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Mencius

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3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  924 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Mencius was one of the great philosophers of ancient China, second only in influence to Confucius, whose teachings he defended and expanded. The Mencius, in which he recounts his dialogues with kings, dukes and military men, as well as other philosophers, is one of the Four Books that make up the essential Confucian corpus. It takes up Confucius's theories of jen, or goodn ...more
Paperback, Revised Edition, 246 pages
Published 2004 by Penguin Books Ltd. (first published 1970)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Hadrian
Feb 12, 2016 Hadrian rated it really liked it
Mencius, or Mengzi, was one of the foundational thinkers of classical Chinese philosophy. He was active in the years after Confucius, and often discussed and re-interpreted his philosophy. He was most active during the Warring States Period in the 5th century BC, where multiple small kingdoms were locked in a contest for local power. Though many of the intellectuals of the period agreed that this had to end and stable governance restored, there was little agreement over how this would take place ...more
Yann
Nov 04, 2014 Yann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Yann by: Steve


Mencius est un sage chinois du quatrième siècle avant Jésus-Christ, soit deux siècle après Confucius. A cette époque, la Chine est divisée en "royaumes combattants" qui rivalisent pour l'hégémonie. Cet ouvrage relate des anecdotes relatifs aux messages édifiants que Mencius a voulu faire passer à ceux de ses contemporains qui étaient aux affaires afin qu'ils améliorent leur pratique du gouvernement. Elles consistent le plus souvent à être attentif au bien-être et à la prospérité du peuple, à ne
...more
Brit Cheung
Not quite into confucious though as a icon of the Chinese culture by the government propaganda and though there are many Confucious Institutes in varied countries. It was once deemed as some sort of the obsolescent thoughts to be deprecated in the New Cultural Movement . Even till this day , a word was linked to it with exceedingly passive connotation as “cynicism” (犬儒主义). Compared to its official background, Mencius is more lovable and accessible and more inspiring.

The following are some excer
...more
Melissa
Jan 12, 2014 Melissa rated it liked it
I only wish that I could read Chinese in order to understand Mencius' linguistic subtleties. Plenty of these, including plays on cognitive Chinese words, are pointed out in the footnotes of the Penguin Classics version. In his last book, Mencius explains that benevolence means man, which is perhaps a tenant of his entire philosophy. According to the footnotes, in some dialect of the Chinese language, these two words are literally the same. Mencius taught that humans were inherently good, and str ...more
Glenn Berger
The wisest Sage to have ever lived. He said, "The principle of self-cultivation consists in nothing but trying to find the lost heart." Within these words lies the secret solution to life's difficulties.
Paul Haspel
Jan 09, 2016 Paul Haspel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: china
Men and women go through their lives asking themselves “What is the right thing to do?”, and trying to live good lives. And some of the very best answers to those questions of how to live a good life and do the right thing come from a Chinese philosopher who lived 2400 years ago. Many people in the West do not know Mencius and his work, but everyone everywhere should.

Mencius, Meng Ke, 孟子, lived about a century after Confucius, and his work is unquestionably part of the intellectual and philosoph
...more
Kyc
Jul 10, 2016 Kyc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am provisionally giving this book a three-star rating for its thought-provoking nature although the Irene Bloom translation reads a bit clunky to me (once again, too literal). I'd probably revisit this book if my library ever stocks up the Penguin D. C. Lau version, though I suspect not ...

In an ideal world one would pit Socrates, Plato and Aristotle with the great Chinese philosophers Confucius, Mencius, Mozi and Xunzi in a debate to decide who would represent Planet Earth around 500 BC in an
...more
Emily Carroll
Feb 19, 2015 Emily Carroll rated it liked it
Mencius was an early Chinese philosopher who greatly admired Kongzi, though in his own life time he was much more influential and had a large following of high standing men, including kings who asked his advice on a variety of subjects as seen in book 1,when King Hui of Liang even goes so far as too ask Mencius:
“Is it acceptable for subjects to kill their rulers?”
This shows that deep trust was given to Mencius in exchange for his insight of human nature. Unlike Kongzi, whose teachings were sho
...more
Benjamin Parry
Oct 03, 2014 Benjamin Parry rated it it was amazing
#Mencius Review

