Analects, Lun Yu Rongo

Chapter I. 1. The Duke Ling of Wei asked Confucius about tactics. Confucius replied, 'I have heard all about sacrificial vessels, but I have not learned military matters.' On this, he took his departure the next day. 2. When he was in Chan, their provisions were exhausted, and his followers became so ill that they were unable to rise. 3. Tsze-lu, with evident dissatisfaction, said, 'Has the superior man likewise to endure in this way?' The Master said, 'The superior man may indeed have to endure want, but the mean man, when he is in want, gives way to unbridled license.' [Source: ca. 500 B.C., Project Gutenberg, translated by James Legge, 1861]

Chapter II. 1. The Master said, 'Ts'ze, you think, I suppose, that I am one who learns many things and keeps them in memory?' 2. Tsze-kung replied, 'Yes,— but perhaps it is not so?' 3. 'No,' was the answer; 'I seek a unity all-pervading.'

Chapter III. The Master said, 'Yu, those who know virtue are few.'

Chapter IV. The Master said, 'May not Shun be instanced as having governed efficiently without exertion? What did he do? He did nothing but gravely and reverently occupy his royal seat.'

Chapter V. 1. Tsze-chang asked how a man should conduct himself, so as to be everywhere appreciated. 2. The Master said, 'Let his words be sincere and truthful, and his actions honourable and careful;— such conduct may be practised among the rude tribes of the South or the North. If his words be not sincere and truthful and his actions not honourable and careful, will he, with such conduct, be appreciated, even in his neighborhood? 3. 'When he is standing, let him see those two things, as it were, fronting him. When he is in a carriage, let him see them attached to the yoke. Then may he subsequently carry them into practice.' 4. Tsze-chang wrote these counsels on the end of his sash.

Chapter VI. 1. The Master said, 'Truly straightforward was the historiographer Yu. When good government prevailed in his State, he was like an arrow. When bad government prevailed, he was like an arrow. 2. A superior man indeed is Chu Po-yu! When good government prevails in his state, he is to be found in office. When bad government prevails, he can roll his principles up, and keep them in his breast.'

Chapter VII. The Master said, 'When a man may be spoken with, not to speak to him is to err in reference to the man. When a man may not be spoken with, to speak to him is to err in reference to our words. The wise err neither in regard to their man nor to their words.'

Chapter VIII. The Master said, 'The determined scholar and the man of virtue will not seek to live at the expense of injuring their virtue. They will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their virtue complete.'

Chapter IX. Tsze-kung asked about the practice of virtue. The Master said, 'The mechanic, who wishes to do his work well, must first sharpen his tools. When you are living in any state, take service with the most worthy among its great officers, and make friends of the most virtuous among its scholars.'

Chapter X. 1. Yen Yuan asked how the government of a country should be administered. 2. The Master said, 'Follow the seasons of Hsia. 3. 'Ride in the state carriage of Yin. 4. 'Wear the ceremonial cap of Chau. 5. 'Let the music be the Shao with its pantomimes. 6. Banish the songs of Chang, and keep far from specious talkers. The songs of Chang are licentious; specious talkers are dangerous.'

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 XI. The Master said, 'If a man take no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.'

Chapter XII. The Master said, 'It is all over! I have not seen one who loves virtue as he loves beauty.'

Chapter XIII. The Master said, 'Was not Tsang Wan like one who had stolen his situation? He knew the virtue and the talents of Hui of Liu-hsia, and yet did not procure that he should stand with him in court.'

Chapter XIV. The Master said, 'He who requires much from himself and little from others, will keep himself from being the object of resentment.'

Chapter XV. The Master said, 'When a man is not in the habit of saying— "What shall I think of this? What shall I think of this?" I can indeed do nothing with him!'

Chapter XVI. The Master said, 'When a number of people are together, for a whole day, without their conversation turning on righteousness, and when they are fond of carrying out the suggestions of a small shrewdness;— theirs is indeed a hard case.'

Chapter XVII. The Master said, 'The superior man in everything considers righteousness to be essential. He performs it according to the rules of propriety. He brings it forth in humility. He completes it with sincerity. This is indeed a superior man.'

Chapter XVIII. The Master said, 'The superior man is distressed by his want of ability. He is not distressed by men's not knowing him.'

Chapter XIX. The Master said, 'The superior man dislikes the thought of his name not being mentioned after his death.'

Chapter XX. The Master said, 'What the superior man seeks, is in himself. What the mean man seeks, is in others.'

Chapter XXI. The Master said, 'The superior man is dignified, but does not wrangle. He is sociable, but not a partizan.'

Chapter XXII. The Master said, 'The superior man does not promote a man simply on account of his words, nor does he put aside good words because of the man.'

Chapter XXIII. Tsze-kung asked, saying, 'Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life?' The Master said, 'Is not RECIPROCITY such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.'

Chapter XXIV. 1. The Master said, 'In my dealings with men, whose evil do I blame, whose goodness do I praise, beyond what is proper? If I do sometimes exceed in praise, there must be ground for it in my examination of the individual. 2. 'This people supplied the ground why the three dynasties pursued the path of straightforwardness.'

Chapter XXV. The Master said, 'Even in my early days, a historiographer would leave a blank in his text, and he who had a horse would lend him to another to ride. Now, alas! there are no such things.'

