The Master said, "The men of former times in the matters of
ceremonies and music were rustics, it is said, while the men of
these latter times, in ceremonies and music, are accomplished
"If I have occasion to use those things, I follow the men of
The Master said, "Of those who were with me in Ch'an and Ts'ai,
there are none to be found to enter my door."
Distinguished for their virtuous principles and practice, there were
Yen Yuan, Min Tsze-ch'ien, Zan Po-niu, and Chung-kung; for their
ability in speech, Tsai Wo and Tsze-kung; for their administrative
talents, Zan Yu and Chi Lu; for their literary acquirements, Tsze-yu
The Master said, "Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing
that I say in which he does not delight."
The Master said, "Filial indeed is Min Tsze-ch'ien! Other people
nothing of him different from the report of his parents and
Nan Yung was frequently repeating the lines about a white scepter
stone. Confucius gave him the daughter of his elder brother to wife.
Chi K'ang asked which of the disciples loved to learn. Confucius
replied to him, "There was Yen Hui; he loved to learn.
his appointed time was short, and he died. Now there is no one who
loves to learn, as he did."
When Yen Yuan died, Yen Lu begged the carriage of the Master to sell
and get an outer shell for his son's coffin.
The Master said, "Every one calls his son his son, whether he has
talents or has not talents. There was Li; when he died, he had a
coffin but no outer shell. I would not walk on foot to get a shell for
him, because, having followed in the rear of the great officers, it
was not proper that I should walk on foot."
When Yen Yuan died, the Master said, "Alas! Heaven is destroying
Heaven is destroying me!"
When Yen Yuan died, the Master bewailed him exceedingly, and the
disciples who were with him said, "Master, your grief is
"Is it excessive?" said he. "If I am not to mourn
this man, for whom should I mourn?"
When Yen Yuan died, the disciples wished to give him a great
funeral, and the Master said, "You may not do so."
The disciples did bury him in great style.
The Master said, "Hui behaved towards me as his father. I have not
been able to treat him as my son. The fault is not mine; it belongs to
you, O disciples."
Chi Lu asked about serving the spirits of the dead. The Master said,
"While you are not able to serve men, how can you serve their
spirits?" Chi Lu added, "I venture to ask about death?"
answered, "While you do not know life, how can you know about
The disciple Min was standing by his side, looking bland and
precise; Tsze-lu, looking bold and soldierly; Zan Yu and Tsze-kung,
with a free and straightforward manner. The Master was pleased.
He said, "Yu, there!-he will not die a natural death."
Some parties in Lu were going to take down and rebuild the Long
Min Tsze-ch'ien said, "Suppose it were to be repaired after its
old style;-why must it be altered and made anew?"
The Master said, "This man seldom speaks; when he does, he is sure
to hit the point."
The Master said, "What has the lute of Yu to do in my door?"
The other disciples began not to respect Tszelu. The Master said,
"Yu has ascended to the hall, though he has not yet passed into the
Tsze-kung asked which of the two, Shih or Shang, was the superior.
The Master said, "Shih goes beyond the due mean, and Shang does not
come up to it."
"Then," said Tsze-kung, "the superiority is with Shih, I
The Master said, "To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short."
The head of the Chi family was richer than the duke of Chau had
been, and yet Ch'iu collected his imposts for him, and increased his
The Master said, "He is no disciple of mine. My little children,
beat the drum and assail him."
Ch'ai is simple. Shan is dull. Shih is specious. Yu is coarse.
The Master said, "There is Hui! He has nearly attained to perfect
virtue. He is often in want.
"Ts'ze does not acquiesce in the appointments of Heaven, and his
goods are increased by him. Yet his judgments are often correct."
Tsze-chang asked what were the characteristics of the good man.
The Master said, "He does not tread in the footsteps of others, but
moreover, he does not enter the chamber of the sage."
The Master said, "If, because a man's discourse appears solid and
sincere, we allow him to be a good man, is he really a superior man?
or is his gravity only in appearance?"
