Chinese civilization is a name brand, then the oldest name brand that lasted for five thousand years in the world belongs to the Chinese race, no other branches. We as Chinese must promote such wondrous wisdom and let it shine all over the world. We should not blindly venerate Western technology and worship foreign philosophies, believing the Moon in the West is brighter than in
After the World War, any successful businessperson in
All these cases told us a truth that is we do not need to study abroad. The best management philosophies are in
We have seen many people criticize the traditional Chinese culture due to their lack of understanding. Their criticisms are superficial. For example, many commented that the Chinese lack human rights. Indeed, when we open the five-thousand years of Chinese history, we rarely find the concept of human rights. Why is it that the Chinese ancestors never proposed the concept of human rights? Is it because we were less progressed than Westerners? Just the opposite, it is because we have more advanced ideas that guaranteed the rights of the citizenry, therefore, there is no need for the people to use human rights as a bargaining tool to negotiate with rulers. We can use the example of Konosuke Matsuchita to perceive how the ancients govern the state as Matsuchita’s management style is the Confucian style of management, the philosophy of “benevolent rulers invoke the loyalty of their subjects.”
One of the Matsuchita’s factory managers did not come to work and the factory caught fire and caused great loss to the company. Most owners would be angry and immediately punish the manager for his irresponsibility. But Matsuchita was very calm and wanted to know the reason why the factory manager did not show up for work. After investigation, he found that the factory manager was a son of filial piety. His mother was seriously ill and was in the hospital. Unfortunately, the factory caught fire during his stay in the hospital to take care of his mother.
After knowing this, Matsuchita immediately bought presents and personally went to the hospital to visit the manager’s mother and comforted him saying: “Your mother is gravely ill and is already in the hospital. I did not know this fact because of my remiss. So, I am also responsible for the loss due to the factory’s fire. You do not need to worry about anything, just take good care of your mother. We will talk about things after your mother is out of the hospital.”
After his mother recovered, the factory manager went back to work. Matsuchita did not demote or punish him, as would be done in today’s businesses. He just transferred him to another post and still trust him with important jobs. Matsuchita understood that the factory manager was a responsible, loyal, and dedicated worker. His one mishap in not showing at work was because of his mother’s acute illness. How could he not show gratitude to his mother who gave him life and nurtured him. Therefore, when his mother is seriously ill, how could he not visit her and take care of her. His mishap was not intentionally, therefore, Matsuchita just transferred him and still trust him.
Dear friends, takes reverse our thinking and imagine ourselves as this factory manager. When our company leader treats us with a caring heart and with understanding and trust, how should we repay his trust? I believe that any normal person will dedicate wholeheartedly to accomplish any job given to us, to let him rest easy, and do not abuse his trust. This is called the “benevolent rulers invoke the loyalty of their subjects.”
Where did Matsuchita learn this? Obviously, he learned from Confucian scholars. Mencius said: “when the rulers regard their subjects as their hands and feet, the subjects will regard the ruler as their heart and belly.” When the leaders treat their subordinates as their siblings and care for them as their own hands and feet, the subordinates will reciprocate and treat the leader as their heart and belly. In contrast, when “the rulers regard the subjects as their riding horses and hunting dogs, the subjects will regard the ruler as common people (or just an acquaintance).” When the leader treats his or her subordinates as cows and horses, this is a scenario like most of today’s employers. They are like slave drivers and order their employees about as cows and horses, as paid coolies. As a result, employee will disregard them after work and treat them as strangers. When employees see them in the supermarket, they will pretend as not seeing them and walk away. The worst case is when “the rulers regard subjects as dirt or weeds, the subjects will regard them as robbers or enemies.” When the leaders treat employees as worthless dirt or lowly weeds to the point of disregarding the safety of their lives, employees will think of them as leeches or worse than that, as hated enemies.
As we can see, Matsuchita had learned the essence of the Confucian style of management and as a result, he can be the benevolent ruler who invoked the loyalty of his subjects. He was kind and caring toward his employees and an effective leader, teacher, and paternal ruler. His employees paid him back with total dedication and loyalty. From this we can discern that the traditional Chinese way of governance is indeed better than the West. It can reach the effect whereas people dare not and cannot do evil, but also find it intolerable to do evil.
