Ancient Eastern Social Philosophy & Statecraft


Calligraphy by Master Chin Kung

It is not right for a ruler who has deviated from the
righteous way of leadership to put his officials and subjects
to death. Even though the people are not being taught the
way of filial piety and the proper behavior that goes along
with it, they are being convicted and put into prisons. To
do so amounts to killing the innocent.

Scroll 10: KongZi Jia Yu

The ancients said: “If a farmer refuses to work, some
people will starve. If a woman refuses to weave, some
people will suffer in the cold.” When the growth of all
things is limited by seasons but we consume them as if
they will be available without limitation, the resources
will sooner or later be depleted. The ancients governed
and planned meticulously and they would have had the
foresight to ensure the treasury had enough reserves to
sustain the nation.

                                                            Scroll 14: Han Shu, Vol. 2

Mencius said to Duke Xuan of the state of Qi: “When
a lord treats his subordinates like brothers, they will
pledge allegiance to him in return. When a lord treats his
subordinates like slavish animals, they will regard him as a
stranger on the street. When a lord treats his subordinates
like dirt and weeds, they will regard him as a robber and
an enemy.”

Scroll 37: MengZi

In this post, I would like to bring attention to some profound Ancient Eastern Sagely works and maxims that are particularly relevant today. For instance, the above quotes succinctly  point out the looming calamity that will surely follow our consumerism and miscarriage of justice ridden legal system. All these quotes are from the Qunshu Ziyao, which is a multi-volume work compiled on the orders of the founding sovereign of the Tang Dynasty that includes wisdom accumulated from the times of the predynastic Sage Kings to the Sui Dynasty (over 3,000 years of wisdom). Please read the full texts below:

Volume I:

Volume II:

Volume II: Governing Principles of The Ancient Sage Kings of the Middle Kingdom 

Additional Resources: My free and Public Domain Essays on Eastern Philosophy: 

Translation of a profound article outlining the secret meaning of Confucius’ Great Learning:

Essay on the profound connection between Buddhism and other religions :

Eight Legged Essay on green living from the perspective of Eastern Philosophy:

Moreover, I also wish to recommend my free and Public Domain translations of the Maxims of the Sages (Ming dynasty era compilation of sagely aphorisms) and Upasaka An Shi’s Discourse on the 48 Inquiries of Non Violence (a Qing era sagely work on humane living):

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