The Master said, "Who says of
Weishang Kao that he is upright? One begged some vinegar of him,
and he begged it of a neighbor and gave it to the man."
The Master said, "Fine words, an insinuating appearance, and
excessive respect;-Tso Ch'iu-ming was ashamed of them. I also am
ashamed of them. To conceal resentment against a person, and
appear friendly with him;-Tso Ch'iu-ming was ashamed of such
conduct. I also am ashamed of it."
Yen Yuan and Chi Lu being by his side, the Master said to them,
"Come, let each of you tell his wishes."
Tsze-lu said, "I should like, having chariots and horses, and
light fur clothes, to share them with my friends, and though
they should spoil them, I would not be displeased."
Yen Yuan said, "I should like not to boast of my excellence, nor
to make a display of my meritorious deeds."
Tsze-lu then said, "I should like, sir, to hear your wishes."
The Master said, "They are, in regard to the aged, to give them
rest; in regard to friends, to show them sincerity; in regard to
the young, to treat them tenderly."
The Master said, "It is all over. I have not yet seen one who
could perceive his faults, and inwardly accuse himself."
The Master said, "In a hamlet of ten families, there may be
found one honorable and sincere as I am, but not so fond of
The Master said, "There is Yung!-He might occupy the place of a
Chung-kung asked about Tsze-sang Po-tsze. The Master said, "He
may pass. He does not mind small matters."
Chung-kung said, "If a man cherish in himself a reverential
feeling of the necessity of attention to business, though he may
be easy in small matters in his government of the people, that
may be allowed. But if he cherish in himself that easy feeling,
and also carry it out in his practice, is not such an easymode
of procedure excessive?"
The Master said, "Yung's words are right."
The Duke Ai asked which of the disciples loved to learn.
Confucius replied to him, "There was Yen Hui; he loved to learn.
He did not transfer his anger; he did not repeat a fault.
Unfortunately, his appointed time was short and he died; and now
there is not such another. I have not yet heard of any one who
loves to learn as he did."
Tsze-hwa being employed on a mission to Ch'i, the disciple Zan
requested grain for his mother. The Master said, "Give her a
fu." Yen requested more. "Give her a yi," said the Master. Yen
gave her five ping.
The Master said, "When Ch'ih was proceeding to Ch'i, he had fat
horses to his carriage, and wore light furs. I have heard that a
superior man helps the distressed, but does not add to the
wealth of the rich."
Yuan Sze being made governor of his town by the Master, he gave
him nine hundred measures of grain, but Sze declined them.
The Master said, "Do not decline them. May you not give them
away in the neighborhoods, hamlets, towns, and villages?"
The Master, speaking of Chung-kung, said, "If the calf of a
brindled cow be red and homed, although men may not wish to use
it, would the spirits of the mountains and rivers put it aside?"
The Master said, "Such was Hui that for three months there would
be nothing in his mind contrary to perfect virtue. The others
may attain to this on some days or in some months, but nothing
Chi K'ang asked about Chung-yu, whether he was fit to be
employed as an officer of government. The Master said, "Yu is a
man of decision; what difficulty would he find in being an
officer of government?" K'ang asked, "Is Ts'ze fit to be
employed as an officer of government?" and was answered, "Ts'ze
is a man of intelligence; what difficulty would he find in being
an officer of government?" And to the same question about Ch'iu
the Master gave the same reply, saying, "Ch'iu is a man of
The chief of the Chi family sent to ask Min Tsze-ch'ien to be
governor of Pi. Min Tszech'ien said, "Decline the offer for me
politely. If any one come again to me with a second invitation,
I shall be obliged to go and live on the banks of the Wan."
Po-niu being ill, the Master went to ask for him. He took hold
of his hand through the window, and said, "It is killing him. It
is the appointment of Heaven, alas! That such a man should have
such a sickness! That such a man should have such a sickness!"
The Master said, "Admirable indeed was the virtue of Hui! With a
single bamboo dish of rice, a single gourd dish of drink, and
living in his mean narrow lane, while others could not have
endured the distress, he did not allow his joy to be affected by
it. Admirable indeed was the virtue of Hui!"
Yen Ch'iu said, "It is not that I do not delight in your
doctrines, but my strength is insufficient." The Master said,
"Those whose strength is insufficient give over in the middle of
the way but now you limit yourself."
The Master said to Tsze-hsia, "Do you be a scholar after the
style of the superior man, and not after that of the mean man."
Tsze-yu being governor of Wu-ch'ang, the Master said to him,
"Have you got good men there?" He answered, "There is Tan-t'ai
Miehming, who never in walking takes a short cut, and never
comes to my office, excepting on public business."
The Master said, "Mang Chih-fan does not boast of his merit.
Being in the rear on an occasion of flight, when they were about
to enter the gate, he whipped up his horse, saying, "It is not
that I dare to be last. My horse would not advance."
The Master said, "Without the specious speech of the litanist
T'o and the beauty of the prince Chao of Sung, it is difficult
to escape in the present age."
The Master said, "Who can go out but by the door? How is it that
men will not walk according to these ways?"
The Master said, "Where the solid qualities are in excess of
accomplishments, we have rusticity; where the accomplishments
are in excess of the solid qualities, we have the manners of a
clerk. When the accomplishments and solid qualities are equally
blended, we then have the man of virtue."
The Master said, "Man is born for uprightness. If a man lose his
uprightness, and yet live, his escape from death is the effect
of mere good fortune."
The Master said, "They who know the truth are not equal to those
who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who
delight in it."
The Master said, "To those whose talents are above mediocrity,
the highest subjects may be announced. To those who are below
mediocrity, the highest subjects may not be announced."
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."
The Master said, "Ch'i, by one change, would come to the State
of Lu. Lu, by one change, would come to a State where true
The Master said, "A cornered vessel without corners-a strange
cornered vessel! A strange cornered vessel!"
Tsai Wo asked, saying, "A benevolent man, though it be told
him,-'There is a man in the well" will go in after him, I
suppose." Confucius said, "Why should he do so?" A superior man
may be made to go to the well, but he cannot be made to go down
into it. He may be imposed upon, but he cannot be fooled."
The Master said, "The superior man, extensively studying all
learning, and keeping himself under the restraint of the rules
of propriety, may thus likewise not overstep what is right."
The Master having visited Nan-tsze, Tsze-lu was displeased, on
which the Master swore, saying, "Wherein I have done improperly,
may Heaven reject me, may Heaven reject me!"