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Written ca. 500 B.C.E
The head of the Chi family was going to attack Chwan-yu.
Zan Yu and Chi-lu had an interview with Confucius, and said, "Our chief,
Chil is going to commence operations against Chwan-yu."
Confucius said, "Ch'iu, is it not you who are in fault
"Now, in regard to Chwan-yu, long ago, a former king appointed its
ruler to preside over the sacrifices to the eastern Mang; moreover, it
is in the midst of the territory of our state; and its ruler is a minister
in direct connection with the sovereign: What has your chief to do with
Zan Yu said, "Our master wishes the thing; neither of us two ministers
Confucius said, "Ch'iu, there are the words of Chau Zan, -'When
he can put forth his ability, he takes his place in the ranks of office;
when he finds himself unable to do so, he retires from it. How can he be
used as a guide to a blind man, who does not support him when tottering,
nor raise him up when fallen?'
"And further, you speak wrongly. When a tiger or rhinoceros escapes
from his cage; when a tortoise or piece of jade is injured in its repository:-whose
is the fault?"
Zan Yu said, "But at present, Chwan-yu is strong and near to Pi;
if our chief do not now take it, it will hereafter be a sorrow to his
Confucius said. "Ch'iu, the superior man hates those declining
to say-'I want such and such a thing,' and framing explanations for their
"I have heard that rulers of states and chiefs of families are
not troubled lest their people should be few, but are troubled lest they
should not keep their several places; that they are not troubled with fears
of poverty, but are troubled with fears of a want of contented repose among
the people in their several places. For when the people keep their several
places, there will be no poverty; when harmony prevails, there will be
no scarcity of people; and when there is such a contented repose, there
will be no rebellious upsettings.
"So it is.-Therefore, if remoter people are not submissive, all
the influences of civil culture and virtue are to be cultivated to attract
them to be so; and when they have been so attracted, they must be made
contented and tranquil.
"Now, here are you, Yu and Ch'iu, assisting your chief. Remoter
people are not submissive, and, with your help, he cannot attract them
to him. In his own territory there are divisions and downfalls, leavings
and separations, and, with your help, he cannot preserve
"And yet he is planning these hostile movements within the state.-I
am afraid that the sorrow of the Chi-sun family will not be on account
of Chwan-yu, but will be found within the screen of their own
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
"When right principles prevail in the kingdom, government will
not be in the hands of the great officers.
"When right principles prevail in the kingdom, there will be no
discussions among the common people."
Confucius said, "The revenue of the state has left the ducal house
now for five generations. The government has been in the hands of the great
officers for four generations. On this account, the descendants of the
three Hwan are much reduced."
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
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
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
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
"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
Confucius said, "The superior man has nine things which are subjects
with him of thoughtful consideration. In regard to the use of his eyes,
he is anxious to see clearly. In regard to the use of his ears, he is anxious
to hear distinctly. In regard to his countenance, he is anxious that it
should be benign. In regard to his demeanor, he is anxious that it should
be respectful. In regard to his speech, he is anxious that it should be
sincere. In regard to his doing of business, he is anxious that it should
be reverently careful. In regard to what he doubts about, he is anxious
to question others. When he is angry, he thinks of the difficulties his
anger may involve him in. When he sees gain to be got, he thinks of
Confucius said, "Contemplating good, and pursuing it, as if they
could not reach it; contemplating evil! and shrinking from it, as they
would from thrusting the hand into boiling water:-I have seen such men,
as I have heard such words.
"Living in retirement to study their aims, and practicing righteousness
to carry out their principles:-I have heard these words, but I have not
seen such men."
The Duke Ching of Ch'i had a thousand teams, each of four horses,
but on the day of his death, the people did not praise him for a single
virtue. Po-i and Shu-ch'i died of hunger at the foot of the Shau-yang mountains,
and the people, down to the present time, praise them.
"Is not that saying illustrated by this?"
Ch'an K'ang asked Po-yu, saying, "Have you heard any lessons from your
father different from what we have all heard?"
Po-yu replied, "No. He was standing alone once, when I passed below
the hall with hasty steps, and said to me, 'Have you learned the Odes?'
