The Lun Yu (Confucian Analects)
1:1. Confucius said, "Is it not a
pleasure to learn and to repeat or practice from time to time what has been
learned? Is it not delightful to have friends coming from afar? Is one not a
superior man if he does not feel hurt even though he is not recognized?"
Yu Tzu said, "Few of those who are filial sons and respectful brothers will
show disrespect to superiors, and there has never been a man who is not
disrespectful to superiors and yet creates disorder. A superior man is devoted
to the fundamentals (the root). When the root is firmly established, the moral
law (Tao) will grow. Filial piety and brotherly respect are the root of humanity
Confucius said, "A man with clever words and an ingratiating appearance is
seldom a man of humanity.""
Tseng-Tzu" said, "Every day I examine myself on three points: whether
in counseling others I have not been loyal; whether in intercourse with my
friends I have not been faithful; and whether I have not repeated again and
again and practiced the instructions of my teacher."
Young men should be filial when at home and respectful to their elders when away
from home. They should be earnest and faithful. They should love all extensively
and be intimate with men of humanity. When they have any energy to spare after
the performance of moral duties, they should use it to study literature and the
1:8. Confucius said, "If the superior
man is not grave, he will not inspire awe, and his learning will not be on a
firm foundation." Hold loyalty and faithfulness to be fundamental. Be
careful in choosing companions. When you have made mistakes, don't be afraid to
1:11. Confucius said, "When 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 [of mourning] he does not change from the way of
his father, he may be called filial."
Yu Tzu said, "Among the functions of propriety (li) the most valuable is
that it establishes harmony. The excellence of the ways of ancient kings
consists of this. It is the guiding principle of all things great and small. If
things go amiss, and you, understanding harmony, try to achieve it without
regulating it by the rules of propriety, they will still go amiss."
Confucius said, "The superior man does not seek fulfillment of his appetite
nor comfort in his lodging. He is diligent in his duties and careful in his
speech. He associates with men of moral principles and thereby realizes himself.
Such a person may be said to love learning."
1:15. Tzu-kung said, "What do you think
of a man who is poor and yet does not flatter, and the rich man who is not
proud?" Confucius replied, "They will do. But they are not as good as
the poor man who is happy and the rich man who loves the rules of propriety (li)."
Tzu-kung said, "The Book of Odes says:
a thing is cut and filed,
As a thing is carved and polished. . .
that not mean what you have just said?"
said, "Ah! Tz'u. Now I can begin to talk about the odes with you. When I
have told you what has gone before, you know what is to follow."
Confucius said, "[A good man] does not worry about not being known by
others but rather worries about not knowing them."
Confucius said, "A ruler who governs his state by virtue is like the north
polar star, which remains in its place while all the other stars revolve around
2:2. Confucius said, "All three hundred odes can be covered by one of their sentences, and that is, 'Have no depraved thoughts.'
Confucius said, "Lead the people with governmental measures and regulate
them by law and punishment, and they will avoid wrongdoing but will have no
sense of honor and shame. Lead them with virtue and regulate them by the rules
of propriety, and they will have a sense of shame and, moreover, set themselves
2:4. Confucius said, "At fifteen my mind was set on learning. At thirty my character had been formed. At forty I had no more perplexities. At fifty I knew the Mandate of Heaven (T'ien-ming). At sixty I was at ease with whatever I heard. At seventy I could follow my heart's desire without transgressing moral principles."
Meng I Tzu asked about filial piety. Confucius said: "Never disobey."
[Later,] when Fan Ch'ih was driving him, Confucius told him, "Meng-sun
asked me about filial piety, and I answered him, 'Never disobey.' " Fan
Ch'ih said, "What does that mean?" Confucius said, "When parents
are alive, serve them according to the rules of propriety. When they die, bury
them according to the rules of propriety and sacrifice to them according to the
rules of propriety."
Meng Wu-po asked about filial piety. Confucius said, "Especially be anxious
lest parents should be sick."
Tzu-yu asked about filial piety. Confucius said, "Filial piety nowadays
means to be able to support one's parents. But we support even dogs and
horses." If there is no feeling of reverence, wherein lies the
2:11. Confucius said, "A man who reviews the old so as to find out the new is qualified to teach others."
Confucius said, "The superior man is not an implement (ch'i)."
Tzu-kung asked about the superior man. Confucius said, "He acts before he
speaks and then speaks according to his action."
Confucius said, "The superior man is broadminded but not partisan; the
inferior man is partisan but not broadminded."
Confucius said, "He who learns but does not think is lost; he who thinks
but does not learn is in danger."