Chapter XXVI. The Master said, 'Specious words confound virtue. Want of forbearance in small matters confounds great plans.'

Chapter XXVII. The Master said, 'When the multitude hate a man, it is necessary to examine into the case. When the multitude like a man, it is necessary to examine into the case.'

Chapter XXVIII. The Master said, 'A man can enlarge the principles which he follows; those principles do not enlarge the man.'

Chapter XXIX. The Master said, 'To have faults and not to reform them,— this, indeed, should be pronounced having faults.'

Chapter XXX. The Master said, 'I have been the whole day without eating, and the whole night without sleeping:— occupied with thinking. It was of no use. The better plan is to learn.'

Chapter XXXI. The Master said, 'The object of the superior man is truth. Food is not his object. There is plowing;— even in that there is sometimes want. So with learning;— emolument may be found in it. The superior man is anxious lest he should not get truth; he is not anxious lest poverty should come upon him.'

Chapter XXXII. 1. The Master said, 'When a man's knowledge is sufficient to attain, and his virtue is not sufficient to enable him to hold, whatever he may have gained, he will lose again. 2. 'When his knowledge is sufficient to attain, and he has virtue enough to hold fast, if he cannot govern with dignity, the people will not respect him. 3. 'When his knowledge is sufficient to attain, and he has virtue enough to hold fast; when he governs also with dignity, yet if he try to move the people contrary to the rules of propriety:— full excellence is not reached.'

Chapter XXXIII. The Master said, 'The superior man cannot be known in little matters; but he may be intrusted with great concerns. The small man may not be intrusted with great concerns, but he may be known in little matters.'

Chapter XXXIV. The Master said, 'Virtue is more to man than either water or fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue.'

Chapter XXXV. The Master said, 'Let every man consider virtue as what devolves on himself. He may not yield the performance of it even to his teacher.'

Chapter XXXVI. The Master said, 'The superior man is correctly firm, and not firm merely.'

Chapter XXXVII. The Master said, 'A minister, in serving his prince, reverently discharges his duties, and makes his emolument a secondary consideration.'

Chapter XXXVIII. The Master said, 'In teaching there should be no distinction of classes.'

Chapter XXXIX. The Master said, 'Those whose courses are different cannot lay plans for one another.'

Chapter XL. The Master said, 'In language it is simply required that it convey the meaning.'

Chapter XLI. 1. The Music-master, Mien, having called upon him, when they came to the steps, the Master said, 'Here are the steps.' When they came to the mat for the guest to sit upon, he said, 'Here is the mat.' When all were seated, the Master informed him, saying, 'So and so is here; so and so is here.' 2. The Music-master, Mien, having gone out, Tsze-chang asked, saying. 'Is it the rule to tell those things to the Music- master?' 3. The Master said, 'Yes. This is certainly the rule for those who lead the blind.'


Confucius drawn in 1770

Chapter I. 1. The head of the Chi family was going to attack Chwan-yu. 2. Zan Yu and Chi-lu had an interview with Confucius, and said, 'Our chief, Chi, is going to commence operations against Chwan-yu.' 3. Confucius said, 'Ch'iu, is it not you who are in fault here? 4. 'Now, in regard to Chwan-yu, long ago, a former king appointed its ruler to preside over the sacrifices to the eastern Mang; moreover, it is in the midst of the territory of our State; and its ruler is a minister in direct connexion with the sovereign:— What has your chief to do with attacking it?' 5. Zan Yu said, 'Our master wishes the thing; neither of us two ministers wishes it.' 6. Confucius said, 'Ch'iu, there are the words of Chau Zan,— "When he can put forth his ability, he takes his place in the ranks of office; when he finds himself unable to do so, he retires from it. How can he be used as a guide to a blind man, who does not support him when tottering, nor raise him up when fallen?" 7. 'And further, you speak wrongly. When a tiger or rhinoceros escapes from his cage; when a tortoise or piece of jade is injured in its repository:— whose is the fault?' 8. Zan Yu said, 'But at present, Chwan-yu is strong and near to Pi; if our chief do not now take it, it will hereafter be a sorrow to his descendants.' 9. Confucius said. 'Ch'iu, the superior man hates that declining to say— "I want such and such a thing," and framing explanations for the conduct. 10. 'I have heard that rulers of States and chiefs of families are not troubled lest their people should be few, but are troubled lest they should not keep their several places; that they are not troubled with fears of poverty, but are troubled with fears of a want of contented repose among the people in their several places. For when the people keep their several places, there will be no poverty; when harmony prevails, there will be no scarcity of people; and when there is such a contented repose, there will be no rebellious upsettings. 11. 'So it is.— Therefore, if remoter people are not submissive, all the influences of civil culture and virtue are to be cultivated to attract them to be so; and when they have been so attracted, they must be made contented and tranquil. 12. 'Now, here are you, Yu and Ch'iu, assisting your chief. Remoter people are not submissive, and, with your help, he cannot attract them to him. In his own territory there are divisions and downfalls, leavings and separations, and, with your help, he cannot preserve it. 13. 'And yet he is planning these hostile movements within the State.— I am afraid that the sorrow of the Chi-sun family will not be on account of Chwan-yu, but will be found within the screen of their own court.' [Source: ca. 500 B.C., Project Gutenberg, translated by James Legge, 1861]