On my replying 'Not yet,' he added, If you do not learn the Odes, you will
not be fit to converse with.' I retired and studied the
"Another day, he was in the same way standing alone, when I passed
by below the hall with hasty steps, and said to me, 'Have you learned the
rules of Propriety?' On my replying 'Not yet,' he added, 'If you do not
learn the rules of Propriety, your character cannot be established.' I
then retired, and learned the rules of Propriety.
"I have heard only these two things from him."
Ch'ang K'ang retired, and, quite delighted, said, "I asked one thing,
and I have got three things. I have heard about the Odes. I have heard
about the rules of Propriety. I have also heard that the superior man maintains
a distant reserve towards his son."
The wife of the prince of a state is called by him Fu Zan. She
calls herself Hsiao T'ung. The people of the state call her Chun Fu Zan,
and, to the people of other states, they call her K'wa Hsiao Chun. The
people of other states also call her Chun Fu Zan.
Yang Ho wished to see Confucius, but Confucius would not go to
see him. On this, he sent a present of a pig to Confucius, who, having
chosen a time when Ho was not at home went to pay his respects for the
gift. He met him, however, on the way.
Ho said to Confucius, "Come, let me speak with you." He then asked,
"Can he be called benevolent who keeps his jewel in his bosom, and leaves
his country to confusion?" Confucius replied, "No." "Can he be called wise,
who is anxious to be engaged in public employment, and yet is constantly
losing the opportunity of being so?" Confucius again said, "No." "The days
and months are passing away; the years do not wait for us." Confucius said,
"Right; I will go into office."
The Master said, "By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice,
they get to be wide apart."
The Master said, "There are only the wise of the highest class,
and the stupid of the lowest class, who cannot be changed."
The Master, having come to Wu-ch'ang, heard there the sound of
stringed instruments and singing.
Well pleased and smiling, he said, "Why use an ox knife to kill
Tsze-yu replied, "Formerly, Master, I heard you say,-'When the
man of high station is well instructed, he loves men; when the man of low
station is well instructed, he is easily ruled.'"
The Master said, "My disciples, Yen's words are right. What I said
was only in sport."
Kung-shan Fu-zao, when he was holding Pi, and in an attitude of
rebellion, invited the Master to visit him, who was rather inclined to
Tsze-lu was displeased. and said, "Indeed, you cannot go! Why must
you think of going to see Kung-shan?"
The Master said, "Can it be without some reason that he has invited
ME? If any one employ me, may I not make an eastern
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.
Pi Hsi inviting him to visit him, the Master was inclined to
Tsze-lu said, "Master, formerly I have heard you say, 'When a man in
his own person is guilty of doing evil, a superior man will not associate
with him.' Pi Hsi is in rebellion, holding possession of Chung-mau; if
you go to him, what shall be said?"
The Master said, "Yes, I did use these words. But is it not said,
that, if a thing be really hard, it may be ground without being made thin?
Is it not said, that, if a thing be really white, it may be steeped in
a dark fluid without being made black?
"Am I a bitter gourd? How can I be hung up out of the way of being
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."
The Master said, "My children, why do you not study the Book of
"The Odes serve to stimulate the mind.
"They may be used for purposes of self-contemplation.
"They teach the art of sociability.
"They show how to regulate feelings of resentment.
"From them you learn the more immediate duty of serving one's father,
and the remoter one of serving one's prince.
"From them we become largely acquainted with the names of birds,
beasts, and plants."
The Master said to Po-yu, "Do you give yourself to the Chau-nan
and the Shao-nan. The man who has not studied the Chau-nan and the Shao-nan
is like one who stands with his face right against a wall. Is he not so?"
The Master said, "'It is according to the rules of propriety,' they say.-'It
is according to the rules of propriety,' they say. Are gems and silk all
that is meant by propriety? 'It is music,' they say.-'It is music,' they
say. Are hers and drums all that is meant by music?"
The Master said, "He who puts on an appearance of stern firmness,
while inwardly he is weak, is like one of the small, mean people;-yea,
is he not like the thief who breaks through, or climbs over, a
The Master said, "Your good, careful people of the villages are
the thieves of virtue."
The Master said, To tell, as we go along, what we have heard on
the way, is to cast away our virtue."
The Master said, "There are those mean creatures! How impossible
it is along with them to serve one's prince!
"While they have not got their aims, their anxiety is how to get
them. When they have got them, their anxiety is lest they should lose
"When they are anxious lest such things should be lost, there is
nothing to which they will not proceed."
