The Analects of Confucius
Book I. HSIO R.
- The Master said, 'Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant
perseverance and application?
- 'Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant
- 'Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure
though men may take no note of him?'
- The philosopher Yu said, 'They are few who, being filial and
fraternal, are fond of offending against their superiors. There
have been none, who, not liking to offend against their superiors,
have been fond of stirring up confusion.
- 'The superior man bends his attention to what is radical. That
being established, all practical courses naturally grow up. Filial
piety and fraternal submission!-- are they not the root of all
- The Master said, 'Fine words and an insinuating appearance are
seldom associated with true virtue.'
- The philosopher Tsang said, 'I daily examine myself on three
points:-- whether, in transacting business for others, I may have
been not faithful;-- whether, in intercourse with friends, I may
have been not sincere;-- whether I may have not mastered and
practised the instructions of my teacher.'
- The Master said, To rule a country of a thousand chariots,
there must be reverent attention to business, and sincerity;
economy in expenditure, and love for men; and the employment of the
people at the proper seasons.'
- The Master said, 'A youth, when at home, should be filial, and,
abroad, respectful to his elders. He should be earnest and
truthful. He should overflow in love to all, and cultivate the
friendship of the good. When he has time and opportunity, after the
performance of these things, he should employ them in polite
- Tsze-hsia said, 'If a man withdraws his mind from the love of
beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous;
if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength; if,
in serving his prince, he can devote his life; if, in his
intercourse with his friends, his words are sincere:-- although men
say that he has not learned, I will certainly say that he
- The Master said, 'If the scholar be not grave, he will not call
forth any veneration, and his learning will not be solid.
- 'Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.
- 'Have no friends not equal to yourself.
- 'When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.'
- The philosopher Tsang said, 'Let there be a careful attention
to perform the funeral rites to parents, and let them be followed
when long gone with the ceremonies of sacrifice;-- then the virtue
of the people will resume its proper excellence.'
- Tsze-ch'in asked Tsze-kung, saying, 'When our master comes to
any country, he does not fail to learn all about its government.
Does he ask his information? or is it given to him?'
- Tsze-kung said, 'Our master is benign, upright, courteous,
temperate, and complaisant, and thus he gets his information. The
master's mode of asking information!-- is it not different from
that of other men?'
- The Master said, 'While a man's father is alive, look at the
bent of his will; when his father is dead, look at his conduct. If
for three years he does not alter from the way of his father, he
may be called filial.'
- The philosopher Yu said, 'In practising the rules of propriety,
a natural ease is to be prized. In the ways prescribed by the
ancient kings, this is the excellent quality, and in things small
and great we follow them.
- 'Yet it is not to be observed in all cases. If one, knowing how
such ease should be prized, manifests it, without regulating it by
the rules of propriety, this likewise is not to be done.'
- The philosopher Yu said, 'When agreements are made according to
what is right, what is spoken can be made good. When respect is
shown according to what is proper, one keeps far from shame and
disgrace. When the parties upon whom a man leans are proper persons
to be intimate with, he can make them his guides and masters.'
- The Master said, 'He who aims to be a man of complete virtue in
his food does not seek to gratify his appetite, nor in his dwelling
place does he seek the appliances of ease; he is earnest in what he
is doing, and careful in his speech; he frequents the company of
men of principle that he may be rectified:-- such a person may be
said indeed to love to learn.'
- Tsze-kung said, 'What do you pronounce concerning the poor man
who yet does not flatter, and the rich man who is not proud?' The
Master replied, 'They will do; but they are not equal to him, who,
though poor, is yet cheerful, and to him, who, though rich, loves
the rules of propriety.'
- Tsze-kung replied, 'It is said in the Book of Poetry, "As you
cut and then file, as you carve and then polish."-- The meaning is
the same, I apprehend, as that which you have just expressed.'
- The Master said, 'With one like Ts'ze, I can begin to talk
about the odes. I told him one point, and he knew its proper
- The Master said, 'I will not be afflicted at men's not knowing
me; I will be afflicted that I do not know men.'
Book II. WEI CHANG.
- The Master said, 'He who exercises government by means of his
virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its
place and all the stars turn towards it.'
- The Master said, 'In the Book of Poetry are three hundred
pieces, but the design of them all may be embraced in one
sentence-- "Having no depraved thoughts."'
- The Master said, 'If the people be led by laws, and uniformity
sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the
punishment, but have no sense of shame.
- 'If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given
them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of shame,
and moreover will become good.'
- The Master said, 'At fifteen, I had my mind bent on
- 'At thirty, I stood firm.
- 'At forty, I had no doubts.
- 'At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven.
- 'At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of
- 'At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without
transgressing what was right.'
- Mang I asked what filial piety was. The Master said, 'It is not
- Soon after, as Fan Ch'ih was driving him, the Master told him,
saying, 'Mang-sun asked me what filial piety was, and I answered
him,-- "not being disobedient."'
- Fan Ch'ih said, 'What did you mean?' The Master replied, 'That
parents, when alive, be served according to propriety; that, when
dead, they should be buried according to propriety; and that they
should be sacrificed to according to propriety.'
- Mang Wu asked what filial piety was. The Master said, 'Parents
are anxious lest their children should be sick.'
- Tsze-yu asked what filial piety was. The Master said, 'The
filial piety of now-a-days means the support of one's parents. But
dogs and horses likewise are able to do something in the way of
support;-- without reverence, what is there to distinguish the one
support given from the other?'
- Tsze-hsia asked what filial piety was. The Master said, 'The
difficulty is with the countenance. If, when their elders have any
troublesome affairs, the young take the toil of them, and if, when
the young have wine and food, they set them before their elders, is
THIS to be considered filial piety?'
- The Master said, 'I have talked with Hui for a whole day, and
he has not made any objection to anything I said;-- as if he were
stupid. He has retired, and I have examined his conduct when away
from me, and found him able to illustrate my teachings. Hui!-- He
is not stupid.'
- The Master said, 'See what a man does.
- 'Mark his motives.
- 'Examine in what things he rests.
- 'How can a man conceal his character?
- How can a man conceal his character?'
- The Master said, 'If a man keeps cherishing his old knowledge,
so as continually to be acquiring new, he may be a teacher of
- The Master said, 'The accomplished scholar is not a
- Tsze-kung asked what constituted the superior man. The Master
said, 'He acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to
- The Master said, 'The superior man is catholic and no partisan.
The mean man is partisan and not catholic.'
- The Master said, 'Learning without thought is labour lost;
thought without learning is perilous.'
- The Master said, 'The study of strange doctrines is injurious
- The Master said, 'Yu, shall I teach you what knowledge is? When
you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not
know a thing, to allow that you do not know it;-- this is
- Tsze-chang was learning with a view to official emolument.
- The Master said, 'Hear much and put aside the points of which
you stand in doubt, while you speak cautiously at the same time of
the others:-- then you will afford few occasions for blame. See
much and put aside the things which seem perilous, while you are
cautious at the same time in carrying the others into practice:--
then you will have few occasions for repentance. When one gives few
occasions for blame in his words, and few occasions for repentance
in his conduct, he is in the way to get emolument.'
- The Duke Ai asked, saying, 'What should be done in order to
secure the submission of the people?' Confucius replied, 'Advance
the upright and set aside the crooked, then the people will submit.
Advance the crooked and set aside the upright, then the people will
- Chi K'ang asked how to cause the people to reverence their
ruler, to be faithful to him, and to go on to nerve themselves to
virtue. The Master said, 'Let him preside over them with gravity;--
then they will reverence him. Let him be filial and kind to all;--
then they will be faithful to him. Let him advance the good and
teach the incompetent;-- then they will eagerly seek to be
- Some one addressed Confucius, saying, 'Sir, why are you not
engaged in the government?'
- The Master said, 'What does the Shu-ching say of filial
piety?-- "You are filial, you discharge your brotherly duties.
These qualities are displayed in government." This then also
constitutes the exercise of government. Why must there be THAT--
making one be in the government?'
- The Master said, 'I do not know how a man without truthfulness
is to get on. How can a large carriage be made to go without the
cross-bar for yoking the oxen to, or a small carriage without the
arrangement for yoking the horses?'
- Tsze-chang asked whether the affairs of ten ages after could be
- Confucius said, 'The Yin dynasty followed the regulations of
the Hsia: wherein it took from or added to them may be known. The
Chau dynasty has followed the regulations of Yin: wherein it took
from or added to them may be known. Some other may follow the Chau,
but though it should be at the distance of a hundred ages, its
affairs may be known.'
- The Master said, 'For a man to sacrifice to a spirit which does
not belong to him is flattery.
- 'To see what is right and not to do it is want of
Book III. PA YIH.
- Confucius said of the head of the Chi family, who had eight
rows of pantomimes in his area, 'If he can bear to do this, what
may he not bear to do?'
- The three families used the YUNG ode, while the vessels were
being removed, at the conclusion of the sacrifice. The Master said,
'"Assisting are the princes;-- the son of heaven looks profound and
grave:"-- what application can these words have in the hall of the
- The Master said, 'If a man be without the virtues proper to
humanity, what has he to do with the rites of propriety? If a man
be without the virtues proper to humanity, what has he to do with
- Lin Fang asked what was the first thing to be attended to in
- The Master said, 'A great question indeed!
- 'In festive ceremonies, it is better to be sparing than
extravagant. In the ceremonies of mourning, it is better that there
be deep sorrow than a minute attention to observances.'
- The Master said, 'The rude tribes of the east and north have
their princes, and are not like the States of our great land which
are without them.'
- The chief of the Chi family was about to sacrifice to the T'ai
mountain. The Master said to Zan Yu, 'Can you not save him from
this?' He answered, 'I cannot.' Confucius said, 'Alas! will you say
that the T'ai mountain is not so discerning as Lin Fang?'
- The Master said, 'The student of virtue has no contentions. If
it be said he cannot avoid them, shall this be in archery? But he
bows complaisantly to his competitors; thus he ascends the hall,
descends, and exacts the forfeit of drinking. In his contention, he
is still the Chun-tsze.'
- Tsze-hsia asked, saying, 'What is the meaning of the passage--
"The pretty dimples of her artful smile! The well- defined black
and white of her eye! The plain ground for the colours?"'
- The Master said, 'The business of laying on the colours follows
(the preparation of) the plain ground.'
- 'Ceremonies then are a subsequent thing?' The Master said, 'It
is Shang who can bring out my meaning. Now I can begin to talk
about the odes with him.'
- The Master said, 'I could describe the ceremonies of the Hsia
dynasty, but Chi cannot sufficiently attest my words. I could
describe the ceremonies of the Yin dynasty, but Sung cannot
sufficiently attest my words. (They cannot do so) because of the
insufficiency of their records and wise men. If those were
sufficient, I could adduce them in support of my words.'
- The Master said, 'At the great sacrifice, after the pouring out
of the libation, I have no wish to look on.'
- Some one asked the meaning of the great sacrifice. The Master
said, 'I do not know. He who knew its meaning would find it as easy
to govern the kingdom as to look on this;-- pointing to his
- He sacrificed to the dead, as if they were present. He
sacrificed to the spirits, as if the spirits were present.
- The Master said, 'I consider my not being present at the
sacrifice, as if I did not sacrifice.'
- Wang-sun Chia asked, saying, 'What is the meaning of the
saying, "It is better to pay court to the furnace than to the
- The Master said, 'Not so. He who offends against Heaven has
none to whom he can pray.'
- The Master said, 'Chau had the advantage of viewing the two
past dynasties. How complete and elegant are its regulations! I
- The Master, when he entered the grand temple, asked about
everything. Some one said, 'Who will say that the son of the man of
Tsau knows the rules of propriety! He has entered the grand temple
and asks about everything.' The Master heard the remark, and said,
'This is a rule of propriety.'
- The Master said, 'In archery it is not going through the
leather which is the principal thing;-- because people's strength
is not equal. This was the old way.'
- Tsze-kung wished to do away with the offering of a sheep
connected with the inauguration of the first day of each
- The Master said, 'Ts'ze, you love the sheep; I love the
- The Master said, 'The full observance of the rules of propriety
in serving one's prince is accounted by people to be
- The Duke Ting asked how a prince should employ his ministers,
and how ministers should serve their prince. Confucius replied, 'A
prince should employ his minister according to according to the
rules of propriety; ministers should serve their prince with
- The Master said, 'The Kwan Tsu is expressive of enjoyment
without being licentious, and of grief without being hurtfully
- The Duke Ai asked Tsai Wo about the altars of the spirits of
the land. Tsai Wo replied, 'The Hsia sovereign planted the pine
tree about them; the men of the Yin planted the cypress; and the
men of the Chau planted the chestnut tree, meaning thereby to cause
the people to be in awe.'
- When the Master heard it, he said, 'Things that are done, it is
needless to speak about; things that have had their course, it is
needless to remonstrate about; things that are past, it is needless
- The Master said, 'Small indeed was the capacity of Kwan
- Some one said, 'Was Kwan Chung parsimonious?' 'Kwan,' was the
reply, 'had the San Kwei, and his officers performed no double
duties; how can he be considered parsimonious?'
- 'Then, did Kwan Chung know the rules of propriety?' The Master
said, 'The princes of States have a screen intercepting the view at
their gates. Kwan had likewise a screen at his gate. The princes of
States on any friendly meeting between two of them, had a stand on
which to place their inverted cups. Kwan had also such a stand. If
Kwan knew the rules of propriety, who does not know them?'
- The Master instructing the grand music-master of Lu said, 'How
to play music may be known. At the commencement of the piece, all
the parts should sound together. As it proceeds, they should be in
harmony while severally distinct and flowing without break, and
thus on to the conclusion.'
- The border warden at Yi requested to be introduced to the
Master, saying, 'When men of superior virtue have come to this, I
have never been denied the privilege of seeing them.' The followers
of the sage introduced him, and when he came out from the
interview, he said, 'My friends, why are you distressed by your
master's loss of office? The kingdom has long been without the
principles of truth and right; Heaven is going to use your master
as a bell with its wooden tongue.'
- The Master said of the Shao that it was perfectly beautiful and
also perfectly good. He said of the Wu that it was perfectly
beautiful but not perfectly good.
- The Master said, 'High station filled without indulgent
generosity; ceremonies performed without reverence; mourning
conducted without sorrow;-- wherewith should I contemplate such
Book IV. LE JIN.
- The Master said, 'It is virtuous manners which constitute the
excellence of a neighborhood. If a man in selecting a residence, do
not fix on one where such prevail, how can he be wise?'
- The Master said, 'Those who are without virtue cannot abide
long either in a condition of poverty and hardship, or in a
condition of enjoyment. The virtuous rest in virtue; the wise
- The Master said, 'It is only the (truly) virtuous man, who can
love, or who can hate, others.'
- The Master said, 'If the will be set on virtue, there will be
no practice of wickedness.'
- The Master said, 'Riches and honours are what men desire. If it
cannot be obtained in the proper way, they should not be held.
Poverty and meanness are what men dislike. If it cannot be avoided
in the proper way, they should not be avoided.
- 'If a superior man abandon virtue, how can he fulfil the
requirements of that name?
- 'The superior man does not, even for the space of a single
meal, act contrary to virtue. In moments of haste, he cleaves to
it. In seasons of danger, he cleaves to it.'
- The Master said, 'I have not seen a person who loved virtue, or
one who hated what was not virtuous. He who loved virtue, would
esteem nothing above it. He who hated what is not virtuous, would
practise virtue in such a way that he would not allow anything that
is not virtuous to approach his person.
- 'Is any one able for one day to apply his strength to virtue? I
have not seen the case in which his strength would be
- 'Should there possibly be any such case, I have not seen
- The Master said, 'The faults of men are characteristic of the
class to which they belong. By observing a man's faults, it may be
known that he is virtuous.'
- The Master said, 'If a man in the morning hear the right way,
he may die in the evening without regret.'
- The Master said, 'A scholar, whose mind is set on truth, and
who is ashamed of bad clothes and bad food, is not fit to be
- The Master said, 'The superior man, in the world, does not set
his mind either for anything, or against anything; what is right he
- The Master said, 'The superior man thinks of virtue; the small
man thinks of comfort. The superior man thinks of the sanctions of
law; the small man thinks of favours which he may receive.'
- The Master said: 'He who acts with a constant view to his own
advantage will be much murmured against.'
