500 BC

translated by James Legge


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 him?"
The philosopher Yu said, "They are few who, being filial and
fraternal, are fond of offending against their superiors. There have
been none, who, not liking to offend against their superiors, have
been fond of stirring up confusion.
"The superior man bends his attention to what is radical. That being
established, all practical courses naturally grow up. Filial piety and
fraternal submission,-are they not the root of all benevolent
The Master said, "Fine words and an insinuating appearance are
seldom associated with true virtue."
The philosopher Tsang said, "I daily examine myself on three
points:-whether, in transacting business for others, I may have been
not faithful;-whether, in intercourse with friends, I may have been
not sincere;-whether I may have not mastered and practiced the
instructions of my teacher."
The Master said, "To rule a country of a thousand chariots, there
must be reverent attention to business, and sincerity; economy in
expenditure, and love for men; and the employment of the people at the
proper seasons."
The Master said, "A youth, when at home, should be filial, and,
abroad, respectful to his elders. He should be earnest and truthful.
He should overflow in love to all, and cultivate the friendship of the
good. When he has time and opportunity, after the performance of these
things, he should employ them in polite studies."
Tsze-hsia said, "If a man withdraws his mind from the love of
beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous; if,
in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength; if, in
serving his prince, he can devote his life; if, in his intercourse
with his friends, his words are sincere:-although men say that he
has not learned, I will certainly say that he has.
The Master said, "If the scholar be not grave, he will not call
forth any veneration, and his learning will not be solid.
"Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.
"Have no friends not equal to yourself.
"When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them."
The philosopher Tsang said, "Let there be a careful attention to
perform the funeral rites to parents, and let them be followed when
long gone with the ceremonies of sacrifice;-then the virtue of the
people will resume its proper excellence."
Tsze-ch'in asked Tsze-kung saying, "When our master comes to any
country, he does not fail to learn all about its government. Does he
ask his information? or is it given to him?"
Tsze-kung said, "Our master is benign, upright, courteous,
temperate, and complaisant and thus he gets his information. The
master's mode of asking information,-is it not different from that
of other men?"
The Master said, "While a man's father is alive, look at the bent of
his will; when his father is dead, look at his conduct. If for three
years he does not alter from the way of his father, he may be called
The philosopher Yu said, "In practicing the rules of propriety, a
natural ease is to be prized. In the ways prescribed by the ancient
kings, this is the excellent quality, and in things small and great we
follow them.
"Yet it is not to be observed in all cases. If one, knowing how such
ease should be prized, manifests it, without regulating it by the
rules of propriety, this likewise is not to be done."
The philosopher Yu said, "When agreements are made according to what
is right, what is spoken can be made good. When respect is shown
according to what is proper, one keeps far from shame and disgrace.
When the parties upon whom a man leans are proper persons to be
intimate with, he can make them his guides and masters."
The Master said, "He who aims to be a man of complete virtue in
his food does not seek to gratify his appetite, nor in his dwelling
place does he seek the appliances of ease; he is earnest in what he is
doing, and careful in his speech; he frequents the company of men of
principle that he may be rectified:-such a person may be said indeed
to love to learn."
Tsze-kung said, "What do you pronounce concerning the poor man who
yet does not flatter, and the rich man who is not proud?" The Master
replied, "They will do; but they are not equal to him, who, though
poor, is yet cheerful, and to him, who, though rich, loves the rules
of propriety."
Tsze-kung replied, "It is said in the Book of Poetry, 'As you cut
and then file, as you carve and then polish.'-The meaning is the same,
I apprehend, as that which you have just expressed."
The Master said, "With one like Ts'ze, I can begin to talk about the
odes. I told him one point, and he knew its proper sequence."
The Master said, "I will not be afflicted at men's not knowing me; I
will be afflicted that I do not know men."


The Master said, "He who exercises government by means of his virtue
may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all
the stars turn towards it."
The Master said, "In the Book of Poetry are three hundred pieces,
but the design of them all may be embraced in one sentence 'Having
no depraved thoughts.'"
The Master said, "If the people be led by laws, and uniformity
sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the
punishment, but have no sense of shame.
"If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by
the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of shame, and
moreover will become good."
The Master said, "At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning.
"At thirty, I stood firm.
"At forty, I had no doubts.
"At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven.
"At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth.
"At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without
transgressing what was right."
Mang I asked what filial piety was. The Master said, "It is not
being disobedient."
Soon after, as Fan Ch'ih was driving him, the Master told him,
saying, "Mang-sun asked me what filial piety was, and I answered
him,-'not being disobedient.'"
Fan Ch'ih said, "What did you mean?" The Master replied, "That
parents, when alive, be served according to propriety; that, when
dead, they should be buried according to propriety; and that they
should be sacrificed to according to propriety."
Mang Wu asked what filial piety was. The Master said, "Parents are
anxious lest their children should be sick."
Tsze-yu asked what filial piety was. The Master said, "The filial
piety 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 piety?"
The Master said, "I have talked with Hui for a whole day, and he has
not made any objection to anything I said;-as if he were stupid. He
has retired, and I have examined his conduct when away from me, and
found him able to illustrate my teachings. Hui!-He is not stupid."
The Master said, "See what a man does.
"Mark his motives.
"Examine in what things he rests.
"How can a man conceal his character? How can a man conceal his
The Master said, "If a man keeps cherishing his old knowledge, so as
continually to be acquiring new, he may be a teacher of others."
The Master said, "The accomplished scholar is not a utensil."
Tsze-kung asked what constituted the superior man. The Master
said, "He acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to
his actions."
The Master said, "The superior man is catholic and not partisan. The
mean man is partisan and not catholic."
The Master said, "Learning without thought is labor lost; thought
without learning is perilous."
The Master said, "The study of strange doctrines is injurious
The Master said, "Yu, shall I teach you what knowledge is? When
you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a
thing, to allow that you do not know it;-this is knowledge."
Tsze-chang was learning with a view to official emolument.
The Master said, "Hear much and put aside the points of which you
stand in doubt, while you speak cautiously at the same time of the
others:-then you will afford few occasions for blame. See much and put
aside the things which seem perilous, while you are cautious at the
same time in carrying the others into practice: then you will have few
occasions for repentance. When one gives few occasions for blame in
his words, and few occasions for repentance in his conduct, he is in
the way to get emolument."
The Duke Ai asked, saying, "What should be done in order to secure
the submission of the people?" Confucius replied, "Advance the upright
and set aside the crooked, then the people will submit. Advance the
crooked and set aside the upright, then the people will not submit."
Chi K'ang asked how to cause the people to reverence their ruler, to
be faithful to him, and to go on to nerve themselves to virtue. The
Master said, "Let him preside over them with gravity;-then they will
reverence him. Let him be final and kind to all;-then they will be
faithful to him. Let him advance the good and teach the
incompetent;-then they will eagerly seek to be virtuous."
Some one addressed Confucius, saying, "Sir, why are you not
engaged in the government?"
The Master said, "What does the Shu-ching say of filial
piety?-'You are final, you discharge your brotherly duties. These
qualities are displayed in government.' This then also constitutes the
exercise of government. Why must there be THAT-making one be in the
The Master said, "I do not know how a man without truthfulness is to
get on. How can a large carriage be made to go without the crossbar
for yoking the oxen to, or a small carriage without the arrangement
for yoking the horses?"
Tsze-chang asked whether the affairs of ten ages after could be
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 of courage."


Confucius said of the head of the Chi family, who had eight rows
of pantomimes in his area, "If he can bear to do this, what may he not
bear to do?"
The three families used the Yungode, while the vessels were being
removed, at the conclusion of the sacrifice. The Master said,
"'Assisting are the princes;-the son of heaven looks profound and
grave';-what application can these words have in the hall of the three
The Master said, "If a man be without the virtues proper to
humanity, what has he to do with the rites of propriety? If a man be
without the virtues proper to humanity, what has he to do with music?"
Lin Fang asked what was the first thing to be attended to in
The Master said, "A great question indeed!
"In festive ceremonies, it is better to be sparing than extravagant.
In the ceremonies of mourning, it is better that there be deep
sorrow than in minute attention to observances."
The Master said, "The rude tribes of the east and north have their
princes, and are not like the States of our great land which are
without them."
The chief of the Chi family was about to sacrifice to the T'ai
mountain. The Master said to Zan Yu, "Can you not save him from this?"
He answered, "I cannot." Confucius said, "Alas! will you say that
the T'ai mountain is not so discerning as Lin Fang?"
The Master said, "The student of virtue has no contentions. If it be
said he cannot avoid them, shall this be in archery? But he bows
complaisantly to his competitors; thus he ascends the hall,
descends, and exacts the forfeit of drinking. In his contention, he is
still the Chun-tsze."
Tsze-hsia asked, saying, "What is the meaning of the passage-'The
pretty dimples of her artful smile! The well-defined black and white
of her eye! The plain ground for the colors?'"
The Master said, "The business of laying on the colors follows the
preparation of the plain ground."
"Ceremonies then are a subsequent thing?" The Master said, "It is
Shang who can bring out my meaning. Now I can begin to talk about
the odes with him."
The Master said, "I could describe the ceremonies of the Hsia
dynasty, but Chi cannot sufficiently attest my words. I could describe
the ceremonies of the Yin dynasty, but Sung cannot sufficiently attest
my words. They cannot do so because of the insufficiency of their
records and wise men. If those were sufficient, I could adduce them in
support of my words."
The Master said, "At the great sacrifice, after the pouring out of
the libation, I have no wish to look on."
Some one asked the meaning of the great sacrifice. The Master
said, "I do not know. He who knew its meaning would find it as easy to
govern the kingdom as to look on this"-pointing to his palm.
He sacrificed to the dead, as if they were present. He sacrificed to
the spirits, as if the spirits were present.
The Master said, "I consider my not being present at the
sacrifice, as if I did not sacrifice."
Wang-sun Chia asked, saying, "What is the meaning of the saying, 'It
is better to pay court to the furnace then to the southwest corner?'"
The Master said, "Not so. He who offends against Heaven has none
to whom he can pray."
The Master said, "Chau had the advantage of viewing the two past
dynasties. How complete and elegant are its regulations! I follow
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.
The Master said, "Ts'ze, you love the sheep; I love the ceremony."
The Master said, "The full observance of the rules of propriety in
serving one's prince is accounted by people to be flattery."
The Duke Ting asked how a prince should employ his ministers, and
how ministers should serve their prince. Confucius replied, "A
prince should employ his minister according to according to the
rules of propriety; ministers should serve their prince with
The Master said, "The Kwan Tsu is expressive of enjoyment without
being licentious, and of grief without being hurtfully excessive."
The Duke Ai asked Tsai Wo about the altars of the spirits of the
land. Tsai Wo replied, "The Hsia sovereign planted the pine tree about
them; the men of the Yin planted the cypress; and the men of the
Chau planted the chestnut tree, meaning thereby to cause the people to
be in awe."
When the Master heard it, he said, "Things that are done, it is
needless to speak about; things that have had their course, it is
needless to remonstrate about; things that are past, it is needless to
The Master said, "Small indeed was the capacity of Kwan Chung!"
Some one said, "Was Kwan Chung parsimonious?" "Kwan," was the reply,
"had the San Kwei, and his officers performed no double duties; how
can he be considered parsimonious?"
"Then, did Kwan Chung know the rules of propriety?" The Master said,
"The princes of States have a screen intercepting the view at their
gates. Kwan had likewise a screen at his gate. The princes of States
on any friendly meeting between two of them, had a stand on which to
place their inverted cups. Kwan had also such a stand. If Kwan knew
the rules of propriety, who does not know them?"
The Master instructing the grand music master of Lu said, "How to
play music may be known. At the commencement of the piece, all the
parts should sound together. As it proceeds, they should be in harmony
while severally distinct and flowing without break, and thus on to the
The border warden at Yi requested to be introduced to the Master,
saying, "When men of superior virtue have come to this, I have never
been denied the privilege of seeing them." The followers of the sage
introduced him, and when he came out from the interview, he said,
"My friends, why are you distressed by your master's loss of office?
The kingdom has long been without the principles of truth and right;
Heaven is going to use your master as a bell with its wooden tongue."
The Master said of the Shao that it was perfectly beautiful and also
perfectly good. He said of the Wu that it was perfectly beautiful
but not perfectly good.
The Master said, "High station filled without indulgent
generosity; ceremonies performed without reverence; mourning conducted
without sorrow;-wherewith should I contemplate such ways?"


