The Analects (II)

Confucius, and D. C. Lau. The Analects (Lun Yü). Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979. Print.

(Book I – Book X)

Book I

1… “Is not gentlemanly not to take offense when others fail to appreciate your abilities?”

4. Tseng Tzu said, ‘Every day I examine myself on three counts. In what I have undertaken on another’s behalf, have I failed to do my best? In my dealings with my friends have I failed to be trustworthy in what I say? Have I passed on to others anything that I have not tried out myself?

8… ”Make it your guiding principle to do your best for others and to be trustworthy in what you say. Do not accept as friend anyone who is not as good as you.’

12 Yu Tzu said, ‘Of the things brought about by the rites, harmony is the most valuable. Of the ways of the Former Kings, this is the most beautiful, and is followed alike in matters great and small, yet this will not always work: to aim always at harmony without regulating it by the rites simply because one knows only about harmony will not, in fact, work.’

14. The Master said, ‘The gentleman seeks neither a full belly not a comfortable home. He is quick in action but cautious in speech. He goes to men possessed of the Way to be put right. Such a man can be described as eager to learn.’

Book II

4. The Master said, ‘At fifteen I set my heart on learning; at thirty I took my stand; at forty I came to be free from doubts; at fifty I understood the Decree of Heaven; at sixty my ear was atuned; at seventy I followed my heart’s desire without overstepping the line.’

6. Meng Wu Po asked about being filial. The Master said, ‘Give your father and mother no other cause for anxiety than illness.’

13. Tzu-kung asked about the gentleman. The Master said, ‘He puts his words into action before allowing his words to follow his action.’

14. The Master said, ‘The gentleman enters into associations by not cliques; the small man enters into cliques but not associations.’

17. The Master said, ‘Yu, shall I tell you what it is to know. To say you know when you know, and to say you do not when you do not, that is knowledge.’

20…. The Master said, ‘Rule over them with dignity and they will be reverent; treat them with kindness and they will do their best; raise the good and instruct those who are backward and they will be imbued with enthusiasm.’

21… The Master said, ‘The Book of History says, “Oh! Simply by being a good son and friendly to his brothers a man can exert an influence upon government.” In so doing a man is, in fact, taking part in government…”

Book IV

1. The Master said, ‘Of the neighbourhoods benevolence is the most beautiful. How can the man be considered wise who, when he has the choice, does not settle in benevolence?’

7. The Master said, ‘In his errors a man is true to type. Observe the errors and you will know the man.’

9. The Master said, ‘There is no point in seeking the views of a Gentleman who, though he sets his hear on the Way, is ashamed of poor food and poor clothes.’

12. The Master said, ‘If one is guided by profit in one’s actions, one will incur much ill will.’

14. The Master said, ‘Do not worry because you have no official position. Worry about your qualifications. Do not worry because no one appreciates your abilities. Seek to be worthy of appreciation.’

15… Tseng Tzu sai, ‘The way of the Master consists in doing one’s best and in using oneself as a measure to gauge others. That is all.’

16. The Master said, ‘The gentleman understand what is moral. The small man understands what is profitable.’

17. The Master said, ‘When you meet someone better than yourself, turn your thoughts to becoming his equal. When you meet someone not as good as you are, look within and examine your own self.’

18. The Master said, ‘In serving your father and mother you ought to dissuade them from doing wrong in the gentlest way. If you see your advice being ignored, you should not become disobedient but remain reverent. You should not complain even if in so doing you wear yourself out.’

24. The Master said, ‘The gentleman desires to be halting in speech but quick in action.’

Book V

15. Tzu-kung asked, ‘Why was K’ung Wen Tzy called “wen”?’
The Master said, ‘He was quick and eager to learn: he was not ashamed to seek the advice of those who were beneath him in station. That is why he was called “wen”.

20. Chi Wen Tzu always thought three times before taking action. When the Master was told of this, he commented, ‘Twice is quite enough.’

21. The Master said, ‘Cunning words, an ingratiating face and utter servility, the things Tso-ch’iu Ming found shameful. I, too, find them shameful. To be friendly towards someone while concealing one’s hospitality, this Tso-ch’iu Ming found shameful. I, too, find it shameful.’