Confucius said, "Yu, shall I teach you [the way to acquire] knowledge? To
say that you know when you do know and say that you do not know when you do not
know—that is [the way to acquire] knowledge."
Tzu-chang was learning with a view to official emolument. Confucius said,
"Hear much and put aside what's doubtful while you speak cautiously of the
rest. Then few will blame you. See much and put aside what seems perilous while
you are cautious in carrying the rest into practice. Then you will have few
occasions for regret. When one's words give few occasions for blame and his acts
give few occasions for repentance—there lies his emolument."
Confucius said, "It is flattery to offer sacrifice to ancestral spirits
other than one's own. To see what is right and not to do it is cowardice."
3:3. Confucius said, "If a man is not humane (Jen), what has he to do with ceremonies? If he is not humane, what has he to do with music?"
Lin Fang asked about the foundation of ceremonies. Confucius said, "An
important question indeed! In rituals or ceremonies, be thrifty rather than
extravagant, and in funerals, be deeply sorrowful rather than shallow in
When Confucius offered sacrifice to his ancestors, he felt as if his ancestral
spirits were actually present. When he offered sacrifice to other spiritual
beings, he felt as if they were actually present. He said, "If I do not
participate in the sacrifice, it is as if I did not sacrifice at all."
Wang-sun Chia asked, "What is meant by the common saying, 'It is better to
be on good terms with the God of the Kitchen [who cooks our food] than with the
spirits of the shrine (ancestors) at the southwest corner of the house'?"
Confucius said, "It is not true. He who commits a sin against Heaven has no
god to pray to."
Tzu-kung wanted to do away with the sacrificing of a lamb at the ceremony in
which the beginning of each month is reported to ancestors. Confucius said,
"Tz'u! You love the lamb but I love the ceremony."
Duke Ting" asked how the ruler should employ his ministers and how the
ministers should serve their ruler. Confucius said, "A ruler should employ
his ministers according to the principle of propriety, and ministers should
serve their ruler with loyalty."
The guardian at I (a border post of the state of Wei) requested to be presented
to Confucius, saying, "When gentlemen come here, I have never been
prevented from seeing them." Confucius' followers introduced him. When he
came out from the interview, he said, "Sirs, why are you disheartened by
your master's loss of office? The Way has not prevailed in the world for a long
time. Heaven is going to use your master as a bell with a wooden tongue [to
awaken the people]."
Confucius said, "One who is not a man of humanity cannot endure adversity
for long, nor can he enjoy prosperity for long. The man of humanity is naturally
at ease with humanity. The man of wisdom cultivates humanity for its
Confucius said, "Only the man of humanity knows how to love people and hate
4:4. Confucius said, "If you set your mind on humanity, you will be free from evil."
Confucius said, "Wealth and honor are what every man desires. But if they
have been obtained in violation of moral principles, they must not be kept.
Poverty and humble station are what every man dislikes. But if they can be
avoided only in violation of moral principles, they must not be avoided. If a
superior man departs from humanity, how can he fulfill that name? A superior man
never abandons humanity even for the lapse of a single meal. In moments of
haste, he acts according to it. In times of difficulty or confusion, he acts
according to it."
Confucius said, "I have never seen one who really loves humanity or one who
really hates inhumanity. One who really loves humanity will not place anything
above it. One who really hates inhumanity will practice humanity in such a way
that inhumanity will have no chance to get at him. Is there any one who has
devoted his strength to humanity for as long as a single day? I have not seen
any one without sufficient strength to do so.
Perhaps there is such a case, but I have never seen it."
4:8. Confucius said, "In the morning, hear the Way; in the evening, die content!"
4:10. Confucius said, "A superior man in dealing with the world is not for anything or against anything. He follows righteousness as the standard."
Confucius said, "The superior man thinks of virtue; the inferior man thinks
of possessions. The superior man thinks of sanctions; the inferior man thinks of
Confucius said, "If one's acts are motivated by profit, he will have many
4:15. Confucius said, "Shen, there is one thread that runs through my doctrines." Tseng Tzu said, "Yes." After Confucius had left, the disciples asked him, "What did he mean?" Tseng Tzu replied, "The Way of our Master is none other than conscientiousness (chung) and altruism (shu):'
Confucius said, "The superior man understands righteousness (i); the
inferior man understands profit."
Confucius said, "In serving his parents, a son may gently remonstrate with
them. When he sees that they are not inclined to listen to him, he should resume
an attitude of reverence and not abandon his effort to serve them. He may feel
worried, but does not complain."