Chapter II. 1. Confucius said, 'When good government prevails in the empire, ceremonies, music, and punitive military expeditions proceed from the son of Heaven. When bad government prevails in the empire, ceremonies, music, and punitive military expeditions proceed from the princes. When these things proceed from the princes, as a rule, the cases will be few in which they do not lose their power in ten generations. When they proceed from the Great officers of the princes, as a rule, the cases will be few in which they do not lose their power in five generations. When the subsidiary ministers of the great officers hold in their grasp the orders of the state, as a rule, the cases will be few in which they do not lose their power in three generations. 2. 'When right principles prevail in the kingdom, government will not be in the hands of the Great officers. 3. 'When right principles prevail in the kingdom, there will be no discussions among the common people.'

Chapter III. Confucius said, 'The revenue of the state has left the ducal House now for five generations. The government has been in the hands of the Great officers for four generations. On this account, the descendants of the three Hwan are much reduced.'

Chapter IV. Confucius said, 'There are three friendships which are advantageous, and three which are injurious. Friendship with the upright; friendship with the sincere; and friendship with the man of much observation:— these are advantageous. Friendship with the man of specious airs; friendship with the insinuatingly soft; and friendship with the glib-tongued:— these are injurious.'

Chapter V. Confucius said, 'There are three things men find enjoyment in which are advantageous, and three things they find enjoyment in which are injurious. To find enjoyment in the discriminating study of ceremonies and music; to find enjoyment in speaking of the goodness of others; to find enjoyment in having many worthy friends:— these are advantageous. To find enjoyment in extravagant pleasures; to find enjoyment in idleness and sauntering; to find enjoyment in the pleasures of feasting:— these are injurious.'

Chapter VI. Confucius said, 'There are three errors to which they who stand in the presence of a man of virtue and station are liable. They may speak when it does not come to them to speak;— this is called rashness. They may not speak when it comes to them to speak;— this is called concealment. They may speak without looking at the countenance of their superior;— this is called blindness.'

Chapter VII. Confucius said, 'There are three things which the superior man guards against. In youth, when the physical powers are not yet settled, he guards against lust. When he is strong and the physical powers are full of vigor, he guards against quarrelsomeness. When he is old, and the animal powers are decayed, he guards against covetousness.'

Chapter VIII. 1. Confucius said, 'There are three things of which the superior man stands in awe. He stands in awe of the ordinances of Heaven. He stands in awe of great men. He stands in awe of the words of sages. 2. 'The mean man does not know the ordinances of Heaven, and consequently does not stand in awe of them. He is disrespectful to great men. He makes sport of the words of sages.'

Chapter IX. Confucius said, 'Those who are born with the possession of knowledge are the highest class of men. Those who learn, and so, readily, get possession of knowledge, are the next. Those who are dull and stupid, and yet compass the learning, are another class next to these. As to those who are dull and stupid and yet do not learn;— they are the lowest of the people.'

Chapter X. Confucius said, 'The superior man has nine things which are subjects with him of thoughtful consideration. In regard to the use of his eyes, he is anxious to see clearly. In regard to the use of his ears, he is anxious to hear distinctly. In regard to his countenance, he is anxious that it should be benign. In regard to his demeanor, he is anxious that it should be respectful. In regard to his speech, he is anxious that it should be sincere. In regard to his doing of business, he is anxious that it should be reverently careful. In regard to what he doubts about, he is anxious to question others. When he is angry, he thinks of the difficulties (his anger may involve him in). When he sees gain to be got, he thinks of righteousness.'

Chapter XI. 1. Confucius said, 'Contemplating good, and pursuing it, as if they could not reach it; contemplating evil, and shrinking from it, as they would from thrusting the hand into boiling water:— I have seen such men, as I have heard such words. 2. 'Living in retirement to study their aims, and practising righteousness to carry out their principles:— I have heard these words, but I have not seen such men.'

Chapter XII. 1. The duke Ching of Ch'i had a thousand teams, each of four horses, but on the day of his death, the people did not praise him for a single virtue. Po-i and Shu-ch'i died of hunger at the foot of the Shau-yang mountain, and the people, down to the present time, praise them. 2. 'Is not that saying illustrated by this?'

Chapter XIII. 1. Ch'an K'ang asked Po-yu, saying, 'Have you heard any lessons from your father different from what we have all heard?' 2. Po-yu replied, 'No. He was standing alone once, when I passed below the hall with hasty steps, and said to me, "Have you learned the Odes?" On my replying "Not yet," he added, "If you do not learn the Odes, you will not be fit to converse with." I retired and studied the Odes. 3. 'Another day, he was in the same way standing alone, when I passed by below the hall with hasty steps, and said to me, 'Have you learned the rules of Propriety?' On my replying 'Not yet,' he added, 'If you do not learn the rules of Propriety, your character cannot be established.' I then retired, and learned the rules of Propriety. 4. 'I have heard only these two things from him.' 5. Ch'ang K'ang retired, and, quite delighted, said, 'I asked one thing, and I have got three things. I have heard about the Odes. I have heard about the rules of Propriety. I have also heard that the superior man maintains a distant reserve towards his son.'

