Guliangzhuan 穀梁傳 is a commentary on the Confucian Classic Chunqiu 春秋 "Spring and Autumn Annals". It is traditionally attributed to Guliang Chi 穀梁赤 (also called Guliang Xi 穀梁喜 or Guliang Shu 穀梁淑) from the state of Lu 魯 who, having obtained a copy of the Chunqiu Annals from Confucius' disciple Zixia 子夏, wrote a commentary on it.
The book is in fact the result of a commentary tradition that found its final codification at the beginning of the Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE). During the reign of Emperor Xuan 漢宣帝 (r. 74-49 BCE) the Gongyangzhuan was made part of the Confucian Canon that constituted the curriculum in the National University (taixue 太學). Although the principle of commenting the entries of the Chunqiu Annals and the objective to make a moral evaluation of the political events is the same as in the Gongyang Commentary Gongyangzhuan 公羊傳, there are differences between the interpretations of the two.
During the Eastern Jin period 東晉 (317-420) Fan Ning 范寧 wrote a summary commentary on the Guliangzhuan called Chunqiu Guliangzhuan jijie 春秋穀梁傳集解. The Tang-period 唐 (618-907) scholar Yang Shixun 楊士勛 compiled another commentary. Both were unified as Chunqiu Guliangzhuan zhushu 春秋穀梁傳注疏, with the zhu 注 commentary of Fan Ning and the shu 疏 commentary of Yang Shixun. During the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) Zhong Wenzheng 鍾文蒸 compiled the commentary Guliang buzhu 穀梁補注.
The commentaries by Gongyang and Guliang are two surviving out of four. The two lost commentaries had been written by Master Zou 鄒氏 and Master Xia 夾氏.
|First Year of Duke Yin (722 BCE)
|[The Chunqiu Classic] In summer, in the fifth month, the Earl of Zheng 鄭 overcame Duan 段 in Yan 鄢.
|[Guliang Commentary] What does mean "overcame"? This means, [the Earl] had the ability.
|What means, "he had the ability"? He was able to kill [Duan].
|Why does [the text] not say "killed"? Because he saw that Duan had troops with him.
|Duan was the younger brother of the Earl of Zheng. How should [the reader] know he was the younger brother? If a rightful heir of the younger brother of the same mother is killed, this points at the lord. Because the lord is pointed at, one knows that [Duan] was the younger brother.
|The fact that Duan was a younger brother but is not called so, and that he was a ducal son, and is not called so, is an expression of blaming him. He had lost the proper way of behaving like a younger brother. It is a humilation of Duan and [shows the] serious [offence] of the Earl of Zheng.
|Why was [the crime] of the Earl of Zheng so serious? It is serious because he nourished a [long-term] plot in his heart to kill [his younger brother].
|"In Yan" means, far away from the ducal residence, and is the same as if [the Earl] had taken [his younger brother] away from their [common] mother's bosom and had killed him - it is an aggravation [of the crime].
|What, then, could the Earl of Zheng have done otherwise? Slowly pursue him, to drive out the bandits - this is the proper way of dealing with kinsmen.