Confucius said, "When his parents are alive, a son should not go far
abroad; or if he does, he should let them know where he goes."
Confucius said, "A son should always keep in mind the age of his parents.
It is an occasion for joy [that they are enjoying long life] and also an
occasion for anxiety [that another year is gone]."
Confucius said, "The superior man wants to be slow in word but diligent in
Tzu-kung said, "What I do not want others to do to me, I do not want to do
to them." Confucius said, "Ah Tz'u! That is beyond you."
5:12. Tzu-kung said, "We can hear our Master's [views] on culture and its manifestation, but we cannot hear his views on human nature and the Way of Heaven [because these subjects are beyond the comprehension of most people]."
Yen Yuan and Chi-lu were in attendance. Confucius said, "Why don't you each
tell me your ambition in life?" Tzu-lu said, "I wish to have a horse,
a carriage, and a light fur coat and share them with friends, and shall not
regret if they are all worn out." Yen Yuan said, "I wish never to boast of my good qualities and never to brag about the
trouble I have taken [for others]." Tzu-lu said, "I wish to hear your
ambition." Confucius said, "It is my ambition to comfort the old, to
be faithful to friends, and to cherish the young."
Confucius said, "In every hamlet of ten families, there are always some
people as loyal and faithful as myself, but none who love learning as much as I
Confucius said, "About Hui (Yen Yuan), for three months there would be nothing in his mind contrary to humanity. The
others could (or can) attain to this for a day or a month at the most."
6:16. Confucius said, "When substance exceeds refinement (wen), one becomes rude. When refinement exceeds substance, one becomes urbane. It is only when one's substance and refinement are properly blended that he becomes a superior man."
6:17. Confucius said, "Man is born with uprightness. If one loses it he will be lucky if he escapes with his life."
Confucius said, "To know it [learning or the Way] is not as good as to love
it, and to love it is not as good as to take delight in it."
Confucius said, "To those who are above average, one may talk of the higher
things, but may not do so to those who are below average."
Fan Ch'ih asked about wisdom. Confucius said, "Devote yourself earnestly to
the duties due to men, and respect spiritual beings but keep them at a distance.
This may be called wisdom." Fan Ch'ih asked about humanity. Confucius said,
"The man of humanity first of all considers what is difficult in the task
and then thinks of success. Such a man may be called humane."
Confucius said, "The man of wisdom delights in water; the man of humanity
delights in mountains. The man of wisdom is active; the man of humanity is
tranquil. The man of wisdom enjoys happiness; the man of humanity enjoys long
Confucius said, "When a cornered vessel no longer has any corner, should it
be called a cornered vessel? Should it?"
6:25. Confucius said, "The superior man extensively studies literature (wen) and restrains himself with the rules of propriety. Thus he will not violate the Way."
When Confucius visited Nan-tzu (the wicked wife of Duke Ling of Wei, r. 533-490
B.C.) (in an attempt to influence her to persuade the duke to effect political
reform), Tzu-lu was not pleased. Confucius swore an oath and said, "If I
have said or done anything wrong, may Heaven forsake me! May Heaven forsake
Tzu-kung said, "If a ruler extensively confers benefit on the people and
can bring salvation to all, what do you think of him? Would you call him a man
of humanity?" Confucius said, "Why only a man of humanity? He is
without doubt a sage. Even (sage-emperors) Yao and Shun fell short of it. A man
of humanity, wishing to establish his own character, also establishes the
character of others, and wishing to be prominent himself, also helps others to
be prominent. To be able to judge others by what is near to ourselves may be
called the method of realizing humanity."
7:1. Confucius said, "I transmit but do not create. I believe in and love the ancients. I venture to compare myself to our old P'eng."
Confucius said, "To remember silently [what I have learned], to learn
untiringly, and to teach others without being wearied—that is just natural
Confucius said, "Set your will on the Way. Have a firm grasp on virtue.
Rely on humanity. Find recreation in the arts."
Confucius said, "There has never been anyone who came with as little a
present as dried meat (for tuition) that I have refused to teach him
Confucius said, "I do not enlighten those who are not eager to
learn, nor arouse those who are not anxious to give an explanation themselves.
If I have presented one corner of the square and they cannot come back to me with the other three, I should
not go over the points again."
Confucius said, "With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and with a
bent arm for a pillow, there is still joy. Wealth and honor obtained through
unrighteousness are but floating clouds to me."
Confucius said, "Give me a few more years so that I can devote fifty years
to study Change. I may be free from great mistakes."