The Master said, "It is virtuous manners which constitute the
excellence of a neighborhood. If a man in selecting a residence do not
fix on one where such prevail, how can he be wise?"
The Master said, "Those who are without virtue cannot abide long
either in a condition of poverty and hardship, or in a condition of
enjoyment. The virtuous rest in virtue; the wise desire virtue."
The Master said, "It is only the truly virtuous man, who can love,
or who can hate, others."
The Master said, "If the will be set on virtue, there will be no
practice 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 it."
The Master said, "I have not seen a person who loved virtue, or
one who hated what was not virtuous. He who loved virtue, would esteem
nothing above it. He who hated what is not virtuous, would practice
virtue in such a way that he would not allow anything that is not
virtuous to approach his person.
"Is any one able for one day to apply his strength to virtue? I have
not seen the case in which his strength would be insufficient.
"Should there possibly be any such case, I have not seen it."
The Master said, "The faults of men are characteristic of the
class to which they belong. By observing a man's faults, it may be
known that he is virtuous."
The Master said, "If a man in the morning hear the right way, he may
die in the evening hear regret."
The Master said, "A scholar, whose mind is set on truth, and who
is ashamed of bad clothes and bad food, is not fit to be discoursed
The Master said, "The superior man, in the world, does not set his
mind either for anything, or against anything; what is right he will
The Master said, "The superior man thinks of virtue; the small man
thinks of comfort. The superior man thinks of the sanctions of law;
the small man thinks of favors which he may receive."
The Master said: "He who acts with a constant view to his own
advantage will be much murmured against."
The Master said, "If a prince is able to govern his kingdom with the
complaisance proper to the rules of propriety, what difficulty will he
have? If he cannot govern it with that complaisance, what has he to do
with the rules of propriety?"
The Master said, "A man should say, I am not concerned that I have
no place, I am concerned how I may fit myself for one. I am not
concerned that I am not known, I seek to be worthy to be known."
The Master said, "Shan, my doctrine is that of an all-pervading
unity." The disciple Tsang replied, "Yes."
The Master went out, and the other disciples asked, saying, "What do
his words mean?" Tsang said, "The doctrine of our master is to be true
to the principles-of our nature and the benevolent exercise of them to
others,-this and nothing more."
The Master said, "The mind of the superior man is conversant with
righteousness; the mind of the mean man is conversant with gain."
The Master said, "When we see men of worth, we should think of
equaling them; when we see men of a contrary character, we should turn
inwards and examine ourselves."
The Master said, "In serving his parents, a son may remonstrate with
them, but gently; when he sees that they do not incline to follow
his advice, he shows an increased degree of reverence, but does not
abandon his purpose; and should they punish him, he does not allow
himself to murmur."
The Master said, "While his parents are alive, the son may not go
abroad to a distance. If he does go abroad, he must have a fixed place
to which he goes."
The Master said, "If the son for three years does not alter from the
way of his father, he may be called filial."
The Master said, "The years of parents may by no means not be kept
in the memory, as an occasion at once for joy and for fear."
The Master said, "The reason why the ancients did not readily give
utterance to their words, was that they feared lest their actions
should not come up to them."
The Master said, "The cautious seldom err."
The Master said, "The superior man wishes to be slow in his speech
and earnest in his conduct."
The Master said, "Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who
practices it will have neighbors."
Tsze-yu said, "In serving a prince, frequent remonstrances lead to
disgrace. Between friends, frequent reproofs make the friendship


The Master said of Kung-ye Ch'ang that he might be wived; although
he was put in bonds, he had not been guilty of any crime. Accordingly,
he gave him his own daughter to wife.
Of Nan Yung he said that if the country were well governed he
would not be out of office, and if it were in governed, he would
escape punishment and disgrace. He gave him the daughter of his own
elder brother to wife.
The Master said of Tsze-chien, "Of superior virtue indeed is such
a man! If there were not virtuous men in Lu, how could this man have
acquired this character?"
Tsze-kung asked, "What do you say of me, Ts'ze!" The Master said,
"You are a utensil." "What utensil?" "A gemmed sacrificial utensil."
Some one said, "Yung is truly virtuous, but he is not ready with his
The Master said, "What is the good of being ready with the tongue?
They who encounter men with smartness of speech for the most part
procure themselves hatred. I know not whether he be truly virtuous,
but why should he show readiness of the tongue?"
The Master was wishing Ch'i-tiao K'ai to enter an official
employment. He replied, "I am not yet able to rest in the assurance of
this." The Master was pleased.
The Master said, "My doctrines make no way. I will get upon a
raft, and float about on the sea. He that will accompany me will be
Yu, I dare say." Tsze-lu hearing this was glad, upon which the
Master said, "Yu is fonder of daring than I am. He does not exercise
his judgment upon matters."
Mang Wu asked about Tsze-lu, whether he was perfectly virtuous.
The Master said, "I do not know."
He asked again, when the Master replied, "In a kingdom of a thousand
chariots, Yu might be employed to manage the military levies, but I do
not know whether he be perfectly virtuous."
"And what do you say of Ch'iu?" The Master replied, "In a city of
a thousand families, or a clan of a hundred chariots, Ch'iu might be
employed as governor, but I do not know whether he is perfectly
"What do you say of Ch'ih?" The Master replied, "With his sash
girt and standing in a court, Ch'ih might be employed to converse with
the visitors and guests, but I do not know whether he is perfectly
The Master said to Tsze-kung, "Which do you consider superior,
yourself or Hui?"
Tsze-kung replied, "How dare I compare myself with Hui? Hui hears
one point and knows all about a subject; I hear one point, and know
a second."
The Master said, "You are not equal to him. I grant you, you are not
equal to him."
Tsai Yu being asleep during the daytime, the Master said, "Rotten
wood cannot be carved; a wall of dirty earth will not receive the
trowel. This Yu,-what is the use of my reproving him?"
The Master said, "At first, my way with men was to hear their words,
and give them credit for their conduct. Now my way is to hear their
words, and look at their conduct. It is from Yu that I have learned to
make this change."
The Master said, "I have not seen a firm and unbending man." Some
one replied, "There is Shan Ch'ang." "Ch'ang," said the Master, "is
under the influence of his passions; how can he be pronounced firm and
Tsze-kung said, "What I do not wish men to do to me, I also wish not
to do to men." The Master said, "Ts'ze, you have not attained to
Tsze-kung said, "The Master's personal displays of his principles
and ordinary descriptions of them may be heard. His discourses about
man's nature, and the way of Heaven, cannot be heard."
When Tsze-lu heard anything, if he had not yet succeeded in carrying
it into practice, he was only afraid lest he should hear something
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "On what ground did Kung-wan get that title
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 just."
The Master said, "Yen P'ing knew well how to maintain friendly
intercourse. The acquaintance might be long, but he showed the same
respect as at first."
The Master said, "Tsang Wan kept a large tortoise in a house, on the
capitals of the pillars of which he had hills made, and with
representations of duckweed on the small pillars above the beams
supporting the rafters.-Of what sort was his wisdom?"
Tsze-chang asked, saying, "The minister Tsze-wan thrice took office,
and manifested no joy in his countenance. Thrice he retired from
office, and manifested no displeasure. He made it a point to inform
the new minister of the way in which he had conducted the
government; what do you say of him?" The Master replied. "He was
loyal." "Was he perfectly virtuous?" "I do not know. How can he be
pronounced perfectly virtuous?"
Tsze-chang proceeded, "When the officer Ch'ui killed the prince of
Ch'i, Ch'an Wan, though he was the owner of forty horses, abandoned
them and left the country. Coming to another state, he said, 'They are
here like our great officer, Ch'ui,' and left it. He came to a
second state, and with the same observation left it also;-what do
you say of him?" The Master replied, "He was pure." "Was he
perfectly virtuous?" "I do not know. How can he be pronounced
perfectly virtuous?"
Chi Wan thought thrice, and then acted. When the Master was informed
of it, he said, "Twice may do."
The Master said, "When good order prevailed in his country, Ning
Wu acted the part of a wise man. When his country was in disorder,
he acted the part of a stupid man. Others may equal his wisdom, but
they cannot equal his stupidity."
When the Master was in Ch'an, he said, "Let me return! Let me
return! The little children of my school are ambitious and too
hasty. They are accomplished and complete so far, but they do not know
how to restrict and shape themselves."
The Master said, "Po-i and Shu-ch'i did not keep the former
wickednesses of men in mind, and hence the resentments directed
towards them were few."
The Master said, "Who says of Weishang Kao that he is upright? One
begged some vinegar of him, and he begged it of a neighbor and gave it
to the man."
The Master said, "Fine words, an insinuating appearance, and
excessive respect;-Tso Ch'iu-ming was ashamed of them. I also am
ashamed of them. To conceal resentment against a person, and appear
friendly with him;-Tso Ch'iu-ming was ashamed of such conduct. I
also am ashamed of it."
Yen Yuan and Chi Lu being by his side, the Master said to them,
"Come, let each of you tell his wishes."
Tsze-lu said, "I should like, having chariots and horses, and
light fur clothes, to share them with my friends, and though they
should spoil them, I would not be displeased."
Yen Yuan said, "I should like not to boast of my excellence, nor
to make a display of my meritorious deeds."
Tsze-lu then said, "I should like, sir, to hear your wishes." The
Master said, "They are, in regard to the aged, to give them rest; in
regard to friends, to show them sincerity; in regard to the young,
to treat them tenderly."
The Master said, "It is all over. I have not yet seen one who
could perceive his faults, and inwardly accuse himself."
The Master said, "In a hamlet of ten families, there may be found
one honorable and sincere as I am, but not so fond of learning."


The Master said, "There is Yung!-He might occupy the place of a
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
The Master said, "Yung's words are right."
The Duke Ai asked which of the disciples loved to learn.
Confucius replied to him, "There was Yen Hui; he loved to learn.
He did not transfer his anger; he did not repeat a fault.
Unfortunately, his appointed time was short and he died; and now there
is not such another. I have not yet heard of any one who loves to
learn as he did."
Tsze-hwa being employed on a mission to Ch'i, the disciple Zan
requested grain for his mother. The Master said, "Give her a fu."
Yen requested more. "Give her a yi," said the Master. Yen gave her
five ping.
The Master said, "When Ch'ih was proceeding to Ch'i, he had fat
horses to his carriage, and wore light furs. I have heard that a
superior man helps the distressed, but does not add to the wealth of
the rich."
Yuan Sze being made governor of his town by the Master, he gave
him nine hundred measures of grain, but Sze declined them.
The Master said, "Do not decline them. May you not give them away in
the neighborhoods, hamlets, towns, and villages?"
The Master, speaking of Chung-kung, said, "If the calf of a brindled
cow be red and homed, although men may not wish to use it, would the
spirits of the mountains and rivers put it aside?"
The Master said, "Such was Hui that for three months there would
be nothing in his mind contrary to perfect virtue. The others may
attain to this on some days or in some months, but nothing more."
Chi K'ang asked about Chung-yu, whether he was fit to be employed as
an officer of government. The Master said, "Yu is a man of decision;
what difficulty would he find in being an officer of government?"
K'ang asked, "Is Ts'ze fit to be employed as an officer of
government?" and was answered, "Ts'ze is a man of intelligence; what
difficulty would he find in being an officer of government?" And to
the same question about Ch'iu the Master gave the same reply,
saying, "Ch'iu is a man of various ability."
The chief of the Chi family sent to ask Min Tsze-ch'ien to be
governor of Pi. Min Tszech'ien said, "Decline the offer for me
politely. If any one come again to me with a second invitation, I
shall be obliged to go and live on the banks of the Wan."
Po-niu being ill, the Master went to ask for him. He took hold of
his hand through the window, and said, "It is killing him. It is the
appointment of Heaven, alas! That such a man should have such a
sickness! That such a man should have such a sickness!"
The Master said, "Admirable indeed was the virtue of Hui! With a
single bamboo dish of rice, a single gourd dish of drink, and living
in his mean narrow lane, while others could not have endured the
distress, he did not allow his joy to be affected by it. Admirable
indeed was the virtue of Hui!"
Yen Ch'iu said, "It is not that I do not delight in your
doctrines, but my strength is insufficient." The Master said, "Those
whose strength is insufficient give over in the middle of the way
but now you limit yourself."
The Master said to Tsze-hsia, "Do you be a scholar after the style
of the superior man, and not after that of the mean man."
Tsze-yu being governor of Wu-ch'ang, the Master said to him, "Have
you got good men there?" He answered, "There is Tan-t'ai Miehming, who
never in walking takes a short cut, and never comes to my office,
excepting on public business."
The Master said, "Mang Chih-fan does not boast of his merit. Being
in the rear on an occasion of flight, when they were about to enter
the gate, he whipped up his horse, saying, "It is not that I dare to
be last. My horse would not advance."
The Master said, "Without the specious speech of the litanist T'o
and the beauty of the prince Chao of Sung, it is difficult to escape
in the present age."
The Master said, "Who can go out but by the door? How is it that men
will not walk according to these ways?"
The Master said, "Where the solid qualities are in excess of
accomplishments, we have rusticity; where the accomplishments are in
excess of the solid qualities, we have the manners of a clerk. When
the accomplishments and solid qualities are equally blended, we then
have the man of virtue."
The Master said, "Man is born for uprightness. If a man lose his
uprightness, and yet live, his escape from death is the effect of mere
good fortune."
The Master said, "They who know the truth are not equal to those who
love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in
The Master said, "To those whose talents are above mediocrity, the
highest subjects may be announced. To those who are below
mediocrity, the highest subjects may not be announced."
Fan Ch'ih asked what constituted wisdom. The Master said, "To give
one's self earnestly to the duties due to men, and, while respecting
spiritual beings, to keep aloof from them, may be called wisdom." He
asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "The man of virtue
makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success
only a subsequent consideration;-this may be called perfect virtue."
The Master said, "The wise find pleasure in water; the virtuous find
pleasure in hills. The wise are active; the virtuous are tranquil. The
wise are joyful; the virtuous are long-lived."
The Master said, "Ch'i, by one change, would come to the State of
Lu. Lu, by one change, would come to a State where true principles
The Master said, "A cornered vessel without corners-a strange
cornered vessel! A strange cornered vessel!"
Tsai Wo asked, saying, "A benevolent man, though it be told
him,-'There is a man in the well" will go in after him, I suppose."
Confucius said, "Why should he do so?" A superior man may be made to
go to the well, but he cannot be made to go down into it. He may be
imposed upon, but he cannot be fooled."
The Master said, "The superior man, extensively studying all
learning, and keeping himself under the restraint of the rules of
propriety, may thus likewise not overstep what is right."
The Master having visited Nan-tsze, Tsze-lu was displeased, on which
the Master swore, saying, "Wherein I have done improperly, may
Heaven reject me, may Heaven reject me!"
The Master said, "Perfect is the virtue which is according to the
Constant Mean! Rare for a long time has been its practice among the
Tsze-kung said, "Suppose the case of a man extensively conferring
benefits on the people, and able to assist all, what would you say
of him? Might he be called perfectly virtuous?" The Master said,
"Why speak only of virtue in connection with him? Must he not have the
qualities of a sage? Even Yao and Shun were still solicitous about
"Now the man of perfect virtue, wishing to be established himself,
seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged himself, he
seeks also to enlarge others.
"To be able to judge of others by what is nigh in ourselves;-this
may be called the art of virtue."