- The Master said, 'Is a prince is able to govern his kingdom
with the complaisance proper to the rules of propriety, what
difficulty will he have? If he cannot govern it with that
complaisance, what has he to do with the rules of propriety?'
- The Master said, 'A man should say, I am not concerned that I
have no place, I am concerned how I may fit myself for one. I am
not concerned that I am not known, I seek to be worthy to be
- The Master said, 'Shan, my doctrine is that of an all-pervading
unity.' The disciple Tsang replied, 'Yes.'
- The Master went out, and the other disciples asked, saying,
'What do his words mean?' Tsang said, 'The doctrine of our master
is to be true to the principles of our nature and the benevolent
exercise of them to others,-- this and nothing more.'
- The Master said, 'The mind of the superior man is conversant
with righteousness; the mind of the mean man is conversant with
- The Master said, 'When we see men of worth, we should think of
equalling them; when we see men of a contrary character, we should
turn inwards and examine ourselves.'
- The Master said, 'In serving his parents, a son may remonstrate
with them, but gently; when he sees that they do not incline to
follow his advice, he shows an increased degree of reverence, but
does not abandon his purpose; and should they punish him, he does
not allow himself to murmur.'
- The Master said, 'While his parents are alive, the son may not
go abroad to a distance. If he does go abroad, he must have a fixed
place to which he goes.'
- The Master said, 'If the son for three years does not alter
from the way of his father, he may be called filial.'
- The Master said, 'The years of parents may by no means not be
kept in the memory, as an occasion at once for joy and for
- The Master said, 'The reason why the ancients did not readily
give utterance to their words, was that they feared lest their
actions should not come up to them.'
- The Master said, 'The cautious seldom err.'
- The Master said, 'The superior man wishes to be slow in his
speech and earnest in his conduct.'
- The Master said, 'Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who
practises it will have neighbors.'
- Tsze-yu said, 'In serving a prince, frequent remonstrances lead
to disgrace. Between friends, frequent reproofs make the friendship
Book V. KUNG-YE CH'ANG.
- The Master said of Kung-ye Ch'ang that he might be wived;
although he was put in bonds, he had not been guilty of any crime.
Accordingly, he gave him his own daughter to wife.
- Of Nan Yung he said that if the country were well governed he
would not be out of office, and if it were ill-governed, he would
escape punishment and disgrace. He gave him the daughter of his own
elder brother to wife.
- The Master said of Tsze-chien, 'Of superior virtue indeed is
such a man! If there were not virtuous men in Lu, how could this
man have acquired this character?'
- Tsze-kung asked, 'What do you say of me, Ts'ze? The Master
said, 'You are a utensil.' 'What utensil?' 'A gemmed sacrificial
- Some one said, 'Yung is truly virtuous, but he is not ready
with his tongue.'
- The Master said, 'What is the good of being ready with the
tongue? They who encounter men with smartnesses of speech for the
most part procure themselves hatred. I know not whether he be truly
virtuous, but why should he show readiness of the tongue?'
- The Master was wishing Ch'i-tiao K'ai to enter on official
employment. He replied, 'I am not yet able to rest in the assurance
of THIS.' The Master was pleased.
- The Master said, 'My doctrines make no way. I will get upon a
raft, and float about on the sea. He that will accompany me will be
Yu, I dare say.' Tsze-lu hearing this was glad, upon which the
Master said, 'Yu is fonder of daring than I am. He does not
exercise his judgment upon matters.'
- Mang Wu asked about Tsze-lu, whether he was perfectly virtuous.
The Master said, 'I do not know.'
- He asked again, when the Master replied, 'In a kingdom of a
thousand chariots, Yu might be employed to manage the military
levies, but I do not know whether he be perfectly virtuous.'
- 'And what do you say of Ch'iu?' The Master replied, 'In a city
of a thousand families, or a clan of a hundred chariots, Ch'iu
might be employed as governor, but I do not know whether he is
- 'What do you say of Ch'ih?' The Master replied, 'With his sash
girt and standing in a court, Ch'ih might be employed to converse
with the visitors and guests, but I do not know whether he is
- The Master said to Tsze-kung, 'Which do you consider superior,
yourself or Hui?'
- Tsze-kung replied, 'How dare I compare myself with Hui? Hui
hears one point and knows all about a subject; I hear one point,
and know a second.'
- The Master said, 'You are not equal to him. I grant you, you
are not equal to him.'
- Tsai Yu being asleep during the daytime, the Master said,
'Rotten wood cannot be carved; a wall of dirty earth will not
receive the trowel. This Yu!-- what is the use of my reproving
- The Master said, 'At first, my way with men was to hear their
words, and give them credit for their conduct. Now my way is to
hear their words, and look at their conduct. It is from Yu that I
have learned to make this change.'
- The Master said, 'I have not seen a firm and unbending man.'
Some one replied, 'There is Shan Ch'ang.' 'Ch'ang,' said the
Master, 'is under the influence of his passions; how can he be
pronounced firm and unbending?'
- Tsze-kung said, 'What I do not wish men to do to me, I also
wish not to do to men.' The Master said, 'Ts'ze, you have not
attained to that.'
- Tsze-kung said, 'The Master's personal displays of his
principles and ordinary descriptions of them may be heard. His
discourses about man's nature, and the way of Heaven, cannot be
- When Tsze-lu heard anything, if he had not yet succeeded in
carrying it into practice, he was only afraid lest he should hear
- Tsze-kung asked, saying, 'On what ground did Kung-wan get that
title of Wan?' The Master said, 'He was of an active nature and yet
fond of learning, and he was not ashamed to ask and learn of his
inferiors!-- On these grounds he has been styled Wan.'
- The Master said of Tsze-ch'an that he had four of the
characteristics of a superior man:-- in his conduct of himself, he
was humble; in serving his superiors, he was respectful; in
nourishing the people, he was kind; in ordering the people, he was
- The Master said, 'Yen P'ing knew well how to maintain friendly
intercourse. The acquaintance might be long, but he showed the same
respect as at first.'
- The Master said, 'Tsang Wan kept a large tortoise in a house,
on the capitals of the pillars of which he had hills made, and with
representations of duckweed on the small pillars above the beams
supporting the rafters.-- Of what sort was his wisdom?'
- Tsze-chang asked, saying, 'The minister Tsze- wan thrice took
office, and manifested no joy in his countenance. Thrice he retired
from office, and manifested no displeasure. He made it a point to
inform the new minister of the way in which he had conducted the
government;-- what do you say of him?' The Master replied. 'He was
loyal.' 'Was he perfectly virtuous?' 'I do not know. How can he be
pronounced perfectly virtuous?'
- Tsze-chang proceeded, 'When the officer Ch'ui killed the prince
of Ch'i, Ch'an Wan, though he was the owner of forty horses,
abandoned them and left the country. Coming to another State, he
said, "They are here like our great officer, Ch'ui," and left it.
He came to a second State, and with the same observation left it
also;-- what do you say of him?' The Master replied, 'He was pure.'
'Was he perfectly virtuous?' 'I do not know. How can he be
pronounced perfectly virtuous?'
- Chi Wan thought thrice, and then acted. When the Master was
informed of it, he said, 'Twice may do.'
- The Master said, 'When good order prevailed in his country,
Ning Wu acted the part of a wise man. When his country was in
disorder, he acted the part of a stupid man. Others may equal his
wisdom, but they cannot equal his stupidity.'
- When the Master was in Ch'an, he said, 'Let me return! Let me
return! The little children of my school are ambitious and too
hasty. They are accomplished and complete so far, but they do not
know how to restrict and shape themselves.'
- The Master said, 'Po-i and Shu-ch'i did not keep the former
wickednesses of men in mind, and hence the resentments directed
towards them were few.'
- The Master said, 'Who says of Wei-shang Kao that he is upright?
One begged some vinegar of him, and he begged it of a neighbor and
gave it to the man.'
- The Master said, 'Fine words, an insinuating appearance, and
excessive respect;-- Tso Ch'iu-ming was ashamed of them. I also am
ashamed of them. To conceal resentment against a person, and appear
friendly with him;-- Tso Ch'iu-ming was ashamed of such conduct. I
also am ashamed of it.'
- Yen Yuan and Chi Lu being by his side, the Master said to them,
'Come, let each of you tell his wishes.'
- Tsze-lu said, 'I should like, having chariots and horses, and
light fur dresses, to share them with my friends, and though they
should spoil them, I would not be displeased.'
- Yen Yuan said, 'I should like not to boast of my excellence,
nor to make a display of my meritorious deeds.'
- Tsze-lu then said, 'I should like, sir, to hear your wishes.'
The Master said, 'They are, in regard to the aged, to give them
rest; in regard to friends, to show them sincerity; in regard to
the young, to treat them tenderly.'
- The Master said, 'It is all over! I have not yet seen one who
could perceive his faults, and inwardly accuse himself.'
- The Master said, 'In a hamlet of ten families, there may be
found one honourable and sincere as I am, but not so fond of
Book VI. YUNG YEY.
- The Master said, 'There is Yung!-- He might occupy the place of
- Chung-kung asked about Tsze-sang Po-tsze. The Master said, 'He
may pass. He does not mind small matters.'
- Chung-kung said, 'If a man cherish in himself a reverential
feeling of the necessity of attention to business, though he may be
easy in small matters in his government of the people, that may be
allowed. But if he cherish in himself that easy feeling, and also
carry it out in his practice, is not such an easy mode of procedure
- The Master said, 'Yung's words are right.'
- The Duke Ai asked which of the disciples loved to learn.
Confucius replied to him, 'There was Yen Hui; HE loved to learn. He
did not transfer his anger; he did not repeat a fault.
Unfortunately, his appointed time was short and he died; and now
there is not such another. I have not yet heard of any one who
loves to learn as he did.'
- Tsze-hwa being employed on a mission to Ch'i, the disciple Zan
requested grain for his mother. The Master said, 'Give her a fu.'
Yen requested more. 'Give her an yu,' said the Master. Yen gave her
- The Master said, 'When Ch'ih was proceeding to Ch'i, he had fat
horses to his carriage, and wore light furs. I have heard that a
superior man helps the distressed, but does not add to the wealth
of the rich.'
- Yuan Sze being made governor of his town by the Master, he gave
him nine hundred measures of grain, but Sze declined them.
- The Master said, 'Do not decline them. May you not give them
away in the neighborhoods, hamlets, towns, and villages?'
- The Master, speaking of Chung-kung, said, 'If the calf of a
brindled cow be red and horned, although men may not wish to use
it, would the spirits of the mountains and rivers put it
- The Master said, 'Such was Hui that for three months there
would be nothing in his mind contrary to perfect virtue. The others
may attain to this on some days or in some months, but nothing
- Chi K'ang asked about Chung-yu, whether he was fit to be
employed as an officer of government. The Master said, 'Yu is a man
of decision; what difficulty would he find in being an officer of
government?' K'ang asked, 'Is Ts'ze fit to be employed as an
officer of government?' and was answered, 'Ts'ze is a man of
intelligence; what difficulty would he find in being an officer of
government?' And to the same question about Ch'iu the Master gave
the same reply, saying, 'Ch'iu is a man of various ability.'
- The chief of the Chi family sent to ask Min Tsze- ch'ien to be
governor of Pi. Min Tsze-ch'ien said, 'Decline the offer for me
politely. If any one come again to me with a second invitation, I
shall be obliged to go and live on the banks of the Wan.'
- Po-niu being ill, the Master went to ask for him. He took hold
of his hand through the window, and said, 'It is killing him. It is
the appointment of Heaven, alas! That such a man should have such a
sickness! That such a man should have such a sickness!'
- The Master said, 'Admirable indeed was the virtue of Hui! With
a single bamboo dish of rice, a single gourd dish of drink, and
living in his mean narrow lane, while others could not have endured
the distress, he did not allow his joy to be affected by it.
Admirable indeed was the virtue of Hui!'
- Yen Ch'iu said, 'It is not that I do not delight in your
doctrines, but my strength is insufficient.' The Master said,
'Those whose strength is insufficient give over in the middle of
the way but now you limit yourself.'
- The Master said to Tsze-hsia, 'Do you be a scholar after the
style of the superior man, and not after that of the mean
- Tsze-yu being governor of Wu-ch'ang, the Master said to him,
'Have you got good men there?' He answered, 'There is Tan-t'ai
Mieh-ming, who never in walking takes a short cut, and never comes
to my office, excepting on public business.'
- The Master said, 'Mang Chih-fan does not boast of his merit.
Being in the rear on an occasion of flight, when they were about to
enter the gate, he whipped up his horse, saying, "It is not that I
dare to be last. My horse would not advance."'
- The Master said, 'Without the specious speech of the litanist
T'o and the beauty of the prince Chao of Sung, it is difficult to
escape in the present age.'
- The Master said, 'Who can go out but by the door? How is it
that men will not walk according to these ways?'
- The Master said, 'Where the solid qualities are in excess of
accomplishments, we have rusticity; where the accomplishments are
in excess of the solid qualities, we have the manners of a clerk.
When the accomplishments and solid qualities are equally blended,
we then have the man of virtue.'
- The Master said, 'Man is born for uprightness. If a man lose
his uprightness, and yet live, his escape from death is the effect
of mere good fortune.'
- The Master said, 'They who know the truth are not equal to
those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who
delight in it.'
- The Master said, 'To those whose talents are above mediocrity,
the highest subjects may be announced. To those who are below
mediocrity, the highest subjects may not be announced.'
- Fan Ch'ih asked what constituted wisdom. The Master said, 'To
give one's self earnestly to the duties due to men, and, while
respecting spiritual beings, to keep aloof from them, may be called
wisdom.' He asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, 'The man
of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business,
and success only a subsequent consideration;-- this may be called
- The Master said, 'The wise find pleasure in water; the virtuous
find pleasure in hills. The wise are active; the virtuous are
tranquil. The wise are joyful; the virtuous are long-lived.'
- The Master said, 'Ch'i, by one change, would come to the State
of Lu. Lu, by one change, would come to a State where true
- The Master said, 'A cornered vessel without corners.-- A
strange cornered vessel! A strange cornered vessel!'
- Tsai Wo asked, saying, 'A benevolent man, though it be told
him,-- 'There is a man in the well' will go in after him, I
suppose.' Confucius said, 'Why should he do so?' A superior man may
be made to go to the well, but he cannot be made to go down into
it. He may be imposed upon, but he cannot be fooled.'
- The Master said, 'The superior man, extensively studying all
learning, and keeping himself under the restraint of the rules of
propriety, may thus likewise not overstep what is right.'
- The Master having visited Nan-tsze, Tsze-lu was displeased, on
which the Master swore, saying, 'Wherein I have done improperly,
may Heaven reject me, may Heaven reject me!'
- The Master said, 'Perfect is the virtue which is according to
the Constant Mean! Rare for a long time has been its practise among
- Tsze-kung said, 'Suppose the case of a man extensively
conferring benefits on the people, and able to assist all, what
would you say of him? Might he be called perfectly virtuous?' The
Master said, 'Why speak only of virtue in connexion with him? Must
he not have the qualities of a sage? Even Yao and Shun were still
solicitous about this.
- 'Now the man of perfect virtue, wishing to be established
himself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged
himself, he seeks also to enlarge others.
- 'To be able to judge of others by what is nigh in ourselves;--
this may be called the art of virtue.'
Book VII. SHU R.
- The Master said, 'A transmitter and not a maker, believing in
and loving the ancients, I venture to compare myself with our old
- The Master said, 'The silent treasuring up of knowledge;
learning without satiety; and instructing others without being
wearied:-- which one of these things belongs to me?'
- The Master said, 'The leaving virtue without proper
cultivation; the not thoroughly discussing what is learned; not
being able to move towards righteousness of which a knowledge is
gained; and not being able to change what is not good:-- these are
the things which occasion me solicitude.'
- When the Master was unoccupied with business, his manner was
easy, and he looked pleased.
- The Master said, 'Extreme is my decay. For a long time, I have
not dreamed, as I was wont to do, that I saw the duke of
- The Master said, 'Let the will be set on the path of duty.
- 'Let every attainment in what is good be firmly grasped.
- 'Let perfect virtue be accorded with.
- 'Let relaxation and enjoyment be found in the polite
- The Master said, 'From the man bringing his bundle of dried
flesh for my teaching upwards, I have never refused instruction to
- The Master said, 'I do not open up the truth to one who is not
eager to get knowledge, nor help out any one who is not anxious to
explain himself. When I have presented one corner of a subject to
any one, and he cannot from it learn the other three, I do not
repeat my lesson.'
