The Library

The Analects of Confucius


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."
The Master said, "In serving his parents, a son may remonstrate with
them, but gently; when he sees that they do not incline to follow
his advice, he shows an increased degree of reverence, but does not
abandon his purpose; and should they punish him, he does not allow
himself to murmur."
The Master said, "While his parents are alive, the son may not go
abroad to a distance. If he does go abroad, he must have a fixed place
to which he goes."
The Master said, "If the son for three years does not alter from the
way of his father, he may be called filial."
The Master said, "The years of parents may by no means not be kept
in the memory, as an occasion at once for joy and for fear."
The Master said, "The reason why the ancients did not readily give
utterance to their words, was that they feared lest their actions
should not come up to them."
The Master said, "The cautious seldom err."
The Master said, "The superior man wishes to be slow in his speech
and earnest in his conduct."
The Master said, "Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who
practices it will have neighbors."
Tsze-yu said, "In serving a prince, frequent remonstrances lead to
disgrace. Between friends, frequent reproofs make the friendship