These were the things Confucius often talked about— poetry, history, and the
performance of the rules of propriety. All these were what he often talked
The Duke of She asked Tzu-lu about Confucius, and Tzu-lu did not answer.
Confucius said, "Why didn't you say that I am a person who forgets his food
when engaged in vigorous pursuit of something, is so happy as to forget his
worries, and is not aware that old age is coming on?"
Confucius said, "I am not one who was born with knowledge; I love ancient
[teaching] and earnestly seek it."
7:20. Confucius never discussed strange phenomena, physical exploits, disorder, or spiritual beings.
Confucius said, "Heaven produced the virtue that is in me; what can Huan
T'ui do to me?"
Confucius taught four things: culture (wen), conduct, loyalty, and faithfulness.
Confucius fished with a line but not a net. While shooting he would not shoot a
bird at rest.
Confucius said, "There are those who act without knowing [what is right].
But I am not one of them. To hear much and select what
is good and follow it, to see much and remember it, is the second type of
knowledge (next to innate knowledge)."
Confucius said, "Is humanity far away? As soon as I want it there it is
right by me."
Confucius was very ill. Tzu-lu asked that prayer be offered Confucius said,
"Is there such a thing?" Tzu-lu replied, "There is. A Eulogy
says, 'Pray to the spiritual beings above and below.' " Confucius said,
"My prayer has been for a long time [that is, what counts is the life that
Confucius is affable but dignified, austere but not harsh, polite but completely
Tseng Tzu said, "Gifted with ability, yet asking those without ability;
possessing much, yet asking those who possess little; having, yet seeming to
have none; full, yet seeming vacuous; offended, yet not contesting—long ago I
had a friend [Confucius' most virtuous pupil Yen Yuan?] who devoted himself to
8:6. Tseng Tzu said, "A man who can be entrusted with an orphaned child, delegated with the authority over a whole state of one hundred li, and whose integrity cannot be violated even in the face of a great emergency—is such a man a superior man? He is a superior man indeed!"
Tseng Tzu said, "An officer must be great and strong. His burden is heavy
and his course is long. He has taken humanity to be his own burden—is that not
heavy? Only with death does his course stop, is that not long?"
Confucius said, "Let a man be stimulated by poetry, established by the
rules of propriety, and perfected by music."
Confucius said, "The common people may be made to follow it (the Way) but
may not be made to understand it."
Confucius said, "Have sincere faith and love learning. Be not afraid to die
for pursuing the good Way. Do not enter a tottering state nor stay in a chaotic
one. When the Way prevails in the empire, then show yourself; when it does not
prevail, then hide. When the Way prevails in your own state and you are poor and
in a humble position, be ashamed of yourself. When the Way does not prevail in
your state and you are wealthy and in an honorable position, be ashamed of
8:14. Confucius said, "A person not in a particular government position does not discuss its policies.
9:1. Confucius seldom talked about profit, destiny (ming or the Mandate of Heaven), and humanity.
Confucius said, "The linen cap is prescribed by the rules of ceremony but
nowadays a silk one is worn. It is economical and I follow the common practice.
Bowing below the hall is prescribed by the rules of ceremony, but nowadays
people bow after ascending the hall. This is arrogant, and I follow the practice
of bowing below the hall though that is opposed to the common practice."
Confucius was completely free from four things: He had no arbitrariness of
opinion, no dogmatism, no obstinacy, and no egotism.
When Confucius was in personal danger in K'uang, he said, "Since the death
of King Wen, is not the course of culture (wen) in my keeping? If it had been
the will of Heaven to destroy this culture, it would not have been given to a
mortal [like me]. But if it is the will of Heaven that this culture should not
perish, what can the people of K'uang do to me?"
A great official asked Tzu-kung, "Is the Master a sage? How is it that he
has so much ability [in practical, specific things]?" Tzu-kung said,
"Certainly Heaven has endowed him so liberally that he is to become a sage,
and furthermore he has much ability." When Confucius heard this, he said,
"Does the great official know me? When I was young, I was in humble
circumstances, and therefore I acquired much ability to do the simple things of
humble folk. Does a superior man
need to have so much ability? He does not." His pupil Lao said, "The
Master said, 'I have not been given official employment and therefore I
[acquired the ability] for the simple arts.' "
Confucius wanted to live among the nine barbarous tribes of the East. Someone
said, "They are rude. How can you do it?" Confucius said, "If a
superior man lives there, what rudeness would there be?"
Confucius, standing by a stream, said, "It passes on like this, never
ceasing day or night!"