- When the Master was eating by the side of a mourner, he never
ate to the full.
- He did not sing on the same day in which he had been
- The Master said to Yen Yuan, 'When called to office, to
undertake its duties; when not so called, to lie retired;-- it is
only I and you who have attained to this.'
- Tsze-lu said, 'If you had the conduct of the armies of a great
State, whom would you have to act with you?'
- The Master said, 'I would not have him to act with me, who will
unarmed attack a tiger, or cross a river without a boat, dying
without any regret. My associate must be the man who proceeds to
action full of solicitude, who is fond of adjusting his plans, and
then carries them into execution.'
- The Master said, 'If the search for riches is sure to be
successful, though I should become a groom with whip in hand to get
them, I will do so. As the search may not be successful, I will
follow after that which I love.'
- The things in reference to which the Master exercised the
greatest caution were -- fasting, war, and sickness.
- When the Master was in Ch'i, he heard the Shao, and for three
months did not know the taste of flesh. 'I did not think'' he said,
'that music could have been made so excellent as this.'
- Yen Yu said, 'Is our Master for the ruler of Wei?' Tsze-kung
said, 'Oh! I will ask him.'
- He went in accordingly, and said, 'What sort of men were Po-i
and Shu-ch'i?' 'They were ancient worthies,' said the Master. 'Did
they have any repinings because of their course?' The Master again
replied, 'They sought to act virtuously, and they did so; what was
there for them to repine about?' On this, Tsze-kung went out and
said, 'Our Master is not for him.'
- The Master said, 'With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink,
and my bended arm for a pillow;-- I have still joy in the midst of
these things. Riches and honours acquired by unrighteousness, are
to me as a floating cloud.'
- The Master said, 'If some years were added to my life, I would
give fifty to the study of the Yi, and then I might come to be
without great faults.'
- The Master's frequent themes of discourse were-- the Odes, the
History, and the maintenance of the Rules of Propriety. On all
these he frequently discoursed.
- The Duke of Sheh asked Tsze-lu about Confucius, and Tsze-lu did
not answer him.
- The Master said, 'Why did you not say to him,-- He is simply a
man, who in his eager pursuit (of knowledge) forgets his food, who
in the joy of its attainment forgets his sorrows, and who does not
perceive that old age is coming on?'
- The Master said, 'I am not one who was born in the possession
of knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in
seeking it there.'
- The subjects on which the Master did not talk, were--
extraordinary things, feats of strength, disorder, and spiritual
- The Master said, 'When I walk along with two others, they may
serve me as my teachers. I will select their good qualities and
follow them, their bad qualities and avoid them.'
- The Master said, 'Heaven produced the virtue that is in me.
Hwan T'ui-- what can he do to me?'
- The Master said, 'Do you think, my disciples, that I have any
concealments? I conceal nothing from you. There is nothing which I
do that is not shown to you, my disciples;-- that is my way.'
- There were four things which the Master taught,-- letters,
ethics, devotion of soul, and truthfulness.
- The Master said, 'A sage it is not mine to see; could I see a
man of real talent and virtue, that would satisfy me.'
- The Master said, 'A good man it is not mine to see; could I see
a man possessed of constancy, that would satisfy me.
- 'Having not and yet affecting to have, empty and yet affecting
to be full, straitened and yet affecting to be at ease:-- it is
difficult with such characteristics to have constancy.'
- The Master angled,-- but did not use a net. He shot,-- but not
at birds perching.
- The Master said, 'There may be those who act without knowing
why. I do not do so. Hearing much and selecting what is good and
following it; seeing much and keeping it in memory:-- this is the
second style of knowledge.'
- It was difficult to talk (profitably and reputably) with the
people of Hu-hsiang, and a lad of that place having had an
interview with the Master, the disciples doubted.
- The Master said, 'I admit people's approach to me without
committing myself as to what they may do when they have retired.
Why must one be so severe? If a man purify himself to wait upon me,
I receive him so purified, without guaranteeing his past
- The Master said, 'Is virtue a thing remote? I wish to be
virtuous, and lo! virtue is at hand.'
- The minister of crime of Ch'an asked whether the duke Chao knew
propriety, and Confucius said, 'He knew propriety.'
- Confucius having retired, the minister bowed to Wu-ma Ch'i to
come forward, and said, 'I have heard that the superior man is not
a partisan. May the superior man be a partisan also? The prince
married a daughter of the house of Wu, of the same surname with
himself, and called her,-- "The elder Tsze of Wu." If the prince
knew propriety, who does not know it?'
- Wu-ma Ch'i reported these remarks, and the Master said, 'I am
fortunate! If I have any errors, people are sure to know
- When the Master was in company with a person who was singing,
if he sang well, he would make him repeat the song, while he
accompanied it with his own voice.
- The Master said, 'In letters I am perhaps equal to other men,
but the character of the superior man, carrying out in his conduct
what he professes, is what I have not yet attained to.'
- The Master said, 'The sage and the man of perfect virtue;-- how
dare I rank myself with them? It may simply be said of me, that I
strive to become such without satiety, and teach others without
weariness.' Kung-hsi Hwa said, 'This is just what we, the
disciples, cannot imitate you in.'
- The Master being very sick, Tsze-lu asked leave to pray for
him. He said, 'May such a thing be done?' Tsze-lu replied, 'It may.
In the Eulogies it is said, "Prayer has been made for thee to the
spirits of the upper and lower worlds."' The Master said, 'My
praying has been for a long time.'
- The Master said, 'Extravagance leads to insubordination, and
parsimony to meanness. It is better to be mean than to be
- The Master said, 'The superior man is satisfied and composed;
the mean man is always full of distress.'
- The Master was mild, and yet dignified; majestic, and yet not
fierce; respectful, and yet easy.
Book VIII. T'AI-PO.
- The Master said, 'T'ai-po may be said to have reached the
highest point of virtuous action. Thrice he declined the kingdom,
and the people in ignorance of his motives could not express their
approbation of his conduct.'
- The Master said, 'Respectfulness, without the rules of
propriety, becomes laborious bustle; carefulness, without the rules
of propriety, becomes timidity; boldness, without the rules of
propriety, becomes insubordination; straightforwardness, without
the rules of propriety, becomes rudeness.
- 'When those who are in high stations perform well all their
duties to their relations, the people are aroused to virtue. When
old friends are not neglected by them, the people are preserved
- The philosopher Tsang being ill, he called to him the disciples
of his school, and said, 'Uncover my feet, uncover my hands. It is
said in the Book of Poetry, "We should be apprehensive and
cautious, as if on the brink of a deep gulf, as if treading on thin
ice," and so have I been. Now and hereafter, I know my escape from
all injury to my person, O ye, my little children.'
- The philosopher Tsang being ill, Meng Chang went to ask how he
- Tsang said to him, 'When a bird is about to die, its notes are
mournful; when a man is about to die, his words are good.
- 'There are three principles of conduct which the man of high
rank should consider specially important:-- that in his deportment
and manner he keep from violence and heedlessness; that in
regulating his countenance he keep near to sincerity; and that in
his words and tones he keep far from lowness and impropriety. As to
such matters as attending to the sacrificial vessels, there are the
proper officers for them.'
- The philosopher Tsang said, 'Gifted with ability, and yet
putting questions to those who were not so; possessed of much, and
yet putting questions to those possessed of little; having, as
though he had not; full, and yet counting himself as empty;
offended against, and yet entering into no altercation; formerly I
had a friend who pursued this style of conduct.'
- The philosopher Tsang said, 'Suppose that there is an
individual who can be entrusted with the charge of a young orphan
prince, and can be commissioned with authority over a state of a
hundred li, and whom no emergency however great can drive from his
principles:-- is such a man a superior man? He is a superior man
- The philosopher Tsang said, 'The officer may not be without
breadth of mind and vigorous endurance. His burden is heavy and his
course is long.
- 'Perfect virtue is the burden which he considers it is his to
sustain;-- is it not heavy? Only with death does his course stop;--
is it not long?
- The Master said, 'It is by the Odes that the mind is
- 'It is by the Rules of Propriety that the character is
- 'It is from Music that the finish is received.'
- The Master said, 'The people may be made to follow a path of
action, but they may not be made to understand it.'
- The Master said, 'The man who is fond of daring and is
dissatisfied with poverty, will proceed to insubordination. So will
the man who is not virtuous, when you carry your dislike of him to
- The Master said, 'Though a man have abilities as admirable as
those of the Duke of Chau, yet if he be proud and niggardly, those
other things are really not worth being looked at.'
- The Master said, 'It is not easy to find a man who has learned
for three years without coming to be good.'
- The Master said, 'With sincere faith he unites the love of
learning; holding firm to death, he is perfecting the excellence of
- 'Such an one will not enter a tottering State, nor dwell in a
disorganized one. When right principles of government prevail in
the kingdom, he will show himself; when they are prostrated, he
will keep concealed.
- 'When a country is well-governed, poverty and a mean condition
are things to be ashamed of. When a country is ill- governed,
riches and honour are things to be ashamed of.'
- The Master said, 'He who is not in any particular office, has
nothing to do with plans for the administration of its
- The Master said, 'When the music master Chih first entered on
his office, the finish of the Kwan Tsu was magnificent;-- how it
filled the ears!'
- The Master said, 'Ardent and yet not upright; stupid and yet
not attentive; simple and yet not sincere:-- such persons I do not
- The Master said, 'Learn as if you could not reach your object,
and were always fearing also lest you should lose it.'
- The Master said, 'How majestic was the manner in which Shun and
Yu held possession of the empire, as if it were nothing to
- The Master said, 'Great indeed was Yao as a sovereign! How
majestic was he! It is only Heaven that is grand, and only Yao
corresponded to it. How vast was his virtue! The people could find
no name for it.
- 'How majestic was he in the works which he accomplished! How
glorious in the elegant regulations which he instituted!'
- Shun had five ministers, and the empire was well-governed.
- King Wu said, 'I have ten able ministers.'
- Confucius said, 'Is not the saying that talents are difficult
to find, true? Only when the dynasties of T'ang and Yu met, were
they more abundant than in this of Chau, yet there was a woman
among them. The able ministers were no more than nine men.
- 'King Wan possessed two of the three parts of the empire, and
with those he served the dynasty of Yin. The virtue of the house of
Chau may be said to have reached the highest point indeed.'
- The Master said, 'I can find no flaw in the character of Yu. He
used himself coarse food and drink, but displayed the utmost filial
piety towards the spirits. His ordinary garments were poor, but he
displayed the utmost elegance in his sacrificial cap and apron. He
lived in a low mean house, but expended all his strength on the
ditches and water-channels. I can find nothing like a flaw in
Book IX. TSZE HAN.
- The subjects of which the Master seldom spoke were--
profitableness, and also the appointments of Heaven, and perfect
- A man of the village of Ta-hsiang said, 'Great indeed is the
philosopher K'ung! His learning is extensive, and yet he does not
render his name famous by any particular thing.'
- The Master heard the observation, and said to his disciples,
'What shall I practise? Shall I practise charioteering, or shall I
practise archery? I will practise charioteering.'
- The Master said, 'The linen cap is that prescribed by the rules
of ceremony, but now a silk one is worn. It is economical, and I
follow the common practice.
- 'The rules of ceremony prescribe the bowing below the hall, but
now the practice is to bow only after ascending it. That is
arrogant. I continue to bow below the hall, though I oppose the
- There were four things from which the Master was entirely free.
He had no foregone conclusions, no arbitrary predeterminations, no
obstinacy, and no egoism.
- The Master was put in fear in K'wang.
- He said, 'After the death of King Wan, was not the cause of
truth lodged here in me?
- 'If Heaven had wished to let this cause of truth perish, then
I, a future mortal, should not have got such a relation to that
cause. While Heaven does not let the cause of truth perish, what
can the people of K'wang do to me?'
- A high officer asked Tsze-kung, saying, 'May we not say that
your Master is a sage? How various is his ability!'
- Tsze-kung said, 'Certainly Heaven has endowed him unlimitedly.
He is about a sage. And, moreover, his ability is various.'
- The Master heard of the conversation and said, 'Does the high
officer know me? When I was young, my condition was low, and
therefore I acquired my ability in many things, but they were mean
matters. Must the superior man have such variety of ability? He
does not need variety of ability.'
- Lao said, 'The Master said, "Having no official employment, I
acquired many arts."'
- The Master said, 'Am I indeed possessed of knowledge? I am not
knowing. But if a mean person, who appears quite empty-like, ask
anything of me, I set it forth from one end to the other, and
- The Master said, 'The FANG bird does not come; the river sends
forth no map:-- it is all over with me!'
- When the Master saw a person in a mourning dress, or any one
with the cap and upper and lower garments of full dress, or a blind
person, on observing them approaching, though they were younger
than himself, he would rise up, and if he had to pass by them, he
would do so hastily.
- Yen Yuan, in admiration of the Master's doctrines, sighed and
said, 'I looked up to them, and they seemed to become more high; I
tried to penetrate them, and they seemed to become more firm; I
looked at them before me, and suddenly they seemed to be
- 'The Master, by orderly method, skilfully leads men on. He
enlarged my mind with learning, and taught me the restraints of
- 'When I wish to give over the study of his doctrines, I cannot
do so, and having exerted all my ability, there seems something to
stand right up before me; but though I wish to follow and lay hold
of it, I really find no way to do so.'
- The Master being very ill, Tsze-lu wished the disciples to act
as ministers to him.
- During a remission of his illness, he said, 'Long has the
conduct of Yu been deceitful! By pretending to have ministers when
I have them not, whom should I impose upon? Should I impose upon
- 'Moreover, than that I should die in the hands of ministers, is
it not better that I should die in the hands of you, my disciples?
And though I may not get a great burial, shall I die upon the
- Tsze-kung said, 'There is a beautiful gem here. Should I lay it
up in a case and keep it? or should I seek for a good price and
sell it?' The Master said, 'Sell it! Sell it! But I would wait for
one to offer the price.'
- The Master was wishing to go and live among the nine wild
tribes of the east.
- Some one said, 'They are rude. How can you do such a thing?'
The Master said, 'If a superior man dwelt among them, what rudeness
would there be?'
- The Master said, 'I returned from Wei to Lu, and then the music
was reformed, and the pieces in the Royal songs and Praise songs
all found their proper places.'
- The Master said, 'Abroad, to serve the high ministers and
nobles; at home, to serve one's father and elder brothers; in all
duties to the dead, not to dare not to exert one's self; and not to
be overcome of wine:-- which one of these things do I attain
- The Master standing by a stream, said, 'It passes on just like
this, not ceasing day or night!'
- The Master said, 'I have not seen one who loves virtue as he
- The Master said, 'The prosecution of learning may be compared
to what may happen in raising a mound. If there want but one basket
of earth to complete the work, and I stop, the stopping is my own
work. It may be compared to throwing down the earth on the level
ground. Though but one basketful is thrown at a time, the advancing
with it is my own going forward.'
- The Master said, 'Never flagging when I set forth anything to
him;-- ah! that is Hui.'
- The Master said of Yen Yuan, 'Alas! I saw his constant advance.
I never saw him stop in his progress.'
- The Master said, 'There are cases in which the blade springs,
but the plant does not go on to flower! There are cases where it
flowers, but no fruit is subsequently produced!'
- The Master said, 'A youth is to be regarded with respect. How
do we know that his future will not be equal to our present? If he
reach the age of forty or fifty, and has not made himself heard of,
then indeed he will not be worth being regarded with respect.'
- The Master said, 'Can men refuse to assent to the words of
strict admonition? But it is reforming the conduct because of them
which is valuable. Can men refuse to be pleased with words of
gentle advice? But it is unfolding their aim which is valuable. If
a man be pleased with these words, but does not unfold their aim,
and assents to those, but does not reform his conduct, I can really
do nothing with him.'
- The Master said, 'Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first
principles. Have no friends not equal to yourself. When you have
faults, do not fear to abandon them.'
- The Master said, 'The commander of the forces of a large state
may be carried off, but the will of even a common man cannot be
taken from him.'
- The Master said, 'Dressed himself in a tattered robe quilted
with hemp, yet standing by the side of men dressed in furs, and not
ashamed;-- ah! it is Yu who is equal to this!
- '"He dislikes none, he covets nothing;-- what can he do but
what is good!"'
