The Master "Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant
perseverance and application?
"Is it not delightful to have friends coming
from distant quarters?
"Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no
discomposure though men may take no note of
The philosopher Yu said, "They are few who, being filial and
fraternal, are fond of offending against their superiors. There have been none,
who, not liking to offend against their superiors, have been fond of stirring up
"The superior man bends his attention to what is radical. That
being established, all practical courses naturally grow up. Filial piety and
fraternal submission,-are they not the root of all benevolent
Master said, "Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated
The philosopher Tsang said, "I daily examine myself on three
points:-whether, in transacting business for others, I may have been not
faithful;-whether, in intercourse with friends, I may have been not
sincere;-whether I may have not mastered and practiced the instructions of my
The Master said, "To rule a country of a thousand chariots,
there must be reverent attention to business, and sincerity; economy in
expenditure, and love for men; and the employment of the people at the proper
The Master said, "A youth, when at home, should be filial, and,
abroad, respectful to his elders. He should be earnest and truthful. He should
overflow in love to all, and cultivate the friendship of the good. When he has
time and opportunity, after the performance of these things, he should employ
them in polite
Tsze-hsia said, "If a man withdraws his mind from the love of
beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous; if, in serving
his parents, he can exert his utmost strength; if, in serving his prince, he can
devote his life; if, in his intercourse with his friends, his words are
sincere:-although men say that he has not learned, I will certainly say that he
The Master said, "If the scholar be not grave, he will not call
forth any veneration, and his learning will not be solid.
and sincerity as first principles.
"Have no friends not equal to
"When you have faults, do not fear to abandon
The philosopher Tsang said, "Let there be a careful attention
to perform the funeral rites to parents, and let them be followed when long gone
with the ceremonies of sacrifice;-then the virtue of the people will resume its
Tsze-ch'in asked Tsze-kung saying, "When our master comes to
any country, he does not fail to learn all about its government. Does he ask his
information? or is it given to him?"
Tsze-kung said, "Our master is benign,
upright, courteous, temperate, and complaisant and thus he gets his information.
The master's mode of asking information,-is it not different from that of other
The Master said, "While a man's father is alive, look at the bent of his
will; when his father is dead, look at his conduct. If for three years he does
not alter from the way of his father, he may be called
philosopher Yu said, "In practicing the rules of propriety, a natural ease is to
be prized. In the ways prescribed by the ancient kings, this is the excellent
quality, and in things small and great we follow them.
"Yet it is not to be
observed in all cases. If one, knowing how such ease should be prized, manifests
it, without regulating it by the rules of propriety, this likewise is not to be
The philosopher Yu said, "When agreements are made according to
what is right, what is spoken can be made good. When respect is shown according
to what is proper, one keeps far from shame and disgrace. When the parties upon
whom a man leans are proper persons to be intimate with, he can make them his
guides and masters."
The Master said, "He who aims to be a man of complete virtue in
his food does not seek to gratify his appetite, nor in his dwelling place does
he seek the appliances of ease; he is earnest in what he is doing, and careful
in his speech; he frequents the company of men of principle that he may be
rectified:-such a person may be said indeed to love to
Tsze-kung said, "What do you pronounce concerning the poor man
who yet does not flatter, and the rich man who is not proud?" The Master
replied, "They will do; but they are not equal to him, who, though poor, is yet
cheerful, and to him, who, though rich, loves the rules of
Tsze-kung replied, "It is said in the Book of Poetry, 'As you cut
and then file, as you carve and then polish.'-The meaning is the same, I
apprehend, as that which you have just expressed."
The Master said, "With one
like Ts'ze, I can begin to talk about the odes. I told him one point, and he
knew its proper
The Master said, "I will not be afflicted at men's not knowing
me; I will be afflicted that I do not know men."
The Master said, "He who exercises government by means of his
virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all
the stars turn towards it."
The Master said, "In the Book of Poetry are three hundred
pieces, but the design of them all may be embraced in one sentence 'Having no
The Master said, "If the people be led by laws, and uniformity
sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment,
but have no sense of shame.
"If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought
to be given them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of shame,
and moreover will become good."
The Master said, "At fifteen, I had my mind bent on
"At thirty, I stood firm.
"At forty, I had no doubts.
fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven.
"At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ
for the reception of truth.
"At seventy, I could follow what my heart
desired, without transgressing what was
Mang I asked what filial piety was. The Master said, "It is not
Soon after, as Fan Ch'ih was driving him, the Master told
him, saying, "Mang-sun asked me what filial piety was, and I answered him,-'not
Fan Ch'ih said, "What did you mean?" The Master replied,
"That parents, when alive, be served according to propriety; that, when dead,
they should be buried according to propriety; and that they should be sacrificed
to according to
Mang Wu asked what filial piety was. The Master said, "Parents
are anxious lest their children should be sick."
Tsze-yu asked what filial piety was. The Master said, "The
filial piety nowadays means the support of one's parents. But dogs and horses
likewise are able to do something in the way of support;-without reverence, what
is there to distinguish the one support given from the
Tsze-hsia asked what filial piety was. The Master said, "The
difficulty is with the countenance. If, when their elders have any troublesome
affairs, the young take the toil of them, and if, when the young have wine and
food, they set them before their elders, is THIS to be considered filial
The Master said, "I have talked with Hui for a whole day, and
he has not made any objection to anything I said;-as if he were stupid. He has
retired, and I have examined his conduct when away from me, and found him able
to illustrate my teachings. Hui!-He is not
Master said, "See what a man does.
"Mark his motives.
"Examine in what
things he rests.
"How can a man conceal his character? How can a man conceal
The Master said, "If a man keeps cherishing his old knowledge,
so as continually to be acquiring new, he may be a teacher of
The Master said, "The accomplished scholar is not a
Tsze-kung asked what constituted the superior man. The Master said,
"He acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his
The Master said, "The superior man is catholic and not partisan.
The mean man is partisan and not catholic."
The Master said, "Learning without thought is labor lost;
thought without learning is perilous."
Master said, "The study of strange doctrines is injurious
The Master said, "Yu, shall I teach you what knowledge is? When
you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing, to
allow that you do not know it;-this is
Tsze-chang was learning with a view to official
The Master said, "Hear much and put aside the points of which you
stand in doubt, while you speak cautiously at the same time of the others:-then
you will afford few occasions for blame. See much and put aside the things which
seem perilous, while you are cautious at the same time in carrying the others
into practice: then you will have few occasions for repentance. When one gives
few occasions for blame in his words, and few occasions for repentance in his
conduct, he is in the way to get
The Duke Ai asked, saying, "What should be done in order to
secure the submission of the people?" Confucius replied, "Advance the upright
and set aside the crooked, then the people will submit. Advance the crooked and
set aside the upright, then the people will not
Chi K'ang asked how to cause the people to reverence their
ruler, to be faithful to him, and to go on to nerve themselves to virtue. The
Master said, "Let him preside over them with gravity;-then they will reverence
him. Let him be final and kind to all;-then they will be faithful to him. Let
him advance the good and teach the incompetent;-then they will eagerly seek to
Some one addressed Confucius, saying, "Sir, why are you not
engaged in the government?"
The Master said, "What does the Shu-ching say of
filial piety?-'You are final, you discharge your brotherly duties. These
qualities are displayed in government.' This then also constitutes the exercise
of government. Why must there be THAT-making one be in the
The Master said, "I do not know how a man without truthfulness
is to get on. How can a large carriage be made to go without the crossbar for
yoking the oxen to, or a small carriage without the arrangement for yoking the
Tsze-chang asked whether the affairs of ten ages after could be
Confucius said, "The Yin dynasty followed the regulations of the Hsia:
wherein it took from or added to them may be known. The Chau dynasty has
followed the regulations of Yin: wherein it took from or added to them may be
known. Some other may follow the Chau, but though it should be at the distance
of a hundred ages, its affairs may be
The Master said, "For a man to sacrifice to a spirit which does
not belong to him is flattery.
"To see what is right and not to do it is want
Confucius said of
the head of the Chi family, who had eight rows of pantomimes in his area, "If he
can bear to do this, what may he not bear to do?"
three families used the Yungode, while the vessels were being removed, at the
conclusion of the sacrifice. The Master said, "'Assisting are the princes;-the
son of heaven looks profound and grave';-what application can these words have
in the hall of the three
The Master said, "If a man be without the virtues proper to
humanity, what has he to do with the rites of propriety? If a man be without the
virtues proper to humanity, what has he to do with
Lin Fang asked what was the first thing to be attended to in
The Master said, "A great question indeed! "In festive
ceremonies, it is better to be sparing than extravagant. In the ceremonies of
mourning, it is better that there be deep sorrow than in minute attention to
The Master said, "The rude tribes of the east and north have
their princes, and are not like the States of our great land which are without
The chief of the Chi family was about to sacrifice to the T'ai
mountain. The Master said to Zan Yu, "Can you not save him from this?" He
answered, "I cannot." Confucius said, "Alas! will you say that the T'ai mountain
is not so discerning as Lin Fang?"
The Master said, "The student of virtue has no contentions. If
it be said he cannot avoid them, shall this be in archery? But he bows
complaisantly to his competitors; thus he ascends the hall, descends, and exacts
the forfeit of drinking. In his contention, he is still the
Tsze-hsia asked, saying, "What is the meaning of the
passage-'The pretty dimples of her artful smile! The well-defined black and
white of her eye! The plain ground for the colors?'"
The Master said, "The
business of laying on the colors follows the preparation of the plain
"Ceremonies then are a subsequent thing?" The Master said, "It is
Shang who can bring out my meaning. Now I can begin to talk about the odes with
The Master said, "I could describe the ceremonies of the Hsia
dynasty, but Chi cannot sufficiently attest my words. I could describe the
ceremonies of the Yin dynasty, but Sung cannot sufficiently attest my words.
They cannot do so because of the insufficiency of their records and wise men. If
those were sufficient, I could adduce them in support of my
The Master said, "At the great sacrifice, after the pouring out
of the libation, I have no wish to look on."
Some one asked the meaning
of the great sacrifice. The Master said, "I do not know. He who knew its meaning
would find it as easy to govern the kingdom as to look on this"-pointing to his
He sacrificed to the dead, as if they were present. He
sacrificed to the spirits, as if the spirits were present.
The Master said,
"I consider my not being present at the sacrifice, as if I did not
Wang-sun Chia asked, saying, "What is the meaning of the
saying, 'It is better to pay court to the furnace then to the southwest
The Master said, "Not so. He who offends against Heaven has none to
whom he can pray."
The Master said, "Chau had the advantage of viewing the two
past dynasties. How complete and elegant are its regulations! I follow
The Master, when he entered the grand temple, asked about
everything. Some one said, "Who say that the son of the man of Tsau knows the
rules of propriety! He has entered the grand temple and asks about everything."
The Master heard the remark, and said, "This is a rule of propriety."
The Master said, "In archery it is not going through the
leather which is the principal thing;-because people's strength is not equal.
This was the old way."
Tsze-kung wished to do away with the offering of a sheep
connected with the inauguration of the first day of each month.
said, "Ts'ze, you love the sheep; I love the ceremony."