Confucius said, "The commander of three armies may be taken away, but the
will of even a common man may not be taken away from him."
When his mat was not straight [Confucius] did not sit on it.
A certain stable was burned down. On returning from court, Confucius asked,
"Was any man hurt?" He did not ask about the horses.
On entering the Ancestral Temple, he asked about everything.
When Yen Yuan died, Confucius said, "Alas, Heaven is destroying me! Heaven
is destroying me!"
Chi-lu (Tzu-lu) asked about serving the spiritual beings. Confucius said,
"If we are not yet able to serve man, how can we serve spiritual
beings?" "I venture to ask about death." Confucius said, "If
we do not yet know about life, how can we know about death?"
Tzu-kung asked who was the better man, Shih' or Shang.
Confucius said, "Shih goes too far and Shang does not go far
enough." Tzu-kung said, "Then is Shih better?" Confucius said,
"To go too far is the same as not to go far enough."
Tzu-lu asked, "Should one immediately practice what one has heard?"
Confucius said, "There are father and elder brother [to be considered]. Why
immediately practice what one has heard?" Jan Yu (Jan Tzu) asked,
"Should one immediately practice what one has heard?" Confucius said,
"One should immediately practice what one has heard." Kung-hsi Hua
said, "When Yu (Tzu-lu) asked you, 'Should one immediately practice what
one has heard?' you said, 'There are father and elder brother.' When Ch'iu (Jan
Yu) asked you, 'Should one immediately practice what he has heard?' you said,
'One should immediately practice what one has heard.' I am perplexed, and
venture to ask you for an explanation." Confucius said, "Ch'iu is
retiring; therefore I urged him forward. Yu has more than one man's energy;
therefore I kept him back."
Tzu-lu, Tseng Hsi, Jan Yu, and Kung-hsi Hua were in attendance. Confucius said,
"You think that I am a day or so older than you are. But do not think so.
At present you are out of office and think that you are denied recognition.
Suppose you were given recognition. What would you prefer?" Tzu-lu promptly
replied, "Suppose there is a state of a thousand chariots, hemmed in by
great powers, in addition invaded by armies, and as a result drought and famine
prevail. Let me administer that state. In three years' time I can endow the
people with courage and furthermore, enable them to know the correct
principles." Confucius smiled at him [with disapproval].
how about you?" Jan Yu replied, "Suppose there is a state the sides of
which are sixty or seventy li wide, or one of fifty or sixty li". Let me
administer that state. In three years' time I can enable the people to be
sufficient in their livelihood. As to the promotion of ceremonies and music,
however, I shall have to wait for the superior man."
about you, Ch'ih?" Kung-hsi Hua replied, "I do not say I can do it but
I should like to learn to do so. At the services of the royal ancestral temple,
and at the conferences of the feudal lords, I should like to wear the dark robe
and black cap (symbols of correctness) and be a junior assistant."
to Tseng Hsi,] Confucius said, "How about you, Tien?" Tseng Hsi was
then softly playing the zither. With a bang he laid down the instrument, rose,
and said, "My wishes are different from what the gentlemen
want to do." Confucius said, "What harm is there? After all, we want
each to tell his ambition." Tseng Hsi said, "In the late spring, when
the spring dress is ready, I would like to go with five or six grown-ups and six
or seven young boys to bathe in the I River, enjoy the breeze on the Rain Dance
Altar, and then return home singing." Confucius heaved a sigh and said,
"I agree with Tien."
12:1. Yen Yuan asked about humanity. Confucius said, "To master oneself and return to propriety is humanity. If a man (the ruler) can for one day master himself and return to propriety, all under heaven will return to humanity. To practice humanity depends on oneself. Does it depend on others?" Yen Yuan said, "May I ask for the detailed items?" Confucius said, "Do not look at what is contrary to propriety, do not listen to what is contrary to propriety, do not speak what is contrary to propriety, and do not make any movement which is contrary to propriety." Yen Yuan said, "Although I am not intelligent, may I put your saying into practice."
Chung-kung asked about humanity. Confucius said, "When you go abroad,
behave to everyone as if you were receiving a great guest. Employ the people as
if you were assisting at a great sacrifice. Do not do to others what you do
not want them to do to you. Then there will be no complaint against you in
the state or in the family (the ruling clan)." Chung-kung said,
"Although I am not intelligent, may I put your saying into practice."