- Tsze-lu kept continually repeating these words of the ode, when
the Master said, 'Those things are by no means sufficient to
constitute (perfect) excellence.'
- The Master said, 'When the year becomes cold, then we know how
the pine and the cypress are the last to lose their leaves.'
- The Master said, 'The wise are free from perplexities; the
virtuous from anxiety; and the bold from fear.'
- The Master said, 'There are some with whom we may study in
common, but we shall find them unable to go along with us to
principles. Perhaps we may go on with them to principles, but we
shall find them unable to get established in those along with us.
Or if we may get so established along with them, we shall find them
unable to weigh occurring events along with us.'
- How the flowers of the aspen-plum flutter and turn! Do I not
think of you? But your house is distant.
- The Master said, 'It is the want of thought about it. How is it
Book X. HEANG TANG.
- Confucius, in his village, looked simple and sincere, and as if
he were not able to speak.
- When he was in the prince's ancestorial temple, or in the
court, he spoke minutely on every point, but cautiously.
- When he was waiting at court, in speaking with the great
officers of the lower grade, he spake freely, but in a
straightforward manner; in speaking with those of the higher grade,
he did so blandly, but precisely.
- When the ruler was present, his manner displayed respectful
uneasiness; it was grave, but self-possessed.
- When the prince called him to employ him in the reception of a
visitor, his countenance appeared to change, and his legs to move
forward with difficulty.
- He inclined himself to the other officers among whom he stood,
moving his left or right arm, as their position required, but
keeping the skirts of his robe before and behind evenly
- He hastened forward, with his arms like the wings of a
- When the guest had retired, he would report to the prince, 'The
visitor is not turning round any more.'
- When he entered the palace gate, he seemed to bend his body, as
if it were not sufficient to admit him.
- When he was standing, he did not occupy the middle of the
gate-way; when he passed in or out, he did not tread upon the
- When he was passing the vacant place of the prince, his
countenance appeared to change, and his legs to bend under him, and
his words came as if he hardly had breath to utter them.
- He ascended the reception hall, holding up his robe with both
his hands, and his body bent; holding in his breath also, as if he
dared not breathe.
- When he came out from the audience, as soon as he had descended
one step, he began to relax his countenance, and had a satisfied
look. When he had got to the bottom of the steps, he advanced
rapidly to his place, with his arms like wings, and on occupying
it, his manner still showed respectful uneasiness.
- When he was carrying the scepter of his ruler, he seemed to
bend his body, as if he were not able to bear its weight. He did
not hold it higher than the position of the hands in making a bow,
nor lower than their position in giving anything to another. His
countenance seemed to change, and look apprehensive, and he dragged
his feet along as if they were held by something to the
- In presenting the presents with which he was charged, he wore a
- At his private audience, he looked highly pleased.
- The superior man did not use a deep purple, or a puce colour,
in the ornaments of his dress.
- Even in his undress, he did not wear anything of a red or
- In warm weather, he had a single garment either of coarse or
fine texture, but he wore it displayed over an inner garment.
- Over lamb's fur he wore a garment of black; over fawn's fur one
of white; and over fox's fur one of yellow.
- The fur robe of his undress was long, with the right sleeve
- He required his sleeping dress to be half as long again as his
- When staying at home, he used thick furs of the fox or the
- When he put off mourning, he wore all the appendages of the
- His under-garment, except when it was required to be of the
curtain shape, was made of silk cut narrow above and wide
- He did not wear lamb's fur or a black cap, on a visit of
- On the first day of the month he put on his court robes, and
presented himself at court.
- When fasting, he thought it necessary to have his clothes
brightly clean and made of linen cloth.
- When fasting, he thought it necessary to change his food, and
also to change the place where he commonly sat in the
- He did not dislike to have his rice finely cleaned, nor to have
his minced meat cut quite small.
- He did not eat rice which had been injured by heat or damp and
turned sour, nor fish or flesh which was gone. He did not eat what
was discoloured, or what was of a bad flavour, nor anything which
was ill-cooked, or was not in season.
- He did not eat meat which was not cut properly, nor what was
served without its proper sauce.
- Though there might be a large quantity of meat, he would not
allow what he took to exceed the due proportion for the rice. It
was only in wine that he laid down no limit for himself, but he did
not allow himself to be confused by it.
- He did not partake of wine and dried meat bought in the
- He was never without ginger when he ate.
- He did not eat much.
- When he had been assisting at the prince's sacrifice, he did
not keep the flesh which he received overnight. The flesh of his
family sacrifice he did not keep over three days. If kept over
three days, people could not eat it.
- When eating, he did not converse. When in bed, he did not
- Although his food might be coarse rice and vegetable soup, he
would offer a little of it in sacrifice with a grave, respectful
- If his mat was not straight, he did not sit on it.
- When the villagers were drinking together, on those who carried
staffs going out, he went out immediately after.
- When the villagers were going through their ceremonies to drive
away pestilential influences, he put on his court robes and stood
on the eastern steps.
- When he was sending complimentary inquiries to any one in
another State, he bowed twice as he escorted the messenger
- Chi K'ang having sent him a present of physic, he bowed and
received it, saying, 'I do not know it. I dare not taste it.'
- The stable being burned down, when he was at court, on his
return he said, 'Has any man been hurt?' He did not ask about the
- When the prince sent him a gift of cooked meat, he would adjust
his mat, first taste it, and then give it away to others. When the
prince sent him a gift of undressed meat, he would have it cooked,
and offer it to the spirits of his ancestors. When the prince sent
him a gift of a living animal, he would keep it alive.
- When he was in attendance on the prince and joining in the
entertainment, the prince only sacrificed. He first tasted
- When he was ill and the prince came to visit him, he had his
head to the east, made his court robes be spread over him, and drew
his girdle across them.
- When the prince's order called him, without waiting for his
carriage to be yoked, he went at once.
- When he entered the ancestral temple of the State, he asked
- When any of his friends died, if he had no relations who could
be depended on for the necessary offices, he would say, 'I will
- When a friend sent him a present, though it might be a carriage
and horses, he did not bow.
- The only present for which he bowed was that of the flesh of
- In bed, he did not lie like a corpse. At home, he did not put
on any formal deportment.
- When he saw any one in a mourning dress, though it might be an
acquaintance, he would change countenance; when he saw any one
wearing the cap of full dress, or a blind person, though he might
be in his undress, he would salute them in a ceremonious
- To any person in mourning he bowed forward to the crossbar of
his carriage; he bowed in the same way to any one bearing the
tables of population.
- When he was at an entertainment where there was an abundance of
provisions set before him, he would change countenance and rise
- On a sudden clap of thunder, or a violent wind, he would change
- When he was about to mount his carriage, he would stand
straight, holding the cord.
- When he was in the carriage, he did not turn his head quite
round, he did not talk hastily, he did not point with his
- Seeing the countenance, it instantly rises. It flies round, and
by and by settles.
- The Master said, 'There is the hen-pheasant on the hill bridge.
At its season! At its season!' Tsze-lu made a motion to it. Thrice
it smelt him and then rose.
Book XI. HSIEN TSIN.
- The Master said, 'The men of former times, in the matters of
ceremonies and music were rustics, it is said, while the men of
these latter times, in ceremonies and music, are accomplished
- 'If I have occasion to use those things, I follow the men of
- The Master said, 'Of those who were with me in Ch'an and Ts'ai,
there are none to be found to enter my door.'
- Distinguished for their virtuous principles and practice, there
were Yen Yuan, Min Tsze-ch'ien, Zan Po-niu, and Chung-kung; for
their ability in speech, Tsai Wo and Tsze-kung; for their
administrative talents, Zan Yu and Chi Lu; for their literary
acquirements, Tsze-yu and Tsze-hsia.
- The Master said, 'Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing
that I say in which he does not delight.'
- The Master said, 'Filial indeed is Min Tsze-ch'ien! Other
people say nothing of him different from the report of his parents
- Nan Yung was frequently repeating the lines about a white
scepter stone. Confucius gave him the daughter of his elder brother
- Chi K'ang asked which of the disciples loved to learn.
Confucius replied to him, 'There was Yen Hui; he loved to learn.
Unfortunately his appointed time was short, and he died. Now there
is no one who loves to learn, as he did.'
- When Yen Yuan died, Yen Lu begged the carriage of the Master to
sell and get an outer shell for his son's coffin.
- The Master said, 'Every one calls his son his son, whether he
has talents or has not talents. There was Li; when he died, he had
a coffin but no outer shell. I would not walk on foot to get a
shell for him, because, having followed in the rear of the great
officers, it was not proper that I should walk on foot.'
- When Yen Yuan died, the Master said, 'Alas! Heaven is
destroying me! Heaven is destroying me!'
- When Yen Yuan died, the Master bewailed him exceedingly, and
the disciples who were with him said, 'Master, your grief is
- 'Is it excessive?' said he.
- 'If I am not to mourn bitterly for this man, for whom should I
- When Yen Yuan died, the disciples wished to give him a great
funeral, and the Master said, 'You may not do so.'
- The disciples did bury him in great style.
- The Master said, 'Hui behaved towards me as his father. I have
not been able to treat him as my son. The fault is not mine; it
belongs to you, O disciples.'
- Chi Lu asked about serving the spirits of the dead. The Master
said, 'While you are not able to serve men, how can you serve their
spirits?' Chi Lu added, 'I venture to ask about death?' He was
answered, 'While you do not know life, how can you know about
- The disciple Min was standing by his side, looking bland and
precise; Tsze-lu, looking bold and soldierly; Zan Yu and Tsze-kung,
with a free and straightforward manner. The Master was
- He said, 'Yu, there!-- he will not die a natural death.'
- Some parties in Lu were going to take down and rebuild the Long
- Min Tsze-ch'ien said, 'Suppose it were to be repaired after its
old style;-- why must it be altered and made anew?'
- The Master said, 'This man seldom speaks; when he does, he is
sure to hit the point.'
- The Master said, 'What has the lute of Yu to do in my
- The other disciples began not to respect Tsze-lu. The Master
said, 'Yu has ascended to the hall, though he has not yet passed
into the inner apartments.'
- Tsze-kung asked which of the two, Shih or Shang, was the
superior. The Master said, 'Shih goes beyond the due mean, and
Shang does not come up to it.'
- 'Then,' said Tsze-kung, 'the superiority is with Shih, I
- The Master said, 'To go beyond is as wrong as to fall
- The head of the Chi family was richer than the duke of Chau had
been, and yet Ch'iu collected his imposts for him, and increased
- The Master said, 'He is no disciple of mine. My little
children, beat the drum and assail him.'
- Ch'ai is simple.
- Shan is dull.
- Shih is specious.
- Yu is coarse.
- The Master said, 'There is Hui! He has nearly attained to
perfect virtue. He is often in want.
- 'Ts'ze does not acquiesce in the appointments of Heaven, and
his goods are increased by him. Yet his judgments are often
- Tsze-chang asked what were the characteristics of the GOOD man.
The Master said, 'He does not tread in the footsteps of others, but
moreover, he does not enter the chamber of the sage.'
- The Master said, 'If, because a man's discourse appears solid
and sincere, we allow him to be a good man, is he really a superior
man? or is his gravity only in appearance?'
- Tsze-lu asked whether he should immediately carry into practice
what he heard. The Master said, 'There are your father and elder
brothers to be consulted;-- why should you act on that principle of
immediately carrying into practice what you hear?' Zan Yu asked the
same, whether he should immediately carry into practice what he
heard, and the Master answered, 'Immediately carry into practice
what you hear.' Kung-hsi Hwa said, 'Yu asked whether he should
carry immediately into practice what he heard, and you said, "There
are your father and elder brothers to be consulted." Ch'iu asked
whether he should immediately carry into practice what he heard,
and you said, "Carry it immediately into practice." I, Ch'ih, am
perplexed, and venture to ask you for an explanation.' The Master
said, 'Ch'iu is retiring and slow; therefore, I urged him forward.
Yu has more than his own share of energy; therefore I kept him
- The Master was put in fear in K'wang and Yen Yuan fell behind.
The Master, on his rejoining him, said, 'I thought you had died.'
Hui replied, 'While you were alive, how should I presume to
- Chi Tsze-zan asked whether Chung Yu and Zan Ch'iu could be
called great ministers.
- The Master said, 'I thought you would ask about some
extraordinary individuals, and you only ask about Yu and
- 'What is called a great minister, is one who serves his prince
according to what is right, and when he finds he cannot do so,
- 'Now, as to Yu and Ch'iu, they may be called ordinary
- Tsze-zan said, 'Then they will always follow their chief;--
- The Master said, 'In an act of parricide or regicide, they
would not follow him.'
- Tsze-lu got Tsze-kao appointed governor of Pi.
- The Master said, 'You are injuring a man's son.'
- Tsze-lu said, 'There are (there) common people and officers;
there are the altars of the spirits of the land and grain. Why must
one read books before he can be considered to have learned?'
- The Master said, 'It is on this account that I hate your
- Tsze-lu, Tsang Hsi, Zan Yu, and Kung-hsi Hwa were sitting by
- He said to them, 'Though I am a day or so older than you, do
not think of that.
- 'From day to day you are saying, "We are not known." If some
ruler were to know you, what would you like to do?'
- Tsze-lu hastily and lightly replied, 'Suppose the case of a
State of ten thousand chariots; let it be straitened between other
large States; let it be suffering from invading armies; and to this
let there be added a famine in corn and in all vegetables:-- if I
were intrusted with the government of it, in three years' time I
could make the people to be bold, and to recognise the rules of
righteous conduct.' The Master smiled at him.
- Turning to Yen Yu, he said, 'Ch'iu, what are your wishes?'
Ch'iu replied, 'Suppose a state of sixty or seventy li square, or
one of fifty or sixty, and let me have the government of it;-- in
three years' time, I could make plenty to abound among the people.
As to teaching them the principles of propriety, and music, I must
wait for the rise of a superior man to do that.'
- 'What are your wishes, Ch'ih,' said the Master next to Kung-
hsi Hwa. Ch'ih replied, 'I do not say that my ability extends to
these things, but I should wish to learn them. At the services of
the ancestral temple, and at the audiences of the princes with the
sovereign, I should like, dressed in the dark square-made robe and
the black linen cap, to act as a small assistant.'
- Last of all, the Master asked Tsang Hsi, 'Tien, what are your
wishes?' Tien, pausing as he was playing on his lute, while it was
yet twanging, laid the instrument aside, and rose. 'My wishes,' he
said, 'are different from the cherished purposes of these three
gentlemen.' 'What harm is there in that?' said the Master; 'do you
also, as well as they, speak out your wishes.' Tien then said, 'In
this, the last month of spring, with the dress of the season all
complete, along with five or six young men who have assumed the
cap, and six or seven boys, I would wash in the I, enjoy the breeze
among the rain altars, and return home singing.' The Master heaved
a sigh and said, 'I give my approval to Tien.'
- The three others having gone out, Tsang Hsi remained behind,
and said, 'What do you think of the words of these three friends?'
The Master replied, 'They simply told each one his wishes.'
- Hsi pursued, 'Master, why did you smile at Yu?'
- He was answered, 'The management of a State demands the rules
of propriety. His words were not humble; therefore I smiled at
- Hsi again said, 'But was it not a State which Ch'iu proposed
for himself?' The reply was, 'Yes; did you ever see a territory of
sixty or seventy li or one of fifty or sixty, which was not a
- Once more, Hsi inquired, 'And was it not a State which Ch'ih
proposed for himself?' The Master again replied, 'Yes; who but
princes have to do with ancestral temples, and with audiences but
the sovereign? If Ch'ih were to be a small assistant in these
services, who could be a great one?
Book XII. YEN YUAN.
- Yen Yuan asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, 'To
subdue one's self and return to propriety, is perfect virtue. If a
man can for one day subdue himself and return to propriety, all
under heaven will ascribe perfect virtue to him. Is the practice of
perfect virtue from a man himself, or is it from others?'
- Yen Yuan said, 'I beg to ask the steps of that process.' The
Master replied, 'Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen
not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to
propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety.' Yen
Yuan then said, 'Though I am deficient in intelligence and vigour,
I will make it my business to practise this lesson.'