The Master said, "The full observance of the rules of propriety
in serving one's prince is accounted by people to be
The Duke Ting asked how a prince should employ his ministers,
and how ministers should serve their prince. Confucius replied, "A prince should
employ his minister according to according to the rules of propriety; ministers
should serve their prince with
The Master said, "The Kwan Tsu is expressive of enjoyment
without being licentious, and of grief without being hurtfully
The Duke Ai asked Tsai Wo about the altars of the spirits of
the land. Tsai Wo replied, "The Hsia sovereign planted the pine tree about them;
the men of the Yin planted the cypress; and the men of the Chau planted the
chestnut tree, meaning thereby to cause the people to be in awe."
Master heard it, he said, "Things that are done, it is needless to speak about;
things that have had their course, it is needless to remonstrate about; things
that are past, it is needless to
The Master said,
"Small indeed was the capacity of Kwan Chung!"
Some one said, "Was Kwan Chung
parsimonious?" "Kwan," was the reply, "had the San Kwei, and his officers
performed no double duties; how can he be considered parsimonious?"
did Kwan Chung know the rules of propriety?" The Master said, "The princes of
States have a screen intercepting the view at their gates. Kwan had likewise a
screen at his gate. The princes of States on any friendly meeting between two of
them, had a stand on which to place their inverted cups. Kwan had also such a
stand. If Kwan knew the rules of propriety, who does not know
The Master instructing the
grand music master of Lu said, "How to play music may be known. At the
commencement of the piece, all the parts should sound together. As it proceeds,
they should be in harmony while severally distinct and flowing without break,
and thus on to the conclusion."
The border warden at Yi requested to be introduced to the
Master, saying, "When men of superior virtue have come to this, I have never
been denied the privilege of seeing them." The followers of the sage introduced
him, and when he came out from the interview, he said, "My friends, why are you
distressed by your master's loss of office? The kingdom has long been without
the principles of truth and right; Heaven is going to use your master as a bell
with its wooden
The Master said of the Shao that it was perfectly beautiful and
also perfectly good. He said of the Wu that it was perfectly beautiful but not
The Master said, "High station filled without indulgent
generosity; ceremonies performed without reverence; mourning conducted without
sorrow;-wherewith should I contemplate such ways?"
The Master said, "It is virtuous manners which constitute the
excellence of a neighborhood. If a man in selecting a residence do not fix on
one where such prevail, how can he be wise?"
The Master said, "Those who are without virtue cannot abide
long either in a condition of poverty and hardship, or in a condition of
enjoyment. The virtuous rest in virtue; the wise desire
The Master said, "It is only the truly virtuous man, who can
love, or who can hate, others."
The Master said, "If the will be set on virtue, there will be
no practice of wickedness."
The Master said, "Riches and honors are what men desire. If
they cannot be obtained in the proper way, they should not be held. Poverty and
meanness are what men dislike. If they cannot be avoided in the proper way, they
should not be avoided.
"If a superior man abandon virtue, how can he fulfill
the requirements of that name?
"The superior man does not, even for the space
of a single meal, act contrary to virtue. In moments of haste, he cleaves to it.
In seasons of danger, he cleaves to
The Master said, "I have not seen a person who loved virtue, or
one who hated what was not virtuous. He who loved virtue, would esteem nothing
above it. He who hated what is not virtuous, would practice virtue in such a way
that he would not allow anything that is not virtuous to approach his
"Is any one able for one day to apply his strength to virtue? I have
not seen the case in which his strength would be insufficient.
possibly be any such case, I have not seen it."
The Master said, "The faults of men are characteristic of the
class to which they belong. By observing a man's faults, it may be known that he
The Master said, "If a man in the morning hear the right way,
he may die in the evening hear regret."
The Master said, "A scholar, whose mind is set on truth, and
who is ashamed of bad clothes and bad food, is not fit to be discoursed
The Master said, "The superior man, in the world, does not set
his mind either for anything, or against anything; what is right he will
The Master said, "The superior man thinks of virtue; the small
man thinks of comfort. The superior man thinks of the sanctions of law; the
small man thinks of favors which he may receive."
The Master said: "He who acts with a constant view to his own
advantage will be much murmured against."
The Master said, "If a prince is able to govern his kingdom
with the complaisance proper to the rules of propriety, what difficulty will he
have? If he cannot govern it with that complaisance, what has he to do with the
rules of propriety?"
The Master said, "A man should say, I am not concerned that I
have no place, I am concerned how I may fit myself for one. I am not concerned
that I am not known, I seek to be worthy to be
The Master said, "Shan, my
doctrine is that of an all-pervading unity." The disciple Tsang replied,
The Master went out, and the other disciples asked, saying, "What do
his words mean?" Tsang said, "The doctrine of our master is to be true to the
principles-of our nature and the benevolent exercise of them to others,-this and
The Master said, "The mind of the superior man is conversant
with righteousness; the mind of the mean man is conversant with gain."
The Master said, "When we see men of worth, we should think of
equaling them; when we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards
and examine ourselves."
The Master said, "In serving his parents, a son may remonstrate
with them, but gently; when he sees that they do not incline to follow his
advice, he shows an increased degree of reverence, but does not abandon his
purpose; and should they punish him, he does not allow himself to
The Master said, "While his parents are alive, the son may not
go abroad to a distance. If he does go abroad, he must have a fixed place to
which he goes."
The Master said, "If the son for three years does not alter
from the way of his father, he may be called filial."
The Master said, "The years of parents may by no means not be
kept in the memory, as an occasion at once for joy and for
The Master said, "The reason why the ancients did not readily
give utterance to their words, was that they feared lest their actions should
not come up to them."
The Master said, "The cautious seldom err."
The Master said, "The superior man wishes to be slow in his
speech and earnest in his conduct."
The Master said, "Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who
practices it will have neighbors."
Tsze-yu said, "In serving a prince, frequent remonstrances lead
to disgrace. Between friends, frequent reproofs make the friendship
The Master said of Kung-ye Ch'ang that he might be wived; although
he was put in bonds, he had not been guilty of any crime. Accordingly, he gave
him his own daughter to wife.
Of Nan Yung he said that if the country were well governed he
would not be out of office, and if it were in governed, he would escape
punishment and disgrace. He gave him the daughter of his own elder brother to
Master said of Tsze-chien, "Of superior virtue indeed is such a man! If there
were not virtuous men in Lu, how could this man have acquired this
asked, "What do you say of me, Ts'ze!" The Master said, "You are a utensil."
"What utensil?" "A gemmed sacrificial utensil."
Some one said, "Yung is truly virtuous, but he is not ready
with his tongue."
The Master said, "What is the good of being ready with the
tongue? They who encounter men with smartness of speech for the most part
procure themselves hatred. I know not whether he be truly virtuous, but why
should he show readiness of the
The Master was wishing Ch'i-tiao K'ai to enter an official
employment. He replied, "I am not yet able to rest in the assurance of this."
The Master was pleased.
The Master said, "My doctrines make no way. I will get upon a
raft, and float about on the sea. He that will accompany me will be Yu, I dare
say." Tsze-lu hearing this was glad, upon which the Master said, "Yu is fonder
of daring than I am. He does not exercise his judgment upon
Mang Wu asked about Tsze-lu, whether he was perfectly virtuous.
The Master said, "I do not know."
He asked again, when the Master replied,
"In a kingdom of a thousand chariots, Yu might be employed to manage the
military levies, but I do not know whether he be perfectly virtuous."
what do you say of Ch'iu?" The Master replied, "In a city of a thousand
families, or a clan of a hundred chariots, Ch'iu might be employed as governor,
but I do not know whether he is perfectly virtuous."
"What do you say of
Ch'ih?" The Master replied, "With his sash girt and standing in a court, Ch'ih
might be employed to converse with the visitors and guests, but I do not know
whether he is perfectly
The Master said to Tsze-kung, "Which do you consider superior,
yourself or Hui?"
Tsze-kung replied, "How dare I compare myself with Hui? Hui
hears one point and knows all about a subject; I hear one point, and know a
The Master said, "You are not equal to him. I grant you, you are not
equal to him."
Tsai Yu being asleep during the daytime, the Master said,
"Rotten wood cannot be carved; a wall of dirty earth will not receive the
trowel. This Yu,-what is the use of my reproving him?"
The Master said, "At
first, my way with men was to hear their words, and give them credit for their
conduct. Now my way is to hear their words, and look at their conduct. It is
from Yu that I have learned to make this
The Master said, "I have not seen a firm and unbending man."
Some one replied, "There is Shan Ch'ang." "Ch'ang," said the Master, "is under
the influence of his passions; how can he be pronounced firm and
said, "What I do not wish men to do to me, I also wish not to do to men." The
Master said, "Ts'ze, you have not attained to
Tsze-kung said, "The Master's personal displays of his
principles and ordinary descriptions of them may be heard. His discourses about
man's nature, and the way of Heaven, cannot be
When Tsze-lu heard anything, if he had not yet succeeded in
carrying it into practice, he was only afraid lest he should hear something
05-15 Tsze-kung asked, saying, "On what ground did Kung-wan get that
title of Wan?"
The Master said, "He was of an active nature and yet fond of
learning, and he was not ashamed to ask and learn of his inferiors!-On these
grounds he has been styled Wan."
The Master said of Tsze-ch'an that he had four of the
characteristics of a superior man-in his conduct of himself, he was humble; in
serving his superior, he was respectful; in nourishing the people, he was kind;
in ordering the people, he was
Master said, "Yen P'ing knew well how to maintain friendly intercourse. The
acquaintance might be long, but he showed the same respect as at
The Master said, "Tsang Wan kept a large tortoise in a house, on
the capitals of the pillars of which he had hills made, and with representations
of duckweed on the small pillars above the beams supporting the rafters.-Of what
sort was his wisdom?"
Tsze-chang asked, saying, "The minister Tsze-wan thrice took
office, and manifested no joy in his countenance. Thrice he retired from office,
and manifested no displeasure. He made it a point to inform the new minister of
the way in which he had conducted the government; what do you say of him?" The
Master replied. "He was loyal." "Was he perfectly virtuous?" "I do not know. How
can he be
pronounced perfectly virtuous?"
Tsze-chang proceeded, "When the
officer Ch'ui killed the prince of Ch'i, Ch'an Wan, though he was the owner of
forty horses, abandoned them and left the country. Coming to another state, he
said, 'They are here like our great officer, Ch'ui,' and left it. He came to a
second state, and with the same observation left it also;-what do you say of
him?" The Master replied, "He was pure." "Was he
perfectly virtuous?" "I do
not know. How can he be pronounced perfectly
Chi Wan thought thrice, and then acted. When the Master was
informed of it, he said, "Twice may do."
