Confucian Analects : texts 780 - 851 |
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you not better follow those who have withdrawn from the world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
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
"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
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."
Confucian Analects : texts 780 - 851