Wang-sun Chia asked, saying, "What
is the meaning of the saying, 'It is better to pay court to the
furnace then to the southwest corner?'"
The Master said, "Not so. He who offends against Heaven has none
to whom he can pray."
The Master said, "Chau had the advantage of viewing the two past
dynasties. How complete and elegant are its regulations! I
The Master, when he entered the grand temple, asked about
everything. Some one said, "Who say that the son of the man of
Tsau knows the rules of propriety! He has entered the grand
temple and asks about everything." The Master heard the remark,
and said, "This is a rule of propriety."
The Master said, "In archery it is not going through the leather
which is the principal thing;-because people's strength is not
equal. This was the old way."
Tsze-kung wished to do away with the offering of a sheep
connected with the inauguration of the first day of each month.
The Master said, "Ts'ze, you love the sheep; I love the
The Master said, "The full observance of the rules of propriety
in serving one's prince is accounted by people to be flattery."
The Duke Ting asked how a prince should employ his ministers,
and how ministers should serve their prince. Confucius replied,
"A prince should employ his minister according to according to
the rules of propriety; ministers should serve their prince with
The Master said, "The Kwan Tsu is expressive of enjoyment
without being licentious, and of grief without being hurtfully
The Duke Ai asked Tsai Wo about the altars of the spirits of the
land. Tsai Wo replied, "The Hsia sovereign planted the pine tree
about them; the men of the Yin planted the cypress; and the men
of the Chau planted the chestnut tree, meaning thereby to cause
the people to be in awe."
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, "Small indeed was the capacity of Kwan Chung!"
Some one said, "Was Kwan Chung parsimonious?" "Kwan," was the
reply, "had the San Kwei, and his officers performed no double
duties; how can he be considered parsimonious?"
"Then, did Kwan Chung know the rules of propriety?" The Master
said, "The princes of States have a screen intercepting the view
at their gates. Kwan had likewise a screen at his gate. The
princes of States on any friendly meeting between two of them,
had a stand on which to place their inverted cups. Kwan had also
such a stand. If Kwan knew the rules of propriety, who does not
The Master instructing the grand music master of Lu said, "How
to play music may be known. At the commencement of the piece,
all the parts should sound together. As it proceeds, they should
be in harmony while severally distinct and flowing without
break, and thus on to the conclusion."
The border warden at Yi requested to be introduced to the
Master, saying, "When men of superior virtue have come to this,
I have never been denied the privilege of seeing them." The
followers of the sage introduced him, and when he came out from
the interview, he said, "My friends, why are you distressed by
your master's loss of office? The kingdom has long been without
the principles of truth and right; Heaven is going to use your
master as a bell with its wooden tongue."
The Master said of the Shao that it was perfectly beautiful and
also perfectly good. He said of the Wu that it was perfectly
beautiful but not perfectly good.
The Master said, "High station filled without indulgent
generosity; ceremonies performed without reverence; mourning
conducted without sorrow;-wherewith should I contemplate such
The Master said, "It is virtuous manners which constitute the
excellence of a neighborhood. If a man in selecting a residence
do not fix on one where such prevail, how can he be wise?"
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
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 Master said, "Riches and honors are what men desire. If they
cannot be obtained in the proper way, they should not be held.
Poverty and meanness are what men dislike. If they cannot be
avoided in the proper way, they should not be avoided.
"If a superior man abandon virtue, how can he fulfill the
requirements of that name?
"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
"Should there possibly be any such case, I have not seen it."
The Master said, "The faults of men are characteristic of the
class to which they belong. By observing a man's faults, it may
be known that he is virtuous."
The Master said, "If a man in the morning hear the right way, he
may die in the evening hear regret."
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
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: "He who acts with a constant view to his own
advantage will be much murmured against."
The Master said, "If a prince is able to govern his kingdom with
the complaisance proper to the rules of propriety, what
difficulty will he have? If he cannot govern it with that
complaisance, what has he to do with the rules of propriety?"
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
The Master said, "Shan, my doctrine is that of an all-pervading
unity." The disciple Tsang replied, "Yes."
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
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."