12:5. Ssu-ma Niu, worrying, said, "All people have brothers but I have none." Tzu-hsia said, "I have heard [from Confucius] this saying: 'Life and death are the decree of Heaven (ming); wealth and honor depend on Heaven. If a superior man is reverential (or serious) without fail, and is respectful in dealing with others and follows the rules of propriety, then all within the four seas (the world) are brothers.' What does the superior man have to worry about having no brothers?"
Tzu-kung asked about government. Confucius said, "Sufficient food,
sufficient armament, and sufficient confidence of the people." Tzu-kung
said, "Forced to give up one of these, which would you abandon first?"
Confucius said, "I would abandon the armament." Tzu-kung said,
"Forced to give up one of the remaining two, which would you abandon
first?" Confucius said, "I would abandon food. There have been deaths
from time immemorial, but no state can exist without the confidence of the
Duke Ching of Ch'i asked Confucius about government. Confucius replied,
"Let the ruler be a ruler, the minister be a minister, the father be a
father, and the son be a son." The duke said, "Excellent! Indeed when
the ruler is not a ruler, the minister not a minister, the father not a father,
and the son not a son, although I may have all the grain, shall I ever get to
Confucius said, "The superior man brings the good things of others to
completion and does not bring the bad things of others to completion. The
inferior man does just the opposite."
Chi K'ang Tzu asked Confucius about government. Confucius replied, "To
govern (cheng) is to rectify (cheng). If you lead the people by being rectified
yourself, who will dare not be rectified?"
Chi K'ang Tzu asked Confucius about government, saying, "What do you think
of killing the wicked and associating with the good?" Confucius replied,
"In your government what is the need of killing? If you desire what is
good, the people will be good. The character of a ruler is like wind and that of
the people is like grass. In whatever direction the wind blows, the grass always
Fan Ch'ih asked about humanity. Confucius said, "It is to love men."
He asked about knowledge. Confucius said, "It is to know man."
Tzu-lu said, "The ruler of Wei is waiting for you to serve in his
administration. What will be your first measure?" Confucius said, "It
will certainly concern the rectification of names." Tzu-lu said, "Is
that so? You are wide of the mark. Why should there be such a
rectification?" Confucius said, "Yu! How uncultivated you are! With
regard to what he does not know, the superior man should maintain an attitude of
reserve. If names are not rectified, then language will not be in accord with
truth. If language is not in accord with truth, then things cannot be
accomplished. If things cannot be accomplished, then ceremonies and music will
not flourish. If ceremonies and music do not flourish, then punishment will not
be just. If punishments are not just, then the people will not know how to move
hand or foot. Therefore the superior man will give only names that can be
described in speech and say only what can be carried out in practice. With
regard to his speech, the superior man does not take it lightly. That is
Confucius said, "If a ruler sets himself right, he will be followed without
his command. If he does not set himself right, even his commands will not be
The Duke of She asked about government. Confucius said, "[There is good
government] when those who are near are happy and those far away desire to
The Duke of She told Confucius, "In my country there is an upright man
named Kung. When his father stole a sheep, he bore witness against him."
Confucius said, "The upright men in my community 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 humanity. Confucius said, "Be respectful in private
life, be serious (ching)" in handling affairs, and be loyal in dealing with
others. Even if you are living amidst barbarians, these principles may never be
Confucius said, "The superior man is conciliatory but does not identify
himself with others; the inferior man identifies with others but is not
Confucius said, "The superior man is dignified but not proud; the inferior
man is proud but not dignified."
Confucius said, "A man who is strong, resolute, simple, and slow to speak
is near to humanity."
13:29. Confucius said, "When good men have instructed the people [in morals, agriculture, military tactics] for seven years, they may be allowed to bear arms."
Confucius said, "To allow people to go to war without first instructing
them is to betray them."
[Yuan Hsien] said, "When one has avoided aggressiveness, pride, resentment,
and greed, he may be called a man of humanity." Confucius said, "This
may be considered as having done what is difficult, but I do not know that it is
to be regarded as humanity."
Confucius said, "The superior man understands the higher things [moral
principles]; the inferior man understands the lower things [profit]."
Confucius said, "The superior man is ashamed that his words exceed his
Confucius said, "The way of the superior man is threefold, but I have not
been able to attain it. The man of wisdom has no perplexities; the man of
humanity has no worry; the man of courage has no fear." Tzu-kung said,
"You are talking about yourself."
Confucius said, "He who does not anticipate attempts to deceive him nor
predict his being distrusted, and yet is the first to know [when these things
occur], is a worthy man."
Someone said, "What do you think of repaying hatred with virtue?"
Confucius said, "In that case what are you going to repay virtue with?
Rather, repay hatred with uprightness and repay virtue with virtue."