Book VI

11. The Master said, ‘How admirable Hui is! Living in a mean dwelling on a bowlful of rice and a ladleful of water is a hardship most men would find intolerable, but Hui does not allow this to affect his joy. How admirable Hui is!’

22… The Master said, ‘The benevolent man reaps the benefit only after overcoming difficulties. That can be called benevolence.’

Book VII

3. The Master said, ‘It is these things that cause me concern: failure to cultivate virtue, failure to go more deeply into what I have learned, inability, when I am told what is right, to move to where it is, and inability to reform myself when I have defects.’

6. The Master said, ‘I have set my heart on the Way, base myself on virtue, lean upon benevolence for support and take my recreation in the arts.’

11… The Master said, ‘I would not take with me anyone who would try to fight a tiger with his bare hands or to walk across the River and die in the process without regrets. If I took anyone it would have to be a man who, when faced with a task, was fearful of failure and who, while fond of making plans, was capable of successful execution.’

14. The Master heard the shao (the music of Shun) in Ch’i and for three months did not notice the taste of the meat he ate. He said, ‘I never dreamt that the joys of music could reach such heights.’

22. The Master said, ‘Even when walking in the company of two other men, I am bound to be able to learn from them. The good points of the one I copy; the bad points of the other I correct in myself.’

25. The Master instructs under four heads: culture, moral conduct, doing one’s best and being trustworthy in what one says.

31…the Master said, ‘I am a fortunate man. Whenever I make a mistake, other people are sure to notice it.’

36. The Master said, ‘Extravagance means ostentation, frugality means shabbiness. I would rather be shabby than ostentatious.’

37. The Master said, ‘The gentleman is easy of mind, while the small man is always full of anxiety.’


5. Tseng Tzu said, ‘To be able yet to ask the advice of those who are not able. To have many talents yet to ask the advice of those who have few. To have yet to appear to want. To be full yet to appear empty. To be transgressed against yet not to mind. It was towards this end that my friend used to direct his efforts.’

9. The Master said, ‘The common people can be made to follow a path but not to understand it.’

10. The Master said, ‘Being fond of courage while detesting poverty will lead men to unruly behaviour. Excessive detestation of men who are not benevolent will provoke them to unruly behaviour.’

11. The Master said, ‘Even with a man as gifted as the Duke of Chou, if he was arrogant and miserly, then the rest of his qualities would not be worthy of admiration.’

13. The Master said, ‘have the firm faith to devote yourself to learning, and abide to the death in the good way. Enter not a state that is in peril; stay not in a state that is in danger. Show yourself when the Way prevails in the Empire, but hide yourself when it does not. It is a shameful matter to be poor and humble when the Way prevails in the state. Equally, it is a shameful matter to be rich and noble when the Way falls into disuse in the state.’

Book IX

1. The occasions on which the Master talked about profit, Destiny and benevolence were rare.

4. There were four things the Master refused to have anything to do with: he refused to entertain conjectures or insist on certainty; he refused to be inflexible or to be egotistical.

29. The Master said, ‘The man of wisdom is never in two minds; the man of benevolence never worries; the man of courage is never afraid.’

Book X

1. In the local community, Confucius was submissive and seemed to be inarticulate. In the ancestral temple and at court, though fluent, he did not speak lightly.

2. At court, when speaking with Counsellors of lower rank he was affable; when speaking with Counsellors of upper rang, he was frank though respectful In the presence of his lord, his bearing, though respectful, was composed.

7… In periods of purification, he invariably changed to a more austere diet and, when at home, did not sit in his usual place.

8… He did not eat food that was not properly prepared nor did he eat except at the proper times… Even when there was plenty of meat, he avoided eating more meat than rice.
Only in the case of wine did he not set himself a rigid limit. He simply never drank to the point of becoming confused.

10.  He did not converse at meals; nor did he talk in bed.

17. The stables caught fire. The Master, on returning from court, asked, ‘Was anyone hurt?’ He did not ask about the horses.

25… When he met someone wearing a ceremonial cap or someone blind, even though they were well-known to him, he invariably showed them respect.