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BY

CRANMER-BYNG
S.

THE

A.

KAPADIA.

SAYhNGS

OF

CONFUCIUS

FIRST

SECOND

THIRD

IMPRESSION

IMPRESSION

IMPRESSION

....

....

.

.

*

.

Septemoer

1907

April

1910

November

ijiz

OF

WISDOM

THE

EAST

OF

SAYINGS

THE

CONFUCIUS
L

NEW

OF

TRANSLATION

OF

"ART

WITH

CONFUCIAN

THE

INTRODUCTION

LIONEL
ASSISTANT
AND

THE

OF

NEW

E.

p.

BUTTON

NOTES

M.A.
OF

DEPARTMENT

MANUSCRIPTS

ANALECTS

AND

GILES,
IN

GREATER

THE

THE

(OxoN.)

ORIENTAL

BRITISH

BY

BOOKS

MUSEUM

YORK

AND

COMPANY

\'z,\o(py

Printed

by Bazell,

Watson

"t Viiiey, Ld., London

and

Aylesbury,

Enyland.

'

Ml

CONTENTS
PA.GB

Introduction

List

of

7

....

the

Government

Principal Disciples

37

Public Affairs

39

and

52

Individual Virtue
Confucius' Estimate
Confucius

on

Miscellaneous
Personalia

Confucius
Sayings

of

of

Others

83

Himself

93

Sayings

109

....

as

the

71

seen

by

Others

Disciples

.

117
125

EDITORIAL

NOTE

the Editors of this series is a
The^^ desire above all
very definite one.
things that, in their humble way, these books
shall be the ambassadors
of good-will and
understanding between East and AVest the old
In
world of Thought
of Action.
and the new
this endeavour, and in their own
sphere, they
but followers of the highest example in the
are
land. They are confident that a deeper knowlodge of the great ideals and lofty philosophy
help to a revival of
of Oriental thought may
that true spiritof Charity which neither despises

THE

objectof

"

nor

fears the

of another

nations

creed

colour.

L. CEANMER-BYNG.
S. A. KAPADIA.
pociety,
noetiibrook
Road,
21, Cromwell

S.W.

6

and

INTRODUCTION

of the few supremely great
figures in the world's history.
A man'?
greatness must
always be measured, in the first
place, by the consensus
of opinion in his own
country ; the judgment of foreigners can only be
Especially
allowed to have a secondary value.
is this true when the criticsare not only foieigners,
but belong to a totally different order of civilisation
from the men
whose greatness they would
For even
if they can keep their minds
appraise.
free from purely national bias of the unreasoning
sort, they will naturally look for such attributes
highly prized among
as
are
themselves, and feel
disappointed if these are not much
in evidence.
They will be apt to see certain defects too plainly,
easily overlook or fail to appreciat
whereas they may
to the full those very qualities on which
These
the title to greatness is mainly based.
errors
and prejudices
will, doubtless, tend to
disappear as more
is gained
intimate knowledge
nature
and the essential imity of human
shows
is one

CONFUCIUS

8

INTRODUCTION

itself beneath

the accidents of custom
vironme
and enBut the process will always be slow.
The name
of Confucius may be deemed sufficiently
familiar in the West to render unnecessary
any
revision of the popular verdict which has already
been passed on him.
But are his judgesequally
familiar with the teaching which his name
represen
? The name
was
of Shakespeare
well
known
in the time of
to Frenchmen
enough
Voltaire. Yet how
many
generations had to
pass ere they began to recognise his true greatness
The parallel between dramatist and social
?
reformer may seem
strained, but it is not drawn
In both cases,
at random.
wide differences of
language and the inadequacy
of translations to
bridge the gap, lie at the root of the trouble.
has suffered more
No great man
than Confucius
from the stupidity, the misstatements
and the
misrepresentations, from the lack of sympathy
and generosity, and, in some
points, from the
pure ignorance of his critics. Early travellers
a people utterly
arriving from the West, amongst
in almost
alien to themselves
every detail
language, dress, habits, modes of thought, ethical
ideals and general view of life would have done
well to walk very warily and, in the Confucian
"

"

reserve
their judgment" on what
phrase, "to
But patience
they saw
and heard around them.
the very last virtues
and discrimination were
had a mind
which these inquisitive newcomers

INTRODUCTION

d

practise ; and, unluckily, the extraordinary
fame of the national sage marked him out as one
of the earliest victims to their thirst for the
On the strength of Chinese evidence,
marvellous.
and eagerly swallowed, the
readily forthcoming
luminary
most exaggerated accounts
of this new
were
poured into the ears of Europe, and it may
well be imagined that these enthusiastic reports
suffered no diminution in the telling. Confucius
was
the prince of philosophers, the wisest and
most consummate
of sages, the loftiestmoralist,
the most
subtle and penetrating intellect that
He was
a statesman,
seen.
the world had ever
historian and an
bard, an
a
antiquary rolled
His sagacity put the most illustrious
into one.
to

of ancient and modern
philosophers to shame.
He was
the greatest and noblest representative
highly
most
of the greatest, happiest,
and
civilisedpeople on the face of the earth. Such
extravagant eulogy could only pave the way for
disillusionment. When,
after the lapse of a
hundred
years or so, foreigners had painfully
acquired sufficient knowledge of the language to
enable them to begin translating, after a fashion,
parts of the Classics said to have been composed
by this glorious sage, or at least containing the
choicest pearls of his wisdom
stillextant, it is
the results did
not altogether surprising that
tion
Reacnot come
up to the general expectation.
became
the fashion to
set in, and it soon

INTRODUCTION

10

much-lauded
philosopher. His
sayings, which had been extolled as the very
now
voted jejuneand
epitome of wisdom, were
found to be
His teaching was
commonplace.
unsatisfying. He w^as blamed
shallow, disjointed,
for his materialistic bias, for his rigid formalism,
for his poverty of ideas, for his lack of spiritual
in his disfavour,
elevation. Comparisons, much
him and the founders of
between
drawn
w^ere
other world-systems of religion and ethics. All
had
this before the circumstances
of his career

decry

the

once

been studied, before the surface of contemporary
Chinese history had been so much as scratched,
before the host of native commentators
and
critics had been consulted, or their existence
known ; above all,before the very
become
even
book which contained his authentic sayings had
to
been translated with anything approaching
or
or
with a faint
exactness
understanding,
difficultiesand pitfalls.
realisation of its numerous

Such was
stillthe deplorable state of things
when Legge set to work on his translation of the
Confucian Canon, which when
many
completed
prolegomena,
years later, with its exhaustive
notes and appendices, formed a truly wonderful
of research and erudition. With its
monument
carried at
publication, Chinese scholarship was
to a higher plane, and foreign study
once
of
The heavy
Confucian doctrine began in earnest.

INTRODUCTION

11

in
were
accumulations of ignorance and error
large part removed, and the figure of the great
"
Teacher began at last to emerge from the
oblitera
His sayings were
no
sands of time."
longer read as interesting but desultory fragments
of conversation, but studied in relation to the
events of his life. From
various Chinese sources,
the chief of which were
the Analects themselves
and Ssu-ma Ch'ien's biography, Legge managed
to compile a good and coherent account
of the
an
sage's life,v/ork and wanderings, which was
enormous
on
that had been
anything
advance
done before, and is not likely,even
in the future,
to undergo any considerable addition or amendment.
There are many
minor points which may
be disputed, and many
long blanks which may
be filled up, but taken as a whole, the
never
chronology and the leading events of the life of
be considered as finally
Confucius must
now
settled.
If Legge is on firm ground
where hard facts
are
concerned, it is far otherwise when he comes
to draw inferences from these facts, to sum
up
the salient principles of Confucia-n ethics, and to
the character of Confucius
pass judgment on
himself. His pronouncements
on
these points,
too hastily accepted as final,need to be carefully
re-examined and, as I shall hope to show, largely
modified if not totally reversed.. His opinion,
interbased chiefly on his own
v/as
of course,

12

INTRODUCTION

important sayings in
pretation of the more
the Analects, in translating which he had the
oral help of native scholars, besides the benefit
Thus
of voluminous
standard commentaries.
equipped for his task, it cannot but appoar strange
that he, admittedly a great sinologue, should -V
have gone so far astray as to miss the very core
and essence
of the doctrines to the elucidation
planation
of which he devoted most of his life. The extian
may liein the fact that he was a Chrismissionary in the first place, and only
to
secondly a scientificstudent ; he had come
teach and convert the heathen, not to be taught
This preconceived idea
or
converted by them.
acted as a drag on the free use of his understanding,
from
and
entering
prevented him
are
told
whole-heartedly into his subject.We
foregone conno
that the Master himself had
clusions,"
but Legge's whole attitude to Confucianism
bespoke one comprehensive and fatal
foregone conclusion the conviction that it must
at every point prove inferiorto Christianity. A
itself also
certain inelasticity of mind showed
in the way in which he approached the work of
too apt to look upon
a
translation. He was
Chinese word as something rigid and unchanging
in its content, which might be uniformly rendered
by a single English equivalent. DeHcate shades
of meaning he too often ruthlesslyignored. Now
there is a certain number of Chinese terms which
"

"

INTRODUCTION

13

mirror Chinese ideas, but have really no absolute
equivalent in English at all,and must therefore
be translated with the aid of circumlocution, and
in such a way as to suit the context and the general
It is in such terms, unforspirit of the passage.
tunately,
that the very essence
and inner significan
of the Confucian teaching are contained.
Obviously, if proper equivalents are not given,
the whole sense
of the passages in which they
occur
will be lost or violently distorted. Worse
still,the judgments laboriously built up on such
rotten foundations
will be hopelessly vitiated.
Here, indeed, we
have an
of the
object-lesson
importance,
by
Confucius
clearly recognised
"
"
himself, of defining terms
and making
words
harmonise with things." Indispensable as such
investigation in which lana process is for any
guage
plays a part, it is doubly so when words
have to be transplanted, as it were,
from their
differing from it in almost
native soil to one
every conceivable quality. Such an
operation
can
only be successful if carried out with the
delicacy and care,
utmost
amount
and no
of
instinctive
can
the
want
erudition
supply
of that
feeling for the right word which is the translator's
choicest gift. The scope of the present work
forbids my entering into details,but some
broad
examples of failure in this respect will be noted
later on.
Of the lifeof Confucius only the barest sketch
"

14

INTRODUCTION

be given here, but stress may be laid on one
two points which it is important
to bear in
or
born at a time when the
Confucius was
mind.
feudal system, established several centuries earlier
by the founder of the Chou dynasty, was
showing
It
decay.
disruption
and
unmistakable signs of
is almost certain that China had been feudally
governed from the very earliest times, but Wu
Wang
placed the whole system on a seemingly
He divided his realm into
firmer basis than ever.
a large number
of vassal states, which he bestowed
kith and kin who had helped him
upon his own
Thus the Empire really came
to
to the throne.
resemble the huge united family which Chinese
politicaltheorists declare it to be, and for a short
But
to have worked
time all seems
smoothly.
as
the bonds of kinship grew looser, the central
government
gradually lost all effective control
its unruly children, and the various states
over
feuds and
in perpetual
were
soon
embroiled
struggles among themselves, besides being usually
The
at loggerheads with the parent dynasty.
be likened
may
state of things that ensued
(though on a far larger scale)to several Wars of
time, or better
the Roses going on at the same
still,to the turbulence of the later days of the
Holy Roman
Empire, when the fealty of its members
Matters were
had become merely nominal.
further complicated in many
of the states by the
upgrowth of large and powerful famihes which
can

INTRODUCTION

15

often attempted either by insidious methods or
by open violence to wrest the supreme authority
Thus in Lu, the comhands.
into their own
parative
belonged,
small state to which Confucius
three such families, the Chi, the
there were
Meng, and the Shu ; the heads of these clans,
hear a good deal in the Analects,
we
of whom
had already, by the time of Confucius, reduced
their lawful prince (or duke, as he is generally
dependency.
called)to a condition of virtual
someOn the other hand, they themselves were
times
threatened by the lav/less behaviour
of
their own
officers,such as the ambitious chariotHuo,^ who
driver, Yang
thought
nothing of
the person of his own
chief,
seizing towns or even
Thus, though
in order to hold him to ransom.
"
"
Warring States is not usually
the period of the
reckoned as beginning until after the death of

Confucius, the date is a purely arbitraAy
inasmuch as his whole lifelong disturbances

one,
were

rife and military operations well-nigh incessant
throughout
the length and breadth of China.
In the midst of the prevailing disorder, Confucius
himself with an
admirable mixture
comported
Wisely
of dignity, tact and outspoken courage.
opposing the dangerous tendency to decentrahsation, and upholding
the supreme
authority of
as against his too powerful
the Emperor
vassals,

he heartily disapproved
i

of the illegalusurpations

See p. 131.

16

INTRODUCTION

of the dukes, the great famihes and the soldiers
of fortune that preyed one upon the other, and
did not shrink on occasion from expressing his
disgust in unequivocal terms.
But knowing
the
futility of protests unbacked
by force, he kept
himself aloof for the most
part, and devoted
himself to a long course
of study and teaching,
as
three thousand
gathering, it is said, as many
disciples around him.
This is a palpable exaggera
but there can
be no doul)t that he
had become
a
man
marked
and gained great
fame
as
a
moralist and teacher many
years
before he actually took office. In 501 B.C., at
the age of fifty,he at last made his entry on the
political stage by accepting the governorship of
in Lu.
Here he is said to have been
a small town
eminently successful in the work of reform, and
he rapidly rose
to be the most
trusted adviser
Ting, who
on
one
of Duke
occasion at least
owed his life to the courage and address of his
not long ere the weak and
minister. But it was
fickle character of the ruler, carefully manipulated
by rivals to Confucius, brought about a
The
state of Ch'i,
catastrophe.
neighbouring
jealousof the new prosperity of Lu under the
regime of the sage, cunningly sent as a gift to the
trained in song
prince a band of beautiful women,
and dance, and a number
of magnificent horses,
from the serious
in order to distract his mind
cares
of state. The plotters had evidently taken

INTRODUCTION

17

of their victim, for the artifice
succeeded, and Confucius feltcompelled to resign.
Then began the weary years of wandering from
follow him
we
cannot
state to state, in which
here, except to note a sagacious prophecy uttered
by a friendly officialon
the frontier of Wei.
interview with Confucius,
Coming
out from an
disciples b3/ telling
he comforted the woebegone
now
them that their IMaster's divine mission was
It may, indeed, be that
only justbeginning.^
the ensuing period of homeless exile, hardships
to spread the fame of the
and danger, did more
great reformer than either the few brilliant years
of office or those spent as a teacher in the comparative
For one thing, it could
seclusion of Lu.
not but inspire and fortify his followers to observe
that the lofty principles which a sudden
had failed to corrupt, were
accession to power
equally capable of standing the test of adversity.
His serene
bearing in many
a
and courageous
strange and perilous situation proved that the
"
"
for
higher type of man
was
conception of a
him no empty
ideal, but the worthy
objectof
however,
to reflect
It is sad,
practical endeavour.
that the best years of his lifehad passed before
Had
the call came
which resulted in his return.
it not been so long delayed, he would doubtless
have thrown himself once
into the arena
more
of public affairs,and begun rebuilding the fabric
the

measure

1

See p. 118.

18

INTRODUCTION

which had been so rudely
of good government
His patience
shattered thirteen years before.
but he was
would have been equal to the task ;
worn
an
now
out by years of travel,
old man,
privation and anxiety, at a time of lifewhen the
a
begins to demand
certain
physical frame
measure
of quiet and repose. Hence, though he
his native state
may be said to have returned to
further active part
with flying colours, he took no
in its administration, but devoted the rest of his
lifeto literary labours which have added materially
Such were
the collecting and
to his fame.
to
known
editing of certain old national ballads
as
the Odes, and the penning of the Spring
us
Annals of Lu, which may be regarded
and Autumn
as
the first real record of authentic facts, as
string of speeches and
opposed to the mere
eulogies which we find in the miscalled Book of
History.
To this closing period, too, are to be referred
most of the sayings given in the present volume.
These, together with the invaluable biography
by Ssu-ma Ch'ien, which is largely built upon
them, form the only really reliable source
of
information about Confucius and his doctrines.
be rendered
Yii may
The Chinese title Lim
"
"
"
Discussions," but neither
or
Conversations
is a very apt description of the work, Avhich
contains very little discussion in the ordinary
It consists in fact almost wholly of
sense.

19

INTRODUCTION

detached obiter dicta, or replies to questions put
by various disciples on
subjectschiefly moral or
once
supposed to
personal. These sayings were
have been collected and committed
to writing
by the immediate
disciples of Confucius, but
Legge has shown sufficientreason
to believe that
they were
transmitted orally at first,and did not
have them until at
take the form in which we
least two generations after the Master's death.
Nor must it be imagined that they represent the
ipsissima verba of Confucius. No
man
could
have made
in such a crisp,
offhand remarks
concise and epigrammatic
style. A translation,
brevity has a,gain and again to be
in which
sacrificed to smoothness
and lucidity, hardly
allows the European
reader to form any idea of
the glittering compactness
of these sayings in the
imoriginal. So far from having been uttered promptu
they appear to have been repeatedly
dancy,
polished, and shorn of every redununtil they shone like diamonds fresh from
At the same
time, as
the hands of the cutter.
expressing the essence
of what the Master thought
and the substance of what he said, it is with good
reason
that they are to be found inscribed on
hundreds of thousands of scrolls and ta^blets in
ever,
These gems, howof the Empire.
every corner
As in most
are
Chinese philounsorted.
sophical
at
works, there is very little attempt
ground

and

orderly arrangement

;

even

such

a

rough classi-

20

INTRODUCTION

fication as will be found in this volume is absent.
This is not necessarily to be regarded as a defect :
jewelsjumbled in a heap often have a charm
w^hich they lack when strung symmetrically into
a
necklace. The only danger is that unwary
readers, looking in vain for a beginning, a middle
jump to the conclusion that
and an end, may
Confuciur" himself was
merely a master of casual
apoplit]:iegms; they may
very easily miss the
to bind the
connecting principles which serve
Confucian teachings into one
system.
rounded
to have been in danger
Even the disciples seem
of overlooking the v/hole in their admiration of
the parts. It needed the penetration of Tseng
Tzu to tell them
that the Master's Way
was,
after all, simple in its diversity, and might be
up in two words : duty to oneself and
summed
Unhappily, owing
charity to one's
neighbour.
to
the misinterpretation
of these important
words, the beautiful simplicity of the Confucian
doctrine has long passed unrecognised.
For what has been, and is perhaps even
now%
the prevailing conception of Confucius in the
West ? Does not the name
conjureup in most
minds the figure of a highly starched philosopher,
dry, formal, pedantic, almost inhuman
in the
correctness
unimpeachable
of his personal conduct,
rigid and preci^icin his notions of ceremonial,
admirable no doubt in his sentiments, but always
a man
more
of words than of deeds ? He has

21

INTRODUCTION

been constantly accused of laying undue weight
on
things external, of undervaluing
natural
"
Propriety," says Legge,
impulses of the heart.
"
a
was
of
great stumbling-block in the way
the result of the
Confucius. His morality was
cisions
balancings of his intellect,fettered by the deof old, and not the gushings of a
of men
loving heart, responsive to the promptings
of
Heaven, and in sympathy
with erring and feeble
It is high time that an
humanity."
effective
amazing
against such an
made
protest was
bitter truth
With
piece of misrepresentation.
"
"
that is, the
we
retort that
propriety
may
Chinese word U which has been cruelly saddled
^has indeed been a
v^dth this absurd rendering
stumbling-block, but a stumbling-block not so
much to Confucius as to Dr. Legge himself. The
whole tenor of the Master's teaching cries aloud
distortion.
against such wilful and outrageous
"

"