The Master said, "A transmitter and not a maker, believing in and
loving the ancients, I venture to compare myself with our old P'ang."
The Master said, "The silent treasuring up of knowledge; learning
without satiety; and instructing others without being wearied:-which
one of these things belongs to me?"
The Master said, "The leaving virtue without proper cultivation; the
not thoroughly discussing what is learned; not being able to move
towards righteousness of which a knowledge is gained; and not being
able to change what is not good:-these are the things which occasion
me solicitude."
When the Master was unoccupied with business, his manner was easy,
and he looked pleased.
The Master said, "Extreme is my decay. For a long time, I have not
dreamed, as I was wont to do, that I saw the duke of Chau."
The Master said, "Let the will be set on the path of duty.
"Let every attainment in what is good be firmly grasped.
"Let perfect virtue be accorded with.
"Let relaxation and enjoyment be found in the polite arts."
The Master said, "From the man bringing his bundle of dried flesh
for my teaching upwards, I have never refused instruction to any one."
The Master said, "I do not open up the truth to one who is not eager
to get knowledge, nor help out any one who is not anxious to explain
himself. When I have presented one corner of a subject to any one, and
he cannot from it learn the other three, I do not repeat my lesson."
When the Master was eating by the side of a mourner, he never ate to
the full.
He did not sing on the same day in which he had been weeping.
The Master said to Yen Yuan, "When called to office, to undertake
its duties; when not so called, to he retired;-it is only I and you
who have attained to this."
Tsze-lu said, "If you had the conduct of the armies of a great
state, whom would you have to act with you?"
The Master said, "I would not have him to act with me, who will
unarmed attack a tiger, or cross a river without a boat, dying without
any regret. My associate must be the man who proceeds to action full
of solicitude, who is fond of adjusting his plans, and then carries
them into execution."
The Master said, "If the search for riches is sure to be successful,
though I should become a groom with whip in hand to get them, I will
do so. As the search may not be successful, I will follow after that
which I love."
The things in reference to which the Master exercised the greatest
caution were-fasting, war, and sickness.
When the Master was in Ch'i, he heard the Shao, and for three months
did not know the taste of flesh. "I did not think'" he said, "that
music could have been made so excellent as this."
Yen Yu said, "Is our Master for the ruler of Wei?" Tsze-kung said,
"Oh! I will ask him."
He went in accordingly, and said, "What sort of men were Po-i and
Shu-ch'i?" "They were ancient worthies," said the Master. "Did they
have any repinings because of their course?" The Master again replied,
"They sought to act virtuously, and they did so; what was there for
them to repine about?" On this, Tsze-kung went out and said, "Our
Master is not for him."
The Master said, "With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink,
and my bended arm for a pillow;-I have still joy in the midst of these
things. Riches and honors acquired by unrighteousness, are to me as
a floating cloud."
The Master said, "If some years were added to my life, I would
give fifty to the study of the Yi, and then I might come to be without
great faults."
The Master's frequent themes of discourse were-the Odes, the
History, and the maintenance of the Rules of Propriety. On all these
he frequently discoursed.
The Duke of Sheh asked Tsze-lu about Confucius, and Tsze-lu did
not answer him.
The Master said, "Why did you not say to him,-He is simply a man,
who in his eager pursuit of knowledge forgets his food, who in the joy
of its attainment forgets his sorrows, and who does not perceive
that old age is coming on?"
The Master said, "I am not one who was born in the possession of
knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking
it there."
The subjects on which the Master did not talk, were-extraordinary
things, feats of strength, disorder, and spiritual beings.
The Master said, "When I walk along with two others, they may
serve me as my teachers. I will select their good qualities and follow
them, their bad qualities and avoid them."
The Master said, "Heaven produced the virtue that is in me. Hwan
T'ui-what can he do to me?"
The Master said, "Do you think, my disciples, that I have any
concealments? I conceal nothing from you. There is nothing which I
do that is not shown to you, my disciples; that is my way."
There were four things which the Master taught,-letters, ethics,
devotion of soul, and truthfulness.
The Master said, "A sage it is not mine to see; could I see a man of
real talent and virtue, that would satisfy me."
The Master said, "A good man it is not mine to see; could I see a
man possessed of constancy, that would satisfy me.
"Having not and yet affecting to have, empty and yet affecting to be
full, straitened and yet affecting to be at ease:-it is difficult with
such characteristics to have constancy."
The Master angled,-but did not use a net. He shot,-but not at
birds perching.
The Master said, "There may be those who act without knowing why.
I do not do so. Hearing much and selecting what is good and
following it; seeing much and keeping it in memory: this is the second
style of knowledge."
It was difficult to talk profitably and reputably with the people of
Hu-hsiang, and a lad of that place having had an interview with the
Master, the disciples doubted.
The Master said, "I admit people's approach to me without committing
myself as to what they may do when they have retired. Why must one
be so severe? If a man purify himself to wait upon me, I receive him
so purified, without guaranteeing his past conduct."
The Master said, "Is virtue a thing remote? I wish to be virtuous,
and lo! virtue is at hand."
The minister of crime of Ch'an asked whether the duke Chao knew
propriety, and Confucius said, "He knew propriety."
Confucius having retired, the minister bowed to Wu-ma Ch'i to come
forward, and said, "I have heard that the superior man is not a
partisan. May the superior man be a partisan also? The prince
married a daughter of the house of WU, of the same surname with
himself, and called her,-'The elder Tsze of Wu.' If the prince knew
propriety, who does not know 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 them."
When the Master was in company with a person who was singing, if
he sang well, he would make him repeat the song, while he
accompanied it with his own voice.
The Master said, "In letters I am perhaps equal to other men, but
the character of the superior man, carrying out in his conduct what he
professes, is what I have not yet attained to."
The Master said, "The sage and the man of perfect virtue;-how dare I
rank myself with them? It may simply be said of me, that I strive to
become such without satiety, and teach others without weariness."
Kung-hsi Hwa said, "This is just what we, the disciples, cannot
imitate you in."
The Master being very sick, Tsze-lu asked leave to pray for him.
He said, "May such a thing be done?" Tsze-lu replied, "It may. In
the Eulogies it is said, 'Prayer has been made for thee to the spirits
of the upper and lower worlds.'" The Master said, "My praying has been
for a long time."
The Master said, "Extravagance leads to insubordination, and
parsimony to meanness. It is better to be mean than to be
The Master said, "The superior man is satisfied and composed; the
mean man is always full of distress."
The Master was mild, and yet dignified; majestic, and yet not
fierce; respectful, and yet easy.


The Master said, "T'ai-po may be said to have reached the highest
point of virtuous action. Thrice he declined the kingdom, and the
people in ignorance of his motives could not express their approbation
of his conduct."
The Master said, "Respectfulness, without the rules of propriety,
becomes laborious bustle; carefulness, without the rules of propriety,
becomes timidity; boldness, without the rules of propriety, becomes
insubordination; straightforwardness, without the rules of
propriety, becomes rudeness.
"When those who are in high stations perform well all their duties
to their relations, the people are aroused to virtue. When old friends
are not neglected by them, the people are preserved from meanness."
The philosopher Tsang being ill, he cared to him the disciples of
his school, and said, "Uncover my feet, uncover my hands. It is said
in the Book of Poetry, 'We should be apprehensive and cautious, as
if on the brink of a deep gulf, as if treading on thin ice, I and so
have I been. Now and hereafter, I know my escape from all injury to my
person. O ye, my little children."
The philosopher Tsang being ill, Meng Chang went to ask how he was.
Tsang said to him, "When a bird is about to die, its notes are
mournful; when a man is about to die, his words are good.
"There are three principles of conduct which the man of high rank
should consider specially important:-that in his deportment and manner
he keep from violence and heedlessness; that in regulating his
countenance he keep near to sincerity; and that in his words and tones
he keep far from lowness and impropriety. As to such matters as
attending to the sacrificial vessels, there are the proper officers
for them."
The philosopher Tsang said, "Gifted with ability, and yet putting
questions to those who were not so; possessed of much, and yet putting
questions to those possessed of little; having, as though he had
not; full, and yet counting himself as empty; offended against, and
yet entering into no altercation; formerly I had a friend who
pursued this style of conduct."
The philosopher Tsang said, "Suppose that there is an individual who
can be entrusted with the charge of a young orphan prince, and can
be commissioned with authority over a state of a hundred li, and
whom no emergency however great can drive from his principles:-is such
a man a superior man? He is a superior man indeed."
The philosopher Tsang said, "The officer may not be without
breadth of mind and vigorous endurance. His burden is heavy and his
course is long.
"Perfect virtue is the burden which he considers it is his to
sustain;-is it not heavy? Only with death does his course stop;-is
it not long?
The Master said, "It is by the Odes that the mind is aroused.
"It is by the Rules of Propriety that the character is established.
"It is from Music that the finish is received."
The Master said, "The people may be made to follow a path of action,
but they may not be made to understand it."
The Master said, "The man who is fond of daring and is
dissatisfied with poverty, will proceed to insubordination. So will
the man who is not virtuous, when you carry your dislike of him to
an extreme."
The Master said, "Though a man have abilities as admirable as
those of the Duke of Chau, yet if he be proud and niggardly, those
other things are really not worth being looked at."
The Master said, "It is not easy to find a man who has learned for
three years without coming to be good."
The Master said, "With sincere faith he unites the love of learning;
holding firm to death, he is perfecting the excellence of his course.
"Such an one will not enter a tottering state, nor dwell in a
disorganized one. When right principles of government prevail in the
kingdom, he will show himself; when they are prostrated, he will
keep concealed.
"When a country is well governed, poverty and a mean condition are
things to be ashamed of. When a country is ill governed, riches and
honor are things to be ashamed of."
The Master said, "He who is not in any particular office has nothing
to do with plans for the administration of its duties."
The Master said, "When the music master Chih first entered on his
office, the finish of the Kwan Tsu was magnificent;-how it filled
the ears!"
The Master said, "Ardent and yet not upright, stupid and yet not
attentive; simple and yet not sincere:-such persons I do not
The Master said, "Learn as if you could not reach your object, and
were always fearing also lest you should lose it."
The Master said, "How majestic was the manner in which Shun and Yu
held possession of the empire, as if it were nothing to them!
The Master said, "Great indeed was Yao as a sovereign! How
majestic was he! It is only Heaven that is grand, and only Yao
corresponded to it. How vast was his virtue! The people could find
no name for it.
"How majestic was he in the works which he accomplished! How
glorious in the elegant regulations which he instituted!"
Shun had five ministers, and the empire was well governed.
King Wu said, "I have ten able ministers."
Confucius said, "Is not the saying that talents are difficult to
find, true? Only when the dynasties of T'ang and Yu met, were they
more abundant than in this of Chau, yet there was a woman among
them. The able ministers were no more than nine men.
"King Wan possessed two of the three parts of the empire, and with
those he served the dynasty of Yin. The virtue of the house of Chau
may be said to have reached the highest point indeed."
The Master said, "I can find no flaw in the character of Yu. He used
himself coarse food and drink, but displayed the utmost filial piety
towards the spirits. His ordinary garments were poor, but he displayed
the utmost elegance in his sacrificial cap and apron. He lived in a
low, mean house, but expended all his strength on the ditches and
water channels. I can find nothing like a flaw in Yu."


