Excerpt from the Analects
Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles. "Have no friends not equal to yourself. "When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them."
Tsze-kung asked what constituted the superior man. The Master said, "He acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions." The Master said, "The superior man is catholic and not partisan. The mean man is partisan and not catholic." The Master said, "Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous."
The Master said, "Yu, shall I teach you what knowledge is? When you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it; -- this is knowledge."
Chi K'ang asked how to cause the people to reverence their ruler, to be faithful to him, and to go on to nerve themselves to virtue. The Master said, "Let him preside over them with gravity; -- then they will reverence him. Let him be final and kind to all; -- then they will be faithful to him. Let him advance the good and teach the incompetent; -- then they will eagerly seek to be virtuous."
"To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage."
The Master said, "If a man be without the virtues proper to humanity, what has he to do with the rites of propriety? If a man be without the virtues proper to humanity, what has he to do with music?"
When the Master heard it, he said, "Things that are done, it is needless to speak about; things that have had their course, it is needless to remonstrate about; things that are past, it is needless to blame."
The Master said, "Those who are without virtue cannot abide long either in a condition of poverty and hardship, or in a condition of enjoyment. The virtuous rest in virtue; the wise desire virtue." The Master said, "It is only the truly virtuous man, who can love, or who can hate, others." The Master said, "If the will be set on virtue, there will be no practice of wickedness."
"The superior man does not, even for the space of a single meal, act contrary to virtue. In moments of haste, he cleaves to it. In seasons of danger, he cleaves to it." The Master said, "I have not seen a person who loved virtue, or one who hated what was not virtuous. He who loved virtue, would esteem nothing above it. He who hated what is not virtuous, would practice virtue in such a way that he would not allow anything that is not virtuous to approach his person. "Is any one able for one day to apply his strength to virtue? I have not seen the case in which his strength would be insufficient. "Should there possibly be any such case, I have not seen it."
The Master said, "A scholar, whose mind is set on truth, and who is ashamed of bad clothes and bad food, is not fit to be discoursed with." The Master said, "The superior man, in the world, does not set his mind either for anything, or against anything; what is right he will follow." The Master said, "The superior man thinks of virtue; the small man thinks of comfort. The superior man thinks of the sanctions of law; the small man thinks of favors which he may receive."
The Master said, "A man should say, I am not concerned that I have no place, I am concerned how I may fit myself for one. I am not concerned that I am not known, I seek to be worthy to be known."
The Master went out, and the other disciples asked, saying, "What do his words mean?" Tsang said, "The doctrine of our master is to be true to the principles -- of our nature and the benevolent exercise of them to others, -- this and nothing more." The Master said, "The mind of the superior man is conversant with righteousness; the mind of the mean man is conversant with gain." The Master said, "When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves."
The Master said, "The cautious seldom err." The Master said, "The superior man wishes to be slow in his speech and earnest in his conduct." The Master said, "Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors."
Fan Ch'ih asked what constituted wisdom. The Master said, "To give one's self earnestly to the duties due to men, and, while respecting spiritual beings, to keep aloof from them, may be called wisdom." He asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success only a subsequent consideration; -- this may be called perfect virtue." The Master said, "The wise find pleasure in water; the virtuous find pleasure in hills. The wise are active; the virtuous are tranquil. The wise are joyful; the virtuous are long-lived."
Now the man of perfect virtue, wishing to be established himself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged himself, he seeks also to enlarge others. "To be able to judge of others by what is nigh in ourselves; -- this may be called the art of virtue."
The Master said, "From the man bringing his bundle of dried flesh for my teaching upwards, I have never refused instruction to any one." The Master said, "I do not open up the truth to one who is not eager to get knowledge, nor help out any one who is not anxious to explain himself. When I have presented one corner of a subject to any one, and he cannot from it learn the other three, I do not repeat my lesson."
The Master said, "I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it there." The subjects on which the Master did not talk, were -- extraordinary things, feats of strength, disorder, and spiritual beings. The Master said, "When I walk along with two others, they may serve me as my teachers. I will select their good qualities and follow them, their bad qualities and avoid them." The Master said, "Heaven produced the virtue that is in me. Hwan T'ui -- what can he do to me?" The Master said, "Do you think, my disciples, that I have any concealments? I conceal nothing from you. There is nothing which I do that is not shown to you, my disciples; that is my way." There were four things which the Master taught, -- letters, ethics, devotion of soul, and truthfulness. The Master said, "A sage it is not mine to see; could I see a man of real talent and virtue, that would satisfy me." The Master said, "A good man it is not mine to see; could I see a man possessed of constancy, that would satisfy me.
The Master said, "The sage and the man of perfect virtue; -- how dare I rank myself with them? It may simply be said of me, that I strive to become such without satiety, and teach others without weariness." Kung-hsi Hwa said, "This is just what we, the disciples, cannot imitate you in."