Any one who reads the sayings carefully will soon
discover that this accusation is not only libellous
from the truth.
but grotesque in its remoteness
If there is one
than another which
thing more
distinguishes Confucius from the men
of his day,
importance which he attached
it is the supreme
to jhi,the feeling in the heart, as the source
of
all right conduct, the stress which he laid on the
on
opposed to the external, and even
far
motives rather than outward acts, except in so
index to character.
as these might be taken as an

internal

as

INTRODUCTION

22

Over and over again he gave proof of the highest
and noblest moral courage in ignoring the narrow
rules of conventional
etiquette
moraUty
and
these conflicted with good feeling and
when
common
sense,
and setting up in their stead the
grand rule of conscience which, by asserting the
right of each individual to judge such matters
for himself, pushed liberty to a point which was
quite beyond the comprehension
of his age. So
"
far from being
fettered by the decisions of men
his hand that valiantly essayed to
of old," it was
from
strike the fetters of bigotry and prejudice
But whilst declinin
the necks of his countrymen.
to be bound by the ideas and the standards
of others, he was not blind to the danger of liberty
degenerating into license. The new fetters,therefore,
were
that he forged for mankind
those of
iron self-disciplineand self-control,unaccompanied,
however, by anything in the shape of
bodily mortification, a practice which he knew
an

to be at

showy and less troublesome
than the disciplineof the mind.
Another charge not infrequently heard is one
of a certain repellent coldness of temperament
for
The warrant
and stiffness of demeanour.
is not so readily forthcoming,
such a statement
in the stiffand
unless indeed it is to be found
translations
repellent style which characterises some
are
of his sayings. In the Analects we
told the exact opposite of this. The Master, we
once

more

INTRODUCTION

23

read there, was uniformly cheerful in demeanour,
to quite an
unusual
and he evidently unbent
extent with his disciples,considering the respect
deference universally shoAvn to age and
and
Is it at all conceivable that
learning in China.
a man
of cold and unlovable temper should have
attracted round him hundreds of disciples,with
terms of most intimate
he was
on
many of whom
intercourse, meeting them not only in the lecturetheir classes,
as
room,
professors meet
modern
but living with them, eating, drinking, sleeping
crasies,
and conversing with them, until all their idiosynto him
better known
good or bad, were
than to their ov/n
parents ? Is it explicable,
except on the ground of deep personal affection,
that he should have been followed into exile by
is
a faithful band
of disciples,not one of whom
to have deserted or turned against
known
ever
him ? Is coldness to be predicated of the man
losing something of
who in his old age, for once
his habitual self-control,wept passionately for
the death of his dearly loved disciple Yen Hui,
and would not be comforted ?
But it has been reserved for the latest English
translator of the Analects, the Rev. Mr. Jennings,
to level some
of the worst charges at his head.
To begin with, he approvingly quotes, as Legge's
final opinion on Confucius, words occurring in

the earliest edition of the Chinese Classics to the
"
effect that he is unable to regard him as a great

24

INTRODUCTION

quite heedless of the fact that the followmg
stands in the edition of 1893 (two years before
"
his own
But I must
translation appeared) :
leave the sage. I hope I have not done him
now
I have studied his character
injustice
; the more
highly have I come
to
and opinions, the more
He ivas a very great man,
regard him.
and his
influence has been on the whole a great benefit
to the Chinese, while his teachings suggest important
lessons to ourselves who profess to belong
to the school of Christ." This summing-up,
in view of much
though certainly unexpected
that has gone before, does partly atone for the
unjuststrictures which Dr. Legge feltit necessary
to pass on Confucius at an earlier period, though
it may require many
years entirely to obliterate
their effect. What I wish to emphasise at present,
however, is the unfairness of quoting an early
and presumably crude and ill-consideredopinion
in preference to the latest and maturest judgment
be said to
of an authority who at no time can
err
on
the side of over-partialityfor his subject.
But this is not all. For after pointing out,
truly enough,
that Confucius cannot
well be
"
blamed
for
impulse to religion,"
giving no
inasmuch
he never
as
this
pretended to make
his aim, Mr. Jennings goes on
to pick some
holes on his own
account, and incontinently falls
into exactly the same
error
that he had previously
*'
In his reserve
rebuked in Dr. Legge.
about
man,"

INTRODUCTION

25

important
matters,
while professing
he
is
to blame,
to teach men,
most
perhaps
best in the
and in his holding back what was
"7hat these great
religion of the ancients."
is not made
were,
matters
and important
very
clear, but if, as seems
probable, the phrase is

great and

"

the religion
simply another way of referring to
of the ancients," it can
only be repeated that
a
religion was
subjectwhich he disliked to discuss
and certainly did not profess to teach, as is
And the reason
plainly indicated in the Analects.
why he refrained from descanting on such matters
himself,
was
that, knowing
nothing
of them
he feltthat he would have been guilty of h3rpocrisy
a
and fraud had he made
show of instructing
tinguis
that a like candour disothers therein. Would
some
own
of our
professed teachers
of religion !
The last accusation against Confucius is the
"
is," according
There
most
reckless of all.
to Mr. Jennings,
in his
a
certain selfishness
those
teaching, which had the effect of making
feel themselves
who came
under his influence soon
great and
self-satisfied." As only the
feeblest of evidence is produced to support this
it will not be necessary to conwild statement,
sider
it at any length, though we
ask in
may
Hui, the disciple who
Yen
passing whether
from his Master's, teaching and
profited most
best exemplified it, is depicted as exhibiting
"

26

INTRODUCTION

alleged self-satisfaction in a
peculiarly
degree.
For an answer
to this quesnoticeable
tion
Tzu's
the reader may be referred to Tseng
remarks on p. 128.
The truth is, though missionaries and other
zealots have long attempted to obscure the fact,
that the moral teaching of Confucius is absolutely
the purest and least open to the charge of selfishness
of any in the world. Its principles are neither
utilitarianon the one liandnorreHgiouson the other,
that is to say, it is not based on the expectation
of profit or happiness to be gained either in this
less
w^orld or in the next (though Confucius doubtbelieved that well-being would as a general
"
Virtue for
rule accompany
virtuous conduct).
"
is the maxim
virtue's sake
ated
which, if not enunciby him in so many
evidently
words, was
the corner-stone of his ethics and the mainspring
have
Not that he would
career.
of his own
formula, or that
the modern
quite understood
the idea of virtue being practised for anything
have occurred to
but its own
sake would ever
his mind.
but its
Virtue resting on
anything
basis would not have seemed to him virtue
own
in the true sense
at all,but simply another name
for prudence, foresight, or cunning.
Yet material
as
advantage, disguised as much
you will, but
stillmaterial advantage in one form or another,
is what impels most men
to espouse any particular
form of religion. Hence it is nothing less than
this

INTRODUCTION

27

which
miracle that Confucianism,
to
be
no
promise of blessings
makes
enjoyedin
this lifeor the next, should have succeeded without
the adjunctof other supernatural elements than
acEven
this was
that of ancestor- worship.
cepted
by Confucius as a harmless prevailing
by him as an essential
custom
rather than enjoined
Mapart of his doctrine. Unlike Christianity and
hometanism,
the Way
preached by the Chinese
neither the sanction of punishment
sage knows
nor
the stimulus of reward in an after-life. Even
holds out the hope of Nirvana to the
Buddhism
pure of heart, and preaches the long torment
fall short
of successive rebirths to those who
No great religion is devoid
of perfect goodness.
failed to mould
of elevated precepts, or has ever
a

standing

of beautiful characters to attest the
numbers
good and great within
presence of something
it. But in every case the element of supernaturalinseparable from a religion
ism, which is of course
motive for
properly so called, introduces a new
it no longer possible
men's
actions and makes
for vktue to be followed purely for its own
sake,
thought of a hereafter. Thus, if we
without
Three
law of the
famous
to Comte's
assent

States, Confucianism

really represents a more
biblical
of civilisation than
stage
advanced
Christianity. Indeed, as Mr. Carey Eiiil has
recently pointed out in an article on the subject,
be regarded as the true foreConfucius may

INTRODUCTION

28
runner

of

Comte

in

his

positivist mode

of

thought.
His whole system is based on nothing more
less than the knowledge
nor
nature.
of human
The instincts of man
are
social and therefore
fundamentally
good, while egoism is at bottom
ence
an
artificialproduct and evil. Hence the insiston
altruism which we find in the sayings
"
to
act socially,"
of Confucius, the injunction
to live for others in living for oneself. The
most important word in the Confucian vocabulary
is jen,which in the following extracts is lated
trans"
"
virtue
only for want
of a better term.
"
"
has so many different
Our English word
virtue
shades of meaning and is withal so vague, that in
using it, the idea of altruism is often hardly
But in jen the implication
present to our mind.
"
"
distinctly.
of
social good
emerges much more
Its connotation has no doubt extended gradually
until it seems
often to be rather a compendium
of all goodness than any one virtue in particular.
But this development
that the word
only means
is following in the track of the thing itself. For
let a man
be but thoroughly imbued
with the
"
"
altruisticspirit,and he may be termed
good
without
qualification, since all other virtues
tend to flow from unselfishness.
The Confucian theory of man's
social obligations
foremost
first
fact
on
that he
the
rests
and
forms part of a great social machine
an
aggre"

INTRODUCTION

29

gation of units, each of which is called a family.
The family, in Chinese e3^e3, is a microcosm
of
the Empire, or rather, since the family is chronologically
prior to the State, it is the pattern on
itself.
which the greater organism has moulded
The feudal system under which Confucius lived
naturally accentuated the likeness. The Emperor
had, in theory at least, paternal authority over
his feudal princes, who in turn, standing to one
another in the relation of elder and younger
brothers, Avere
regarded as the fathers of their
that
respective peoples. Nov/, the way to ensure
machine as a whole may run smoothly and well,
function
is to see that each part shall fuliilits own
in proper subordination to the rest. How
is
this result achieved in the family ? Obviously
through the controlling will of the father, who
has supreme authority over ail the other members.
But this authority is not by any means
the mere
brute force of a tyrant.
It is based firstly on
the father
the natural order of things, whereby
is clearly intended to be the protector of his
a

children ; and secondly, as a consequence
of
love
on
this,
the
and respect which will normally
spring up in the minds of the children for their
protector. Such is the genesis of filialpiety,
which plays so large a part in Chinese ethics.
It is quite untrue, hovv^ever, to say with Mr,
Jennings, that no corresponding pg^rental duties
Confucius, as the following
a;re recognised by

30

INTRODUCTION

During the sage's
anecdote may serve to show.
short period of office as Minister of Crime, a
father came
to him bringing some
serious charge
Confucius kept them both in
against his son.
any
prison for three months,
without making
difference in favour of the father, and then let
them go. The Minister Chi Huan
remonstrated
with him for this,and reminded him of his saying,
that fihal duty wsis the firstthing to be insisted
"
hinders you
from
What
on.
now
putting
to death as an
to all
this unfihal son
example
"
Confucius' reply was,
the people ?
that the
father had never
taught his son to be filial,
and
that therefore the guilt really rested with him.
For
the harmonious
of a family,
working
then, we need respect for authority on one side,
father's
the other. The
and
self-sacrificeon
objectmust be entirely altruistic the good of his
family. Then
only will he be doing his duty
is not doing his duty
as
a father, justas
a son
and obedience to his
unless he shows honour
The all-important element which makes
parents.
possible the working of the family machine, the
lubricating oil that eases
the bearings, is not
filialpiety without any corresponding
merely
feeling on the part of the parent, but rather a
and selfcertain subtle principle of harmony
of the family
every member
control permeating
"

Avhich restrains egoistic propensities and
good. This is the Chinese
promotes the common
group,

31

INTRODUCTION

term li,which in this sense of a quahty of the soul
or
is hardly translatable by any single word
of words, but is certainly not to
combination

be rendered by any such atrocious phrase as
"
^
the rules of propriety."
Confucius saw
Now
that the same
general
family
are
applicable
principles which govern the
also to that greatest of families, the State. Here
have the Emperor, in whose hands the supreme
we
lie, exercising functions exactly
authority must
analogous to those of the father of a family.
But if his is the supreme
authority, his must
responsibility. Veneration
also be the supreme
his due, but only because he
and respect are
identifieshimself with the good of the people.
In public affairs,justas in the home, there must
to regulate
be that same
principle of harmony
the relations of governor and governed, otherwise
There must
be li
the machine
will not work.
here as well, but as it is not possible for the
the personal
sovereign to maintain with his subjects
intimacy
which unites a father and his
it is necessary to fallback upon symbols, and
sons,
to give outward
and visible expression to the
inward sentiments of loyalty and respect which
the breast of each member
of
should animate
These symbols
are
the nation.
the rites and
of which
past-master.

ceremonies

such

a

^

Confucius was
considered
He saw
indeed their full

See note

on

p. 60.

32

INTRODUCTION

importance as symbols, but he also knew that,
divorced from the inward feeling,they were
meaningless
it is
and without value. In this way
easy to see how the word li,as a human
attribute,
from
acquired its various shades of meaning,
in the soul which prompts action in
the harmony
to
accordance with true natural instincts, down
manners
ordinary
politeness and
good
also
indispensable lubricant in the lesser dealings
an
of life between man
and man.
It was
in the family again that Confucius
found a natural force at work which he thought
immense
incentive to
might be utilised as an
virtue. This Avas the universal human
proneness
to imitation.
Knowing
that personal example
is the most effective way in which a father can
teach his sons
what is right, he unhesitatingly
attributed the same
povv^erful influence to the
personal conduct of the sovereign, and went so
far as to declare that if the ruler was
personally
his
do
their duty unupright,
bidden
subjectswould
he
if
vvTvS not
;
upriglit, they would not
"
his bidding.
The virtue of
obey, whatever
"
is like unto v/ind ; that
the prince," he said,
grass. For it is the
of the people, like unto
the wind blows
nature
of grass to bend when
be admitted that Confucius
upon it." It must
has in this particular somewhat
overshot the
mark and formed too sanguine an estimate of the
It would be unfair, however,
force of example.
"

INTRODUCTION
to base

33

the analogy of modern
democratic states, where
the controlHng power
is split up into several branches, and the conis much
diminished.
spicuousness of the monarch
Not that even
the constitutional sovereign of
to-day may
not wield a very decided influence
in morals.
But this influence was
much
greater
full
king
despotic
while the
retained
power,
in
feudal
times, when
the
and greatest of all
successive grada.tions of rank and the nice arrangem
hierarchy
of a
of oihcials, each accounta
to the one
above him, were
specially
designed to convey and filterit among
all classes
Had Confucius been able to
of the community.
find a prince who would ha,ve acted consistently
Confucian principles, the results might have
on
been almost as grand as he anticipated. The
was
tried, we
on
a
experiment
must
remember,
Confucius
himself became
small scale, when
in the State of Lu.
And
governor of a town
although one must be chary of accepting aU the
tales which
his
extravagant
gathered
round
brief officialcareer,
it seems
indisputable that
this politicaltheory, unlike many
others, proved
our

argument

on

successful in actual practice.
the weak point is that every king
a Confucius,
and unless some
practical
be devised of electing rulers on the
can
of merit alone, it is impossible to ensure

reasonably
Of course
be
cannot
method

ground
that their conduct shall serve

as

a

pattern to their

3

INTRODUCTION

34
"

Rotten wood cannot be carved," the
people.
Master himself once
remarked,
and he found
bitter confirmation of his saying in Duke Ting of
Lu.
have been made out of
Nothing could ever
such utterly weak and worthless material. And
he afterwards spent thirteen years of his life in
the fruitless search for a sovereign who would
faintly to his ideal. Such uncorrespond even
swervin
devotion to the abstract cause
of right
but
cannot
and justice
and good government
have been taught to regard
puzzle those who
Confucius as the very type and embodiment
of
materialistic wisdom and practical utilitarianism.
But in truth, strange though it may
sound, he
a great ideaUst who
was
gained his hold on his
by
countrymen
virtue rather of his noble
imaginings
and lofty aspirations than of any
immediate
tangible
results or
achievements.
By the men
day
his
he
more
own
was
of
often
than not considered a charlatan and an impostor.
Taoist
It is remarkable
that even
the two
recluses and the eccentric Chieh Yii (p. 122)
him as a visionary and
should have condemned
Similar was the impression he made
a
crank."
on
the gate-keeper who asked a disciple if his
"
Master was
the man
always trying to
who was
do what he knew to be impossible." This playful
his
is really the best commentary
on
sarcasm
career,
that pays him unintentionally
and one
Though
the greatest honour.
often disheartened
"

INTRODUCTION
by the long and

35

bitter struggle against adverse
of evil, he never
circumstance
and the powers
in disgust. Therein lay his greatness.
gave over
"
Wer immer strebend sich bemiiht, Den konnen
wir erlosen," sing the angels in Faust, and no
man
ever
toiled for the good of his fellow-crea'
tures
or
with less
with greater perseverance
In this, the truest
apparent prospect of success.
he could say that his whole hfe had been
sense,
a
(p. 87). He succeeded in that he
prayer
achieved the Utopian
seemed to fail. He never
of a
objectof reforming all mankind by means
On the contrary, after
wise and good sovereign.
his death confusion grew worse
confounded, and
to a pitch from which it did
rose
the din of arms
not subside until after the momentous
revolution
lished
which swept away the Chou dynasty and estabIn a
new
a
order of things in China.
radically individualisticand liberty-loving country
like China, the feudal system was
bound sooner
later to perish, even
it perished in a later
as
or
day
But
throughout
the
among
ourselves.
anarchy of that terrible period, the light kindled
by Confucius burned steadily and prepared men's
ment
minds for better things. His ideal of governtreawas
sured
not forgotten, his sayings were
like gold in the minds of the people.
Above
all,his own
example shone like a glorious beacon,
darting its rays through the night of misery and
oppression and civil strife which in his lifetime

INTRODUCTION

36

And so
he had striven so earnestly to remove.
it came
about that his beUef in the pohtical value
in some
sort justified
of personal goodness was
after all ; for the great and inspiriting pattern
which he sought in vain among the princes of his
to be afforded in the end by no other
time was
throneless king," who is for
than himself the
ever
enshrined in the hearts of his countrymen.
It is absurd, then, to speak of his lifeas a failure.
b}^ results the almost incalculably
Measured
lowed
which folgreat and far-reaching consequences
tardily but irresistiblyafter he was
gone
his lifewas
one
of the most successful ever lived
Three others, and only three, are comby man.
parable
to it in world-wide influence : Gautama's
men,
the stormy
self-sacrificingsojournamong
"
career
sinlessof the Arab Prophet, and the
"
years
which found their close on Golgotha.
"

"

"

"

LIST

OF

The

proper

present
as

one

some

PRINCIPAL

THE

DISCIPLES

occurring in the Analects
difficultyto the European
reader,
the sam.e
person is often referred to
names

and
by his surname
in several different ways
and
"
by his
style," or by a nompersonal name,
intimates the
bination of the two, while among
has
Mr. Ku
only is employed.
personal name
on
this account
all proper
ehminpoted almost
from his translation, using a periphrasis
names
one
instead. But by this method
misses much
tive
of the characterisation which is such an attracI have judged it
feature of the Analects.
better to give the names
of the principal disciples
exactly as they appear in the Chinese, and to
provide a table of their various appellations for
easy reference. An asterisk denotes the nam.e
"

most

frequently

used.

37

38

LIST

OF

PRINCIPAL

DISCIPLES

GOVERNMENT

AND

AFFAIRS

PUBLIC

said : In ruling a country of a
thousand
chariots there should be scrupulous
charity,
attention to business, honesty, economy,
of the people at the proper
and employment
The

Master

season.

A virtuous ruler is like the Pole-star, which
keeps its place, while allthe other stars do homage
to it.

kept in
despotically governed
People
and
may
avoid infraction of
order by punishments
the law, but they will lose their moral sense.
People virtuously governed and kept in order by
the inner law of self-control will retain their
become
good.
moral sense,
and moreover
asked, saying : What must I do that
be contented ? Confucius replied
people may
the upright and dismiss all evil: Promote
doers,
be
Procontented.
and the people will
Ai

Duke
my

"

1

was

^

the honorary
epithet of the Duke
reigning during the last years of Confucius'

Ai

was

of L\i who
Hfe,

AND

GOVERNMENT

40

AFFAIRS

PUBLIC

the evil-doers and dismiss the upright, and
the people will be discontented.

mote

*

he might
asked by what means
to be respectful and loyal, and
in the path of virtue. The
Conduct yourself towards them
you Avillearn their respect ; be
a good son
and a kind prince, and you will find
them loyal ; promote the deserving and instruct
those who fallshort, and they will be encouraged
to follow the path of virtue.

