|Literal meaning||"[Writings of] Master Guan"|
The Guanzi (Chinese: 管子) is an ancient Chinese political and philosophical text that is named for and traditionally attributed to the 7th century BCE philosopher Guan Zhong, who served as Prime Minister to Duke Huan of Qi. At over 135,000 characters long, the Guanzi is one of the longest early Chinese philosophical texts, and although it bears the name Guanzi—"Master Guan"—the received version of the text contains a wide variety of material from many different authors over several successive centuries.
Most Guanzi chapters deal with government and the art of rulership, and while they often focus on the traditional Legalist doctrine of impartial laws based on rewards and punishments, their tone is generally less strident than in the Book of Lord Shang (Shang jun shu 商君書), the classic Legalist work. The Guanzi also places considerable importance on traditional Confucian values, and a number of the chapters express a blend of Legalist, Confucian, and Daoist philosophy that was known as Huang-Lao thought.
Although most Guanzi chapters philosophically characterize Legalism, other sections blend doctrines from Confucianism and Taoism. For example, the Nèiyè (內業 "Inner Enterprise/Training") chapter has some of the oldest recorded descriptions of Daoist meditation techniques. There are also essays on a wide variety of other subjects, ranging from detailed economic discussions to overviews of local soil topography.
When you enlarge your mind and let go of it,
When you relax your [qi 氣] vital breath and expand it,Your thoughts and deeds seem heavenly. (24, tr. Roth 1999:92)
When your body is calm and unmoving:
And you can maintain the One and discard the myriad disturbances.
You will see profit and not be enticed by it,
You will see harm and not be frightened by it.
Relaxed and unwound, yet acutely sensitive,
In solitude you delight in your own person.
This is called "revolving the vital breath":
Such divergence resulted in the changing affiliation of the text in the ancient library lists: it has been characterised as Legalist since Sui dynasty (581-617), while before that it was listed as Taoist.
|Chinese Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
As typical of an ancient Chinese text, structure of Guanzi should have changed over time. Presently it contains 72 pian 篇 (chapters), arranged in 24 juan 卷 (books). It is also subdivided into 8 sections of varying length. The significance and chronology of the division are not clear.
- Works cited
- Rickett, W. Allyn (1993). "Kuan tzu 管子". In Loewe, Michael. Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide. Berkeley: Society for the Study of Early China; Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California Berkeley. pp. 244–51. ISBN 1-55729-043-1.
- Roth, Harold. Original Tao: inward training (nei-yeh) and the foundations of Taoist mysticism. Columbia University Press. 1999.
- Guanzi 管子, Ulrich Theobald
- Legalism, Qin Empire and Han Dynasty, Sanderson Beck
- Guanzi 管子 (Full text in Chinese)
- Nei Ye, translation of Bram den Hond
- Sixteen Chapters on Weighing and Balancing Economic Factors (《管子·轻重十六篇》): Chaps. 72 - 73 The New Legalist
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