Ancient Analects from Dunhuang

Chapter I. 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.' [Source: ca. 500 B.C., Project Gutenberg, translated by James Legge, 1861]

Chapter II. 1. The Master said, 'Respectfulness, without the rules of propriety, becomes laborious bustle; carefulness, without the rules of propriety, becomes timidity; boldness, without the rules of propriety, becomes insubordination; straightforwardness, without the rules of propriety, becomes rudeness. 2. '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.'

Chapter III. The philosopher Tsang being ill, he called to him the disciples of his school, and said, 'Uncover my feet, uncover my hands. It is said in the Book of Poetry, "We should be apprehensive and cautious, as if on the brink of a deep gulf, as if treading on thin ice," and so have I been. Now and hereafter, I know my escape from all injury to my person, O ye, my little children.'

Chapter IV. 1. The philosopher Tsang being ill, Meng Chang went to ask how he was. 2. 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. 3. '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.'

Chapter V. 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.'

Chapter VI. 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.'

Chapter VII. 1. The philosopher Tsang said, 'The officer may not be without breadth of mind and vigorous endurance. His burden is heavy and his course is long. 2. '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?

Chapter VIII. 1. The Master said, 'It is by the Odes that the mind is aroused. 2. 'It is by the Rules of Propriety that the character is established. 3. 'It is from Music that the finish is received.'

Chapter IX. The Master said, 'The people may be made to follow a path of action, but they may not be made to understand it.'

Chapter X. 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.'

Chapter XI. 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.'

Chapter XII. The Master said, 'It is not easy to find a man who has learned for three years without coming to be good.'

Chapter XIII. 1. The Master said, 'With sincere faith he unites the love of learning; holding firm to death, he is perfecting the excellence of his course. 2. '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. 3. 'When a country is well-governed, poverty and a mean condition are things to be ashamed of. When a country is ill- governed, riches and honour are things to be ashamed of.'

Chapter XIV. The Master said, 'He who is not in any particular office, has nothing to do with plans for the administration of its duties.'

Chapter XV. The Master said, 'When the music master Chih first entered on his office, the finish of the Kwan Tsu was magnificent;— how it filled the ears!'

Chapter XVI. The Master said, 'Ardent and yet not upright; stupid and yet not attentive; simple and yet not sincere:— such persons I do not understand.'

Chapter XVII. The Master said, 'Learn as if you could not reach your object, and were always fearing also lest you should lose it.'

Chapter XVIII. 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!'

Chapter XIX. 1. The Master said, 'Great indeed was Yao as a sovereign! How majestic was he! It is only Heaven that is grand, and only Yao corresponded to it. How vast was his virtue! The people could find no name for it. 2. 'How majestic was he in the works which he accomplished! How glorious in the elegant regulations which he instituted!'

Chapter XX. 1. Shun had five ministers, and the empire was well-governed. 2. King Wu said, 'I have ten able ministers.' 3. 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. 4. '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.'

Chapter XXI. 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.'

Good Websites and Sources on Confucianism: Robert Eno, Indiana University; Confucianism ; ; Religion Facts Confucianism Religion Facts ; Confucius ; Confucian Texts Chinese Text Project ; Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy; Cult of Confucius / ; Confucian Temple China Vista ; Virtual Temple tour Qufu Wikipedia Wikipedia Travel China Guide Travel China Guide ; UNESCO World Heritage Site: UNESCO

Books on Confucianism and Confucius: There is a classic account of Confucius’s biography by Herrlee Creel: Confucius, The Man and the Myth (New York: 1949, also published as Confucius and the Chinese Way), and a recent book by Annping Chin, The Authentic Confucius: A Life in thought and Politics (New York: 2007). According to Dr. Robert Eno: “Among the many translations of the “Analects” , well crafted versions by Arthur Waley (New York: 1938), D.C. Lau (Penguin Books, 1987, 1998), and Edward Slingerland (Indianapolis: 2003) are among the most accessible published. The “Analects” is a terse work with an exceptionally long and varied commentarial tradition; its richness and multiple levels of meaning make it a living document that reads differently to each generation (as true in China as elsewhere). Responsible interpreters vary in specific choices and overall understanding, and no single translation can be viewed as “definitive.”“

Good Websites and Sources on Religion in China: Chinese Government White Paper on Religion ; United States Commission on International Religious Freedom; Articles on Religion in China ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Council of Foreign Relations ; Brooklyn College ; Religion Facts; Religious Tolerance ; Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ; Academic Info ; Internet Guide to Chinese Studies



Chapter I. The subjects of which the Master seldom spoke were— profitableness, and also the appointments of Heaven, and perfect virtue. [Source: ca. 500 B.C., Project Gutenberg, translated by James Legge, 1861]

Chapter II. 1. 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.' 2. The Master heard the observation, and said to his disciples, 'What shall I practise? Shall I practise charioteering, or shall I practise archery? I will practise charioteering.'