"Now is the time when one can, with half the effort, achieve twice as much as the ancients"

Mencius is the second of the four books that form the Chinese Confucian canon along with: The Analects of Confucius), Doctrine of the Mean and Great Learning. These four books combined with the five classics were the backbone of the imperial examinations in China for over a thousand years. After having now read the two works it is not difficult to see why they were instrumental to Chinese ph
...more
Timothy Dymond
Jul 01, 2015 Timothy Dymond rated it really liked it
Mencius, or Meng K'e, shares with Confucius the distinction of being a Chinese philosopher with a Latinized name. He lived a century or so after Confucius (probably in the 4th century BC) and travelled between feudal principalities promoting his updated version of Confucian philosophy. In China it is recognised that much received Confucian philosophy is probably the Mencius influenced version.

Mencius has a more radical reputation than Confucius, and was quite popular in early 20th century China
...more
Matt
Apr 12, 2015 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Mencius, one of the Four Books of the neo-Confucian canon, has gotten a new English translation from three mainland Chinese authors. And as translations go, this one definitely has a strong leg up on the standard, free-to-read-online James Legge version with which I've had a love-hate relationship for a long time now.

On the one hand, I appreciate very much the fact that this is a trilingual (classical Chinese / vernacular modern Chinese / English) edition, and that really, really helps. Seri
...more
Thomas
Jan 31, 2008 Thomas rated it liked it
Shelves: eastern-classics
Mencius' logic is a little hard to grasp at times, but the basic principles of his thought become clear through repetition. It was helpful to read this as an elucidation of Confucius -- the core ideas are the same, but Mencius draws them out a bit more, and deals a little more explicitly with the concept of "human nature." But I have to admit that the Analects is a much more interesting book to read.
Tom
Dec 06, 2011 Tom rated it liked it
Mencius (Latinization of 孟子, which can be transcribed as Mèngzǐ or Meng-tzu; trad. 372-289 BCE), was perhaps the influential thinker in Chinese history. Living about 150-200 years after Confucius, his interpretations of the Master's teachings eventually became orthodoxy to the Chinese empire, required reading for all those taking the civil service examination, the only means of social mobility. His and Confucius' works are seen as the apotheosis of the early Chinese Classicist tradition (that is ...more
James
The Mencius is the seminal, canonical Confucian work in which Mencius (Mengzi 孟子) expounds on what Confucius said in the Analects, outlining the principles of the innate goodness of human nature, good Confucian government, and the importance of education and destiny. The Mencius was subsequently canonised by the Neo-Confucian scholar Zhu Xi and formed the basis (along with the three other canonical texts) for the imperial examinations until the fall of the Qing.

Unlike his predecessor, Mencius do
...more
Silvio Curtis
Oct 17, 2009 Silvio Curtis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mengzi (also called Mencius in English) is supposed to be the most influential Confucian philosopher after Confucius. According to my professor, his canonical status owes a lot to the neo-Confucians of the early 2nd millennium.

