Superior

The term "superior" is in 60 of the 64 chapters of this translation of the I Ching. Since the translator and various commentaries are constantly attempting to clarify the concept I thought it would be a good idea to add this. Examples work when definitions often fail. - Editor

If we wish to know what anyone is like, we have only to observe on whom he bestows his care and what sides of his own nature he cultivates and nourishes ... Mencius says about this: "If we wish to know whether anyone is superior or not, we need only observe what part of his being he regards as especially important. The body has superior and inferior, important and unimportant parts. We must not injure important parts for the sake of the unimportant, nor must we injure the superior parts for the sake of the inferior. He who cultivates the inferior parts of his nature is an inferior man. He who cultivates the superior parts of his nature is a superior man."
#27 - Judgement


He who seeks nourishment that does not nourish reels from desire to gratification and in gratification craves desire. Mad pursuit of pleasure for the satisfaction of the senses never brings one to the goal.
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Thus the superior man makes himself strong and untiring.
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All day long the superior man is creatively active.
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The superior man lets himself be guided
#2 - Judgement


The superior man gives to his character breadth, purity, and sustaining power, so that he is able both to support and to bear with people and things.
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The wise man gladly leaves fame to others. He does not seek to have credited to himself things that stand accomplished, but hopes to release active forces; that is, he completes his works in such a manner that they may bear fruit for the future.
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The superior man brings order out of confusion.
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The superior man understands the signs of the time.
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 #23 - Judgement 


The superior man fosters his character by thoroughness in all that he does.
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The superior man eats and drinks, is joyous and of good cheer.
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The superior man carefully considers the beginning.
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The superior man increases his masses by generosity toward the people.
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The superior man never loses his dignity.
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The superior man refines the outward aspect of his nature.
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The superior man discriminates between high and low.
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The superior people do not allow themselves to be turned from their principles.
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The superior man does not forget danger in his security, nor ruin when he is well established, nor confusion when his affairs are in order.
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The superior man curbs evil and furthers good.
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The superior man is magnanimous and liberal-minded.
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The superior man carries things through [and] can carry out his work to the end without boasting of what he has achieved.
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The superior man: If he sees good, he imitates it; If he has faults, he rids himself of them.
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Page 464 (The Commentaries) The Master said: When a man does not boast of his efforts and does not count his merits a virtue, he is a man of great parts. It means that for all his merits he subordinates himself to others. Noble of nature, reverent in his conduct, the modest man is full of merit, and therefore he is able to maintain his position.
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The superior man neither flatters those above nor neglects those beneath him ... In his association with those beneath him, he is not arrogant.
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The superior man, after being tirelessly active all day, allows himself rest and recuperation at night.
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The superior man sustains and cares for all people and excludes no part of humanity.
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The superior man will have a view of the real sentiments of the great mass of humanity and therefore cannot be deceived.
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The superior man views prevailing forces as a connected whole and trys to understand them.
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The superior man must always be ready for self-examination.
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The superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity and many deeds of the past, in order to strengthen his character thereby ... In the words and deeds of the past there lies hidden a treasure that men may use to strengthen and elevate their own characters. The way to study the past is not to confine oneself to mere knowledge of history but, through application of this knowledge, to give actuality to the past.
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The superior man is careful of his words and temperate in eating and drinking.
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The superior man when he stands alone, is unconcerned, and if he has to renounce the world, he is undaunted.
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The superior man walks in lasting virtue and carries on the business of teaching ... he is concerned that goodness should be an established attribute of character rather than an accidental and isolated occurrence.
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The superior man sets his person at rest before he moves; he composes his mind before he speaks; he makes his relations firm before he asks for something. By attending to these three matters, the superior man gains complete security.
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The superior man dispenses riches downward and refrains from resting on his virtue.

Therefore the superior man begins to distribute while he is accumulating. In the same way, in developing his character he takes care not to become hardened in obstinacy but to remain receptive to impressions by help of strict and continuous self-examination.
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The superior man is on his guard against what is not yet in sight and on the alert for what is not yet within hearing; therefore he dwells in the midst of difficulties as though they did not exist.
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The superior man is firmly resolved.
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"Mores" is the word chosen to render the German word sitte, when the latter refers, as in the present instance, to what he Chinese know as li. However, neither "mores" nor any other available English word, such as "manners" or "customs," conveys an adequate idea of what li stood for in ancient China, because none of them necessarily denotes anything more than behavior growing out of and regulated by tradition. The ideas for which li stands seem to have had their origin in a religious attitude to life and in ethical principles developing out of that attitude. On the religious side li meant the observance with true piety of the ritual through which the "will of heaven" was interpreted and made to prevail on earth. On the moral side it meant the sense of propriety—understood to be innate in man—that, through training, makes possible right relationships in personal life and in society. Li was the cornerstone upon which Confucius built in his effort to bring order out of chaos in his era. Obedience to the code of li was entirely self-imposed as regards the "superior" man. The conduct of the "inferior" man was governed by law.
—Translators note p5

Confucius says about this: "The inferior man is not ashamed of unkindness and does not shrink from injustice. If no advantage beckons he makes no effort. If he is not intimidated he does not improve himself, but if he is made to behave correctly on small matters he is careful in large ones ... "
#21 Line 1 (Translator's note - page 89)


Confucius says about this: "If good does not accumulate it is not enough to make a name for a man. If evil does not accumulate it is not enough to destroy a man. Therefore the inferior man thinks to himself, 'Goodness in small things has no value,' so neglects it. He thinks, 'Small sins do no harm,' and so does not give them up."
#21 Line 6 (Translator's note - page 89)


The confidence of the man in superior place must not be abused nor the merits of the man in inferior placed concealed. There are officials who indeed do not strive for prominence; they hide behind the letter of ordinances, decline all responsibility, accept pay without giving its equivalent in work, and bear empty titles. This is the opposite of what is meant here by modesty. In such a position, modesty is shown by interest in one's work.
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