Chinese 253 Exam Essay Readings 2 There Was a Man Named Feng Fu from Jin (Tang Shunzhi) There was a person from Jin who at first changed his ways and reformed, but finished by submitting to others and losing himself. Now in correcting one’s faults completing the task is valued; Feng Fu had already become a good member of elite society, and then again wrestled with a tiger, how could he not have known when to stop? Mencius thus used this as a metaphor for opening the granaries of Tang. It is as if he said: It is the way of the gentleman to act when it is time to act, and stop when it is time to stop. If I called for the granaries of Tang to be opened again, I would be like Feng Fu. What kind of person was Feng Fu? Of the beasts, the most difficult to wrestle is the tiger. There was a person from Jin named Feng Fu who was good at wrestling tigers. Given that he was good at wrestling, was it appropriate to rely on this ability and not know when to turn back? Feng Fu said: To use one’s bravery and strength to show off is not the way to appreciate virtue, and to lock horns with a savage beast is not the way to preserve one’s body. He thus completely changed his old habits and hastened to the refuge of virtuous; at this point Feng Fu himself indeed thought that he would never again wrestle a tiger. One day, he was traveling in the country and encountered a tiger there, with a crowd of people pursuing it. When the tiger saw that people were pursuing it, it took advantage of a mountain ravine to make the most of its might; when the people saw the tiger take advantage of the mountain ravine, they recoiled in fear and did not dare provoke it. Not even daring to provoke it, how could they grapple with it? So the crowd’s tricks were exhausted, and the crowd’s hearts were also anxious and unhappy and there was nothing to be done. They happened to see Feng Fu’s arrival, and hastened to meet him. At this time, in their struggle with the tiger, the people’s might was truly pressed, and in seeking help from a strong person, the people’s feelings were truly eager. Feng Fu thereupon bared his shoulder and got down from his carriage; how is it not the case that he was thinking that to do this just once, will not harm me, and rushing to their aid, will greatly help them? Alas, like Feng Fu, who began by wrestling tigers and did not know that he would become a good member of elite society; having already become a good member of elite society, he did not know that he would again wrestle tigers. And people are looking to me to open the granaries of Tang again; how would this be different from Feng Fu baring his shoulder and getting down from his carriage? The Woman Would Have Excess Cloth (Tang Xianzu) Women’s labor that cannot find a market is the fault of insufficient circulation of goods and services. Now if a woman has excess cloth, and there is no further use for it, the flaw of insufficient circulation of goods and services goes this far! Moreover the resources of heaven and earth cannot be insufficient just in one case and cannot be in excess just in one case, as Mencius says, especially the case of farmers having excess grain! A woman’s having cloth, how could it be merely in order to have excess for herself? It is clearly taking the toil of the loom to assist in the urgency of a moment, thereby receiving a profit of feet and inches, only in order to make good her own lack. But now if goods do not circulate, where can the woman’s achievements find a market, and if things are not exchanged, how can women nourish other members of the family? The “use” of the woman is no more than supporting oneself one thread and one strand at a time; outside of supporting oneself, if it really cannot be exchanged, will it then just be surplus? The “use” of the cloth is no more than preparation for clothing winter and summer; if it cannot be torn up and used for something else, should there be empty accumulation or not? If silk cocoons are unwound, and linen is woven; it’s not that the woman is lazy but if there are no broader uses, the cloth accumulates until one sinks in it and cannot be lent out at interest, merely filling dressers and closets with it. If you accumulate inches and if you complete feet; the cloth then increases by day and the goods do not become more valuable, obstructed and hard to market, merely ending up rotten, spoiled and useless. Now we require plowing of the farmer and weaving of the woman, each has responsibilities. One person weaves and several people are clothed: this is mutual assistance. If there is an excess of women over cloth, it can be gotten from women, but what can be done about those who don’t weave but wear clothes? Certainly they will suffer cold for a reason; this is the affliction of those without cloth. If there is an excess of cloth itself, the cloth is sufficient, but what can be done about things other than cloth? They will neglect your affairs for a reason, this is the affliction of those with cloth. Indeed: the labor of the realm is not limited to one woman, and useless accumulation is all like this cloth; now we realize that the circulation of goods and services cannot end!
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