Chapter III. 1. 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. 2. '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.'

Chapter IV. There were four things from which the Master was entirely free. He had no foregone conclusions, no arbitrary predeterminations, no obstinacy, and no egoism.

Chapter V. 1. The Master was put in fear in K'wang. 2. He said, 'After the death of King Wan, was not the cause of truth lodged here in me? 3. '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?'

Chapter VI. 1. A high officer asked Tsze-kung, saying, 'May we not say that your Master is a sage? How various is his ability!' 2. Tsze-kung said, 'Certainly Heaven has endowed him unlimitedly. He is about a sage. And, moreover, his ability is various.' 3. The Master heard of the conversation and said, 'Does the high officer know me? When I was young, my condition was low, and therefore I acquired my ability in many things, but they were mean matters. Must the superior man have such variety of ability? He does not need variety of ability.' 4. Lao said, 'The Master said, "Having no official employment, I acquired many arts."'

Chapter VII. 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.'

Chapter VIII. The Master said, 'The FANG bird does not come; the river sends forth no map:— it is all over with me!'

Chapter IX. 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.

Chapter X. 1. 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. 2. 'The Master, by orderly method, skilfully leads men on. He enlarged my mind with learning, and taught me the restraints of propriety. 3. '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.'

Chapter XI. 1. The Master being very ill, Tsze-lu wished the disciples to act as ministers to him. 2. 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? 3. '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?'

Chapter XII. 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.'

Chapter XIII. 1. The Master was wishing to go and live among the nine wild tribes of the east. 2. Some one said, 'They are rude. How can you do such a thing?' The Master said, 'If a superior man dwelt among them, what rudeness would there be?'

Chapter XIV. 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.'

Chapter XV. 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?'

Chapter XVI. The Master standing by a stream, said, 'It passes on just like this, not ceasing day or night!'

Chapter XVII. The Master said, 'I have not seen one who loves virtue as he loves beauty.'

Chapter XVIII. The Master said, 'The prosecution of learning may be compared to what may happen in raising a mound. If there want but one basket of earth to complete the work, and I stop, the stopping is my own work. It may be compared to throwing down the earth on the level ground. Though but one basketful is thrown at a time, the advancing with it is my own going forward.'

Chapter XIX. The Master said, 'Never flagging when I set forth anything to him;— ah! that is Hui.'

Chapter XX. The Master said of Yen Yuan, 'Alas! I saw his constant advance. I never saw him stop in his progress.'

Chapter XXI. The Master said, 'There are cases in which the blade springs, but the plant does not go on to flower! There are cases where it flowers, but no fruit is subsequently produced!'

Chapter XXII. 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.'

Chapter XXV. 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.'

Chapter XXIV. 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.'

Chapter XXV. The Master said, 'The commander of the forces of a large state may be carried off, but the will of even a common man cannot be taken from him.'

Chapter XXVI. 1. 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! 2. '"He dislikes none, he covets nothing;— what can he do but what is good!"' 3. Tsze-lu kept continually repeating these words of the ode, when the Master said, 'Those things are by no means sufficient to constitute (perfect) excellence.'

Chapter XXVII. The Master said, 'When the year becomes cold, then we know how the pine and the cypress are the last to lose their leaves.'

Chapter XXVIII. The Master said, 'The wise are free from perplexities; the virtuous from anxiety; and the bold from fear.'

Chapter XXIX. 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.'

Chapter XXX. 1. How the flowers of the aspen-plum flutter and turn! Do I not think of you? But your house is distant. 2. The Master said, 'It is the want of thought about it. How is it distant?'


Commentaries of the Analects

Chapter I. 1. Confucius, in his village, looked simple and sincere, and as if he were not able to speak. 2. When he was in the prince's ancestorial temple, or in the court, he spoke minutely on every point, but cautiously. CHAP II. 1. When he was waiting at court, in speaking with the great officers of the lower grade, he spake freely, but in a straightforward manner; in speaking with those of the higher grade, he did so blandly, but precisely. 2. When the ruler was present, his manner displayed respectful uneasiness; it was grave, but self-possessed. [Source: ca. 500 B.C., Project Gutenberg, translated by James Legge, 1861]

Chapter III. 1. When the prince called him to employ him in the reception of a visitor, his countenance appeared to change, and his legs to move forward with difficulty. 2. 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. 3. He hastened forward, with his arms like the wings of a bird. 4. When the guest had retired, he would report to the prince, 'The visitor is not turning round any more.'

Chapter IV. 1. When he entered the palace gate, he seemed to bend his body, as if it were not sufficient to admit him. 2. When he was standing, he did not occupy the middle of the gate-way; when he passed in or out, he did not tread upon the threshold. 3. 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. 4. He ascended the reception hall, holding up his robe with both his hands, and his body bent; holding in his breath also, as if he dared not breathe. 5. When he came out from the audience, as soon as he had descended one step, he began to relax his countenance, and had a satisfied look. When he had got to the bottom of the steps, he advanced rapidly to his place, with his arms like wings, and on occupying it, his manner still showed respectful uneasiness.