Chi K'ang Tzu
his people
cause
them
encourage
Master replied :
with dignity, and

Some one, addressing Confucius, said : Why,
Sir,do you take no part in the government ? The
Master replied : What does the Book of History
say about filialpiety ? Do your duty as a son
and as a brother, and these qualities will make
This, then,
themselves felt in the government.
to taking part in the government.
really amounts
Holding officeneed not be considered essential.
"

"

The

be made
people can
be
path, but they cannot
reason
why.

to follow

made

to

a

certain
know
the

governasked for a definitionof good ment.
Master replied : It consists in providing
enough food to eat, in keeping enough

Tzu Kung
The
^

Tzft succeeded to the headship
Chi K'ang
of the great
Chi Hiian died, by wliom he was
Chi family in 491, when
The
advised to recall Confucius from his long wanderings.
later.
did
not return
until eight years
sage, however,

GOVERNMENT

AND

PUBLIC

AFFAIRS

41

soldiers to guard the State, and in winning the
confidence of the people. And if one
of these
three things had to be sacrificed,which should
Master replied : Sacrifice the
go first? The
soldiers. And if of the two remaining things one
had to be sacrificed, which should it be ? The
Master said : Let it be the food. From
the
beginning, men
have always had to die. But
"

"

"

"

without
can

the confidence of the people
stand at all.

no

ment
govern-

Ching, Duke
of the Cli'i State, questioned
Confucius on the art of government.
Confucius
replied : Let the sovereign do his duty as a
his duty as a
the
sovereign, the subject
subject,
father his duty as a father, and the son his duty
A good answer
a son.
! said the Duke ; for
as
father and son do
unless sovereign and subject,
their respective duties, however much grain there
to eat.
may be in the land, I coijldobtain none
"

Tzu

Chang put a question about the art of
The Master said : Devote yourself
governing.
patiently to the theory, and conscientiously to the
practice, of government.

Chi K'ang Tzu asked Confucius for advice on
Confucius replied :
the subjectof government.
To govern is to keep straight.^ If you. Sir,lead
'

The
Chinese
in form

point of the original lies partly in the fact that the
"
"
"
for
are
govern
words
similar
and
straight
and identical in sound.
"

42

GOVERNMENT

AND

PUBLIC

the people straight, which of your
venture to fallout of line ?

AFFAIRS
will
subjects

Chi K'ang Tzu, being vexed by robbers, asked
Confucius for his advice. Confucius replied,
cupidity,
saying : If you, sir,can check your own
tliough rewards
there will be no stealing, even
should be offered for theft.
Tzu

Confucius on
a
not I to
point of government,
saying : Ought
cut off the lawless in order to establish law and
do you
think ? Confucius replied
order ? What
Sir, v/ha,t need is there of the death
:
If you
?
penalty in your system of government
showed a sincere desire to be good, your people
The virtue of the prince
would likewise be good.
is like unto wind ; that of the people, like unto
grass. For it is the nature of grass to bend when
th wind blweos upon it.
Chi

K'ang

questioned

"

Tzu Lu asked for a hint on the art of governing.
The Master replied : Take the lead and set the
for a further
example
of diligent toil. Asked
hint, he said : Be patient and untiring.
"

Chung Kung, being Prime Minister to the head
of the Chi clan, asked for advice on governing.
The Master said : Make
a
point of employing
trifling mistakes,
your
subordinates, overlook
But,
raise to office worthy
able men.
and
I to discover these
gaid Chung Kung, how am
"

GOVERNMENT

AND

AFFAIRS

PUBLIC

43

and single them out for promotion ?
worthy men
Promote
those that you know,
was
the reply.
As for those that you do not know, will not their
claims be brought before you by others ?
"

Tzii Lu said : The Prince of Wei is waiting,
Sir, for you to take up the reins of government.
Pray what is the first reform you would introduce
? The Master replied : I would begin by
defining terms
them exact. ^ Oh,
and making
But how can
indeed ! exclaimed Tzu Lu.
you
by
such a circuitous
possibly put things straight
Master
The
route ?
said : How
unmannerly
Yu
In
he
does not
!
matters
you are,
which
"

"

"

will always reserve
understand, the wise man
his judgment. If terms are not correctly defined,
words will not harmonise with things. If words
^

hidden meaning
of this saying is made
clear by the
in Ssa-ma
to be found
Ch'ien's biography
fucius.
context
of ConThe Prince of Wei at this time was
the young
man
128
holding
his
on
as
the
throne against
own
p.
mentioned
inverted
father.
By so doing he had in some
the
sort
ship
relationbetween
have
them,
should
subsisted
which
and each
in a false position, the father being deprived of his proper
was
longer
doing his duty as
no
parental dignity, and the son
"
a son
(seep. 41). Confucius then is administering a veiled
to
the young
ruler, for in saying that the first reform
rebuke
is the correct definition of names,
he implies in
necessary
"
father
son,"
effect that the terms
and
among
others,
to
resume
be
their
proper
should
made
significance. An
of chcng niing as
rectification of the
alternative rendering
by the great authority
written character," thovxgh backed
Chavannes,
M.
be
described
feeble and farfetched,
can
as
only
of
in the
and has been ably confuted by Herr Franke
Toung Pao for July, 1906,
The

"

"

"

"

44

do

\

GOVERNMENT

AND

PUBLIC

AFFAIRS

with things, pubHc business
If public business remains
will remain undone.
will not flourish.
undone, order and harmony
do not flourish, law and
If order and harmony
justice
will not attain their ends. If law and
do not attain their ends, the people will
justice
be unable to more
hand or foot. The wise man,
therefore, frames his definitions to regulate his
speech, and his speech to regulate his actions.
He is never
reckless in his choice of words.
not

harmonise

i

Fan
Ch'ih asked to be taught the art of
The jMaster said : Any farmer can
husbandry.
He then
teach you that better than I can.
asked to be taught gardening. The Master said :
Any gardener will teach you that better than I
Fan Ch'ih having gone out, the Master
can.
is Fan Hsii !
a
small-minded man
said : What
If the ruler is addicted to modesty
and selfcontrol, his people w^illnot permit themselves
to be irreverent. If the ruler loves justice
and
duty, his people will not venture to be unruly.
If the ruler loves sincerity and good faith, the
people will not be slow to respond. Such being
his qualities,the people will flock to him from all
quarters, with their babes strapped to their
backs. What
the art
need for him to know
^
of husbandry ?
^

Confucius is of course
merely insisting on the principle
depreciating the
of division of labour, and not by any means
is
husbandry
It
or
not the ruler's
value of
other useful arts.

GOVERNMENT

AND

PUBLIC

AFFAIRS

45

Master said : If the ruler is personally
will do their duty unbidden ;
upright, his subjects
if he is not personally upright, they willnot obey,
his bidding.
whatever
The

When
the Master went to Wei, Jan Yu drove
his carriage. The Master said : What an abundant
population ! Jan Yu said : Nov/ that the people
are
so
abundant,
what is the next thing to be
done ? Enrich
Confucius. And
them,
said
having enriched them, what then ? Teach them,
"

"

"

"

was

the reply.

The

Master said : If a country had none
but
good rulers for a hundred years, crime might be
the death-penalty abolished.
out and
stamped
How
true this saying is !

If a kingly sovereign were
to appear, by the end
of one generation natural goodness would prevail.
If a man
heart, what should
can
reform his own
hinder him from taking part in government
?
But if he cannot reform his own
heart, what has
he to do with reforming others ?

Duke

Ting

^

asked if there

was

a

single sentence

business to make
himself proficient in these, because the task
to the governed
of governing
and setting an
example
will
Compare
Plato's disapproval
claim
of
all his attention.
his
Confucius'
own
on
'iro\virpa'yfxoiXvvq,and
remarks
skill
in various arts (p. 88).
1
The weak
ruler of the Lu State (510-494B.C.),who lost
the services of Confucius by his infatuation" in accepting the

AND

GOVERNMENT

46

AFFAIRS

PUBLIC

by which a country might be made to flourish.
Confucius answered : No single sentence can be
expected to have such a virtue as this. But
"
To be a good
there is the common
saying :
king is difficult; to be a good minister is not
He who
easy."
realises the difficulty of being
has he not almost succeeded in
a
good king
making his country prosper by a single sentence ?
Is there a single sentence, continued the Duke,
be ruined ? Confucius
by which a country can
can
reside in any
answered : No
such power
But
there is a saying : "I
single sentence.
have no joy in kingly rule, I
only because
rejoice
if the king's
none
can
oppose my
will." Now
opposes it,all may be well ;
will is good, and none
but if it is not good, and yet none
opposes it,
has he not almost succeeded in ruining his country
"

"

"

be

a

?

single sentence

The

Duke

^

of She

asked about the conditions

insidious gift of eighty beautiful singing-girls from the Ch'i
See Introduction, p. 16.
State.
1 She
Confucius
district of the Ch'u State, which
a
was
following anecdote,
The
told by T'an
visited in 488 B.C.
Kimg, is a striking illustration of the above saying. Travelling
a woman
across
weeping
with his disciples, the Master came
inquired
caiise
the
beside
a
of her
grave, and
and wailing
"
father-in-law
was
My
Alas !
replied.
she
grief.
now
husband
by
here
killed
a tiger ; after that, my
; and
my
But why, then, do
death."
has perished by the same
son
"
here is not
The
government
not
go elsewhere ?
you
"
There !
harsh," answered
the woman.
cried the Master,
Bad government
that.
turning to his disciples,
remember
is worse
than a tiger."
"

"

"

"

"

"

"

"

"

AFFAIRS

PUBLIC

AND

GOVERNMENT

47

The Master said : Government
of good government.
is good when it makes happy those who live
far away.
under it and attracts those who live

Tzii Hsia, when
governor
for advice on
government.
Do not try to do things in a
intent on small gains. What
is not done thoroughly ; and

of Chii-fu/asked
The Master
said :
Do not be
hurry.
is done quickly
if small gains are

considered, great things remain

unaccomplished.

Tzu Lu asked about the service due to a prince.
deceit, but if you
The Master said : Use no
oppose him, oppose him openly.
said : If the ruler cherishes the
principle of self-control,the people will be docile
to his commands.^
The

Master

who did nothing, yet governed
well. For what, in effect,did he do ? Religiously
his throne,
self-observant, he sat gravely on
and that is all.*

Shun

^

'

was

one

A small city in Lu.
Legge
translates :

"

the
rulers love to observe
to
the calls
the people respond readily
rules of propriety (!),
likewise
All the other translators seem
on
them for service."
is elsewhere
insisted on by
to have missed the point, which
is
fit
to
Confucius
that no man
cannot
govern others who
Introduction,
li,
On
himself.
see
the
govern
meaning
of
30
60.
on
note
seqq., and
pp.
p.
^
A legendary Emperor.
*
This saying might
have come
straight from the mouth
is it the only place where
Nor
of a Taoist philosopher.
Confucius
CL ^. 108.
to advocate
seems
quietism.
2

"

When

GOVERNMENT

48

AND

PUBLIC

AFFAIRS

In serving your prince, make the actual service
second.
your firstcare, and only put the emolument
on
the point of
head of the Chi clan was
attacking the small principality of Chuan-yii.
to see Confucius, and
Jan Yu and Chi Lu came
said : Our lord is going to have trouble with
Confucius said : Is it not you, Ch'iu,
Chuan-yii.
kings
who are to blame in this ? The ancient
long ago made Chuan-yii the centre of the worship
and moreover
mountain,
of the Eastern Meng
Its
it is situated within the territory of Lu.
ruler has independent priestly functions.^ What
right have you to attack it ? Jan Yu replied :
It is the will of our master ; we, his ministers,
have neither of us any wish to act thus. Ch'iu,
^
had a sa^dng : "If
said Confucius, Chou Jen
are
capable of displaying energy, hold
you
is that
use
office; if not, resign." Of what
his
minister likelv to be, who does not sustain
him
master in the presence of danger, or support
is
when about to fall? Besides, what you say
If a tiger or a wild buffalo escapes
wrong.
from its cage, if a tortoise-shellor jadeornament
is smashed in its casket, whose fault is it,pray ?
Chuan-yii is strongly
Yu
Jan
replied : But
town
fortified,
of Pi. If we
and close to our own

The

"

"

"

"

"

minister of the altars to the spirits of the
i.e. a direct vassal of the Emperor,
land and grain";
and
him.
to
responsible only
'*
Aa ancient historiographer, of whom
very littleis knowTi.
1

Literally,

a

AND

GOVERNMENT

PUBLIC

AFFAIRS

49

it will cause
do not take it now,
trouble to our
in a later generation.
descendants
Confucius
honest
Ch'iu, an
hates your
man
:
rejoined
hypocrite who w^illnot openly avow
his greed, but
it. I have heard that the
tries instead to excuse
ruler of a state or of a clan is troubled not by the
but by the absence of
smallness of its numbers
by poverty
but by
justice
; not
even-handed
the presence of discontent ; for where there is
there will be no poverty ; where there is
justice
harmony
lack in numbers ;
there will be no
where there is content there will be no revolution.
This being the case then, if outlying communities
"

authority, cultivate the arts of refinement
and goodness in order to attract them ;
and when you have attracted them, make them
happy and contented.
Now
you two, Yu and
Ch'iu, are
master ;
aiding and abetting your
here is an outlying communit}?- which resists your
are
authority, and you
unable to attract it.
Partition and collapse are imminent
in your own
State, and you are unable to preserve it intact.
And
yet you are
planning mihtary aggression
within the borders of your country ! Verily I
fear that Chi-sun's ^ troubles will come,
not from
Chuan-yii, but from the interiorof his own
palace.
resist your

When
to Wu-ch'eng,
he
the Master
came
heard the sound of singing and stringed instru*

The

head

of the Chi clan mentioned; above.

4

AND

GOVERNMENT

50

AFFAIRS

PUBLIC

pleased, but said with a smile :
Is it necessary to take a pole-axe to kill a fowl ?
Tzu Yu replied : Some time ago, Sir, I heard
you say that the study of true principles made
the ruler beneficent and men
of the lower class
My
children, said the Master,
easy to govern.
I said v/as only in jest.^
Yen is right. What
He

merits.

was

"

"

asked Confucius, saying : What are
? The Master
the essentials of good government
banish the
said : Esteem the five excellent, and
fit to
four evil things ; then you will become
are
Tzu Chang asked : What
the five
govern.
Master
replied : The
excellent things ? The
pendin
wise and good ruler is benevolent without extreasure ; he lays burdens on the people
to
grumble ; he has
causing them
without
desires without being covetous ; he is serene
without being proud ; he is awe-inspiring without
being ferocious. He is benevolent without expendin
? The
treasure : what does that mean
Master replied : He simply follows the course
Is
which naturally brings benefit to the people.^
Tzu

Chang

"

"

"

"

"

"

nable
Martial city," so called from its impregTzu Yu, when
ceeded
appointed governor, had sucposition.
in weaning
the people from their warlike propensities,
This is what made
and in introducing the miJder arts of peace.
he could not help being amused
at
the Master
glad, though
to
comthe application of the loftiest principles
such a tiny munity.
About ancient Chinese music we know unfortunately
a
to have played as important
to nothing, but it seems
next
in
State.
ideal
Plato's
part under the Chou dynasty as
2 That
is to eay, the ruler will always keep the welfare
^

Wu-ch'fng

means

GOVERNMENT

AND

PUBLIC

AFFAIRS

51

benevolent
thus
expending
without
? In imposing burdens, he chooses the
and nobody can
right time and the right means,
His desire is for goodness, and he
grumble.
? The
achieves it ; how should he be covetous
allows himself to be
wise and good ruler never
men
negligent, whether he is dealing with many
or
or
with great.
with few, with small matters
Is this not serenity without pride ? He has his
cap and robe properly adjusted,and throws a
noble dignity into his looks, so that his gravity
inspires onlookers with respect. Is he not thus
ferocious ? Tzii
being
without
awe-inspiring
are
Chang
the four evil
then asked : What
Master
things ? The
said : Cruelty : leaving
the people in their native ignorance, yet punishing
Oppression :
their wrong-doing
with death.

he

not
treasure

"

"

"

"

of tasks
completion
requiring the immediate
Ruthlessimposed
warning.
v\dthout previous
ness
:
giving vague orders, and then insisting
:
on
punctual fulfilment. Peddling husbandly
stinginess in conferring the proper rewards on
deserving men.^
"

"

of his people in view, but withovit indulging in indiscriminate
doles of money
largess. The ever-increasing
and corn
with
favour
buy
to
Emperors
Roman
the
were
the
of
obliged
which
fallen
the populace
under the condemnation
would thus have
Confucius.
of
"
^
four evil things
The
really turn out to be reducible
to two, namely
and
(1) Cruelty
covering the first three;
"

"

(2) Meanness.

INDIVIDUAL

VIRTUE

The

^
Master said : Is he not a princely man
he who is never
vexed that others know him not ?
"

True

and
^

^

virtue
rarely goes with
insinuating looks.

This

"

artful speech

is the

much-discussed
chiin tzn, an
expression of
"
EngUsii equivalent
is
the superior
wliich the stereotyped
But in this there is, unhappily,
man."
a
tinge of blended
foreign to the native
superciliousjiess and irony absolutely
in
it unsuitable.
Princely
phrase, wliich
my opinion makes
"
is as nearly as possible the literal translation, and
man
''

"

it actually means
as
we
sometimes,
shall see,
prince."
in the
But
cases
the
or
of
coimotation
of rank
m.ajority
is
authority
certainly not explicit, and as a general rendering
"
I have preferred
the higher type of man,"
the nobler
"

"

or
more
the good man."
sometimes
of man,"
simply,
Perhaps
the nearest
in
language
European
approximation
any
in the Greek
is to be found
6 koKqs
because
thftt
t:2y:i06s,
implies high mental
and moral qualities combiiied with all
bearing of a gentleman.
Compare
tlie outward
also Aristotle's
is however
6 aTTovdaTos, who
rather more
absUact
and ideal,
2 Jen,
term
here
the
translated
thv^
virtue," is perhaps
important
in
Analects,
the
most
single word
and the real
Confucian
Its
corner-stone
of
ethics.
primary
meaning,
"
in accordance
is
in
huuianity
witli the etymology,
i.e. natural goodness
the larger sense,
heart
in
as
of
shown
intercourse with one's
fellow-men.
Hence
it is sometimes
"
best translated
loving-kindness "
in the
or
charity
in many
biblical sense,
though
if
a
cases
more
convenient,
"
a3
vaguer, rendering is
virtue,"
moral virtue," or even,
in Legge,
perfect virtue."

sort

''

"

'*

"

"

"

52

INDIVIDUAL

At home,

VIRTUE

53

young man
should show the qualities
He
of a son ; abroad, those of a younger brother.
should be circumspect but truthful. He should
but associate
have charity in his heart for a.11men,
After thus regulating
only with the virtuous.
a

his conduct, his surplus energy
to literarv culture.

should

be

devoted

In t]ie matter of food and lodging, the nobler
does not seek mere
type of man
repletion and
his
is
in
He
earnest
affairsand cautious
comfort.
frequents
in his speech, and
virtuous company
He may
improvement.
be called
for his own
one
truly bent on the study of virtue.^
Meng I Tzu '^ asked for a definition of filialpiety.
The Master said : It consists in there being no
driving the Master's
falling off.' Fan Ch'ih was
time after, when
the latter told
carriage some
I Tzu asked me
him, saying : Meng
about filial
"

But
Literally, "he
called a lover of learning."
maybe
"
is generally to be
learning
in the mouth
of Confucius
as
studj" of the rules of right condu("t with a
understood
The
to
their practical application.
view
objectof all learning
to develop the natural goodness
to enable a man
was
within
It was
him, so as to lead a life of virtuous culture.
not
it
its
had
become,
for
nor
as
own
sake,
with us,
pursued solely
divorced from all ethical significance.
one
The chief of the house of Meng,
of the three great
families of Lu, and (according to Ssu-ina Ch'ien) a disciple
of Confucius.
3 The
reply is enigmatical, but it is clear from what follows
is
disobedience,"
translates,
that this, and not, as Legge
^

*'

'

"

the true meaning.

