Ouyang Xiu’s “Party Theory”

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◎About Ouyang Xiu

Ouyang Xiu (August 6, 1007 – September 22, 1072), courtesy name Uncle Yong, numbered Drunkard, Liuyi Lay, and posthumously named Wenzhong. His native place was Luling, Jizhou (now Ji’an City, Jiangxi Province), and he was born in Mianzhou (now Mianyang, Sichuan). He was a writer, historian and politician in the Northern Song Dynasty. In the eighth year of Emperor Renzong of the Song Dynasty (1030), Ouyang Xiu was a jinshi and the first emperor. He served in the three dynasties of Renzong , Yingzong and Shenzong . He was an official to the Hanlin bachelor , deputy minister of the privy secret , and political affairs minister . He actively participated in the political reform of the Qingli New Deal led by Fan Zhongyan . . After his death, he was given to Taishi and Duke of Chu, and he was given the posthumous title of “Wenzhong”, so he was called Duke Ouyang Wenzhong.

In terms of literature, Ouyang Xiu made great achievements. He was the successor and promoter of the ancient writing movement advocated by Han Yu and Liu Zongyuan in the Tang Dynasty, and made great contributions to the development of ancient writing. His prose style is simple and natural, the charm is deep and beautiful, and the poetry style is simple and fresh, which laid the foundation for Song poetry . The New History of the Five Dynasties is included in the twenty-four official histories . And the three aspects of flower spectrum writing are the founders of the mountain. Politically and culturally, he is one of the highest leaders in the world, and he has epoch-making achievements in literature, history, and classics.

On September 22, 1072, Ouyang Xiu died at home at the age of sixty-six.

◎Creative background

“Party Theory” is selected from “Ouyang Wenzhong Collection”. It is a memorial written by Ouyang Xiu, a great writer of the Northern Song Dynasty, in the third year of Emperor Renzong’s Qingli year (1043). It is a famous political essay.

In the third year (1036) of Emperor Renzong of Song Jingyou, Fan Zhongyan, who served as the prefect of Kaifeng as a member of the Ministry of Personnel, mocked Lu Yijian, the prime minister of power, because of his publication of the “Hundred Officials Map”. At that time, Ouyang Xiu, who was inexperienced and bloody, wrote “The Advice with Gao Si” to defend Fan. He was also called a crony and was demoted at the same time. In the third year of the Qingli period, Lu Yijian dismissed the prime minister. Du Yan took charge of the government, and appointed Fu Bi, Fan Zhongyan, Han Qi and others to carry out ten reform measures such as “removing the extremities, restraining luck, fine tributes, selecting officials and heads, and allocating public land”, which was called “Qingli New Deal”. These political reform measures were opposed by conservative forces such as Xia Yan and Wang Gongchen, who attacked Du Yan, Fan Zhongyan and others for citing cronies. Ouyang Xiu was also listed as a crony by conservatives because he actively supported the New Deal. In response to these slander, Ouyang Xiu wrote this famous political essay.


The ministers have heard the sayings of the party, and it has existed since ancient times, but it is fortunate that the ruler can distinguish his gentleman and villain. The great gentleman and the gentleman are friends with the same way; the villain and the villain are friends with the same interests. This is the principle of nature.

However, the minister said that the villain has no friends, but the gentleman has it. What is the reason? What the villain likes is profit, and what he covets is money. When they share the same interests, those who are temporarily regarded as friends by the Party are false. And if they see the advantage and compete for the first, or if the advantage is exhausted and they are sparse, then the opposite will be thieves and harm, although their brothers and relatives cannot protect each other. The old minister said that the villain has no friends, and those who are temporarily friends are fake. A gentleman is not. Those who guard are moral, those who practice are faithful, and those who cherish are famous. If you use it to cultivate yourself, you will benefit from the same way; if you use it to serve the country, you will be of one mind and help each other; you will always be the same from beginning to end, and this is the friend of the gentleman. Therefore, a person who is a ruler should retreat from the false friend of the villain and use the true friend of the gentleman, and the world will be ruled.

At the time of Yao, the villain Gonggong, Huandou and other four people were one friend, and the gentleman Bayuan and Bakai sixteen were one friend. Shun assisted Yao, retreated from the friend of the four evil villains, and entered the Yuan and Kai as the friend of gentlemen, and Yao ruled the world. And Shun himself is the emperor, and twenty-two people, such as Gao, Kui, Ji, Qi, etc., are placed side by side in the court, and they are more commensurate with each other. .

“Book” says: “Zhou has hundreds of millions of ministers, but only hundreds of millions of hearts; Zhou has three thousand ministers, but only one heart.” At the time of Zhou, hundreds of millions of people had different hearts, and it could be said that they were not friends. The three thousand officials of King Wu of Zhou were a great friend, and Zhou used it to make him happy.

When Emperor Xian of the Later Han Dynasty, he took all the famous people from all over the world and imprisoned him as a party member. When the Yellow Turban thieves rose, the Han Dynasty was in great chaos, and the rear repented and released the party members, but there was no way to save them.

In the later years of the Tang Dynasty, the theory of cronyism gradually emerged. At the time of Emperor Zhaozong, he killed all the famous people of the dynasty, or threw himself into the Yellow River, saying: “This generation is a clear stream, and he can drown in the turbid stream.” Then Tang died.

The master of the previous life can make everyone dissimilar and not be friends, what is Zhou? Can ban good people from being friends, what is Emperor Xian of the Han Dynasty; can kill the friends of Qingliu, what is the world of Emperor Zhaozong of the Tang Dynasty. Then they all destroyed their country. It is more worthy of the beauty to give in and not to doubt oneself. It is better than Shun’s twenty-two ministers. Shun also used them without doubt. However, later generations did not accuse Shun of being deceived by twenty-two cronies, but called Shun a wise sage, so that he could distinguish between a gentleman and a villain. In the world of Zhou Wu, he counted 3,000 officials of his country as one friend. Since ancient times, there have been many and great friends, no more than Zhou. However, if Zhou used this to promote prosperity, there were many good people who never got tired of it.

The traces of the rise and fall of the chaos, the ruler of the human being, can learn from it!

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