Chapter V. 1. 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. 2. In presenting the presents with which he was charged, he wore a placid appearance. 3. At his private audience, he looked highly pleased.

Chapter VI. 1. The superior man did not use a deep purple, or a puce colour, in the ornaments of his dress. 2. Even in his undress, he did not wear anything of a red or reddish colour. 3. In warm weather, he had a single garment either of coarse or fine texture, but he wore it displayed over an inner garment. 4. 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. 5. The fur robe of his undress was long, with the right sleeve short. 6. He required his sleeping dress to be half as long again as his body. 7. When staying at home, he used thick furs of the fox or the badger. 8. When he put off mourning, he wore all the appendages of the girdle. 9. His under-garment, except when it was required to be of the curtain shape, was made of silk cut narrow above and wide below. 10. He did not wear lamb's fur or a black cap, on a visit of condolence. 11. On the first day of the month he put on his court robes, and presented himself at court.

Chapter VII. 1. When fasting, he thought it necessary to have his clothes brightly clean and made of linen cloth. 2. When fasting, he thought it necessary to change his food, and also to change the place where he commonly sat in the apartment.

Chapter VIII. 1. He did not dislike to have his rice finely cleaned, nor to have his minced meat cut quite small. 2. He did not eat rice which had been injured by heat or damp and turned sour, nor fish or flesh which was gone. He did not eat what was discoloured, or what was of a bad flavour, nor anything which was ill-cooked, or was not in season. 3. He did not eat meat which was not cut properly, nor what was served without its proper sauce. 4. 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. 5. He did not partake of wine and dried meat bought in the market. 6. He was never without ginger when he ate. 7. He did not eat much. 8. 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. 9. When eating, he did not converse. When in bed, he did not speak. 10. Although his food might be coarse rice and vegetable soup, he would offer a little of it in sacrifice with a grave, respectful air.

Chapter IX. If his mat was not straight, he did not sit on it.

Chapter X. 1. When the villagers were drinking together, on those who carried staffs going out, he went out immediately after. 2. When the villagers were going through their ceremonies to drive away pestilential influences, he put on his court robes and stood on the eastern steps.

Chapter XI. 1. When he was sending complimentary inquiries to any one in another State, he bowed twice as he escorted the messenger away. 2. 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.'

Chapter XII. 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.

Chapter XIII. 1. When the prince sent him a gift of cooked meat, he would adjust his mat, first taste it, and then give it away to others. When the prince sent him a gift of undressed meat, he would have it cooked, and offer it to the spirits of his ancestors. When the prince sent him a gift of a living animal, he would keep it alive. 2. When he was in attendance on the prince and joining in the entertainment, the prince only sacrificed. He first tasted everything. 3. 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. 4. When the prince's order called him, without waiting for his carriage to be yoked, he went at once.

Chapter XIV. When he entered the ancestral temple of the State, he asked about everything.

Chapter XV. 1. When any of his friends died, if he had no relations who could be depended on for the necessary offices, he would say, 'I will bury him.' 2. When a friend sent him a present, though it might be a carriage and horses, he did not bow. 3. The only present for which he bowed was that of the flesh of sacrifice.

Chapter XVI. 1. In bed, he did not lie like a corpse. At home, he did not put on any formal deportment. 2. When he saw any one in a mourning dress, though it might be an acquaintance, he would change countenance; when he saw any one wearing the cap of full dress, or a blind person, though he might be in his undress, he would salute them in a ceremonious manner. 3. To any person in mourning he bowed forward to the crossbar of his carriage; he bowed in the same way to any one bearing the tables of population. 4. When he was at an entertainment where there was an abundance of provisions set before him, he would change countenance and rise up. 5. On a sudden clap of thunder, or a violent wind, he would change countenance.

Chapter XVII. 1. When he was about to mount his carriage, he would stand straight, holding the cord. 2. 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.

Chapter XVIII. 1. Seeing the countenance, it instantly rises. It flies round, and by and by settles. 2. 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.


Confucius disciple Yan Yuan

Chapter I. 1. 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. 2. 'If I have occasion to use those things, I follow the men of former times.' [Source: ca. 500 B.C., Project Gutenberg, translated by James Legge, 1861]

Chapter II. 1. 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.' 2. 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 adminis- trative talents, Zan Yu and Chi Lu; for their literary acquirements, Tsze-yu and Tsze-hsia.

Chapter III. The Master said, 'Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight.'

Chapter IV. 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.'

Chapter V. Nan Yung was frequently repeating the lines about a white scepter stone. Confucius gave him the daughter of his elder brother to wife.

Chapter VI. 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.'

Chapter VII. 1. When Yen Yuan died, Yen Lu begged the carriage of the Master to sell and get an outer shell for his son's coffin. 2. 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.'