- Chung-kung asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, 'It is,
when you go abroad, to behave to every one as if you were receiving
a great guest; to employ the people as if you were assisting at a
great sacrifice; not to do to others as you would not wish done to
yourself; to have no murmuring against you in the country, and none
in the family.' Chung-kung said, 'Though I am deficient in
intelligence and vigour, I will make it my business to practise
- Sze-ma Niu asked about perfect virtue.
- The Master said, 'The man of perfect virtue is cautious and
slow in his speech.'
- 'Cautious and slow in his speech!' said Niu;-- 'is this what is
meant by perfect virtue?' The Master said, 'When a man feels the
difficulty of doing, can he be other than cautious and slow in
- Sze-ma Niu asked about the superior man. The Master said, 'The
superior man has neither anxiety nor fear.'
- 'Being without anxiety or fear!' said Nui;-- 'does this
constitute what we call the superior man?'
- The Master said, 'When internal examination discovers nothing
wrong, what is there to be anxious about, what is there to
- Sze-ma Niu, full of anxiety, said, 'Other men all have their
brothers, I only have not.'
- Tsze-hsia said to him, 'There is the following saying which I
- '"Death and life have their determined appointment; riches and
honours depend upon Heaven."
- 'Let the superior man never fail reverentially to order his own
conduct, and let him be respectful to others and observant of
propriety:-- then all within the four seas will be his brothers.
What has the superior man to do with being distressed because he
has no brothers?'
- Tsze-chang asked what constituted intelligence. The Master
said, 'He with whom neither slander that gradually soaks into the
mind, nor statements that startle like a wound in the flesh, are
successful, may be called intelligent indeed. Yea, he with whom
neither soaking slander, nor startling statements, are successful,
may be called farseeing.'
- Tsze-kung asked about government. The Master said, 'The
requisites of government are that there be sufficiency of food,
sufficiency of military equipment, and the confidence of the people
in their ruler.'
- Tsze-kung said, 'If it cannot be helped, and one of these must
be dispensed with, which of the three should be foregone first?'
'The military equipment,' said the Master.
- Tsze-kung again asked, 'If it cannot be helped, and one of the
remaining two must be dispensed with, which of them should be
foregone?' The Master answered, 'Part with the food. From of old,
death has been the lot of all men; but if the people have no faith
in their rulers, there is no standing for the state.'
- Chi Tsze-ch'ang said, 'In a superior man it is only the
substantial qualities which are wanted;-- why should we seek for
- Tsze-kung said, 'Alas! Your words, sir, show you to be a
superior man, but four horses cannot overtake the tongue.
- Ornament is as substance; substance is as ornament. The hide of
a tiger or a leopard stripped of its hair, is like the hide of a
dog or a goat stripped of its hair.'
- The Duke Ai inquired of Yu Zo, saying, 'The year is one of
scarcity, and the returns for expenditure are not sufficient;--
what is to be done?'
- Yu Zo replied to him, 'Why not simply tithe the people?'
- 'With two tenths, said the duke, 'I find it not enough;-- how
could I do with that system of one tenth?'
- Yu Zo answered, 'If the people have plenty, their prince will
not be left to want alone. If the people are in want, their prince
cannot enjoy plenty alone.'
- Tsze-chang having asked how virtue was to be exalted, and
delusions to be discovered, the Master said, 'Hold faithfulness and
sincerity as first principles, and be moving continually to what is
right;-- this is the way to exalt one's virtue.
- 'You love a man and wish him to live; you hate him and wish him
to die. Having wished him to live, you also wish him to die. This
is a case of delusion.
- '"It may not be on account of her being rich, yet you come to
make a difference."'
- The Duke Ching, of Ch'i, asked Confucius about government.
- Confucius replied, 'There is government, when the prince is
prince, and the minister is minister; when the father is father,
and the son is son.'
- 'Good!' said the duke; 'if, indeed; the prince be not prince,
the minister not minister, the father not father, and the son not
son, although I have my revenue, can I enjoy it?'
- The Master said, 'Ah! it is Yu, who could with half a word
- Tsze-lu never slept over a promise.
- The Master said, 'In hearing litigations, I am like any other
body. What is necessary, however, is to cause the people to have no
- Tsze-chang asked about government. The Master said, 'The art of
governing is to keep its affairs before the mind without weariness,
and to practise them with undeviating consistency.'
- The Master said, 'By extensively studying all learning, and
keeping himself under the restraint of the rules of propriety, one
may thus likewise not err from what is right.'
- The Master said, 'The superior man seeks to perfect the
admirable qualities of men, and does not seek to perfect their bad
qualities. The mean man does the opposite of this.'
- Chi K'ang asked Confucius about government. Confucius replied,
'To govern means to rectify. If you lead on the people with
correctness, who will dare not to be correct?'
- Chi K'ang, distressed about the number of thieves in the state,
inquired of Confucius how to do away with them. Confucius said, 'If
you, sir, were not covetous, although you should reward them to do
it, they would not steal.'
- Chi K'ang asked Confucius about government, saying, 'What do
you say to killing the unprincipled for the good of the
principled?' Confucius replied, 'Sir, in carrying on your
government, why should you use killing at all? Let your evinced
desires be for what is good, and the people will be good. The
relation between superiors and inferiors, is like that between the
wind and the grass. The grass must bend, when the wind blows across
- Tsze-chang asked, 'What must the officer be, who may be said to
- The Master said, 'What is it you call being
- Tsze-chang replied, 'It is to be heard of through the State, to
be heard of throughout his clan.'
- The Master said, 'That is notoriety, not distinction.
- 'Now the man of distinction is solid and straightforward, and
loves righteousness. He examines people's words, and looks at their
countenances. He is anxious to humble himself to others. Such a man
will be distinguished in the country; he will be distinguished in
- 'As to the man of notoriety, he assumes the appearance of
virtue, but his actions are opposed to it, and he rests in this
character without any doubts about himself. Such a man will be
heard of in the country; he will be heard of in the clan.'
- Fan Ch'ih rambling with the Master under the trees about the
rain altars, said, 'I venture to ask how to exalt virtue, to
correct cherished evil, and to discover delusions.'
- The Master said, 'Truly a good question!
- 'If doing what is to be done be made the first business, and
success a secondary consideration;-- is not this the way to exalt
virtue? To assail one's own wickedness and not assail that of
others;-- is not this the way to correct cherished evil? For a
morning's anger to disregard one's own life, and involve that of
his parents;-- is not this a case of delusion?'
- Fan Ch'ih asked about benevolence. The Master said, 'It is to
love all men.' He asked about knowledge. The Master said, 'It is to
know all men.'
- Fan Ch'ih did not immediately understand these answers.
- The Master said, 'Employ the upright and put aside all the
crooked;-- in this way the crooked can be made to be upright.'
- Fan Ch'ih retired, and, seeing Tsze-hsia, he said to him, 'A
Little while ago, I had an interview with our Master, and asked him
about knowledge. He said, 'Employ the upright, and put aside all
the crooked;-- in this way, the crooked will be made to be
upright.' What did he mean?'
- Tsze-hsia said, 'Truly rich is his saying!
- 'Shun, being in possession of the kingdom, selected from among
all the people, and employed Kao-yao, on which all who were devoid
of virtue disappeared. T'ang, being in possession of the kingdom,
selected from among all the people, and employed I Yin, and all who
were devoid of virtue disappeared.'
- Tsze-kung asked about friendship. The Master said, 'Faithfully
admonish your friend, and skillfully lead him on. If you find him
impracticable, stop. Do not disgrace yourself.'
- The philosopher Tsang said, 'The superior man on grounds of
culture meets with his friends, and by their friendship helps his
Book XIII. TSZE-LU.
- Tsze-lu asked about government. The Master said, 'Go before the
people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs.'
- He requested further instruction, and was answered, 'Be not
weary (in these things).'
- Chung-kung, being chief minister to the Head of the Chi family,
asked about government. The Master said, 'Employ first the services
of your various officers, pardon small faults, and raise to office
men of virtue and talents.'
- Chung-kung said, 'How shall I know the men of virtue and
talent, so that I may raise them to office?' He was answered,
'Raise to office those whom you know. As to those whom you do not
know, will others neglect them?'
- Tsze-lu said, 'The ruler of Wei has been waiting for you, in
order with you to administer the government. What will you consider
the first thing to be done?'
- The Master replied, 'What is necessary is to rectify
- 'So, indeed!' said Tsze-lu. 'You are wide of the mark! Why must
there be such rectification?'
- The Master said, 'How uncultivated you are, Yu! A superior man,
in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve.
- 'If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with
the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the
truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
- 'When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and
music will not flourish. When proprieties and music do not
flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When
punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to
move hand or foot.
- 'Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names
he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks
may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires,
is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect.'
- Fan Ch'ih requested to be taught husbandry. The Master said, 'I
am not so good for that as an old husbandman.' He requested also to
be taught gardening, and was answered, 'I am not so good for that
as an old gardener.'
- Fan Ch'ih having gone out, the Master said, 'A small man,
indeed, is Fan Hsu!
- If a superior love propriety, the people will not dare not to
be reverent. If he love righteousness, the people will not dare not
to submit to his example. If he love good faith, the people will
not dare not to be sincere. Now, when these things obtain, the
people from all quarters will come to him, bearing their children
on their backs;-- what need has he of a knowledge of
- The Master said, 'Though a man may be able to recite the three
hundred odes, yet if, when intrusted with a governmental charge, he
knows not how to act, or if, when sent to any quarter on a mission,
he cannot give his replies unassisted, notwithstanding the extent
of his learning, of what practical use is it?'
- The Master said, 'When a prince's personal conduct is correct,
his government is effective without the issuing of orders. If his
personal conduct is not correct, he may issue orders, but they will
not be followed.'
- The Master said, 'The governments of Lu and Wei are
- The Master said of Ching, a scion of the ducal family of Wei,
that he knew the economy of a family well. When he began to have
means, he said, 'Ha! here is a collection!' When they were a little
increased, he said, 'Ha! this is complete!' When he had become
rich, he said, 'Ha! this is admirable!'
- When the Master went to Wei, Zan Yu acted as driver of his
- The Master observed, 'How numerous are the people!'
- Yu said, 'Since they are thus numerous, what more shall be done
for them?' 'Enrich them,' was the reply.
- 'And when they have been enriched, what more shall be done?'
The Master said, 'Teach them.'
- The Master said, 'If there were (any of the princes) who would
employ me, in the course of twelve months, I should have done
something considerable. In three years, the government would be
- The Master said, '"If good men were to govern a country in
succession for a hundred years, they would be able to transform the
violently bad, and dispense with capital punishments." True indeed
is this saying!'
- The Master said, 'If a truly royal ruler were to arise, it
would still require a generation, and then virtue would
- The Master said, 'If a minister make his own conduct correct,
what difficulty will he have in assisting in government? If he
cannot rectify himself, what has he to do with rectifying
- The disciple Zan returning from the court, the Master said to
him, 'How are you so late?' He replied, 'We had government
business.' The Master said, 'It must have been family affairs. If
there had been government business, though I am not now in office,
I should have been consulted about it.'
- The Duke Ting asked whether there was a single sentence which
could make a country prosperous. Confucius replied, 'Such an effect
cannot be expected from one sentence.
- 'There is a saying, however, which people have-- "To be a
prince is difficult; to be a minister is not easy."
- 'If a ruler knows this,-- the difficulty of being a prince,--
may there not be expected from this one sentence the prosperity of
- The duke then said, 'Is there a single sentence which can ruin
a country?' Confucius replied, 'Such an effect as that cannot be
expected from one sentence. There is, however, the saying which
people have-- "I have no pleasure in being a prince, but only in
that no one can offer any opposition to what I say!"
- 'If a ruler's words be good, is it not also good that no one
oppose them? But if they are not good, and no one opposes them, may
there not be expected from this one sentence the ruin of his
- The Duke of Sheh asked about government.
- The Master said, 'Good government obtains, when those who are
near are made happy, and those who are far off are attracted.'
- Tsze-hsia, being governor of Chu-fu, asked about government.
The Master said, 'Do not be desirous to have things done quickly;
do not look at small advantages. Desire to have things done quickly
prevents their being done thoroughly. Looking at small advantages
prevents great affairs from being accomplished.'
- The Duke of Sheh informed Confucius, saying, 'Among us here
there are those who may be styled upright in their conduct. If
their father have stolen a sheep, they will bear witness to the
- Confucius said, 'Among us, in our part of the country, those
who are upright are different from this. The father conceals the
misconduct of the son, and the son conceals the misconduct of the
father. Uprightness is to be found in this.'
- Fan Ch'ih asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, 'It is,
in retirement, to be sedately grave; in the management of business,
to be reverently attentive; in intercourse with others, to be
strictly sincere. Though a man go among rude, uncultivated tribes,
these qualities may not be neglected.'
- Tsze-kung asked, saying, 'What qualities must a man possess to
entitle him to be called an officer? The Master said, 'He who in
his conduct of himself maintains a sense of shame, and when sent to
any quarter will not disgrace his prince's commission, deserves to
be called an officer.'
- Tsze-kung pursued, 'I venture to ask who may be placed in the
next lower rank?' And he was told, 'He whom the circle of his
relatives pronounce to be filial, whom his fellow-villagers and
neighbours pronounce to be fraternal.'
- Again the disciple asked, 'I venture to ask about the class
still next in order.' The Master said, 'They are determined to be
sincere in what they say, and to carry out what they do. They are
obstinate little men. Yet perhaps they may make the next
- Tsze-kung finally inquired, 'Of what sort are those of the
present day, who engage in government?' The Master said 'Pooh! they
are so many pecks and hampers, not worth being taken into
- The Master said, 'Since I cannot get men pursuing the due
medium, to whom I might communicate my instructions, I must find
the ardent and the cautiously-decided. The ardent will advance and
lay hold of truth; the cautiously-decided will keep themselves from
what is wrong.'
- The Master said, 'The people of the south have a saying-- "A
man without constancy cannot be either a wizard or a doctor."
- 'Inconstant in his virtue, he will be visited with
- The Master said, 'This arises simply from not attending to the
- The Master said, 'The superior man is affable, but not
adulatory; the mean man is adulatory, but not affable.'
- Tsze-kung asked, saying, 'What do you say of a man who is loved
by all the people of his neighborhood?' The Master replied, 'We may
not for that accord our approval of him.' 'And what do you say of
him who is hated by all the people of his neighborhood?' The Master
said, 'We may not for that conclude that he is bad. It is better
than either of these cases that the good in the neighborhood love
him, and the bad hate him.'
- The Master said, 'The superior man is easy to serve and
difficult to please. If you try to please him in any way which is
not accordant with right, he will not be pleased. But in his
employment of men, he uses them according to their capacity. The
mean man is difficult to serve, and easy to please. If you try to
please him, though it be in a way which is not accordant with
right, he may be pleased. But in his employment of men, he wishes
them to be equal to everything.'
- The Master said, 'The superior man has a dignified ease without
pride. The mean man has pride without a dignified ease.'
- The Master said, 'The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the
modest are near to virtue.'
- Tsze-lu asked, saying, 'What qualities must a man possess to
entitle him to be called a scholar?' The Master said, 'He must be
thus,-- earnest, urgent, and bland:-- among his friends, earnest
and urgent; among his brethren, bland.'
- The Master said, 'Let a good man teach the people seven years,
and they may then likewise be employed in war.'
- The Master said, 'To lead an uninstructed people to war, is to
throw them away.'
Book XIV. HSIEN WAN.
- Hsien asked what was shameful. The Master said, 'When good
government prevails in a state, to be thinking only of salary; and,
when bad government prevails, to be thinking, in the same way, only
of salary;-- this is shameful.'
- 'When the love of superiority, boasting, resentments, and
covetousness are repressed, this may be deemed perfect
- The Master said, 'This may be regarded as the achievement of
what is difficult. But I do not know that it is to be deemed
- The Master said, 'The scholar who cherishes the love of comfort
is not fit to be deemed a scholar.'
- The Master said, 'When good government prevails in a state,
language may be lofty and bold, and actions the same. When bad
government prevails, the actions may be lofty and bold, but the
language may be with some reserve.'
- The Master said, 'The virtuous will be sure to speak correctly,
but those whose speech is good may not always be virtuous. Men of
principle are sure to be bold, but those who are bold may not
always be men of principle.'
- Nan-kung Kwo, submitting an inquiry to Confucius, said, 'I was
skillful at archery, and Ao could move a boat along upon the land,
but neither of them died a natural death. Yu and Chi personally
wrought at the toils of husbandry, and they became possessors of
the kingdom.' The Master made no reply; but when Nan-kung Kwo went
out, he said, 'A superior man indeed is this! An esteemer of virtue
indeed is this!'
- The Master said, 'Superior men, and yet not always virtuous,
there have been, alas! But there never has been a mean man, and, at
the same time, virtuous.'
- The Master said, 'Can there be love which does not lead to
strictness with its object? Can there be loyalty which does not
lead to the instruction of its object?'
- The Master said, 'In preparing the governmental notifications,
P'i Shan first made the rough draught; Shi-shu examined and
discussed its contents; Tsze-yu, the manager of Foreign
intercourse, then polished the style; and, finally, Tsze-ch'an of
Tung-li gave it the proper elegance and finish.'
- Some one asked about Tsze-ch'an. The Master said, 'He was a
- He asked about Tsze-hsi. The Master said, 'That man! That
- He asked about Kwan Chung. 'For him,' said the Master, 'the
city of Pien, with three hundred families, was taken from the chief
of the Po family, who did not utter a murmuring word, though, to
the end of his life, he had only coarse rice to eat.'
- The Master said, 'To be poor without murmuring is difficult. To
be rich without being proud is easy.'
- The Master said, 'Mang Kung-ch'o is more than fit to be chief
officer in the families of Chao and Wei, but he is not fit to be
great officer to either of the States Tang or Hsieh.'
- Tsze-lu asked what constituted a COMPLETE man. The Master said,
'Suppose a man with the knowledge of Tsang Wu-chung, the freedom
from covetousness of Kung-ch'o, the bravery of Chwang of Pien, and
the varied talents of Zan Ch'iu; add to these the accomplishments
of the rules of propriety and music:-- such a one might be reckoned
a COMPLETE man.'
- He then added, 'But what is the necessity for a complete man of
the present day to have all these things? The man, who in the view
of gain, thinks of righteousness; who in the view of danger is
prepared to give up his life; and who does not forget an old
agreement however far back it extends:-- such a man may be reckoned
a COMPLETE man.'
- The Master asked Kung-ming Chia about Kung- shu Wan, saying,
'Is it true that your master speaks not, laughs not, and takes
- Kung-ming Chia replied, 'This has arisen from the reporters
going beyond the truth.-- My master speaks when it is the time to
speak, and so men do not get tired of his speaking. He laughs when
there is occasion to be joyful, and so men do not get tired of his
laughing. He takes when it is consistent with righteousness to do
so, and so men do not get tired of his taking.' The Master said,
'So! But is it so with him?'
- The Master said, 'Tsang Wu-chung, keeping possession of Fang,
asked of the duke of Lu to appoint a successor to him in his
family. Although it may be said that he was not using force with
his sovereign, I believe he was.'
- The Master said, 'The duke Wan of Tsin was crafty and not
upright. The duke Hwan of Ch'i was upright and not crafty.'
- Tsze-lu said, 'The Duke Hwan caused his brother Chiu to be
killed, when Shao Hu died with his master, but Kwan Chung did not
die. May not I say that he was wanting in virtue?'
- The Master said, 'The Duke Hwan assembled all the princes
together, and that not with weapons of war and chariots:-- it was
all through the influence of Kwan Chung. Whose beneficence was like
his? Whose beneficence was like his?'
- Tsze-kung said, 'Kwan Chung, I apprehend, was wanting in
virtue. When the Duke Hwan caused his brother Chiu to be killed,
Kwan Chung was not able to die with him. Moreover, he became prime
minister to Hwan.'
- The Master said, 'Kwan Chung acted as prime minister to the
Duke Hwan, made him leader of all the princes, and united and
rectified the whole kingdom. Down to the present day, the people
enjoy the gifts which he conferred. But for Kwan Chung, we should
now be wearing our hair unbound, and the lappets of our coats
buttoning on the left side.
- 'Will you require from him the small fidelity of common men and
common women, who would commit suicide in a stream or ditch, no one
knowing anything about them?'
- The great officer, Hsien, who had been family- minister to
Kung-shu Wan, ascended to the prince's court in company with
- The Master, having heard of it, said, 'He deserved to be
considered WAN (the accomplished).'
- The Master was speaking about the unprincipled course of the
duke Ling of Wei, when Ch'i K'ang said, 'Since he is of such a
character, how is it he does not lose his State?'
- Confucius said, 'The Chung-shu Yu has the superintendence of
his guests and of strangers; the litanist, T'o, has the management
of his ancestral temple; and Wang-sun Chia has the direction of the
army and forces:-- with such officers as these, how should he lose
- The Master said, 'He who speaks without modesty will find it
difficult to make his words good.'
- Chan Ch'ang murdered the Duke Chien of Ch'i.
- Confucius bathed, went to court, and informed the duke Ai,
saying, 'Chan Hang has slain his sovereign. I beg that you will
undertake to punish him.'
- The duke said, 'Inform the chiefs of the three families of
- Confucius retired, and said, 'Following in the rear of the
great officers, I did not dare not to represent such a matter, and
my prince says, "Inform the chiefs of the three families of
- He went to the chiefs, and informed them, but they would not
act. Confucius then said, 'Following in the rear of the great
officers, I did not dare not to represent such a matter.'
- Tsze-lu asked how a ruler should be served. The Master said,
'Do not impose on him, and, moreover, withstand him to his
- The Master said, 'The progress of the superior man is upwards;
the progress of the mean man is downwards.'
- The Master said, 'In ancient times, men learned with a view to
their own improvement. Now-a-days, men learn with a view to the
approbation of others.'
- Chu Po-yu sent a messenger with friendly inquiries to
- Confucius sat with him, and questioned him. 'What,' said he,
'is your master engaged in?' The messenger replied, 'My master is
anxious to make his faults few, but he has not yet succeeded.' He
then went out, and the Master said, 'A messenger indeed! A
- The Master said, 'He who is not in any particular office, has
nothing to do with plans for the administration of its
- The philosopher Tsang said, 'The superior man, in his thoughts,
does not go out of his place.'
- The Master said, 'The superior man is modest in his speech, but
exceeds in his actions.'
- The Master said, 'The way of the superior man is threefold, but
I am not equal to it. Virtuous, he is free from anxieties; wise, he
is free from perplexities; bold, he is free from fear.
- Tsze-kung said, 'Master, that is what you yourself say.'
- Tsze-kung was in the habit of comparing men together. The
Master said, 'Tsze must have reached a high pitch of excellence!
Now, I have not leisure for this.'
- The Master said, 'I will not be concerned at men's not knowing
me; I will be concerned at my own want of ability.'
- The Master said, 'He who does not anticipate attempts to
deceive him, nor think beforehand of his not being believed, and
yet apprehends these things readily (when they occur);-- is he not
a man of superior worth?'
- Wei-shang Mau said to Confucius, 'Ch'iu, how is it that you
keep roosting about? Is it not that you are an insinuating
- Confucius said, 'I do not dare to play the part of such a
talker, but I hate obstinacy.'
- The Master said, 'A horse is called a ch'i, not because of its
strength, but because of its other good qualities.'
- Some one said, 'What do you say concerning the principle that
injury should be recompensed with kindness?'
- The Master said, 'With what then will you recompense
- 'Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with
- The Master said, 'Alas! there is no one that knows me.'
- Tsze-kung said, 'What do you mean by thus saying-- that no one
knows you?' The Master replied, 'I do not murmur against Heaven. I
do not grumble against men. My studies lie low, and my penetration
rises high. But there is Heaven;-- that knows me!'
- The Kung-po Liao, having slandered Tsze-lu to Chi-sun, Tsze-fu
Ching-po informed Confucius of it, saying, 'Our master is certainly
being led astray by the Kung-po Liao, but I have still power enough
left to cut Liao off, and expose his corpse in the market and in
- The Master said, 'If my principles are to advance, it is so
ordered. If they are to fall to the ground, it is so ordered. What
can the Kung-po Liao do where such ordering is concerned?'
- The Master said, 'Some men of worth retire from the world.
- Some retire from particular states.
- Some retire because of disrespectful looks.
- Some retire because of contradictory language.'
- The Master said, 'Those who have done this are seven men.'
- Tsze-lu happening to pass the night in Shih-man, the gatekeeper
said to him, 'Whom do you come from?' Tsze-lu said, 'From Mr.
K'ung.' 'It is he,-- is it not?'-- said the other, 'who knows the
impracticable nature of the times and yet will be doing in
- The Master was playing, one day, on a musical stone in Wei,
when a man, carrying a straw basket, passed the door of the house
where Confucius was, and said, 'His heart is full who so beats the
- A little while after, he added, 'How contemptible is the
one-ideaed obstinacy those sounds display! When one is taken no
notice of, he has simply at once to give over his wish for public
employment. "Deep water must be crossed with the clothes on;
shallow water may be crossed with the clothes held up."'
- The Master said, 'How determined is he in his purpose! But this
is not difficult!'
- Tsze-chang said, 'What is meant when the Shu says that
Kao-tsung, while observing the usual imperial mourning, was for
three years without speaking?'
- The Master said, 'Why must Kao-tsung be referred to as an
example of this? The ancients all did so. When the sovereign died,
the officers all attended to their several duties, taking
instructions from the prime minister for three years.'
- The Master said, 'When rulers love to observe the rules of
propriety, the people respond readily to the calls on them for
- Tsze-lu asked what constituted the superior man. The Master
said, 'The cultivation of himself in reverential carefulness.' 'And
is this all?' said Tsze-lu. 'He cultivates himself so as to give
rest to others,' was the reply. 'And is this all?' again asked
Tsze-lu. The Master said, 'He cultivates himself so as to give rest
to all the people. He cultivates himself so as to give rest to all
the people:-- even Yao and Shun were still solicitous about
- Yuan Zang was squatting on his heels, and so waited the
approach of the Master, who said to him, 'In youth not humble as
befits a junior; in manhood, doing nothing worthy of being handed
down; and living on to old age:-- this is to be a pest.' With this
he hit him on the shank with his staff.
- A youth of the village of Ch'ueh was employed by Confucius to
carry the messages between him and his visitors. Some one asked
about him, saying, 'I suppose he has made great progress.'
- The Master said, 'I observe that he is fond of occupying the
seat of a full-grown man; I observe that he walks shoulder to
shoulder with his elders. He is not one who is seeking to make
progress in learning. He wishes quickly to become a man.'
Book XV. WEI LING KUNG.
- The Duke Ling of Wei asked Confucius about tactics. Confucius
replied, 'I have heard all about sacrificial vessels, but I have
not learned military matters.' On this, he took his departure the
- When he was in Chan, their provisions were exhausted, and his
followers became so ill that they were unable to rise.
- Tsze-lu, with evident dissatisfaction, said, 'Has the superior
man likewise to endure in this way?' The Master said, 'The superior
man may indeed have to endure want, but the mean man, when he is in
want, gives way to unbridled license.'
- The Master said, 'Ts'ze, you think, I suppose, that I am one
who learns many things and keeps them in memory?'
- Tsze-kung replied, 'Yes,-- but perhaps it is not so?'
- 'No,' was the answer; 'I seek a unity all-pervading.'
- The Master said, 'Yu, those who know virtue are few.'
- The Master said, 'May not Shun be instanced as having governed
efficiently without exertion? What did he do? He did nothing but
gravely and reverently occupy his royal seat.'
- Tsze-chang asked how a man should conduct himself, so as to be
- The Master said, 'Let his words be sincere and truthful, and
his actions honourable and careful;-- such conduct may be practised
among the rude tribes of the South or the North. If his words be
not sincere and truthful and his actions not honourable and
careful, will he, with such conduct, be appreciated, even in his
- 'When he is standing, let him see those two things, as it were,
fronting him. When he is in a carriage, let him see them attached
to the yoke. Then may he subsequently carry them into
- Tsze-chang wrote these counsels on the end of his sash.
- The Master said, 'Truly straightforward was the historiographer
Yu. When good government prevailed in his State, he was like an
arrow. When bad government prevailed, he was like an arrow.
- A superior man indeed is Chu Po-yu! When good government
prevails in his state, he is to be found in office. When bad
government prevails, he can roll his principles up, and keep them
in his breast.'
- The Master said, 'When a man may be spoken with, not to speak
to him is to err in reference to the man. When a man may not be
spoken with, to speak to him is to err in reference to our words.
The wise err neither in regard to their man nor to their
- The Master said, 'The determined scholar and the man of virtue
will not seek to live at the expense of injuring their virtue. They
will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their virtue
- Tsze-kung asked about the practice of virtue. The Master said,
'The mechanic, who wishes to do his work well, must first sharpen
his tools. When you are living in any state, take service with the
most worthy among its great officers, and make friends of the most
virtuous among its scholars.'
- Yen Yuan asked how the government of a country should be
- The Master said, 'Follow the seasons of Hsia.
- 'Ride in the state carriage of Yin.
- 'Wear the ceremonial cap of Chau.
- 'Let the music be the Shao with its pantomimes.
- Banish the songs of Chang, and keep far from specious talkers.
The songs of Chang are licentious; specious talkers are
- The Master said, 'If a man take no thought about what is
distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.'
- The Master said, 'It is all over! I have not seen one who loves
virtue as he loves beauty.'
- The Master said, 'Was not Tsang Wan like one who had stolen his
situation? He knew the virtue and the talents of Hui of Liu-hsia,
and yet did not procure that he should stand with him in
- The Master said, 'He who requires much from himself and little
from others, will keep himself from being the object of
- The Master said, 'When a man is not in the habit of saying--
"What shall I think of this? What shall I think of this?" I can
indeed do nothing with him!'
- The Master said, 'When a number of people are together, for a
whole day, without their conversation turning on righteousness, and
when they are fond of carrying out the suggestions of a small
shrewdness;-- theirs is indeed a hard case.'
- The Master said, 'The superior man in everything considers
righteousness to be essential. He performs it according to the
rules of propriety. He brings it forth in humility. He completes it
with sincerity. This is indeed a superior man.'
- The Master said, 'The superior man is distressed by his want of
ability. He is not distressed by men's not knowing him.'
- The Master said, 'The superior man dislikes the thought of his
name not being mentioned after his death.'
- The Master said, 'What the superior man seeks, is in himself.
What the mean man seeks, is in others.'
- The Master said, 'The superior man is dignified, but does not
wrangle. He is sociable, but not a partizan.'
- The Master said, 'The superior man does not promote a man
simply on account of his words, nor does he put aside good words
because of the man.'
- Tsze-kung asked, saying, 'Is there one word which may serve as
a rule of practice for all one's life?' The Master said, 'Is not
RECIPROCITY such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do
not do to others.'
- The Master said, 'In my dealings with men, whose evil do I
blame, whose goodness do I praise, beyond what is proper? If I do
sometimes exceed in praise, there must be ground for it in my
examination of the individual.
- 'This people supplied the ground why the three dynasties
pursued the path of straightforwardness.'
- The Master said, 'Even in my early days, a historiographer
would leave a blank in his text, and he who had a horse would lend
him to another to ride. Now, alas! there are no such things.'
- The Master said, 'Specious words confound virtue. Want of
forbearance in small matters confounds great plans.'
- The Master said, 'When the multitude hate a man, it is
necessary to examine into the case. When the multitude like a man,
it is necessary to examine into the case.'
- The Master said, 'A man can enlarge the principles which he
follows; those principles do not enlarge the man.'
- The Master said, 'To have faults and not to reform them,--
this, indeed, should be pronounced having faults.'
- The Master said, 'I have been the whole day without eating, and
the whole night without sleeping:-- occupied with thinking. It was
of no use. The better plan is to learn.'
- The Master said, 'The object of the superior man is truth. Food
is not his object. There is plowing;-- even in that there is
sometimes want. So with learning;-- emolument may be found in it.
The superior man is anxious lest he should not get truth; he is not
anxious lest poverty should come upon him.'
- The Master said, 'When a man's knowledge is sufficient to
attain, and his virtue is not sufficient to enable him to hold,
whatever he may have gained, he will lose again.
- 'When his knowledge is sufficient to attain, and he has virtue
enough to hold fast, if he cannot govern with dignity, the people
will not respect him.
- 'When his knowledge is sufficient to attain, and he has virtue
enough to hold fast; when he governs also with dignity, yet if he
try to move the people contrary to the rules of propriety:-- full
excellence is not reached.'
