The Library

The Analects of Confucius


Tsze-chang said, "The scholar, trained for public duty, seeing
threatening danger, is prepared to sacrifice his life. When the
opportunity of gain is presented to him, he thinks of righteousness.
In sacrificing, his thoughts are reverential. In mourning, his
thoughts are about the grief which he should feel. Such a man commands
our approbation indeed
Tsze-chang said, "When a man holds fast to virtue, but without
seeking to enlarge it, and believes in right principles, but without
firm sincerity, what account can be made of his existence or
The disciples of Tsze-hsia asked Tsze-chang about the principles
that should characterize mutual intercourse. Tsze-chang asked, "What
does Tsze-hsia say on the subject?" They replied, "Tsze-hsia says:
'Associate with those who can advantage you. Put away from you those
who cannot do so.'" Tsze-chang observed, "This is different from
what I have learned. The superior man honors the talented and
virtuous, and bears with all. He praises the good, and pities the
incompetent. Am I possessed of great talents and virtue?-who is
there among men whom I will not bear with? Am I devoid of talents
and virtue?-men will put me away from them. What have we to do with
the putting away of others?"
Tsze-hsia said, "Even in inferior studies and employments there is
something worth being looked at; but if it be attempted to carry
them out to what is remote, there is a danger of their proving
inapplicable. Therefore, the superior man does not practice them."
Tsze-hsia said, "He, who from day to day recognizes what he has
not yet, and from month to month does not forget what he has
attained to, may be said indeed to love to learn."
Tsze-hsia said, "There are learning extensively, and having a firm
and sincere aim; inquiring with earnestness, and reflecting with
self-application:-virtue is in such a course."
Tsze-hsia said, "Mechanics have their shops to dwell in, in order to
accomplish their works. The superior man learns, in order to reach
to the utmost of his principles."
Tsze-hsia said, "The mean man is sure to gloss his faults."
Tsze-hsia said, "The superior man undergoes three changes. Looked at
from a distance, he appears stern; when approached, he is mild; when
he is heard to speak, his language is firm and decided."
Tsze-hsia said, "The superior man, having obtained their confidence,
may then impose labors on his people. If he have not gained their
confidence, they will think that he is oppressing them. Having
obtained the confidence of his prince, one may then remonstrate with
him. If he have not gained his confidence, the prince will think
that he is vilifying him."
Tsze-hsia said, "When a person does not transgress the boundary line
in the great virtues, he may pass and repass it in the small virtues."
Tsze-yu said, "The disciples and followers of Tsze-hsia, in
sprinkling and sweeping the ground, in answering and replying, in
advancing and receding, are sufficiently accomplished. But these are
only the branches of learning, and they are left ignorant of what is
essential.-How can they be acknowledged as sufficiently taught?"
Tsze-hsia heard of the remark and said, "Alas! Yen Yu is wrong.
According to the way of the superior man in teaching, what departments
are there which he considers of prime importance, and delivers? what
are there which he considers of secondary importance, and allows
himself to be idle about? But as in the case of plants, which are
assorted according to their classes, so he deals with his disciples.
How can the way of a superior man be such as to make fools of any of
them? Is it not the sage alone, who can unite in one the beginning and
the consummation of learning?"
Tsze-hsia said, "The officer, having discharged all his duties,
should devote his leisure to learning. The student, having completed
his learning, should apply himself to be an officer."
Tsze-hsia said, "Mourning, having been carried to the utmost
degree of grief, should stop with that."
Tsze-hsia said, "My friend Chang can do things which are hard to
be done, but yet he is not perfectly virtuous."
The philosopher Tsang said, "How imposing is the manner of Chang! It
is difficult along with him to practice virtue."
The philosopher Tsang said, "I heard this from our Master: 'Men
may not have shown what is in them to the full extent, and yet they
will be found to do so, on the occasion of mourning for their
The philosopher Tsang said, "I have heard this from our Master:-'The
filial piety of Mang Chwang, in other matters, was what other men
are competent to, but, as seen in his not changing the ministers of
his father, nor his father's mode of government, it is difficult to be
attained to.'"
The chief of the Mang family having appointed Yang Fu to be chief
criminal judge, the latter consulted the philosopher Tsang. Tsang
said, "The rulers have failed in their duties, and the people
consequently have been disorganized for a long time. When you have
found out the truth of any accusation, be grieved for and pity them,
and do not feel joy at your own ability."
Tsze-kung said, "Chau's wickedness was not so great as that name
implies. Therefore, the superior man hates to dwell in a low-lying
situation, where all the evil of the world will flow in upon him."
Tsze-kung said, "The faults of the superior man are like the
eclipses of the sun and moon. He has his faults, and all men see them;
he changes again, and all men look up to him."
Kung-sun Ch'ao of Wei asked Tszekung, saying. "From whom did
Chung-ni get his learning?"
Tsze-kung replied, "The doctrines of Wan and Wu have not yet
fallen to the ground. They are to be found among men. Men of talents
and virtue remember the greater principles of them, and others, not
possessing such talents and virtue, remember the smaller. Thus, all
possess the doctrines of Wan and Wu. Where could our Master go that he
should not have an opportunity of learning them? And yet what
necessity was there for his having a regular master?"
Shu-sun Wu-shu observed to the great officers in the court,
saying, "Tsze-kung is superior to Chung-ni."
Tsze-fu Ching-po reported the observation to Tsze-kung, who said,
"Let me use the comparison of a house and its encompassing wall. My
wall only reaches to the shoulders. One may peep over it, and see
whatever is valuable in the apartments.
"The wall of my Master is several fathoms high. If one do not find
the door and enter by it, he cannot see the ancestral temple with
its beauties, nor all the officers in their rich array.
"But I may assume that they are few who find the door. Was not the
observation of the chief only what might have been expected?"
Shu-sun Wu-shu having spoken revilingly of Chung-ni, Tsze-kung said,
"It is of no use doing so. Chung-ni cannot be reviled. The talents and
virtue of other men are hillocks and mounds which may be stepped over.
Chung-ni is the sun or moon, which it is not possible to step over.
Although a man may wish to cut himself off from the sage, what harm
can he do to the sun or moon? He only shows that he does not know
his own capacity.
Ch'an Tsze-ch' in, addressing Tsze-kung, said, "You are too
modest. How can Chung-ni be said to be superior to you?"
Tsze-kung said to him, "For one word a man is often deemed to be
wise, and for one word he is often deemed to be foolish. We ought to
be careful indeed in what we say.
"Our Master cannot be attained to, just in the same way as the
heavens cannot be gone up by the steps of a stair.
"Were our Master in the position of the ruler of a state or the
chief of a family, we should find verified the description which has
been given of a sage's rule:-he would plant the people, and
forthwith they would be established; he would lead them on, and
forthwith they would follow him; he would make them happy, and
forthwith multitudes would resort to his dominions; he would stimulate
them, and forthwith they would be harmonious. While he lived, he would
be glorious. When he died, he would be bitterly lamented. How is it
possible for him to be attained to?"