Chapter VIII. When Yen Yuan died, the Master said, 'Alas! Heaven is destroying me! Heaven is destroying me!'

Chapter IX. 1. When Yen Yuan died, the Master bewailed him exceedingly, and the disciples who were with him said, 'Master, your grief is excessive?' 2. 'Is it excessive?' said he. 3. 'If I am not to mourn bitterly for this man, for whom should I mourn?'

Chapter X. 1. When Yen Yuan died, the disciples wished to give him a great funeral, and the Master said, 'You may not do so.' 2. The disciples did bury him in great style. 3. 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.'

Chapter XI. 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?'

Chapter XII. 1. 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. 2. He said, 'Yu, there!— he will not die a natural death.'

Chapter XIII. 1. Some parties in Lu were going to take down and rebuild the Long Treasury. 2. Min Tsze-ch'ien said, 'Suppose it were to be repaired after its old style;— why must it be altered and made anew?' 3. The Master said, 'This man seldom speaks; when he does, he is sure to hit the point.'

Chapter XIV. 1. The Master said, 'What has the lute of Yu to do in my door?' 2. The other disciples began not to respect Tsze-lu. The Master said, 'Yu has ascended to the hall, though he has not yet passed into the inner apartments.'

Chapter XV. 1. 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.' 2. 'Then,' said Tsze-kung, 'the superiority is with Shih, I suppose.' 3. The Master said, 'To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.'

Chapter XVI. 1. 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. 2. The Master said, 'He is no disciple of mine. My little children, beat the drum and assail him.'

Chapter XVII. 1. Ch'ai is simple. 2. Shan is dull. 3. Shih is specious. 4. Yu is coarse.

Chapter XVIII. 1. The Master said, 'There is Hui! He has nearly attained to perfect virtue. He is often in want. 2. 'Ts'ze does not acquiesce in the appointments of Heaven, and his goods are increased by him. Yet his judgments are often correct.'

Chapter XIX. 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.'

Chapter XX. 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?'

Chapter XXI. Tsze-lu asked whether he should immediately carry into practice what he heard. The Master said, 'There are your father and elder brothers to be consulted;— why should you act on that principle of immediately carrying into practice what you hear?' Zan Yu asked the same, whether he should immediately carry into practice what he heard, and the Master answered, 'Immediately carry into practice what you hear.' Kung-hsi Hwa said, 'Yu asked whether he should carry immediately into practice what he heard, and you said, "There are your father and elder brothers to be consulted." Ch'iu asked whether he should immediately carry into practice what he heard, and you said, "Carry it immediately into practice." I, Ch'ih, am perplexed, and venture to ask you for an explanation.' The Master said, 'Ch'iu is retiring and slow; therefore, I urged him forward. Yu has more than his own share of energy; therefore I kept him back.'

Chapter XXII. 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?'

Chapter XXIII. 1. Chi Tsze-zan asked whether Chung Yu and Zan Ch'iu could be called great ministers. 2. The Master said, 'I thought you would ask about some extraordinary individuals, and you only ask about Yu and Ch'iu! 3. '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. 4. 'Now, as to Yu and Ch'iu, they may be called ordinary ministers.' 5. Tsze-zan said, 'Then they will always follow their chief;— will they?' 6. The Master said, 'In an act of parricide or regicide, they would not follow him.'

Chapter XXIV. 1. Tsze-lu got Tsze-kao appointed governor of Pi. 2. The Master said, 'You are injuring a man's son.' 3. 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?' 4. The Master said, 'It is on this account that I hate your glib-tongued people.'

Chapter XXV. 1. Tsze-lu, Tsang Hsi, Zan Yu, and Kung-hsi Hwa were sitting by the Master. 2. He said to them, 'Though I am a day or so older than you, do not think of that. 3. 'From day to day you are saying, "We are not known." If some ruler were to know you, what would you like to do?' 4. Tsze-lu hastily and lightly replied, 'Suppose the case of a State of ten thousand chariots; let it be straitened between other large States; let it be suffering from invading armies; and to this let there be added a famine in corn and in all vegetables:— if I were intrusted with the government of it, in three years' time I could make the people to be bold, and to recognise the rules of righteous conduct.' The Master smiled at him. 5. 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.' 6. '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.' 7. Last of all, the Master asked Tsang Hsi, 'Tien, what are your wishes?' Tien, pausing as he was playing on his lute, while it was yet twanging, laid the instrument aside, and rose. 'My wishes,' he said, 'are different from the cherished purposes of these three gentlemen.' 'What harm is there in that?' said the Master; 'do you also, as well as they, speak out your wishes.' Tien then said, 'In this, the last month of spring, with the dress of the season all complete, along with five or six young men who have assumed the cap, and six or seven boys, I would wash in the I, enjoy the breeze among the rain altars, and return home singing.' The Master heaved a sigh and said, 'I give my approval to Tien.' 8. 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.' 9. Hsi pursued, 'Master, why did you smile at Yu?' 10. He was answered, 'The management of a State demands the rules of propriety. His words were not humble; therefore I smiled at him.' 11. 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?' 12. 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?

