Confucian Analects, Confucius, 500 B.C., Part 9
The subjects of which the Master
seldom spoke were-profitableness, and
also the appointments of Heaven, and
A man of the village of Ta-hsiang said,
"Great indeed is the philosopher K'ung!
His learning is extensive, and yet he
does not render his name famous by any
The Master heard the observation, and
said to his disciples, "What shall I
practice? Shall I practice
charioteering, or shall I practice
archery? I will practice charioteering."
The Master said, "The linen cap is that
prescribed by the rules of ceremony, but
now a silk one is worn. It is
economical, and I follow the common
"The rules of ceremony prescribe the
bowing below the hall, but now the
practice is to bow only after ascending
it. That is arrogant. I continue to bow
below the hall, though I oppose the
There were four things from which the
Master was entirely free. He had no
foregone conclusions, no arbitrary
predeterminations, no obstinacy, and no
The Master was put in fear in K'wang.
He said, "After the death of King Wan,
was not the cause of truth lodged here
"If Heaven had wished to let this cause
of truth perish, then I, a future
mortal! should not have got such a
relation to that cause. While Heaven
does not let the cause of truth perish,
what can the people of K'wang do to me?"
A high officer asked Tsze-kung, saying,
"May we not say that your Master is a
sage? How various is his ability!"
Tsze-kung said, "Certainly Heaven has
endowed him unlimitedly. He is about a
sage. And, moreover, his ability is
The Master heard of the conversation and
said, "Does the high officer know me?
When I was young, my condition was low,
and I acquired my ability in many
things, but they were mean matters. Must
the superior man have such variety of
ability? He does not need variety of
ability. Lao said, "The Master said,
'Having no official employment, I
acquired many arts.'"
The Master said, "Am I indeed possessed
of knowledge? I am not knowing. But if a
mean person, who appears quite
empty-like, ask anything of me, I set it
forth from one end to the other, and
The Master said, "The Fang bird does not
come; the river sends forth no map:-it
is all over with me!"
When the Master saw a person in a
mourning dress, or any one with the cap
and upper and lower garments of full
dress, or a blind person, on observing
them approaching, though they were
younger than himself, he would rise up,
and if he had to pass by them, he would
do so hastily.
Yen Yuan, in admiration of the Master's
doctrines, sighed and said, "I looked up
to them, and they seemed to become more
high; I tried to penetrate them, and
they seemed to become more firm; I
looked at them before me, and suddenly
they seemed to be behind.
"The Master, by orderly method,
skillfully leads men on. He enlarged my
mind with learning, and taught me the
restraints of propriety.
"When I wish to give over the study of
his doctrines, I cannot do so, and
having exerted all my ability, there
seems something to stand right up before
me; but though I wish to follow and lay
hold of it, I really find no way to do
The Master being very ill, Tsze-lu
wished the disciples to act as ministers
During a remission of his illness, he
said, "Long has the conduct of Yu been
deceitful! By pretending to have
ministers when I have them not, whom
should I impose upon? Should I impose
"Moreover, than that I should die in the
hands of ministers, is it not better
that I should die in the hands of you,
my disciples? And though I may not get a
great burial, shall I die upon the
Tsze-kung said, "There is a beautiful
gem here. Should I lay it up in a case
and keep it? or should I seek for a good
price and sell it?" The Master said,
"Sell it! Sell it! But I would wait for
one to offer the price."
The Master was wishing to go and live
among the nine wild tribes of the east.
Some one said, "They are rude. How can
you do such a thing?" The Master said,
"If a superior man dwelt among them,
what rudeness would there be?"
The Master said, "I returned from Wei to
Lu, and then the music was reformed, and
the pieces in the Royal songs and Praise
songs all found their proper places."
The Master said, "Abroad, to serve the
high ministers and nobles; at home, to
serve one's father and elder brothers;
in all duties to the dead, not to dare
not to exert one's self; and not to be
overcome of wine:-which one of these
things do I attain to?"
The Master standing by a stream, said,
"It passes on just like this, not
ceasing day or night!"
The Master said, "I have not seen one
who loves virtue as he loves beauty."
The Master said, "The prosecution of
learning may be compared to what may
happen in raising a mound. If there want
but one basket of earth to complete the
work, and I stop, the stopping is my own
work. It may be compared to throwing
down the earth on the level ground.
Though but one basketful is thrown at a
time, the advancing with it my own going
The Master said, "Never flagging when I
set forth anything to him;-ah! that is
Hui." The Master said of Yen Yuan,
"Alas! I saw his constant advance. I
never saw him stop in his progress."
The Master said, "There are cases in
which the blade springs, but the plant
does not go on to flower! There are
cases where it flowers but fruit is not
The Master said, "A youth is to be
regarded with respect. How do we know
that his future will not be equal to our
present? If he reach the age of forty or
fifty, and has not made himself heard
of, then indeed he will not be worth
being regarded with respect."
The Master said, "Can men refuse to
assent to the words of strict
admonition? But it is reforming the
conduct because of them which is
valuable. Can men refuse to be pleased
with words of gentle advice? But it is
unfolding their aim which is valuable.
If a man be pleased with these words,
but does not unfold their aim, and
assents to those, but does not reform
his conduct, I can really do nothing
The Master said, "Hold faithfulness and
sincerity as first principles. Have no
friends not equal to yourself. When you
have faults, do not fear to abandon
The Master said, "The commander of the
forces of a large state may be carried
off, but the will of even a common man
cannot be taken from him."
The Master said, "Dressed himself in a
tattered robe quilted with hemp, yet
standing by the side of men dressed in
furs, and not ashamed;-ah! it is Yu who
is equal to this!
"He dislikes none, he covets
nothing;-what can he do but what is
Tsze-lu kept continually repeating these
words of the ode, when the Master said,
"Those things are by no means sufficient
to constitute perfect excellence."
The Master said, "When the year becomes
cold, then we know how the pine and the
cypress are the last to lose their
The Master said, "The wise are free from
perplexities; the virtuous from anxiety;
and the bold from fear."
The Master said, "There are some with
whom we may study in common, but we
shall find them unable to go along with
us to principles. Perhaps we may go on
with them to principles, but we shall
find them unable to get established in
those along with us. Or if we may get so
established along with them, we shall
find them unable to weigh occurring
events along with us."
"How the flowers of the aspen-plum
flutter and turn! Do I not think of you?
But your house is distant."
The Master said, "It is the want of
thought about it. How is it distant?"
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