Customer Reviews


2 Reviews

4 star
0

3 star
0

2 star
0

1 star
0

 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hsun Tzu - Burton Watson., 14 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Hsun Tzu: Basic Writings (Translations from the Asian Classics) (Paperback)
Hsun Tzu (312-235BC), was a Confucius scholar who is believed to have studied directly under Zi Si - the grandson of Confucius. His thought differs dramatically from that of Confucius and Mencius, (the latter being a near contemporary of Hsun), in the that Hsun clearly devotes an entire chapter (section 23 of this translation), where he expresses his view that the nature of humanity is 'evil'. Indeed, this section carries the name ' Man's Nature is Evil', deriving from the fact that in a natural state, people are greedy and have feelings of hatred and pride. When greed, envy and pride are indulged violence is the result, when violence prevails order breaks down and there is chaos. Hsun believed that this uneducated state could be rectified however, through appropriate forms of training and discipline. Only then could the 'good' be truly realised and therefore beneficial to humanity and employed in good governance. Despite its often argumentative tone, this is not a Legalist document - it is a Confucian text, but one that may be considered highly ideosyncratic.

Hsun Tsu taught two historically important people - Han Fei Tzu, the conveyer of a ruthless form of Legalism, and LiSi, a man who would ruthlessly assist the Qin emperor to consolidate his empire. Hsun Tzu appears to lack the wise sophistication of Confucius, and the respectful transmission and interpretative qualities found in Mencius. In one conversation (section 15 - Debating Military Affairs), Hsun directly contradicts a lord who is discussing military strategy in the presence of his king. One is left with the impression of an un-Confucian exercise in forceful argument, and in a sense, the presence of ego, rather than persuasion through wise words and gentle guidance. Ironically, Watson informs us that with the over-throw of the Qin, Hsun Tzu's version Confucianism was elevated to the level of state creed during the Han Dynasty, albeit with alterations omissions and modifications. Eventually, of course, the Confucian teachings of Mencius became to be seen as orthodox, and Hsun Tzu's teachings faded into the background. It is interesting to note, that the earliest compilation of Hsun Tzu work dates to the early Han (provided by court scholar Liu Hsiang 77-6BC) but it did not receive a commentary until that of the Tang scholar named Yang Liang (818AD).

Watson uses the Chinese text entitled Hsun-tzu chi-chieh (Wang Hsien-ch'ien 1891) for his English translation. The Chinese text has 32 sections, Burton's translation offers 10 sections. Despite the often uncomfortable manner and content of the work of Hsun Tzu, it is, nevertheless, a crucial link in the history of officially recognised Confucianism, and indicative of a stepping stone that eventually led to the work of Mencius being acknowledged as the correct interpretation of the teachings of Confucius.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars niche - excellent translation of an ancient Chinese text, 30 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hsun Tzu: Basic Writings (Translations from the Asian Classics) (Paperback)
good for study of ancient Chinese literature
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Hsun Tzu: Basic Writings (Translations from the Asian Classics)
Hsun Tzu: Basic Writings (Translations from the Asian Classics) by Burton Watson (Paperback - 14 Oct. 1996)
£18.00
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews