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The Master "Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance
"Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant quarters?
"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 benevolent
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 practiced 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 studies."
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 has.
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
The philosopher Yu said, "In practicing 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
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
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 sequence."
The Master said, "I will not be afflicted at men's not knowing me;
I will be afflicted that I do not know men."
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 learning.
"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 truth.
"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 being
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
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 nowadays 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
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 others."
The Master said, "The accomplished scholar is not a utensil."
Tsze-kung asked what constituted the superior man. The Master said,
"He acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his
The Master said, "The superior man is catholic and not partisan. The
mean man is partisan and not catholic."
The Master said, "Learning without thought is labor lost; thought
without learning is perilous."
The Master said, "The study of strange doctrines is injurious indeed!"
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 knowledge."
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 not submit."
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 final 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 virtuous."
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 final, 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 crossbar
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 known.
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 courage."
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 Yungode, 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 three families?"
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 music?"
Lin Fang asked what was the first thing to be attended to in ceremonies.
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 in 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
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
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 colors?'"
The Master said, "The business of laying on the colors 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 palm.
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 then to the southwest corner?'"
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 follow Chau."
The Master, when he entered the grand temple, asked about everything.
Some one said, "Who 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
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 month.
The Master said, "Ts'ze, you love the sheep; I love the ceremony."
The Master said, "The full observance of the rules of propriety in
serving one's prince is accounted by people to be flattery."
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 faithfulness."
The Master said, "The Kwan Tsu is expressive of enjoyment without
being licentious, and of grief without being hurtfully excessive."
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 to blame."
The Master said, "Small indeed was the capacity of Kwan Chung!"
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 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 ways?"
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 desire virtue."
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
The Master said, "Riches and honors are what men desire. If they cannot
be obtained in the proper way, they should not be held. Poverty and
meanness are what men dislike. If they cannot be avoided in the proper
way, they should not be avoided.
"If a superior man abandon virtue, how can he fulfill 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 practice
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 insufficient.
"Should there possibly be any such case, I have not seen it."
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 hear 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 discoursed with."
The Master said, "The superior man, in the world, does not set his
mind either for anything, or against anything; what is right he will
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 favors 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, "If 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 known."
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 gain."
The Master said, "When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling
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 fear."
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 practices
it will have neighbors."
Tsze-yu said, "In serving a prince, frequent remonstrances lead to
disgrace. Between friends, frequent reproofs make the friendship distant."
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 in 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 utensil."
Some one said, "Yung is truly virtuous, but he is not ready with his
The Master said, "What is the good of being ready with the tongue?
They who encounter men with smartness 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 an 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 perfectly
"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 perfectly
The Master said to Tsze-kung, "Which do you consider superior, yourself
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
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 him?"
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
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 heard."
When Tsze-lu heard anything, if he had not yet succeeded in carrying
it into practice, he was only afraid lest he should hear something
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "On what ground did Kung-wan get that title
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 superior, he was respectful; in nourishing the people, he was
kind; in ordering the people, he was just."
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
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
The Master said, "Who says of Weishang 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
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 clothes, 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 honorable and sincere as I am, but not so fond of learning."
The Master said, "There is Yung!-He might occupy the place of a prince."
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 easymode of procedure excessive?"
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
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 a yi," said the Master. Yen gave her five ping.
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 homed, although men may not wish to use it, would the
spirits of the mountains and rivers put it aside?"
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 more."
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 Tszech'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
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 man."
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 Miehming,
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
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 perfect virtue."
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 principles
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 practice among the
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 connection with him? Must he not have the
qualities of a sage? Even Yao and Shun were still solicitous about
"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."
The Master said, "A transmitter and not a maker, believing in and
loving the ancients, I venture to compare myself with our old P'ang."
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
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 Chau."
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 arts."
The Master said, "From the man bringing his bundle of dried flesh
for my teaching upwards, I have never refused instruction to any one."
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 weeping.
The Master said to Yen Yuan, "When called to office, to undertake
its duties; when not so called, to he 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
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 honors 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
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
The Duke of Sheh asked Tsze-lu about Confucius, and Tsze-lu did not
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 beings.
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
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
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 conduct."
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
Wu-ma Ch'i reported these remarks, and the Master said, "I am fortunate!
If I have any errors, people are sure to know them."
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
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 insubordinate."
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.
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,
"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 from meanness."
The philosopher Tsang being ill, he cared 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, I 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 was.
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 indeed."
The philosopher Tsang said, "The officer may not be without breadth
of mind and vigorous endurance. His burden is heavy and his course
"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 aroused.
"It is by the Rules of Propriety that the character is established.
"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 an extreme."
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 his course.
"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
honor 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 duties."
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 Master said, "Ardent and yet not upright, stupid and yet not attentive;
simple and yet not sincere:-such persons I do not understand."
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 them!
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
"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 Yu."
The subjects of which the Master seldom spoke were-profitableness,
and also the appointments of Heaven, and perfect virtue.
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 practice? Shall I practice charioteering, or shall I practice
archery? I will practice 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 common practice."
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 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
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 exhaust it."
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 behind.
"The Master, by orderly method, skillfully leads men on. He enlarged
my mind with learning, and taught me the restraints of propriety.
