Sima Xiangru (c. 179-117 BCE)
“Some say that the ways of Heaven are dark and silent, and therefore the auspicious omens, which are the expressions of its will, cannot be ignored.”
- This quote comes from a letter written by Sima Xiangru shortly before his death in 117 BCE, in which he encourages Emperor Wu (r. 141-87 BCE) to perform a ceremony called the Feng and Shan sacrifices. A copy of the letter was included in the Records of the Grand Historian (Shi Ji, 117) by Sima Qian (c. 145-90 BCE). The translation used here is by Burton Watson (Columbia University Press, 1993).