忠經 Zhong Jing #15








忠經 Zhong Jing #15

忠諫章 Devotion Discussion Chapter


忠經 Zhong Jing #15

(PD) Mt Seoraksan Republic of Korea

Skies, earth, footprint...

(Photo clarity, angle, and wording by Larry Neal Gowdy)

Larry Neal Gowdy

Copyright ©2019 November 05, 2019



The fifteenth chapter of 忠經 (Zhong Jing) is titled 忠諫章, which is loosely interpreted to be Devotion Discussion Chapter.

The message of the Devotion Discussion Chapter hinges upon the definitions of two words: (jian) and (tou). By how an individual defines the words relative to one's own life, so will the chapter's message be defined.

Known Chinese-English dictionaries state that infers 'admonish, remonstrate, warn strongly', which in modern terms commonly infers emotionally expressed vocal tones that are aggressive, violent, authoritarianistic, hateful, and totalitarianistic that lord-over and violently punish, abuse, and attack the victim.

The common act of remonstrating has no positive behavior from the speaker nor for the listener. The common act of remonstrating relies upon the victim being subservient to and accepting the speaker to be an aggressive authority over one's life. The use of 'remonstrate', 'admonish', or 'warn strongly' within the context of Zhong Jing chapter #15 would create extreme absurdities and render the whole of the book to be incoherent. If the Chinese word's structure is permitted to speak for itself — (two mouths) + (separate/divide) — then neither the modern-English nor the old-English definitions of 'remonstrate' parallel the Chinese word.

An abbreviated definition from the Webster's Unabridged Dictionary of over a hundred years ago: "REMONSTRATE: ...re- + monstrare to show. ...To point out; to show clearly; to make plain or manifest; hence, to prove; to demonstrate. ...To present and urge reasons in opposition to an act, measure, or any course of proceedings; to expostulate; as, to remonstrate with a person regarding his habits; to remonstrate against proposed taxation. ...Syn. -- Expostulate, Remonstrate. These words are commonly interchangeable, the principal difference being that expostulate is now used especially to signify remonstrance by a superior or by one in authority. A son remonstrates against the harshness of a father; a father expostulates with his son on his waywardness. Subjects remonstrate with their rulers; sovereigns expostulate with the parliament or the people."

The older English definition is more descriptive and useful than modern definitions, but the definition still points to verbal acts of aggressive 'one mouth' offense and defense sans logical reasoning through discussion, plus, the definitions still do not fit the original Chinese word's meaning.

Many people today have never firsthand witnessed an individual 'remonstrating' or 'admonishing' without the individual doing so with anger, hate, bipolar-like emotions, pompous vainglory, and a 'reasoning' that is formed upon incoherent beliefs of what the speaker desires to be true. The Sensory Quotient research project verified that very few people are able to describe anything whatsoever, which also sums the obviousness that common 'remonstrations' cannot be discussions based upon descriptive reasoning: if an individual cannot describe a thing, then the individual also cannot describe nor discuss the reasoning of the thing. 'Remonstrate' is an exceedingly misleading word that can imply and be used in numerous different ways that contradict the other ways, and so, since the word permits and relies upon a self-contradiction of itself, then so is the word incoherent.

A good example of the differences of translating is within Li Ren #18: [1] 'Zi say: Duty father mother several-some-many admonish-remonstrate', or [2] 'Zi say: Duty father mother several-some-many descriptive-reasoning.' The first translation creates the false impression that Confucianism is a psychotic system of hot-headed master-slave relationships. Legge perpetuated the false impression of Confucianism by translating the words as: "The Master said, "In serving his parents, a son may remonstrate with them, but gently...".

Zhong Jing frequently speaks of logical reasoning, and since the concept of logical reasoning relies upon firsthand investigations and logical analyses of available facts, and does not rely upon the loud recitations of memorized beliefs, then ought not be interpreted to imply a one-sided argument. Two mouths dividing a topic, implies a discussion that rationally divides the discussion's topics, and it does not imply one person lording over another person.