Confucius and his students


Chapter I. 1. Yen Yuan asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, 'To subdue one's self and return to propriety, is perfect virtue. If a man can for one day subdue himself and return to propriety, all under heaven will ascribe perfect virtue to him. Is the practice of perfect virtue from a man himself, or is it from others?' 2. Yen Yuan said, 'I beg to ask the steps of that process.' The Master replied, 'Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety.' Yen Yuan then said, 'Though I am deficient in intelligence and vigour, I will make it my business to practise this lesson.' [Source: ca. 500 B.C., Project Gutenberg, translated by James Legge, 1861]

Chapter II. Chung-kung asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, 'It is, when you go abroad, to behave to every one as if you were receiving a great guest; to employ the people as if you were assisting at a great sacrifice; not to do to others as you would not wish done to yourself; to have no murmuring against you in the country, and none in the family.' Chung-kung said, 'Though I am deficient in intelligence and vigour, I will make it my business to practise this lesson.'

Chapter III. 1. Sze-ma Niu asked about perfect virtue. 2. The Master said, 'The man of perfect virtue is cautious and slow in his speech.' 3. '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?'

Chapter IV. 1. Sze-ma Niu asked about the superior man. The Master said, 'The superior man has neither anxiety nor fear.' 2. 'Being without anxiety or fear!' said Nui;— 'does this constitute what we call the superior man?' 3. The Master said, 'When internal examination discovers nothing wrong, what is there to be anxious about, what is there to fear?'

Chapter V. 1. Sze-ma Niu, full of anxiety, said, 'Other men all have their brothers, I only have not.' 2. Tsze-hsia said to him, 'There is the following saying which I have heard:— 3. '"Death and life have their determined appointment; riches and honours depend upon Heaven." 4. '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?'

Chapter VI. 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.'

Chapter VII. 1. 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.' 2. 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. 3. Tsze-kung again asked, 'If it cannot be helped, and one of the remaining two must be dispensed with, which of them should be foregone?' The Master answered, 'Part with the food. From of old, death has been the lot of all men; but if the people have no faith in their rulers, there is no standing for the state.'

Chapter VIII. 1. 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?' 2. Tsze-kung said, 'Alas! Your words, sir, show you to be a superior man, but four horses cannot overtake the tongue. 3. 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.'

Chapter IX. 1. The Duke Ai inquired of Yu Zo, saying, 'The year is one of scarcity, and the returns for expenditure are not sufficient;— what is to be done?' 2. Yu Zo replied to him, 'Why not simply tithe the people?' 3. 'With two tenths, said the duke, 'I find it not enough;— how could I do with that system of one tenth?' 4. 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.'

Chapter X. 1. 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. 2. '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. 3. '"It may not be on account of her being rich, yet you come to make a difference."'

Chapter XI. 1. The Duke Ching, of Ch'i, asked Confucius about government. 2. 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.' 3. 'Good!' said the duke; 'if, indeed; the prince be not prince, the minister not minister, the father not father, and the son not son, although I have my revenue, can I enjoy it?'

Chapter XII. 1. The Master said, 'Ah! it is Yu, who could with half a word settle litigations!' 2. Tsze-lu never slept over a promise.

Chapter XIII. 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.'

Chapter XIV. Tsze-chang asked about government. The Master said, 'The art of governing is to keep its affairs before the mind without weariness, and to practise them with undeviating consistency.'

Chapter XV. 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.'

Chapter XVI. 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.'

Chapter XVII. 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?'

Chapter XVIII. 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.'

Chapter XIX. 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.'

Chapter XX. 1. Tsze-chang asked, 'What must the officer be, who may be said to be distinguished?' 2. The Master said, 'What is it you call being distinguished?' 3. Tsze-chang replied, 'It is to be heard of through the State, to be heard of throughout his clan.' 4. The Master said, 'That is notoriety, not distinction. 5. '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. 6. '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.'

Chapter XXI. 1. 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.' 2. The Master said, 'Truly a good question! 3. 'If doing what is to be done be made the first business, and success a secondary consideration;— is not this the way to exalt virtue? To assail one's own wickedness and not assail that of others;— is not this the way to correct cherished evil? For a morning's anger to disregard one's own life, and involve that of his parents;— is not this a case of delusion?'

Chapter XXII. 1. Fan Ch'ih asked about benevolence. The Master said, 'It is to love all men.' He asked about knowledge. The Master said, 'It is to know all men.' 2. Fan Ch'ih did not immediately understand these answers. 3. The Master said, 'Employ the upright and put aside all the crooked;— in this way the crooked can be made to be upright.' 4. 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?' 5. Tsze-hsia said, 'Truly rich is his saying! 6. 'Shun, being in possession of the kingdom, selected from among all the people, and employed Kao-yao, on which all who were devoid of virtue disappeared. T'ang, being in possession of the kingdom, selected from among all the people, and employed I Yin, and all who were devoid of virtue disappeared.'