The Master said, "Anciently, men had three failings, which now
perhaps are not to be found.
"The high-mindedness of antiquity showed itself in a disregard
of small things; the high-mindedness of the present day shows itself in
wild license. The stern dignity of antiquity showed itself in grave reserve;
the stern dignity of the present day shows itself in quarrelsome perverseness.
The stupidity of antiquity showed itself in straightforwardness; the stupidity
of the present day shows itself in sheer deceit."
The Master said, "Fine words and an insinuating appearance are
seldom associated with virtue."
The Master said, "I hate the manner in which purple takes away
the luster of vermilion. I hate the way in which the songs of Chang confound
the music of the Ya. I hate those who with their sharp mouths overthrow
kingdoms and families."
The Master said, "I would prefer not speaking."
Tsze-kung said, "If you, Master, do not speak, what shall we, your
disciples, have to record?"
The Master said, "Does Heaven speak? The four seasons pursue their
courses, and all things are continually being produced, but does Heaven
Zu Pei wished to see Confucius, but Confucius declined, on the
ground of being sick, to see him. When the bearer of this message went
out at the door, the Master took his lute and sang to it, in order that
Pei might hear him.
Tsai Wo asked about the three years' mourning for parents, saying
that one year was long enough.
"If the superior man," said he, "abstains for three years from
the observances of propriety, those observances will be quite lost. If
for three years he abstains from music, music will be ruined. Within a
year the old grain is exhausted, and the new grain has sprung up, and,
in procuring fire by friction, we go through all the changes of wood for
that purpose. After a complete year, the mourning may
The Master said, "If you were, after a year, to eat good rice,
and wear embroidered clothes, would you feel at ease?" "I should," replied
The Master said, "If you can feel at ease, do it. But a superior
man, during the whole period of mourning, does not enjoy pleasant food
which he may eat, nor derive pleasure from music which he may hear. He
also does not feel at ease, if he is comfortably lodged. Therefore he does
not do what you propose. But now you feel at ease and may do
Tsai Wo then went out, and the Master said, "This shows Yu's want
of virtue. It is not till a child is three years old that it is allowed
to leave the arms of its parents. And the three years' mourning is universally
observed throughout the empire. Did Yu enjoy the three years' love of his
The Master said, "Hard is it to deal with who will stuff himself
with food the whole day, without applying his mind to anything good! Are
there not gamesters and chess players? To be one of these would still be
better than doing nothing at all."
Tsze-lu said, "Does the superior man esteem valor?" The Master
said, "The superior man holds righteousness to be of highest importance.
A man in a superior situation, having valor without righteousness, will
be guilty of insubordination; one of the lower people having valor without
righteousness, will commit robbery."
Tsze-kung said, "Has the superior man his hatreds also?" The Master
said, "He has his hatreds. He hates those who proclaim the evil of others.
He hates the man who, being in a low station, slanders his superiors. He
hates those who have valor merely, and are unobservant of propriety. He
hates those who are forward and determined, and, at the same time, of contracted
The Master then inquired, "Ts'ze, have you also your hatreds?"
Tsze-kung replied, "I hate those who pry out matters, and ascribe the knowledge
to their wisdom. I hate those who are only not modest, and think that they
are valorous. I hate those who make known secrets, and think that they
The Master said, "Of all people, girls and servants are the most
difficult to behave to. If you are familiar with them, they lose their
humility. If you maintain a reserve towards them, they are
The Master said, "When a man at forty is the object of dislike,
he will always continue what he is."
The Viscount of Wei withdrew from the court. The Viscount of Chi
became a slave to Chau. Pi-kan remonstrated with him and
Confucius said, "The Yin dynasty possessed these three men of
Hui of Liu-hsia, being chief criminal judge, was thrice dismissed
from his office. Some one said to him, "Is it not yet time for you, sir,
to leave this?" He replied, "Serving men in an upright way, where shall
I go to, and not experience such a thrice-repeated dismissal? If I choose
to serve men in a crooked way, what necessity is there for me to leave
the country of my parents?"
The duke Ching of Ch'i, with reference to the manner in which he
should treat Confucius, said, "I cannot treat him as I would the chief
of the Chi family. I will treat him in a manner between that accorded to
the chief of the Chil and that given to the chief of the Mang family."
