The Library

The Analects of Confucius


The Master said, "There is Yung!-He might occupy the place of a
Chung-kung asked about Tsze-sang Po-tsze. The Master said, "He may
pass. He does not mind small matters."
Chung-kung said, "If a man cherish in himself a reverential
feeling of the necessity of attention to business, though he may be
easy in small matters in his government of the people, that may be
allowed. But if he cherish in himself that easy feeling, and also
carry it out in his practice, is not such an easymode of procedure
The Master said, "Yung's words are right."
The Duke Ai asked which of the disciples loved to learn.
Confucius replied to him, "There was Yen Hui; he loved to learn.
He did not transfer his anger; he did not repeat a fault.
Unfortunately, his appointed time was short and he died; and now there
is not such another. I have not yet heard of any one who loves to
learn as he did."
Tsze-hwa being employed on a mission to Ch'i, the disciple Zan
requested grain for his mother. The Master said, "Give her a fu."
Yen requested more. "Give her a yi," said the Master. Yen gave her
five ping.
The Master said, "When Ch'ih was proceeding to Ch'i, he had fat
horses to his carriage, and wore light furs. I have heard that a
superior man helps the distressed, but does not add to the wealth of
the rich."
Yuan Sze being made governor of his town by the Master, he gave
him nine hundred measures of grain, but Sze declined them.
The Master said, "Do not decline them. May you not give them away in
the neighborhoods, hamlets, towns, and villages?"
The Master, speaking of Chung-kung, said, "If the calf of a brindled
cow be red and homed, although men may not wish to use it, would the
spirits of the mountains and rivers put it aside?"
The Master said, "Such was Hui that for three months there would
be nothing in his mind contrary to perfect virtue. The others may
attain to this on some days or in some months, but nothing more."
Chi K'ang asked about Chung-yu, whether he was fit to be employed as
an officer of government. The Master said, "Yu is a man of decision;
what difficulty would he find in being an officer of government?"
K'ang asked, "Is Ts'ze fit to be employed as an officer of
government?" and was answered, "Ts'ze is a man of intelligence; what
difficulty would he find in being an officer of government?" And to
the same question about Ch'iu the Master gave the same reply,
saying, "Ch'iu is a man of various ability."
The chief of the Chi family sent to ask Min Tsze-ch'ien to be
governor of Pi. Min Tszech'ien said, "Decline the offer for me
politely. If any one come again to me with a second invitation, I
shall be obliged to go and live on the banks of the Wan."
Po-niu being ill, the Master went to ask for him. He took hold of
his hand through the window, and said, "It is killing him. It is the
appointment of Heaven, alas! That such a man should have such a
sickness! That such a man should have such a sickness!"
The Master said, "Admirable indeed was the virtue of Hui! With a
single bamboo dish of rice, a single gourd dish of drink, and living
in his mean narrow lane, while others could not have endured the
distress, he did not allow his joy to be affected by it. Admirable
indeed was the virtue of Hui!"
Yen Ch'iu said, "It is not that I do not delight in your
doctrines, but my strength is insufficient." The Master said, "Those
whose strength is insufficient give over in the middle of the way
but now you limit yourself."
The Master said to Tsze-hsia, "Do you be a scholar after the style
of the superior man, and not after that of the mean man."
Tsze-yu being governor of Wu-ch'ang, the Master said to him, "Have
you got good men there?" He answered, "There is Tan-t'ai Miehming, who
never in walking takes a short cut, and never comes to my office,
excepting on public business."
The Master said, "Mang Chih-fan does not boast of his merit. Being
in the rear on an occasion of flight, when they were about to enter
the gate, he whipped up his horse, saying, "It is not that I dare to
be last. My horse would not advance."
The Master said, "Without the specious speech of the litanist T'o
and the beauty of the prince Chao of Sung, it is difficult to escape
in the present age."
The Master said, "Who can go out but by the door? How is it that men
will not walk according to these ways?"
The Master said, "Where the solid qualities are in excess of
accomplishments, we have rusticity; where the accomplishments are in
excess of the solid qualities, we have the manners of a clerk. When
the accomplishments and solid qualities are equally blended, we then
have the man of virtue."
The Master said, "Man is born for uprightness. If a man lose his
uprightness, and yet live, his escape from death is the effect of mere
good fortune."
The Master said, "They who know the truth are not equal to those who
love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in
The Master said, "To those whose talents are above mediocrity, the
highest subjects may be announced. To those who are below
mediocrity, the highest subjects may not be announced."
Fan Ch'ih asked what constituted wisdom. The Master said, "To give
one's self earnestly to the duties due to men, and, while respecting
spiritual beings, to keep aloof from them, may be called wisdom." He
asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "The man of virtue
makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success
only a subsequent consideration;-this may be called perfect virtue."
The Master said, "The wise find pleasure in water; the virtuous find
pleasure in hills. The wise are active; the virtuous are tranquil. The
wise are joyful; the virtuous are long-lived."
The Master said, "Ch'i, by one change, would come to the State of
Lu. Lu, by one change, would come to a State where true principles
The Master said, "A cornered vessel without corners-a strange
cornered vessel! A strange cornered vessel!"
Tsai Wo asked, saying, "A benevolent man, though it be told
him,-'There is a man in the well" will go in after him, I suppose."
Confucius said, "Why should he do so?" A superior man may be made to
go to the well, but he cannot be made to go down into it. He may be
imposed upon, but he cannot be fooled."
The Master said, "The superior man, extensively studying all
learning, and keeping himself under the restraint of the rules of
propriety, may thus likewise not overstep what is right."
The Master having visited Nan-tsze, Tsze-lu was displeased, on which
the Master swore, saying, "Wherein I have done improperly, may
Heaven reject me, may Heaven reject me!"
The Master said, "Perfect is the virtue which is according to the
Constant Mean! Rare for a long time has been its practice among the
Tsze-kung said, "Suppose the case of a man extensively conferring
benefits on the people, and able to assist all, what would you say
of him? Might he be called perfectly virtuous?" The Master said,
"Why speak only of virtue in connection with him? Must he not have the
qualities of a sage? Even Yao and Shun were still solicitous about
"Now the man of perfect virtue, wishing to be established himself,
seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged himself, he
seeks also to enlarge others.
"To be able to judge of others by what is nigh in ourselves;-this
may be called the art of virtue."