The subjects of which the Master seldom spoke were-profitableness,
and also the appointments of Heaven, and perfect virtue.
A man of the village of Ta-hsiang said, "Great indeed is the
philosopher K'ung! His learning is extensive, and yet he does not
render his name famous by any particular thing."
The Master heard the observation, and said to his disciples, "What
shall I practice? Shall I practice charioteering, or shall I
practice archery? I will practice charioteering."
The Master said, "The linen cap is that prescribed by the rules of
ceremony, but now a silk one is worn. It is economical, and I follow
the common practice.
"The rules of ceremony prescribe the bowing below the hall, but
now the practice is to bow only after ascending it. That is
arrogant. I continue to bow below the hall, though I oppose the common
There were four things from which the Master was entirely free. He
had no foregone conclusions, no arbitrary predeterminations, no
obstinacy, and no egoism.
The Master was put in fear in K'wang.
He said, "After the death of King Wan, was not the cause of truth
lodged here in me?
"If Heaven had wished to let this cause of truth perish, then I, a
future mortal! should not have got such a relation to that cause.
While Heaven does not let the cause of truth perish, what can the
people of K'wang do to me?"
A high officer asked Tsze-kung, saying, "May we not say that your
Master is a sage? How various is his ability!"
Tsze-kung said, "Certainly Heaven has endowed him unlimitedly. He is
about a sage. And, moreover, his ability is various."
The Master heard of the conversation and said, "Does the high
officer know me? When I was young, my condition was low, and I
acquired my ability in many things, but they were mean matters. Must
the superior man have such variety of ability? He does not need
variety of ability. Lao said, "The Master said, 'Having no official
employment, I acquired many arts.'"
The Master said, "Am I indeed possessed of knowledge? I am not
knowing. But if a mean person, who appears quite empty-like, ask
anything of me, I set it forth from one end to the other, and
exhaust it."
The Master said, "The Fang bird does not come; the river sends forth
no map:-it is all over with me!"
When the Master saw a person in a mourning dress, or any one with
the cap and upper and lower garments of full dress, or a blind person,
on observing them approaching, though they were younger than
himself, he would rise up, and if he had to pass by them, he would
do so hastily.
Yen Yuan, in admiration of the Master's doctrines, sighed and
said, "I looked up to them, and they seemed to become more high; I
tried to penetrate them, and they seemed to become more firm; I looked
at them before me, and suddenly they seemed to be behind.
"The Master, by orderly method, skillfully leads men on. He enlarged
my mind with learning, and taught me the restraints of propriety.
"When I wish to give over the study of his doctrines, I cannot do
so, and having exerted all my ability, there seems something to
stand right up before me; but though I wish to follow and lay hold
of it, I really find no way to do so."
The Master being very ill, Tsze-lu wished the disciples to act as
ministers to him.
During a remission of his illness, he said, "Long has the conduct of
Yu been deceitful! By pretending to have ministers when I have them
not, whom should I impose upon? Should I impose upon Heaven?
"Moreover, than that I should die in the hands of ministers, is it
not better that I should die in the hands of you, my disciples? And
though I may not get a great burial, shall I die upon the road?"
Tsze-kung said, "There is a beautiful gem here. Should I lay it up
in a case and keep it? or should I seek for a good price and sell it?"
The Master said, "Sell it! Sell it! But I would wait for one to
offer the price."
The Master was wishing to go and live among the nine wild tribes
of 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 forward."
The Master said, "Never flagging when I set forth anything to
him;-ah! that is Hui." The Master said of Yen Yuan, "Alas! I saw his
constant advance. I never saw him stop in his progress."
The Master said, "There are cases in which the blade springs, but
the plant does not go on to flower! There are cases where it flowers
but fruit is not subsequently produced!"
The Master said, "A youth is to be regarded with respect. How do
we know that his future will not be equal to our present? If he
reach the age of forty or fifty, and has not made himself heard of,
then indeed he will not be worth being regarded with respect."
The Master said, "Can men refuse to assent to the words of strict
admonition? But it is reforming the conduct because of them which is
valuable. Can men refuse to be pleased with words of gentle advice?
But it is unfolding their aim which is valuable. If a man be pleased
with these words, but does not unfold their aim, and assents to those,
but does not reform his conduct, I can really do nothing with him."
The Master said, "Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first
principles. Have no friends not equal to yourself. When you have
faults, do not fear to abandon them."
The Master said, "The commander of the forces of a large state may
be carried off, but the will of even a common man cannot be taken 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 excellence."
The Master said, "When the year becomes cold, then we know how the
pine and the cypress are the last to lose their leaves."
The Master said, "The wise are free from perplexities; the
virtuous from anxiety; and the bold from fear."
The Master said, "There are some with whom we may study in common,
but we shall find them unable to go along with us to principles.
Perhaps we may go on with them to principles, but we shall find them
unable to get established in those along with us. Or if we may get
so established along with them, we shall find them unable to weigh
occurring events along with us."
"How the flowers of the aspen-plum flutter and turn! Do I not
think of you? But your house is distant."
The Master said, "It is the want of thought about it. How is it


Confucius, in his village, looked simple and sincere, and as if he
were not able to speak.
When he was in the prince's ancestral temple, or in the court, he
spoke minutely on every point, but cautiously.
When he was waiting at court, in speaking with the great officers of
the lower grade, he spoke freely, but in a straightforward manner;
in speaking with those of the higher grade, he did so blandly, but
When the ruler was present, his manner displayed respectful
uneasiness; it was grave, but self-possessed.
When the prince called him to employ him in the reception of a
visitor, his countenance appeared to change, and his legs to move
forward with difficulty.
He inclined himself to the other officers among whom he stood,
moving his left or right arm, as their position required, but
keeping the skirts of his robe before and behind evenly 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 highly pleased.
The superior man did not use a deep purple, or a puce color, in
the ornaments of his dress.
Even in his undress, he did not wear anything of a red or reddish
In warm weather, he had a single garment either of coarse or fine
texture, but he wore it displayed over an inner garment.
Over lamb's fur he wore a garment of black; over fawn's fur one of
white; and over fox's fur one of yellow.
The fur robe of his undress was long, with the right sleeve short.
He required his sleeping dress to be half as long again as his body.
When staying at home, he used thick furs of the fox or the badger.
When he put off mourning, he wore all the appendages of the girdle.
His undergarment, except when it was required to be of the curtain
shape, was made of silk cut narrow above and wide below.
He did not wear lamb's fur or a black cap on a visit of condolence.
On the first day of the month he put on his court robes, and
presented himself at court.
When fasting, he thought it necessary to have his clothes brightly
clean and made of linen cloth.
When fasting, he thought it necessary to change his food, and also
to change the place where he commonly sat in the apartment.
He did not dislike to have his rice finely cleaned, nor to have
his mince meat cut quite small.
He did not eat rice which had been injured by heat or damp and
turned sour, nor fish or flesh which was gone. He did not eat what was
discolored, or what was of a bad flavor, nor anything which was
ill-cooked, or was not in season.
He did not eat meat which was not cut properly, nor what was
served without its proper sauce.
Though there might be a large quantity of meat, he would not allow
what he took to exceed the due proportion for the rice. It was only in
wine that he laid down no limit for himself, but he did not allow
himself to be confused by it.
He did not partake of wine and dried meat bought in the market.
He was never without ginger when he ate. He did not eat much.
When he had been assisting at the prince's sacrifice, he did not
keep the flesh which he received overnight. The flesh of his family
sacrifice he did not keep over three days. If kept over three days,
people could not eat it.
When eating, he did not converse. When in bed, he did not speak.
Although his food might be coarse rice and vegetable soup, he
would offer a little of it in sacrifice with a grave, respectful air.
If his mat was not straight, he did not sit on it.
When the villagers were drinking together, upon those who carried
staffs going out, he also went out immediately after.
When the villagers were going through their ceremonies to drive away
pestilential influences, he put on his court robes and stood on the
eastern steps.
When he was sending complimentary inquiries to any one in another
state, he bowed twice as he escorted the messenger away.
Chi K'ang having sent him a present of physic, he bowed and received
it, saying, "I do not know it. I dare not taste it."
The stable being burned down, when he was at court, on his return he
said, "Has any man been hurt?" He did not ask about the horses.
When the he would adjust his mat, first taste it, and then give it
away to others. When the prince sent him a gift of undressed meat,
he would have it cooked, and offer it to the spirits of his ancestors.
When the prince sent him a gift of a living animal, he would keep it
When he was in attendance on the prince and joining in the
entertainment, the prince only sacrificed. He first tasted everything.
When he was ill and the prince came to visit him, he had his head to
the east, made his court robes be spread over him, and drew his girdle
across them.
When the prince's order called him, without waiting for his carriage
to be yoked, he went at once.
When he entered the ancestral temple of the state, he asked about
When any of his friends died, if he had no relations offices, he
would say, "I will bury him."
When a friend sent him a present, though it might be a carriage
and horses, he did not bow.
The only present for which he bowed was that of the flesh of
In bed, he did not lie like a corpse. At home, he did not put on any
formal deportment.
When he saw any one in a mourning dress, though it might be an
acquaintance, he would change countenance; when he saw any one wearing
the cap of full dress, or a blind person, though he might be in his
undress, he would salute him in a ceremonious manner.
To any person in mourning he bowed forward to the crossbar of his
carriage; he bowed in the same way to any one bearing the tables of
When he was at an entertainment where there was an abundance of
provisions set before him, he would change countenance and rise up.
On a sudden clap of thunder, or a violent wind, he would change
When he was about to mount his carriage, he would stand straight,
holding the cord.
When he was in the carriage, he did not turn his head quite round,
he did not talk hastily, he did not point with his hands.
Seeing the countenance, it instantly rises. It flies round, and by
and by settles.
The Master said, "There is the hen-pheasant on the hill bridge. At
its season! At its season!" Tsze-lu made a motion to it. Thrice it
smelt him and then rose.


