Confucian Analects : texts 534 - 574 |
"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
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
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."
Confucian Analects : texts 534 - 574