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The Way Of A Leader
Character Building
- Guard against greed
- Be frugal and diligent
- Refrain from anger
- Emulate good deeds
- Correcting our own mistakes
Be Respectful of Relatives
Be Respectful of Wise and Able Ministers
Be Receptive to Counsels from Ministers
Be Averse to Slanderous and Malevolent Advice
Be Perceptive and Astute
The Art Of A Minister
Uphold Integrity
Serve with Utmost Loyalty
Presenting Counsels
Nominating the Right Administrators
Esteeming Virtues
Be Respectful of the Dao
Filial Piety and Kinship
Benevolence and Righteousness
Be Sincere and Trustworthy
Righting Oneself
Be Discreet
Making Friends
The Art of Learning
On The Subject Of Administration
Engaging the Principles
Good Judge of Character
Appointing Officials
Paramount Impartiality
Teach and Transform
Propriety and Music
Caring about People
The Livelihood of People
Learn from the Past
The Basis of Principles
Reward and Punishment
Law and Statute
Be Careful With Military Actions
Generals and Soldiers
Respectfully Cautious
Taking Precautions
Social Customs
Conquering Chaos
Heedful of Troubling Signs
Making Correct Response
Exercise Caution from the Beginning to the End
Maintaining Good Health
Good or Evil
Human Sentiments
Talents and Virtues
Formation of Cliques
Differences that Matter
Cause and Effect

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On The Subject Of Administration > Learn from the Past

Study the lessons passed down from the ancients and take heed of what makes a good government minister. Ill-conceived government actions are less likely to happen if a government can base its decision-making on ancient wisdom and advice.

Scroll 2: Shang Shu

Do not forget the experiences and lessons learned from the past for they shall serve as a reference for future undertakings. A ruler will study history and verify the lessons in human affairs within a contemporary context to understand the rise and decline of a nation. They will also contemplate the balance of power and its corresponding scenarios, orderly weighing which ones to reject and which ones to adopt. Based on these considerations they will develop appropriate policies that over time will bring lasting peace to the nation.

Scroll 11: Shi Ji, Vol. 1

King Wu asked his strategist, Shang-fu: “Can you tell me how the five ancient emperors kept vigilant of themselves?” Shang-fu said: “Emperor Huang warned himself with this saying: ‘When I lead the people, I am worried and fearful as if night will not turn to morning.’ When Emperor Yao was leading his people, he was extremely apprehensive as if he was standing on the brink of a deep abyss. When Emperor Shun was leading his people, he was extremely cautious as if he was treading on thin ice. King Yu was extremely watchful as if he would not live through the day. King Tang would stay on guard as if he would not live to see tomorrow.” King Wu said: “Now that I am leading the newly conquered subjects of the Yin nation, I must rule cautiously and remain vigilant without the slightest negligence.”

Scroll 31: Yin Mou


The Governing Principles of Ancient China - Qunshu Zhiyao 360 • e-mail: amtb@amtb.tw