Chapter XXIII. 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.'

Chapter XXIV. The philosopher Tsang said, 'The superior man on grounds of culture meets with his friends, and by their friendship helps his virtue.'


Chapter I. 1. Tsze-lu asked about government. The Master said, 'Go before the people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs.' 2. He requested further instruction, and was answered, 'Be not weary (in these things).' [Source: ca. 500 B.C., Project Gutenberg, translated by James Legge, 1861]

Chapter II. 1. 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.' 2. Chung-kung said, 'How shall I know the men of virtue and talent, so that I may raise them to office?' He was answered, 'Raise to office those whom you know. As to those whom you do not know, will others neglect them?'

Chapter III. 1. 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?' 2. The Master replied, 'What is necessary is to rectify names.' 3. 'So, indeed!' said Tsze-lu. 'You are wide of the mark! Why must there be such rectification?' 4. The Master said, 'How uncultivated you are, Yu! A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve. 5. '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. 6. 'When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music will not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot. 7. '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.'

Chapter IV. 1. 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.' 2. Fan Ch'ih having gone out, the Master said, 'A small man, indeed, is Fan Hsu! 3. If a superior love propriety, the people will not dare not to be reverent. If he love righteousness, the people will not dare not to submit to his example. If he love good faith, the people will not dare not to be sincere. Now, when these things obtain, the people from all quarters will come to him, bearing their children on their backs;— what need has he of a knowledge of husbandry?'

Chapter V. 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?'

Chapter VI. The Master said, 'When a prince's personal conduct is correct, his government is effective without the issuing of orders. If his personal conduct is not correct, he may issue orders, but they will not be followed.'

Chapter VII. The Master said, 'The governments of Lu and Wei are brothers.'

Chapter VIII. 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!'

Chapter IX. 1. When the Master went to Wei, Zan Yu acted as driver of his carriage. 2. The Master observed, 'How numerous are the people!' 3. Yu said, 'Since they are thus numerous, what more shall be done for them?' 'Enrich them,' was the reply. 4. 'And when they have been enriched, what more shall be done?' The Master said, 'Teach them.'

Chapter X. 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.'

Chapter XI. 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!'

Chapter XII. The Master said, 'If a truly royal ruler were to arise, it would still require a generation, and then virtue would prevail.'

Chapter XIII. 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?'

Chapter XIV. 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.'

Chapter XV. 1. 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. 2. 'There is a saying, however, which people have— "To be a prince is difficult; to be a minister is not easy." 3. '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?' 4. 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!" 5. '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?'

Chapter XVI. 1. The Duke of Sheh asked about government. 2. The Master said, 'Good government obtains, when those who are near are made happy, and those who are far off are attracted.'

Chapter XVII. 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.'

Chapter XVIII. 1. 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.' 2. 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.'

Chapter XIX. 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.'

Chapter XX. 1. Tsze-kung asked, saying, 'What qualities must a man possess to entitle him to be called an officer? The Master said, 'He who in his conduct of himself maintains a sense of shame, and when sent to any quarter will not disgrace his prince's commission, deserves to be called an officer.' 3. Tsze-kung pursued, 'I venture to ask who may be placed in the next lower rank?' And he was told, 'He whom the circle of his relatives pronounce to be filial, whom his fellow-villagers and neighbours pronounce to be fraternal.' 3. 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.' 4. 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.'

Chapter XXI. 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.'

Chapter XXII. 1. The Master said, 'The people of the south have a saying— "A man without constancy cannot be either a wizard or a doctor." Good! 2. 'Inconstant in his virtue, he will be visited with disgrace.' 3. The Master said, 'This arises simply from not attending to the prognostication.'

Chapter XXIII. The Master said, 'The superior man is affable, but not adulatory; the mean man is adulatory, but not affable.'

Chapter XXIV. 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.'

Chapter XXV. 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.'

Chapter XXVI. The Master said, 'The superior man has a dignified ease without pride. The mean man has pride without a dignified ease.'

Chapter XXVII. The Master said, 'The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue.'

Chapter XXVIII. Tsze-lu asked, saying, 'What qualities must a man possess to entitle him to be called a scholar?' The Master said, 'He must be thus,— earnest, urgent, and bland:— among his friends, earnest and urgent; among his brethren, bland.'

Chapter XXIX. The Master said, 'Let a good man teach the people seven years, and they may then likewise be employed in war.'

Chapter XXX. The Master said, 'To lead an uninstructed people to war, is to throw them away.'


Book of Rites, another Confucian classic

Chapter I. Hsien asked what was shameful. The Master said, 'When good government prevails in a state, to be thinking only of salary; and, when bad government prevails, to be thinking, in the same way, only of salary;— this is shameful.' [Source: ca. 500 B.C., Project Gutenberg, translated by James Legge, 1861]

Chapter II. 1. 'When the love of superiority, boasting, resentments, and covetousness are repressed, this may be deemed perfect virtue.' 2. 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.'