The Master said, "The men of former times in the matters of
ceremonies and music were rustics, it is said, while the men of
these latter times, in ceremonies and music, are accomplished
"If I have occasion to use those things, I follow the men of
former times."
The Master said, "Of those who were with me in Ch'an and Ts'ai,
there are none to be found to enter my door."
Distinguished for their virtuous principles and practice, there were
Yen Yuan, Min Tsze-ch'ien, Zan Po-niu, and Chung-kung; for their
ability in speech, Tsai Wo and Tsze-kung; for their administrative
talents, Zan Yu and Chi Lu; for their literary acquirements, Tsze-yu
and Tsze-hsia.
The Master said, "Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing
that I say in which he does not delight."
The Master said, "Filial indeed is Min Tsze-ch'ien! Other people say
nothing of him different from the report of his parents and brothers."
Nan Yung was frequently repeating the lines about a white scepter
stone. Confucius gave him the daughter of his elder brother to wife.
Chi K'ang asked which of the disciples loved to learn. Confucius
replied to him, "There was Yen Hui; he loved to learn. Unfortunately
his appointed time was short, and he died. Now there is no one who
loves to learn, as he did."
When Yen Yuan died, Yen Lu begged the carriage of the Master to sell
and get an outer shell for his son's coffin.
The Master said, "Every one calls his son his son, whether he has
talents or has not talents. There was Li; when he died, he had a
coffin but no outer shell. I would not walk on foot to get a shell for
him, because, having followed in the rear of the great officers, it
was not proper that I should walk on foot."
When Yen Yuan died, the Master said, "Alas! Heaven is destroying me!
Heaven is destroying me!"
When Yen Yuan died, the Master bewailed him exceedingly, and the
disciples who were with him said, "Master, your grief is excessive!"
"Is it excessive?" said he. "If I am not to mourn bitterly for
this man, for whom should I mourn?"
When Yen Yuan died, the disciples wished to give him a great
funeral, and the Master said, "You may not do so."
The disciples did bury him in great style.
The Master said, "Hui behaved towards me as his father. I have not
been able to treat him as my son. The fault is not mine; it belongs to
you, O disciples."
Chi Lu asked about serving the spirits of the dead. The Master said,
"While you are not able to serve men, how can you serve their
spirits?" Chi Lu added, "I venture to ask about death?" He was
answered, "While you do not know life, how can you know about death?"
The disciple Min was standing by his side, looking bland and
precise; Tsze-lu, looking bold and soldierly; Zan Yu and Tsze-kung,
with a free and straightforward manner. The Master was pleased.
He said, "Yu, there!-he will not die a natural death."
Some parties in Lu were going to take down and rebuild the Long
Min Tsze-ch'ien said, "Suppose it were to be repaired after its
old style;-why must it be altered and made anew?"
The Master said, "This man seldom speaks; when he does, he is sure
to hit the point."
The Master said, "What has the lute of Yu to do in my door?"
The other disciples began not to respect Tszelu. The Master said,
"Yu has ascended to the hall, though he has not yet passed into the
inner apartments."
Tsze-kung asked which of the two, Shih or Shang, was the superior.
The Master said, "Shih goes beyond the due mean, and Shang does not
come up to it."
"Then," said Tsze-kung, "the superiority is with Shih, I suppose."
The Master said, "To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short."
The head of the Chi family was richer than the duke of Chau had
been, and yet Ch'iu collected his imposts for him, and increased his
The Master said, "He is no disciple of mine. My little children,
beat the drum and assail him."
Ch'ai is simple. Shan is dull. Shih is specious. Yu is coarse.
The Master said, "There is Hui! He has nearly attained to perfect
virtue. He is often in want.
"Ts'ze does not acquiesce in the appointments of Heaven, and his
goods are increased by him. Yet his judgments are often correct."
Tsze-chang asked what were the characteristics of the good man.
The Master said, "He does not tread in the footsteps of others, but
moreover, he does not enter the chamber of the sage."
The Master said, "If, because a man's discourse appears solid and
sincere, we allow him to be a good man, is he really a superior man?
or is his gravity only in appearance?"
Tsze-lu asked whether he should immediately carry into practice what
he heard. The Master said, "There are your father and elder brothers
to be consulted;-why should you act on that principle of immediately
carrying into practice what you hear?" Zan Yu asked the same,
whether he should immediately carry into practice what he heard, and
the Master answered, "Immediately carry into practice what you
hear." Kung-hsi Hwa said, "Yu asked whether he should carry
immediately into practice what he heard, and you said, 'There are your
father and elder brothers to be consulted.' Ch'iu asked whether he
should immediately carry into practice what he heard, and you said,
'Carry it immediately into practice.' I, Ch'ih, am perplexed, and
venture to ask you for an explanation." The Master said, "Ch'iu is
retiring and slow; therefore I urged him forward. Yu has more than his
own share of energy; therefore I kept him back."
The Master was put in fear in K'wang and Yen Yuan fell behind. The
Master, on his rejoining him, said, "I thought you had died." Hui
replied, "While you were alive, how should I presume to die?"
Chi Tsze-zan asked whether Chung Yu and Zan Ch'iu could be called
great ministers.
The Master said, "I thought you would ask about some extraordinary
individuals, and you only ask about Yu and Ch'iu!
"What is called a great minister, is one who serves his prince
according to what is right, and when he finds he cannot do so,
"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 him."
Tsze-lu got Tsze-kao appointed governor of Pi.
The Master said, "You are injuring a man's son."
Tsze-lu said, "There are, there, common people and officers; there
are the altars of the spirits of the land and grain. Why must one read
books before he can be considered to have learned?"
The Master said, "It is on this account that I hate your
glib-tongued people."
Tsze-lu, Tsang Hsi, Zan Yu, and Kunghsi Hwa were sitting by the
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 assistant."
Last of all, the Master asked Tsang Hsi, "Tien, what are your
wishes?" Tien, pausing as he was playing on his lute, while it was yet
twanging, laid the instrument aside, and "My wishes," he said, "are
different from the cherished purposes of these three gentlemen." "What
harm is there in that?" said the Master; "do you also, as well as
they, speak out your wishes." Tien then said, "In this, the last month
of spring, with the dress of the season all complete, along with
five or six young men who have assumed the cap, and six or seven boys,
I would wash in the I, enjoy the breeze among the rain altars, and
return home singing." The Master heaved a sigh and said, "I give my
approval to Tien."
The three others having gone out, Tsang Hsi remained behind, and
said, "What do you think of the words of these three friends?" The
Master replied, "They simply told each one his wishes."
Hsi pursued, "Master, why did you smile at Yu?"
He was answered, "The management of a state demands the rules of
propriety. His words were not humble; therefore I smiled at him."
Hsi again said, "But was it not a state which Ch'iu proposed for
himself?" The reply was, "Yes; did you ever see a territory of sixty
or seventy li or one of fifty or sixty, which was not a state?"
Once more, Hsi inquired, "And was it not a state which Ch'ih
proposed for himself?" The Master again replied, "Yes; who but princes
have to do with ancestral temples, and with audiences but the
sovereign? If Ch'ih were to be a small assistant in these services,
who could be a great one?


Yen Yuan asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "To subdue
one's self and return to propriety, is perfect virtue. If a man can
for one day subdue himself and return to propriety, an under heaven
will ascribe perfect virtue to him. Is the practice of perfect
virtue from a man himself, or is it from others?"
Yen Yuan said, "I beg to ask the steps of that process." The
Master replied, "Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not
to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to
propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety." Yen
Yuan then said, "Though I am deficient in intelligence and vigor, I
will make it my business to practice this lesson."
Chung-kung asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "It is, when
you go abroad, to behave to every one as if you were receiving a great
guest; to employ the people as if you were assisting at a great
sacrifice; not to do to others as you would not wish done to yourself;
to have no murmuring against you in the country, and none in the
family." Chung-kung said, "Though I am deficient in intelligence and
vigor, I will make it my business to practice this lesson."
Sze-ma Niu asked about perfect virtue.
The Master said, "The man of perfect virtue is cautious and slow
in his speech."
"Cautious and slow in his speech!" said Niu;-"is this what is
meant by perfect virtue?" The Master said, "When a man feels the
difficulty of doing, can he be other than cautious and slow in
Sze-ma Niu asked about the superior man. The Master said, "The
superior man has neither anxiety nor fear."
"Being without anxiety or fear!" said Nui;"does this constitute what
we call the superior man?"
The Master said, "When internal examination discovers nothing wrong,
what is there to be anxious about, what is there to fear?"
Sze-ma Niu, full of anxiety, said, "Other men all have their
brothers, I only have not."
Tsze-hsia said to him, "There is the following saying which I have
heard-'Death and life have their determined appointment; riches and
honors depend upon Heaven.'
"Let the superior man never fail reverentially to order his own
conduct, and let him be respectful to others and observant of
propriety:-then all within the four seas will be his brothers. What
has the superior man to do with being distressed because he has no
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 ruler."
Tsze-kung said, "If it cannot be helped, and one of these must be
dispensed with, which of the three should be foregone first?" "The
military equipment," said the Master.
Tsze-kung again asked, "If it cannot be helped, and one of the
remaining two must be dispensed with, which of them should be
foregone?" The Master answered, "Part with the food. From of old,
death has been the lot of an men; but if the people have no faith in
their rulers, there is no standing for the state."
Chi Tsze-ch'ang said, "In a superior man it is only the
substantial qualities which are wanted;-why should we seek for
ornamental accomplishments?"
Tsze-kung said, "Alas! Your words, sir, show you to be a superior
man, but four horses cannot overtake the tongue. Ornament is as
substance; substance is as ornament. The hide of a tiger or a
leopard stripped of its hair, is like the hide of a dog or a goat
stripped of its hair."
The Duke Ai inquired of Yu Zo, saying, "The year is one of scarcity,
and the returns for expenditure are not sufficient;-what is to be
Yu Zo replied to him, "Why not simply tithe the people?"
"With two tenths, said the duke, "I find it not enough;-how could
I do with that system of one tenth?"
Yu Zo answered, "If the people have plenty, their prince will not be
left to want alone. If the people are in want, their prince cannot
enjoy plenty alone."
Tsze-chang having asked how virtue was to be exalted, and
delusions to be discovered, the Master said, "Hold faithfulness and
sincerity as first principles, and be moving continually to what is
right,-this is the way to exalt one's virtue.
"You love a man and wish him to live; you hate him and wish him to
die. Having wished him to live, you also wish him to die. This is a
case of delusion. 'It may not be on account of her being rich, yet you
come to make a difference.'"
The Duke Ching, of Ch'i, asked Confucius about government. Confucius
replied, "There is government, when the prince is prince, and the
minister is minister; when the father is father, and the son is son."
"Good!" said the duke; "if, indeed, the prince be not prince, the
not minister, the father not father, and the son not son, although I
have my revenue, can I enjoy it?"
The Master said, "Ah! it is Yu, who could with half a word settle
Tsze-lu never slept over a promise.
The Master said, "In hearing litigations, I am like any other
body. What is necessary, however, is to cause the people to have no
Tsze-chang asked about government. The Master said, "The art of
governing is to keep its affairs before the mind without weariness,
and to practice them with undeviating consistency."
The Master said, "By extensively studying all learning, and
keeping himself under the restraint of the rules of propriety, one may
thus likewise not err from what is right."
The Master said, "The superior man seeks to perfect the admirable
qualities of men, and does not seek to perfect their bad qualities.
The mean man does the opposite of this."
Chi K'ang asked Confucius about government. Confucius replied, "To
govern means to rectify. If you lead on the people with correctness,
who will dare not to be correct?"
Chi K'ang, distressed about the number of thieves in the state,
inquired of Confucius how to do away with them. Confucius said, "If
you, sir, were not covetous, although you should reward them to do it,
they would not steal."
Chi K'ang asked Confucius about government, saying, "What do you say
to killing the unprincipled for the good of the principled?" Confucius
replied, "Sir, in carrying on your government, why should you use
killing at all? Let your evinced desires be for what is good, and
the people will be good. The relation between superiors and
inferiors is like that between the wind and the grass. The grass
must bend, when the wind blows across it."
Tsze-chang asked, "What must the officer be, who may be said to be
The Master said, "What is it you call being distinguished?"
Tsze-chang replied, "It is to be heard of through the state, to be
heard of throughout his clan."
The Master said, "That is notoriety, not distinction.
"Now the man of distinction is solid and straightforward, and
loves righteousness. He examines people's words, and looks at their
countenances. He is anxious to humble himself to others. Such a man
will be distinguished in the country; he will be distinguished in
his clan.
"As to the man of notoriety, he assumes the appearance of virtue,
but his actions are opposed to it, and he rests in this character
without any doubts about himself. Such a man will be heard of in the
country; he will be heard of in the clan."
Fan Ch'ih rambling with the Master under the trees about the rain
altars, said, "I venture to ask how to exalt virtue, to correct
cherished evil, and to discover delusions."
The Master said, "Truly a good question!
"If doing what is to be done be made the first business, and success
a secondary consideration:-is not this the way to exalt virtue? To
assail one's own wickedness and not assail that of others;-is not this
the way to correct cherished evil? For a morning's anger to
disregard one's own life, and involve that of his parents;-is not this
a case of delusion?"
Fan Ch'ih asked about benevolence. The Master said, "It is to love
all men." He asked about knowledge. The Master said, "It is to know
all men."
Fan Ch'ih did not immediately understand these answers.
The Master said, "Employ the upright and put aside all the
crooked; in this way the crooked can be made to be upright."
Fan Ch'ih retired, and, seeing Tsze-hsia, he said to him, "A
Little while ago, I had an interview with our Master, and asked him
about knowledge. He said, 'Employ the upright, and put aside all the
crooked;-in this way, the crooked will be made to be upright.' What
did he mean?"
Tsze-hsia said, "Truly rich is his saying!
"Shun, being in possession of the kingdom, selected from among all
the people, and employed 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 disappeared."
Tsze-kung asked about friendship. The Master said, "Faithfully
admonish your friend, and skillfully lead him on. If you find him
impracticable, stop. Do not disgrace yourself."
The philosopher Tsang said, "The superior man on grounds of
culture meets with his friends, and by friendship helps his virtue."


