Doctrine of the Mean — Forum
The Doctrine of the Mean belongs to the Confucian Canon. It has inspired Chinese Culture for centuries. The text is believed to be written by scholars after Confucius' death. It was composed around 450-500 BCE. The text is rich with symbolism and guidance for perfecting oneself. Maintaining one's balance and achieving harmony is made possible by directing the mind to a state of constant equilibrium. Superior persons are therefore cautious, gentle teachers doing what seems natural where they happen to be. The doctrine of the mean may be taken to represent moderation, rectitude, objectivity, sincerity, honesty and propriety.
My master, the philosopher Ch`ang, says: `Being without inclination to either side is called CHUNG; admitting of no change is called YUNG. By CHUNG is denoted the correct course to be pursued by all under heaven; by YUNG is denoted the fixed principle regulating all under heaven. This work contains the law of the mind, which was handed down from one to another, in the Confucian school, till Tsze-sze, fearing lest in the course of time errors should arise about it, committed it to writing, and delivered it to Mencius. The Book first speaks of one principle; it next spreads this out, and embraces all things; finally, it returns and gathers them all up under the one principle. Unroll it, and it fills the universe; roll it up, and it retires and lies hid in mysteriousness. The relish of it is inexhaustible. The whole of it is solid learning. When the skilful reader has explored it with delight till he has apprehended it, he may carry it into practise all his life, and will find that it cannot be exhausted.'
The work is divided into three parts. They are: