certain librarian of the Chêng department, by name Lao Tan,
- Or, as usually named in this work, Lao Tzŭ. "Chêng" appears to have been merely a distinctive name.
has resigned and retired into private life. Now as you, Sir, wish to deposit your works, it would be advisable to go and interview him."
"Certainly," said Confucius; and he thereupon went to see Lao Tzŭ. The latter would not hear of the proposal; so Confucius began to expound the doctrines of his twelve canons, in order to convince Lao Tzŭ.
- These twelve have been variously enumerated as (i) the Book of Changes, Parts i and ii, with the ten Wings. (2) The twelve Dukes of the Spring and Autumn, etc.
"This is all nonsense," cried Lao Tzŭ, interrupting him. "Tell me what are your criteria."
"Charity," replied Confucius, "and duty towards one's neighbour."
"Tell me, please," asked Lao Tzŭ, "are these part of man's original nature?"
- The question of an innate moral sense early occupied the attention of Chinese thinkers.
"They are," answered Confucius. "Without charity, the superior man could not become what he is. Without duty to one's neighbour, he would be of no effect. These two belong to the original nature of a pure man. What further would you have?"