Tsze-lu asked about government. The Master said, "Go before the
people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs."
He requested further instruction, and was answered, "Be not weary in
these things."
Chung-kung, being chief minister to the head of the Chi family,
asked about government. The Master said, "Employ first the services of
your various officers, pardon small faults, and raise to office men of
virtue and talents."
Chung-kung said, "How shall I know the men of virtue and talent,
so that I may raise them to office?" He was answered, "Raise to office
those whom you know. As to those whom you do not know, will others
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 names."
"So! indeed!" said Tsze-lu. "You are wide of the mark! Why must
there be such rectification?"
The Master said, "How uncultivated you are, Yu! A superior man, in
regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve.
"If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the
truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of
things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
"When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music
do not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish,
punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not
properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot.
"Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he
uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may
be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just
that in his words there may be nothing incorrect."
Fan Ch'ih requested to be taught husbandry. The Master said, "I am
not so good for that as an old husbandman." He requested also to be
taught gardening, and was answered, "I am not so good for that as an
old gardener."
Fan Ch'ih having gone out, the Master said, "A small man, indeed, is
Fan Hsu! If a superior man love propriety, the people will not dare
not to be reverent. If he love righteousness, the people will not dare
not to submit to his example. If he love good faith, the people will
not dare not to be sincere. Now, when these things obtain, the
people from all quarters will come to him, bearing their children on
their backs; what need has he of a knowledge of husbandry?"
The Master said, "Though a man may be able to recite the three
hundred odes, yet if, when intrusted with a governmental charge, he
knows not how to act, or if, when sent to any quarter on a mission, he
cannot give his replies unassisted, notwithstanding the extent of
his learning, of what practical use is it?"
The Master said, "When a prince's personal conduct is correct, his
government is effective without the issuing of orders. If his personal
conduct is not correct, he may issue orders, but they will not be
The Master said, "The governments of Lu and Wei are brothers."
The Master said of Ching, a scion of the ducal family of Wei, that
he knew the economy of a family well. When he began to have means,
he said, "Ha! here is a collection-!" When they were a little
increased, he said, "Ha! this is complete!" When he had become rich,
he said, "Ha! this is admirable!"
When the Master went to Weil Zan Yu acted as driver of his carriage.
The Master observed, "How numerous are the people!"
Yu said, "Since they are thus numerous, what more shall be done
for them?" "Enrich them, was the reply.
"And when they have been enriched, what more shall be done?" The
Master said, "Teach them."
The Master said, "If there were any of the princes who would
employ me, in the course of twelve months, I should have done
something considerable. In three years, the government would be
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
The duke then said, "Is there a single sentence which can ruin a
country?" Confucius replied, "Such an effect as that cannot be
expected from one sentence. There is, however, the saying which people
have-'I have no pleasure in being a prince, but only in that no one
can offer any opposition to what I say!'
"If a ruler's words be good, is it not also good that no one
oppose them? But if they are not good, and no one opposes them, may
there not be expected from this one sentence the ruin of his country?"
The Duke of Sheh asked about government.
The Master said, "Good government obtains when those who are near
are made happy, and those who are far off are attracted."
Tsze-hsia! being governor of Chu-fu, asked about government. The
Master said, "Do not be desirous to have things done quickly; do not
look at small advantages. Desire to have things done quickly
prevents their being done thoroughly. Looking at small advantages
prevents great affairs from being accomplished."
The Duke of Sheh informed Confucius, saying, "Among us here there
are those who may be styled upright in their conduct. If their
father have stolen a sheep, they will bear witness to the fact."
Confucius said, "Among us, in our part of the country, those who are
upright are different from this. The father conceals the misconduct of
the son, and the son conceals the misconduct of the father.
Uprightness is to be found in this."
Fan Ch'ih asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "It is, in
retirement, to be sedately grave; in the management of business, to be
reverently attentive; in intercourse with others, to be strictly
sincere. Though a man go among rude, uncultivated tribes, these
qualities may not be neglected."
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "What qualities must a man possess to
entitle him to be called an officer? The Master said, "He who in his
conduct of himself maintains a sense of shame, and when sent to any
quarter will not disgrace his prince's commission, deserves to be
called an 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."
The Master said, "This arises simply from not attending to the
The Master said, "The superior man is affable, but not adulatory;
the mean man is adulatory, but not affable."
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "What do you say of a man who is loved by
all the people of his neighborhood?" The Master replied, "We may not
for that accord our approval of him." "And what do you say of him
who is hated by all the people of his neighborhood?" The Master
said, "We may not for that conclude that he is bad. It is better
than either of these cases that the good in the neighborhood love him,
and the bad hate him."
The Master said, "The superior man is easy to serve and difficult to
please. If you try to please him in any way which is not accordant
with right, he will not be pleased. But in his employment of men, he
uses them according to their capacity. The mean man is difficult to
serve, and easy to please. If you try to please him, though it be in a
way which is not accordant with right, he may be pleased. But in his
employment of men, he wishes them to be equal to everything."
The Master said, "The superior man has a dignified ease without
pride. The mean man has pride without a dignified ease."
The Master said, "The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest
are near to virtue."
Tsze-lu asked, saying, "What qualities must a man possess to entitle
him to be called a scholar?" The Master said, "He must be
thus,-earnest, urgent, and bland:-among his friends, earnest and
urgent; among his brethren, bland."
The Master said, "Let a good man teach the people seven years, and
they may then likewise be employed in war."
The Master said, "To lead an uninstructed people to war, is to throw
them away."


Hsien asked what was shameful. The Master said, "When good
government prevails in a state, to be thinking only of salary; and,
when bad government prevails, to be thinking, in the same way, only of
salary;-this is shameful."
"When the love of superiority, boasting, resentments, and
covetousness are repressed, this may be deemed perfect virtue."
The Master said, "This may be regarded as the achievement of what is
difficult. But I do not know that it is to be deemed perfect virtue."
The Master said, "The scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is
not fit to be deemed a scholar."
The Master said, "When good government prevails in a state, language
may be lofty and bold, and actions the same. When bad government
prevails, the actions may be lofty and bold, but the language may be
with some reserve."
The Master said, "The virtuous will be sure to speak correctly,
but those whose speech is good may not always be virtuous. Men of
principle are sure to be bold, but those who are bold may not always
be men of principle."
Nan-kung Kwo, submitting an inquiry to Confucius, said, "I was
skillful at archery, and Ao could move a boat along upon the land, but
neither of them died a natural death. Yu and Chi personally wrought at
the toils of husbandry, and they became possessors of the kingdom."
The Master made no reply; but when Nan-kung Kwo went out, he said,
"A superior man indeed is this! An esteemer of virtue indeed is this!"
The Master said, "Superior men, and yet not always virtuous, there
have been, alas! But there never has been a mean man, and, at the same
time, virtuous."
The Master said, "Can there be love which does not lead to
strictness with its object? Can there be loyalty which does not lead
to the instruction of its object?"
The Master said, "In preparing the governmental notifications, P'i
Shan first made the rough draft; Shi-shu examined and discussed its
contents; Tsze-yu, the manager of foreign intercourse, then polished
the style; and, finally, Tsze-ch'an of Tung-li gave it the proper
elegance and finish."
Some one asked about Tsze-ch'an. The Master said, "He was a kind
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
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."
The Master said, "Kwan Chung acted as prime minister to the Duke
Hwan made him leader of all the princes, and united and rectified
the whole kingdom. Down to the present day, the people enjoy the gifts
which he conferred. But for Kwan Chung, we should now be wearing our
hair unbound, and the lappets of our coats buttoning on the left side.
"Will you require from him the small fidelity of common men and
common women, who would commit suicide in a stream or ditch, no one
knowing anything about them?"
The great officer, Hsien, who had been family minister to Kung-shu
Wan, ascended to the prince's court in company with Wan.
The Master, having heard of it, said, "He deserved to be
considered WAN (the accomplished)."
The Master was speaking about the unprincipled course of the duke
Ling of Weil when Ch'i K'ang said, "Since he is of such a character,
how is it he does not lose his state?"
Confucius said, "The Chung-shu Yu has the superintendence of his
guests and of strangers; the litanist, T'o, has the management of
his ancestral temple; and Wang-sun Chia has the direction of the
army and forces:-with such officers as these, how should he lose his
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.
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
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 his actions."
The Master said, "The way of the superior man is threefold, but I am
not equal to it. Virtuous, he is free from anxieties; wise, he is free
from perplexities; bold, he is free from fear.
Tsze-kung said, "Master, that is what you yourself say."
Tsze-kung was in the habit of comparing men together. The Master
said, "Tsze must have reached a high pitch of excellence! Now, I
have not leisure for this."
The Master said, "I will not be concerned at men's not knowing me; I
will be concerned at my own want of ability."
The Master said, "He who does not anticipate attempts to deceive
him, nor think beforehand of his not being believed, and yet
apprehends these things readily when they occur;-is he not a man of
superior worth?"
Wei-shang Mau said to Confucius, "Ch'iu, how is it that you keep
roosting about? Is it not that you are an insinuating talker?
Confucius said, "I do not dare to play the part of such a talker,
but I hate obstinacy."
The Master said, "A horse is called a ch'i, not because of its
strength, but because of its other good qualities."
Some one said, "What do you say concerning the principle that injury
should be recompensed with kindness?"
The Master said, "With what then will you recompense kindness?"
"Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with
The Master said, "Alas! there is no one that knows me."
Tsze-kung said, "What do you mean by thus saying-that no one knows
you?" The Master replied, "I do not murmur against Heaven. I do not
grumble against men. My studies lie low, and my penetration rises
high. But there is Heaven;-that knows me!"
The Kung-po Liao, having slandered Tsze-lu to Chi-sun, Tsze-fu
Ching-po informed Confucius of it, saying, "Our master is certainly
being led astray by the Kung-po Liao, but I have still power enough
left to cut Liao off, and expose his corpse in the market and in the
The Master said, "If my principles are to advance, it is so ordered.
If they are to fall to the ground, it is so ordered. What can the
Kung-po Liao do where such ordering is concerned?"
The Master said, "Some men of worth retire from the world. Some
retire from particular states. Some retire because of disrespectful
looks. Some retire because of contradictory language."
The Master said, "Those who have done this are seven men."
Tsze-lu happening to pass the night in Shih-man, the gatekeeper said
to him, "Whom do you come from?" Tsze-lu said, "From Mr. K'ung." "It
is he,-is it not?"-said the other, "who knows the impracticable nature
of the times and yet will be doing in 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 years."
The Master said, "When rulers love to observe the rules of
propriety, the people respond readily to the calls on them for
Tsze-lu asked what constituted the superior man. The Master said,
"The cultivation of himself in reverential carefulness." "And is
this all?" said Tsze-lu. "He cultivates himself so as to give rest
to others," was the reply. "And is this all?" again asked Tsze-lu. The
Master said, "He cultivates himself so as to give rest to all the
people. He cultivates himself so as to give rest to all the
people:-even Yao and Shun were still solicitous about 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 staff.
A youth of the village of Ch'ueh was employed by Confucius to
carry the messages between him and his visitors. Some one asked
about him, saying, "I suppose he has made great progress."
The Master said, "I observe that he is fond of occupying the seat of
a full-grown man; I observe that he walks shoulder to shoulder with
his elders. He is not one who is seeking to make progress in learning.
He wishes quickly to become a man."


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
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?"
Tsze-kung replied, "Yes,-but perhaps it is not so?"
"No," was the answer; "I seek a unity all pervading."
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
everywhere appreciated.
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 practice."
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 him!"
The Master said, "When a number of people are together, for a
whole day, without their conversation turning on righteousness, and
when they are fond of carrying out the suggestions of a small
shrewdness;-theirs is indeed a hard case."
The Master said, "The superior man in everything considers
righteousness to be essential. He performs it according to the rules
of propriety. He brings it forth in humility. He completes it with
sincerity. This is indeed a superior man."
The Master said, "The superior man is distressed by his want of
ability. He is not distressed by men's not knowing him."
The Master said, "The superior man dislikes the thought of his
name not being mentioned after his death."
The Master said, "What the superior man seeks, is in himself. What
the mean man seeks, is in others."
The Master said, "The superior man is dignified, but does not
wrangle. He is sociable, but not a 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 case."
The Master said, "A man can enlarge the principles which he follows;
those principles do not enlarge the man."
The Master said, "To have faults and not to reform them,-this,
indeed, should be pronounced having faults."
The Master said, "I have been the whole day without eating, and
the whole night without sleeping:-occupied with thinking. It was of no
use. 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
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 meaning."
The music master, Mien, having called upon him, when they came to
the steps, the Master said, "Here are the steps." When they came to
the mat for the guest to sit upon, he said, "Here is the mat." When
all were seated, the Master informed him, saying, "So and so is
here; so and so is here."
The music master, Mien, having gone out, Tsze-chang asked, saying.
"Is it the rule to tell those things to the music 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.
Zan 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 attacking it?"
Zan Yu said, "Our master wishes the thing; neither of us two
ministers wishes it."
Confucius said, "Ch'iu, there are the words of Chau Zan, -'When he
can put forth his ability, he takes his place in the ranks of
office; when he finds himself unable to do so, he retires from it. How
can he be used as a guide to a blind man, who does not support him
when tottering, nor raise him up when fallen?'
"And further, you speak wrongly. When a tiger or rhinoceros
escapes from his cage; when a tortoise or piece of jade is injured
in its repository:-whose is the fault?"
Zan Yu said, "But at present, Chwan-yu is strong and near to Pi;
if our chief do not now take it, it will hereafter be a sorrow to
his descendants."
Confucius said. "Ch'iu, the superior man hates those declining to
say-'I want such and such a thing,' and framing explanations for their
"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 tranquil.
"Now, here are you, Yu and Ch'iu, assisting your chief. Remoter
people are not submissive, and, with your help, he cannot attract them
to him. In his own territory there are divisions and downfalls,
leavings and separations, and, with your help, he cannot 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.
"When right principles prevail in the kingdom, government will not
be in the hands of the great officers.
"When right principles prevail in the kingdom, there will be no
discussions among the common people."
Confucius said, "The revenue of the state has left the ducal house
now for five generations. The government has been in the hands of
the great officers for four generations. On this account, the
descendants of the three Hwan are much reduced."
Confucius said, "There are three friendships which are advantageous,
and three which are injurious. Friendship with the uplight; friendship
with the sincere; and friendship with the man of much
observation:-these are advantageous. Friendship with the man of
specious airs; friendship with the insinuatingly soft; and
friendship with the glib-tongued:-these are injurious."
Confucius said, "There are three things men find enjoyment in
which are advantageous, and three things they find enjoyment in
which are injurious. To find enjoyment in the discriminating study
of ceremonies and music; to find enjoyment in speaking of the goodness
of others; to find enjoyment in having many worthy friends:-these
are advantageous. To find enjoyment in extravagant pleasures; to
find enjoyment in idleness and sauntering; to find enjoyment in the
pleasures of feasting:-these are injurious."
Confucius said, "There are three errors to which they who stand in
the presence of a man of virtue and station are liable. They may speak
when it does not come to them to speak;-this is called rashness.
They may not speak when it comes to them to speak;-this is called
concealment. They may speak without looking at the countenance of
their superior;-this is called blindness."
Confucius said, "There are three things which the superior man
guards against. In youth, when the physical powers are not yet
settled, he guards against lust. When he is strong and the physical
powers are full of vigor, he guards against quarrelsomeness. When he
is old, and the animal powers are decayed, he guards against
Confucius said, "There are three things of which the superior man
stands in awe. He stands in awe of the ordinances of Heaven. He stands
in awe of great men. He stands in awe of the words of sages.
"The mean man does not know the ordinances of Heaven, and
consequently does not stand in awe of them. He is disrespectful to
great men. He makes sport of the words of sages."
Confucius said, "Those who are born with the possession of knowledge
are the highest class of men. Those who learn, and so readily get
possession of knowledge, are the next. Those who are dull and
stupid, and yet compass the learning, are another class next to these.
As to those who are dull and stupid and yet do not learn;-they are the
lowest of the people."
Confucius said, "The superior man has nine things which are subjects
with him of thoughtful consideration. In regard to the use of his
eyes, he is anxious to see clearly. In regard to the use of his
ears, he is anxious to hear distinctly. In regard to his
countenance, he is anxious that it should be benign. In regard to
his demeanor, he is anxious that it should be respectful. In regard to
his speech, he is anxious that it should be sincere. In regard to
his doing of business, he is anxious that it should be reverently
careful. In regard to what he doubts about, he is anxious to
question others. When he is angry, he thinks of the difficulties his
anger may involve him in. When he sees gain to be got, he thinks of
Confucius said, "Contemplating good, and pursuing it, as if they
could not reach it; contemplating evil! and shrinking from it, as they
would from thrusting the hand into boiling water:-I have seen such
men, as I have heard such words.
"Living in retirement to study their aims, and practicing
righteousness to carry out their principles:-I have heard these words,
but I have not seen such men."
The Duke Ching of Ch'i had a thousand teams, each of four horses,
but on the day of his death, the people did not praise him for a
single virtue. Po-i and Shu-ch'i died of hunger at the foot of the
Shau-yang mountains, and the people, down to the present time,
praise them.
"Is not that saying illustrated by this?"
Ch'an K'ang asked Po-yu, saying, "Have you heard any lessons from
your father different from what we have all heard?"
Po-yu replied, "No. He was standing alone once, when I passed
below the hall with hasty steps, and said to me, 'Have you learned the
Odes?' On my replying 'Not yet,' he added, If you do not learn the
Odes, you will not be fit to converse with.' I retired and studied the
"Another day, he was in the same way standing alone, when I passed
by below the hall with hasty steps, and said to me, 'Have you
learned the rules of Propriety?' On my replying 'Not yet,' he added,
'If you do not learn the rules of Propriety, your character cannot
be established.' I then retired, and learned the rules of Propriety.
"I have heard only these two things from him."
Ch'ang K'ang retired, and, quite delighted, said, "I asked one
thing, and I have got three things. I have heard about the Odes. I
have heard about the rules of Propriety. I have also heard that the
superior man maintains a distant reserve towards his son."
The wife of the prince of a state is called by him Fu Zan. She calls
herself Hsiao T'ung. The people of the state call her Chun Fu Zan,
and, to the people of other states, they call her K'wa Hsiao Chun. The
people of other states also call her Chun Fu Zan.