INDIVIDUAL

54

VIRTUE

piety, and I answered that it consisted in there
being no falling off. Fan Ch'ih said : What
did
The Master replied : That parents
?
you mean
should be served in the proper spiritwhile living,
buried with the proper rites after death, and
"

"

worshipped
Meng

thereafter with the proper sacrifices.

Wu
The

Po ^ asked for a definition of filial
Master said : There is filialpiety

piety.
when parents are
children except
sick.''

spared all anxiety about their
to
fall
they happen
when

Yu put a question on the
subjectof filial
Master
filial piety of
said : The
piety. The
to-day reduces itself to the mere
question of
Yet this is something
in which
maintenance.
dogs and horses have a share.^
our
Without
even
guish
the feeling of reverence,
what is there to distinTzu

the two

cases

?

1

The eldest, son
I Tzn.
of Meng
It is astonishing
Hsi should have
tliat Chu
tried to
improve
here, and almost equally
on
the old commentators
Logge
have
followed him, with this
that
should
astonishing
The
Master
lest their
are
said, Parents
result :
anxious
"
be
(and therefore children should
sick
children should
2

"

take
3

care

of their persons)!
again it is almost

incredible that Legge
should
have adopted
ing
such a ridiculous interpretation as the follow"
the authority, this time, of Chu Hsi :
The
without
filialpiety of nowadays
means
the support of one's
parents.
But dogs and horses likewise are able to do something
in the
image
The
by
this
way
of support."
sentence
conjured up
is grotesque, to say the least.
Here

"

55

VIRTUE

INDIVIDUAL

Tzu Hsia also asked about filialpiety. The
Master said : It can hardly be gauged from mere
there is work to be done,
outward acts.^ When
to relieve one's
elders of the toil ; or when there
to partake
is wine and food, to cause
them
*
thereof is this to be reckoned filialpiety ?
Tzu Kung
inquired about the higher tjrpe of
The Master replied : The higher type of
man.
is one
man
fesses
who acts before he speaks, and proCiilywhat he practises.
"

Master said : The
catholic in his sympathy
bias ; the lower t}^e of

The

A

man

is
higher type of man
and free from party
is biassed and unman
sympath

without charity in his heart
"

"

what

has

This famous
a
sentence,
colour diSicnlt."
foreigner
to native and
alike, surely marks
stumbling-block
be carried in
limit
to
the extreme
conciseness can
which
"
"
is the
difficulty is with the countenance
The
Chinese.
later
by
Legge,
lame
translation offered
scholars have
and
ing
failI\Ir,Ku Hung-ming
mostly followed in his footsteps, even
Where
badh' for once.
all have gone astray is in taking
"
filial
in
to
difficulty
the mind
the
exist
of the would-be
instead of being that felt by the onlooker who wishes to
son,
Only a few
of the quality in others.
gauge the genuineness
interpretation
ingenious
was
suggested
and
ago, a new
months
define it is
: "To
by my father, Professor H. A. Giles, namely
led to prefer
I am
difficult"; but after much
consideration
as
the word se is quite
the rendering in the text, inasmuch
to the
the external as opposed
commonly
used to denote
to essence.
internal, form
as
opposed
2 The
is No ;
ansvrer
acts do not
of course
outward
by a genuine duteoua
constitute filialpiety, unless prompted
feeling in the heart.
1

Literally,

"

"

INDIVIDUAL

56

VIRTUE

he to do with ceremonies ? A man
without chanty
^
in his heart
what has he to do with music ?
"

essential in
The Master said : Ah,
ceremonial observances.
that is a great question indeed ! In all rites,
extravagance ; in
simplicity is better than
is better
for the dead, heartfelt sorrow
mourning
Lin Fang

inquired

as

to the prime

than punctiliousness.

Master said : The true gentleman is never
If a spirit of rivalry is anywhere
contentious.
Yet
unavoidable, it is at a shooting-match.
here he courteously salutes his opponents
even
before taking up his position, and again when,
having lost, he retires to drink the forfeit-cup.
So that even
when competing he remains a true
The

gentleman.

It is the spiritof charity which makes a locahty
hood
good to dwell in. He who selects a neighbourbe
without regard to this quality cannot
considered wise.
Only he who has the spiritof goodness within
him is really able either to love or to hate.
The

for a single instant
never
princely man
quits the path of virtue ; in times of storm and
stress he remains in it as fast as ever.
^

A notable utterance,
have
been taught
who
ceremonies
and outward

be commended
which may
as
regard Confucius
show.

to

to those
a

man

of

INDIVIDUAL

The nobler sort of

VIRTUE

in his progress through

man

the world has neither
obstinate antipathies.
line of duty.

57

narrow

What

predilections nor
he follows is the

The nobler sort of man
ledge
is proficientin the knowis proficient
of his duty ; the inferior man
only in money-making.
In serving his father and mother, a son
may
lie
use
sees
that they
; if
gentle remonstrance
pa,y no heed, he should not desist, but merely
increase in deference ; if his pains are
thrown
away, he must show no resentment.

While one's
parents are
travel to a distance ; if one
be in a fixed direction.^

aUve,
must

one

should not
travel, it should

The

age of one's
parents should always be kept
in mind
hand, as a
on
the one
joici
subjectfor refor
; on the other, as a cause
alarm.
"

The

wise

man

will be slow to speak but quick

to act.

Tzu Chang asked, saying : The Prime Minister
Tzii Wen ^ held office three times, but showed
no
joy ; he lost it three times, but testifiedno
When
he ceased to be Prime Minister,
concern.
he was careful to explain the politicalsituation to
his successor.
What
is your opinion of him ?
"

^
2

In order that the parents
Of the Ch'u State,

may

know

where

theii"son

is.

VIRTUE

INDIVIDUAL

58

loyal and conscienMaster said : He was
tious.^
Had he not the highest degree of moral
one
virtue ? That I do not know ; how can
judgeof his moral virtue ? Tzu Chang continued :
Ts'ui Tzu ' slew the Prince of Ch'i, Ch'en
When
Wen Tzii, though the possessor of ten teams of
war-horses, forsook his wealth and turned his
to another
Havinoj come
back on the country.
"
Here they are as bad as our
state, he said :
own
minister Ts'ui Tzu," and depa,rted. And
he repeated this proceeding each time that he
is your opinion of
to a new
came
state.' What
corrup
him ? The Master said : He was
pure and inHad he not the highest degree of
virtue ? I cannot say ; how is one to judge?
The

"

"

"

"

"

"

^
\

The Master said : When
the solid outweighs
the ornamental, we have boorishness ; ^vhen the
ficial
ornamental outweighs the solid,we have superOnly from a proper blending
smartness.
emerge.
of the two will the higher type of man
The root idea of this word chung is loj'-altyto oneself,
devotion to principle, or, as Mr. Ku Hung-ming
well translates
fidelity to the sovereign
Loyalty
or
it, conscientiousness.
Here the two ideas appear to be
is only an extended sense.
blended, but in a famous
passage to be noted further on
(p. 118)much trouble has resulted from ignoring the firstand
fundamental
meaning.
2 A
Lu.
high officer in Ch"i, the state adjoining
3 The
Tzu could not reconcile it with
fact that Ch'en Wen
his conscience to settle in any of the states which he visited
throws a lurid light on the disorder prevailing in the Empire
were
and
usurpation
at this period (547 B.C.). Murder
than
the
exception.
evidently the rule rather
^

INDIVIDUAL

ness

59

born good. He who loseshis good- /
and yet livesis lucky to escape.

All men

1

VIRTUE

are

Better thp"n one who knows what is right is one
who is fond of what is right ; and better than
one
who
who is fond of what is right is one
delights in what is right.

Fan Ch'ih asked in what wisdom consisted.
The Master sPvid: Make righteousness in human
affairsyour aim, treat allsupernatural beings with
then you may
respect,but keep aloof from them
be called wise. Asked about moral virtue, he
thinks of the difficult
replied : The virtuous man
^
thing first,and makes material advantage only
be said to
a secondary consideration. This may
"

constitute moral virtue.
The Master said : The man
of knowledge finds
of virtue finds
pleasure in the sea, the man
For the man
of
pleasure in the mountains.^
knowledge is restlessand the man
of virtue is
of knowledge is happy, and the
calm. The man
man
of virtue is iong-lived.
'

The higher type of m_an, having gathered wide
knowledge from the branches of polite
objective
learning, will regulate the whole by the inner
That is to say, the virtuous act, which he will perform for
its own
sake, regardless of consequences.
/ 2 Ii!achfinds pleasure in that part of Nature which resembles
himself.
1

INDIVIDUAL

60

VIRTUE

rule of conduct/ and will thus avoid overstepping
the limit.
That virtue is perfect which adheres to a constant
It has long been rare amongst men.
mean.

asked : What would you say of the
man
who conferred benefits far and wide on the
able to be the salvation of all ?
people and was
Would you pronounce him a man
of moral virtue ?
Naj^,rather,
Of moral virtue ? said the Master.
still
of divine virtue.^ Even Yao and Shun were
str'ving to attain this height.
Tzu

Kung

"

of moral virtue,wishing to stand firm
himself, will lend firmness unto others ; wishing

The

^

man

be inferred from its composition, the character
may
ever
li originally had sole reference to religious rites, whence howit came
to be applied to every sort of ceremonial, including
the ordinary rules of politeness, the etiquette of society,
to the
the conduct befitting all stations of life,and moreover
is
This
the
outcome.
state of mind
of vvhich such conduct
is one
state of mind
and selfof equably adjustedharmonj'
inward
it
in
is
an
sense
this
\ restraint, and
portion
principle of proof
is
frequently
that
the
used in
and self-control
word
the rules of proWhj^ such a vile phrase as
the Analects.
priety
to
this
ever
was
subtle conception,
express
coined
inappropriate,
in
however
must
context,
every
and retained
it
Is
one
insoluble
that
an
of the
remain
surprising
mystery.
into
greatest of world- teachers should stillbe waiting to come
his full heritage, when his sayings are made to suggest nothing
ladies' seminary
?
so much
as the headmistress
of a young
2 It is interesting to
observe that Confucius allows a grade
divine
heroic
that which
above
virtue even
and almost
of
for all practical purposes,
goodness
constitutes complete
Aristotle
his
the (rJj(ppo}v,
as
delbs
ns aVr/pabove
just
places
As

^

,

"

"

INDIVIDUAL

VIRTUE

61

himself to be illuminated, he will illuminate
others. To be able to do to others as we would bf
done by ^ this is the true domain of moral virti
"

.

It has not been my lot to see a divine man
;
that would satisfy
could I see a princely man,
It has not been my lot to see a thoroughly
me.
a
man
; could I see
virtuous man
possessing
honesty of soul, that would satisfy me.
Is it
j)ossiblethere should be honesty of soul in one who
pretends to have what he has not ; who, when
emi'.ty, pretends to be overflowing ; who, v"'hen
if. -ant, pretends to be in affluence ?
The higher type of man
is calm and serene
; thr;s
is constantly agitated and worrieinferiorman

With sincerity and
culture. Lay down
the path of virtue.
tottering to its fall.

truth unite a desire for selfyour life rather than quit
Enter not the state which is
Abide not in the state where
When
law obtains in the
sedition is rampant.
Empire, let yourself be seen ; when lawlessness
reigns, retire into obscurity. In a state governed
on
right principles,poverty and low station are
things to be ashamed of ; in an ill-governed state,
r^'';es and rank are things to be ashamed
of.
The
^

man

of wisdom

does not

vacillate; the

It is only fair to mention
that the above is not an exact
translation of tho words in the Chinese text, thovigh I believe
their import to be what I have set down.
The point is too
technical and aha'^ruso to be discussed here.

INDIVIDUAL

62

VIRTUE

of natural goodness does not fret ; the
of valour does not fear.
man

man

Yen

Yiian inquired as to the meaning of true
The
Master said : The
goodness.
subdual of
self,and reversion to the natural laws governing
If a man
can
this is true goodness.
conduct
for the space of one day subdue his selfishnessand
revert to natural laws, the whole world will call
him good.
True goodness springs from a man's
heart. How
it depend on other men
?
own
can
Yen Yiian said : Kindly tellme the practical rule
from this. The ]\Iasterreplied :
to be deduced
Do not use your eyes, your ears, your power of
without
speech or your faculty of movement
obejdng the inner law of self-control.^Yen Yiian
I am
not quick in thought or act, I
said : Though
will make it my business to carry out this precept.
"

"

"

"

Chung

Kung inquired as to
The Master said :
goodness.
behave as though you were
guest ; in ruling

"7

the meaning of true
When
out of doors,
tinguis
entertaining a disthe people, behave

though

as

do
^

you were
officiatingat a solemn sacrifice
done
to
; what you would not wish
yourself,
in
Then
not
unto
others.'
public as in

See note
up by Legge

Tliis is the solemn nonsense
dished
p. CO.
Look not at what is contrary
to propriety ;
:
listen not to what is contrary to propriety ; speak not what is
no
contrary to propriety ; make
movement
which is contrary
to propriety."
2 Confucius
here, as in general, suits his reply to the
on

"

INDIVIDUAL

VIRTUE

63

private lifeyou will excite no ill-will.Chung Kung
I am not quick in thought or act, I
said : Though
will make it my business to carry out this precept

Ssu-ma

Niu inquired as to the meaning of true
The Master said : The truly good man
goodness.
is slow of speech.^ Slowness of speech ! Is this
what goodness consists in ? The Master said :
Does not the difficultyof deciding what it is right
to do necessarily imply slov/ness to speak ?
"

"

asked for a definition of the
The Master said : The princely
princely man.
is one
man
neither grief nor fear.
who knows
Absence of grief and fear ! Is this the mark of
The
If on
Master
?
a
princely man
said :
searching his heart he finds no guilt, why should
he grieve ? of what should he be afraid ?

Ssu-ma

Niu

"

"

Tzu

asked how to attain exalted virtue.
The Master s?Jd : Make
conscientiousness
and truth your guiding principles, and thus pass
to the cultivation of duty to your neighbour.
on
This is exalted virtue.
.

.

Chang

.

In answering
Yen
Yiian, the model
disciple,
questioner.
he had gone to the very root of the matter,
it clear
making
has little or nothing to do
that the essence
of true goodness
less advanced
To
Chung
Kung,
was
externals.
with
who
lacking in grace or dignity of demeanour,
and doubtless somewhat
he gives more
superficial advice, but winds up by
is the best practical
Rule, which
Golden
the
enunciating
inward
manner
of manifesting
goodness
of heart.
^ There
to be a play on this word
be
seems
which cannot
brought out in translation.

64

VIRTUE

INDIVIDUAL
The

said : The nobler sort of man
emphasises the good qualities in others, and does
The inferior sort does
the bad.
not accentuate
the reverse.
Master

Tzii

Chang
do
a
man
must
asked : What
in order to be considered distincfuished? The
Master said : What
do you mean
by the term
"
distinguished " ? Tzu Chang repHed : I mean
one
whose fame fillsboth his own
private circle
large.
Master
State
The
at
and the
said : That
is notoriety, not distinction. The man
of true
distinction is simple, honest, and a lover of justice
He w^eighs men's
and duty.
words, and observes
^
faces.
He is anxious to
the expression of their
is truly
put himself below others. Such a one
distinguished in his private and his public life.
As to the man
who is merely much talked about,
he puts on an appearance
volence,
of charity and benebut his actions belie it. He
is selfhas no
Neither in
misgivings.
satisfied and
in public life does he achieve more
private nor
"

"

"

than

notoriety.

Tzu Kung
asked a question about friendship.
The Master said : Be conscientious in speaking
to your friend, but tactful in your efforts to guide
him aright. If these fail,stop. Do not court a
personal rebuff.
This probably means
in judging of character.
'

tliat he will not rely

on

words

alone

INDIVIDUAL

VIRTUE

65

The Duke of She addressed Confucius, saying :
We have an upright man
in our
His
country.
father stole a sheep, and the son
bore witness
In our country, Confucius replied,
against him.
uprightness is something different from this. A
father hides the guilt of his son, and a son hides
the guilt of his father. It is in such conduct that
true uprightness is to be found.
"

Fan Ch'ih asked a question about moral virtue.
The Master said : In private life,show self-respect
in the management
of affairs,be attentive and
thorough ; in your dealings with others, be honest

',

and

conscientious. Never abandon
even
among
savages.

The

these principles,

Master

is
said : The nobler sort of man
but not obsequious ; the inferior
accommodating
sort is obsequious but not accommodating.

The nobler sort of man
is easy to serve
yet
difficultto please. Who
seeks to please him in
wrongful ways
will not succeed. In exacting
service from others, he takes account of a,ptitudes
is difticalt
a^nd limitations. The baser sort of man
to serve
j/et easy to please. Who
seeks to please
him in any wrongful way will assuredly succeed.
he requires absolute perfection in those
And
from whom
he exacts service.
The

nobler sort of
proud ; the inferiorman

man

is digniiied but

not

is proud but not dignified.
5

VIRTUE

INDIVIDUAL

66

said : To refrain from self-glorification,
to subdue feelings of resentment,
to control selfish
desire may
this be held to constitute perfect
virtue ? The Master said : These things may
certainly be considered hard to achieve, but I

Hsien
"

"

am

so

not

sure

that

they

constitute perfect

virtue.^
"
The Master said : A man
of inward virtue
will have virtuous words on his lips,but a man
of
virtuous words is not always a virtuous man.
^
The man
is sure
to possess
of perfect goodness
is not necessarily
courage, but the courageous man

good.
love be anything
but
true
Can
How
can
our
sense
of duty allow us
from admonition ?

exacting ?
to abstain

The nobler sort of man
tends upwards
baser sort tends downwards.
is modest
princely type of man
speech, but liberal in his performance.

The

The
*

princely

man

has

three

great

; the

in hi3

virtues,

Being too purely negative.
It is almost impossible, here and in other passages, to
between
te, the maniany real distinction of meaning
make
festation
in
the
man,
soul of
of eternal principles
and ;m,
former,
heart,
being
the
though
more
natural goodness
of
to
include
latter,
be
the
said
universal and abstract, may
implies
fellowa
generally
certain relation to one's
which
2

men.

VIRTUE

INDIVIDUAL

67

claim for myself.
which I cannot
benevolent, and is free from care ;
wise, and is free from delusions ;
brave, and is free from fear. Nay,
Kung, these virtues are our Master's
"

He is truly
he is truly
he is truly
replied Tzu
own.^

The Master said : Is not he a sage w4io neither
anticipates deceit nor suspects bad faith in others,
yet is prompt to detect them when they appear ?
do you regard the
asked : How
for evil ? The
good
principle of returning
Master said : What, then, is to be the return for
justicefor
should you return
good ? Rather
injustice,
and good for good.'^

Some

one

"

Tzu Lu asked about the conduct of the princely
The Master said : He cultivates himself
man.'
so as to gain in self-respect. Does he rest content
the reply,
with that ? He cultivates himself, was
is he
to give happiness to others. And
so
as
He cultivates himself so as to
content with that ?
"

"

"

"

confer peace and prosperity

on

the whole people.