- The Master said, 'The superior man cannot be known in little
matters; but he may be intrusted with great concerns. The small man
may not be intrusted with great concerns, but he may be known in
- The Master said, 'Virtue is more to man than either water or
fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I
have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue.'
- The Master said, 'Let every man consider virtue as what
devolves on himself. He may not yield the performance of it even to
- The Master said, 'The superior man is correctly firm, and not
- The Master said, 'A minister, in serving his prince, reverently
discharges his duties, and makes his emolument a secondary
- The Master said, 'In teaching there should be no distinction of
- The Master said, 'Those whose courses are different cannot lay
plans for one another.'
- The Master said, 'In language it is simply required that it
convey the meaning.'
- The Music-master, Mien, having called upon him, when they came
to the steps, the Master said, 'Here are the steps.' When they came
to the mat for the guest to sit upon, he said, 'Here is the mat.'
When all were seated, the Master informed him, saying, 'So and so
is here; so and so is here.'
- The Music-master, Mien, having gone out, Tsze-chang asked,
saying. 'Is it the rule to tell those things to the Music-
- The Master said, 'Yes. This is certainly the rule for those who
lead the blind.'
Book XVI. KE SHE.
- The head of the Chi family was going to attack Chwan-yu.
- Zan Yu and Chi-lu had an interview with Confucius, and said,
'Our chief, Chi, is going to commence operations against
- Confucius said, 'Ch'iu, is it not you who are in fault
- 'Now, in regard to Chwan-yu, long ago, a former king appointed
its ruler to preside over the sacrifices to the eastern Mang;
moreover, it is in the midst of the territory of our State; and its
ruler is a minister in direct connexion with the sovereign:-- What
has your chief to do with attacking it?'
- Zan Yu said, 'Our master wishes the thing; neither of us two
ministers wishes it.'
- Confucius said, 'Ch'iu, there are the words of Chau Zan,--
"When he can put forth his ability, he takes his place in the ranks
of office; when he finds himself unable to do so, he retires from
it. How can he be used as a guide to a blind man, who does not
support him when tottering, nor raise him up when fallen?"
- 'And further, you speak wrongly. When a tiger or rhinoceros
escapes from his cage; when a tortoise or piece of jade is injured
in its repository:-- whose is the fault?'
- Zan Yu said, 'But at present, Chwan-yu is strong and near to
Pi; if our chief do not now take it, it will hereafter be a sorrow
to his descendants.'
- Confucius said. 'Ch'iu, the superior man hates that declining
to say-- "I want such and such a thing," and framing explanations
for the conduct.
- 'I have heard that rulers of States and chiefs of families are
not troubled lest their people should be few, but are troubled lest
they should not keep their several places; that they are not
troubled with fears of poverty, but are troubled with fears of a
want of contented repose among the people in their several places.
For when the people keep their several places, there will be no
poverty; when harmony prevails, there will be no scarcity of
people; and when there is such a contented repose, there will be no
- 'So it is.-- Therefore, if remoter people are not submissive,
all the influences of civil culture and virtue are to be cultivated
to attract them to be so; and when they have been so attracted,
they must be made contented and tranquil.
- 'Now, here are you, Yu and Ch'iu, assisting your chief. Remoter
people are not submissive, and, with your help, he cannot attract
them to him. In his own territory there are divisions and
downfalls, leavings and separations, and, with your help, he cannot
- 'And yet he is planning these hostile movements within the
State.-- I am afraid that the sorrow of the Chi-sun family will not
be on account of Chwan-yu, but will be found within the screen of
their own court.'
- Confucius said, 'When good government prevails in the empire,
ceremonies, music, and punitive military expeditions proceed from
the son of Heaven. When bad government prevails in the empire,
ceremonies, music, and punitive military expeditions proceed from
the princes. When these things proceed from the princes, as a rule,
the cases will be few in which they do not lose their power in ten
generations. When they proceed from the Great officers of the
princes, as a rule, the cases will be few in which they do not lose
their power in five generations. When the subsidiary ministers of
the great officers hold in their grasp the orders of the state, as
a rule, the cases will be few in which they do not lose their power
in three generations.
- 'When right principles prevail in the kingdom, government will
not be in the hands of the Great officers.
- 'When right principles prevail in the kingdom, there will be no
discussions among the common people.'
- Confucius said, 'The revenue of the state has left the ducal
House now for five generations. The government has been in the
hands of the Great officers for four generations. On this account,
the descendants of the three Hwan are much reduced.'
- Confucius said, 'There are three friendships which are
advantageous, and three which are injurious. Friendship with the
upright; friendship with the sincere; and friendship with the man
of much observation:-- these are advantageous. Friendship with the
man of specious airs; friendship with the insinuatingly soft; and
friendship with the glib-tongued:-- these are injurious.'
- Confucius said, 'There are three things men find enjoyment in
which are advantageous, and three things they find enjoyment in
which are injurious. To find enjoyment in the discriminating study
of ceremonies and music; to find enjoyment in speaking of the
goodness of others; to find enjoyment in having many worthy
friends:-- these are advantageous. To find enjoyment in extravagant
pleasures; to find enjoyment in idleness and sauntering; to find
enjoyment in the pleasures of feasting:-- these are
- Confucius said, 'There are three errors to which they who stand
in the presence of a man of virtue and station are liable. They may
speak when it does not come to them to speak;-- this is called
rashness. They may not speak when it comes to them to speak;-- this
is called concealment. They may speak without looking at the
countenance of their superior;-- this is called blindness.'
- Confucius said, 'There are three things which the superior man
guards against. In youth, when the physical powers are not yet
settled, he guards against lust. When he is strong and the physical
powers are full of vigor, he guards against quarrelsomeness. When
he is old, and the animal powers are decayed, he guards against
- Confucius said, 'There are three things of which the superior
man stands in awe. He stands in awe of the ordinances of Heaven. He
stands in awe of great men. He stands in awe of the words of
- 'The mean man does not know the ordinances of Heaven, and
consequently does not stand in awe of them. He is disrespectful to
great men. He makes sport of the words of sages.'
- Confucius said, 'Those who are born with the possession of
knowledge are the highest class of men. Those who learn, and so,
readily, get possession of knowledge, are the next. Those who are
dull and stupid, and yet compass the learning, are another class
next to these. As to those who are dull and stupid and yet do not
learn;-- they are the lowest of the people.'
- Confucius said, 'The superior man has nine things which are
subjects with him of thoughtful consideration. In regard to the use
of his eyes, he is anxious to see clearly. In regard to the use of
his ears, he is anxious to hear distinctly. In regard to his
countenance, he is anxious that it should be benign. In regard to
his demeanor, he is anxious that it should be respectful. In regard
to his speech, he is anxious that it should be sincere. In regard
to his doing of business, he is anxious that it should be
reverently careful. In regard to what he doubts about, he is
anxious to question others. When he is angry, he thinks of the
difficulties (his anger may involve him in). When he sees gain to
be got, he thinks of righteousness.'
- Confucius said, 'Contemplating good, and pursuing it, as if
they could not reach it; contemplating evil, and shrinking from it,
as they would from thrusting the hand into boiling water:-- I have
seen such men, as I have heard such words.
- 'Living in retirement to study their aims, and practising
righteousness to carry out their principles:-- I have heard these
words, but I have not seen such men.'
- The duke Ching of Ch'i had a thousand teams, each of four
horses, but on the day of his death, the people did not praise him
for a single virtue. Po-i and Shu-ch'i died of hunger at the foot
of the Shau-yang mountain, and the people, down to the present
time, praise them.
- 'Is not that saying illustrated by this?'
- Ch'an K'ang asked Po-yu, saying, 'Have you heard any lessons
from your father different from what we have all heard?'
- Po-yu replied, 'No. He was standing alone once, when I passed
below the hall with hasty steps, and said to me, "Have you learned
the Odes?" On my replying "Not yet," he added, "If you do not learn
the Odes, you will not be fit to converse with." I retired and
studied the Odes.
- 'Another day, he was in the same way standing alone, when I
passed by below the hall with hasty steps, and said to me, 'Have
you learned the rules of Propriety?' On my replying 'Not yet,' he
added, 'If you do not learn the rules of Propriety, your character
cannot be established.' I then retired, and learned the rules of
- 'I have heard only these two things from him.'
- Ch'ang K'ang retired, and, quite delighted, said, 'I asked one
thing, and I have got three things. I have heard about the Odes. I
have heard about the rules of Propriety. I have also heard that the
superior man maintains a distant reserve towards his son.'
- The wife of the prince of a state is called by him FU ZAN. She
calls herself HSIAO T'UNG. The people of the State call her CHUN FU
ZAN, and, to the people of other States, they call her K'WA HSIAO
CHUN. The people of other states also call her CHUN FU ZAN.
Book XVII. YANG HO.
- Yang Ho wished to see Confucius, but Confucius would not go to
see him. On this, he sent a present of a pig to Confucius, who,
having chosen a time when Ho was not at home, went to pay his
respects for the gift. He met him, however, on the way.
- Ho said to Confucius, 'Come, let me speak with you.' He then
asked, 'Can he be called benevolent who keeps his jewel in his
bosom, and leaves his country to confusion?' Confucius replied,
'No.' 'Can he be called wise, who is anxious to be engaged in
public employment, and yet is constantly losing the opportunity of
being so?' Confucius again said, 'No.' 'The days and months are
passing away; the years do not wait for us.' Confucius said,
'Right; I will go into office.'
- The Master said, 'By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice,
they get to be wide apart.'
- The Master said, 'There are only the wise of the highest class,
and the stupid of the lowest class, who cannot be changed.'
- The Master, having come to Wu-ch'ang, heard there the sound of
stringed instruments and singing.
- Well pleased and smiling, he said, 'Why use an ox knife to kill
- Tsze-yu replied, 'Formerly, Master, I heard you say,-- "When
the man of high station is well instructed, he loves men; when the
man of low station is well instructed, he is easily ruled."'
- The Master said, 'My disciples, Yen's words are right. What I
said was only in sport.'
- Kung-shan Fu-zao, when he was holding Pi, and in an attitude of
rebellion, invited the Master to visit him, who was rather inclined
- Tsze-lu was displeased, and said, 'Indeed, you cannot go! Why
must you think of going to see Kung-shan?'
- The Master said, 'Can it be without some reason that he has
invited ME? If any one employ me, may I not make an eastern
- Tsze-chang asked Confucius about perfect virtue. Confucius
said, 'To be able to practise five things everywhere under heaven
constitutes perfect virtue.' He begged to ask what they were, and
was told, 'Gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and
kindness. If you are grave, you will not be treated with
disrespect. If you are generous, you will win all. If you are
sincere, people will repose trust in you. If you are earnest, you
will accomplish much. If you are kind, this will enable you to
employ the services of others.
- Pi Hsi inviting him to visit him, the Master was inclined to
- Tsze-lu said, 'Master, formerly I have heard you say, "When a
man in his own person is guilty of doing evil, a superior man will
not associate with him." Pi Hsi is in rebellion, holding possession
of Chung-mau; if you go to him, what shall be said?'
- The Master said, 'Yes, I did use these words. But is it not
said, that, if a thing be really hard, it may be ground without
being made thin? Is it not said, that, if a thing be really white,
it may be steeped in a dark fluid without being made black?
- 'Am I a bitter gourd! How can I be hung up out of the way of
- The Master said, 'Yu, have you heard the six words to which are
attached six becloudings?' Yu replied, 'I have not.'
- 'Sit down, and I will tell them to you.
- 'There is the love of being benevolent without the love of
learning;-- the beclouding here leads to a foolish simplicity.
There is the love of knowing without the love of learning;-- the
beclouding here leads to dissipation of mind. There is the love of
being sincere without the love of learning;-- the beclouding here
leads to an injurious disregard of consequences. There is the love
of straightforwardness without the love of learning;-- the
beclouding here leads to rudeness. There is the love of boldness
without the love of learning;-- the beclouding here leads to
insubordination. There is the love of firmness without the love of
learning;-- the beclouding here leads to extravagant conduct.'
- The Master said, 'My children, why do you not study the Book of
- 'The Odes serve to stimulate the mind.
- 'They may be used for purposes of self-contemplation.
- 'They teach the art of sociability.
- 'They show how to regulate feelings of resentment.
- 'From them you learn the more immediate duty of serving one's
father, and the remoter one of serving one's prince.
- 'From them we become largely acquainted with the names of
birds, beasts, and plants.'
- The Master said to Po-yu, 'Do you give yourself to the Chau-nan
and the Shao-nan. The man who has not studied the Chau-nan and the
Shao-nan, is like one who stands with his face right against a
wall. Is he not so?'
- The Master said, '"It is according to the rules of propriety,"
they say.-- "It is according to the rules of propriety," they say.
Are gems and silk all that is meant by propriety? "It is music,"
they say.-- "It is music," they say. Are bells and drums all that
is meant by music?'
- The Master said, 'He who puts on an appearance of stern
firmness, while inwardly he is weak, is like one of the small, mean
people;-- yea, is he not like the thief who breaks through, or
climbs over, a wall?'
- The Master said, 'Your good, careful people of the villages are
the thieves of virtue.'
- The Master said, 'To tell, as we go along, what we have heard
on the way, is to cast away our virtue.'
- The Master said, 'There are those mean creatures! How
impossible it is along with them to serve one's prince!
- 'While they have not got their aims, their anxiety is how to
get them. When they have got them, their anxiety is lest they
should lose them.
- 'When they are anxious lest such things should be lost, there
is nothing to which they will not proceed.'
- The Master said, 'Anciently, men had three failings, which now
perhaps are not to be found.
- 'The high-mindedness of antiquity showed itself in a disregard
of small things; the high-mindedness of the present day shows
itself in wild license. The stern dignity of antiquity showed
itself in grave reserve; the stern dignity of the present day shows
itself in quarrelsome perverseness. The stupidity of antiquity
showed itself in straightforwardness; the stupidity of the present
day shows itself in sheer deceit.'
- The Master said, 'Fine words and an insinuating appearance are
seldom associated with virtue.'
- The Master said, 'I hate the manner in which purple takes away
the luster of vermilion. I hate the way in which the songs of Chang
confound the music of the Ya. I hate those who with their sharp
mouths overthrow kingdoms and families.'
- The Master said, 'I would prefer not speaking.'
- Tsze-kung said, 'If you, Master, do not speak, what shall we,
your disciples, have to record?'
- The Master said, 'Does Heaven speak? The four seasons pursue
their courses, and all things are continually being produced, but
does Heaven say anything?'
- Zu Pei wished to see Confucius, but Confucius declined, on the
ground of being sick, to see him. When the bearer of this message
went out at the door, (the Master) took his lute and sang to it, in
order that Pei might hear him.
- Tsai Wo asked about the three years' mourning for parents,
saying that one year was long enough.
- 'If the superior man,' said he, 'abstains for three years from
the observances of propriety, those observances will be quite lost.
If for three years he abstains from music, music will be
- 'Within a year the old grain is exhausted, and the new grain
has sprung up, and, in procuring fire by friction, we go through
all the changes of wood for that purpose. After a complete year,
the mourning may stop.'
- The Master said, 'If you were, after a year, to eat good rice,
and wear embroidered clothes, would you feel at ease?' 'I should,'
- The Master said, 'If you can feel at ease, do it. But a
superior man, during the whole period of mourning, does not enjoy
pleasant food which he may eat, nor derive pleasure from music
which he may hear. He also does not feel at ease, if he is
comfortably lodged. Therefore he does not do what you propose. But
now you feel at ease and may do it.'
- Tsai Wo then went out, and the Master said, 'This shows Yu's
want of virtue. It is not till a child is three years old that it
is allowed to leave the arms of its parents. And the three years'
mourning is universally observed throughout the empire. Did Yu
enjoy the three years' love of his parents?'
- The Master said, 'Hard is it to deal with him, who will stuff
himself with food the whole day, without applying his mind to
anything good! Are there not gamesters and chess players? To be one
of these would still be better than doing nothing at all.'
- Tsze-lu said, 'Does the superior man esteem valour?' The Master
said, 'The superior man holds righteousness to be of highest
importance. A man in a superior situation, having valour without
righteousness, will be guilty of insubordination; one of the lower
people having valour without righteousness, will commit
- Tsze-kung said, 'Has the superior man his hatreds also?' The
Master said, 'He has his hatreds. He hates those who proclaim the
evil of others. He hates the man who, being in a low station,
slanders his superiors. He hates those who have valour merely, and
are unobservant of propriety. He hates those who are forward and
determined, and, at the same time, of contracted
- The Master then inquired, 'Ts'ze, have you also your hatreds?'