The Master said, "When good order prevailed in his country,
Ning Wu acted the part of a wise man. When his country was in disorder, he acted
the part of a stupid man. Others may equal his wisdom, but they cannot equal his
the Master was in Ch'an, he said, "Let me return! Let me
return! The little
children of my school are ambitious and too
hasty. They are accomplished and
complete so far, but they do not know
how to restrict and shape
The Master said, "Po-i and Shu-ch'i did not keep the former
wickednesses of men in mind, and hence the resentments directed towards them
The Master said, "Who says of Weishang Kao that he is upright? One
begged some vinegar of him, and he begged it of a neighbor and gave it to the
The Master said, "Fine words, an insinuating appearance, and
excessive respect;-Tso Ch'iu-ming was ashamed of them. I also am ashamed of
them. To conceal resentment against a person, and appear friendly with him;-Tso
Ch'iu-ming was ashamed of such conduct. I also am ashamed of
Yen Yuan and Chi Lu being by his side, the Master said to them,
"Come, let each of you tell his wishes."
Tsze-lu said, "I should like, having
chariots and horses, and light fur clothes, to share them with my friends, and
though they should spoil them, I would not be displeased."
Yen Yuan said, "I
should like not to boast of my excellence, nor to make a display of my
Tsze-lu then said, "I should like, sir, to hear your
wishes." The Master said, "They are, in regard to the aged, to give them rest;
in regard to friends, to show them sincerity; in regard to the young, to treat
The Master said, "It is all over. I have not yet seen one who
could perceive his faults, and inwardly accuse
The Master said, "In a hamlet of ten families, there may be found
one honorable and sincere as I am, but not so fond of
The Master said, "There is Yung!-He might occupy the place of a
Chung-kung asked about Tsze-sang Po-tsze. The Master said, "He
may pass. He does not mind small matters."
Chung-kung said, "If a man cherish
in himself a reverential feeling of the necessity of attention to business,
though he may be easy in small matters in his government of the people, that may
be allowed. But if he cherish in himself that easy feeling, and also carry it
out in his practice, is not such an easymode of procedure excessive?"
Master said, "Yung's words are
The Duke Ai asked which of the disciples loved to
Confucius replied to him, "There was Yen Hui; he loved to learn. He
did not transfer his anger; he did not repeat a fault. Unfortunately, his
appointed time was short and he died; and now there is not such another. I have
not yet heard of any one who loves to
learn as he
Tsze-hwa being employed on a mission to Ch'i, the disciple Zan
requested grain for his mother. The Master said, "Give her a fu." Yen requested
more. "Give her a yi," said the Master. Yen gave her five ping.
said, "When Ch'ih was proceeding to Ch'i, he had fat horses to his carriage, and
wore light furs. I have heard that a superior man helps the distressed, but does
not add to the wealth of the rich."
Yuan Sze being made governor of his town by the Master, he
gave him nine hundred measures of grain, but Sze declined them.
said, "Do not decline them. May you not give them away in the neighborhoods,
hamlets, towns, and
The Master, speaking of Chung-kung, said, "If the calf of a brindled cow be
red and homed, although men may not wish to use it, would the spirits of the
mountains and rivers put it aside?"
The Master said, "Such was Hui that for three months there would be nothing
in his mind contrary to perfect virtue. The others may attain to this on some
days or in some months, but nothing more."
Chi K'ang asked about Chung-yu, whether he was fit to be
employed as an officer of government. The Master said, "Yu is a man of decision;
what difficulty would he find in being an officer of government?" K'ang asked,
"Is Ts'ze fit to be employed as an officer of government?" and was answered,
"Ts'ze is a man of intelligence; what
difficulty would he find in being an
officer of government?" And to the same question about Ch'iu the Master gave the
same reply, saying, "Ch'iu is a man of various
The chief of the Chi family sent to ask Min Tsze-ch'ien to be
governor of Pi. Min Tszech'ien said, "Decline the offer for me politely. If any
one come again to me with a second invitation, I shall be obliged to go and live
on the banks of the Wan."
Po-niu being ill, the Master went to ask for him. He took hold
of his hand through the window, and said, "It is killing him. It is the
appointment of Heaven, alas! That such a man should have such a sickness! That
such a man should have such a sickness!"
The Master said, "Admirable indeed was the virtue of Hui! With
a single bamboo dish of rice, a single gourd dish of drink, and living in his
mean narrow lane, while others could not have endured the
distress, he did
not allow his joy to be affected by it. Admirable indeed was the virtue of
Yen Ch'iu said, "It is not that I do not delight in your
doctrines, but my strength is insufficient." The Master said, "Those whose
strength is insufficient give over in the middle of the way but now you limit
The Master said to Tsze-hsia, "Do you be a scholar after the
style of the superior man, and not after that of the mean
Tsze-yu being governor of Wu-ch'ang, the Master said to him,
"Have you got good men there?" He answered, "There is Tan-t'ai Miehming, who
never in walking takes a short cut, and never comes to my office, excepting on
The Master said, "Mang Chih-fan does not boast of his merit.
Being in the rear on an occasion of flight, when they were about to enter the
gate, he whipped up his horse, saying, "It is not that I dare to be last. My
horse would not advance."
The Master said, "Without the specious speech of the litanist
T'o and the beauty of the prince Chao of Sung, it is difficult to escape in the
The Master said, "Who can go out but by the door? How is it
that men will not walk according to these ways?"
The Master said, "Where the solid qualities are in excess of
accomplishments, we have rusticity; where the accomplishments are in excess of
the solid qualities, we have the manners of a clerk. When the accomplishments
and solid qualities are equally blended, we then have the man of
The Master said, "Man is born for uprightness. If a man lose
his uprightness, and yet live, his escape from death is the effect of mere good
The Master said, "They who know the truth are not equal to
those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in
The Master said, "To those whose talents are above mediocrity,
the highest subjects may be announced. To those who are below mediocrity, the
highest subjects may not be announced."
Fan Ch'ih asked what constituted wisdom. The Master said, "To
give one's self earnestly to the duties due to men, and, while respecting
spiritual beings, to keep aloof from them, may be called wisdom." He
about perfect virtue. The Master said, "The man of virtue makes the difficulty
to be overcome his first business, and success only a subsequent
consideration;-this may be called perfect
The Master said, "The wise find pleasure in water; the
virtuous find pleasure in hills. The wise are active; the virtuous are tranquil.
The wise are joyful; the virtuous are
The Master said, "Ch'i, by one change, would come to the State
of Lu. Lu, by one change, would come to a State where true principles
The Master said, "A cornered vessel without corners-a strange
cornered vessel! A strange cornered vessel!"
Tsai Wo asked, saying, "A benevolent man, though it be told
him,-'There is a man in the well" will go in after him, I suppose." Confucius
said, "Why should he do so?" A superior man may be made to go to the well, but
he cannot be made to go down into it. He may be
imposed upon, but he cannot
The Master said, "The superior man, extensively studying all
learning, and keeping himself under the restraint of the rules of propriety, may
thus likewise not overstep what is right."
The Master having visited Nan-tsze, Tsze-lu was displeased, on
which the Master swore, saying, "Wherein I have done improperly, may Heaven
reject me, may Heaven reject me!"
The Master said, "Perfect is the virtue which is according to
the Constant Mean! Rare for a long time has been its practice among the
Tsze-kung said, "Suppose the case of a man extensively
conferring benefits on the people, and able to assist all, what would you say of
him? Might he be called perfectly virtuous?" The Master said, "Why speak only of
virtue in connection with him? Must he not have the qualities of a sage? Even
Yao and Shun were still solicitous about this.
"Now the man of perfect
virtue, wishing to be established himself, seeks also to establish others;
wishing to be enlarged himself, he seeks also to enlarge others.
"To be able
to judge of others by what is nigh in ourselves;-this may be called the art of
The Master said, "A transmitter and not a maker, believing in and
loving the ancients, I venture to compare myself with our old
The Master said, "The silent treasuring up of knowledge; learning
without satiety; and instructing others without being wearied:-which one of
these things belongs to me?"
The Master said, "The leaving virtue without proper
cultivation; the not thoroughly discussing what is learned; not being able to
move towards righteousness of which a knowledge is gained; and not being able to
change what is not good:-these are the things which occasion me
When the Master was unoccupied with business, his manner was
easy, and he looked pleased.
The Master said, "Extreme is my decay. For a long time, I have
not dreamed, as I was wont to do, that I saw the duke of Chau."
The Master said, "Let the will be set on the path of
"Let every attainment in what is good be firmly grasped.
perfect virtue be accorded with.
"Let relaxation and enjoyment be found in
the polite arts."
The Master said, "From the man bringing his bundle of dried
flesh for my teaching upwards, I have never refused instruction to any
The Master said, "I do not open up the truth to one who is not
eager to get knowledge, nor help out any one who is not anxious to explain
himself. When I have presented one corner of a subject to any one, and he cannot
from it learn the other three, I do not repeat my lesson."
When the Master was eating by the side of a mourner, he never
ate to the full.
He did not sing on the same day in which he had been
The Master said to Yen Yuan, "When called to office, to
undertake its duties; when not so called, to he retired;-it is only I and you
who have attained to this."
Tsze-lu said, "If you had the conduct of the
armies of a great state, whom would you have to act with you?"
said, "I would not have him to act with me, who will unarmed attack a tiger, or
cross a river without a boat, dying without any regret. My associate must be the
man who proceeds to action full of solicitude, who is fond of adjusting his
plans, and then carries them into
The Master said, "If the search for riches is sure to be successful, though
I should become a groom with whip in hand to get them, I will do so. As the
search may not be successful, I will follow after that which I
The things in reference to which the Master exercised the greatest caution
were-fasting, war, and sickness.
When the Master was in Ch'i, he heard the Shao, and for three months did not
know the taste of flesh. "I did not think'" he said, "that music could have been
made so excellent as this."
Yen Yu said, "Is our Master for the ruler of Wei?" Tsze-kung
said, "Oh! I will ask him."
He went in accordingly, and said, "What sort of
men were Po-i and Shu-ch'i?" "They were ancient worthies," said the Master. "Did
they have any repinings because of their course?" The Master again replied,
"They sought to act virtuously, and they did so; what was there for them to
repine about?" On this, Tsze-kung went out and said, "Our Master is not for
The Master said, "With coarse rice to eat, with water to
drink, and my bended arm for a pillow;-I have still joy in the midst of these
things. Riches and honors acquired by unrighteousness, are to me as a floating
The Master said, "If some years were added to my life, I would
give fifty to the study of the Yi, and then I might come to be without great
The Master's frequent themes of discourse were-the Odes, the
History, and the maintenance of the Rules of Propriety. On all these he
The Duke of Sheh asked Tsze-lu about Confucius, and Tsze-lu did not answer
The Master said, "Why did you not say to him,-He is simply a man, who in
his eager pursuit of knowledge forgets his food, who in the joy of its
attainment forgets his sorrows, and who does not perceive that old age is coming
The Master said, "I am not one who was born in the possession
of knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it
The subjects on which the Master did not talk,
were-extraordinary things, feats of strength, disorder, and spiritual
The Master said, "When I walk along with two others, they may serve me as my
teachers. I will select their good qualities and follow them, their bad
qualities and avoid them."
The Master said, "Heaven produced the virtue that is in me.
Hwan T'ui-what can he do to me?"
The Master said, "Do you think, my disciples, that I have any
concealments? I conceal nothing from you. There is nothing which I do that is
not shown to you, my disciples; that is my
There were four things which the Master taught,-letters,
ethics, devotion of soul, and truthfulness.
