Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
Search Quotes Search Sages Search Chapters

Sima Qian 司馬遷

(Ssu-ma Ch'ien)

145 – 86 BCE

ather of Chinese historians, Court Astrologer, and and for centuries considered author of the greatest history book ever written; Sima Qian—although imprisoned, castrated, and enslaved—managed to write a monumental and innovative history of China including a series of biographies that went back more than 2000 years. His writings and writing style had a deep influence on Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese cultures. Sorting through myth and imagination, he went beyond the tradition of only writing about the emperors and generals, used more than 75 books to cross-check for accuracy, refused to include information he couldn’t verify, and traveled extensively interviewing people about their personal experience of events. He wrote the earliest known biography of Lao Tzu.

Eras

Sources

Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian, 太史公書

Quotes by Sima Qian (9 quotes)

“When you see the jailer you abjectly touch the ground with your forehead. At the mere sight of his underlings you are seized with terror... Such ignominy can never be wiped away.”

from Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian, 太史公書

Themes: Punishment

Comments: Click to comment

“I have examined the deeds and events of the past and investigated the principles behind their success and failure, their rise and decay. I wished to examine into all that concerns heaven and man, to penetrate the changes of the past and present, completing all as the work of one family.”

from Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian, 太史公書

Comments: Click to comment

“If my work may be handed down to men who will appreciate it, then though I should suffer a thousand mutilations, what regret should I have?”

from Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian, 太史公書

Themes: Inspiration

Comments: Click to comment

“The skillful employer will employ the wise, the brave, the covetous, and the stupid because the wise delight in establishing merit, the brave in showing their courage in action, the covetous in seizing advantages, and the stupid in having no fear of death.”

from Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian, 太史公書

Comments: Click to comment

“Though bitter, good medicine cures illness. Though it may hurt, loyal criticism will have beneficial effects.”

from Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian, 太史公書

Comments: Click to comment

“If we may find anything that approaches permanence in the midst of change, it is the lasting power of goodness. Evil destroys the doer, but good endures.”

from Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian, 太史公書

Themes: Evil Impermanence

Comments: Click to comment

“It is the function of the historian to prolong the memory of goodness by preserving its record for all ages to see.”

from Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian, 太史公書

Comments: Click to comment

“As for the ceremonies of bowing and giving way, people still observed them, yet how contrary to them were all their actions!”

from Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian, 太史公書

Comments: Click to comment

“He who exposes the faults of others endangers himself.”

from Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian, 太史公書

Comments: Click to comment

Quotes about Sima Qian (2 quotes)

“Ssu-ma Ch'ien's many-volumed history of China established the frame within which Chinese history continued to be written almost to the present day. Ssu-ma Ch'ien accepted and made canonical the theory that each dynasty began with an especially virtuous ruler and then gradually dissipated that virtue until Heaven lost patience and substituted a new dynasty in its place.”

William Hardy McNeill 1917 – 2016 CE
Historian
from The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community, 1963

Comments: Click to comment

“[Sim Qian] authored along with his father—Sima Tan—the first comprehensive history of China. His biography of Lao Tzu constitutes the earliest known record of the Taoist patriarch.”

Red Pine 1943 CE –
( Bill Porter)
Exceptional translator, cultural diplomat
from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

Comments: Click to comment

Comments (0)

Please log in or create an account to comment.