One of Confucius’ students, Zigen (521 B.C.-445 B.C.), was the mayor of Sanfu and administered it well after a while. Wu Machi, his fellow student, another student of Confucius, wishing to know how truly well Sanfu was under the governance of Zigen, went to Sanfu at night. He saw a person fishing at night. But strangely, after the fisherman caught the fish, he would look at them and put them back into the river. After seeing this for a while, Wu Machi asked the fisherman why he would put the fish back into the river after catching them. The fisherman told Wu Machi: “Our mayor told us not to catch baby fish. The fish I just caught are still growing baby fish, so I put them back into the river.” The Chinese had the concept of sustainable environmentalism since ancient times. Fishermen were not allowed to catch fish that had not grown to a certain length to preserve the biosphere. Upon hearing this, Wu Machi was awed and reported back to Confucius: “Zigen’s administration of Sanfu has reached the effect whereas fisherman will do as he said without any supervision, as if the strict law and severe punishment is right next to the fisherman. I don’t know how can he reach such effect?” Confucius told him: “Zigen had once said that a person who is always sincere and respectful in the interaction of the people and things around him, the influence of this attitude will have far-distance repercussions. I think he applied this philosophy into his administration.”
Zigen had reached the state of “can’t bear to cheat” because he loved his people as his children and people’s sufferings are his sufferings. The citizenry could feel his good intentions; therefore, his mandates will be voluntarily adhered to by them. Employees would find it unbearable to cheat their supervisors and this is the Chinese style of management. Consequently, the Chinese will not talk about human rights because it was not necessary when humans have already been protected very well.
In other words, so long as we apply the wisdom of the traditional ruling principles to personal cultivation, family order, national governance, and the maintenance of world peace, we will reap a harvest--the harvest of having saints and sages generation after generation, of having prosperity epoch after epoch. The key is whether we know how to use them.
If we wish to let today’s people have confidence in traditional culture, the most important thing is to begin with ourselves. For example, if we can manage our family well, make our businesses prosper, and eventually govern our country well, then countries from all over the world will be willing to learn and copy us. The ancient Chinese rulers could achieve such glory, such as Taizong of Tang was given the accolade and honorary title of the “Great Khan under Heaven,” thousands of countries during that period were under the suzerainty of Tang Dynasty. It was recorded that at that time, foreign ambassadors wishing to speak with of Taizong have to go through nine different kinds of translations. This type of phenomena was due to the good governance of the state. With a flourishing country and her citizens live and work in peace and prosperity, other countries will come to visit, to study, and to emulate.
“Qunshu Zhiyao is most sacred and precious! If one have a profound understanding and actualize its principles, personal happiness and world peace can be achieved naturally.” Here, the Master is very definite in his praise because Qunshu Zhiyao is delineating the proper Way, or the universal law. Since it is the Way, it was proper in the past and will be proper as of today. In addition,
“To act in contradiction to the principles in the book will invoke disasters for oneself.” This is the same as the Chinese proverb that “those who obey the mandate of heaven will prosper; those who defy it will parish.” Mencius also said:: “He who finds the Way will be assisted by many; he who loses the Way has few to aid him.” A person losing the proper course will do evil deeds and it would be hard not to invoke ruinations. The Master “deeply understood the reappearance of Qunshu Zhiyao has its sacred mission.” This sacred book can reappear in today’s world can be attributed to the power of the virtues and merits of our ancestors. We as their descendants certainly must study it seriously in order to elevate our society to the level of harmony, stability, and peace; to move the social norms in the direction of ethical conducts; thus, the general pubic can renew their confidence in the teachings of the saints and sages.
“Rulers wishing to transform people and social norms must begin with education.” To transform social norms and change social customs must go through education. The reason ethical social norms can be established is in that the ancient rulers knew the importance of “establishing states and governing the people, the first priority is to educate the people.” Here, “educate” is to educate by self-example, prevailing over the education by words. According to the explanation in Shuo Wen Jie Zi (the Analytical Dictionary and Etymology of Chinese Ideograms), the word “educate” means “the action of the upper, and the emulation of the lower.” To educate means to teach ourselves first, to correct our deeds, then we can teach others. The leader do and the subordinates follow. Thus, we must study the teachings in Qunshu Zhiyao first, actualized them in our family and group and be a good leader.