The book with his name has the form of a collection of short sayings and conversations of Mengzi, mostly between a paragraph and a page long. The point he makes over and over is that human nature is good - that is, everyone has the emotional basis for good actions if they
...more
R. August
Jan 09, 2008 R. August rated it really liked it
People are genetically prone to sloth, after all, biologically we can never be sure where the next meal is coming from so there is no point wasting the calories already acquired. What does this have to with Mencius? Namely that if we want to do anything with ourselves we need a stronger hand than what Mencius prescribes - being all lovey-dovey with our pursuit of self-cultivation will only lead to complacency and smugness. To work on yourself you need Xunzi, but if you want others to follow you ...more
Jerry
Mar 10, 2012 Jerry rated it really liked it
Mencius is a confucianist and his work describe the confucian philosophy in a more elaborate manner than Confucius himself. In this work, Mencius used a lot of historical events to explain his point, which can be difficult with readers without prior knowledge of ancient chinese history.
I especially like his vision of benevolent government. Western critics like to say that Confucianism is a feudal philosophy which is used to justify autocratic government. I have to say that they should read this
...more
William Murakami-brundage
Sep 17, 2014 William Murakami-brundage rated it really liked it
Core of Chinese philosophy, reading Mencius and related works can shed light on the whys and hows of otherwise obtuse rituals and mannerisms found throughout this region's tenets.
Cami
Mencius is a student of Confucianism, and therefore, this book was a lot like The Analects of Confucius. At first, I thought it was pretty repetitive and boring. However, I learned when to skim, and when to really read, and the parts that were really worth reading were really good reading. He, like philosophers before him, was looking for a way to become the best person he could be, and a way for leaders to become the most virtuous so they could lead the best of their abilities. A great discussi ...more
Rebecca Hecking
This is my second excursion into Confucianism (the first was Confucius' Analects), and it was a mixed bag, which seems par for the course for a work this ancient. Some parts seemed to be mostly concerned with a level of detail about the culture of that time/place that they were mired there. Other parts transcended the particular and tapped into genuine cross-cultural wisdom. The vignettes were longer than in the Analects, short paragraphs rather than one-liners.
Barnaby Thieme
An excellent, lyrical translation of the Chinese masterpiece, and a good companion to the translator's rendering of "Analects." Confucius and Mencius make an intriguing pair - the former more remote and abstract, the latter more human and situational. I found both works extremely rewarding - particularly once I got a sense of the vital role they have played in Chinese history.
Jellyblacktea
Compared with his teacher, Confucious, Mencius is more cunning. He always used his stratagem to ensnare the King. His metaphor is very appropriate and satirical. But the gap between him and his master is very big. He seemed to be much slyer than Confucious. I think that is why the King did not put him into an important position.
Jinyan
Feb 22, 2016 Jinyan rated it it was ok
English translation of Ancient Chinese makes review tank.
Ummia Gina
Feb 12, 2013 Ummia Gina rated it it was ok
Mencius (372-289 BCE) was a philosopher and a scholar of Confucianism. His interpretations of Confucianism eventually became orthodoxy to the Chinese empire. This book expands on the concepts previously established in "The Analects of Confucius".
Richard
Nov 17, 2010 Richard rated it really liked it
Excellent book, truly helps one understand Confucius more. Lau does a fine job translating, just don't let the strange romanized names of people throw you off from the nuggets of wisdom inside. I highly recommend this book!
Donna
Apr 07, 2012 Donna rated it did not like it
Just as I wasn't a fan of Confucius, I wasn't a fan of this book either. Very dry.

# 14 of 133 of Clifton Fadiman's New Lifetime Reading Plan
Cheryl Reese
I am beginning to like this book as I have been explained the meanings in more detail. First time reading into Chinese philosophy.
Thomas
Jul 27, 2013 Thomas rated it really liked it
I remember finding this more humane and emotionally pleasing than the Analects, which I wasn't expecting.
Lance
May 21, 2009 Lance rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysticism
The intersections between Mencius and Orthodox mysticism are amazing.
Eric Kibler
Jul 29, 2010 Eric Kibler rated it did not like it
Veeeery short.

He just echoes Confucius's sparse sayings.
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Goodreads Librari...: Mismatched title, author, book jacket 3 19 Dec 30, 2013 10:10AM  
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Mencius (Chinese: 孟子; pinyin: Mèng Zǐ; Wade–Giles: Meng Tzu; Zhuyin Fuhao: ㄇㄥˋ ㄗˇ, most accepted dates: 372 – 289 BCE; other possible dates: 385 – 303/302 BCE) was a Chinese philosopher who was arguably the most famous Confucian after Confucius himself.

Also known by his birth name Meng Ke or Ko, Mencius was born in the State of Zou, now forming the territory of the county-level city of Zoucheng (o
...more
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“With melted snow I boil fragrant tea.” 35 likes
“Filling with food,
Warming with clothes,
Living leisurely without learning,
It is little short of animals.”
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