Tsze-kung said, "What do you mean by thus saying-that no one knows
you?" The Master replied, "I do not murmur against Heaven. I do not
grumble against men. My studies lie low, and my penetration rises
high. But there is Heaven;-that knows me!"
The Kung-po Liao, having slandered Tsze-lu to Chi-sun, Tsze-fu
Ching-po informed Confucius of it, saying, "Our master is certainly
being led astray by the Kung-po Liao, but I have still power enough
left to cut Liao off, and expose his corpse in the market and in the
The Master said, "If my principles are to advance, it is so ordered.
If they are to fall to the ground, it is so ordered. What can the
Kung-po Liao do where such ordering is concerned?"
The Master said, "Some men of worth retire from the world. Some
retire from particular states. Some retire because of disrespectful
looks. Some retire because of contradictory language."
The Master said, "Those who have done this are seven men."
Tsze-lu happening to pass the night in Shih-man, the gatekeeper said
to him, "Whom do you come from?" Tsze-lu said, "From Mr. K'ung." "It
is he,-is it not?"-said the other, "who knows the impracticable nature
of the times and yet will be doing in them."
The Master was playing, one day, on a musical stone in Weil when a
man carrying a straw basket passed door of the house where Confucius
was, and said, "His heart is full who so beats the musical stone."
A little while after, he added, "How contemptible is the
one-ideaed obstinacy those sounds display! When one is taken no notice
of, he has simply at once to give over his wish for public employment.
'Deep water must be crossed with the clothes on; shallow water may
be crossed with the clothes held up.'"
The Master said, "How determined is he in his purpose! But this is
Tsze-chang said, "What is meant when the Shu says that Kao-tsung,
while observing the usual imperial mourning, was for three years
The Master said, "Why must Kao-tsung be referred to as an example of
this? The ancients all did so. When the sovereign died, the officers
all attended to their several duties, taking instructions from the
prime minister for three years."
The Master said, "When rulers love to observe the rules of
propriety, the people respond readily to the calls on them for
Tsze-lu asked what constituted the superior man. The Master said,
"The cultivation of himself in reverential carefulness." "And is
this all?" said Tsze-lu. "He cultivates himself so as to give rest
to others," was the reply. "And is this all?" again asked Tsze-lu. The
Master said, "He cultivates himself so as to give rest to all the
people. He cultivates himself so as to give rest to all the
people:-even Yao and Shun were still solicitous about this."
Yuan Zang was squatting on his heels, and so waited the approach
of the Master, who said to him, "In youth not humble as befits a
junior; in manhood, doing nothing worthy of being handed down; and
living on to old age:-this is to be a pest." With this he hit him on
the shank with his staff.
A youth of the village of Ch'ueh was employed by Confucius to
carry the messages between him and his visitors. Some one asked
about him, saying, "I suppose he has made great progress."
The Master said, "I observe that he is fond of occupying the seat of
a full-grown man; I observe that he walks shoulder to shoulder with
his elders. He is not one who is seeking to make progress in learning.
He wishes quickly to become a man."
The Duke Ling of Wei asked Confucius about tactics. Confucius
replied, "I have heard all about sacrificial vessels, but I have not
learned military matters." On this, he took his departure the next
When he was in Chan, their provisions were exhausted, and his
followers became so in that they were unable to rise.
Tsze-lu, with evident dissatisfaction, said, "Has the superior man
likewise to endure in this way?" The Master said, "The superior man
may indeed have to endure want, but the mean man, when he is in
want, gives way to unbridled license."
The Master said, "Ts'ze, you think, I suppose, that I am one who
learns many things and keeps them in memory?"
Tsze-kung replied, "Yes,-but perhaps it is not so?"
"No," was the answer; "I seek a unity all pervading."
The Master said, "Yu I those who know virtue are few."
The Master said, "May not Shun be instanced as having governed
efficiently without exertion? What did he do? He did nothing but
gravely and reverently occupy his royal seat."
Tsze-chang asked how a man should conduct himself, so as to be
The Master said, "Let his words be sincere and truthful and his
actions honorable and careful;-such conduct may be practiced among the
rude tribes of the South or the North. If his words be not sincere and
truthful and his actions not honorable and carefull will he, with such
conduct, be appreciated, even in his neighborhood?
"When he is standing, let him see those two things, as it were,
fronting him. When he is in a carriage, let him see them attached to
the yoke. Then may he subsequently carry them into practice."
Tsze-chang wrote these counsels on the end of his sash.
The Master said, "Truly straightforward was the historiographer
Yu. When good government prevailed in his state, he was like an arrow.
When bad government prevailed, he was like an arrow. A superior man
indeed is Chu Po-yu! When good government prevails in his state, he is
to be found in office. When bad government prevails, he can roll his
principles up, and keep them in his breast."
The Master said, "When a man may be spoken with, not to speak to him
is to err in reference to the man. When a man may not be spoken
with, to speak to him is to err in reference to our words. The wise
err neither in regard to their man nor to their words."
The Master said, "The determined scholar and the man of virtue
will not seek to live at the expense of injuring their virtue. They
will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their virtue complete."
Tsze-kung asked about the practice of virtue. The Master said,
"The mechanic, who wishes to do his work well, must first sharpen
his tools. When you are living in any state, take service with the
most worthy among its great officers, and make friends of the most
virtuous among its scholars."
Yen Yuan asked how the government of a country should be
The Master said, "Follow the seasons of Hsia.
"Ride in the state carriage of Yin.
"Wear the ceremonial cap of Chau.
"Let the music be the Shao with its pantomimes. Banish the songs
of Chang, and keep far from specious talkers. The songs of Chang are
licentious; specious talkers are dangerous."
The Master said, "If a man take no thought about what is distant, he
will find sorrow near at hand."
The Master said, "It is all over! I have not seen one who loves
virtue as he loves beauty."
The Master said, "Was not Tsang Wan like one who had stolen his
situation? He knew the virtue and the talents of Hui of Liu-hsia,
and yet did not procure that he should stand with him in court."
The Master said, "He who requires much from himself and little
from others, will keep himself from being the object of resentment."
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