He also said, "I am old; I cannot use his doctrines." Confucius took his
The people of Ch'i sent to Lu a present of female musicians, which
Chi Hwan received, and for three days no court was held. Confucius took
The madman of Ch'u, Chieh-yu, passed by Confucius, singing and
saying, "O FANG! O FANG! How is your virtue degenerated! As to the past,
reproof is useless; but the future may still be provided against. Give
up your vain pursuit. Give up your vain pursuit. Peril awaits those who
now engage in affairs of government."
Confucius alighted and wished to converse with him, but Chieh-yu
hastened away, so that he could not talk with him.
Ch'ang-tsu and Chieh-ni were at work in the field together, when
Confucius passed by them, and sent Tsze-lu to inquire for the
Ch'ang-tsu said, "Who is he that holds the reins in the carriage
there?" Tsze-lu told him, "It is K'ung Ch'iu.', "Is it not K'ung of Lu?"
asked he. "Yes," was the reply, to which the other rejoined, "He knows
Tsze-lu then inquired of Chieh-ni, who said to him, "Who are you,
sir?" He answered, "I am Chung Yu." "Are you not the disciple of K'ung
Ch'iu of Lu?" asked the other. "I am," replied he, and then Chieh-ni said
to him, "Disorder, like a swelling flood, spreads over the whole empire,
and who is he that will change its state for you? Rather than follow one
who merely withdraws from this one and that one, had you not better follow
those who have withdrawn from the world altogether?" With this he fell
to covering up the seed, and proceeded with his work, without
Tsze-lu went and reported their remarks, when the Master observed
with a sigh, "It is impossible to associate with birds and beasts, as if
they were the same with us. If I associate not with these people,-with
mankind,-with whom shall I associate? If right principles prevailed through
the empire, there would be no use for me to change its
Tsze-lu, following the Master, happened to fall behind, when he
met an old man, carrying across his shoulder on a staff a basket for weeds.
Tsze-lu said to him, "Have you seen my master, sir?" The old man replied,
"Your four limbs are unaccustomed to toil; you cannot distinguish the five
kinds of grain:-who is your master?" With this, he planted his staff in
the ground, and proceeded to weed.
Tsze-lu joined his hands across his breast, and stood before
The old man kept Tsze-lu to pass the night in his house, killed a fowl,
prepared millet, and feasted him. He also introduced to him his two
Next day, Tsze-lu went on his way, and reported his adventure.
The Master said, "He is a recluse," and sent Tsze-lu back to see him again,
but when he got to the place, the old man was gone.
Tsze-lu then said to the family, "Not to take office is not righteous.
If the relations between old and young may not be neglected, how is it
that he sets aside the duties that should be observed between sovereign
and minister? Wishing to maintain his personal purity, he allows that great
relation to come to confusion. A superior man takes office, and performs
the righteous duties belonging to it. As to the failure of right principles
to make progress, he is aware of that."
The men who have retired to privacy from the world have been Po-i,
Shu-ch'i, Yuchung, I-yi, Chu-chang, Hui of Liu-hsia, and
The Master said, "Refusing to surrender their wills, or to submit
to any taint in their persons; such, I think, were Po-i and
"It may be said of Hui of Liu-hsia! and of Shaolien, that they
surrendered their wills, and submitted to taint in their persons, but their
words corresponded with reason, and their actions were such as men are
anxious to see. This is all that is to be remarked in
"It may be said of Yu-chung and I-yi, that, while they hid themselves
in their seclusion, they gave a license to their words; but in their persons,
they succeeded in preserving their purity, and, in their retirement, they
acted according to the exigency of the times.
"I am different from all these. I have no course for which I am
predetermined, and no course against which I am predetermined."
The grand music master, Chih, went to Ch'i.
Kan, the master of the band at the second meal, went to Ch'u. Liao,
the band master at the third meal, went to Ts'ai. Chueh, the band master
at the fourth meal, went to Ch'in.
Fang-shu, the drum master, withdrew to the north of the
Wu, the master of the hand drum, withdrew to the
Yang, the assistant music master, and Hsiang, master of the musical
stone, withdrew to an island in the sea.
The duke of Chau addressed his son, the duke of Lu, saying, "The
virtuous prince does not neglect his relations. He does not cause the great
ministers to repine at his not employing them. Without some great cause,
he does not dismiss from their offices the members of old families. He
does not seek in one man talents for every employment."