The Master said, "Respectfulness, without the rules of propriety, becomes laborious bustle; carefulness, without the rules of propriety, becomes timidity; boldness, without the rules of propriety, becomes insubordination; straightforwardness, without the rules of propriety, becomes rudeness.
The Master said, "It is not easy to find a man who has learned for three years without coming to be good." The Master said, "With sincere faith he unites the love of learning; holding firm to death, he is perfecting the excellence of his course.
The Master said, "Learn as if you could not reach your object, and were always fearing also lest you should lose it."
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 them."
The Master said, "The wise are free from perplexities; the virtuous from anxiety; and the bold from fear."
Chung-kung asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "It is, when you go abroad, to behave to every one as if you were receiving a great guest; to employ the people as if you were assisting at a great sacrifice; not to do to others as you would not wish done to yourself; to have no murmuring against you in the country, and none in the family." Chung-kung said, "Though I am deficient in intelligence and vigor, I will make it my business to practice this lesson." Sze-ma Niu asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "The man of perfect virtue is cautious and slow in his speech." "Cautious and slow in his speech!" said Niu; -- "is this what is meant by perfect virtue?" The Master said, "When a man feels the difficulty of doing, can he be other than cautious and slow in speaking?"
Sze-ma Niu asked about the superior man. The Master said, "The superior man has neither anxiety nor fear." "Being without anxiety or fear!" said Nui;"does this constitute what we call the superior man?" The Master said, "When internal examination discovers nothing wrong, what is there to be anxious about, what is there to fear?"
Chi K'ang asked Confucius about government. Confucius replied, "To govern means to rectify. If you lead on the people with correctness, who will dare not to be correct?"
Chi K'ang asked Confucius about government, saying, "What do you say to killing the unprincipled for the good of the principled?" Confucius replied, "Sir, in carrying on your government, why should you use killing at all? Let your evinced desires be for what is good, and the people will be good. The relation between superiors and inferiors is like that between the wind and the grass. The grass must bend, when the wind blows across it."
Fan Ch'ih rambling with the Master under the trees about the rain altars, said, "I venture to ask how to exalt virtue, to correct cherished evil, and to discover delusions." The Master said, "Truly a good question! "If doing what is to be done be made the first business, and success a secondary consideration: -- is not this the way to exalt virtue? To assail one's own wickedness and not assail that of others; -- is not this the way to correct cherished evil? For a morning's anger to disregard one's own life, and involve that of his parents; -- is not this a case of delusion?" Fan Ch'ih asked about benevolence. The Master said, "It is to love all men." He asked about knowledge. The Master said, "It is to know all men." Fan Ch'ih did not immediately understand these answers. The Master said, "Employ the upright and put aside all the crooked; in this way the crooked can be made to be upright."
Tsze-kung asked about friendship. The Master said, "Faithfully admonish your friend, and skillfully lead him on. If you find him impracticable, stop. Do not disgrace yourself."
Fan Ch'ih having gone out, the Master said, "A small man, indeed, is Fan Hsu! If a superior man love propriety, the people will not dare not to be reverent. If he love righteousness, the people will not dare not to submit to his example. If he love good faith, the people will not dare not to be sincere. Now, when these things obtain, the people from all quarters will come to him, bearing their children on their backs; what need has he of a knowledge of husbandry?"
The Master said, "'If good men were to govern a country in succession for a hundred years, they would be able to transform the violently bad, and dispense with capital punishments.' True indeed is this saying!" The Master said, "If a truly royal ruler were to arise, it would stir require a generation, and then virtue would prevail."
The Master said, "The people of the south have a saying -- 'A man without constancy cannot be either a wizard or a doctor.' Good! "Inconstant in his virtue, he will be visited with disgrace."
The Master said, "Let a good man teach the people seven years, and they may then likewise be employed in war." The Master said, "To lead an uninstructed people to war, is to throw them away."
"When the love of superiority, boasting, resentments, and covetousness are repressed, this may be deemed perfect virtue."
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."
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 object?"
The Master said, "He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."
The Master said, "The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions." 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 fear.
The Master said, "With what then will you recompense kindness?" "Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness."
Tsze-chang asked how a man should conduct himself, so as to be everywhere appreciated. The Master said, "Let his words be sincere and truthful and his actions honorable and careful; -- such conduct may be practiced among the rude tribes of the South or the North. If his words be not sincere and truthful and his actions not honorable and carefull will he, with such conduct, be appreciated, even in his neighborhood? "When he is standing, let him see those two things, as it were, fronting him. When he is in a carriage, let him see them attached to the yoke. Then may he subsequently carry them into practice."
The Master said, "The determined scholar and the man of virtue will not seek to live at the expense of injuring their virtue. They will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their virtue complete."
The Master said, "If a man take no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand."