*

This is surely the obvious
rendering, yet all previous
translators have taken the second tao in the sense
of "to say."
Master, that is what
Thus Legge has :
you yourself sa^j'."
2 The
is here
for
evil, which
principle of retiu-ning good
as
a
represented
ethical doctrine,
apparently
well-known
fucius
by Lao Tzil. Conknow,
first enunciated, so far as we
was
rejectsthis vain idealism, and advocates the much
sounder
and more
practical basis for society given in the
"

text.

chiin tzu seems
almost to denote
not merely a man
with princely qualities.
3

Here

an

actual prince,

INDIVIDUAL

68

VIRTUE

By

self-cultivationto confer peace and prosperity
on
the whole people ! was
not this the object
which Yao and Shun stilllaboured to attain ?
"

asked for advice on the practice of
moral virtue. The Master replied : If an artisan
begin by
to do his work
wants
well, he must
the great
sharpening his tools. Even so, among
the wise
men
of your country, you should serve
friends of men
who have
and good, and make
Tzu

Kung

this moral

virtue.

said : The higher type of man
a
sense
of his
of duty the groundwork
makes
of
character, blends with it in action a sense
harmonious
proportion, manifests it in a spirit
of unselfishness, and perfects it by the addition
of sincerity and truth. Then indeed is he a noble
character.
The

Master

The higher type of man
seeks all that he wants
in himself ; the inferior man
seeks all that he
from others.
wants
is firm but not quarrelThe higher type of man
some
; sociable, but not clannish.

does not esteem a person more
The wise man
highly because of what he says, neither does he
undervalue what is said because of the person
who says it.

Tzu

Kung

asked, saying

:

Is there any

one

VIRTUE

INDIVIDUAL

69

which ought to be acted upon throughout
one's
whole Kfe ? The Master replied : Surely
^
is such : Do not unto
the maxim
of charity
others what you would not they should do unto
you.
maxim

"

"

The

pays special attention
nobler sort of man
He is anxious to see clearly, to
to nine points.
hear distinctly,to be kindly in his looks, respectful
in his demeanour,
conscientious in his speech,
earnest in his affairs; when in doubt, he is careful
in anger, he thinks of tha
to inquire ; when
offered an opportunity for
consequences ; when
gain, he thinks only of his duty.

asked Confucius a question about
moral virtue. Confucius replied : Moral virtue
simply consists in being able, anywhere
and
everywhere, to exercise five particular qualities.
he said : Self-respect,
Asked what these were,
volence.
magnanimity,
sincerity, earnestness
and beneShov/ self-respect, and others will re"

Tzu

*

Legge

Chang

"

for
reciprocity," apparently
to explain
no
the maxim
that follows.
other
But it really stands for something
higher than the strictly
utilitarian principle of do ut des. Both here and in another
famous
(see p. 118) it is almost equivalent to jen,
passage
heart,
exgoodness
only with the idea of altruism more
of
plicitly
brought out.
It connotes
sjanpathetic consideration
for others, and hence the best rendering
to bo
seem
would
"
loving-kindness " or " charity."
The
concluding
maxim
is reallj'nothing more
less than the Golden Rule of Christ,
nor
though less familiar to us in its negative form.
translates
reason
than

shu

INDIVIDUAL

70

VIRTUE

*
be magnanimous,
and you
will
spect you ;
will trust
win all hearts ; be sincere, and men
you ; be earnest, and you will achieve great
things ; be benevolent, and you will be fit to
impose your will on others. \
'
asked : Does not the princely man
Master
puts
value
said : He
courage ? The
*
of high station
righteousness first. The man
who has courage without righteousness is a menace
to the State ; the common
man
who has courage
than a
without righteousness is nothing more
brigand.

Tzii Lu

"

Tzii Kung
asked : Has the nobler sort of man
has.
Master replied : He
any hatreds ? The
He hates those who publish the faults of others ;
he hates men
of low condition who vilify those
above them ; he hates those whose courage is
by self-restraint; he hates those
unaccompanied
And
but narrow-minded.
are
audacious
who
you, Tz'u, he added, have you also your hatreds ?
I hate, replied the disciple, those who
think
that wisdom
consists in prying and meddling ;
courage, in showing no compliance ; and honesty,
"

"

in denouncing

other

men.

insult
man
Chinese have
a
The
must
proverb : "A
himseh' before otliers will."
2 A
of the term
of the fluctuating content
good example
implies
in
disciple's
the
question
morality
chiln tzQ, which
in
Master's
to
the
reply rank and
rank, and
without reference
definite
moral qualities.
authority without
^

ESTIMATE

CONFUCIUS'

OTHERS

OF

Master said : I may talk all day to Hui
without his putting in a word of criticism or
he were
deficient in
dissent just as though
I find,
But after he has left me,
understanding.
his private conduct, that he knows
on
examining
No !
for all that how to exemplify my teaching.
Hui is not deficient in understanding.

The

"

asked, saying : What, Sir, is your
opinion of me ? I would liken you, Tz'u, replied
the Master, to a vessel limited in its function.
A richly
What sort of vessel ? asked Tzu Kung.
the reply.^
vessel, was
sacrificial
ornamented
Tzii Kung

"

"

"

remarked that Yung had goodness of
The Master
heart but no cleverness of speech.
said : Of what use is cleverness of speech ? Those

Some

one

"

"

It is said elsewhere in the Analects (seep. 94) that
the
for some
is unlike a vessel designed
higher type of man
his
that
means
capacity is not
moral
which
special use,"
had not fully
Tzii Kung,
then, it seems,,
nan-ow
and limited.
in
was
the higher principles of morality,
wanting
grasped
breadth of mind and the larger outlook on life. His aptitudes,
however, were
excellent so far as they went, and the Master
his proficiency in things relating
him
here on
compliments
to religious ceremonial.
1

71

CONFUCIUS*

72

ESTIMATE

OF

OTHERS

who are always ready to assail others with their
to make
sure
tongue are
themselves disliked.
As to Yung's goodness of heart I have no certain
knowledge ; but how would he benefit by having
cleverness of speech ?

way.
The Master said : My teaching makes no headto board a raft and float
HoAv and if I were
the sea ? My friend Yu would come
away over
Tzu Lu, hearing this, was
vdth me, I feel sure.
glad. The Master continued : Yu sur23asse3 me
in his love of daring, but he lacks discretion and
"

judgment.
Po asked whether Tzu Lu had true
moral virtue. The Master rephed : I do not
know.
a
second time, the Master said :
^Asked
Yu
might be trusted to organise the miHtary
levies of a large and powerful State, but whether
he is possessed of true virtue I cannot say. And
what is your opinion with regard to Ch'iu ? The
Master said : Ch'iu might be entrusted with the
a
thousand
government
of a district numbering
hundred
households
or
a
war-chariots, but
say. And
whether he has true virtue I cannot
Ch'ih, what of him ?" The Master said : Ch'ih
might be employed to stand in his officialdress at
converse
a royal levee and
with the visitors and
guests ; whether he has true virtue I cannot say.*

Meng

Wu

"

"

"

"

1

Confucius probably

that true moral

virtue

wished

(/en)was

upon his questioner
deeply implanted in the soul.

to impress

CONFUCIUS'

ESTIMATE

OF

OTHERS

73

The Master addressing Tzu Kung said : Which
you or Hui ? Tzu
of the two is the better man,
I venture
to compare
Kung
can
replied : How
point and
myself with Hui ? Hui hears one
I hear one
the whole.
masters
point
promptly
only able to feel my way to a second.
and am
The Master agreed : No, you are not equal to
Hui ; neither of us two ^ is equal to Hui.
"

"

The
Tsai Yii used to sleep during the day.
be carved,
Master said : Rotten wood cannot
walls made of dirt and mud cannot be plastered :
Yii ? At
what is the good of reprimanding
first,he continued, my way of dealing with others
to listen to their words
was
and to take their
actions upon trust. Now, my way is to listen to
what they say and then to watch what they do.
This change in me is owing to Yii.
"

The Master said : I have never
yet met a really
one
strong character. Some
suggested Shen
The Master said : Ch'eng is a slave to
Ch'eng.
his passions. How
he possess strength of
can
"

"

character ?
Tzii Kung

said

:

I

am

anxious to avoid doing

and not to be gauged
offhand from the presence or absence
of certain superficial signs.
"
1 It is
I grant you "
passing strange that the clumsy
for lou yii ju (I and
you) should have found favour with
better, by translating :
translators.
Wade
even
goes one
*'
I award you this praise, Hui does not equal you " I

ESTIMATE

CONFUCIUS'

74

OF

OTHERS

I would not have them do to
said : Tz'u, you have not got

to others that which

The

me.

far

as

as

Master
that.

The Master said of Tzu Ch'an ^ that he had four
in his
:
of the quaUties of the princely man
personal demeanour he was grave, in serving those
for the
attentive, in his care
above him he was
kind, in his ordering of the people
people he was
he was just.
"

The Master said : Yen P'ing * knows the art of
old the
associating with his friends : however
acquaintance may be, he always treats them with
the same
respect.
Tzu's ' behaviour was
Ning Wu
wise so long
his country was
revoas
lution
well governed ; when
His
his behaviour
came,
was
stupid.
be equalled by others, but his
may
wisdom
stupidity is beyond all imitation.

Po

I and

Shu

Ch'i

*

never

remembered

old

State in the sixth century
Prime Minister of the Cheng
for
had
he
the
When
three years, so great was
B.C.
ruled
locked
doors
that
were
not
at night, and
effected
change
Confucius
lost articles were
not picked up on the highway."
he
heard
his
death.
of
wept when
2 Minister
in the neighbouring
state of Ch'i.
3 A
minister of the Wei State in the seventh century B.C.
driven from his
In the revolution referred to the prince was
the " stupidity,"
throne, but afterwards
reinstated through
loyalty and devotion of Ning.
that is to say, the unwavering
*
brothers, celebrated for their protest against
These were
1

"

CONFUCIUS'

ESTIMATE

OF

OTHERS

injuries,
and

therefore

their

enemies

75
were

few.
Kao * was
an
will say that Wei-sheng
for some
? When asked by somebody
upright man
vinegar, he Avent and begged it of a neighbour,
who had asked him.
and gave this to the man
Who

together Hui ^
the space of three months
would not deviate in spiritfrom the path of perfect
virtue. My other disciples may attain this height
in a day or in a month, but that is all.
once

For

Po Niu ' lying sick unto death, the Master went
He clasped his hand through the
to visit him.
Such is fate.
window
and said : He is dying.
Alas ! that such a man
should have such an
ness
illness,that such a man
should have such an ill-

!
Rather than live under
dynasty.
sovereign, the great and virtuous Wu
to perish
intt the mountains
away
This fidelity to the cause
of Chou Hsin,
in history,
infamous
tyrants
and most
a shade
seems
more
of those who
quixotic than the conduct
for so long the fallen fortunes of the house of Stuart.
espoused
^
be trusted,
if legend may
This was
a
man
yo\mg
who,
He agreed to meet
heroically than he lived.
a
died more
to
keep her
she failed
girl under a bridge, but, woman-like,
Though
the water
was
rising rapidly, her
appointment.
lover waited on, unwilling to quit his post, and finally clung
drowned.
to a pillar until he was
2 This
to Wade
is the man
Confucius,
according
whom
(seep. 73), ranked below Tzu Kung !
^
Po Niu is said to have been suffering from leprosy, and
therefore he would not allow visitors to" enter his room.
the overthrow
of the
the rule of the new
Wang,
they wandered
of cold and hunger.
one
of the bloodiest

Yin

CONFUCIUS'

76

The

Master said
! Other men

ESTIMATE

OF

OTHERS

Hui was
indeed a philosopher
hving as he did, in a miserable
food
dish
alley,with a single
of
and a single
bowl of drink, could not have endured the distress.
But
Hui was
invariably cheerful. He was
a
philosopher indeed !
:

Jan Ch'iu said : It is not that I have no joy in
my Master's teaching, it is my strength that fails
The Master replied : Those whose strength
me.
fails them fall fainting by the way.
What you
do is to set up bounds which you will not attempt
"

to pass.

The Master said : Meng Chih-fan is no braggart.
Once after a defeat, when he was bringing up the
he whipped his horse as he was
rear,
about to
enter the city gate, and cried : It is not courage
last, it is my horse that won't
me
that makes
gallop fast enough.^
The

Master

only you
^

addressing Yen Yiian said : It is
and I who would be content to accept

Few
will see anything harmful in this anecdote as told
by Confucius.
Yet it is actually made
to figure in the general
brought against him
charge of insincerity and untruthfulness
by Legge.
"The
the
action was
gallant," he says, "but
And
Confucius
apology for it was
weak and unnecessary.
yet
saw
for praise,"
In the first
nothing in the whole but matter
Legge
ignores
the possibility that Meng
Chihplace,
entirely
fan was
if it were
But even
really speaking the truth.
wise,
other"
Confucius' only comment
is that he was
braggart."
no
Surely it is an overstrained morality that
could be offended
by this.

CONFUCIUS'

ESTIMATE

OF

OTHERS

77

it was
when
offered to us,
public employment
dismissed.
were
and to retire into obscurity when we
Tzii Lu then said : If you, Sir, had the
you
of three legions, whom
would
conduct
?
I would
associate with yourself in the command
not, replied the Ma.ster, choose a man
who would
"

"

attack
boat,

a
or

regret.

a river
cross
tiger unarmed,
without a
sacrifice his life without a moment's
Rather should it be one who would not
an
on
enterprise without anxiety, and
accustomed to lay his plans well before

embark
who was
putting them

into execution.^

The Master said : T'ai Po may be said to have
resoof virtue. Having
reached the summit
lutely
renounced the Imperial throne, he put it
to glorify his act of
out of the people's power
^
renunciation 1
*

Compare

Moltke's

"

Erst

wagen, dann wagen."
for
his
Evidently
reckless bravery.
noted
jealousof the praise bestowed on Yen Yiian, he makes a
to seciu'e
delightfully artless attempt
some
recognition for
do\vn a reproof.
himself, but only draws
Tlie Master's
impulsive,
disciple
relations with this vain,
good-hearted
between
one
Dr.
Johnson
those
subsisting
often remind
of
Goldsmith.
and
2 T'ai Po
the direct heir to his father's throne, but
was
knowing that the latter wished to be succeeded by his youngest
eon
(the father of the futui-e Wen Wang, the virtual founder
dynasty), he went Into voliAntary exile among
of the Chou
the barbarous tribes of the south, but kept the motives of his
to himself, and thus obtained no credit for his selfconduct

Tzu

Lu

sacrifice.

was

motto

:

78

CONFUCIUS'

ESTIMATE

OF

OTHERS

Yii ^ I find no loophole for
In the Emperor
His own
food and drink were
censure.
plain, but
his offerings to the ancestral spirits showed
extreme
garments were
poor, but
piety. His own
his robes and cap of state were
extremely fine.
His own
dwelling was humble, but he spent all his
the construction of public canals and
I find no loophole for censure
in Yii.
water-courses.

strength

on

After the word had gone forth, Hui
backward in his deeds.
The

was

never

speaking of Yen Ylian said : Ah,
I used to see him ever progressing
coming to a standstill.

Master
loss !

what a
and never

said : Yu, I fancy, is a man
who
in
dressed
would
garments
shabby
stand up,
quilted with hemp, among
people attired in furs
"
Hating
of fox and badger, and not be ashamed.
how can he be other than
none
and courting none,
"
^
As Tzu Lu kept constantly humming
good ?
over
this line, the Master said : This rule of conduct
is not enough by itselfto constitute goodness.
The

Master

"

"
Yao
The
Great Yii," who in the reign of the Emperor
laboured incessantly for eight years to control the disastrous
Emperor
River, himself became
inundations
of the Yellow
Shun, and founded the Hsia
after the death of Yao's successor
dynasty
(2205-1766 B.C.)2 A
from
the Book
of Poetry, a collection of
quotation
been selected and
300 ancient ballads said to have
some
himself, and hence raised to the
by Confucius
arranged
dignity of a
classic."

1

"

OF

ESTIMATE

CONFUCIUS'

OTHERS

79

panied
said : None of those who accomme
on
the journeyto the states of Ch'en
^
tinguis
Disto learn from me
now.
and Ts'ai come
Yen
for their virtuous conduct were
Yiian, Min Tzu-ch'ien, Jan Po-niu and Chung
Kung ; for their skill in speaking, Tsai Wo and
Tzu
Kung ; for their administrative
powers,
Jan Yu and Chi Lu ; for their literary attainments,
Tzu Yu and Tzu Hsia.

Master

The

does not help
in everything I say.
Hui

What
Other
terms

^

me

"

he takes such delight

'
is that of Min Tzu-ch'ien !
noble piety
men
speak of him in exactly the same
brethren.
as his own
parents and his own

When

Yen

Yiian died, the Master

wept

with

said by Confucius after his return
dead or in other
from exile, when
of his followers were
many
Ch'en and Ts'ai are particiilarly mentioned
parts of the Empire.
two
between
because it was
on
these
the road
small
he
the
that
met
most
states
of his
perilous adventure
with
from
by hostile troops and cut off
life,being surrounded
all
is
It
days
for
seven
the space of
(seep. 115).
not
supplies
be
taken
aa
the
not
next sentence
should
quite clear whether
a note
of those who
added by the compiler, giving the names
Master
on
were
this
journey.
with the
2 By
Cf. p. 71.
or
questioning.
criticism
3 On
Hunghsiao, occurring in another treatise, Mr. Ku
in
does
following
has
text
The
the
the
:
not
note
word
niing
Latin
filial
has
but
son,
a
the
mean
the
of
meaning
merely
dutiful
reverential to God,
plus
pious in its full sense,
to parents, good, faithful and orderly in ail the relations of
life."
1

This

muvSt

have

been

"

'

'

"

CONFUCIUS'

80

ESTIMATE

OF

OTHERS

passionate grief,so that those who were
with him
is too passionate.
Is
said : Master, your sorrow
it too passionate ? he repKed. Whose death should
for violent grief,if not this man's
be a cause
?
"

On

occasion there were
standing in attendance
Master
Min Tzu, looking gentle and
on
the
mild ; Tzu Lu, looking upright and soldierly ;
Jan Yu and Tzu Kung, looking frank and affable.
"
The Master was
A man
Hke Yu," he
pleased.
one

"

remarked,

will not

by

come

a

natural death."

^

The Master said : Why is Yu playing his martial
music at my door ? The disciples began to lose
their respect for Tzii Lu, whereupon
the Master
said : Yu has ascended the steps of the temple,
though he has not yet reached the inner sanctuary.
"

Tzu Kung asked which w as the man
of greater
Shang.
Shili
The
Master
or
worth,
replied :
Sliih exceeds and Shang falls short. Then Sliih
is the better of the two ? The Master said : To
exceed is as bad as to fallshort.
"

"

1

"

This

Confucius
reprediction was
verified. When
turned
Lu from Wei, he left Tza Lu and Tza Kao engaged
there in official service. Troubles
News
arose.
to
canie
Lu, B.C. 479, that a revolution was
in progress in Wei, and
*
Confucius
heard
he
it,
here, but
when
said, Cli'ai will come
Yu will die.' So it tiu-nod out.
When
Tzu Kao
saw
that
desperate
were
he made
his escape, but Tzu
Lu
matters
forsake
had treated him well. He
the chief who
would not
himself into the mtlee and was
threw
slain." Leqge, Life
to

"

of Confucius.

CONFUCIUS'

ESTIMATE

OF

OTHERS

81

The

head of the Chi clan was
ah-eady richer
than Chou Kung, yet Ch'iu kept levying taxes
for him and adding to his wealth.
He is no
disciple of mine, said the Master.
My children,
^
you may beat the drum and attack him.
"

The

Master

said : Hui reaches the verge of
Tz'u
perfection, yet he is often in great want.
does not resign himself to the will of Heaven, yet
his worldly goods continue to increase. His
however, frequently hit the mark.
judgments,
Tzii Lu asked if he should at once put the precepts
which he heard into practice. The Master
said : There are your father and elder brothers
to consult first; why should you be so impatient
to act on what you hear ?
Jan Yu asked the
same
question, and the Master said : Yes, act
at once
according to the instruction that is given
Kung-hsi
Hua
to you.
Yu
then said : When
asked if he should put the precepts which he
heard into practice, you replied, Sir, that he had
his father and elder brothers to consult first.
When
Ch'iu asked the same
question, you said :
"

"

"

*

This was
the disciple by whose
Confucius was
agency
finally restored to Lu.
But Confucius
to
was
the last man
let private considerations
in
the
stand
way
when
public
interests were
involved and a crying evil had to be redressed.
"
"
Beating
has no reference, as Legge
the drum
thinks, to
"
the practice of executing
criminals in the market-place."
It was
simply the recognised signal in warfare for advancing
to the attack, gongs being used to sound the retreat.