Tsze-lu asked whether he should immediately carry into practice what
he heard. The Master said, "There are your father and elder
to be consulted;-why should you act on that principle of immediately
carrying into practice what you hear?" Zan Yu asked the same,
whether he should immediately carry into practice what he heard, and
the Master answered, "Immediately carry into practice what you
hear." Kung-hsi Hwa said, "Yu asked whether he should carry
immediately into practice what he heard, and you said, 'There are your
father and elder brothers to be consulted.' Ch'iu asked whether he
should immediately carry into practice what he heard, and you said,
'Carry it immediately into practice.' I, Ch'ih, am perplexed, and
venture to ask you for an explanation." The Master said, "Ch'iu
retiring and slow; therefore I urged him forward. Yu has more than his
own share of energy; therefore I kept him back."
The Master was put in fear in K'wang and Yen Yuan fell behind. The
Master, on his rejoining him, said, "I thought you had died."
replied, "While you were alive, how should I presume to die?"
Chi Tsze-zan asked whether Chung Yu and Zan Ch'iu could be called
The Master said, "I thought you would ask about some extraordinary
individuals, and you only ask about Yu and Ch'iu!
"What is called a great minister, is one who serves his prince
according to what is right, and when he finds he cannot do so,
"Now, as to Yu and Ch'iu, they may be called ordinary
Tsze-zan said, "Then they will always follow their chief;-win
The Master said, "In an act of parricide or regicide, they would
Tsze-lu got Tsze-kao appointed governor of Pi.
The Master said, "You are injuring a man's son."
Tsze-lu said, "There are, there, common people and officers; there
are the altars of the spirits of the land and grain. Why must one read
books before he can be considered to have learned?"
The Master said, "It is on this account that I hate your
Tsze-lu, Tsang Hsi, Zan Yu, and Kunghsi Hwa were sitting by the
He said to them, "Though I am a day or so older than you, do not
think of that.
"From day to day you are saying, 'We are not known.' If some ruler
were to know you, what would you like to do?"
Tsze-lu hastily and lightly replied, "Suppose the case of a state
ten thousand chariots; let it be straitened between other large
cities; let it be suffering from invading armies; and to this let
there be added a famine in corn and in all vegetables:-if I were
intrusted with the government of it, in three years' time I could make
the people to be bold, and to recognize the rules of righteous
conduct." The Master smiled at him.
Turning to Yen Yu, he said, "Ch'iu, what are your wishes?"
replied, "Suppose a state of sixty or seventy li square, or one of
fifty or sixty, and let me have the government of it;-in three
years' time, I could make plenty to abound among the people. As to
teaching them the principles of propriety, and music, I must wait
for the rise of a superior man to do that."
"What are your wishes, Ch'ih," said the Master next to Kung-hsi
Ch'ih replied, "I do not say that my ability extends to these
things, but I should wish to learn them. At the services of the
ancestral temple, and at the audiences of the princes with the
sovereign, I should like, dressed in the dark square-made robe and the
black linen cap, to act as a small assistant."
Last of all, the Master asked Tsang Hsi, "Tien, what are your
wishes?" Tien, pausing as he was playing on his lute, while it was
twanging, laid the instrument aside, and "My wishes," he said,
different from the cherished purposes of these three gentlemen."
harm is there in that?" said the Master; "do you also, as well
they, speak out your wishes." Tien then said, "In this, the
of spring, with the dress of the season all complete, along with
five or six young men who have assumed the cap, and six or seven boys,
I would wash in the I, enjoy the breeze among the rain altars, and
return home singing." The Master heaved a sigh and said, "I
approval to Tien."
The three others having gone out, Tsang Hsi remained behind, and
said, "What do you think of the words of these three friends?"
Master replied, "They simply told each one his wishes."
Hsi pursued, "Master, why did you smile at Yu?"
He was answered, "The management of a state demands the rules of
propriety. His words were not humble; therefore I smiled at him."
Hsi again said, "But was it not a state which Ch'iu proposed for
himself?" The reply was, "Yes; did you ever see a territory of
or seventy li or one of fifty or sixty, which was not a state?"
Once more, Hsi inquired, "And was it not a state which Ch'ih
proposed for himself?" The Master again replied, "Yes; who but
have to do with ancestral temples, and with audiences but the
sovereign? If Ch'ih were to be a small assistant in these services,
who could be a great one?