The Master said, "He who requires much from himself and little from others, will keep himself from being the object of resentment." The Master said, "When a man is not in the habit of saying -- 'What shall I think of this? What shall I think of this?' I can indeed do nothing with him!" The Master said, "When a number of people are together, for a whole day, without their conversation turning on righteousness, and when they are fond of carrying out the suggestions of a small shrewdness; -- theirs is indeed a hard case."
The Master said, "The superior man in everything considers righteousness to be essential. He performs it according to the rules of propriety. He brings it forth in humility. He completes it with sincerity. This is indeed a superior man."
The Master said, "What the superior man seeks, is in himself. What the mean man seeks, is in others." The Master said, "The superior man is dignified, but does not wrangle. He is sociable, but not a partisan." The Master said, "The superior man does not promote a man simply on account of his words, nor does he put aside good words because of the man."
The Master said, "When the multitude hate a man, it is necessary to examine into the case. When the multitude like a man, it is necessary to examine into the case." The Master said, "A man can enlarge the principles which he follows; those principles do not enlarge the man." The Master said, "To have faults and not to reform them, -- this, indeed, should be pronounced having faults."
The Master said, "The object of the superior man is truth. Food is not his object. There is plowing; -- even in that there is sometimes want. So with learning; -- emolument may be found in it. The superior man is anxious lest he should not get truth; he is not anxious lest poverty should come upon him." The Master said, "When a man's knowledge is sufficient to attain, and his virtue is not sufficient to enable him to hold, whatever he may have gained, he will lose again.
The Master said, "Virtue is more to man than either water or fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue." The Master said, "Let every man consider virtue as what devolves on himself. He may not yield the performance of it even to his teacher."
Confucius said, "When good government prevails in the empire, ceremonies, music, and punitive military expeditions proceed from the son of Heaven. When bad government prevails in the empire, ceremonies, music, and punitive military expeditions proceed from the princes. When these things proceed from the princes, as a rule, the cases will be few in which they do not lose their power in ten generations. When they proceed from the great officers of the princes, as a rule, the case will be few in which they do not lose their power in five generations. When the subsidiary ministers of the great officers hold in their grasp the orders of the state, as a rule the cases will be few in which they do not lose their power in three generations.
Confucius said, "There are three friendships which are advantageous, and three which are injurious. Friendship with the uplight; friendship with the sincere; and friendship with the man of much observation: -- these are advantageous. Friendship with the man of specious airs; friendship with the insinuatingly soft; and friendship with the glib-tongued: -- these are injurious."
Confucius said, "There are three things men find enjoyment in which are advantageous, and three things they find enjoyment in which are injurious. To find enjoyment in the discriminating study of ceremonies and music; to find enjoyment in speaking of the goodness of others; to find enjoyment in having many worthy friends: -- these are advantageous. To find enjoyment in extravagant pleasures; to find enjoyment in idleness and sauntering; to find enjoyment in the pleasures of feasting: -- these are injurious."
Confucius said, "There are three errors to which they who stand in the presence of a man of virtue and station are liable. They may speak when it does not come to them to speak; -- this is called rashness. They may not speak when it comes to them to speak; -- this is called concealment. They may speak without looking at the countenance of their superior; -- this is called blindness."
Confucius said, "There are three things which the superior man guards against. In youth, when the physical powers are not yet settled, he guards against lust. When he is strong and the physical powers are full of vigor, he guards against quarrelsomeness. When he is old, and the animal powers are decayed, he guards against covetousness."
Confucius said, "There are three things of which the superior man stands in awe. He stands in awe of the ordinances of Heaven. He stands in awe of great men. He stands in awe of the words of sages. "The mean man does not know the ordinances of Heaven, and consequently does not stand in awe of them. He is disrespectful to great men. He makes sport of the words of sages."
Confucius said, "Those who are born with the possession of knowledge are the highest class of men. Those who learn, and so readily get possession of knowledge, are the next. Those who are dull and stupid, and yet compass the learning, are another class next to these. As to those who are dull and stupid and yet do not learn; -- they are the lowest of the people."
Tsze-chang asked Confucius about perfect virtue. Confucius said, "To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue." He begged to ask what they were, and was told, "Gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness. If you are grave, you will not be treated with disrespect. If you are generous, you will win all. If you are sincere, people will repose trust in you. If you are earnest, you will accomplish much. If you are kind, this will enable you to employ the services of others.
The Master said, "Yu, have you heard the six words to which are attached six becloudings?" Yu replied, "I have not." "Sit down, and I will tell them to you. "There is the love of being benevolent without the love of learning; -- the beclouding here leads to a foolish simplicity. There is the love of knowing without the love of learning; -- the beclouding here leads to dissipation of mind. There is the love of being sincere without the love of learning; -- the beclouding here leads to an injurious disregard of consequences. There is the love of straightforwardness without the love of learning; -- the beclouding here leads to rudeness. There is the love of boldness without the love of learning; -- the beclouding here leads to insubordination. There is the love of firmness without the love of learning; -- the beclouding here leads to extravagant conduct."
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 official." 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."