Emperor Shun (from the Shang Shu)

Emperor Shun
(legendary Chinese emperor, traditionally dated to have ruled c. 2285-2205 BCE)

“Renouncing evil, don’t be distracted
by insubstantial and ego-driven plans.
Do what is right by your own light
never do what isn’t just to win praise.”

  • A saying attributed to Emperor Shun in The Book of Documents/The Most Venerable Book (Shang Shu, chapter 3). Authorship of the text is vague, but the documents were said to have been edited by Confucius (c. 551-479 BCE). The translation used here is by Martin Palmer, Jay Ramsay and Victoria Finlay (Penguin Classic, 2014).

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