Chapter XIV. The wife of the prince of a state is called by him FU ZAN. She calls herself HSIAO T'UNG. The people of the State call her CHUN FU ZAN, and, to the people of other States, they call her K'WA HSIAO CHUN. The people of other states also call her CHUN FU ZAN.


Commentary on the Analects

Chapter I. 1. Yang Ho wished to see Confucius, but Confucius would not go to see him. On this, he sent a present of a pig to Confucius, who, having chosen a time when Ho was not at home, went to pay his respects for the gift. He met him, however, on the way. 2. Ho said to Confucius, 'Come, let me speak with you.' He then asked, 'Can he be called benevolent who keeps his jewel in his bosom, and leaves his country to confusion?' Confucius replied, 'No.' 'Can he be called wise, who is anxious to be engaged in public employment, and yet is constantly losing the opportunity of being so?' Confucius again said, 'No.' 'The days and months are passing away; the years do not wait for us.' Confucius said, 'Right; I will go into office.' [Source: ca. 500 B.C., Project Gutenberg, translated by James Legge, 1861]

Chapter II. The Master said, 'By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart.'

Chapter III. The Master said, 'There are only the wise of the highest class, and the stupid of the lowest class, who cannot be changed.'

Chapter IV. 1. The Master, having come to Wu-ch'ang, heard there the sound of stringed instruments and singing. 2. Well pleased and smiling, he said, 'Why use an ox knife to kill a fowl?' 3. Tsze-yu replied, 'Formerly, Master, I heard you say,— "When the man of high station is well instructed, he loves men; when the man of low station is well instructed, he is easily ruled."' 4. The Master said, 'My disciples, Yen's words are right. What I said was only in sport.'

Chapter V. Kung-shan Fu-zao, when he was holding Pi, and in an attitude of rebellion, invited the Master to visit him, who was rather inclined to go. 2. Tsze-lu was displeased, and said, 'Indeed, you cannot go! Why must you think of going to see Kung-shan?' 3. The Master said, 'Can it be without some reason that he has invited ME? If any one employ me, may I not make an eastern Chau?'

Chapter VI. Tsze-chang asked Confucius about perfect virtue. Confucius said, 'To be able to practise five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue.' He begged to ask what they were, and was told, 'Gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness. If you are grave, you will not be treated with disrespect. If you are generous, you will win all. If you are sincere, people will repose trust in you. If you are earnest, you will accomplish much. If you are kind, this will enable you to employ the services of others.

Chapter VII. 1. Pi Hsi inviting him to visit him, the Master was inclined to go. 2. Tsze-lu said, 'Master, formerly I have heard you say, "When a man in his own person is guilty of doing evil, a superior man will not associate with him." Pi Hsi is in rebellion, holding possession of Chung-mau; if you go to him, what shall be said?' 3. The Master said, 'Yes, I did use these words. But is it not said, that, if a thing be really hard, it may be ground without being made thin? Is it not said, that, if a thing be really white, it may be steeped in a dark fluid without being made black? 4. 'Am I a bitter gourd! How can I be hung up out of the way of being eaten?'

Chapter VIII. 1. The Master said, 'Yu, have you heard the six words to which are attached six becloudings?' Yu replied, 'I have not.' 2. 'Sit down, and I will tell them to you. 3. 'There is the love of being benevolent without the love of learning;— the beclouding here leads to a foolish simplicity. There is the love of knowing without the love of learning;— the beclouding here leads to dissipation of mind. There is the love of being sincere without the love of learning;— the beclouding here leads to an injurious disregard of consequences. There is the love of straightforwardness without the love of learning;— the beclouding here leads to rudeness. There is the love of boldness without the love of learning;— the beclouding here leads to insubordination. There is the love of firmness without the love of learning;— the beclouding here leads to extravagant conduct.'

Chapter IX. 1. The Master said, 'My children, why do you not study the Book of Poetry? 2. 'The Odes serve to stimulate the mind. 3. 'They may be used for purposes of self-contemplation. 4. 'They teach the art of sociability. 5. 'They show how to regulate feelings of resentment. 6. 'From them you learn the more immediate duty of serving one's father, and the remoter one of serving one's prince. 7. 'From them we become largely acquainted with the names of birds, beasts, and plants.'

Chapter X. The Master said to Po-yu, 'Do you give yourself to the Chau-nan and the Shao-nan. The man who has not studied the Chau-nan and the Shao-nan, is like one who stands with his face right against a wall. Is he not so?'

Chapter XI. The Master said, '"It is according to the rules of propriety," they say.— "It is according to the rules of propriety," they say. Are gems and silk all that is meant by propriety? "It is music," they say.— "It is music," they say. Are bells and drums all that is meant by music?'

Chapter XII. The Master said, 'He who puts on an appearance of stern firmness, while inwardly he is weak, is like one of the small, mean people;— yea, is he not like the thief who breaks through, or climbs over, a wall?'

Chapter XIII. The Master said, 'Your good, careful people of the villages are the thieves of virtue.'

Chapter XIV. The Master said, 'To tell, as we go along, what we have heard on the way, is to cast away our virtue.'