The Master said, "A sage it is not mine to see; could I see a man of real
talent and virtue, that would satisfy me."
The Master said, "A good man it is
not mine to see; could I see a man possessed of constancy, that would satisfy
"Having not and yet affecting to have, empty and yet affecting to be
full, straitened and yet affecting to be at ease:-it is difficult with such
characteristics to have
The Master angled,-but did not use a net. He shot,-but not at
The Master said, "There may be those who act without knowing
why. I do not do so. Hearing much and selecting what is good and following it;
seeing much and keeping it in memory: this is the second style of
It was difficult to talk profitably and reputably with the
people of Hu-hsiang, and a lad of that place having had an interview with the
Master, the disciples doubted.
The Master said, "I admit people's approach to
me without committing myself as to what they may do when they have retired. Why
must one be so severe? If a man purify himself to wait upon me, I receive
so purified, without guaranteeing his past
The Master said, "Is virtue a thing remote? I wish to be
virtuous, and lo! virtue is at hand."
The minister of crime of Ch'an asked whether the duke Chao
knew propriety, and Confucius said, "He knew propriety."
retired, the minister bowed to Wu-ma Ch'i to come forward, and said, "I have
heard that the superior man is not a
partisan. May the superior man be a
partisan also? The prince married a daughter of the house of WU, of the same
surname with himself, and called her,-'The elder Tsze of Wu.' If the prince knew
propriety, who does not know it?"
Wu-ma Ch'i reported these remarks, and the
Master said, "I am fortunate! If I have any errors, people are sure to know
When the Master was in company with a person who was singing,
if he sang well, he would make him repeat the song, while he accompanied it with
his own voice.
The Master said, "In letters I am perhaps equal to other men, but the
character of the superior man, carrying out in his conduct what he professes, is
what I have not yet attained to."
The Master said, "The sage and the man of perfect virtue;-how
dare I rank myself with them? It may simply be said of me, that I strive to
become such without satiety, and teach others without weariness." Kung-hsi Hwa
said, "This is just what we, the disciples, cannot imitate you
The Master being very sick, Tsze-lu asked leave to pray for
him. He said, "May such a thing be done?" Tsze-lu replied, "It may. In the
Eulogies it is said, 'Prayer has been made for thee to the spirits of the upper
and lower worlds.'" The Master said, "My praying has been for a long
The Master said, "Extravagance leads to insubordination, and
parsimony to meanness. It is better to be mean than to be
The Master said, "The superior man is satisfied and composed;
the mean man is always full of distress."
The Master was mild, and yet dignified; majestic, and yet not fierce;
respectful, and yet easy.
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
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,
insubordination; straightforwardness, without the rules of propriety,
"When those who are in high stations perform well all their
duties to their relations, the people are aroused to virtue. When old friends
are not neglected by them, the people are preserved from meanness."
The philosopher Tsang being ill, he cared to him the disciples of his
school, and said, "Uncover my feet, uncover my hands. It is said in the Book of
Poetry, 'We should be apprehensive and cautious, as
if on the brink of a deep
gulf, as if treading on thin ice, I and so have I been. Now and hereafter, I
know my escape from all injury to my person. O ye, my little
The philosopher Tsang being ill, Meng Chang went to ask how he
Tsang said to him, "When a bird is about to die, its notes are mournful;
when a man is about to die, his words are good.
"There are three principles
of conduct which the man of high rank should consider specially important:-that
in his deportment and manner he keep from violence and heedlessness; that in
regulating his countenance he keep near to sincerity; and that in his words and
tones he keep far from lowness and impropriety. As to such matters as attending
to the sacrificial vessels, there are the proper officers for them."
The philosopher Tsang said, "Gifted with ability, and yet
putting questions to those who were not so; possessed of much, and yet putting
questions to those possessed of little; having, as though he had not; full, and
yet counting himself as empty; offended against, and yet entering into no
altercation; formerly I had a friend who pursued this style of
The philosopher Tsang said, "Suppose that there is an
individual who can be entrusted with the charge of a young orphan prince, and
can be commissioned with authority over a state of a hundred li, and whom no
emergency however great can drive from his principles:-is such a man a superior
man? He is a superior man indeed."
The philosopher Tsang said, "The officer may not be without
breadth of mind and vigorous endurance. His burden is heavy and his course is
"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
The Master said, "It is by the Odes that the mind is
"It is by the Rules of Propriety that the character is
"It is from Music that the finish is
The Master said, "The people may be made to follow a path of
action, but they may not be made to understand it."
The Master said, "The man who is fond of daring and is
dissatisfied with poverty, will proceed to insubordination. So will the man who
is not virtuous, when you carry your dislike of him to an
The Master said, "Though a man have abilities as admirable as
those of the Duke of Chau, yet if he be proud and niggardly, those other things
are really not worth being looked at."
The Master said, "It is not easy to find a man who has learned for three
years without coming to be good."
The Master said, "With sincere faith he unites the love of
learning; holding firm to death, he is perfecting the excellence of his
"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.
country is well governed, poverty and a mean condition are things to be ashamed
of. When a country is ill governed, riches and honor are things to be ashamed
The Master said, "He who is not in any particular office has
nothing to do with plans for the administration of its
The Master said, "When the music master Chih first entered on his
office, the finish of the Kwan Tsu was magnificent;-how it filled the
The Master said, "Ardent and yet not upright, stupid and yet
not attentive; simple and yet not sincere:-such persons I do not
The Master said, "Learn as if you could not reach your object,
and were always fearing also lest you should lose it."
The Master said, "How majestic was the manner in which Shun and Yu
held possession of the empire, as if it were nothing to
The Master said, "Great indeed was Yao as a sovereign! How
majestic was he! It is only Heaven that is grand, and only Yao corresponded to
it. How vast was his virtue! The people could find no name for it.
majestic was he in the works which he accomplished! How glorious in the elegant
regulations which he
Shun had five ministers, and the empire was well
King Wu said, "I have ten able ministers."
Confucius said, "Is
not the saying that talents are difficult to find, true? Only when the dynasties
of T'ang and Yu met, were they more abundant than in this of Chau, yet there was
a woman among them. The able ministers were no more than nine men.
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
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
The subjects of which the Master seldom spoke were-profitableness,
and also the appointments of Heaven, and perfect virtue.
A man of the village of Ta-hsiang said, "Great indeed is the
philosopher K'ung! His learning is extensive, and yet he does not render his
name famous by any particular thing."
The Master heard the observation, and
said to his disciples, "What shall I practice? Shall I practice charioteering,
or shall I practice archery? I will practice
The Master said, "The linen cap is that prescribed by the
rules of ceremony, but now a silk one is worn. It is economical, and I follow
the common practice.
"The rules of ceremony prescribe the bowing below the
hall, but now the practice is to bow only after ascending it. That is arrogant.
I continue to bow below the hall, though I oppose the
There were four things from which the Master was entirely
free. He had no foregone conclusions, no arbitrary predeterminations, no
obstinacy, and no egoism.
The Master was put in fear in K'wang.
He said, "After the
death of King Wan, was not the cause of truth lodged here in me?
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
A high officer asked Tsze-kung, saying, "May we not say that
your Master is a sage? How various is his ability!"
"Certainly Heaven has endowed him unlimitedly. He is about a sage. And,
moreover, his ability is various."
The Master heard of the conversation and
said, "Does the high officer know me? When I was young, my condition was low,
and I acquired my ability in many things, but they were mean matters. Must the
superior man have such variety of ability? He does not need variety of ability.
said, "The Master said, 'Having no official employment, I acquired many
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
The Master said, "The Fang bird does not come; the river sends
forth no map:-it is all over with me!"
When the Master saw a person in a mourning dress, or any one
with the cap and upper and lower garments of full dress, or a blind person, on
observing them approaching, though they were younger than himself, he would rise
up, and if he had to pass by them, he would do so
Yen Yuan, in admiration of the Master's doctrines, sighed and
said, "I looked up to them, and they seemed to become more high; I tried to
penetrate them, and they seemed to become more firm; I looked at them before me,
and suddenly they seemed to be behind.
"The Master, by orderly method,
skillfully leads men on. He enlarged my mind with learning, and taught me the
restraints of propriety.
"When I wish to give over the study of his
doctrines, I cannot do so, and having exerted all my ability, there seems
something to stand right up before me; but though I wish to follow and lay
of it, I really find no way to do
The Master being very ill, Tsze-lu wished the disciples to act
as ministers to him.
During a remission of his illness, he said, "Long has
the conduct of Yu been deceitful! By pretending to have ministers when I have
them not, whom should I impose upon? Should I impose upon Heaven?
than that I should die in the hands of ministers, is it not better that I should
die in the hands of you, my disciples? And though I may not get a great burial,
shall I die upon the
Tsze-kung said, "There is a beautiful gem here. Should I lay
it up in a case and keep it? or should I seek for a good price and sell it?" The
Master said, "Sell it! Sell it! But I would wait for one to offer the price."
The Master was wishing to go and live among the nine wild
tribes of the east.
Some one said, "They are rude. How can you do such a
thing?" The Master said, "If a superior man dwelt among them, what rudeness
would there be?"
The Master said, "I returned from Wei to Lu, and then the
music was reformed, and the pieces in the Royal songs and Praise songs all found
their proper places."
The Master said, "Abroad, to serve the high ministers and nobles; at home,
to serve one's father and elder brothers; in all duties to the dead, not to dare
not to exert one's self; and not to be overcome of wine:-which one of these
things do I attain to?"
The Master standing by a stream, said, "It passes on just like
this, not ceasing day or night!"
The Master said, "I have not seen one who loves virtue as he loves
The Master said, "The prosecution of learning may be compared
to what may happen in raising a mound. If there want but one basket of earth to
complete the work, and I stop, the stopping is my own work. It may be compared
to throwing down the earth on the level ground. Though but one basketful is
thrown at a time, the advancing with it my own going
The Master said, "Never flagging when I set forth anything to
him;-ah! that is Hui."
The Master said of Yen Yuan, "Alas! I saw his constant advance. I
never saw him stop in his progress."
The Master said, "There are cases in which the blade springs,
but the plant does not go on to flower! There are cases where it flowers but
fruit is not subsequently produced!"
The Master said, "A youth is to be regarded with respect. How
do we know that his future will not be equal to our present? If he reach the age
of forty or fifty, and has not made himself heard of, then indeed he will not be
worth being regarded with respect."
The Master said, "Can men refuse to assent to the words of
strict admonition? But it is reforming the conduct because of them which is
valuable. Can men refuse to be pleased with words of gentle advice? But it is
unfolding their aim which is valuable. If a man be pleased with these words, but
does not unfold their aim, and assents to those, but does not reform his
conduct, I can really do nothing with
The Master said, "Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first
principles. Have no friends not equal to yourself. When you have faults, do not
fear to abandon them."
The Master said, "The commander of the forces of a large state may
be carried off, but the will of even a common man cannot be taken from
The Master said, "Dressed himself in a tattered robe quilted
with hemp, yet standing by the side of men dressed in furs, and not ashamed;-ah!
it is Yu who is equal to this!