Yang Ho wished to see Confucius, but Confucius would not go to see
him. On this, he sent a present of a pig to Confucius, who, having
chosen a time when Ho was not at home went to pay his respects for the
gift. He met him, however, on the way.
Ho said to Confucius, "Come, let me speak with you." He then
asked, "Can he be called benevolent who keeps his jewel in his
bosom, and leaves his country to confusion?" Confucius replied,
"No." "Can he be called wise, who is anxious to be engaged in public
employment, and yet is constantly losing the opportunity of being so?"
Confucius again said, "No." "The days and months are passing away; the
years do not wait for us." Confucius said, "Right; I will go into
The Master said, "By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they
get to be wide apart."
The Master said, "There are only the wise of the highest class,
and the stupid of the lowest class, who cannot be changed."
The Master, having come to Wu-ch'ang, heard there the sound of
stringed instruments and singing.
Well pleased and smiling, he said, "Why use an ox knife to kill a
Tsze-yu replied, "Formerly, Master, I heard you say,-'When the man
of high station is well instructed, he loves men; when the man of
low station is well instructed, he is easily ruled.'"
The Master said, "My disciples, Yen's words are right. What I said
was only in sport."
Kung-shan Fu-zao, when he was holding Pi, and in an attitude of
rebellion, invited the Master to visit him, who was rather inclined to
Tsze-lu was displeased. and said, "Indeed, you cannot go! Why must
you think of going to see Kung-shan?"
The Master said, "Can it be without some reason that he has
invited ME? If any one employ me, may I not make an eastern Chau?"
Tsze-chang asked Confucius about perfect virtue. Confucius said, "To
be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes
perfect virtue." He begged to ask what they were, and was told,
"Gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness. If
you are grave, you will not be treated with disrespect. If you are
generous, you will win all. If you are sincere, people will repose
trust in you. If you are earnest, you will accomplish much. If you are
kind, this will enable you to employ the services of others.
Pi Hsi inviting him to visit him, the Master was inclined to go.
Tsze-lu said, "Master, formerly I have heard you say, 'When a man in
his own person is guilty of doing evil, a superior man will not
associate with him.' Pi Hsi is in rebellion, holding possession of
Chung-mau; if you go to him, what shall be said?"
The Master said, "Yes, I did use these words. But is it not said,
that, if a thing be really hard, it may be ground without being made
thin? Is it not said, that, if a thing be really white, it may be
steeped in a dark fluid without being made black?
"Am I a bitter gourd? How can I be hung up out of the way of being
The Master said, "Yu, have you heard the six words to which are
attached six becloudings?" Yu replied, "I have not."
"Sit down, and I will tell them to you.
"There is the love of being benevolent without the love of
learning;-the beclouding here leads to a foolish simplicity. There
is the love of knowing without the love of learning;-the beclouding
here leads to dissipation of mind. There is the love of being
sincere without the love of learning;-the beclouding here leads to
an injurious disregard of consequences. There is the love of
straightforwardness without the love of learning;-the beclouding
here leads to rudeness. There is the love of boldness without the love
of learning;-the beclouding here leads to insubordination. There is
the love of firmness without the love of learning;-the beclouding here
leads to extravagant conduct."
The Master said, "My children, why do you not study the Book of
"The Odes serve to stimulate the mind.
"They may be used for purposes of self-contemplation.
"They teach the art of sociability.
"They show how to regulate feelings of resentment.
"From them you learn the more immediate duty of serving one's
father, and the remoter one of serving one's prince.
"From them we become largely acquainted with the names of birds,
beasts, and plants."
The Master said to Po-yu, "Do you give yourself to the Chau-nan
and the Shao-nan. The man who has not studied the Chau-nan and the
Shao-nan is like one who stands with his face right against a wall. Is
he not so?"
The Master said, "'It is according to the rules of propriety,' they
say.-'It is according to the rules of propriety,' they say. Are gems
and silk all that is meant by propriety? 'It is music,' they
say.-'It is music,' they say. Are hers and drums all that is meant
by music?"
The Master said, "He who puts on an appearance of stern firmness,
while inwardly he is weak, is like one of the small, mean people;-yea,
is he not like the thief who breaks through, or climbs over, a wall?"
The Master said, "Your good, careful people of the villages are
the thieves of virtue."
The Master said, To tell, as we go along, what we have heard on
the way, is to cast away our virtue."
The Master said, "There are those mean creatures! How impossible
it is along with them to serve one's prince!
"While they have not got their aims, their anxiety is how to get
them. When they have got them, their anxiety is lest they should
lose them.
"When they are anxious lest such things should be lost, there is
nothing to which they will not proceed."
The Master said, "Anciently, men had three failings, which now
perhaps are not to be found.
"The high-mindedness of antiquity showed itself in a disregard of
small things; the high-mindedness of the present day shows itself in
wild license. The stern dignity of antiquity showed itself in grave
reserve; the stern dignity of the present day shows itself in
quarrelsome perverseness. The stupidity of antiquity showed itself
in straightforwardness; the stupidity of the present day shows
itself in sheer deceit."
The Master said, "Fine words and an insinuating appearance are
seldom associated with virtue."
The Master said, "I hate the manner in which purple takes away the
luster of vermilion. I hate the way in which the songs of Chang
confound the music of the Ya. I hate those who with their sharp mouths
overthrow kingdoms and families."
The Master said, "I would prefer not speaking."
Tsze-kung said, "If you, Master, do not speak, what shall we, your
disciples, have to record?"
The Master said, "Does Heaven speak? The four seasons pursue their
courses, and all things are continually being produced, but does
Heaven say anything?"
Zu Pei wished to see Confucius, but Confucius declined, on the
ground of being sick, to see him. When the bearer of this message went
out at the door, the Master took his lute and sang to it, in order
that Pei might hear him.
Tsai Wo asked about the three years' mourning for parents, saying
that one year was long enough.
"If the superior man," said he, "abstains for three years from the
observances of propriety, those observances will be quite lost. If for
three years he abstains from music, music will be ruined. Within a
year the old grain is exhausted, and the new grain has sprung up, and,
in procuring fire by friction, we go through all the changes of wood
for that purpose. After a complete year, the mourning may stop."
The Master said, "If you were, after a year, to eat good rice, and
wear embroidered clothes, would you feel at ease?" "I should," replied
The Master said, "If you can feel at ease, do it. But a superior
man, during the whole period of mourning, does not enjoy pleasant food
which he may eat, nor derive pleasure from music which he may hear. He
also does not feel at ease, if he is comfortably lodged. Therefore
he does not do what you propose. But now you feel at ease and may do
Tsai Wo then went out, and the Master said, "This shows Yu's want of
virtue. It is not till a child is three years old that it is allowed
to leave the arms of its parents. And the three years' mourning is
universally observed throughout the empire. Did Yu enjoy the three
years' love of his parents?"
The Master said, "Hard is it to deal with who will stuff himself
with food the whole day, without applying his mind to anything good!
Are there not gamesters and chess players? To be one of these would
still be better than doing nothing at all."
Tsze-lu said, "Does the superior man esteem valor?" The Master said,
"The superior man holds righteousness to be of highest importance. A
man in a superior situation, having valor without righteousness,
will be guilty of insubordination; one of the lower people having
valor without righteousness, will commit robbery."
Tsze-kung said, "Has the superior man his hatreds also?" The
Master said, "He has his hatreds. He hates those who proclaim the evil
of others. He hates the man who, being in a low station, slanders
his superiors. He hates those who have valor merely, and are
unobservant of propriety. He hates those who are forward and
determined, and, at the same time, of contracted understanding."
The Master then inquired, "Ts'ze, have you also your hatreds?"
Tsze-kung replied, "I hate those who pry out matters, and ascribe
the knowledge to their wisdom. I hate those who are only not modest,
and think that they are valorous. I hate those who make known secrets,
and think that they are straightforward."
The Master said, "Of all people, girls and servants are the most
difficult to behave to. If you are familiar with them, they lose their
humility. If you maintain a reserve towards them, they are
The Master said, "When a man at forty is the object of dislike, he
will always continue what he is."