To Chau belonged the eight officers, Po-ta, Po-kwo, Chung-tu, Chung-hwu,
Shu-ya, Shuhsia, Chi-sui, and Chi-kwa.
Tsze-chang said, "The scholar, trained for public duty, seeing
threatening danger, is prepared to sacrifice his life. When the opportunity
of gain is presented to him, he thinks of righteousness. In sacrificing,
his thoughts are reverential. In mourning, his thoughts are about the grief
which he should feel. Such a man commands our approbation
Tsze-chang said, "When a man holds fast to virtue, but without
seeking to enlarge it, and believes in right principles, but without firm
sincerity, what account can be made of his existence or
The disciples of Tsze-hsia asked Tsze-chang about the principles
that should characterize mutual intercourse. Tsze-chang asked, "What does
Tsze-hsia say on the subject?" They replied, "Tsze-hsia says: 'Associate
with those who can advantage you. Put away from you those who cannot do
so.'" Tsze-chang observed, "This is different from what I have learned.
The superior man honors the talented and virtuous, and bears with all.
He praises the good, and pities the incompetent. Am I possessed of great
talents and virtue?-who is there among men whom I will not bear with? Am
I devoid of talents and virtue?-men will put me away from them. What have
we to do with the putting away of others?"
Tsze-hsia said, "Even in inferior studies and employments there
is something worth being looked at; but if it be attempted to carry them
out to what is remote, there is a danger of their proving inapplicable.
Therefore, the superior man does not practice them."
Tsze-hsia said, "He, who from day to day recognizes what he has
not yet, and from month to month does not forget what he has attained to,
may be said indeed to love to learn."
Tsze-hsia said, "There are learning extensively, and having a firm
and sincere aim; inquiring with earnestness, and reflecting with self-application:-virtue
is in such a course."
Tsze-hsia said, "Mechanics have their shops to dwell in, in order
to accomplish their works. The superior man learns, in order to reach to
the utmost of his principles."
Tsze-hsia said, "The mean man is sure to gloss his
Tsze-hsia said, "The superior man undergoes three changes. Looked at
from a distance, he appears stern; when approached, he is mild; when he
is heard to speak, his language is firm and decided."
Tsze-hsia said, "The superior man, having obtained their confidence,
may then impose labors on his people. If he have not gained their confidence,
they will think that he is oppressing them. Having obtained the confidence
of his prince, one may then remonstrate with him. If he have not gained
his confidence, the prince will think that he is vilifying
Tsze-hsia said, "When a person does not transgress the boundary
line in the great virtues, he may pass and repass it in the small
Tsze-yu said, "The disciples and followers of Tsze-hsia, in sprinkling
and sweeping the ground, in answering and replying, in advancing and receding,
are sufficiently accomplished. But these are only the branches of learning,
and they are left ignorant of what is essential.-How can they be acknowledged
as sufficiently taught?"
Tsze-hsia heard of the remark and said, "Alas! Yen Yu is wrong.
According to the way of the superior man in teaching, what departments
are there which he considers of prime importance, and delivers? what are
there which he considers of secondary importance, and allows himself to
be idle about? But as in the case of plants, which are assorted according
to their classes, so he deals with his disciples. How can the way of a
superior man be such as to make fools of any of them? Is it not the sage
alone, who can unite in one the beginning and the consummation of
Tsze-hsia said, "The officer, having discharged all his duties,
should devote his leisure to learning. The student, having completed his
learning, should apply himself to be an officer."
Tsze-hsia said, "Mourning, having been carried to the utmost degree
of grief, should stop with that."
Tsze-hsia said, "My friend Chang can do things which are hard to
be done, but yet he is not perfectly virtuous."
The philosopher Tsang said, "How imposing is the manner of Chang!
It is difficult along with him to practice virtue."