Chapter XV. 1. The Master said, 'There are those mean creatures! How impossible it is along with them to serve one's prince! 2. 'While they have not got their aims, their anxiety is how to get them. When they have got them, their anxiety is lest they should lose them. 3. 'When they are anxious lest such things should be lost, there is nothing to which they will not proceed.'

Chapter XVI. 1. The Master said, 'Anciently, men had three failings, which now perhaps are not to be found. 2. 'The high-mindedness of antiquity showed itself in a disregard of small things; the high-mindedness of the present day shows itself in wild license. The stern dignity of antiquity showed itself in grave reserve; the stern dignity of the present day shows itself in quarrelsome perverseness. The stupidity of antiquity showed itself in straightforwardness; the stupidity of the present day shows itself in sheer deceit.'

Chapter XVII. The Master said, 'Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with virtue.'

Chapter XVIII. The Master said, 'I hate the manner in which purple takes away the luster of vermilion. I hate the way in which the songs of Chang confound the music of the Ya. I hate those who with their sharp mouths overthrow kingdoms and families.'

Chapter XIX. 1. The Master said, 'I would prefer not speaking.' 2. Tsze-kung said, 'If you, Master, do not speak, what shall we, your disciples, have to record?' 3. The Master said, 'Does Heaven speak? The four seasons pursue their courses, and all things are continually being produced, but does Heaven say anything?'

Chapter XX. Zu Pei wished to see Confucius, but Confucius declined, on the ground of being sick, to see him. When the bearer of this message went out at the door, (the Master) took his lute and sang to it, in order that Pei might hear him.

Chapter XXI. 1. Tsai Wo asked about the three years' mourning for parents, saying that one year was long enough. 2. 'If the superior man,' said he, 'abstains for three years from the observances of propriety, those observances will be quite lost. If for three years he abstains from music, music will be ruined. 3. 'Within a year the old grain is exhausted, and the new grain has sprung up, and, in procuring fire by friction, we go through all the changes of wood for that purpose. After a complete year, the mourning may stop.' 4. The Master said, 'If you were, after a year, to eat good rice, and wear embroidered clothes, would you feel at ease?' 'I should,' replied Wo. 5. The Master said, 'If you can feel at ease, do it. But a superior man, during the whole period of mourning, does not enjoy pleasant food which he may eat, nor derive pleasure from music which he may hear. He also does not feel at ease, if he is comfortably lodged. Therefore he does not do what you propose. But now you feel at ease and may do it.' 6. Tsai Wo then went out, and the Master said, 'This shows Yu's want of virtue. It is not till a child is three years old that it is allowed to leave the arms of its parents. And the three years' mourning is universally observed throughout the empire. Did Yu enjoy the three years' love of his parents?'

Chapter XXII. The Master said, 'Hard is it to deal with him, who will stuff himself with food the whole day, without applying his mind to anything good! Are there not gamesters and chess players? To be one of these would still be better than doing nothing at all.'

Chapter XXIII. Tsze-lu said, 'Does the superior man esteem valour?' The Master said, 'The superior man holds righteousness to be of highest importance. A man in a superior situation, having valour without righteousness, will be guilty of insubordination; one of the lower people having valour without righteousness, will commit robbery.'

Chapter XXIV. 1. Tsze-kung said, 'Has the superior man his hatreds also?' The Master said, 'He has his hatreds. He hates those who proclaim the evil of others. He hates the man who, being in a low station, slanders his superiors. He hates those who have valour merely, and are unobservant of propriety. He hates those who are forward and determined, and, at the same time, of contracted understanding.' 2. The Master then inquired, 'Ts'ze, have you also your hatreds?' Tsze-kung replied, 'I hate those who pry out matters, and ascribe the knowledge to their wisdom. I hate those who are only not modest, and think that they are valourous. I hate those who make known secrets, and think that they are straightforward.'

Chapter XXV. The Master said, 'Of all people, girls and servants are the most difficult to behave to. If you are familiar with them, they lose their humility. If you maintain a reserve towards them, they are discontented.'

Chapter XXVI. The Master said, 'When a man at forty is the object of dislike, he will always continue what he is.'


Confucian disciple Zilu

Chapter I. 1. The Viscount of Wei withdrew from the court. The Viscount of Chi became a slave to Chau. Pi-kan remonstrated with him and died. 2. Confucius said, 'The Yin dynasty possessed these three men of virtue.' [Source: ca. 500 B.C., Project Gutenberg, translated by James Legge, 1861]

Chapter II. Hui of Liu-hsia being chief criminal judge, was thrice dismissed from his office. Some one said to him, 'Is it not yet time for you, sir, to leave this?' He replied, 'Serving men in an upright way, where shall I go to, and not experience such a thrice- repeated dismissal? If I choose to serve men in a crooked way, what necessity is there for me to leave the country of my parents?'

Chapter III. The duke Ching of Ch'i, with reference to the manner in which he should treat Confucius, said, 'I cannot treat him as I would the chief of the Chi family. I will treat him in a manner between that accorded to the chief of the Chi, and that given to the chief of the Mang family.' He also said, 'I am old; I cannot use his doctrines.' Confucius took his departure.