"He dislikes none, he covets nothing;-what can he do but what is
Tsze-lu kept continually repeating these words of the ode, when the
Master said, "Those things are by no means sufficient to constitute perfect
The Master said, "When the year becomes cold, then we know how
the pine and the cypress are the last to lose their leaves."
The Master said, "The wise are free from perplexities; the
virtuous from anxiety; and the bold from fear."
The Master said, "There are some with whom we may study in
common, but we shall find them unable to go along with us to principles. Perhaps
we may go on with them to principles, but we shall find them
unable to get
established in those along with us. Or if we may get so established along with
them, we shall find them unable to weigh occurring events along with
"How the flowers of the aspen-plum flutter and turn! Do I not
think of you? But your house is distant."
The Master said, "It is the want of
thought about it. How is it
Confucius, in his village, looked simple and sincere, and as if he
were not able to speak.
When he was in the prince's ancestral temple, or in
the court, he spoke minutely on every point, but
When he was waiting at court, in speaking with the great
officers of the lower grade, he spoke freely, but in a straightforward manner;
in speaking with those of the higher grade, he did so blandly, but
When the ruler was present, his manner displayed respectful
uneasiness; it was grave, but self-possessed.
When the prince called him to employ him in the reception of a
visitor, his countenance appeared to change, and his legs to move forward with
He inclined himself to the other officers among whom he stood,
moving his left or right arm, as their position required, but keeping the skirts
of his robe before and behind evenly adjusted.
He hastened forward, with his
arms like the wings of a bird.
When the guest had retired, he would report to
the prince, "The visitor is not turning round any more."
When he entered the palace gate, he seemed to bend his body, as
if it were not sufficient to admit him.
When he was standing, he did not
occupy the middle of the gateway; when he passed in or out, he did not tread
upon the threshold.
When he was passing the vacant place of the prince, his
countenance appeared to change, and his legs to bend under him, and his words
came as if he hardly had breath to utter them.
He ascended the reception
hall, holding up his robe with both his hands, and his body bent; holding in his
breath also, as if he dared not breathe.
When he came out from the audience,
as soon as he had descended one step, he began to relax his countenance, and had
a satisfied look. When he had got the bottom of the steps, he advanced rapidly
to his place, with his arms like wings, and on occupying it, his manner still
showed respectful uneasiness.
When he was carrying the scepter of his ruler, he seemed to
bend his body, as if he were not able to bear its weight. He did not hold it
higher than the position of the hands in making a bow, nor lower than their
position in giving anything to another. His countenance seemed to change, and
look apprehensive, and he dragged his feet along as if they were held by
something to the ground.
In presenting the presents with which he was
charged, he wore a placid appearance.
At his private audience, he looked
The superior man did not use a deep purple, or a puce color,
in the ornaments of his dress.
Even in his undress, he did not wear anything
of a red or reddish color.
In warm weather, he had a single garment either of
coarse or fine texture, but he wore it displayed over an inner garment.
lamb's fur he wore a garment of black; over fawn's fur one of white; and over
fox's fur one of yellow.
The fur robe of his undress was long, with the right
He required his sleeping dress to be half as long again as his
When staying at home, he used thick furs of the fox or the
When he put off mourning, he wore all the appendages of the
His undergarment, except when it was required to be of the curtain
shape, was made of silk cut narrow above and wide below.
He did not wear
lamb's fur or a black cap on a visit of condolence.
On the first day of the
month he put on his court robes, and presented himself at court.
When fasting, he thought it necessary to have his clothes
brightly clean and made of linen cloth.
When fasting, he thought it necessary
to change his food, and also to change the place where he commonly sat in the
He did not dislike to have his rice finely cleaned, nor to have his mince
meat cut quite small.
He did not eat rice which had been injured by heat or
damp and turned sour, nor fish or flesh which was gone. He did not eat what was
discolored, or what was of a bad flavor, nor anything which was ill-cooked, or
was not in season.
He did not eat meat which was not cut properly, nor what
was served without its proper sauce.
Though there might be a large quantity
of meat, he would not allow what he took to exceed the due proportion for the
rice. It was only in wine that he laid down no limit for himself, but he did not
allow himself to be confused by it.
He did not partake of wine and dried meat
bought in the market.
He was never without ginger when he ate. He did not eat
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
When eating, he did not converse. When in bed, he did not
Although his food might be coarse rice and vegetable soup, he would
offer a little of it in sacrifice with a grave, respectful air.
If his mat was not straight, he did not sit on it.
When the villagers were drinking together, upon
those who carried staffs going out, he also went out immediately after.
the villagers were going through their ceremonies to drive away pestilential
influences, he put on his court robes and stood on the eastern steps.
The Master said, "The men of former times in the matters of
ceremonies and music were rustics, it is said, while the men of these latter
times, in ceremonies and music, are accomplished gentlemen.
"If I have
occasion to use those things, I follow the men of former
The Master said, "Of those who were with me in Ch'an and
Ts'ai, there are none to be found to enter my
Distinguished for their virtuous principles and practice, there were Yen
Yuan, Min Tsze-ch'ien, Zan Po-niu, and Chung-kung; for their ability in speech,
Tsai Wo and Tsze-kung; for their administrative talents, Zan Yu and Chi Lu; for
their literary acquirements, Tsze-yu and
The Master said, "Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing
that I say in which he does not delight."
The Master said, "Filial indeed is Min Tsze-ch'ien! Other people
say nothing of him different from the report of his parents and
Nan Yung was frequently repeating the lines about a white scepter
stone. Confucius gave him the daughter of his elder brother to
Chi K'ang asked which of the disciples loved to learn.
Confucius replied to him, "There was Yen Hui; he loved to learn. Unfortunately
his appointed time was short, and he died. Now there is no one who loves to
learn, as he did."
When Yen Yuan died, Yen Lu begged the carriage of the Master
to sell and get an outer shell for his son's coffin.
The Master said, "Every
one calls his son his son, whether he has talents or has not talents. There was
Li; when he died, he had a coffin but no outer shell. I would not walk on foot
to get a shell for him, because, having followed in the rear of the great
officers, it was not proper that I should walk on
When Yen Yuan died, the Master said, "Alas! Heaven is destroying me! Heaven
is destroying me!"
When Yen Yuan died, the Master bewailed him exceedingly, and
the disciples who were with him said, "Master, your grief is excessive!"
it excessive?" said he. "If I am not to mourn bitterly for this man, for whom
should I mourn?"
When Yen Yuan died, the disciples wished to give him a great
funeral, and the Master said, "You may not do so."
The disciples did bury him
in great style.
The Master said, "Hui behaved towards me as his father. I
have not been able to treat him as my son. The fault is not mine; it belongs to
you, O disciples."
Chi Lu asked about serving the spirits of the dead. The Master
said, "While you are not able to serve men, how can you serve their spirits?"
Chi Lu added, "I venture to ask about death?" He was answered, "While you do not
know life, how can you know about death?"
The disciple Min was standing by his side, looking bland and
precise; Tsze-lu, looking bold and soldierly; Zan Yu and Tsze-kung, with a free
and straightforward manner. The Master was pleased.
He said, "Yu, there!-he
will not die a natural death."
Some parties in Lu were going to take down and rebuild the
Min Tsze-ch'ien said, "Suppose it were to be repaired after
its old style;-why must it be altered and made anew?"
The Master said, "This
man seldom speaks; when he does, he is sure to hit the
The Master said, "What has the lute of Yu to do in my
The other disciples began not to respect Tszelu. The Master said, "Yu
has ascended to the hall, though he has not yet passed into the inner
Tsze-kung asked which of the two, Shih or Shang, was the
superior. The Master said, "Shih goes beyond the due mean, and Shang does not
come up to it."
"Then," said Tsze-kung, "the superiority is with Shih, I
The Master said, "To go beyond is as wrong as to fall
The head of the Chi family was richer than the duke of Chau
had been, and yet Ch'iu collected his imposts for him, and increased his
The Master said, "He is no disciple of mine. My little children, beat
the drum and assail him."
Ch'ai is simple. Shan is dull. Shih is specious. Yu is
The Master said, "There is Hui! He has nearly attained to
perfect virtue. He is often in want.
"Ts'ze does not acquiesce in the
appointments of Heaven, and his goods are increased by him. Yet his judgments
are often correct."
Tsze-chang asked what were the characteristics of the good
man. The Master said, "He does not tread in the footsteps of others, but
moreover, he does not enter the chamber of the sage."
The Master said, "If, because a man's discourse appears solid and
sincere, we allow him to be a good man, is he really a superior man? or is his
gravity only in appearance?"
Tsze-lu asked whether he should immediately carry into
practice what he heard. The Master said, "There are your father and elder
brothers to be consulted;-why should you act on that principle of immediately
carrying into practice what you hear?" Zan Yu asked the same, whether he should
immediately carry into practice what he heard, and the Master answered,
"Immediately carry into practice what you hear." Kung-hsi Hwa said, "Yu asked
whether he should carry immediately into practice what he heard, and you said,
'There are your father and elder brothers to be consulted.' Ch'iu asked whether
he should immediately carry into practice what he heard, and you said, 'Carry it
immediately into practice.' I, Ch'ih, am perplexed, and venture to ask you for
an explanation." The Master said, "Ch'iu is retiring and slow; therefore I urged
him forward. Yu has more than his own share of energy; therefore I kept him
The Master was put in fear in K'wang and Yen Yuan fell behind.
The Master, on his rejoining him, said, "I thought you had died." Hui replied,
"While you were alive, how should I presume to
Chi Tsze-zan asked whether Chung Yu and Zan Ch'iu could be
called great ministers.
The Master said, "I thought you would ask about some
extraordinary individuals, and you only ask about Yu and Ch'iu!
called a great minister, is one who serves his prince according to what is
right, and when he finds he cannot do so, retires.
"Now, as to Yu and Ch'iu,
they may be called ordinary ministers."
Tsze-zan said, "Then they will always
follow their chief;-win they?"
The Master said, "In an act of parricide or
regicide, they would not follow
Tsze-lu got Tsze-kao appointed governor of Pi.
said, "You are injuring a man's son."
Tsze-lu said, "There are, there, common
people and officers; there are the altars of the spirits of the land and grain.
Why must one read books before he can be considered to have learned?"
Master said, "It is on this account that I hate your glib-tongued
Tsze-lu, Tsang Hsi, Zan Yu, and Kunghsi Hwa were sitting by
He said to them, "Though I am a day or so older than you, do not
think of that.
"From day to day you are saying, 'We are not known.' If some
ruler were to know you, what would you like to do?"
Tsze-lu hastily and
lightly replied, "Suppose the case of a state of ten thousand chariots; let it
be straitened between other large cities; let it be suffering from invading
armies; and to this let there be added a famine in corn and in all
vegetables:-if I were intrusted with the government of it, in three years' time
I could make the people to be bold, and to recognize the rules of righteous
conduct." The Master smiled at him.