The philosopher Tsang said, "I heard this from our Master: 'Men
may not have shown what is in them to the full extent, and yet they will
be found to do so, on the occasion of mourning for their
The philosopher Tsang said, "I have heard this from our Master:-'The
filial piety of Mang Chwang, in other matters, was what other men are competent
to, but, as seen in his not changing the ministers of his father, nor his
father's mode of government, it is difficult to be attained
The chief of the Mang family having appointed Yang Fu to be chief
criminal judge, the latter consulted the philosopher Tsang. Tsang said,
"The rulers have failed in their duties, and the people consequently have
been disorganized for a long time. When you have found out the truth of
any accusation, be grieved for and pity them, and do not feel joy at your
Tsze-kung said, "Chau's wickedness was not so great as that name
implies. Therefore, the superior man hates to dwell in a low-lying situation,
where all the evil of the world will flow in upon him."
Tsze-kung said, "The faults of the superior man are like the eclipses
of the sun and moon. He has his faults, and all men see them; he changes
again, and all men look up to him."
Kung-sun Ch'ao of Wei asked Tszekung, saying. "From whom did Chung-ni
get his learning?"
Tsze-kung replied, "The doctrines of Wan and Wu have not yet fallen
to the ground. They are to be found among men. Men of talents and virtue
remember the greater principles of them, and others, not possessing such
talents and virtue, remember the smaller. Thus, all possess the doctrines
of Wan and Wu. Where could our Master go that he should not have an opportunity
of learning them? And yet what necessity was there for his having a regular
Shu-sun Wu-shu observed to the great officers in the court, saying,
"Tsze-kung is superior to Chung-ni."
Tsze-fu Ching-po reported the observation to Tsze-kung, who said,
"Let me use the comparison of a house and its encompassing wall. My wall
only reaches to the shoulders. One may peep over it, and see whatever is
valuable in the apartments.
"The wall of my Master is several fathoms high. If one do not find
the door and enter by it, he cannot see the ancestral temple with its beauties,
nor all the officers in their rich array.
"But I may assume that they are few who find the door. Was not
the observation of the chief only what might have been
Shu-sun Wu-shu having spoken revilingly of Chung-ni, Tsze-kung
said, "It is of no use doing so. Chung-ni cannot be reviled. The talents
and virtue of other men are hillocks and mounds which may be stepped over.
Chung-ni is the sun or moon, which it is not possible to step over. Although
a man may wish to cut himself off from the sage, what harm can he do to
the sun or moon? He only shows that he does not know his own
Ch'an Tsze-ch' in, addressing Tsze-kung, said, "You are too modest.
How can Chung-ni be said to be superior to you?"
Tsze-kung said to him, "For one word a man is often deemed to be
wise, and for one word he is often deemed to be foolish. We ought to be
careful indeed in what we say.
"Our Master cannot be attained to, just in the same way as the
heavens cannot be gone up by the steps of a stair.
"Were our Master in the position of the ruler of a state or the
chief of a family, we should find verified the description which has been
given of a sage's rule:-he would plant the people, and forthwith they would
be established; he would lead them on, and forthwith they would follow
him; he would make them happy, and forthwith multitudes would resort to
his dominions; he would stimulate them, and forthwith they would be harmonious.
While he lived, he would be glorious. When he died, he would be bitterly
lamented. How is it possible for him to be attained
Yao said, "Oh! you, Shun, the Heaven-determined order of succession
now rests in your person. Sincerely hold fast the due Mean. If there shall
be distress and want within the four seas, the Heavenly revenue will come
to a perpetual end."
Shun also used the same language in giving charge to
T'ang said, "I the child Li, presume to use a dark-colored victim,
and presume to announce to Thee, O most great and sovereign God, that the
sinner I dare not pardon, and thy ministers, O God, I do not keep in obscurity.
The examination of them is by thy mind, O God. If, in my person, I commit
offenses, they are not to be attributed to you, the people of the myriad
regions. If you in the myriad regions commit offenses, these offenses must
rest on my person."
Chau conferred great gifts, and the good were
"Although he has his near relatives, they are not equal to my virtuous
men. The people are throwing blame upon me, the One
He carefully attended to the weights and measures, examined the
body of the laws, restored the discarded officers, and the good government
of the kingdom took its course.
He revived states that had been extinguished, restored families
whose line of succession had been broken, and called to office those who
had retired into obscurity, so that throughout the kingdom the hearts of
the people turned towards him.
What he attached chief importance to were the food of the people,
the duties of mourning, and sacrifices.
By his generosity, he won all. By his sincerity, he made the people
repose trust in him. By his earnest activity, his achievements were great.
By his justice, all were delighted.
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