This new translation makes the teachings of ancient China’s second sage relevant for contemporary readers. This ancient text records the teachings of Mencius, China’s ya sheng , or second sage. A philosopher who worked in the fourth century B.C., Mencius studied with the grandson of Confucius and is credited with the development of orthodox Confucianism. Divided into seven chapters, Mencius is composed largely of conversations between the great philosopher and the rulers he sought to guide. Sometimes mystical, sometimes poetic, these teachings are often unpredictable, with startling insights that bring the narrative to life.
David Hinton’s Mencius reveals for the first time the literary vibrancy of this great philosopher and the earnestness behind his faith in humanity. This ancient text records the teachings of Mencius (4th C. B.C.E.), the second original sage in the Confucian tradition, which has shaped Chinese civilization for over two thousand years. In a culture that makes no distinction between those realms we call the heart and the mind, Mencius was the great thinker of the heart, and it was he who added the profound inner dimensions to the Confucian vision.
Such is the enduring magic of the Mencian heart—full of compassionate and practical concern for the human condition, and yet so empty that it contains the ten thousand transformations of the entire cosmos. This volume is the second in a series of translations presenting the four central masterworks of ancient Chinese thought: classics that will stand as definitive translations for our era. Series translator David Hinton is known for the poetic fluency he brings to his award-winning work. His new versions are not only inviting and immensely readable, but they also apply a much-needed consistency to key terms in these texts, lending structural links and philosophical rigor to a canon that has only been rendered in a hodgepodge of styles. Other titles in the series are: Chuang Tzu: The Inner Chapters (1997), The Analects (1988), Tao Te Ching (1999).