OF

ESTIMATE

CONFUCIUS'

82

OTHERS

according to the instruction that
I am
Now
is given to you."
puzzled, and beg
The Master replied : Ch'iu is
for an explanation.
Yu has
apt to hang back, therefore I press him on.
eagerness enoughfor two, therefore I hold him back.
*'

Act at

once

"

Yu
Chi Tzu-jan^ asked if Chung
and Jan
Ch'iu could be termed
great ministers. The
Master
said : I thought you had something
it turns
extraordinary to ask about, and now
out to be a question about Yu and Ch'iu. What
his
men
call a great minister is one who serves
prince according to the principles of truth and
that is impossible, resigns.
virtue, and when
Yu
only be termed
and Ch'iu, however, can
ordinary officials. Which is as much as to say that
they will always obediently follow their master's
will ? The Master replied : They would not follow
him so far as to commit
parricide or regicide.
"

"

The Master said : Yu is the
litigationin a few words.

man

to settlea long

fond of weighing other men's
merits and defects. The Master said : Surely
Tz'u must be a very great sage ! Personally, I
have no time for this.
Tzu

Kung

was

A member
scheming
of the ambitious family which was
hands.
into its o\mi
to get the whole power
of the dukedom
had recently been enlisted
The two disciples here mentioned
in its service, and Chi Tzu-jan is anxious to find out how far
in case of need.
Confucius seea
be relied upon
they can
through his nefarious designs.
1

CONFUCIUS

ON

HIMSELF

The Master : I will not be grieved that other
do not know me : I will be grieved that I do
men
not know
other men.
At fifteen,my mind was bent on learning. At
free from
thirty, I stood firm. At forty, I was
delusions. At fifty, I understood the laws of
At sixty, my ears were
Providence.
attentive to
the truth. At seventy, I could follow the promptings
of my
Tzu
month.
loss of a

heart without

overstepping

the

mean.

for doing away
tomary
with the cussacrificeof a sheep on the firstday of the
The Ma-ster said : Ah, Tz'ii,you grudge the
sheep, but I grudge the loss of a ceremony.

Kung

was

The Master said : In any hamlet of a dozen
honest and
houses you will surely find men
as
conscientious as myself, though they may not be
so devoted to ethical study.
The
1

Master

having

gone

to

visit Nan

Tzii,^

of Wei, notorious for her intrigues,
wife of the Duke
to say, Chinese
Needless
commentators
and even
accused of incest.
incident
to
in
are
this
at great pains
explain away
the life of the sage.

The

83

CONFUCIUS

84

Tzu

ON

HIMSELF

Thereupon
Confucius
swore
a
solemn oath, saying : In whatsoever I
have sinned, may I be abominable in the sight
of God !
'

Lu

displeased.

was

The

Master said : My function is to indicate
rather than to originate. Regarding antiquity
I do with trust and affection,I would venture
as
to

compare
P'eng Tsu.^

myself with

our

ancient patriarch

unpretentious hiving of v/isdom, patient
self-cultivation,
and untiring instruction of others
to which of these can I make any claim ?

The

"

failure to cultivate virtue, the failure to
examine and analyse what I have learnt, the
inability to move
towards righteousness after
being shown the way, the inability to correct my
faults these are the causes
of my grief.
The

"

Alas ! what
since I dreamt

falling-offis here !
of Chou Kung.^
a

Long

is it

Hsii. He
Chuan
grandson
of the legend .ary Emperor
800 years old when he disappeared
is said to have been over
The last words
into the west in the eleventh century B.C.
"
to mean
our
in the text are taken by some
patriarchs Lao
"
Lao Tzu being the founder of Taoism,
Tzu and P'eng Tsu
is
at an
also, by the waj', alleged to ha\ e disappeared
\A'ho
into
the
west.
age
advanced
2 One
in Chinese history.
The
names
the
most
re\'ered
of
his
by
helped
he
Wang,
brotlier
Wu
materially
of
younger
Ho drew
of Chou.
wise counsels to establish the dynasty
legal
tlie
people, and devoted
code, purified the morals of
up a
1

A

"

CONFUCIUS

ON

HIMSELF

There is no one, from the man
who brings
to whom
dried meat
as
payment
upwards,
have refused my
instruction.

85
me

I

I do not expound my teaching to any who are
not eager to learn ; I do not help out any one who
is not anxious to explain himself ; if,after being
a man
cannot go on
of a subject,
shown one corner
to discover the other three, I do not repeat the
lesson.
If the pursuit of riches were
a commendable
if I had to
pursuit, I would join in it, even
But
become
a
chariot-driver for the purpose.
pursuit, I
seeing that it is not a commendable
to my taste. ^
engage in those which are more

The Duke
of She questioned Tzu Lu about
Confucius. Tzu Lu made no reply. The Master
did you not say :
said to him afterwards : Why
"
He is a man
whose zeal for self-improvement
himself wholly to the welfare of the State. Confucius in the
days had an ardent desire to
zeal of his younger
reforming
brought into
see
the principles and institutions of Chou Kung
general practice.
1 Legge
Mr. Ku
Hung-ming)
and others (includingeven
"
If
to
be
the
sense
there
were
:
out
any prospect of my
make
in the search for riches, I would not hesitate
being successful
transin my power."
Thus
to pursue
by any means
lated,
them
the Master's saying is grotesquely at variance with the
trend of his conduct
whole
and the essential spirit of his
in the
Curiously enough,
too, there is nothing
teaching.
to justify
Chinese itself,so far as I can
see,
such a startling
interpretation.

CONFUCIUS

86

ON

HIMSELF

is such that he forgets to eat ; whose happiness
in this pursuit is so great that he forgets his
troubles and does not perceive old age stealing
"
?
upon him
is not
knowledge
The Master said : In me,
but one who loves antiquity and
innate. I am
is earnest in the study of it.

each of
with two other men,
as
them will serve
my teacher. I will pick out
the good points of the one and imitate them, and
the bad points of the other and correct them
in myself.
If I

am

walking

disciples,do you think that I have any
It is my
secrets ? I have no secrets from you.
it
to do nothing without communicating
way
to you, my disciples.
My

I daresay, who
act riglitly
not
why, but I am
without knowdng the reason
Having heard much, I sift out the
one
of them.
good and practise it ; having seen much, I retain
This is the second order of
it in my memory.

(

There

are

men,

-wisdom.*

are
those who
is to say, the wisest men
That
act
by any conto find their way
having
intuitively, without
scious
intuitive
disclaims
Confucius
any
such
process.
mental
care,
and
perception of right and \\Tong in his own
largely
on
is
to
he
that
rely
obliged
confesses
objective
by
the
as
powers
receptive
and
critical
acted
upon
experience,
flavour.
Taoist
distinctly
has
The
a
hi3
saying
of
mind.
^

CONFUCIUS

ON

HIMSELF

87

I am
literary accomplishments
perhaps
; but I have not yet succeeded
equal to other men
in
in exhibiting the conduct of the princely man
my own
person.
In

To divine wisdom
and perfect virtue I can
lay no claim. All that can be said of me is that
falter in the course
I never
which I pursue and
instruction of others"
in my
am
unwearying
Hua
Kung-hsi
this and nothing more.
said :
But those are justthe qualities that we,
your
disciples,are unable to acquire.
"

grievously sick, Tzii Lu
Is there
proposed the offering up of a prayer.
for this ? asked the Master.
^Tzu
a precedent
^
it is
Lu replied : There is. In the Eulogies
"
written : We pray unto you, 0 spiritsof Heaven
The Master said : My prayers began
and Earth."
The

Master

being

"

"

"

long ago.^

passing through a by-street
of the district shouted : Great is
when a man
Confucius the philosopher ! Yet for all his wide
The

Master

was

a
It is not known
collection
exactly what these were
for
book
on
dead,
or
a
the
panegyrics
of rituals
of prayers,
departed.
the
2 Confucius
made familiar to
speaks of "prayer in the sense
Ho prayeth best who loveth best.*'
us by Coleridge's line :
his whole life had been one long prayer,
In this higher sense
between
himself and God.
and he refuses any mediation
to the ritualistic spirit be carried much
Could antagonism
farther than this ?
1

"

88

CONFUCIUS

ON

HIMSELF

learning, he has nothing which can
bring him
fame.
On hearing this,the Master turned to his
disciples and said : What
shall I take up ?
Shall I take up charioteering or shall I take up
archery ? I will take up charioteering !
"

The
linen

Master

said : The ancient rites prescribe
as
the material for a ceremonial cap, but
nowadays
silk is used as being more
economical.
In this matter I fall in with the general custom.
According to the ancient rites, the Prince is to
be saluted from below the dais, but nowadays
the salutation takes place above.
This is presumptuo
infringing
therefore, though
and
thereby the general custom, I adopt the humbler
position.^

A high officerasked Tzu Kung, saying : Surely
is a divine Prophet ? What
a
your Master
to possess !
variety of accomplishments he seems
Tzu Kung replied : Truly he must be a Prophet,
so richly has he been
And he
endowed by God.
has also perfected himself in various arts. The
Master, being told of this, said : Does His Ex"

"

*

This

saying well illustrates the Master's attitude in
He was
no
regard to ceremonies.
stickler for mere
outward
to
long
the inner meaning
as
conformity
rule, so
of the
was
Now
the
ceremony
not
affected.
salutation of the
Prince was
felt
simply intended to be a way of expressing heartloyalty and respect, and it was
only because the new
less
Confucius
that
position seemed
respectful
opposed the

change.

CONFUCIUS

ON

HIMSELF

89

for what I am ?
me
now
cellency really know
Being of low condition as a boy, I did become
plishments
skilledin various arts but these are base accomthe
after all. If asked
whether
has many
higher type of man
such accomplishments,
I should say, Not many/
"

I possessed of true
The Master said : Am
But if an ignorant fellow
knowledge ? Not so.
from the lower class comes
to me
with a question,
from end to end, and set
I will discuss the
subject
it fully before him.
Tzu Kung
said to Confucius : If you had a
lovely jewel,
would you hide it away in a casket,
or
would you try to sell it for a good price ?
The Master replied : Oh, certainly I would sellit,
but I would wait until a price was
offered.^
"

The Master said : Out of doors, to tender
faithful service to prince and ministers ; at
home, to be duteous towards father and elder
brothers ; to observe the rites of mourning with
^

See note

p. 44.
The
are
Question and answer
of course
parabolical.
in
disciple
his
Master,
taking
thinks
that
enthusiastic young
"
is guilty of
hiding
no
steps to obtain official employment,
"
his jewelin a casket," or, as we should say,
his light under
bushel."
Confucius, however,
had a great sense
a
of the
loth to thrust himself forward
responsibility of office, and was
His chance
came
at last after fifteen years of
uninvited.
Duke
Ting appointed
him
waiting, when
governor
of the
town
of Chung-tu.
2

on

HIMSELF

ON

CONFUCIUS

90

the utmost care ; to avoid being overcome
wine : which of these virtues have I ?

with

"

In matters pertaining to ceremonies and music,
less unciviUsed in
or
more
the ancients were
comparison with the refinement of a later age.
Nevertheless, in practice I take the earlierperiod
^

as

guide.

my

arbiter in Utigation I am no better than
But
surely the grand
other men.
object to
achieve is that there shall be no litigationat all.*
As

an

Wei-sheng Mou,'^ addressing Confucius, said :
Ch'iu, why is it you keep hopping about thus
from place to place ? Is it not in order to show
off your fine rhetoric ? Confucius replied : I
do not allow myself to indulge in fine rhetoric ;
it is because I consider obstinacy a fault.*
no,
"

The

Master

1

Another
instincts were
2

Said by

said :

There

are

none

who

know

that Confucius'
were
needed,
proof, if one
monies.
all for simplicity and not elaboration in cere-

Confucius

when

he

was

Minister

of

Justice in

Lu.
from his use of the personal
older man,
tone.
disrespectful
his
name,
not
of
*
from
was
Confucius, like other great men,
not exempt
his
derided
the usual fate of seeing his actions
motives
and
his
Here
have
a gibe thrown
we
at
ing
wandermisunderstood.
is
insinuated,
it
for
to
from
the
of
state,
state
purpose,
have
is,
to
The
his wits.
that
answer
a living by
making
he
was
in
Lu
or
plainly
any
other state where
remained
been
have
merely stupid persistency.
not wanted,
would
3

Evidently

an

to speak

ON

CONFUCIUS

91

HIMSELF

is it,
Tzu Kung
for what I am.
said : How
know you ? The Master replied :
Sir, that none
I make no complaint against Heaven, neither do
In the study of virtue
I blame my fellow-men.
I begin at the bottom
tend upwards.*
and
Surely Heaven knows me for what I am.
me

"

"

Tz'u, do you look upon
studied and retained a mass
I do, he replied. Am
wrong, said the Master.
connecting
strung on one
"

who has
of various knowledge ?
I wrong ? You
are
is
knowledge
All my

me

as

a

man

"

thread.*

I used to spend whole days without food and
to meditate.
whole nights without sleep, in order
Most
notice of him.
ideals and high-flown
so-called sages start with grandiose
in order to attract attention.
utterances,
2 This is
rightly considered to be one of the most important
to his whole
of the Master's sayings, because it gives the clue
thread,"
connecting
of life. The
view
and
pliilosophy
is
learn from another passage (see p. 118), simply the
as
we
to
moral life,which consists in being true to oneself and good
his
to impress
Confucius
one's
upon
wished
neighbour.
lover
nor
mere
amasser
disciple that he was
no
of knowledge
The
learning's
one
thing
learning
for
necessary,
sake.
of
to be able to lead, in the highest sense
in his eyes, was
of the
learning,
the real objectof all
word, a moral life,and this was
Throughout
knowledge.
the Analects,
the end and aim of all
"
learning " always
have already seen, the usual word for
as we
implies the study of virtue, the striving after selfor
means
Like Socrates, Confucius was
improvement.
purely a moral
certainly have
philosopher, and would
rejectedthe sharp
between
draw
distinction we
and moral
mental
nowadays
1

This

accounts

for

men

taking

no

"

science.

92

CONFUCIUS

But I made
better.

no

ON

progress.

HIMSELF
Study, I found,

was

Pi Hsi ^ sent an invitation to Confucius, and
the Master wished to go. Tzu Lu, however, said :
Once upon a time. Sir, I heard you say that the
nobler sort of man
would not enter into intimacy
Now
with one who laid himself out to do wrong.
Pi Hsi has raised the standard of rebellion in
Chung-mou.
How
can
think
of going
you
Those were
thither ? True, replied the Master.
"
The
my
w^ords. But is there not a saying :
hard may be rubbed without losing its substance ;
be steeped without losing its
the white may
"
? Am
I then a bitter gourd
fit only
purity
to be hung up and not eaten ?
"

"

1

A rebellious officialin the Chin State. On more
than one
in
his
it
Confucius
clined
career,
occasion
made
plain that he deto be bound
by narrow
by the
or hampered
convention
fear of M^hat people might say of him.
To keep clear of bad
doubt
no
an
associates was
excellent principle, but Confucius
have seen some
for Pi Hsi's course
may
justification
of action,
in
longer
he
be
to
case
was
no
an
any
and
age
easily corrupted
of
by evil communications.
Knowing
that rules were
to be so rigid as to admit of no exceptions, he
never
meant
felt it his primary
duty to go where he could do good.
Cf.
Nan
Tzu
idea
to
the visit
(p. 83), the mere
of which would
have horrified an ordinary teacher of morality.

SAYINGS

MISCELLANEOUS

said : To learn, and to practise
on
occasion what one has learnt is this not true
pleasure ? The coming of a friend from a far-off
land
is this not true joy ?
The

Master

"

"

Make

sincerity your
conscientiousness and
friends not equai to
no
grand object.Have
done
be not
have
wrong,
yourself. If you
ashamed

to make

amends.

his
Observe the bent of a man's
will when
father is alive, and his actions after his father is
he
If during the three years of mourning
dead.
from his father's principles, he
does not swerve
son.
a truly filial
may be pronounced
three hundred in number, but
their purport may be summed
up in a word :
Ha,ve no depraved thoughts.

The

Odes

^

are

"

given by foreigners to
rather ina^^propriate name
the songs or ballads contained in the Shih Ching or Book
of
is
to
have
Confucius
Poetry (seenote on p. 78).
selected
said
larger
from
a
hundred
these three
pre-existing
much
odd pieces
hardly
here
as
us
language
but
his
mass
strikes
of material,
his
comown
by
man
a
that likely to be used
pilation.
speaking of
1

The

93

SAYINGS

MISCELLANEOUS

94

actions ; scrutinise his
him
motives ; take note of the things that give
then can he hide from you what
pleasure. How
he really is ?
*

Observe

man's

a

knowledge whilst thinking over
the old, and you may become a teacher of others.
Acquire

new

is not like a vessel which
The higher type of man
is designed for some
special use.^

Study without thought is vain ; thought without
study is perilous.
Absorption in the study
harmful.
is mcht

of the supernatural

?
shall I tell you what true knowledge is
that you know, and
When
you know, to know
that you do
you do not know, to know
when
that is true knowledge.
not know

\u,

"

"

studying with a view to official
The Master said to him : Among
preferment.
your
the various things you hear said, reserve
doubtful,
and
judgment on those which seem
Tzu Chang

w^as

give cautious utterance to the rest : then you will
Among
the various
fall into error.
seldom
things you see done, set aside those which seem
dangerous, and cautiously put the others into
1

That

is to say, he is not Hmited
"
borne
implement,
not

in his functions

"

vessel

or

Cf not"
.

on

p. 71.

or

a

man

of

one

like a
idea.

SAYINGS

MISCELLANEOUS

95

practice : then you mil seldom have occasion for
If you seldom err in your speech,
repentance.
to repent
and seldom have
of your
actions,
officialpreferment will come
of itself.
The

Master

said : I do not see how a man
How
without sincerity can be good for anything.
can
a
to go without
cart or carriage be made
yoke or cross-bar ?
To

sacrificeto a spirit with which
nothing to do, is mere
servility.
To

shirk your
you, shows want

duty

when you see
of moral courage.

Some one inquired
Great Sacrifice. The
He who knew
know.
easy to govern
(pointingto his

as

have

you

it before

to the meaning

of the
Master said : I do not
its meaning
would find it
the Empire as to look upon this
as

palm).^

Wang-sun

Chia ^ asked, saying : What
means
"
Better be civil to the kitchen-god
the adage,
"
? The
than to the god of the inner sanctum
"

^

Every

ceremonial
rite being symbolical of some
portion
harmony,
Sacrifice
being
the
Great
the
the
of
and
world's
fount
head and
it were
as
of all the rest, it follows that the
its
man
who could penetrate
profound symbolism
would have
the whole system
of morals and government
unrolled before
his eyes.
2 Prime
Minister of the Wei State, who suspected Confucius
to seek office, and took this means
of coming
of hinting that
the real power lay with himself and not with the Duke.

MISCELLANEOUS

96

SAYINGS

Master replied : The adage is false. He who sins
against Heaven can relyon the intercessionof none.

Master said : He who serves
his prince
with all the proper ceremony will be accounted
by men
a flatterer.
The

It is bootless to discuss accomplished facts, to
protest against things past remedy, to find fault
with things bygone.

I to regard one who has ranli withHow am
out
liberality,who performs ceremonies without
reverence,
who approaches the rites of mourning
without
Men's

sorrow

?

faults

are

observing a man's
know his virtues.

characteristic.^ It is by
faults that one may come
to

Having heard the True Way
matters it if one should come

in the morning, what
to die at night ?

is bent on
scholar who
studying the
principles of virtue, yet is ashamed of bad clothes
and coarse food, isnot yet fitto receive instruction.
The

Instead of being concerned that you have no
office,be concerned to think how you may fityourfor ofiice. Instead of being concerned that you
?ielf
are
not known, seek to be worthy of being Imown.
1

After some
Ku
of ]\Ii-.

with the next

hesitation, I have adopted this clever rendering
Hung-ming,
as being the only one
tlmt fits well
sentence.

