Confucian Analects, Confucius, 500 B.C., Part 11
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
"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
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 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
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
He said, "Yu, there!-he will not die a
Some parties in Lu were going to take
down and rebuild the Long Treasury.
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 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 wealth.
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
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
The Master said, "I thought you would
ask about some extraordinary
individuals, and you only ask about Yu
"What is called a great minister, is one
who serves his prince according to what
is right, and when he finds he cannot do
"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
The Master said, "You are injuring a
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 Master.
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
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
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?
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