Confucius said, "Alas! No one knows me!" Tzu-kung said, "Why
is there no one that knows you?" Confucius said, "I do not complain
against Heaven. I do not blame men. I study things on the lower level but my
understanding penetrates the higher level.
It is Heaven that knows me."
When Tzu-lu was stopping at the Stone Gate for the night, the gatekeeper asked
him, "Where are you from?" Tzu-lu said, "From Confucius."
"Oh, is he the one who knows a thing cannot be done and still wants to do
Tzu-lu asked about the superior man. Confucius said, "The superior man is
one who cultivates himself with seriousness (ching)." Tzu-lu said, "Is
that all?" Confucius said, "He cultivates himself so as to give the
common people security and peace." Tzu-lu said, "Is that all?"
Confucius said, "He cultivates himself so as to give all people security
and peace. To cultivate oneself so as to give all people security and peace,
even Yao and Shun found it difficult to do."
Confucius said, "Tz'u (Tzu-kung), do you suppose that I am one who learns a
great deal and remembers it?" Tzu-kung replied, "Yes. Is that not
true?" Confucius said, "No. I have a thread (i-kuan) that runs through
Confucius said, "To have taken no [unnatural] action and yet have the
empire well governed, Shun was the man! What did he do? All he did was to make
himself reverent and correctly face south [in his royal seat as the
Confucius said, "A resolute scholar and a man of humanity will never seek
to live at the expense of injuring humanity. He would rather sacrifice his life
in order to realize humanity."
Confucius said, "The superior man regards righteousness as the substance of
everything. He practices it according to the principles of propriety. He brings
it forth in modesty. And he carries it to its conclusion with faithfulness. He
is indeed a superior man!"
Confucius said, "The superior man seeks [room for improvement or occasion
to blame] in himself; the inferior man seeks it in others."
Confucius said, "The superior man (ruler) does not promote (put in office)
a man on the basis of his words; nor does he reject his words because of the
Tzu-kung asked, "Is there one word which can serve as the guiding principle
for conduct throughout life?" Confucius said, "It is the word altruism
(shu). Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you."
Confucius said, "It is man that can make the Way great, and not the Way
that can make man great."
Confucius said, "The superior man seeks the Way and not a mere living.
There may be starvation in farming, and there may be riches in the pursuit of
studies. The superior man worries about the Way and not about poverty."
Confucius said, "When a man's knowledge is sufficient for him to attain
[his position] but his humanity is not sufficient for him to hold it, he will
lose it again. When his knowledge is sufficient for him to attain it and his
humanity is sufficient for him to hold it, if he does not approach the people
with dignity, the people will not respect him. If his knowledge is sufficient
for him to attain it, his humanity sufficient for him to hold it, and he
approaches the people with dignity, yet does not influence them with the
principle of propriety, it is still not good."
Confucius said, "When it comes to the practice of humanity, one should not
defer even to his teacher."
Confucius said, "In education there should be no class
Confucius said, "In words all that matters is to express the meaning."
Confucius said, "... I have heard that those who administer a state or a
family do not worry about there being too few people, but worry
about unequal distribution of wealth. They do not worry about poverty, but worry
about the lack of security and peace on the part of the people. For when wealth
is equally distributed, there will not be poverty; when there is harmony, there
will be no problem of there being too few people; and when there are security
and peace, there will be no danger to the state. . . ."
Confucius said, "There are three kinds of friendship which are beneficial
and three kinds which are harmful. Friendship with the upright, with the
truthful, and with the well informed is beneficial. Friendship with those who
flatter, with those who are meek and who compromise with principles, and with
those who talk cleverly is harmful."
Confucius said, "The superior man stands in awe of three things. He stands
in awe of the Mandate of Heaven; he stands in awe of great men; and he stands in
awe of the words of the sages. The inferior man is ignorant of the Mandate of
Heaven and does not stand in awe of it. He is disrespectful to great men and is
contemptuous toward the words of the sages."
Confucius said, "Those who are born with knowledge are the highest type of
people. Those who learn through study are the next. Those who learn through hard
work are still the next. Those who work hard and still do not learn are really
the lowest type."
Confucius said, "The superior man has nine wishes. In seeing, he wishes to
see clearly. In hearing, he wishes to hear distinctly. In his expression, he
wishes to be warm. In his appearance, he wishes to be respectful. In his speech,
he wishes to be sincere. In handling affairs, he wishes to be serious. When in
doubt, he wishes to ask. When he is angry, he wishes to think of the resultant
difficulties. And when he sees an opportunity for a gain, he wishes to think of
17:2. Confucius said, "By nature men are alike. Through practice they have become far apart."
