Tsze-hsia asked what filial piety
was. The Master said, "The difficulty is with the countenance.
If, when their elders have any troublesome affairs, the young
take the toil of them, and if, when the young have wine and
food, they set them before their elders, is THIS to be
considered filial piety?"
The Master said, "I have talked with Hui for a whole day, and he
has not made any objection to anything I said;-as if he were
stupid. He has retired, and I have examined his conduct when
away from me, and found him able to illustrate my teachings. Hui!-He
is not stupid."
The Master said, "See what a man does.
"Mark his motives.
"Examine in what things he rests.
"How can a man conceal his character? How can a man conceal his
The Master said, "If a man keeps cherishing his old knowledge,
so as continually to be acquiring new, he may be a teacher of
The Master said, "The accomplished scholar is not a utensil."
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, "The study of strange doctrines is injurious
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
Tsze-chang was learning with a view to official emolument.
The Master said, "Hear much and put aside the points of which
you stand in doubt, while you speak cautiously at the same time
of the others:-then you will afford few occasions for blame. See
much and put aside the things which seem perilous, while you are
cautious at the same time in carrying the others into practice:
then you will have few occasions for repentance. When one gives
few occasions for blame in his words, and few occasions for
repentance in his conduct, he is in the way to get emolument."
The Duke Ai asked, saying, "What should be done in order to
secure the submission of the people?" Confucius replied,
"Advance the upright and set aside the crooked, then the people
will submit. Advance the crooked and set aside the upright, then
the people will not submit."
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
Some one addressed Confucius, saying, "Sir, why are you not
engaged in the government?"
The Master said, "What does the Shu-ching say of filial
piety?-'You are final, you discharge your brotherly duties.
These qualities are displayed in government.' This then also
constitutes the exercise of government. Why must there be
THAT-making one be in the government?"
The Master said, "I do not know how a man without truthfulness
is to get on. How can a large carriage be made to go without the
crossbar for yoking the oxen to, or a small carriage without the
arrangement for yoking the horses?"
Tsze-chang asked whether the affairs of ten ages after could be
Confucius said, "The Yin dynasty followed the regulations of the
Hsia: wherein it took from or added to them may be known. The
Chau dynasty has followed the regulations of Yin: wherein it
took from or added to them may be known. Some other may follow
the Chau, but though it should be at the distance of a hundred
ages, its affairs may be known."
The Master said, "For a man to sacrifice to a spirit which does
not belong to him is flattery.
"To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage."
Confucius said of the head of the Chi family, who had eight rows
of pantomimes in his area, "If he can bear to do this, what may
he not bear to do?"
The three families used the Yungode, while the vessels were
being removed, at the conclusion of the sacrifice. The Master
said, "'Assisting are the princes;-the son of heaven looks
profound and grave';-what application can these words have in
the hall of the three families?"
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
Lin Fang asked what was the first thing to be attended to in
The Master said, "A great question indeed!
"In festive ceremonies, it is better to be sparing than
extravagant. In the ceremonies of mourning, it is better that
there be deep sorrow than in minute attention to observances."
The Master said, "The rude tribes of the east and north have
their princes, and are not like the States of our great land
which are without them."
The chief of the Chi family was about to sacrifice to the T'ai
mountain. The Master said to Zan Yu, "Can you not save him from
this?" He answered, "I cannot." Confucius said, "Alas! will you
say that the T'ai mountain is not so discerning as Lin Fang?"
The Master said, "The student of virtue has no contentions. If
it be said he cannot avoid them, shall this be in archery? But
he bows complaisantly to his competitors; thus he ascends the
hall, descends, and exacts the forfeit of drinking. In his
contention, he is still the Chun-tsze."
Tsze-hsia asked, saying, "What is the meaning of the
passage-'The pretty dimples of her artful smile! The
well-defined black and white of her eye! The plain ground for
The Master said, "The business of laying on the colors follows
the preparation of the plain ground."
"Ceremonies then are a subsequent thing?" The Master said, "It
is Shang who can bring out my meaning. Now I can begin to talk
about the odes with him."
The Master said, "I could describe the ceremonies of the Hsia
dynasty, but Chi cannot sufficiently attest my words. I could
describe the ceremonies of the Yin dynasty, but Sung cannot
sufficiently attest my words. They cannot do so because of the
insufficiency of their records and wise men. If those were
sufficient, I could adduce them in support of my words."
The Master said, "At the great sacrifice, after the pouring out
of the libation, I have no wish to look on."
Some one asked the meaning of the great sacrifice. The Master
said, "I do not know. He who knew its meaning would find it as
easy to govern the kingdom as to look on this"-pointing to his
He sacrificed to the dead, as if they were present. He
sacrificed to the spirits, as if the spirits were present.
The Master said, "I consider my not being present at the
sacrifice, as if I did not sacrifice."