The Viscount of Wei withdrew from the court. The Viscount of Chi
became a slave to Chau. Pi-kan remonstrated with him and died.
Confucius said, "The Yin dynasty possessed these three men of
Hui of Liu-hsia, being chief criminal judge, was thrice dismissed
from his office. Some one said to him, "Is it not yet time for you,
sir, to leave this?" He replied, "Serving men in an upright way, where
shall I go to, and not experience such a thrice-repeated dismissal? If
I choose to serve men in a crooked way, what necessity is there for me
to leave the country of my parents?"
The duke Ching of Ch'i, with reference to the manner in which he
should treat Confucius, said, "I cannot treat him as I would the chief
of the Chi family. I will treat him in a manner between that
accorded to the chief of the Chil and that given to the chief of the
Mang family." He also said, "I am old; I cannot use his doctrines."
Confucius took his departure.
The people of Ch'i sent to Lu a present of female musicians, which
Chi Hwan received, and for three days no court was held. Confucius
took his departure.
The madman of Ch'u, Chieh-yu, passed by Confucius, singing and
saying, "O FANG! O FANG! How is your virtue degenerated! As to the
past, reproof is useless; but the future may still be provided
against. Give up your vain pursuit. Give up your vain pursuit. Peril
awaits those who now engage in affairs of government."
Confucius alighted and wished to converse with him, but Chieh-yu
hastened away, so that he could not talk with him.
Ch'ang-tsu and Chieh-ni were at work in the field together, when
Confucius passed by them, and sent Tsze-lu to inquire for the ford.
Ch'ang-tsu said, "Who is he that holds the reins in the carriage
there?" Tsze-lu told him, "It is K'ung Ch'iu.', "Is it not K'ung of
Lu?" asked he. "Yes," was the reply, to which the other rejoined,
"He knows the ford."
Tsze-lu then inquired of Chieh-ni, who said to him, "Who are you,
sir?" He answered, "I am Chung Yu." "Are you not the disciple of K'ung
Ch'iu of Lu?" asked the other. "I am," replied he, and then Chieh-ni
said to him, "Disorder, like a swelling flood, spreads over the
whole empire, and who is he that will change its state for you? Rather
than follow one who merely withdraws from this one and that one, had
you not better follow those who have withdrawn from the world
altogether?" With this he fell to covering up the seed, and
proceeded with his work, without stopping.
Tsze-lu went and reported their remarks, when the Master observed
with a sigh, "It is impossible to associate with birds and beasts,
as if they were the same with us. If I associate not with these
people,-with mankind,-with whom shall I associate? If right principles
prevailed through the empire, there would be no use for me to change
its state."
Tsze-lu, following the Master, happened to fall behind, when he
met an old man, carrying across his shoulder on a staff a basket for
weeds. Tsze-lu said to him, "Have you seen my master, sir?" The old
man replied, "Your four limbs are unaccustomed to toil; you cannot
distinguish the five kinds of grain:-who is your master?" With this,
he planted his staff in the ground, and proceeded to weed.
Tsze-lu joined his hands across his breast, and stood before him.
The old man kept Tsze-lu to pass the night in his house, killed a
fowl, prepared millet, and feasted him. He also introduced to him
his two sons.
Next day, Tsze-lu went on his way, and reported his adventure. The
Master said, "He is a recluse," and sent Tsze-lu back to see him
again, but when he got to the place, the old man was gone.
Tsze-lu then said to the family, "Not to take office is not
righteous. If the relations between old and young may not be
neglected, how is it that he sets aside the duties that should be
observed between sovereign and minister? Wishing to maintain his
personal purity, he allows that great relation to come to confusion. A
superior man takes office, and performs the righteous duties belonging
to it. As to the failure of right principles to make progress, he is
aware of that."
The men who have retired to privacy from the world have been Po-i,
Shu-ch'i, Yuchung, I-yi, Chu-chang, Hui of Liu-hsia, and Shao-lien.
The Master said, "Refusing to surrender their wills, or to submit to
any taint in their persons; such, I think, were Po-i and Shu-ch'i.
"It may be said of Hui of Liu-hsia! and of Shaolien, that they
surrendered their wills, and submitted to taint in their persons,
but their words corresponded with reason, and their actions were
such as men are anxious to see. This is all that is to be remarked
in them.
"It may be said of Yu-chung and I-yi, that, while they hid
themselves in their seclusion, they gave a license to their words; but
in their persons, they succeeded in preserving their purity, and, in
their retirement, they acted according to the exigency of the times.
"I am different from all these. I have no course for which I am
predetermined, and no course against which I am predetermined."
The grand music master, Chih, went to Ch'i.
Kan, the master of the band at the second meal, went to Ch'u.
Liao, the band master at the third meal, went to Ts'ai. Chueh, the
band master at the fourth meal, went to Ch'in.
Fang-shu, the drum master, withdrew to the north of the river.
Wu, the master of the hand drum, withdrew to the Han.
Yang, the assistant music master, and Hsiang, master of the
musical stone, withdrew to an island in the sea.
The duke of Chau addressed his son, the duke of Lu, saying, "The
virtuous prince does not neglect his relations. He does not cause
the great ministers to repine at his not employing them. Without
some great cause, he does not dismiss from their offices the members
of old families. He does not seek in one man talents for every
To Chau belonged the eight officers, Po-ta, Po-kwo, Chung-tu,
Chung-hwu, Shu-ya, Shuhsia, Chi-sui, and Chi-kwa.


Tsze-chang said, "The scholar, trained for public duty, seeing
threatening danger, is prepared to sacrifice his life. When the
opportunity of gain is presented to him, he thinks of righteousness.
In sacrificing, his thoughts are reverential. In mourning, his
thoughts are about the grief which he should feel. Such a man commands
our approbation indeed
Tsze-chang said, "When a man holds fast to virtue, but without
seeking to enlarge it, and believes in right principles, but without
firm sincerity, what account can be made of his existence or
The disciples of Tsze-hsia asked Tsze-chang about the principles
that should characterize mutual intercourse. Tsze-chang asked, "What
does Tsze-hsia say on the subject?" They replied, "Tsze-hsia says:
'Associate with those who can advantage you. Put away from you those
who cannot do so.'" Tsze-chang observed, "This is different from
what I have learned. The superior man honors the talented and
virtuous, and bears with all. He praises the good, and pities the
incompetent. Am I possessed of great talents and virtue?-who is
there among men whom I will not bear with? Am I devoid of talents
and virtue?-men will put me away from them. What have we to do with
the putting away of others?"
Tsze-hsia said, "Even in inferior studies and employments there is
something worth being looked at; but if it be attempted to carry
them out to what is remote, there is a danger of their proving
inapplicable. Therefore, the superior man does not practice them."
Tsze-hsia said, "He, who from day to day recognizes what he has
not yet, and from month to month does not forget what he has
attained to, may be said indeed to love to learn."
Tsze-hsia said, "There are learning extensively, and having a firm
and sincere aim; inquiring with earnestness, and reflecting with
self-application:-virtue is in such a course."
Tsze-hsia said, "Mechanics have their shops to dwell in, in order to
accomplish their works. The superior man learns, in order to reach
to the utmost of his principles."
Tsze-hsia said, "The mean man is sure to gloss his faults."
Tsze-hsia said, "The superior man undergoes three changes. Looked at
from a distance, he appears stern; when approached, he is mild; when
he is heard to speak, his language is firm and decided."
Tsze-hsia said, "The superior man, having obtained their confidence,
may then impose labors on his people. If he have not gained their
confidence, they will think that he is oppressing them. Having
obtained the confidence of his prince, one may then remonstrate with
him. If he have not gained his confidence, the prince will think
that he is vilifying him."
Tsze-hsia said, "When a person does not transgress the boundary line
in the great virtues, he may pass and repass it in the small virtues."
Tsze-yu said, "The disciples and followers of Tsze-hsia, in
sprinkling and sweeping the ground, in answering and replying, in
advancing and receding, are sufficiently accomplished. But these are
only the branches of learning, and they are left ignorant of what is
essential.-How can they be acknowledged as sufficiently taught?"
Tsze-hsia heard of the remark and said, "Alas! Yen Yu is wrong.
According to the way of the superior man in teaching, what departments
are there which he considers of prime importance, and delivers? what
are there which he considers of secondary importance, and allows
himself to be idle about? But as in the case of plants, which are
assorted according to their classes, so he deals with his disciples.
How can the way of a superior man be such as to make fools of any of
them? Is it not the sage alone, who can unite in one the beginning and
the consummation of learning?"
Tsze-hsia said, "The officer, having discharged all his duties,
should devote his leisure to learning. The student, having completed
his learning, should apply himself to be an officer."
Tsze-hsia said, "Mourning, having been carried to the utmost
degree of grief, should stop with that."
Tsze-hsia said, "My friend Chang can do things which are hard to
be done, but yet he is not perfectly virtuous."
The philosopher Tsang said, "How imposing is the manner of Chang! It
is difficult along with him to practice virtue."
The philosopher Tsang said, "I heard this from our Master: 'Men
may not have shown what is in them to the full extent, and yet they
will be found to do so, on the occasion of mourning for their
The philosopher Tsang said, "I have heard this from our Master:-'The
filial piety of Mang Chwang, in other matters, was what other men
are competent to, but, as seen in his not changing the ministers of
his father, nor his father's mode of government, it is difficult to be
attained to.'"
The chief of the Mang family having appointed Yang Fu to be chief
criminal judge, the latter consulted the philosopher Tsang. Tsang
said, "The rulers have failed in their duties, and the people
consequently have been disorganized for a long time. When you have
found out the truth of any accusation, be grieved for and pity them,
and do not feel joy at your own ability."
Tsze-kung said, "Chau's wickedness was not so great as that name
implies. Therefore, the superior man hates to dwell in a low-lying
situation, where all the evil of the world will flow in upon him."
Tsze-kung said, "The faults of the superior man are like the
eclipses of the sun and moon. He has his faults, and all men see them;
he changes again, and all men look up to him."
Kung-sun Ch'ao of Wei asked Tszekung, saying. "From whom did
Chung-ni get his learning?"
Tsze-kung replied, "The doctrines of Wan and Wu have not yet
fallen to the ground. They are to be found among men. Men of talents
and virtue remember the greater principles of them, and others, not
possessing such talents and virtue, remember the smaller. Thus, all
possess the doctrines of Wan and Wu. Where could our Master go that he
should not have an opportunity of learning them? And yet what
necessity was there for his having a regular master?"
Shu-sun Wu-shu observed to the great officers in the court,
saying, "Tsze-kung is superior to Chung-ni."
Tsze-fu Ching-po reported the observation to Tsze-kung, who said,
"Let me use the comparison of a house and its encompassing wall. My
wall only reaches to the shoulders. One may peep over it, and see
whatever is valuable in the apartments.
"The wall of my Master is several fathoms high. If one do not find
the door and enter by it, he cannot see the ancestral temple with
its beauties, nor all the officers in their rich array.
"But I may assume that they are few who find the door. Was not the
observation of the chief only what might have been expected?"
Shu-sun Wu-shu having spoken revilingly of Chung-ni, Tsze-kung said,
"It is of no use doing so. Chung-ni cannot be reviled. The talents and
virtue of other men are hillocks and mounds which may be stepped over.
Chung-ni is the sun or moon, which it is not possible to step over.
Although a man may wish to cut himself off from the sage, what harm
can he do to the sun or moon? He only shows that he does not know
his own capacity.
Ch'an Tsze-ch' in, addressing Tsze-kung, said, "You are too
modest. How can Chung-ni be said to be superior to you?"
Tsze-kung said to him, "For one word a man is often deemed to be
wise, and for one word he is often deemed to be foolish. We ought to
be careful indeed in what we say.
"Our Master cannot be attained to, just in the same way as the
heavens cannot be gone up by the steps of a stair.
"Were our Master in the position of the ruler of a state or the
chief of a family, we should find verified the description which has
been given of a sage's rule:-he would plant the people, and
forthwith they would be established; he would lead them on, and
forthwith they would follow him; he would make them happy, and
forthwith multitudes would resort to his dominions; he would stimulate
them, and forthwith they would be harmonious. While he lived, he would
be glorious. When he died, he would be bitterly lamented. How is it
possible for him to be attained to?"


Yao said, "Oh! you, Shun, the Heaven-determined order of
succession now rests in your person. Sincerely hold fast the due Mean.
If there shall be distress and want within the four seas, the Heavenly
revenue will come to a perpetual end."
Shun also used the same language in giving charge to Yu.
T'ang said, "I the child Li, presume to use a dark-colored victim,
and presume to announce to Thee, O most great and sovereign God,
that the sinner I dare not pardon, and thy ministers, O God, I do
not keep in obscurity. The examination of them is by thy mind, O
God. If, in my person, I commit offenses, they are not to be
attributed to you, the people of the myriad regions. If you in the
myriad regions commit offenses, these offenses must rest on my
Chau conferred great gifts, and the good were enriched.
"Although he has his near relatives, they are not equal to my
virtuous men. The people are throwing blame upon me, the One man."
He carefully attended to the weights and measures, examined the body
of the laws, restored the discarded officers, and the good
government of the kingdom took its course.
He revived states that had been extinguished, restored families
whose line of succession had been broken, and called to office those
who had retired into obscurity, so that throughout the kingdom the
hearts of the people turned towards him.
What he attached chief importance to were the food of the people,
the duties of mourning, and sacrifices.
By his generosity, he won all. By his sincerity, he made the
people repose trust in him. By his earnest activity, his
achievements were great. By his justice, all were delighted.
Tsze-chang asked Confucius, saying, "In what way should a person
in authority act in order that he may conduct government properly?"
The Master replied, "Let him honor the five excellent, and banish away
the four bad, things;-then may he conduct government properly."
Tsze-chang said, "What are meant by the five excellent things?" The
Master said, "When the person in authority is beneficent without great
expenditure; when he lays tasks on the people without their
repining; when he pursues what he desires without being covetous; when
he maintains a dignified ease without being proud; when he is majestic
without being fierce."
Tsze-chang said, "What is meant by being beneficent without great
expenditure?" The Master replied, "When the person in authority
makes more beneficial to the people the things from which they
naturally derive benefit;-is not this being beneficent without great
expenditure? When he chooses the labors which are proper, and makes
them labor on them, who will repine? When his desires are set on
benevolent government, and he secures it, who will accuse him of
covetousness? Whether he has to do with many people or few, or with
things great or small, he does not dare to indicate any disrespect;-is
not this to maintain a dignified ease without any pride? He adjusts
his clothes and cap, and throws a dignity into his looks, so that,
thus dignified, he is looked at with awe;-is not this to be majestic
without being fierce?"
Tsze-chang then asked, "What are meant by the four bad things?"
The Master said, "To put the people to death without having instructed
them;-this is called cruelty. To require from them, suddenly, the full
tale of work, without having given them warning;-this is called
oppression. To issue orders as if without urgency, at first, and, when
the time comes, to insist on them with severity;-this is called
injury. And, generally, in the giving pay or rewards to men, to do
it in a stingy way;-this is called acting the part of a mere
The Master said, "Without recognizing the ordinances of Heaven, it
is impossible to be a superior man.
"Without an acquaintance with the rules of Propriety, it is
impossible for the character to be established.
"Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men."

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