Confucius said, "Only the most intelligent and the most stupid do not
Confucius went to the city of Wu [where his disciple Tzu-yu was the magistrate]
and heard the sound of stringed instruments and singing. With a gentle smile,
the Master said, "Why use an ox-knife to kill a chicken [that is, why
employ a serious measure like music to rule such a small town]?" Tzu-yu
replied, "Formerly I heard you say, 'When the superior man has studied the
Way, he loves men. When the inferior man has studied the Way, he is easy to
employ.' " Confucius said, "My disciples, what I just said was only a
Tzu-chang asked Confucius about humanity. Confucius said, "One who can
practice five things wherever he may be is a man of humanity." Tzu-chang
asked what the five are. Confucius said, "Earnestness, liberality,
truthfulness, diligence, and generosity. If one is earnest, one will not be
treated with disrespect. If one is liberal, one will win the hearts of all. If
one is truthful, one will be trusted. If one is diligent, one will
be successful. And if one is generous, one will be able to enjoy the service of
Confucius said, "Yu (Tzu-lu), have you heard about the six virtues and the
six obscurations?" Tzu-lu replied, "I have not." Confucius said,
"Sit down, then. I will tell you. One who loves humanity but not learning
will be obscured by ignorance. One who loves wisdom but not learning will be
obscured by lack of principle. One who loves faithfulness but not learning will
be obscured by heartlessness. One who loves uprightness but not learning will be
obscured by violence. One who loves strength of character but not learning will
be obscured by recklessness."
Confucius said, "My young friends, why do you not study the odes? The odes
can stimulate your emotions, broaden your observation, enlarge your fellowship,
and express your grievances. They help you in your immediate service to your
parents and in your more remote service to your rulers. They widen your
acquaintance with the names of birds, animals, and plants."
Confucius said, "I do not wish to say anything." Tzu-kung said,
"If you do not say anything, what can we little disciples ever learn to
pass on to others?" Confucius said, "Does Heaven (T'ien, Nature) say
anything? The four seasons run their course and all things are produced. Does
Heaven say anything?"
Tzu-lu asked, "Does the superior man esteem courage?" Confucius said,
"The superior man considers righteousness as the most important. When the
superior man has courage but no righteousness, he becomes turbulent. When the
inferior man has courage but no righteousness, he becomes a thief."
17:25. Confucius said, "Women and servants are most difficult to deal with. If you are familiar with them, they cease to be humble. If you keep a distance from them, they resent it."
Ch'ang-chi and Chieh-ni were cultivating their fields together. Confucius was
passing that way and told Tzu-lu to ask them where the river could be forded.
Ch'ang-chi said, "Who is the one holding the reins in the carriage?"
Tzu-lu said, "It is K'ung Ch'iu (Confucius)." "Is he the K'ung
Ch'iu of Lu?" "Yes." "Then he already knows where the river
can be forded!" Tzu-lu asked Chieh-ni. Chieh-ni said, "Who are you,
sir?" Tzu-lu replied, "I am Chung-yu (name of Tzu-lu)." "Are
you a follower of K'ung Ch'iu of Lu?" "Yes." Chieh-ni said,
"The whole world is swept as though by a torrential flood. Who can change
it? As for you, instead of following one who flees from this man or that man, is
it not better to follow those who flee the world altogether?" And with that
he went on covering the seed without stopping. Tzu-lu went to Confucius and told
him about their conversation. Confucius said ruefully, "One cannot herd
with birds and beasts. If I do not associate with mankind, with whom shall I
associate? If the Way prevailed in the world, there would be no need for me to
Tzu-hsia said, "To study extensively, to be steadfast in one's purpose, to
inquire earnestly, and to reflect on what is at hand (that is, what one can put
into practice)—humanity consists in these."
19:7. Confucius said, "The hundred artisans work in their works to perfect their craft. The superior man studies to reach to the utmost of the Way."
Tzu-hsia said, "A man who has energy to spare after studying should serve
his state. A man who has energy to spare after serving his state should
19:24. Shu-sun Wu-shu slandered Chung-ni (Confucius). Tzu-kung said, "It is no use. Chung-ni cannot be slandered. Other worthies are like mounds or small hills. You can still climb over them. Chung-ni, however, is like the sun and the moon that cannot be climbed over. Although a man may want to shut his eyes to the sun and the moon, what harm does it do to them? It would only show in large measure that he does not know his own limitations."