- Size: 18.4 (L) x 21 (W) cm
- Binding: Paperback
- Language: Bilingual
- Translated by D. C. Lau
- Publisher: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press
- Style: Mencius / Tao Te Ching / Confucius: The Analects
Mencius is without doubt second only to Confucius in importance in the Confucian tradition. The Analects of Confucius which forms a unique and reliable source for our knowledge of the thought of Confucius consists of a collection of sayings and conversations of the sage, mostly brief and often with little or no context. Hence many ideas are not elaborated upon, leaving plenty of room for differences in interpretation. The Mencius, too, consists of sayings of Mencius and conversations he had with his contemporaries, but these tend to be of greater length and there is often some kind of a context. The ideas are therefore more articulate. Thus the Mencius, when read side by side the Analects, throws a great deal of light on the latter work. In addition, Mencius developed some of the ideas of Confucius and at the same time discussed problems not touched upon by Confucius. He drew out the implications of Confucius' moral principles and reinterpreted them for the harsh conditions of the 4th century B.C., when they were threatened by the aggressive and amoral doctrines of Legalism. Little is known of the life of Mencius who lived in the 4th century B.C. The Mencius covers the last years of Mencius' life and the views expressed in the work are thus his mature views and represent the fruits of a lifetime spent in reflection and teaching. As the fullest of the four great Confucian texts, the Mencius was required reading for Chinese students over two thousand years, and still remains an important part of orthodox thought in China.