Turning to Yen Yu, he said, "Ch'iu, what
are your wishes?" Ch'iu replied, "Suppose a state of sixty or seventy li square,
or one of fifty or sixty, and let me have the government of it;-in three years'
time, I could make plenty to abound among the people. As to teaching them the
principles of propriety, and music, I must wait for the rise of a superior man
to do that."
"What are your wishes, Ch'ih," said the Master next to Kung-hsi
Hwa. Ch'ih replied, "I do not say that my ability extends to these things, but I
should wish to learn them. At the services of the ancestral temple, and at the
audiences of the princes with the
sovereign, I should like, dressed in the
dark square-made robe and the black linen cap, to act as a small
Last of all, the Master asked Tsang Hsi, "Tien, what are your
wishes?" Tien, pausing as he was playing on his lute, while it was yet twanging,
laid the instrument aside, and "My wishes," he said, "are different from the
cherished purposes of these three gentlemen." "What harm is there in that?" said
the Master; "do you also, as well as they, speak out your wishes." Tien then
said, "In this, the last month of spring, with the dress of the season all
complete, along with five or six young men who have assumed the cap, and six or
seven boys, I would wash in the I, enjoy the breeze among the rain altars, and
return home singing." The Master heaved a sigh and said, "I give my
The three others having gone out, Tsang Hsi remained behind, and
said, "What do you think of the words of these three friends?" The Master
replied, "They simply told each one his wishes."
Hsi pursued, "Master, why
did you smile at Yu?"
He was answered, "The management of a state demands the
rules of propriety. His words were not humble; therefore I smiled at
Hsi again said, "But was it not a state which Ch'iu proposed for
himself?" The reply was, "Yes; did you ever see a territory of sixty or seventy
li or one of fifty or sixty, which was not a state?"
Once more, Hsi inquired,
"And was it not a state which Ch'ih proposed for himself?" The Master again
replied, "Yes; who but princes have to do with ancestral temples, and with
audiences but the sovereign? If Ch'ih were to be a small assistant in these
services, who could be a great one?
Yen Yuan asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "To subdue
one's self and return to propriety, is perfect virtue. If a man can for one day
subdue himself and return to propriety, an under heaven will ascribe perfect
virtue to him. Is the practice of perfect virtue from a man himself, or is it
Yen Yuan said, "I beg to ask the steps of that process." The
Master replied, "Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what
is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no
movement which is contrary to propriety." Yen Yuan then said, "Though I am
deficient in intelligence and vigor, I will make it my business to practice this
Chung-kung asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "It is, when you go
abroad, to behave to every one as if you were receiving a great guest; to employ
the people as if you were assisting at a great sacrifice; not to do to others as
you would not wish done to yourself; to have no murmuring against you in the
country, and none in the family." Chung-kung said, "Though I am deficient in
intelligence and vigor, I will make it my business to practice this
Sze-ma Niu asked about perfect virtue.
The Master said,
"The man of perfect virtue is cautious and slow in his speech."
slow in his speech!" said Niu;-"is this what is meant by perfect virtue?" The
Master said, "When a man feels the difficulty of doing, can he be other than
cautious and slow in speaking?"
Sze-ma Niu asked about the superior man. The Master said, "The
superior man has neither anxiety nor fear."
"Being without anxiety or fear!"
said Nui;"does this constitute what we call the superior man?"
said, "When internal examination discovers nothing wrong, what is there to be
anxious about, what is there to
Sze-ma Niu, full of anxiety, said, "Other men all have their brothers, I
only have not."
Tsze-hsia said to him, "There is the following saying which I
have heard-'Death and life have their determined appointment; riches and honors
depend upon Heaven.'
"Let the superior man never fail reverentially to order
his own conduct, and let him be respectful to others and observant of
propriety:-then all within the four seas will be his brothers. What has the
superior man to do with being distressed because he has no
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
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
Tsze-kung said, "If it cannot be helped, and one of these must be
dispensed with, which of the three should be foregone first?" "The military
equipment," said the Master.
Tsze-kung again asked, "If it cannot be helped,
and one of the remaining two must be dispensed with, which of them should be
foregone?" The Master answered, "Part with the food. From of old, death has been
the lot of an men; but if the people have no faith in their rulers, there is no
standing for the
Chi Tsze-ch'ang said, "In a superior man it is only the
substantial qualities which are wanted;-why should we seek for ornamental
Tsze-kung said, "Alas! Your words, sir, show you to be a
superior man, but four horses cannot overtake the tongue. Ornament is as
substance; substance is as ornament. The hide of a tiger or a leopard stripped
of its hair, is like the hide of a dog or a goat stripped of its hair."
The Duke Ai inquired of Yu Zo, saying, "The year is one of
scarcity, and the returns for expenditure are not sufficient;-what is to be
Yu Zo replied to him, "Why not simply tithe the people?"
tenths, said the duke, "I find it not enough;-how could I do with that system of
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
Tsze-chang having asked how virtue was to be exalted, and
delusions to be discovered, the Master said, "Hold faithfulness and sincerity as
first principles, and be moving continually to what is right,-this is the way to
exalt one's virtue.
"You love a man and wish him to live; you hate him and
wish him to die. Having wished him to live, you also wish him to die. This is a
case of delusion. 'It may not be on account of her being rich, yet you come to
Ching, of Ch'i, asked Confucius about government. Confucius replied, "There is
government, when the prince is prince, and the minister is minister; when the
father is father, and the son is son."
"Good!" said the duke; "if, indeed,
the prince be not prince, the not minister, the father not father, and the son
not son, although I have my revenue, can I enjoy
The Master said, "Ah! it is Yu, who could with half a word
Tsze-lu never slept over a
Master said, "In hearing litigations, I am like any other body. What is
necessary, however, is to cause the people to have no
Tsze-chang asked about government. The Master said, "The art
of governing is to keep its affairs before the mind without weariness, and to
practice them with undeviating consistency."
The Master said, "By extensively studying all learning, and
keeping himself under the restraint of the rules of propriety, one may thus
likewise not err from what is right."
The Master said, "The superior man seeks to perfect the admirable qualities
of men, and does not seek to perfect their bad qualities. The mean man does the
opposite of this."
Chi K'ang asked Confucius about government. Confucius replied, "To
govern means to rectify. If you lead on the people with correctness, who will
dare not to be correct?"
Chi K'ang, distressed about the number of thieves in the
state, inquired of Confucius how to do away with them. Confucius said, "If you,
sir, were not covetous, although you should reward them to do it, they would not
Chi K'ang asked Confucius about government, saying, "What do
you say to killing the unprincipled for the good of the principled?" Confucius
replied, "Sir, in carrying on your government, why should you use killing at
all? Let your evinced desires be for what is good, and the people will be good.
The relation between superiors and inferiors is like that between the wind and
the grass. The grass must bend, when the wind blows across
Tsze-chang asked, "What must the officer be, who may be said to be
The Master said, "What is it you call being
Tsze-chang replied, "It is to be heard of through the state,
to be heard of throughout his clan."
The Master said, "That is notoriety, not
"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.
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
Fan Ch'ih rambling with the Master under the trees about the
rain altars, said, "I venture to ask how to exalt virtue, to correct cherished
evil, and to discover delusions."
The Master said, "Truly a good
"If doing what is to be done be made the first business, and
success a secondary consideration:-is not this the way to exalt virtue? To
assail one's own wickedness and not assail that of others;-is not this the way
to correct cherished evil? For a morning's anger to disregard one's own life,
and involve that of his parents;-is not this a case of delusion?"
Fan Ch'ih asked about benevolence. The Master said, "It is to
love all men." He asked about knowledge. The Master said, "It is to know all
Fan Ch'ih did not immediately understand these answers.
said, "Employ the upright and put aside all the crooked; in this way the crooked
can be made to be upright."
Fan Ch'ih retired, and, seeing Tsze-hsia, he said
to him, "A Little while ago, I had an interview with our Master, and asked him
about knowledge. He said, 'Employ the upright, and put aside all the crooked;-in
this way, the crooked will be made to be upright.' What did he
Tsze-hsia said, "Truly rich is his saying!
"Shun, being in
possession of the kingdom, selected from among all the people, and employed
Kai-yao-on which all who were devoid of virtue disappeared. T'ang, being in
possession of the kingdom, selected from among all the people, and employed I
Yin-and an who were devoid of virtue
Tsze-kung asked about friendship. The Master said, "Faithfully
admonish your friend, and skillfully lead him on. If you find him impracticable,
stop. Do not disgrace yourself."
The philosopher Tsang said, "The superior man on grounds of
culture meets with his friends, and by friendship helps his
Tsze-lu asked about government. The Master said, "Go before the
people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs."
further instruction, and was answered, "Be not weary in these things."
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."
"How shall I know the men of virtue and talent, so that I may raise them to
office?" He was answered, "Raise to office those whom you know. As to those whom
you do not know, will others neglect them?"
Tsze-lu said, "The ruler of Wei has been waiting for you, in
order with you to administer the government. What will you consider the first
thing to be done?"
The Master replied, "What is necessary is to rectify
"So! indeed!" said Tsze-lu. "You are wide of the mark! Why must
there be such rectification?"
The Master said, "How uncultivated you are,
Yu! A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious
"If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the
truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things,
affairs cannot be carried on to success.
"When affairs cannot be carried on
to success, proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music do
not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not
properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot.
"Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may
be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out
appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there
may be nothing incorrect."
Fan Ch'ih requested to be taught husbandry. The Master said,
"I am not so good for that as an old husbandman." He requested also to be taught
gardening, and was answered, "I am not so good for that as an old gardener."
Fan Ch'ih having gone out, the Master said, "A small man, indeed, is Fan
Hsu! If a superior man love propriety, the people will not dare not to be
reverent. If he love righteousness, the people will not dare not to submit to
his example. If he love good faith, the people will not dare not to be sincere.
Now, when these things obtain, the people from all quarters will come to him,
bearing their children on their backs; what need has he of a knowledge of
The Master said, "Though a man may be able to recite the three
hundred odes, yet if, when intrusted with a governmental charge, he knows not
how to act, or if, when sent to any quarter on a mission, he cannot give his
replies unassisted, notwithstanding the extent of his learning, of what
practical use is it?"
The Master said, "When a prince's personal conduct is correct,
his government is effective without the issuing of orders. If his personal
conduct is not correct, he may issue orders, but they will not be followed."
The Master said, "The governments of Lu and Wei are brothers."
The Master said of Ching, a scion of the ducal family of Wei,
that he knew the economy of a family well. When he began to have means, he said,
"Ha! here is a collection-!" When they were a little increased, he said, "Ha!
this is complete!" When he had become rich, he said, "Ha! this is admirable!"
When the Master went to Weil Zan Yu acted as driver of his
The Master observed, "How numerous are the people!" Yu said,
"Since they are thus numerous, what more shall be done for them?" "Enrich them,
was the reply.
"And when they have been enriched, what more shall be done?"
The Master said, "Teach them."
The Master said, "If there were any of the princes who would
employ me, in the course of twelve months, I should have done something
considerable. In three years, the government would be perfected."
The Master said, "'If good men were to govern a country in
succession for a hundred years, they would be able to transform the violently
bad, and dispense with capital punishments.' True indeed is this saying!"
