The Difan 帝範 "Models for an Emperor" is a political treatise written by Emperor Taizong 唐太宗 (r. 626-649) of the Tang dynasty 唐 (618-907). Taizong intented to provide a handbook on government to his sons to make ruling somewhat easier for them. The Difan is very short and includes 12 chapters. During the Song period 宋 (960-1279), a large part of it was lost, but a few centuries later, in the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368), it was recovered.
The content of the Difan is geared to the Confucian interpretation of government. A ruler has to be benevolent and has to make use of able advisors. Nevertheless, the Difan also shows the practical spirit of the legalists, when speaking of punishment and the peasants as base of the economical and financial base of the empire.
There were two commentaries to the Difan, one by Jia Xing 賈行, and one by Wei Gongsu 韋公肅, which are both lost. The extant commentary dates from the Yuan period, but the author is unknown. All editions are based on a version that has survived in Japan.The Difan is included in the reprint series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Zhibuzuzhai congshu 知不足齋叢書 and Yueyatang congshu 粵雅堂叢書.
Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 1548. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.
君體 Junti The person of the ruler|
建親 Jianqin Supporting the parents
求賢 Qiuxian Searching for worthies
審官 Shenguan Investigating the officials
納諫 Najian Accepting remonstrance
去讒 Quchan Warding off slander
誡盈 Jieyin Refraining from overindulgence
崇儉 Chongjian Venerating austerity
賞罰 Shangfa Reward and punishment
務農 Wunong Employ agronomy
閱武 Yuewu Mustering the troops
崇文 Chongwen Venerating literature