Zhuangzi 莊子, ‘Robber Zhi on Confucius’ 盜跖論孔丘

In his ‘Biography of Boyi’ Sima Qian is befuddled as to why even the most vile people, the notorious Robber Zhi for example, can enjoy happy and prosperous lives. Fame in posterity and through the praise of notable figures at least assures the virtuous a reputation for the ages. Virtue must perforce be its own reward.

This must be none other than that crafty hypocrite Kung Ch’iu from the state of Lu! Well, tell him this for me. You make up your stories, invent your phrases, babbling absurd eulogies of kings Wen and Wu. Topped with a cap like a branching tree, wearing a girdle made from the ribs of a dead cow, you pour out your flood of words, your fallacious theories. You eat without ever plowing, clothe yourself without ever weaving. Wagging your lips, clacking your tongue, you invent any kind of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ that suits you, leading astray the rulers of the world, keeping the scholars of the world from returning to the Source, capriciously setting up ideals of ‘filial piety’ and ‘brotherliness,’ all the time hoping to worm your way into favor with the lords of the fiefs or the rich and eminent! Your crimes are huge, your offenses grave. You had better run home as fast as you can, because if you don’t, I will take your liver and add it to this afternoon’s menu! 此夫魯國之巧偽人孔丘非邪?為我告之:爾作言造語,妄稱文武,冠枝木之冠,帶死牛之脅,多辭繆說,不耕而食,不織而衣,搖唇鼓舌,擅生是非,以迷天下之主,使天下學士不反其本,妄作孝弟而僥倖於封侯富貴者也。子之罪大極重,疾走歸!不然,我將以子肝益晝之膳!


‘Robber Zhi’, Zhuangzi 《莊子》盜跖, in The Complete Works of Chuang-tzu, translated by Burton Watson, online at: http://terebess.hu/english/chuangtzu3.html#29