Chapter III. The Master said, 'The scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.'

Chapter IV. The Master said, 'When good government prevails in a state, language may be lofty and bold, and actions the same. When bad government prevails, the actions may be lofty and bold, but the language may be with some reserve.'

Chapter V. The Master said, 'The virtuous will be sure to speak correctly, but those whose speech is good may not always be virtuous. Men of principle are sure to be bold, but those who are bold may not always be men of principle.'

Chapter VI. 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!'

Chapter VII. 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.'

Chapter VIII. 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?'

Chapter IX. 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.'

Chapter X. 1. Some one asked about Tsze-ch'an. The Master said, 'He was a kind man.' 2. He asked about Tsze-hsi. The Master said, 'That man! That man!' 3. 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.'

Chapter XI. The Master said, 'To be poor without murmuring is difficult. To be rich without being proud is easy.'

Chapter XII. 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.'

Chapter XIII. 1. 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.' 2. 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.'

Chapter XIV. 1. The Master asked Kung-ming Chia about Kung- shu Wan, saying, 'Is it true that your master speaks not, laughs not, and takes not?' 2. Kung-ming Chia replied, 'This has arisen from the reporters going beyond the truth.— My master speaks when it is the time to speak, and so men do not get tired of his speaking. He laughs when there is occasion to be joyful, and so men do not get tired of his laughing. He takes when it is consistent with righteousness to do so, and so men do not get tired of his taking.' The Master said, 'So! But is it so with him?'

Chapter XV. The Master said, 'Tsang Wu-chung, keeping possession of Fang, asked of the duke of Lu to appoint a successor to him in his family. Although it may be said that he was not using force with his sovereign, I believe he was.'

Chapter XVI. The Master said, 'The duke Wan of Tsin was crafty and not upright. The duke Hwan of Ch'i was upright and not crafty.'

Chapter XVII. 1. 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?' 2. 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?'

Chapter XVIII. 1. 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.' 2. 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. 3. '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?'

Chapter XIX. 1. The great officer, Hsien, who had been family- minister to Kung-shu Wan, ascended to the prince's court in company with Wan. 2. The Master, having heard of it, said, 'He deserved to be considered WAN (the accomplished).'

Chapter XX. 1. The Master was speaking about the unprincipled course of the duke Ling of Wei, when Ch'i K'ang said, 'Since he is of such a character, how is it he does not lose his State?' 2. 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?'

Chapter XXI. The Master said, 'He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.'

Chapter XXII. 1. Chan Ch'ang murdered the Duke Chien of Ch'i. 2. Confucius bathed, went to court, and informed the duke Ai, saying, 'Chan Hang has slain his sovereign. I beg that you will undertake to punish him.' 3. The duke said, 'Inform the chiefs of the three families of it.' 4. Confucius retired, and said, 'Following in the rear of the great officers, I did not dare not to represent such a matter, and my prince says, "Inform the chiefs of the three families of it."' 5. He went to the chiefs, and informed them, but they would not act. Confucius then said, 'Following in the rear of the great officers, I did not dare not to represent such a matter.'

Chapter XXIII. Tsze-lu asked how a ruler should be served. The Master said, 'Do not impose on him, and, moreover, withstand him to his face.'

Chapter XXIV. The Master said, 'The progress of the superior man is upwards; the progress of the mean man is downwards.'

Chapter XXV. The Master said, 'In ancient times, men learned with a view to their own improvement. Now-a-days, men learn with a view to the approbation of others.'

Chapter XXVI. 1. Chu Po-yu sent a messenger with friendly inquiries to Confucius. 2. Confucius sat with him, and questioned him. 'What,' said he, 'is your master engaged in?' The messenger replied, 'My master is anxious to make his faults few, but he has not yet succeeded.' He then went out, and the Master said, 'A messenger indeed! A messenger indeed!'

Chapter XXVII. The Master said, 'He who is not in any particular office, has nothing to do with plans for the administration of its duties.'

Commentary of the Book of History, another Confucian classic

Chapter XXVIII. The philosopher Tsang said, 'The superior man, in his thoughts, does not go out of his place.'

Chapter XXIX. The Master said, 'The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.'

Chapter XXX. 1. The Master said, 'The way of the superior man is threefold, but I am not equal to it. Virtuous, he is free from anxieties; wise, he is free from perplexities; bold, he is free from fear. 2. Tsze-kung said, 'Master, that is what you yourself say.'

Chapter XXXI. Tsze-kung was in the habit of comparing men together. The Master said, 'Tsze must have reached a high pitch of excellence! Now, I have not leisure for this.'

Chapter XXXII. The Master said, 'I will not be concerned at men's not knowing me; I will be concerned at my own want of ability.'