MISCELLANEOUS
When you see
him ; when you

a

good

see

a

SAYINGS
man,

bad

97

think of emulating
man,
examine
your

heart.

own

ancients hesitated to give their thoughts
utterance : they were
afraid that their actions
might not be equal to their words.

The

Few

are

those who

err

on

the side of

self-

restraint.^

Virtue
sure

are

cannot
to grow

live in

solitude
up around it.^

:

neighbours

Chi Wen Tzii ' used to reflect thrice before he
told of this, the Master said :
acted. When
Twice would do.

The

Master

met a
said : Alas ! I have never
faults and arraign
man
who
could see his own
himself at the bar of his own
conscience.

Tzu

Hua having been sent on a mission to the
Ch'i State, Jan Ch'iu begged for a gift of grain
for his mother.
The Master said : Give her a
The
disciple asking for more,
he said :
peck.
"

1

A few other renderings of this sentence
will illustrate at
once
the elasticity of the Chinese language, and the difficulty of
it flow into European
The cautious
Legge
:
making
moulds.
"It
Wajde
happens
:
err."
that a man
errs
seldom
seldom
Jennings:
Those
keep
through excess
of moderation."
who
Ku Hung-ming
He
:
within restraints are seldom losers."
little
wants
who
seldom
goes wrong."
2 I.e.
begets
virtue
virtue.
3
A member
of the great Chi family, w^ho hold office in Lu.
"

"

"

"

7

/

MISCELLANEOUS

98

Give her then

SAYINGS

bushel. But Jan Ch'iu
eventually
her
as much
as five hundredweight
gave
of grain.
Then
Master
the
rebuked him, saying : When
Ch'ih went to the Ch'i State, he was
conveyed
by a team of sleek horses and was
wearing costly
fur garments.
Now
I have
heard that the
succours
the distressed,but will not
princely man
add to the opulence of the wealthy.
a

"

Yiian Ssu, having been made
governor of a
district, was
hundred
presented
nine
with
^
measures
He
dechned
The
them.
of grain.
Master said : Do not dechne them.
May
they
the villages and townnot be distributed among
ships
of your neighbourhood ?
The

Master said : Who
can
go out of a house
except by the door ? In Hfe, why
not pass
^
likev/isethrough the door of virtue ?
You

may
speak of higher subjectsto those
who rise above the average level of mankind, but
not to those who fallbelow it.

With coarse
food to eat, v/ater to drink, and
the bended arm
as
a pillov/,happiness
may still
exist. Wealth and rank unrighteously obtained
to me
seem
as insubstantial as floating
clouds.
The
*
2

"ome

inhabitants

of

Hu-hsiang

were

uncon-

The proper allowance
for an officer in his station.
As being, in the end, the most natural
and least troubleroute to take.

SAYINGS

MISCELLANEOUS

99

from
a
man
young
versable people, and when
to see Confucius, the disciples
those parts came
hesitated to let him in. But the Master said :
I accept him at his
to me,
When
a man
comes
Why make so much ado ?
best, not at his worst.
Wlien a man
v/ashes his hands before paying a
visit, and you receive him in that clean state,
you do not thereby stand surety for his always
having been clean in the past.
The Master said : Is virtue then so remote ?
I have only to show a desire for virtue, and lo !
it is here.

The Master said : Prodigality begets arrogance,parsimony begets niggardliness. But it is better
to be niggardly than arrogant.
due self-restraint,^courtesy becomes
degenerates into timidity,
oppressive, prudence
valour into violence, and candour into rudeness.
Without

of daring and

Love
1

It

is impossible

dread

find

of poverty

lead to

for this
equivalent
expression
non-yieldingness,"
negative
non-humility."
idea 53 one of
But the dominant
therefore such
and
selfishness,
"
insubordination
frowardnesa "
as
(Legge),
renderings
to

an

exact

"

"

"

(Wade),

"

"

"

excess

(Ku Hung-ming),

are

rather

wide

of the

mark.
Here again it is the inner sensa
For note on li,see p. 60.
of moral proportion a,nd harmony,
which prevents any quality
from being carried to excess.
Not a translator but has come
to grief over
Mr. Ku is not so far off with
this word, though
"
intellectual
judgment." That, hcj-wever, makes
of it an
it
is
a moral
sense.
really
principle rather than what
-

"

MISCELLANEOUS

100

SAYINGS

sedition. The man
without natural virtue, if
pursued by the hatred of society, will become
a desperado.
If

is proud and avaricious, though his
fine in
other qualities may embrace all that was
the character of Chou Kung, they are not worth
taking into account.
a

man

It isnot easy to find a man
who after three years
^
of self-cultivation has not reached happiness.

He

who is out
the government.

of office should not

meddle

in

without honesty ; ignorance
ingenuousness ; simplicity without sincerity
such characters I do not understand.^

Hot-headedness
without
:
"

Pursue

the

you
study of virtue as though
reach your goal, and were
could never
afraid of
losing the ground already gained.

The Master said : I have not met one whose love
of virtue was
equal to his love of sensual beauty.

Though in making a mound
I should stop when
but one more
basketful of earth would complete
it, the fact remains that I have stopped.
On
the other hand, if in levelling it to the ground I
Literally, "learning."
See notes on pp. 53 and 91.
2 The
seem
commentators
right in thoir explanation, that
defects are usually redeemed
by certain corresponding
a man's
these are absent, the case is hopeless.
qualities ; when even
1

advance my work by but
the fact remains that I am
Alas ! there
into ear.
come
into ea^r,
come

101

SAYINGS

MISCELLANEOUS
one

basketful at

a

time,

advancing/

sprouting crops which never
There are others which, having
never
ripen into grain.
are

w^holesome respect for our
but that by-and-by
they
of to-day ?
may prove themselves equal to the men
It is only when
they reach the age of forty or
fifty without distinguishing themselves that we
need no longer be afraid of them.

ought to have
juniors.Who knows
We

a

mand
of justadmonition cannot fail to comBut pract'cal reformation
a ready assent.
Words
is the thing that really matters.
of
fail to please the listener.
kindly advice cannot
But subsequent meditation on them is the thing

Words

that really matters. I can make nothing of the man
who is j)leasedvdth advice but willnot meditate on
it,who assents to admonition but does not reform.

A great army may be robbed of its leader, but
of his will.
nothing can rob one poor man
It is only when the cold season
that
comes
know the pine and cypress to be evergreens.^

we

Legge's
This is the best I can make
of a vexed passage.
translation is poor, but he is right with regard to the lesson
intended
that repeated
small
acquisitions individually
is
learner
never
to
that
the
much, and
will ultimately amoimt
1

"

"

to give
2

Men

over."
are

known

in time

of adversity.^

MISCELLANEOUS

102

SAYINGS

Let a pupil joinwith you in self-cultivation
before you let him approach the general truths
of philosophy, but let him approach these general
truths before he is allowed to form his character
for good.
He should have formed his character
for good before he is allov/ed to make exceptions
to

a

general rule.

When Yen Yiian died, the Master said
God has forsaken
God has forsaken me,

Alas !
!
me

:

On the death of Yen Yiian, the discipleswanted
funeral, but the Master
to give him a sumptuous
Nevertheless, the disciples
said, Better not.^
did give him a sumptuous funeral, whereupon
the
his father,
as
Master said : Hui looked upon me
yet I have not been able to treat him
The fault is not in me, but in you, my

my son.
disciples.

as

duty to
Lu inquired concerning men's
Master
are
replied : Before we
spirits. The
able to do our duty by the living,how ca^n we
do it by the spirits of the dead ? Chi Lu went
The Master said :
to inquire about death.
on

Chi

"

Because
the family v/as very poor and could ill afford
It is not the least of this great man's
bear
to
the expense.
titles to fame that he resolutely opposed the tide of popular
sentiment in this matter, and could see the iniquity of sat"rificing the living to the dead, even
when the funeral of his dearly
in question.
The moral courage of such
beloved disciple was
like
in a country
China, where religion is largely
an attitude
hardly be
connected
with the propitiation of spirits, can
^

overestimated.

MISCELLANEOUS
Before we know
what death is ?

what

SAYINGS
lifeis, how

can

103
we

know

Tzii Chang

asked a question about clearness
of mental vision. The Master said : He whose
mind is proof against the slow-soaking poison
of slander and the sharp stings of calumny, may
be called clear-sighted,and far-seeing as well.
The Master said : A man
may know the three
hundred odes by heart, but if he proves himself
incapable when given a post in the government,
or
cannot
make a speech unaided when sent on
to him is all his
use
a foreign mission, of what
learning ?
asked, saying : What may be said
men
of a man
who is beloved by all his fellow-towns? The Master replied : That is not enough
What of one who is hated by all his
to go upon.
fellow-townsmen
? The Master replied : Neither
It would be otherwise
is that enough to go upon.
his fellow-townsmen,
if, among
the good loved
him and the wicked hated him.
Tzu

Kung

"

"

"

have
must
said : A good man
trained the people for seven
years before they are
fitto go to war.
Master

The

To

take

an

untrained multitude
is equivalent to throwing them away.
In

a

into battle

well-governed country, speak boldly and

104

SAYINGS

MISCELLANEOUS

lawlessness
boldly. In a country
where
prevails, let your actions be bold but your speech
tactful.
act

It is harder to be poor without
than to be rich without arrogance.

murmuring,

The men
of olden times who studied virtue
had only their own
improvement
in view ; those
have an eye to the applause of
who study it now
others.
to
Refusal to instruct one
who is competent
Instruction of
learn entails the waste of a man.
to learn entails waste
one
who is incompetent
The wise man
is he who wastes neither
of words.
men

nor

words.

Those whose care
extends not
find their troubles near at hand.
He who requires much
from others will be secure
If
do

far ahead

will

from himself and little
from hatred.
"

a

What
is not in the habit of asking,
of
of this ? what do you make
make
I can make nothing of him.

man

you
"
that ?

Hopeless indeed is the case of those who can
letting
herd together all day long without once
^
their conversation
reach a higher plane, but
are

content
1

to

bandy

Literally,

smart

and

shallow wit.

"

reach

righteousness."

When
he

man

a

is generally

105

SAYINGS

MISCELLANEOUS

is generally detested, or when
is
beloved, closer examination

necessary.^

that is able to develop his virtue,
not virtue that develops the man.^
It is the

The
amend

man

real fault is to have
them.

faults and not try to

there is education, there is
of class.

Where

no

tion
distinc-

who differ in their principles cannot
each other in their plans.
Men

help

If language is lucid, that is enough.
There

three

are

errors

be avoided in the
The firstis precipitancy
to

great man.
speaking before it is your turn to speak ; the
not speaking when
your
second is bashfulness
turn
comes
the third is heedlessness
; and
of
speaking without observing the countenance
the listener.
presence of

a

"

"

"

three impulses against which the
In the period
is on his guard.
nobler sort of man
of youth, when the heyday in the blood has not
yet subsided, he guards against lustfulness ; in
There

1

are

Before subscribing to the popular
on
p. 103.
2 I.e.
mere
passivity, as advocated
do.
not

judgment.
by

the

Cf. saying

Taoists, will

MISCELLANEOUS

106

SAYINGS

the physical frame is
the prime of life, when
vigorous and strong, he guards against pugnacity ;
in old age, when
the vital forces are in their
decline,he guards against the greed of gain.^

ledge
The highest class of men
are
they whose knowis innate ; next to these are they whose
is acquired by study
knowledge
; after them
dull-witted, yet strive to
are
come
those who
learn ; while those who are dull-witted and will
no
effort to learn are the lowest of the
make
'

people.
"

you see the good, act as though you
you
up with it ; when
quite come
could never
brought face to face with evil, act as though
are
"
boihng
heat
:
the
trying
were
water
of
you
I have heard some
such saying as this, and I have
"
Dwell in retirement,
live up to it.
men
seen

When

"

in order to work out your aims ; practise righteousness,
"
:
the Truth
in order to apprehend
seen
such a saying I have heard, but I have never
"

a

man

live up to it.'

than a conventional
numerical categories are hardly more
fond
form into which the Chinese are
of throwing
are
to
they
Needless
not
say,
ethical and other teaching.
as
to be considered
exhaustive.
2 Confucius,
have seen
as we
(p. 86), puts himself in this
1

These

second class.
3 The
difference lies in the set purpose of studying
a systematic
way, and not merely doing right when
offers.

virtue in
occasion

SAYINGS

MISCELLANEOUS
Men's

natures

that carry them

are

alike ;
far apart.

107

it is their habits

never
change : the
classes of men
dull.
wisest of the wise and the dullest of the

Only

two

Lu, the Master said : Have
heard, Yu, of the six shadows
which
you ever
he replied.
attend six several virtues ? No,
Love of
Sit down, then, and I will tell you.

Speaking

to Tzu

"

"

^
casts the
without the will to learn
goodness
of knowledge
called foolishness. Love
shadow
without the will to learn casts the shadow called
instability. Love of truth without the will to
learn casts
the shadow
called insensibility.
Love of candour without the will to learn casts
Love of daring
the shadow
called rudeness.

without the will to learn casts the shadow called
Love
turbulence.
of firmness without the will
to learn casts the shadow
called eccentricity.

Ceremonies,

forsooth !

Can

ceremonies
matter of silken robes and
reduced to a mere
forsooth ! Can
? Music,
music
ornaments
matter
of bells and drums
reduced to a mere

be

jade
be
? '

"
is a necessarily vague
rendering
will to learn
for
desire
here
It
a
means
the
original.
equally vague
of
development
moral culture, which is nothing else than the
{li)referred
and proportion
of harmony
of that imier sense
to Confucius, are
instmcts, according
Good
to on
p. 99.
to produce
virtues, unless they are supplemented
not enough
by careful cultivation of this moral sense.
8 A
and chalices will no
magnificent array of vestments

1

"

The

108

SAYINGS

MISCELLANEOUS

Men who are grave and stern in appearance,
but inwardly weak and unprincipled
are
they
not comparable to the lowest class of humanity
sneaking thieves that break into houses by night ?
"

"

Your

goody-goody

people

are

the thieves of

virtue.
The Master said : Would that I could do without
speaking ! Tzu Kung
said : If our Master
never
spoke, how could we, his disciples,transmit
his doctrines ? The Master replied : Does God
hold on their course,
speak ? The four seasons
Yet,
and all things continue to live and grow.
does God speak ?
tell me,
"

"

Girls and servants are the most difficultpeople
If you treat them familiarly, they
to handle.
become
disrespectful ; if you keep them
at a
distance, they resent it.
than a number
constitute a true ceremony
of musical
instruments
the brain of a composer,
can
alone, without
is
The
determined
a
produce music.
ceremony
whole value of
by the state of mind of the person who performs it.

more

PERSONALIA
In his moments
of leisure,the Master's
was
uniformly cheerful and smiling.

manner

to be dining beside
If the Master happened
one
who was in mourning for his parents, he never
He never
sang on any day in
ate a full meal.
the course
of which he had been bewailing a death.

The Master would never
talk about prodigies,
feats of strength, crime, or supernatural beings.^
The Master
teaching

conduct,

:

a

made four things the subject
of his
knowledge of literature and the arts,

conscientiousness

and

truthfulness.^

Master fished with a line but not with a
he
he went out with bow and arrow,
When
net.
only shot at birds on the wing.

The

If the Master
and they sang

a

happened

to

be

with singers,
he would get them to
piece vv^ell,

it is easy to imagine
how
Under
these circumstances,
daily press, which subsists
edified he would be by the modern
almost entirely on these very topics.
2 I
is
to improve
on
am
this rendering, which
unable
borrowed from Mr. Ku Hung-ming.
^

109

no

PERSONALIA

repeat it, when
himself.

he would

also

joinin

the song

The Master was
affable, yet grave ; stern, but
not fierce;attentive in his behaviour, and yet calm.
The

Master seldom spoke of money-making,
of the laws of Providence, or of moral virtue.^
four words of which the Master
There were
"
barred the use : he would have no
shall's,"
"
"
"
I's." '
no
must's," no
certainly's," no

Whenever

the Master

person in mourning,
or in official
robes, or one who was blind, he would
though the other
at once
rise from his seat, even
his junior
in the
were
; or if he passed them
street, he would quicken his step.'
saw

a

lying seriously ill,
Once when the Master was
Tzii Lu got the disciplesto act the part of IMinisters
of State.* In an interval of his sickness, Con1

This statement
at least as regards moral virtue {fen)
hopelessly at variance with the evidence of the Analects.
seems
is meant
Perhaps
than that he was
no
more
unwilling to
dogmatise
on
such a delicate subject. On p. 72, for instance,
he refuses to judge whether certain disciples have true moral
virtue or not.
2 Tliis is Mr.
to me
Jennings's interpretation, and it seems
the simplest and best.
2
his sympathy
Thus showing, says a commentator,
with
his respect for rank, his tenderness for the afflicted.
sorrow,
Quickening his pace was also a mark of respect.
*
Just as though
Court and entourConfucius had his own
age,
like a feudal prince.
during
happened
This probably
his
his exile in some
foreign state, where the chance of
obtain"

"

PERSONALIA

111

long time Yu has been
What
a
keeping up this imposture ! In pretending to
I have
me
have ministers attendant on
when
I deceiving ? Am
I deceiving
am
none,
whom
God ? But apart from that, is it not better that
ciples,
I should breathe my last in the arms
of my disthan that I should die in the midst of
not be
officials? And after all, though I may
accorded the honour of a public funeral, I am not
dying out on the high road.

fucius said

The

:

Master

to settle among

the nine
one
can
eastern
you ?
said : How
They
are
savages. The Master replied : If a
higher type of man
dwelt in their midst, how
could their savage condition last ?
wished
tribes. Some
"

Confucius in his native village was
simple and
He
impression
gave the
of being
unassuming.
great speaker. In the ancestral temple and at
Court he spoke fluently,but with a certain reserve.
no

Court, he spoke to the ministers of lower
rank with frankness and affabilitv. To those of
higher rank he spoke quietly, but with decision.
In the presence of his Sovereign, he seemed full
but at the same
time grave and collected.
of awe,
At

When
employed by the Prince in the reception
of distinguished visitors, his expression would
ing a public funeral would
doubtless
display
by
liisfollowers.
the
made

be

proportionate

to

PERSONALIA

112

change, and his legs seemed to bend under him.
Standing in the presence of the visitors,he saluted
them with clasped hands, turning about from
right to left, and keeping the skirt of his robe
He then
properly adjusted,back and front.
hastened forward with arms
extended like the
a
wings of a bird. When
visitor departed, he
would report in that sense to the Prince, saying :
"
The visitor is not looking back." ^
he entered the gate of the palace, he
seemed to bend his body as though the gate were
He did not
to let him pass.
not large enough
stand in the middle of the doorway, nor in passing
through did he set foot on the threshold. "When
he passed the Prince's throne, his expression
seemed to change, his legs seemed to bend under
Holding up
him, and words seemed to fail him.
his robe with both hands, he ascended the dais,
his body slightly bent, and holding his breath as
he came
though he dared not breathe. When
the
out from his audience and had descended
lost its anxious expresfirststep, his countenance
sion,
he
When
and happy.
and he looked serene
reached the bottom of the steps, liehastened away
outstretched like wings ; but when
with his arms
he got back to his place, he stillseemed fullof awe.

When

^

"

The

ways

anciently as now.
in leaving, and

salutations

are

the same
of China, it appears, were
much
A guest turns round and bows repeatedly
the host cannot
return to his place tillthese
Leg as.
ended."
"

PERSONALIA

113

carried the Prince's regalia with bodyslightlybent, as though he could hardly support
its weight ; he raised it to the height of his
head, and lowered it again to the height of his
indicated nervousness,
chest. His countenance
and he dragged his feet as though something
He

held them

to the ground.

