Tag Archives: Ji Jangzi

Wind and grass

季康子問政於孔子曰:「如殺無道,以就有道,何如?」孔子對曰:「子為政,焉用殺?子欲善,而民善矣!君子之德風,小人之德草,草上之風必偃。」
Ji Kangzi asked Confucius about governance, saying: “What would you think if I were to execute people who don’t follow the Way in order to help the people who do follow the Way?” Confucius replied: “You are here to govern; what need is there to execute people? If you desire goodness, the people will be good. A leader’s virtue is like the wind; the virtue of the common people is like the grass. When the wind blows over the grass it will surely bend.”

The “wind and grass” metaphor that Confucius finishes this passage with was seized upon by generation after generation of the ruling classes in China to justify their hold on power: the duty of the people was simply to bend to their will. Continue reading Wind and grass