2. The king said, 'Venerable sir, since you have not counted it far to come here, a distance of a thousand lî, may I presume that you are provided with counsels to profit my kingdom?'
3. Mencius replied, 'Why must your Majesty use that word "profit?" What I am provided with, are counsels to benevolence and righteousness, and these are my only topics.
4. 'If your Majesty say, "What is to be done to profit my kingdom?" the great officers will say, "What is to be done to profit our families?" and the inferior officers and the common people will say, "What is to be done to profit our persons?" Superiors and inferiors will try to snatch this profit the one from the other, and the kingdom will be endangered. In the kingdom of ten thousand chariots, the murderer of his sovereign shall be the chief of a family of a thousand chariots. In the kingdom of a thousand chariots, the murderer of his prince shall be the chief of a family of a hundred chariots. To have a thousand in ten thousand, and a hundred in a thousand, cannot be said not to be a large allotment, but if righteousness be put last, and profit be put first, they will not be satisfied without snatching all.
5. 'There never has been a benevolent man who neglected his parents. There never has been a righteous man who made his sovereign an after consideration.
6. 'Let your Majesty also say, "Benevolence and righteousness, and let these be your only themes." Why must you use that word -- "profit?".
This is the first chapter of Book 1 of the works of Mencius. It describes a conversation between Mencius and king Hûi of Liang.
Suppose that king Hûi of Liang never existed and thus the conversation never really took place.
Does that make a difference? Is the lesson contained in the tale any less valuable if the incident never actually took place?
This would probably be best in the Faith & Belief area.
Can you expand on that a little? For example, in the section of Mencius quoted, we may not know if the King existed in reality, or that Mencius actually really paid him a visit.Aslan is not a Tame Lion
Still struggling to understand, so please bear with me.
You mention that it makes no difference since nothing really happened. That confuses me somewhat.
Consider this scrap.
'The Tî caused his own children, nine sons and two daughters, the various officers, oxen and sheep, storehouses and granaries, all to be prepared, to serve Shun amid the channelled fields. Of the scholars of the kingdom there were multitudes who flocked to him. The sovereign designed that Shun should superintend the kingdom along with him, and then to transfer it to him entirely. But because his parents were not in accord with him, he felt like a poor man who has nowhere to turn to.
Here, something is alleged to have happened. Does it matter if it is a true account or not?