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中(zhong) and 庸(yong)

What is 中(zhong)?

Middle, moderate, balanced, inside, timely, hit the mark right on ?

1. Timeliness, get the timing right (時中)

Confucius said, "A noble man has the sense of balance and constancy; the petty and the lowly lack the sense of balance and constancy. A noble man’s sense of balance and constancy means that he gets the timing right. The petty and the lowly abuse the sense of balance and constancy to have no fear, no caution." (Zhong Yong, 2)
仲尼曰:「君子中庸,小人反中庸。君子之中庸也,君子而時中;小人之中庸也,小人而無忌憚也。」 (中庸, 2)

2. Moderation, right balance (過猶不及)

Zi Gong asked, "Between Shi (Zi Zhang) and Shang (Zi Xia), who is better?" The Master said, "Shi goes too far and Shang falls short." "Shi is better, then?" said Zi Gong. The Master said, "Going too far is similar to falling short."
子貢問:「師與商也孰賢?」子曰:「師也過,商也不及。」曰:「然則師愈與?」子曰:「過猶不及。」 (先進, 11.16)

The Master said, "If you cannot manage to do things at the right pace, you are bound to be either mad or indecisive. A mad man will go ahead, an indecisive person leaves things unaccomplished."
子曰:「不得中行而與之,必也狂狷乎!狂者進取,狷(=猶豫未決)者有所不為也。」(子路, 13.21)

The Master said, "When the Way is not practised, I know it because clever guys lend themselves to excesses, and stupid guys cannot manage. When the Way is unclear, I know it because talented guys lend themsleves to excesses and incompetent guys cannot manage. Everybody eats but few know the taste." (Zhong Yong, 4)
子曰:「道之不行也,我知之矣:知者過之,愚者不及也。道之不明也,我知之矣:賢者過之,不肖者不及也。人莫不飲食也,鮮能知味也。」(中庸, 4)
도가 지켜지지 않는 모습을 난 알아. 똑똑한 자들은 과하게 하고, 어리석은 자들은 모자라게 하는 것이지. 도가 분명치 않은 것도 난 알아. 재주많은 이들은 과하게 하고, 불초한 이들은 미치지를 못하지. 음식을 안먹는 사람은 없지만, 맛을 아는 사람은 드물어.

3. Middle, avoiding the extremes, moderate

Yao (堯) said, "Well, Shun (舜), the time has now come to you. Do hold on to the middle. If poverty strikes all corners of the empire, the privileges given by the Heaven will cease forever." Shun (舜) gave the same order to Wu (禹).
堯曰:「咨!爾舜!天之曆數在爾躬。允執其中。四海困窮,天祿永終。」舜亦以命禹。(堯曰, 20.1)

The Master said, "Emperor Shun had immense wisdom! Shun was fond of inquiring and observing what people say. He suppressed the bad and encouraged the good. He took the two ends and applied the middle to the people. That is how he became the great Shun."
子曰:「舜其大知也與!舜好問而好察邇言,隱惡而揚善,執其兩端,用其中於民,其斯以為舜乎!」(中庸, 6)

4. Get it right, hit the mark, spot on (的中)

If the Li and the Music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly administered. If punishments are not properly administered, people would not know where to stand.
禮樂不興,則刑罰不中;刑罰不中,則民無所措手足。(子路, 13.3)

People in Lu were going to refurbish the treasury building. Min Zi Qian said, "Why not use the old one? Do they really have to redo it?" The Master said, "This man does not talk. But when he does, he surely hits the mark."
魯人為長府。閔子騫曰:「仍舊貫,如之何?何必改作?」子曰:「夫人不言,言必有中。」(先進, 11.14)

The Master said, "Hui was almost perfect. But he had nothing. Ci did not accept the heavenly mandate. He instead made a fortune. His speculation often turned out right.
子曰:「回也其庶乎,屢空。賜不受命,而貨殖焉,億則屢中。」(先進, 11.19)

What is 庸 (Yong)?

1. Constant (常)

庸言之信,庸行之謹 (周易·乾) Constancy in speech means trustworthy; constancy in conduct means respectable.

2. to work hard, toil (功, 勞)

無功庸者 不敢居高位 (晉語) He who does not make effort should not dare to remain in a high position.


3. foolish (愚)


"Stay hungry, stay foolish."

4. 和

Grandiose statement about 中 and 和

When the emotions of joy, anger, sorrow, happiness are not stirred, it can be called Equilibium. When they are stirred and yet all in proper control, it can be called Harmony. Equilibium is the root of everything. Harmony is the method of achieving whatever you pursue. When Equilibium and Harmony reaches perfection, everything will be in its proper place and all things will flourish.
喜怒哀樂之未發,謂之中;發而皆中節,謂之和;中也者,天下之大本也;和也者,天下之達道也。致中和,天地位焉,萬物育焉 (中庸, 1)

中 and 庸

Everybody says, ‘I know’. They adopt a position of balance and constance, but they cannot stick to it for a month.
人皆曰『予知』,擇乎中庸,而不能期月守也。」 (中庸, 7)

The character of Hui is this: He adopts a position of balance and constance. When he accomplishes a good deed, he seizes and cherishes it. He never loses it.
「回之為人也,擇乎中庸,得一善,則拳拳服膺而弗失之矣。」 (中庸, 8)

The Master said, ‘One may govern the whole world, a country or a household. One may decline honors and good salaries. One may step on sharp knife. But it is impossible to achieve a sense of balance and constancy.
子曰:「天下國家可均也,爵祿可辭也,白刃可蹈也,中庸不可能也。」 (中庸, 9)

To abide by good balance and constancy and not to have regrets when the world does not recognise you, only a Saint is capable of this.
君子依乎中庸,遁世不見知而不悔,唯聖者能之。(中庸, 11)

To achieve the balance and constancy is the ultimate virtue! Rare indeed are those who do this.
子曰:「中庸之為德也,其至矣乎!民鮮久矣。」 (雍也, 6.29)

的中? Constant adjustment?

The Master said, ‘Archery has something similar to a noble man’s behaviour. When you miss the mark, you reflect upon yourself to improve. The Way of a noble man is this: If you wish to go far, you should start from going to a near destination; if wish to climb a high mountain, you should start from climbing a low mound.
子曰:「射有似乎君子,失諸正鵠,反求諸其身。君子之道,辟如行遠必自邇(이= 가까움),辟如登高必自卑。(中庸, 15)

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