The Master said, "If a truly royal ruler were to arise, it
would stir require a generation, and then virtue would prevail."
The Master said, "If a minister make his own conduct correct, what
difficulty will he have in assisting in government? If he cannot rectify
himself, what has he to do with rectifying others?"
The disciple Zan returning from the court, the Master said to
him, "How are you so late?" He replied, "We had government business." The Master
said, "It must have been family affairs. If there had been government business,
though I am not now in office, I should have been consulted about it."
The Duke Ting asked whether there was a single sentence which
could make a country prosperous. Confucius replied, "Such an effect cannot be
expected from one sentence.
"There is a saying, however, which people have
-'To be a prince is difficult; to be a minister is not easy.'
"If a ruler
knows this,-the difficulty of being a prince,-may there not be expected from
this one sentence the prosperity of his country?"
The duke then said, "Is
there a single sentence which can ruin a country?" Confucius replied, "Such an
effect as that cannot be expected from one sentence. There is, however, the
saying which people have-'I have no pleasure in being a prince, but only in that
no one can offer any opposition to what I say!'
"If a ruler's words be good,
is it not also good that no one oppose them? But if they are not good, and no
one opposes them, may there not be expected from this one sentence the ruin of
The Duke of Sheh asked about government. The Master said,
"Good government obtains when those who are near are made happy, and those who
are far off are attracted."
Tsze-hsia! being governor of Chu-fu, asked about government.
The Master said, "Do not be desirous to have things done quickly; do not look at
small advantages. Desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done
thoroughly. Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being
The Duke of Sheh informed Confucius, saying, "Among us here
there are those who may be styled upright in their conduct. If their father have
stolen a sheep, they will bear witness to the fact."
Confucius said, "Among
us, in our part of the country, those who are upright are different from this.
The father conceals the misconduct of the son, and the son conceals the
misconduct of the father. Uprightness is to be found in this."
Fan Ch'ih asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "It is,
in retirement, to be sedately grave; in the management of business, to be
reverently attentive; in intercourse with others, to be strictly sincere. Though
a man go among rude, uncultivated tribes, these qualities may not be neglected."
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "What qualities must a man possess to
entitle him to be called an officer? The Master said, "He who in his conduct of
himself maintains a sense of shame, and when sent to any quarter will not
disgrace his prince's commission, deserves to be called an officer."
Tsze-kung pursued, "I venture to ask who may be placed in the next lower
rank?" And he was told, "He whom the circle of his relatives pronounce to be
filial, whom his fellow villagers and neighbors pronounce to be fraternal."
Again the disciple asked, "I venture to ask about the class still next in
order." The Master said, "They are determined to be sincere in what they say,
and to carry out what they do. They are obstinate little men. Yet perhaps they
may make the next class."
Tsze-kung finally inquired, "Of what sort are
those of the present day, who engage in government?" The Master said "Pooh! they
are so many pecks and hampers, not worth being taken into account."
The Master said, "Since I cannot get men pursuing the due
medium, to whom I might communicate my instructions, I must find the ardent and
the cautiously-decided. The ardent will advance and lay hold of truth; the
cautiously-decided will keep themselves from what is wrong."
The Master said, "The people of the south have a saying -'A
man without constancy cannot be either a wizard or a doctor.' Good!
"Inconstant in his virtue, he will be visited with disgrace."
said, "This arises simply from not attending to the prognostication."
The Master said, "The superior man is affable, but not
adulatory; the mean man is adulatory, but not affable."
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "What do you say of a man who is
loved by all the people of his neighborhood?" The Master replied, "We may not
for that accord our approval of him." "And what do you say of him who is hated
by all the people of his neighborhood?" The Master said, "We may not for that
conclude that he is bad. It is better than either of these cases that the good
in the neighborhood love him, and the bad hate him."
The Master said, "The superior man is easy to serve and
difficult to please. If you try to please him in any way which is not accordant
with right, he will not be pleased. But in his employment of men, he uses them
according to their capacity. The mean man is difficult to serve, and easy to
please. If you try to please him, though it be in a way which is not accordant
with right, he may be pleased. But in his employment of men, he wishes them to
be equal to everything."
The Master said, "The superior man has a dignified ease without pride. The
mean man has pride without a dignified ease."
The Master said, "The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the
modest are near to virtue."
Tsze-lu asked, saying, "What qualities must a man possess to
entitle him to be called a scholar?" The Master said, "He must be thus,-earnest,
urgent, and bland:-among his friends, earnest and urgent; among his brethren,
The Master said, "Let a good man teach the people seven years,
and they may then likewise be employed in war."
The Master said, "To lead an uninstructed people to war, is to
throw them away."
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
"When the love of superiority, boasting, resentments, and
covetousness are repressed, this may be deemed perfect virtue."
said, "This may be regarded as the achievement of what is difficult. But I do
not know that it is to be deemed perfect virtue."
The Master said, "The scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit
to be deemed a scholar."
The Master said, "When good government prevails in a state,
language may be lofty and bold, and actions the same. When bad government
prevails, the actions may be lofty and bold, but the language may be with some
The Master said, "The virtuous will be sure to speak
correctly, but those whose speech is good may not always be virtuous. Men of
principle are sure to be bold, but those who are bold may not always be men of
Nan-kung Kwo, submitting an inquiry to Confucius, said, "I was
skillful at archery, and Ao could move a boat along upon the land, but neither
of them died a natural death. Yu and Chi personally wrought at the toils of
husbandry, and they became possessors of the kingdom." The Master made no reply;
but when Nan-kung Kwo went out, he said, "A superior man indeed is this! An
esteemer of virtue indeed is this!"
The Master said, "Superior men, and yet not always virtuous,
there have been, alas! But there never has been a mean man, and, at the same
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
The Master said, "In preparing the governmental notifications,
P'i Shan first made the rough draft; Shi-shu examined and discussed its
contents; Tsze-yu, the manager of foreign intercourse, then polished the style;
and, finally, Tsze-ch'an of Tung-li gave it the proper elegance and finish."
Some one asked about Tsze-ch'an. The Master said, "He was a
He asked about Tsze-hsi. The Master said, "That man! That man!"
He asked about Kwan Chung. "For him," said the Master, "the city of Pien,
with three hundred families, was taken from the chief of the Po family, who did
not utter a murmuring word, though, to the end of his life, he had only coarse
rice to eat."
The Master said, "To be poor without murmuring is difficult.
To be rich without being proud is easy."
The Master said, "Mang Kung-ch'o is more than fit to be chief
officer in the families of Chao and Wei, but he is not fit to be great officer
to either of the states Tang or Hsieh."
Tsze-lu asked what constituted a COMPLETE man. The Master
said, "Suppose a man with the knowledge of Tsang Wu-chung, the freedom from
covetousness of Kung-ch'o, the bravery of Chwang of Pien, and the varied talents
of Zan Ch'iu; add to these the accomplishments of the rules of propriety and
music;-such a one might be reckoned a Complete man."
He then added, "But
what is the necessity for a complete man of the present day to have all these
things? The man, who in the view of gain, thinks of righteousness; who in the
view of danger is prepared to give up his life; and who does not forget an old
agreement however far back it extends:-such a man may be reckoned a COMPLETE
The Master asked Kung-ming Chia about Kung-shu Wan, saying, "Is it true that
your master speaks not, laughs not, and takes not?"
Kung-ming Chia replied,
"This has arisen from the reporters going beyond the truth.-My master speaks
when it is the time to speak, and so men do not get tired of his speaking. He
laughs when there is occasion to be joyful, and so men do not get tired of his
laughing. He takes when it is consistent with righteousness to do so, and so men
do not get tired of his taking." The Master said, "So! But is it so with him?"
The Master said, "Tsang Wu-chung, keeping possession of Fang, asked of the
duke of Lu to appoint a successor to him in his family. Although it may be said
that he was not using force with his sovereign, I believe he was."
The Master said, "The duke Wan of Tsin was crafty and not upright.
The duke Hwan of Ch'i was upright and not crafty."
Tsze-lu said, "The Duke Hwan caused his brother Chiu to be
killed, when Shao Hu died, with his master, but Kwan Chung did not die. May not
I say that he was wanting in virtue?"
The Master said, "The Duke Hwan
assembled all the princes together, and that not with weapons of war and
chariots:-it was all through the influence of Kwan Chung. Whose beneficence was
like his? Whose beneficence was like his?"
Tsze-kung said, "Kwan Chung, I apprehend was wanting in
virtue. When the Duke Hwan caused his brother Chiu to be killed, Kwan Chung was
not able to die with him. Moreover, he became prime minister to Hwan."
Master said, "Kwan Chung acted as prime minister to the Duke Hwan made him
leader of all the princes, and united and rectified the whole kingdom. Down to
the present day, the people enjoy the gifts which he conferred. But for Kwan
Chung, we should now be wearing our hair unbound, and the lappets of our coats
buttoning on the left side.
"Will you require from him the small fidelity of
common men and common women, who would commit suicide in a stream or ditch, no
one knowing anything about them?"
The great officer, Hsien, who had been family minister to Kung-shu Wan,
ascended to the prince's court in company with Wan.
The Master, having heard
of it, said, "He deserved to be considered WAN (the accomplished)."
The Master was speaking about the unprincipled course of the
duke Ling of Weil when Ch'i K'ang said, "Since he is of such a character, how is
it he does not lose his state?"
Confucius said, "The Chung-shu Yu has the
superintendence of his guests and of strangers; the litanist, T'o, has the
management of his ancestral temple; and Wang-sun Chia has the direction of the
army and forces:-with such officers as these, how should he lose his state?"
The Master said, "He who speaks without modesty will find it
difficult to make his words good."
Chan Ch'ang murdered the Duke Chien of Ch'i. Confucius bathed,
went to court and informed the Duke Ai, saying, "Chan Hang has slain his
sovereign. I beg that you will undertake to punish him."
The duke said,
"Inform the chiefs of the three families of it."
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."
He went to the chiefs, and informed them, but they would
not act. Confucius then said, "Following in the rear of the great officers, I
did not dare not to represent such a matter."
Tsze-lu asked how a ruler should be served. The Master said,
"Do not impose on him, and, moreover, withstand him to his face."
The Master said, "The progress of the superior man is upwards; the
progress of the mean man is downwards."
The Master said, "In ancient times, men learned with a view to
their own improvement. Nowadays, men learn with a view to the approbation of
Chu Po-yu sent a messenger with friendly inquiries to
Confucius sat with him, and questioned him. "What," said he! "is
your master engaged in?" The messenger replied, "My master is anxious to make
his faults few, but he has not yet succeeded." He then went out, and the Master
said, "A messenger indeed! A messenger indeed!"
The Master said, "He who is not in any particular office has
nothing to do with plans for the administration of its duties."
The philosopher Tsang said, "The superior man, in his thoughts,
does not go out of his place."
The Master said, "The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in
The Master said, "The way of the superior man is threefold,
but I am not equal to it. Virtuous, he is free from anxieties; wise, he is free
from perplexities; bold, he is free from fear.
Tsze-kung said, "Master, that is what you yourself say."
