Doctrine of the Mean - Center Unchangeable 中庸 Translation and Commentary 9

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Doctrine of the Mean 中庸

Zhong Yong - Center Unchangeable

Translation and Commentary - Part 9

The Logics - Doctrine of the Mean (Zhongyong) Translation and Commentary

(PD) Zhong Yong on Winter Forest

Photograph enhancements and wording by Larry Neal Gowdy

Larry Neal Gowdy

Copyright©2018 April 14, 2018

Translations and Commentary Continued


The Master said, "To live in obscurity, and yet practice wonders, in order to be mentioned with honor in future ages:-this is what I do not do.

"The good man tries to proceed according to the right path, but when he has gone halfway, he abandons it:-I am not able so to stop.

"The superior man accords with the course of the Mean. Though he may be all unknown, unregarded by the world, he feels no regret.-It is only the sage who is able for this."

Normal: Confucius said: study inexplicable perform incredible, later world ~~ speak, I not do ~~ ~~.

Quality person follow dao ~~ walk, half path ~~ abandon; I not can stop ~~.

Quality person conform ~~ center harmony, seclude world not see know but not regret. Only sage ~~ can this.

Concept: Confucius said: Studying magic and performing magic, the later world would speak of it, I not do that.

Some junzis following dao walk, abandon the path half way; I not can stop.

A junzi conformed to center harmony, secluded, the world not see him, the world not know him, but junzi not regret. Only sage can do this.

Nature-based parallel: Among the things learned from Nature's way, some are so uncommon as to be deemed as if magic, but the things are not shared with the world, because man would misuse the things for harm. Social status and fame is the way of non-quality persons.

As mentioned in the previous sections, seclusion is the favored, and there are no regrets.

Nevertheless, the word sage is uncomfortable: perhaps to mankind, the hermit with whichever centeredness, might be given a named term, but for the man himself, he is simply himself.

Recorded history shows man to have not changed much in the past several thousand years. Most men have been all but fully numb of senses, and if men had been acute of perceptions, then today there would be lengthy books describing the natures of emotions, thoughts, memories, aromas, sounds, tastes, feelings, sights, dreams, imaginations, and centeredness.

The absence of descriptions show man to not know of the things, and if a junzi were to describe his centeredness with details, what man would understand the junzi's words? In the past, I myself have attempted to express concepts within the metaphors and analogies of tones and colors, and yet I was accused of synesthesia, a mental dysfunction, because the listeners could not correlate tones and hues of colors with their own thoughts and feelings. To the normal man, anything that he cannot grasp, is deemed inferior.


The way which the superior man pursues, reaches wide and far, and yet is secret.

Common men and women, however ignorant, may intermeddle with the knowledge of it; yet in its utmost reaches, there is that which even the sage does not know. Common men and women, however much below the ordinary standard of character, can carry it into practice; yet in its utmost reaches, there is that which even the sage is not able to carry into practice. Great as heaven and earth are, men still find some things in them with which to be dissatisfied. Thus it is that, were the superior man to speak of his way in all its greatness, nothing in the world would be found able to embrace it, and were he to speak of it in its minuteness, nothing in the world would be found able to split it.

It is said in the Book of Poetry, "The hawk flies up to heaven; the fishes leap in the deep." This expresses how this way is seen above and below.

The way of the superior man may be found, in its simple elements, in the intercourse of common men and women; but in its utmost reaches, it shines brightly through Heaven and earth.

Normal: Junzi ~~ dao, wide but inexplicable.

Man woman ~~ unwise, can give know ~~, reach ~~ utmost ~~, even sage person also ~~ ~~ not know ~~. Man woman ~~ not similar, can able practice ~~. Reach ~~ utmost ~~, even sage person also ~~ ~~ not can. Heaven earth ~~ great ~~, person still ~~ regret. So junzi speak great, heaven under not can hold ~~; speak tiny, heaven under not can divide.

Poem say: kite fly reach heaven, fish leap in deep. Say it above below observe ~~.

Junzi of dao make beginning in man woman, reach~~ utmost ~~, observe in heaven earth.

Concept: The junzi's dao, it is deep, and unexplainable.

Unwise men and women, can be given knowledge of dao, but reaching the utmost of dao, even the sage not know. Men and women who are not similar to the sage, are able to practice dao. Reaching the utmost of dao, even the sage cannot do. Though the way of heaven and earth are wonderful, person still have wishes. So junzi speak of the wonderfulness, but all under heaven cannot grasp (his words); he speaks of tiny details, nothing under heaven can divide the details.

The poem says: kite flies high in heaven, fish leap in deep. Saying rise high, is the same above and below when observing.

Junzi of dao are birthed through a man and woman, but reaching the utmost of dao, is achieved by observing heaven and earth.