The following quotes are lightly edited draft translations of the sentences within 忠諫章. Several of the key words' accuracy of meaning are not included in the draft translations, which weakens the draft's over-all impact, but the presented words are sufficient enough to clean a general idea of what the chapter points at.






Devotion official it matter noble {also}

Not-have progress when discussion-describe-reasoning

Intricate-details pass-through correct virtue

Nevertheless capable discussion-describe-reasoning it


The first two draft sentences omit some key words' meanings, but the idea is still there, the idea of devotion to rationally describe one's topics, and to not merely 'admonish-remonstrate'.

The first word of the third sentence is (tou), which has no definition available in any known Chinese-English dictionaries. Within a generalized pattern of the word's construction, is the thought of 'thread (silk) + tiny + dipper'. At present, the use of 'tiny thread dipper' has no meaningful allegory or metaphor that can be coherently related to the remainder of the chapter's topics. However, when the word's ideas are related to one's ability to describe-reason virtue, then the Chinese word has meaning. As a quick and useful abbreviation of the word's concept, 'intricate-details' is sufficient enough to convey the general idea.


Lower capable say-discuss it

Upper capable listen it

Then beautiful-jade way polished-smooth {carry}


The idea of people being capable of rationally discussing a topic, might seem to be very peculiar because of the act being so rare. Many people do sincerely believe that they are able to discuss a topic with details, but, upon further inspection it is found that the details were not details at all, but rather were mere disconnected assumptions.


Lower capable listen,

Upper not capable say-discuss

Then empty-hollow its listen-heed


If a child is able to listen attentively, and yet the parent is unable to discuss with details, then the child's listening is as like hollow, and likewise hollow would be the child heeding the parent's 'remonstration'.


Lower capable say-discuss

And upper not capable listen

Then empty-hollow its say-discuss

Say-discuss listen all capable

Then noble official discussion-descriptive-reasoning together-unite

Then its way polished-smooth bright-understanding {also}


Precisely... when an individual is able to thoroughly describe a thing with details, and another individual is able to join within the discussion, then the individuals' logic is united within a peaceful agreement. If the act of descriptive reasoning were common, then there would not exist the thousands of different ideologies, but, the ideologies do exist, which proves that descriptive reasoning rarely ever occurs.


Discussion-descriptive-reasoning regard have-not appearance person-ist upper {also}

Progress matter-thing and-yet stop

Noble disregard not hear

Discussion-descriptive-reasoning regard discontinue clear-obvious person-ist sequence {also}

Exit have-not reach grant

Change-transform it wrong future

Discussion-descriptive-reasoning regard already behavior person-ist lower {also}

Behavior and capable change-transform

Although lower still improve

Disregard and not discussion-descriptive-reasoning

Then wrong devotion official

Follow noble place muddle-headed

Correct therefore fault {also}

Man discussion-descriptive-reasoning beginning regard orderly speech

Middle regard oppose discuss

End when stubborn point

Use capable noble rest

Use peaceful She (god of soil) Ji (god of grain)

Same-time speech not follow

Offend color resist discuss

Resist say-discuss not follow

Then continue it use stubborn

Its capable cause noble change-transform pass-through be beautiful

She Ji it stable solid {also}

Book say: 'Tree follow string then correct

Person-behind-voice follow discussion-descriptive-reasoning then sage'

String straight able-to use correct tree

Official devotion able-to use correct manage {also}


The 'string' idea most likely points to a means of measurement, like today might be said of a 'tape measure'.

If an individual's voice is capable of descriptive reasoning within a discussion, then the individual might be said to be wise or sage.

As a whole, the chapter repeatedly points to descriptive reasoning within discussions to be favorable behavior. Within modern cultures it is very uncommon for anyone to descriptively reason any topic... even the dictionaries fail to give descriptive reasonings behind each word. The many doomsdayers of today claim the end of the world is near, but none of the doomsdayers are able to discuss why... none are capable of descriptive reasoning. For an individual to understand enough about a topic to be able to give detailed descriptions within a discussion, then the person today might indeed be judged to be as if a sage.