Tsze-kung was in the habit of comparing men together. The Master said, "Tsze
must have reached a high pitch of excellence! Now, I have not leisure for this."
The Master said, "I will not be concerned at men's not knowing me;
I will be concerned at my own want of ability."
The Master said, "He who does not anticipate attempts to deceive
him, nor think beforehand of his not being believed, and yet apprehends these
things readily when they occur;-is he not a man of superior worth?"
Wei-shang Mau said to Confucius, "Ch'iu, how is it that you
keep roosting about? Is it not that you are an insinuating talker?
said, "I do not dare to play the part of such a talker, but I hate obstinacy."
The Master said, "A horse is called a ch'i, not because of its
strength, but because of its other good qualities."
Some one said, "What do you say concerning the principle that injury should
be recompensed with kindness?"
The Master said, "With what then will you
"Recompense injury with justice, and recompense
kindness with kindness."
The Master said, "Alas! there is no one that knows me."
Tsze-kung said, "What do you mean by thus saying-that no one knows you?" The
Master replied, "I do not murmur against Heaven. I do not grumble against men.
My studies lie low, and my penetration rises high. But there is Heaven;-that
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."
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
The Master said, "Some men of worth retire from the world.
Some retire from particular states. Some retire because of disrespectful looks.
Some retire because of contradictory language."
The Master said, "Those who
have done this are seven men."
Tsze-lu happening to pass the night in Shih-man, the gatekeeper
said to him, "Whom do you come from?" Tsze-lu said, "From Mr. K'ung." "It is
he,-is it not?"-said the other, "who knows the impracticable nature of the times
and yet will be doing in them."
The Master was playing, one day, on a musical stone in Weil
when a man carrying a straw basket passed door of the house where Confucius was,
and said, "His heart is full who so beats the musical stone."
A little while
after, he added, "How contemptible is the one-ideaed obstinacy those sounds
display! When one is taken no notice of, he has simply at once to give over his
wish for public employment. 'Deep water must be crossed with the clothes on;
shallow water may be crossed with the clothes held up.'"
The Master said,
"How determined is he in his purpose! But this is not difficult!"
Tsze-chang said, "What is meant when the Shu says that Kao-tsung, while
observing the usual imperial mourning, was for three years without speaking?"
The Master said, "Why must Kao-tsung be referred to as an example of this?
The ancients all did so. When the sovereign died, the officers all attended to
their several duties, taking instructions from the prime minister for three
The Master said, "When rulers love to observe the rules of
propriety, the people respond readily to the calls on them for service."
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."
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
A youth of the village of Ch'ueh was employed by Confucius to carry the
messages between him and his visitors. Some one asked about him, saying, "I
suppose he has made great progress."
The Master said, "I observe that he is
fond of occupying the seat of a full-grown man; I observe that he walks shoulder
to shoulder with his elders. He is not one who is seeking to make progress in
learning. He wishes quickly to become a man."
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.
When he was in Chan, their provisions were exhausted, and his followers
became so in that they were unable to rise.
Tsze-lu, with evident
dissatisfaction, said, "Has the superior man likewise to endure in this way?"
The Master said, "The superior man may indeed have to endure want, but the mean
man, when he is in want, gives way to unbridled license."
The Master said, "Ts'ze, you think, I suppose, that I am one
who learns many things and keeps them in memory?"
"Yes,-but perhaps it is not so?" "No," was the answer; "I seek a unity all
The Master said, "Yu I those who know virtue are few."
The Master said, "May not Shun be instanced as having governed
efficiently without exertion? What did he do? He did nothing but gravely and
reverently occupy his royal seat."
Tsze-chang asked how a man should conduct himself, so as to be
The Master said, "Let his words be sincere and
truthful and his actions honorable and careful;-such conduct may be practiced
among the rude tribes of the South or the North. If his words be not sincere and
truthful and his actions not honorable and carefull will he, with such conduct,
be appreciated, even in his neighborhood?
"When he is standing, let him see
those two things, as it were, fronting him. When he is in a carriage, let him
see them attached to the yoke. Then may he subsequently carry them into
Tsze-chang wrote these counsels on the end of his sash.
The Master said, "Truly straightforward was the
historiographer Yu. When good government prevailed in his state, he was like an
arrow. When bad government prevailed, he was like an arrow. A superior man
indeed is Chu Po-yu! When good government prevails in his state, he is to be
found in office. When bad government prevails, he can roll his principles up,
and keep them in his breast."
The Master said, "When a man may be spoken with, not to speak to him is to
err in reference to the man. When a man may not be spoken with, to speak to him
is to err in reference to our words. The wise err neither in regard to their man
nor to their words."
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."
Tsze-kung asked about the practice of virtue. The Master said,
"The mechanic, who wishes to do his work well, must first sharpen his tools.
When you are living in any state, take service with the most worthy among its
great officers, and make friends of the most virtuous among its scholars."
Yen Yuan asked how the government of a country should be
The Master said, "Follow the seasons of Hsia. "Ride in the
state carriage of Yin. "Wear the ceremonial cap of Chau. "Let the music be the
Shao with its pantomimes. Banish the songs of Chang, and keep far from specious
talkers. The songs of Chang are licentious; specious talkers are dangerous."
The Master said, "If a man take no thought about what is distant, he will
find sorrow near at hand."
The Master said, "It is all over! I have not seen one who loves
virtue as he loves beauty."
The Master said, "Was not Tsang Wan like one who had stolen his situation?
He knew the virtue and the talents of Hui of Liu-hsia, and yet did not procure
that he should stand with him in court."
The Master said, "He who requires much from himself and little
from others, will keep himself from being the object of resentment."
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
The Master said, "When a number of people are together, for a
whole day, without their conversation turning on righteousness, and when they
are fond of carrying out the suggestions of a small shrewdness;-theirs is indeed
a hard case."
The Master said, "The superior man in everything considers righteousness to
be essential. He performs it according to the rules of propriety. He brings it
forth in humility. He completes it with sincerity. This is indeed a superior
The Master said, "The superior man is distressed by his want
of ability. He is not distressed by men's not knowing him."
The Master said, "The superior man dislikes the thought of his
name not being mentioned after his death."
The Master said, "What the superior man seeks, is in himself.
What the mean man seeks, is in others."
The Master said, "The superior man is dignified, but does not
wrangle. He is sociable, but not a partisan."
The Master said, "The superior man does not
promote a man simply on account of his words, nor does he put aside good words
because of the man."
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "Is there one word which may serve as
a rule of practice for all one's life?" The Master said, "Is not Reciprocity
such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others."
The Master said, "In my dealings with men, whose evil do I
blame, whose goodness do I praise, beyond what is proper? If I do sometimes
exceed in praise, there must be ground for it in my examination of the
"This people supplied the ground why the three dynasties pursued
the path of straightforwardness."
The Master said, "Even in my early days, a historiographer
would leave a blank in his text, and he who had a horse would lend him to
another to ride. Now, alas! there are no such things."
The Master said, "Specious words confound virtue. Want of
forbearance in small matters confounds great plans."
The Master said, "When the multitude hate a man, it is necessary to examine
into the case. When the multitude like a man, it is necessary to examine into
The Master said, "A man can enlarge the principles which he
follows; those principles do not enlarge the man."
The Master said, "To have faults and not to reform them,-this,
indeed, should be pronounced having faults."
The Master said, "I have been the whole day without eating, and
the whole night without sleeping:-occupied with thinking. It was of no use.
better plan is to learn."
The Master said, "The object of the superior man is truth. Food is
not his object. There is plowing;-even in that there is sometimes want. So with
learning;-emolument may be found in it. The superior man is anxious lest he
should not get truth; he is not anxious lest poverty should come upon him."
The Master said, "When a man's knowledge is sufficient to
attain, and his virtue is not sufficient to enable him to hold, whatever he may
have gained, he will lose again.
"When his knowledge is sufficient to
attain, and he has virtue enough to hold fast, if he cannot govern with dignity,
the people will not respect him.
"When his knowledge is sufficient to
attain, and he has virtue enough to hold fast; when he governs also with
dignity, yet if he try to move the people contrary to the rules of
propriety:-full excellence is not reached."
The Master said, "The superior man cannot be known in little
matters; but he may be intrusted with great concerns. The small man may not be
intrusted with great concerns, but he may be known in little matters."
The Master said, "Virtue is more to man than either water or fire. I have
seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die
from treading the course of virtue."
The Master said, "Let every man consider virtue as what devolves on himself.
He may not yield the performance of it even to his teacher."
The Master said, "The superior man is correctly firm, and not firm
The Master said, "A minister, in serving his prince,
reverently discharges his duties, and makes his emolument a secondary
The Master said, "In teaching there should be no distinction of
The Master said, "Those whose courses are different cannot lay
plans for one another."
The Master said, "In language it is simply required that it convey
The 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."
music master, Mien, having gone out, Tsze-chang asked, saying. "Is it the rule
to tell those things to the music master?"
The Master said, "Yes. This is
certainly the rule for those who lead the blind."
The head of the Chi family was going to attack Chwan-yu.
and Chi-lu had an interview with Confucius, and said, "Our chief, Chil is going
to commence operations against Chwan-yu."
Confucius said, "Ch'iu, is it not
you who are in fault here?
"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 connection with the sovereign: What has your chief to do with
Zan Yu said, "Our master wishes the thing; neither of us two
ministers wishes it."
Confucius said, "Ch'iu, there are the words of Chau
Zan, -'When he can put forth his ability, he takes his place in the ranks of
office; when he finds himself unable to do so, he retires from it. How can he be
used as a guide to a blind man, who does not support him when tottering, nor
raise him up when fallen?'
"And further, you speak wrongly. When a tiger or
rhinoceros escapes from his cage; when a tortoise or piece of jade is injured in
its repository:-whose is the fault?"
Zan Yu said, "But at present, Chwan-yu
is strong and near to Pi; if our chief do not now take it, it will hereafter be
a sorrow to his descendants."
Confucius said. "Ch'iu, the superior man hates
those declining to say-'I want such and such a thing,' and framing explanations
for their conduct.
"I have heard that rulers of states and chiefs of
families are not troubled lest their people should be few, but are troubled lest
they should not keep their several places; that they are not troubled with fears
of poverty, but are troubled with fears of a want of contented repose among the
people in their several places. For when the people keep their several places,
there will be no poverty; when harmony prevails, there will be no scarcity of
people; and when there is such a contented repose, there will be no rebellious
"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
"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.
"And yet he is
planning these hostile movements within the state.-I am afraid that the sorrow
of the Chi-sun family will not be on account of Chwan-yu, but will be found
within the screen of their own court."
Confucius said, "When good government prevails in the empire,
ceremonies, music, and punitive military expeditions proceed from the son of
Heaven. When bad government prevails in the empire, ceremonies, music, and
punitive military expeditions proceed from the princes. When these things
proceed from the princes, as a rule, the cases will be few in which they do not
lose their power in ten generations. When they proceed from the great officers
of the princes, as a rule, the case 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.
principles prevail in the kingdom, government will not be in the hands of the
"When right principles prevail in the kingdom, there will be
no discussions among the common people."