“With great anticipation, I asked the World Book Co., Ltd., to reprint 10,000 sets of this book. I plan to present them to China, Taiwan, and countries all over the world so that all political parties, leaders at various positions can study together in order to accomplish the goal of harmonious societies and the governance of comity in the world in the foreseeable future.” This paragraph expressed our venerated Master’s wish that all the nations, political parties, and leaders at all levels can build up a consensus after studying Qunshu Zhiyao so that the state of social harmony and the governance of the great comity can be achieved. This is the contribution of the Master’s efforts in the dedication of world peace and national prosperity (so that people can live and work in peace).
“Happily, the reprinting of Qunshu Zhiyao is almost done, the kind publisher, Ms. Yen, asked me to write the preface. I would like to use this opportunity to express my praise and rejoice in the merits of her deeds.” The Master asked the World Book Co., Ltd., to print and publish Qunshu Zhiyao. Seeing that the owner/publisher, Ms. Chu Yen, has done a fantastic job in the typesetting and printing of the book, the Master rejoices in her merits and gave her compliments. Our learning of the Preface ends here. In the next lecture, we will begin with the study of the contents in the first volume of Qunshu Zhiyao 360. We will end today’s lesson here. I welcome everyone’s corrections, critiques, and supplements to my insufficiencies. Thank you all.
 Historically, Taizong is the second most prestigious title accorded to an emperor, after his death, to honor his great contributions to the dynasty.
 Zhen Guan is the epoch name chosen by Taizong when he ascended the throne. Traditionally, the Chinese count years by using a historical calendar beginning with the reign of a new ruler and ending with his death.
Taizong of Tang ascended the throne in 626 A.D., thus this year is counted as the first year of
 Gaozu usually is the prestigious title given to the founding emperor of a dynasty.
貞觀七年，太宗與秘書監[注1]魏徵從容論自古理政得失，因曰：「當今大亂之後，造次[注2]不可致化。」 徵曰：「不然，凡人在危困，則憂死亡；憂死亡，則思化；思化，則易教。然則亂后易教，猶飢人易食也。」See, http://big5.zhengjian.org [注1] 秘書監：官名。掌管國家經籍圖書的官。[注2] 造次：倉促、緊迫、短時間。出自《論語・里仁》：「君子無終食之間違仁，造次必於是，顛沛必於是。」
The five legendary emperors were Emperor Huang (and his sons or grandsons), Zhang Xu, Ku,
 San Zi Jing is like a nursery rhyme and a traditional children’s textbook written in the Southern Song Dynasty, the dynasty after Tang. The book title,“San Zi” meaning three words and “Jing” meaning scripture, expresses that this classic is completely formed in triple-word couplets.
 Yin Dynasty is officially called Shang Dynasty, as one of the Three Dynasties of the Golden Age of China, Xia, Shang, Zhou. The founding father’s family name is Yin, therefore, it is also known as Yin Shang.
 See, http://ctext.org/xiao-jing
 The Book of Documents or Classic of History, also known as the Shangshu, recorded the discourses between the rulers and his subjects during the Golden Age of China.
 Si Ku Guan Shu is the complete library of books comprising the four divisions of traditional Chinese study: scriptures, histories, philosophies, and collections of poetry and literature, which was compiled under the royal command of Emperor Chen-long of Chin Dynasty in 1773. See, zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/四庫全書
 In the article titled “The Rise of China as a Global Power” by Rosita Dellios, The Culture Mandala, Volume 6 No 2, 2004-2005, she cited Toynbee’s marvel at China's record as a force for stability and that it brought to its world 'long-lasting unity and peace', Change and Habit: The Challenge of Our Time, Oxford University Press, London, 1966, p. 158. See, http://www.international-relations.com/CM6-2WB/GlobalChinaWB.htm
 Ji Kang was the major domo of the grand duke of Lu. The state of Lu was also the home
 See, Sagers, John, “Shibusawa Eiichi and the Merger of Confucianism and Capitalism in Modern Japan,” Asia: Biographies and Personal Stories, Part I, Education about Asia, Volume 19, No. 3, Winter 2014, p. 35, https://www.asian-studies.org/EAA/EAA-Archives/19/3/1323.pdf
[A1]May need a footnote to add the exchange rate to today’s currency.
The Master said, "'If good men were to govern a country in succession for a hundred years, they would be able to transform the violently bad, and dispense with capital punishments.' True indeed is this saying!" http://ctext.org/analects/zi-lu