Chapter IV. The people of Ch'i sent to Lu a present of female musicians, which Chi Hwan received, and for three days no court was held. Confucius took his departure.

Chapter V. 1. The madman of Ch'u, Chieh-yu, passed by Confucius, singing and saying, 'O FANG! O FANG! How is your virtue degenerated! As to the past, reproof is useless; but the future may still be provided against. Give up your vain pursuit. Give up your vain pursuit. Peril awaits those who now engage in affairs of government.' 2. Confucius alighted and wished to converse with him, but Chieh-yu hastened away, so that he could not talk with him.

Chapter VI. 1. Ch'ang-tsu and Chieh-ni were at work in the field together, when Confucius passed by them, and sent Tsze-lu to inquire for the ford. 2. Ch'ang-tsu said, 'Who is he that holds the reins in the carriage there?' Tsze-lu told him, 'It is K'ung Ch'iu.' 'Is it not K'ung Ch'iu of Lu?' asked he. 'Yes,' was the reply, to which the other rejoined, 'He knows the ford.' 3. Tsze-lu then inquired of Chieh-ni, who said to him, 'Who are you, sir?' He answered, 'I am Chung Yu.' 'Are you not the disciple of K'ung Ch'iu of Lu?' asked the other. 'I am,' replied he, and then Chieh-ni said to him, 'Disorder, like a swelling flood, spreads over the whole empire, and who is he that will change its state for you? Than follow one who merely withdraws from this one and that one, had you not better follow those who have withdrawn from the world altogether?' With this he fell to covering up the seed, and proceeded with his work, without stopping. 4. Tsze-lu went and reported their remarks, when the Master observed with a sigh, 'It is impossible to associate with birds and beasts, as if they were the same with us. If I associate not with these people,— with mankind,— with whom shall I associate? If right principles prevailed through the empire, there would be no use for me to change its state.'

Chapter VII. 1. Tsze-lu, following the Master, happened to fall behind, when he met an old man, carrying across his shoulder on a staff a basket for weeds. Tsze-lu said to him, 'Have you seen my master, sir!' The old man replied, 'Your four limbs are unaccustomed to toil; you cannot distinguish the five kinds of grain:— who is your master?' With this, he planted his staff in the ground, and proceeded to weed. 2. Tsze-lu joined his hands across his breast, and stood before him. 3. The old man kept Tsze-lu to pass the night in his house, killed a fowl, prepared millet, and feasted him. He also introduced to him his two sons. 4. Next day, Tsze-lu went on his way, and reported his adventure. The Master said, 'He is a recluse,' and sent Tsze-lu back to see him again, but when he got to the place, the old man was gone. 5. Tsze-lu then said to the family, 'Not to take office is not righteous. If the relations between old and young may not be neglected, how is it that he sets aside the duties that should be observed between sovereign and minister? Wishing to maintain his personal purity, he allows that great relation to come to confusion. A superior man takes office, and performs the righteous duties belonging to it. As to the failure of right principles to make progress, he is aware of that.'

Chapter VIII. 1. The men who have retired to privacy from the world have been Po-i, Shu-ch'i, Yu-chung, I-yi, Chu-chang, Hui of Liu-hsia, and Shao-lien. 2. The Master said, 'Refusing to surrender their wills, or to submit to any taint in their persons;— such, I think, were Po-i and Shu-ch'i. 3. 'It may be said of Hui of Liu-hsia, and of Shao-lien, that they surrendered their wills, and submitted to taint in their persons, but their words corresponded with reason, and their actions were such as men are anxious to see. This is all that is to be remarked in them. 4. 'It may be said of Yu-chung and I-yi, that, while they hid themselves in their seclusion, they gave a license to their words; but, in their persons, they succeeded in preserving their purity, and, in their retirement, they acted according to the exigency of the times. 5. 'I am different from all these. I have no course for which I am predetermined, and no course against which I am predetermined.'

Chapter IX. 1. The grand music master, Chih, went to Ch'i. 2. Kan, the master of the band at the second meal, went to Ch'u. Liao, the band master at the third meal, went to Ts'ai. Chueh, the band master at the fourth meal, went to Ch'in. 3. Fang-shu, the drum master, withdrew to the north of the river. 4. Wu, the master of the hand drum, withdrew to the Han. 5. Yang, the assistant music master, and Hsiang, master of the musical stone, withdrew to an island in the sea.

Chapter X. The duke of Chau addressed his son, the duke of Lu, saying, 'The virtuous prince does not neglect his relations. He does not cause the great ministers to repine at his not employing them. Without some great cause, he does not dismiss from their offices the members of old families. He does not seek in one man talents for every employment.'

Chapter XI. To Chau belonged the eight officers, Po-ta, Po- kwo, Chung-tu, Chung-hwu, Shu-ya, Shu-hsia, Chi-sui, and Chi-kwa.


Chapter I. Tsze-chang said, 'The scholar, trained for public duty, seeing threatening danger, is prepared to sacrifice his life. When the opportunity of gain is presented to him, he thinks of righteousness. In sacrificing, his thoughts are reverential. In mourning, his thoughts are about the grief which he should feel. Such a man commands our approbation indeed.' [Source: ca. 500 B.C., Project Gutenberg, translated by James Legge, 1861]

Chapter II. Tsze-chang said, 'When a man holds fast to virtue, but without seeking to enlarge it, and believes right principles, but without firm sincerity, what account can be made of his existence or non-existence?'