"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 Heaven?
"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 road?"
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
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
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 to?"
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 loves
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 my own
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 fruit is not 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
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
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 distant?"
Confucius, in his village, looked simple and sincere, and as if he
were not able to speak.
When he was in the prince's ancestral 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 spoke freely, but in a straightforward manner;
in speaking with those of the higher grade, he did so blandly, but
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
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 adjusted.
He hastened forward, with his arms like the wings of a bird.
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 gateway;
when he passed in or out, he did not tread upon the threshold.
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
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 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 ground.
In presenting the presents with which he was charged, he wore a placid
At his private audience, he looked highly pleased.
The superior man did not use a deep purple, or a puce color, in the
ornaments of his dress.
Even in his undress, he did not wear anything of a red or reddish
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 short.
He required his sleeping dress to be half as long again as his body.
When staying at home, he used thick furs of the fox or the badger.
When he put off mourning, he wore all the appendages of the girdle.
His undergarment, except when it was required to be of the curtain
shape, was made of silk cut narrow above and wide below.
He did not wear lamb's fur or a black cap on a visit of condolence.
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 apartment.
He did not dislike to have his rice finely cleaned, nor to have his
mince 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 discolored,
or what was of a bad flavor, 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 market.
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 speak.
Although his food might be coarse rice and vegetable soup, he would
offer a little of it in sacrifice with a grave, respectful air.
If his mat was not straight, he did not sit on it.
When the villagers were drinking together, upon those who carried
staffs going out, he also 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
When he was sending complimentary inquiries to any one in another
state, he bowed twice as he escorted the messenger away.
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 horses.
When the 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
When he was in attendance on the prince and joining in the entertainment,
the prince only sacrificed. He first tasted everything.
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 about
When any of his friends died, if he had no relations offices, he would
say, "I will bury him."
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 sacrifice.
In bed, he did not lie like a corpse. At home, he did not put on any
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 him in a ceremonious manner.
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
When he was at an entertainment where there was an abundance of provisions
set before him, he would change countenance and rise up.
On a sudden clap of thunder, or a violent wind, he would change countenance.
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 hands.
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.
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 gentlemen.
"If I have occasion to use those things, I follow the men of former
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 and brothers."
Nan Yung was frequently repeating the lines about a white scepter
stone. Confucius gave him the daughter of his elder brother to wife.
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 excessive!"
"Is it excessive?" said he. "If I am not to mourn bitterly for this
man, for whom should I mourn?"
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 death?"
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 pleased.
He said, "Yu, there!-he will not die a natural death."
Some parties in Lu were going to take down and rebuild the Long Treasury.
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 door?"
The other disciples began not to respect Tszelu. The Master said,
"Yu has ascended to the hall, though he has not yet passed into the
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 suppose."
The Master said, "To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short."
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 his wealth.
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 correct."
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
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 die?"
Chi Tsze-zan asked whether Chung Yu and Zan Ch'iu could be called
The Master said, "I thought you would ask about some extraordinary
individuals, and you only ask about Yu and Ch'iu!
"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, retires.
"Now, as to Yu and Ch'iu, they may be called ordinary ministers."
Tsze-zan said, "Then they will always follow their chief;-win they?"
The Master said, "In an act of parricide or regicide, they would not
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 glib-tongued
Tsze-lu, Tsang Hsi, Zan Yu, and Kunghsi Hwa were sitting by the Master.
He said to them, "Though I am a day or so older than you, do not think
"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
cities; 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 recognize 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 "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 him."
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 state?"
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?
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, an 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 vigor, I will make it my
business to practice 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 vigor,
I will make it my business to practice this lesson."
Sze-ma Niu asked about perfect virtue.
The Master said, "The man of perfect virtue is cautious and slow in
"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 speaking?"
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 fear?"
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 have
heard-'Death and life have their determined appointment; riches and
honors 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 an 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 ornamental accomplishments?"
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
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
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 settle
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 litigations."
Tsze-chang asked about government. The Master said, "The art of governing
is to keep its affairs before the mind without weariness, and to practice
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 it."
Tsze-chang asked, "What must the officer be, who may be said to be
The Master said, "What is it you call being distinguished?"
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 his clan.
"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
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
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 Kai-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 an who were devoid of
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 friendship helps his virtue."
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
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 names."
"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
do 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 man 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 husbandry?"
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
The Master said, "The governments of Lu and Wei are brothers."
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 Weil Zan Yu acted as driver of his carriage.
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 perfected."
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 stir
require a generation, and then virtue would prevail."
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 others?"
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 his country?"
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 country?"
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 fact."
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
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 neighbors 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 class."
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 account."
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.' Good!
"Inconstant in his virtue, he will be visited with disgrace."
The Master said, "This arises simply from not attending to the prognostication."
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
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
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
"When the love of superiority, boasting, resentments, and covetousness
are repressed, this may be deemed perfect virtue."
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 perfect virtue."
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
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
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 draft; 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 kind man."
He asked about Tsze-hsi. The Master said, "That man! That man!"
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 not?"
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
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
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 Wan.
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 Weil 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 his state?"
The Master said, "He who speaks without modesty w