Righteousness is the foundation of blessings and auspiciousness is the manifestation of blessings. Unrighteousness is the root cause of disasters and inauspiciousness is the result of blessings lost. If one’s conduct does not follow the Dao (correct path), then one’s speech would not accord with benevolence and righteousness. While King Zhou of the Shang dynasty declared himself the King of Heaven and King Jie of the Xia dynasty was a self-proclaimed Son of Heaven, the people continued to curse and scold them even when their dynasties had perished. From this we can see that holding certain positions does not make one noble, and titles are insufficient to make one honorable. A ruler’s dignity is none other than his subjects’ respect for him and his prosperity is none other than his subjects’ affection for him. Hence, a ruler’s nobleness rests on bestowing blessings upon the people, thereby gaining their respect. A ruler’s prosperity hinges on providing the people with wealth, thereby gaining their affection.
Scroll 40: Jia Zi