Chapter III. The disciples of Tsze-hsia asked Tsze-chang about the principles that should characterize mutual intercourse. Tsze- chang asked, 'What does Tsze-hsia say on the subject?' They replied, 'Tsze-hsia says:— "Associate with those who can advantage you. Put away from you those who cannot do so."' Tsze-chang observed, 'This is different from what I have learned. The superior man honours the talented and virtuous, and bears with all. He praises the good, and pities the incompetent. Am I possessed of great talents and virtue?— who is there among men whom I will not bear with? Am I devoid of talents and virtue?— men will put me away from them. What have we to do with the putting away of others?'

Chapter IV. Tsze-hsia said, 'Even in inferior studies and employments there is something worth being looked at; but if it be attempted to carry them out to what is remote, there is a danger of their proving inapplicable. Therefore, the superior man does not practise them.'

Chapter V. Tsze-hsia said, 'He, who from day to day recognises what he has not yet, and from month to month does not forget what he has attained to, may be said indeed to love to learn.'

Chapter VI. Tsze-hsia said, 'There are learning extensively, and having a firm and sincere aim; inquiring with earnestness, and reflecting with self-application:— virtue is in such a course.'

Chapter VII. Tsze-hsia said, 'Mechanics have their shops to dwell in, in order to accomplish their works. The superior man learns, in order to reach to the utmost of his principles.'

Chapter VIII. Tsze-hsia said, 'The mean man is sure to gloss his faults.'

Chapter IX. Tsze-hsia said, 'The superior man undergoes three changes. Looked at from a distance, he appears stern; when approached, he is mild; when he is heard to speak, his language is firm and decided.'

Chapter X. Tsze-hsia said, 'The superior man, having obtained their confidence, may then impose labours on his people. If he have not gained their confidence, they will think that he is oppressing them. Having obtained the confidence of his prince, one may then remonstrate with him. If he have not gained his confidence, the prince will think that he is vilifying him.'

Chapter XI. Tsze-hsia said, 'When a person does not transgress the boundary line in the great virtues, he may pass and repass it in the small virtues.'

Chapter XII. 1. Tsze-yu said, 'The disciples and followers of Tsze-hsia, in sprinkling and sweeping the ground, in answering and replying, in advancing and receding, are sufficiently accomplished. But these are only the branches of learning, and they are left ignorant of what is essential.— How can they be acknowledged as sufficiently taught?' 2. Tsze-hsia heard of the remark and said, 'Alas! Yen Yu is wrong. According to the way of the superior man in teaching, what departments are there which he considers of prime importance, and delivers? what are there which he considers of secondary importance, and allows himself to be idle about? But as in the case of plants, which are assorted according to their classes, so he deals with his disciples. How can the way of a superior man be such as to make fools of any of them? Is it not the sage alone, who can unite in one the beginning and the consummation of learning?'

Chapter XIII. Tsze-hsia said, 'The officer, having discharged all his duties, should devote his leisure to learning. The student, having completed his learning, should apply himself to be an officer.'

Chapter XIV. Tsze-hsia said, 'Mourning, having been carried to the utmost degree of grief, should stop with that.'

Chapter XV. Tsze-hsia said, 'My friend Chang can do things which are hard to be done, but yet he is not perfectly virtuous.'

Chapter XVI. The philosopher Tsang said, 'How imposing is the manner of Chang! It is difficult along with him to practise virtue.'

Chapter XVII. The philosopher Tsang said, 'I heard this from our Master:— "Men may not have shown what is in them to the full extent, and yet they will be found to do so, on occasion of mourning for their parents."'

Chapter XVIII. The philosopher Tsang said, 'I have heard this from our Master:— "The filial piety of Mang Chwang, in other matters, was what other men are competent to, but, as seen in his not changing the ministers of his father, nor his father's mode of government, it is difficult to be attained to."'

Chapter XIX. The chief of the Mang family having appointed Yang Fu to be chief criminal judge, the latter consulted the philosopher Tsang. Tsang said, 'The rulers have failed in their duties, and the people consequently have been disorganised, for a long time. When you have found out the truth of any accusation, be grieved for and pity them, and do not feel joy at your own ability.'

Chapter XX. Tsze-kung said, 'Chau's wickedness was not so great as that name implies. Therefore, the superior man hates to dwell in a low-lying situation, where all the evil of the world will flow in upon him.'

Chapter XXI. Tsze-kung said, 'The faults of the superior man are like the eclipses of the sun and moon. He has his faults, and all men see them; he changes again, and all men look up to him.'

Chapter XXII. 1. Kung-sun Ch'ao of Wei asked Tsze-kung, saying, 'From whom did Chung-ni get his learning?' 2. Tsze-kung replied, 'The doctrines of Wan and Wu have not yet fallen to the ground. They are to be found among men. Men of talents and virtue remember the greater principles of them, and others, not possessing such talents and virtue, remember the smaller. Thus, all possess the doctrines of Wan and Wu. Where could our Master go that he should not have an opportunity of learning them? And yet what necessity was there for his having a regular master?'