Nature-based parallel:

[1] The junzi's dao, the experience of centeredness is as an extreme within the normal way of life, of the presence of a greatly strong inwardly felt singularity that is composed of an immeasurable quantity of harmonizing ingredients. Though many of the ingredients might be discernible, and though some of the durations of the ingredients might be observable, still, the quantity extends beyond the normal world of man, and that which is beyond man's world cannot be explained. All waves extend as fractals beyond man's concept of surfaces, and the resonances and transductances are fluid, extending beyond what can be measured of unions.

Though a junzi might explain his dao with intensities, quantities, harmonies, and transductances, still his words cannot be grasped by an individual who has not experienced a similar experience. Nature's creativity is wonderful, but it can only be experienced; knowledge is not transferable.

[2] The common person can be told words of knowledge of dao, but knowledge cannot and does not instill understanding. Though a sage might achieve the greatest known dao, still, even his dao is not the utmost possible dao.

[3] The way of Nature is wonderful, and wonderful to experience firsthand, but within the wonderfulness of experience, the junzi may wish to share his happiness with other people (which is an expected nature of a junzi because the caring for other people is among the ingredients that create the junzi), and so, the junzi might speak of the wonderfulness, but no one grasps his words. Though the junzi speaks with tiny details that explain dao down to fractals, durations, and angular time dilations, which man can no further divide, the junzi's words ought to be sufficient enough for listeners to assemble and to reason the how and why of dao, but still his words are not grasped.

[4] A classical Chinese poem, ode #239, of Han Lu, as translated by Legge, reads: "The hawk flies up to heaven, the fishes leap in the deep, easy and self-possessed was our-prince, did he not exert an influence upon men?" If the Confucius quote made use of the flying up and the leaping up within a concept that parallels the idea of dao and observation, then the quote's translation would appear to parallel close to what I offered. To a bird's point of view, it is rising upward, from a fish's point of view, it is rising upward, from a man observer's point of view, both the kite and fish are rising upward although the kite is above him and the fish is below him, but the man can reason Nature's way by observing how he interprets what he observes.

It is very likely almost universal that children learn the basics of Nature through playing. Children learn differences of weights, differences of speeds, differences of resistances, differences of sizes, and the differences of all else that the children are permitted to touch, to play with, and to learn from. As adults, the lessons learned within one's childhood become the judge of what is real within Nature. Perhaps many children learn subconsciously, and never give thought to what they observed within Nature, but a portion of a junzi's nature is to give attention to his playing, and to consciously learn of Nature's way.

It is unfortunate that modern children are being given electronic toys to play with, of tablets with touch screens, and of other devices that merely show imaginary visuals, robbing the children of their opportunities to learn of Nature's aromas, sounds, textures, warmths, tastes, and 'physics', and robbing the children the opportunity to develop the intellectual potential to judge whether a thing is real, imaginary, or correct. The next generations, their parents have sealed their fates.

[5] Like all other people, junzi are born through a man and woman, but genetics and organics alone cannot achieve dao; dao is, in part, achieved by observing Nature, and mentally choosing that which is correct.

And this is man's worthiness of existence, that he can choose to become beautiful, and creative, within Nature's dao.

Unlike most of the other quotes, this one hints of understandings gained from firsthand experiences, which makes the quote very interesting and important. Of the many existing translations, none are the same as the others, nor is mine. Within the Nature-based concept, I felt that it was useful that I provided additional reasoning of why I felt that my concept interprets the quote's original words within a tone that better harmonizes with the core concept of dao.

It is very much agreed that there exist many things that no man will ever know of. Wuji has no boundaries, the ⦿ center has no boundaries, and love has no boundaries. Closed systems have boundaries as well as fates, but open systems have no boundaries, and no one type of centeredness can be the ultimate centeredness.

Men who claim a thing to be the greatest, the men's words have proven that the men do not know what they are claiming. If a thing has no boundary, then it has no boundary, and there can never be a greatest. The term 'greatest' infers a three-dimensional frame that already possesses an envelope that holds within the envelope all that is possible to exist. For a man to claim that Nature exists within a closed envelope, the man has in so doing proven that he is unaware of Nature's creativity.

On the knowing of Nature, Nature creates through harmony, of combining, and once the combining has occurred, the combined thing cannot know that which combined it. A process of thought might be observed through three octaves, but it cannot be known what the octaves were that existed before the first observed octave. Man's thoughts and centeredness exist within a preexisting temperate zone, and man cannot know what zones exist outside of his own. There is no such thing as 'greatest' in Nature.

Within wuji — the immeasurable void — there is no time as man thinks of time, eternity already exists, today is forever within wuji. Within wuji, tomorrow and yesterday, there is no measure, nor linear sequence. Though a junzi might speak of wuji, and speak of tomorrow changing today, man does not understand, and man claims the junzi as being ignorant. If the junzi changes a word, and speaks 'self-excited circuit', then man claims that he knows all about the future influencing the past. Men do not know. Though knowledge of dao is given to man, still man cannot know, even if men do claim "I know".

The full list of available articles in this series can be found on the home page at Doctrine of the Mean 中庸 Zhong Yong Translation and Commentary.

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