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Spring and Autumn Annals (春秋, chūnqiū) is a chronicle of the ancient Chinese state of Lu, traditionally attributed to Confucius.

TextEdit

Spring and Autumn Annals, Duke Ai, fourteenth yearEdit

Chinese originalEdit

十有四年,春,西狩獲麟。

English translation (James Legge)Edit

1. In the [duke's] fourteenth year, in spring, [some] hunters in the west captured a lin.

Zuo commentaryEdit

Chinese originalEdit

左傳曰,十四年,春,西狩於大野,叔孫氏之車子鉏商獲麟,以為不祥,以賜虞人,仲尼觀之,曰,麟也,然後取之。

English translation (James Legge)Edit

The Zhuan says:——'This spring, they were hunting westwards in Daye, and Chushang, one of Shusun's waggoners, captured a lin. Thinking the thing was inauspicious, he gave [the creature] to the forester. Zhongni went to see it and said, "It is a lin;" on which they took it, [and carried it away to the capital].'

Gongyang commentaryEdit

Chinese originalEdit

十有四年春,西狩獲麟。何以書?記異也。何異爾?非中國之獸也。然則孰狩之?薪采者也。薪采者則微者也,曷為以狩言之?大之也。曷為大之?為獲麟大之也。曷為獲麟大之?麟者仁獸也。有王者則至,無王者則不至。有以告者曰:「有麇而角者。」孔子曰:「孰為來哉!孰為來哉!」反袂拭面,涕沾袍。顏淵死,子曰:「噫!天喪予。」子路死,子曰:「噫!天祝予。」西狩獲麟,孔子曰:「吾道窮矣!」

English translation (James Hsü, 1999)Edit

"In the Spring of the (Duke’s) fourteenth year, they hunted in the West and caught a lin." Why did he record this? Because he wanted to record a strange thing. What is this strange thing? The fact that the lin is not a Chinese animal. Who caught it? The people who collect firewood. These wood collectors are lower class people [common people, rustics.] Then why did Confucius use the term shou for ‘hunting’? [a term which only applies to a royal or state hunt.] Because he wanted to emphasize it. Why did he want to emphasize it? Because they caught the lin. Why did he want to emphasize catching the lin animal? Because the lin is a kind and humane animal [ren shou]. It comes when there is a sage king. If there were no such kings the lin would not come. Someone told Confucius that there was a lin with horn [which was very rare, as opposed to a lin without horn]. Therefore, Confucius said, ‘Who did it come for?’ Confucius wiped his face with his sleeve and his tears stained the front of his robe when Yan Yuan [his favourite disciple] died. Confucius said ‘Heaven must want me dead’ [because there was no one left to carry on his work and promote his ideas.] When another disciple Zi Lu died, Confucius said ‘Heaven curses me.’ And when he heard that the lin had been caught in the Western Regions during a hunt, Confucius said ‘My way [Dao] is blocked.’ [The meaning here is that things are out of joint, abnormal. It is as if the whole world has been turned upsidedown.]

Guliang commentaryEdit

Chinese originalEdit

十有四年春,西狩獲麟。引取之也。狩地不地,不狩也。非狩而曰狩,大獲麟,故大其適也。其不言來,不外麟於中國也。其不言有,不使麟不恆於中國也。

English translation (James Hsü, 1999)Edit

"In the Spring of the (Duke’s) fourteenth year, they hunted in the West and caught a lin." Why did this event not happen in the State of Lu? [the state where Confucius lived in Shandong Province]. Because this was a parable [a story with a moral lesson]. To use the hunting term shou you would have to mention the place [in other words, the name of the hunting-ground]. But no place is named. This means that it was not really hunting. The reason why it was recorded as ‘hunting’ is because they wanted to emphasize this event, the capture of the lin. That is why they used the term shou for ‘hunting.’ The reason why Confucius did not say that the lin ‘appeared’ is because although the lin was not a Chinese animal, Confucius did not want to exclude it from China. If it had ‘appeared’ or ‘come’ this would mean [in Chinese] that it had come from outside China. So here he used the term ‘hunting’ to include it or adopt it as a Chinese animal. A foreign or ‘outside’ animal would not have affected China. The reason he did not use the character you which means ‘to appear’ or ‘to exist’ to express the idea ‘to have caught’ the lin, is because he did not want to imply that the lin was rare in China, because the lin was a sign of peaceful times. His wish was that the lin should always be in China [even though it was not Chinese and came from the West.] Confucius’ wish that the lin would always be in China meant that he wished that the world would always be peaceful.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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