Chapter XXIII. 1. Shu-sun Wu-shu observed to the great officers in the court, saying, 'Tsze-kung is superior to Chung-ni.' 2. Tsze-fu Ching-po reported the observation to Tsze-kung, who said, 'Let me use the comparison of a house and its encompassing wall. My wall only reaches to the shoulders. One may peep over it, and see whatever is valuable in the apartments. 3. 'The wall of my Master is several fathoms high. If one do not find the door and enter by it, he cannot see the ancestral temple with its beauties, nor all the officers in their rich array. 4. 'But I may assume that they are few who find the door. Was not the observation of the chief only what might have been expected?'

Chapter XXIV. Shu-sun Wu-shu having spoken revilingly of Chung-ni, Tsze-kung said, 'It is of no use doing so. Chung-ni cannot be reviled. The talents and virtue of other men are hillocks and mounds which may be stepped over. Chung-ni is the sun or moon, which it is not possible to step over. Although a man may wish to cut himself off from the sage, what harm can he do to the sun or moon? He only shows that he does not know his own capacity.

Chapter XXV. 1. Ch'an Tsze-ch'in, addressing Tsze-kung, said, 'You are too modest. How can Chung-ni be said to be superior to you?' 2. Tsze-kung said to him, 'For one word a man is often deemed to be wise, and for one word he is often deemed to be foolish. We ought to be careful indeed in what we say. 3. 'Our Master cannot be attained to, just in the same way as the heavens cannot be gone up to by the steps of a stair. 4. 'Were our Master in the position of the ruler of a State or the chief of a Family, we should find verified the description which has been given of a sage's rule:— he would plant the people, and forthwith they would be established; he would lead them on, and forthwith they would follow him; he would make them happy, and forthwith multitudes would resort to his dominions; he would stimulate them, and forthwith they would be harmonious. While he lived, he would be glorious. When he died, he would be bitterly lamented. How is it possible for him to be attained to?'


Chapter I. 1. Yao said, 'Oh! you, Shun, the Heaven-determined order of succession now rests in your person. Sincerely hold fast the due Mean. If there shall be distress and want within the four seas, the Heavenly revenue will come to a perpetual end.' 2. Shun also used the same language in giving charge to Yu. 3. T'ang said, 'I the child Li, presume to use a dark-coloured victim, and presume to announce to Thee, O most great and sovereign God, that the sinner I dare not pardon, and thy ministers, O God, I do not keep in obscurity. The examination of them is by thy mind, O God. If, in my person, I commit offences, they are not to be attributed to you, the people of the myriad regions. If you in the myriad regions commit offences, these offences must rest on my person.' 4. Chau conferred great gifts, and the good were enriched. 5. 'Although he has his near relatives, they are not equal to my virtuous men. The people are throwing blame upon me, the One man.' 6. He carefully attended to the weights and measures, examined the body of the laws, restored the discarded officers, and the good government of the kingdom took its course. 7. He revived States that had been extinguished, restored families whose line of succession had been broken, and called to office those who had retired into obscurity, so that throughout the kingdom the hearts of the people turned towards him. 8. What he attached chief importance to, were the food of the people, the duties of mourning, and sacrifices. 9. By his generosity, he won all. By his sincerity, he made the people repose trust in him. By his earnest activity, his achievements were great. By his justice, all were delighted. [Source: ca. 500 B.C., Project Gutenberg, translated by James Legge, 1861]

Chapter II. 1. Tsze-chang asked Confucius, saying, 'In what way should a person in authority act in order that he may conduct government properly?' The Master replied, 'Let him honour the five excellent, and banish away the four bad, things;— then may he conduct government properly.' Tsze-chang said, 'What are meant by the five excellent things?' The Master said, 'When the person in authority is beneficent without great expenditure; when he lays tasks on the people without their repining; when he pursues what he desires without being covetous; when he maintains a dignified ease without being proud; when he is majestic without being fierce.' 2. Tsze-chang said, 'What is meant by being beneficent without great expenditure?' The Master replied, 'When the person in authority makes more beneficial to the people the things from which they naturally derive benefit;— is not this being beneficent without great expenditure? When he chooses the labours which are proper, and makes them labour on them, who will repine? When his desires are set on benevolent government, and he secures it, who will accuse him of covetousness? Whether he has to do with many people or few, or with things great or small, he does not dare to indicate any disrespect;— is not this to maintain a dignified ease without any pride? He adjusts his clothes and cap, and throws a dignity into his looks, so that, thus dignified, he is looked at with awe;— is not this to be majestic without being fierce?' 3. Tsze-chang then asked, 'What are meant by the four bad things?' The Master said, 'To put the people to death without having instructed them;— this is called cruelty. To require from them, suddenly, the full tale of work, without having given them warning;— this is called oppression. To issue orders as if without urgency, at first, and, when the time comes, to insist on them with severity;— this is called injury. And, generally, in the giving pay or rewards to men, to do it in a stingy way;— this is called acting the part of a mere official.

Chapter III. 1. The Master said, 'Without recognising the ordinances of Heaven, it is impossible to be a superior man. 2. 'Without an acquaintance with the rules of Propriety, it is impossible for the character to be established. 3. 'Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men.'

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.

Last updated September 2016

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