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 follow
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 ceremony."
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 excessive."
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
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 know them?"
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
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 ways?"
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 virtue."
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 insufficient.
"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 discoursed
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
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 known."
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 gain."
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."
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