Chapter XXXIII. The Master said, 'He who does not anticipate attempts to deceive him, nor think beforehand of his not being believed, and yet apprehends these things readily (when they occur);— is he not a man of superior worth?'

Chapter XXXIV. 1. Wei-shang Mau said to Confucius, 'Ch'iu, how is it that you keep roosting about? Is it not that you are an insinuating talker?' 2. Confucius said, 'I do not dare to play the part of such a talker, but I hate obstinacy.'

Chapter XXXV. The Master said, 'A horse is called a ch'i, not because of its strength, but because of its other good qualities.'

Chapter XXXVI. 1. Some one said, 'What do you say concerning the principle that injury should be recompensed with kindness?' 2. The Master said, 'With what then will you recompense kindness? 3. 'Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.'

Chapter XXXVII. 1. The Master said, 'Alas! there is no one that knows me.' 2. Tsze-kung said, 'What do you mean by thus saying— that no one knows you?' The Master replied, 'I do not murmur against Heaven. I do not grumble against men. My studies lie low, and my penetration rises high. But there is Heaven;— that knows me!'

Chapter XXXVIII. 1. The Kung-po Liao, having slandered Tsze-lu to Chi-sun, Tsze-fu Ching-po informed Confucius of it, saying, 'Our master is certainly being led astray by the Kung-po Liao, but I have still power enough left to cut Liao off, and expose his corpse in the market and in the court.' 2. The Master said, 'If my principles are to advance, it is so ordered. If they are to fall to the ground, it is so ordered. What can the Kung-po Liao do where such ordering is concerned?'

Chapter XXXIX. 1. The Master said, 'Some men of worth retire from the world. 2. Some retire from particular states. 3. Some retire because of disrespectful looks. 4. Some retire because of contradictory language.'

Chapter XL. The Master said, 'Those who have done this are seven men.'

Chapter XLI. Tsze-lu happening to pass the night in Shih-man, the gatekeeper said to him, 'Whom do you come from?' Tsze-lu said, 'From Mr. K'ung.' 'It is he,— is it not?'— said the other, 'who knows the impracticable nature of the times and yet will be doing in them.'

Chapter XLII. 1. The Master was playing, one day, on a musical stone in Wei, when a man, carrying a straw basket, passed the door of the house where Confucius was, and said, 'His heart is full who so beats the musical stone.' 2. A little while after, he added, 'How contemptible is the one-ideaed obstinacy those sounds display! When one is taken no notice of, he has simply at once to give over his wish for public employment. "Deep water must be crossed with the clothes on; shallow water may be crossed with the clothes held up."' 3. The Master said, 'How determined is he in his purpose! But this is not difficult!'

Chapter XLIII. 1. Tsze-chang said, 'What is meant when the Shu says that Kao-tsung, while observing the usual imperial mourning, was for three years without speaking?' 2. The Master said, 'Why must Kao-tsung be referred to as an example of this? The ancients all did so. When the sovereign died, the officers all attended to their several duties, taking instructions from the prime minister for three years.'

Chapter XLIV. The Master said, 'When rulers love to observe the rules of propriety, the people respond readily to the calls on them for service.'

Chapter XLV. Tsze-lu asked what constituted the superior man. The Master said, 'The cultivation of himself in reverential carefulness.' 'And is this all?' said Tsze-lu. 'He cultivates himself so as to give rest to others,' was the reply. 'And is this all?' again asked Tsze-lu. The Master said, 'He cultivates himself so as to give rest to all the people. He cultivates himself so as to give rest to all the people:— even Yao and Shun were still solicitous about this.'

Chapter XLVI. Yuan Zang was squatting on his heels, and so waited the approach of the Master, who said to him, 'In youth not humble as befits a junior; in manhood, doing nothing worthy of being handed down; and living on to old age:— this is to be a pest.' With this he hit him on the shank with his staff.

Chapter XLVI. 1. A youth of the village of Ch'ueh was employed by Confucius to carry the messages between him and his visitors. Some one asked about him, saying, 'I suppose he has made great progress.' 2. The Master said, 'I observe that he is fond of occupying the seat of a full-grown man; I observe that he walks shoulder to shoulder with his elders. He is not one who is seeking to make progress in learning. He wishes quickly to become a man.'

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons,

Text Sources: Robert Eno, Indiana University /+/ ; Asia for Educators, Columbia University <|>; University of Washington’s Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, /=\; National Palace Museum, Taipei \=/; Library of Congress; New York Times; Washington Post; Los Angeles Times; China National Tourist Office (CNTO); Xinhua;; China Daily; Japan News; Times of London; National Geographic; The New Yorker; Time; Newsweek; Reuters; Associated Press; Lonely Planet Guides; Compton’s Encyclopedia; Smithsonian magazine; The Guardian; Yomiuri Shimbun; AFP; Wikipedia; BBC. Many sources are cited at the end of the facts for which they are used.

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© 2009 Jeffrey Hays

Last updated September 2016

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