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 others."
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
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 knowledge."
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 be virtuous."
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
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
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
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 with music?"
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
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 colors?'"
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 palm.
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."
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