Tsze-kung replied, 'I hate those who pry out matters, and ascribe
the knowledge to their wisdom. I hate those who are only not
modest, and think that they are valourous. I hate those who make
known secrets, and think that they are straightforward.'
- The Master said, 'Of all people, girls and servants are the
most difficult to behave to. If you are familiar with them, they
lose their humility. If you maintain a reserve towards them, they
- The Master said, 'When a man at forty is the object of dislike,
he will always continue what he is.'
Book XVIII. WEI TSZE.
- The Viscount of Wei withdrew from the court. The Viscount of
Chi became a slave to Chau. Pi-kan remonstrated with him and
- Confucius said, 'The Yin dynasty possessed these three men of
- Hui of Liu-hsia being chief criminal judge, was thrice
dismissed from his office. Some one said to him, 'Is it not yet
time for you, sir, to leave this?' He replied, 'Serving men in an
upright way, where shall I go to, and not experience such a thrice-
repeated dismissal? If I choose to serve men in a crooked way, what
necessity is there for me to leave the country of my parents?'
- The duke Ching of Ch'i, with reference to the manner in which
he should treat Confucius, said, 'I cannot treat him as I would the
chief of the Chi family. I will treat him in a manner between that
accorded to the chief of the Chi, and that given to the chief of
the Mang family.' He also said, 'I am old; I cannot use his
doctrines.' Confucius took his departure.
- The people of Ch'i sent to Lu a present of female musicians,
which Chi Hwan received, and for three days no court was held.
Confucius took his departure.
- The madman of Ch'u, Chieh-yu, passed by Confucius, singing and
saying, 'O FANG! O FANG! How is your virtue degenerated! As to the
past, reproof is useless; but the future may still be provided
against. Give up your vain pursuit. Give up your vain pursuit.
Peril awaits those who now engage in affairs of government.'
- Confucius alighted and wished to converse with him, but
Chieh-yu hastened away, so that he could not talk with him.
- Ch'ang-tsu and Chieh-ni were at work in the field together,
when Confucius passed by them, and sent Tsze-lu to inquire for the
- Ch'ang-tsu said, 'Who is he that holds the reins in the
carriage there?' Tsze-lu told him, 'It is K'ung Ch'iu.' 'Is it not
K'ung Ch'iu of Lu?' asked he. 'Yes,' was the reply, to which the
other rejoined, 'He knows the ford.'
- Tsze-lu then inquired of Chieh-ni, who said to him, 'Who are
you, sir?' He answered, 'I am Chung Yu.' 'Are you not the disciple
of K'ung Ch'iu of Lu?' asked the other. 'I am,' replied he, and
then Chieh-ni said to him, 'Disorder, like a swelling flood,
spreads over the whole empire, and who is he that will change its
state for you? Than follow one who merely withdraws from this one
and that one, had you not better follow those who have withdrawn
from the world altogether?' With this he fell to covering up the
seed, and proceeded with his work, without stopping.
- Tsze-lu went and reported their remarks, when the Master
observed with a sigh, 'It is impossible to associate with birds and
beasts, as if they were the same with us. If I associate not with
these people,-- with mankind,-- with whom shall I associate? If
right principles prevailed through the empire, there would be no
use for me to change its state.'
- Tsze-lu, following the Master, happened to fall behind, when he
met an old man, carrying across his shoulder on a staff a basket
for weeds. Tsze-lu said to him, 'Have you seen my master, sir!' The
old man replied, 'Your four limbs are unaccustomed to toil; you
cannot distinguish the five kinds of grain:-- who is your master?'
With this, he planted his staff in the ground, and proceeded to
- Tsze-lu joined his hands across his breast, and stood before
- The old man kept Tsze-lu to pass the night in his house, killed
a fowl, prepared millet, and feasted him. He also introduced to him
his two sons.
- Next day, Tsze-lu went on his way, and reported his adventure.
The Master said, 'He is a recluse,' and sent Tsze-lu back to see
him again, but when he got to the place, the old man was gone.
- Tsze-lu then said to the family, 'Not to take office is not
righteous. If the relations between old and young may not be
neglected, how is it that he sets aside the duties that should be
observed between sovereign and minister? Wishing to maintain his
personal purity, he allows that great relation to come to
confusion. A superior man takes office, and performs the righteous
duties belonging to it. As to the failure of right principles to
make progress, he is aware of that.'
- The men who have retired to privacy from the world have been
Po-i, Shu-ch'i, Yu-chung, I-yi, Chu-chang, Hui of Liu-hsia, and
- The Master said, 'Refusing to surrender their wills, or to
submit to any taint in their persons;-- such, I think, were Po-i
- 'It may be said of Hui of Liu-hsia, and of Shao-lien, that they
surrendered their wills, and submitted to taint in their persons,
but their words corresponded with reason, and their actions were
such as men are anxious to see. This is all that is to be remarked
- 'It may be said of Yu-chung and I-yi, that, while they hid
themselves in their seclusion, they gave a license to their words;
but, in their persons, they succeeded in preserving their purity,
and, in their retirement, they acted according to the exigency of
- 'I am different from all these. I have no course for which I am
predetermined, and no course against which I am
- The grand music master, Chih, went to Ch'i.
- Kan, the master of the band at the second meal, went to Ch'u.
Liao, the band master at the third meal, went to Ts'ai. Chueh, the
band master at the fourth meal, went to Ch'in.
- Fang-shu, the drum master, withdrew to the north of the
- Wu, the master of the hand drum, withdrew to the Han.
- Yang, the assistant music master, and Hsiang, master of the
musical stone, withdrew to an island in the sea.
- The duke of Chau addressed his son, the duke of Lu, saying,
'The virtuous prince does not neglect his relations. He does not
cause the great ministers to repine at his not employing them.
Without some great cause, he does not dismiss from their offices
the members of old families. He does not seek in one man talents
for every employment.'
- To Chau belonged the eight officers, Po-ta, Po- kwo, Chung-tu,
Chung-hwu, Shu-ya, Shu-hsia, Chi-sui, and Chi-kwa.
Book XIX. TSZE-CHANG.
- Tsze-chang said, 'The scholar, trained for public duty, seeing
threatening danger, is prepared to sacrifice his life. When the
opportunity of gain is presented to him, he thinks of
righteousness. In sacrificing, his thoughts are reverential. In
mourning, his thoughts are about the grief which he should feel.
Such a man commands our approbation indeed.'
- Tsze-chang said, 'When a man holds fast to virtue, but without
seeking to enlarge it, and believes right principles, but without
firm sincerity, what account can be made of his existence or
- The disciples of Tsze-hsia asked Tsze-chang about the
principles that should characterize mutual intercourse. Tsze- chang
asked, 'What does Tsze-hsia say on the subject?' They replied,
'Tsze-hsia says:-- "Associate with those who can advantage you. Put
away from you those who cannot do so."' Tsze-chang observed, 'This
is different from what I have learned. The superior man honours the
talented and virtuous, and bears with all. He praises the good, and
pities the incompetent. Am I possessed of great talents and
virtue?-- who is there among men whom I will not bear with? Am I
devoid of talents and virtue?-- men will put me away from them.
What have we to do with the putting away of others?'
- Tsze-hsia said, 'Even in inferior studies and employments there
is something worth being looked at; but if it be attempted to carry
them out to what is remote, there is a danger of their proving
inapplicable. Therefore, the superior man does not practise
- Tsze-hsia said, 'He, who from day to day recognises what he has
not yet, and from month to month does not forget what he has
attained to, may be said indeed to love to learn.'
- Tsze-hsia said, 'There are learning extensively, and having a
firm and sincere aim; inquiring with earnestness, and reflecting
with self-application:-- virtue is in such a course.'
- Tsze-hsia said, 'Mechanics have their shops to dwell in, in
order to accomplish their works. The superior man learns, in order
to reach to the utmost of his principles.'
- Tsze-hsia said, 'The mean man is sure to gloss his
- Tsze-hsia said, 'The superior man undergoes three changes.
Looked at from a distance, he appears stern; when approached, he is
mild; when he is heard to speak, his language is firm and
- Tsze-hsia said, 'The superior man, having obtained their
confidence, may then impose labours on his people. If he have not
gained their confidence, they will think that he is oppressing
them. Having obtained the confidence of his prince, one may then
remonstrate with him. If he have not gained his confidence, the
prince will think that he is vilifying him.'
- Tsze-hsia said, 'When a person does not transgress the boundary
line in the great virtues, he may pass and repass it in the small
- Tsze-yu said, 'The disciples and followers of Tsze-hsia, in
sprinkling and sweeping the ground, in answering and replying, in
advancing and receding, are sufficiently accomplished. But these
are only the branches of learning, and they are left ignorant of
what is essential.-- How can they be acknowledged as sufficiently
- Tsze-hsia heard of the remark and said, 'Alas! Yen Yu is wrong.
According to the way of the superior man in teaching, what
departments are there which he considers of prime importance, and
delivers? what are there which he considers of secondary
importance, and allows himself to be idle about? But as in the case
of plants, which are assorted according to their classes, so he
deals with his disciples. How can the way of a superior man be such
as to make fools of any of them? Is it not the sage alone, who can
unite in one the beginning and the consummation of learning?'
- Tsze-hsia said, 'The officer, having discharged all his duties,
should devote his leisure to learning. The student, having
completed his learning, should apply himself to be an
- Tsze-hsia said, 'Mourning, having been carried to the utmost
degree of grief, should stop with that.'
- Tsze-hsia said, 'My friend Chang can do things which are hard
to be done, but yet he is not perfectly virtuous.'
- The philosopher Tsang said, 'How imposing is the manner of
Chang! It is difficult along with him to practise virtue.'
- The philosopher Tsang said, 'I heard this from our Master:--
"Men may not have shown what is in them to the full extent, and yet
they will be found to do so, on occasion of mourning for their
- The philosopher Tsang said, 'I have heard this from our
Master:-- "The filial piety of Mang Chwang, in other matters, was
what other men are competent to, but, as seen in his not changing
the ministers of his father, nor his father's mode of government,
it is difficult to be attained to."'
- The chief of the Mang family having appointed Yang Fu to be
chief criminal judge, the latter consulted the philosopher Tsang.
Tsang said, 'The rulers have failed in their duties, and the people
consequently have been disorganised, for a long time. When you have
found out the truth of any accusation, be grieved for and pity
them, and do not feel joy at your own ability.'
- Tsze-kung said, 'Chau's wickedness was not so great as that
name implies. Therefore, the superior man hates to dwell in a
low-lying situation, where all the evil of the world will flow in
- Tsze-kung said, 'The faults of the superior man are like the
eclipses of the sun and moon. He has his faults, and all men see
them; he changes again, and all men look up to him.'
- Kung-sun Ch'ao of Wei asked Tsze-kung, saying, 'From whom did
Chung-ni get his learning?'
- Tsze-kung replied, 'The doctrines of Wan and Wu have not yet
fallen to the ground. They are to be found among men. Men of
talents and virtue remember the greater principles of them, and
others, not possessing such talents and virtue, remember the
smaller. Thus, all possess the doctrines of Wan and Wu. Where could
our Master go that he should not have an opportunity of learning
them? And yet what necessity was there for his having a regular
- Shu-sun Wu-shu observed to the great officers in the court,
saying, 'Tsze-kung is superior to Chung-ni.'
- Tsze-fu Ching-po reported the observation to Tsze-kung, who
said, 'Let me use the comparison of a house and its encompassing
wall. My wall only reaches to the shoulders. One may peep over it,
and see whatever is valuable in the apartments.
- 'The wall of my Master is several fathoms high. If one do not
find the door and enter by it, he cannot see the ancestral temple
with its beauties, nor all the officers in their rich array.
- 'But I may assume that they are few who find the door. Was not
the observation of the chief only what might have been
- Shu-sun Wu-shu having spoken revilingly of Chung-ni, Tsze-kung
said, 'It is of no use doing so. Chung-ni cannot be reviled. The
talents and virtue of other men are hillocks and mounds which may
be stepped over. Chung-ni is the sun or moon, which it is not
possible to step over. Although a man may wish to cut himself off
from the sage, what harm can he do to the sun or moon? He only
shows that he does not know his own capacity.
- Ch'an Tsze-ch'in, addressing Tsze-kung, said, 'You are too
modest. How can Chung-ni be said to be superior to you?'
- Tsze-kung said to him, 'For one word a man is often deemed to
be wise, and for one word he is often deemed to be foolish. We
ought to be careful indeed in what we say.
- 'Our Master cannot be attained to, just in the same way as the
heavens cannot be gone up to by the steps of a stair.
- 'Were our Master in the position of the ruler of a State or the
chief of a Family, we should find verified the description which
has been given of a sage's rule:-- he would plant the people, and
forthwith they would be established; he would lead them on, and
forthwith they would follow him; he would make them happy, and
forthwith multitudes would resort to his dominions; he would
stimulate them, and forthwith they would be harmonious. While he
lived, he would be glorious. When he died, he would be bitterly
lamented. How is it possible for him to be attained to?'
Book XX. YAO YUEH.
- Yao said, 'Oh! you, Shun, the Heaven-determined order of
succession now rests in your person. Sincerely hold fast the due
Mean. If there shall be distress and want within the four seas, the
Heavenly revenue will come to a perpetual end.'
- Shun also used the same language in giving charge to Yu.
- T'ang said, 'I the child Li, presume to use a dark-coloured
victim, and presume to announce to Thee, O most great and sovereign
God, that the sinner I dare not pardon, and thy ministers, O God, I
do not keep in obscurity. The examination of them is by thy mind, O
God. If, in my person, I commit offences, they are not to be
attributed to you, the people of the myriad regions. If you in the
myriad regions commit offences, these offences must rest on my
- Chau conferred great gifts, and the good were enriched.
- 'Although he has his near relatives, they are not equal to my
virtuous men. The people are throwing blame upon me, the One
- He carefully attended to the weights and measures, examined the
body of the laws, restored the discarded officers, and the good
government of the kingdom took its course.
- He revived States that had been extinguished, restored families
whose line of succession had been broken, and called to office
those who had retired into obscurity, so that throughout the
kingdom the hearts of the people turned towards him.
- What he attached chief importance to, were the food of the
people, the duties of mourning, and sacrifices.
- By his generosity, he won all. By his sincerity, he made the
people repose trust in him. By his earnest activity, his
achievements were great. By his justice, all were delighted.
- Tsze-chang asked Confucius, saying, 'In what way should a
person in authority act in order that he may conduct government
properly?' The Master replied, 'Let him honour the five excellent,
and banish away the four bad, things;-- then may he conduct
government properly.' Tsze-chang said, 'What are meant by the five
excellent things?' The Master said, 'When the person in authority
is beneficent without great expenditure; when he lays tasks on the
people without their repining; when he pursues what he desires
without being covetous; when he maintains a dignified ease without
being proud; when he is majestic without being fierce.'
- Tsze-chang said, 'What is meant by being beneficent without
great expenditure?' The Master replied, 'When the person in
authority makes more beneficial to the people the things from which
they naturally derive benefit;-- is not this being beneficent
without great expenditure? When he chooses the labours which are
proper, and makes them labour on them, who will repine? When his
desires are set on benevolent government, and he secures it, who
will accuse him of covetousness? Whether he has to do with many
people or few, or with things great or small, he does not dare to
indicate any disrespect;-- is not this to maintain a dignified ease
without any pride? He adjusts his clothes and cap, and throws a
dignity into his looks, so that, thus dignified, he is looked at
with awe;-- is not this to be majestic without being fierce?'
- Tsze-chang then asked, 'What are meant by the four bad things?'
The Master said, 'To put the people to death without having
instructed them;-- this is called cruelty. To require from them,
suddenly, the full tale of work, without having given them
warning;-- this is called oppression. To issue orders as if without
urgency, at first, and, when the time comes, to insist on them with
severity;-- this is called injury. And, generally, in the giving
pay or rewards to men, to do it in a stingy way;-- this is called
acting the part of a mere official.'
- The Master said, 'Without recognising the ordinances of Heaven,
it is impossible to be a superior man.
- 'Without an acquaintance with the rules of Propriety, it is
impossible for the character to be established.
- 'Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know