Confucian Analects, Confucius, 500 B.C., Part 14
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
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
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 man."
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
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 man."
The Master asked Kung-ming Chia about
Kung-shu Wan, saying, "Is it true that
your master speaks not, laughs not, and
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
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
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
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 state?"
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
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
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 others."
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 indeed!"
The Master said, "He who is not in any
particular office has nothing to do with
plans for the administration of its
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
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
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
The Master said, "I will not be
concerned at men's not knowing me; I
will be concerned at my own want of
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
Confucius said, "I do not dare to play
the part of such a talker, but I hate
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 kindness."
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
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
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
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 service."
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."
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