In

offering presents
sedate.
appearance was

At

a

an

as

private audience, he

his

ambassador,
a

wore

pleased look.

He

clumsily cut,
would not eat meat that was
Although
or
served without its proper sauce.
there might be an abundance
of meat, he never
let it exceed in quantity the vegetable food. In
wine alone he laid down for himself no particular
tion.
limit, but he never
reached the stage of intoxicaHe did not
He took ginger at every meal.
When
;
eat much.
eating, he did not converse
Even
though
when in bed, he did not speak.
he had nothing but coarse
rice and vegetable soup,
to the
he would always reverently offer some
ancestral spirits.
He

would

not

sit

on

a

mat

^

that

was

placed

awry.

On one
him some
1

occasion, Chi K'ang
medicine, he bowed

Tzu having sent
as he received it,

Chinese of that date dispensed wdth
Japanese have done up to the present time.
The

chairs,

3

as

the

PERSONALIA

114

saying : Not being familiar with
would not venture to try it.

this drug, I

His stables having been burnt down, the Master
his return from the Court said : Has any one
on
been hurt ? He did not ask about the horses.^
"

If the Prince sent him a present of cooked meat,
he would sit down to taste it on a properly placed
If the Prince sent him a present of raw
mat.
he would have it cooked and offer it in
meat,
sacrifice. If the Prince sent him a live animal,
he would keep it alive.

him to his presence,
the Prince summoned
he would go on foot without waiting for his
carriage.
When

If any of his friends died who was
without a
home or relations,he would say : I will see to the
funeral.

In bed, he did not
home life,his manner

lie like
was

corpse. In his
not too formal.
a

At the sight of a person in mourning, though
it might be an intimate acquaintance, he would
On meeting an official in
always look grave.
however
uniform, or a blind man,
ragged, he
mark of respect.
would always show him some
1

The point is, that in his solicitude for others
.Confucius
loss, not that he was
indifferent
never
thought
of his own
to the suffering of animals.

115

PEESONALIA

set before him, he
rich banquet was
would show his appreciation in his looks, and rise
to return thanks.

When

He

a

would change countenance
or a sudden
squall of wind.

at

a

clap
thunder-

V/hen in his carriage, he would not look behind
hirn, talk rapidly, or point with his finger.^
Duke Ling of Wei asked Confucius about the
Confucius
in warfare.
disposition of troops
answered : I know something about the arts of
2
studied the art of war.
peace, but I have never
But when he
he departed.
And on the morrow
to the State of Ch'en, he was
came
cut off from
so enfeebled that
supplies,'and his followers were
Tzu Lu indignantly
they could hardly stand.
Is it for
sought the Master's presence, saying :
to feel the pinch of privation ?
the princely man
The Master
replied : Assuredly privation may
"

of the minute details given above cannot but strike
Two points, however, must be borne
us as rather ridiculous.
in mind : (1) that the customs
and ceremonial belonging to
any one age or country
will always at firstsight appear strange
to the men
;
of any other age and country
and laughable
for
the
(2} that Confucius himself cannot be held responsible
to
disciples
portray
admiring
excessive zeal which prompted
How
fidelity.
habits mth
his personal
such embarrassing
come
equally well tlirough such
philosophers
many
would
?
an
ordeal
"
2 Literally,
business," i.e. things
dish and
platter
pertaining to sacrificialworship.
3 By
order of the Duke,
1

Some

PERSONALIA

116
come
man

his way, but it is only the baser type of
who under it grows demoralised and reckless.

Mien, a blind musician,^ having
called on
Confucius, the Master said to him when he came
"
Here are
the steps
to a flight of steps :
;
to the mat which was
spread
and when he came
"
When
Here is your mat."
for him :
all the
seated, the Master told him who
visitors were
they were,
saying : So-and-so is sitting here,
so-and-so is sitting there. After Mien had gone,
Tzu Chang asked, saying : Is it the proper thing
to spea-k thus to a musician ? The Master replied :
Assuredly it is right to give this help to a blind
"

"

man.

people of Ch'i sent a band of singing-girls
as a present to the Duke
of Lu, and Chi Huan Tzu
days after that no
accepted the gift. For three
^
Court was hold, and "Confucius departed.
The

almost convertible terma
and musicians were
blind,
were
in ancient China : that is to say, all musicians
for
a profession.
took to music
y of blind men
and the majoril
2 The
briefly
the turninghere
was
fiMiious episode
related
Through
the weakness
of hi3
point of the sage's career.
Huan
Tzn,
Chi
prince and the jealousyof the rival minister
his fame and
he was
suddenly dislodged from the pinnacle of
to thirteen years of homeless wandering.
condemned
1

Blind

men

CONFUCIUS

AS

SEEN

BY

OTHERS

Tzii Ch'in asked Tzii Kung, saying : Whenever
to any new
Master comes
our
country, he is sure
to find out all about its method
of government.
Does he seek this information himself, or is it
replied : Our
voluntarily proffered ? Tzu Kung
Master gains his information because he is so
genial and good, so fullof deference, modesty and
regard for others. In seeking information, how
!
differently does he behave from ordinary men
"

The Master having gone up into the Grand
Some
Temple, asked questions about everything.
one
of the
says that the son
remarked : Who
citizen of Tsou has any knowledge of ceremonial
to the Temple
and asks
observances ? He comes
Hearing the remark,
about everything he sees.
the Master said : This in itself is a ceremonial
"

observance.

The
asked

^
prefect of the frontier in the town of I
to be introduced to Confucius, saying : I

This was
on
the borders of the Wei
Confucius, with a small band of disciples, was
of heart, after his discomfiture in Lu.
1

U7

State,

whither
retiring, heavy

CONFUCIUS

118

AS

SEEN

BY

OTHERS

failed to obtain an audience of any
was
has visited these parts. He
sage who
thereupon introduced by the Master's followers,
My sons, why grieve
and on coming out he said :
Empire has
at your Master's fallfrom power ? The
God is going
long been lying in evil ways, but now
the land.^
to make Confucius his herald to rouse

have

never

"

The Master said : Shen, a single principle runs
through all my teaching.^ Tseng Tzu answered,
ciples
Yes.
^\Vhen the Master had gone out, the disprinciple does he
asked, saying : What
Tseng Tzii said : Our Master's teaching
?
mean
to this : loyalty to oneself and
simply amounts
"

"

"

charity to

one's

neighbour.'

Literally, " is going to use him as a bell with a wooden
' '
ments
this being the instrument used in making announceclapper
friendly
The
together.
prefect's
or to call the people
he
ever
than
to be fulfilled more
was
wonderfully
prophecy
Never, perhaps, in the history of the
could have imagined.
influence
has one man
human
race
exerted such an enormous
1

"

for good on
2 Legge's

after generations.
"
doctrine is that of an all-perMy
vading
rendering,
has
translator
no
is
other
and
quite untenable,
unity,"
The logic of the passage obviously requires
followed him here.
the meaning
given above.
3 This
pp. 91
with those on
saying should be compared
as
the best epitome
It is generally acclaimed
of
and 69.
Confucian teaching, yet it was reserved for Mr. Ku Hung-ming,
it in English.
a Chinaman,to
give the firstcorrect translation ox

The

important

"

are
ness
conscientiouschung and shu,
words
"
"
68 and 69.
on
for
see
notes
pp.
which
charity,"
and
Legge's version, " To be true to the principles of our nature and
the benevolent exercise of them to others," though ponderous,
had he not spoilt
to have hit the true meaning,
would seem

two

CONFUCIUS

AS

SEEN

OTHERS

BY

119

Yiian heaved a deep sigh and said : The
I look at our Master's teaching, the higher
more
The more
I test it, the more
it seems.
reliable
it appears.
I am
gazing at it in front of me,
Our Master
when lo ! it is suddenly behind me.
knows how to draw men
after him by regular
steps. He broadens our
outlook by means
of
impulses by
polite learning, and restrains our
means
of inward self-control. Even if I wished
to stop, I could not do so ; yet after I have
exhausted all my efforts in pursuit of the goal,
there stillremains something inaccessible rising
I would
fain make
up beyond ; and though
towards it, I cannot find the way.

Yen

Tzu

Lu

passed the night in
where the gate-keeper said to him :
from ? Tzu Lu replied :
you come
school of Confucius. Oh, is he not
said the other, who is trying to do what
to be impossible ? ^
once

"

"

Shih-men,
do
Where
From
the
the man,
he knows

"

duty-doing
on
the
the effect that shu is
do
It
to
has
on
with
earth
nothing
principle of reciprocity."
love
fact
disinterested
being
in
one's
that
of
reciprocity,
five hundred
was
years later in
preached
which
neighbour
in the word chung,
The other precept, embodied
Palestine.
"
To thine own
is exactly Shakespeare's
a
self be true
it
by
has
for
been
noble moral conception
which, obscured as
bungling translators, Confucius has never
yet received full
it by

a

note

to

"

"

credit.
1 The
to
over
so given
age in which Confucius lived was
the forces of disorder, militarism and intrigue, and the chances
regarded as so hopeless, that it was
of a moral reformer were

120

BY

SEEN

AS

CONFUCIUS

OTHERS

asked Po Yii,^ saying : Have
you ever received any secret teaching from your
I
But once,
father ? He repUed : No.
when
hall, I met my
was
passing hurriedly through our
father standing alone, and he said : Have you
Not yet." He
studied the Odes ?" I replied,
Odes, you will
said : If you do not study the
I withdrew
Thereupon
have no
conversation.
Another day I met him
and studied the Odes.
again standing alone as I hastened through the
hall, and he said : Have you studied the Book of
I^ites? * I replied : Not
said : If
yet. He
of Rites, you will
you do not study the Book
have no stabilityof character. I withdrew and
These are the two
studied the Book of Rites.
I have
received. Ch'en
pieces of instruction
K'ang went away rejoicing
and said : I asked
about one thing and have learned three someK'ang

Ch'en

"

"

"

"

"

"

"

of principle to retire frorn public
life of a
affairs altogether, and either lead the sequestered
for a living. The
mean
hermit or take to some
employment
fucius,
been one of this class. Congate-keeper here is said to have
be
it
however,
was
may
of sterner stuff, and
made
acter,
sheer force of charclaimed that he did ultimately, through
impossible."
in
the
achieving
succeed
"
"
1 The
familiar name
or
of K'lmg Li, the only son
style
a

common

thing for

men

"

of Confucius.
"
2 Li here is
the
the name
of a book, and not
obviously
"
"
Mr.
Legge
as
or
even
the arts,"
and
rules of propriety
we
At
same
tirne,
it.
the
take
Himg-ming
Ku
respectively
be careful not to identify it with the now
existing Li
must
Chi or Book of Rites, which did not take shape until a much
later period.

AS

CONFUCIUS

SEEN

BY

thing about the Odes, something
and also that the higher type
son.
secrets even
with his own

121

OTHERS

about the Rites,
has no
of man

Huo
wished to have an interview with
Confucius, but Confucius would not go to see
He therefore sent Confucius a sucking-pig
him.
Confucius, however,
as
a
chose a
present.^
time when the other was
out, to go and pay his
to fall in with him
respects. But he happened
Huo
Yang
on
the road. Thereupon
addressed
I have
me.
Confucius, saying : Come
with
Can he be called truly
something to say to you.
benevolent, who hugs his jewelto his bosom and
allows his country to drift into confusion ? He
the reply. Can he be called truly
cannot, was
wise, who wishes to engage in public affairs,yet
loses several opportunities of doing so ? He
Yang Huo, the days and
Well,
cannot.
Yang

"

"

"

rejoined

"

fleeting by, and the years will not
are
months
True, replied Confucius ; I will
wait for us.
presently take office.^
"

1

Because
require an
acknowledgment
etiquette
would
house.
donor's
of the gift at the
2 This
to be referred to the year
episode is probably
Yang
Huo,
502 B.C., when
the nominal
subordinate
of Chi
Tzu (himselfof usurping
Huan
tendencies, see Introduction,
likely to become
in open rebellion and seemed
p. 15),was
Lu.
He
to enlist
was
state of
anxious
master
of the whole
like Confucius on his side, but the latter
the prestige of a man
In the following
his schemes.
steadily refused to countenance
from
Huo
the state, and gratitude
was
year, Yang
ejected
impelled the Duke to offer a governorship^to Confucius.

CONFUCIUS

122

SEEN

AS

BY

OTHERS

^

of the Ch'u State
eccentric Chieh Yii
passed Confucius' carriage, singing : O phoenix !
has thy virtue fallen ! The
O phoenix ! How
past need no longer be a subjectof reproof, but
against the future it is stillpossible to provide.
Desist, desist ! Great is the danger of those
in government.
Confucius
now
engage
who

The

"

alighted, wishing to speak with him, but Chieh
Yii hastened rapidly away, and he was
unable
to get speech of him.

Ch'ang
Chii and Chieh Ni
were
w^orking
together in the fields when Confucius passed by
the
and sent Tzu Lu to ascertain from them
of the ford. Ch'ang Chii asked :
whereabouts
holding the reins ? That is
is that man
Who
Is it Confucius of
Lu.
Confucius, replied Tzu
Then surely he is the man
the Lu State ? Yes.
to know where the ford is.^ Tzii Lu
then questioned
are
Chieh Ni. Chieh Ni said : Who
you.
Yu.
Are you a disciple of
Sir ? I am
Chung
Confucius of the Lu State ? He repUed : I am.
long
The whole Empire, said Chieh Ni, is rushing headto destruction, and who is there that will
reform it ? As for you, instead of following a
-

"

"

"

"

"

"

"

"

1

Apparently

a

Taoist, who pinned his faith to Lao
doctrine of inaction.

newly
enunciated
2 Also
Taoist recluses.
3 This
is said to be a sneer
Confucius wandering
all over
could be unfamiliar to him.

"

Tzu's

restlessness which kept
the country, so that no place

at the

CONFUCIUS

AS

SEEN

BY

OTHERS

123

v/ho withdraws from prince after prince in
succession, would it not be better to follow a
from the world altoman
gether
who has withdrawn
hoeing without
And
he went
a
?
on
Tzu Lu went
back and reported these
pause.
the Master looked surprised
remarks, whereupon
of birds
and said : We cannot jointhe company
not to associate with these
and beasts. If I am
I to
am
men
of the ruling class, with whom
^
If right principles prevailed in the
associate ?
Empire,
then indeed there would be no
need
for me
to reform it.
man

"

Shu-sun Wu-shu,^ speaking to the ministers
is a greater sage than
at Court, said : Tzu Kung
Tzu-fu Ching-po ^ repeated this to
Confucius.
"

Tzu Kung, who said : Let me
use
the simile of
by a wall. My
house surrounded
a
wall rises
shoulders, so that
only to the height of a man's
any one can look over
and see the excellence of
"
to his own
Why
trade.
The idea is, Every man
should
I not then busy myself with government
the subjectto
"
I do not agree with Legge
which I have devoted my life ?
been a
that the compiler
could not have
of this chapter
disciple of the sage. Confucius successfully refutes the laisserdissuade him from
faireargument
of the hermit, who
would
that the
the strange and imisatisfactory ground
reform on
bad
To
in a thoroughly
state.
any one
world's affairs were
but a Taoist it would be evident that this was
the very time
for reform.
2 A
leading member
of the three great families in
of one
the Lu State.
3 A
high official.

1

"

124

CONFUCIUS

AS

SEEN

BY

OTHERS

Master's wall is
the building within. But my
fathoms in height, so that one
many
who fails
to find the gate of entry cannot
see
the beauties
of the temple nor the rich apparel of the officiating
priests. It may be that only a few will succeed
in findmg the gate. Need we, then, be surprised
at His Excellency's remark ?

Wu-shu

disparaging Confucius.
Confucius is
good.
said : It is no
of other
proof against detraction. The wisdom
is like hills and
men
mountain-peaks,
which
however high can stillbe scaled. But Confucius
is like the sun
or
never
the moon,
which can
A man
be reached by the foot of man.
may
to cut himself off from
their light, but
want
?
what harm will that do to the sun or the moon
It only shows very plainly that he has no notion

Shu-sun
Tzu Kung

of the measurement

was

of capacity.

SAYINGS

OF

THE

DISCIPLES

Yu Tzu said : It is seldom that good sons and
brothers are
given to insubordinate
conduct.
That
disHke insubordinate conduct
those who
should be ready to foment sedition, is something
The wise man
attends to
absolutely unknown.
the root ; for if this be properly set, virtue will
is the root of all
spring from it. And
what
goodness but filial
piety and fraternal love ?
Tzu said : There are three points on
I been
I daily examine
myself : Have
which
for others ? Have
I
conscientious in working
been truthful in my intercourse with my friends ?
Have I practised what I preach ?
Tseng

"

who can
appreciate
said : The man
moral v/orth and disengage his mind from sensual
strength
passion ; who can put forth his utmost
his parents, and la.y down
his life to
to serve
his prince ; who
serve
speaks sincerely in his
intercourse with friends : such a man,
though
the world may
call him untaught, has in my
opinion received the best and highest education.
Tzu

Hsia

"

said : What do you say of the poor
refuses to flatter,and of the rich man

Tzii Kung
man

who

m

SAYINGS

126

OF

THE

DISCIPLES

who is free from pride ? They are well enough,
replied the Master ; but better stillis the poor
is cheerful, and the rich man
man
who
who
cherishes the inner principle of harmony
and
"
cut
self-control. Tzu Kung
said : One must
and then carve,
chisel and then polish," as the
Odes have it. Does not this passage illustrate
what you say ? The Master exclaimed : Here
is somebody at last with whom
I can really discuss
Refer him to any old verse,
the Odes.
and he
will see its application.^
"

"

"

Tzu Hsia asked, saying : What is the meaning
of the passage :
"
What dimples in her witching smile !
What lovely eyes, clear white and black !
"
Simplicity sets off her ornaments
?
The Master replied : You must
have a plain
background before you can lay on the colours.
Rules of ceremony
then require a background ?
Ah I exclaimed the Master, Shang always seizes
di'ift. Here at any rate is some
one
my
with
I can discuss the Odes.^
whom
"

"

1

Tzu

Kung,
to draw

had passed from
to affluence,
who
poverty
freedom
from the vices
wished
attention to his own
his
Master recommends
tlie
characteristic of each state, but
in
form.
from
The
a
more
pursuit of virtue
positive
quotation
labour
the Odes merely
the
enforces
necessity of unceasing
in the' matter
Confucius
was
of self-improvement.
always
delighted with an apt illustration from his favourite book.
2 The
Chinese of the above is as usual extremely
concise.
For several tmns
indebted to Mr. Jennings's
of phrase I am
translation.

SAYINGS

OF

THE

DISCIPLES

127

fault-finding with
said : Too much
princes entails disgrace ; with friends, it brings
estrangement.
to employ
The Master wanted
Ch'i-tiao K'ai
in the business of government, but the latter said :
No, I cannot yet sufficientlytrust myself. The
Master was
pleased with the reply.
Tzu

Yu

"

Once when Yen Yiian and Chi Lu were standing
by, the Master said : Come, tellme, each of you,
the wish of your hearts. Tzu Lu said : I should
like to have carriages and horses and fine fur
garments, and share them with my friends ; nor
worn
out in this way.
would I mind if they were
Yen Yiian said : My wish is to make no parade of
display of toilsome service
no
goodness
and
then said : I should like.
rendered.^ Tzu Lu
Sir, to hear your own
wishes. The Master said :
To comfort the aged, to win the confidence of my
friends, to love and cherish the young.
"

"

"

The

Master said : Yung
might well be made
a prince.^
Chung Kung asked a question about
Tzu-sang
Po-tzu.
The Master replied : He is
a good
man
on
the whole, though easy-going.
Chung Kung
rejoined: Is it not excusable for a
man
habits to be easywho is strict in his own
going
in dealing with the people under him ?
"

1

"

Literally,
display toil." The meaning
seems
Tacitean
beneficia."
of the
phrase
exprobrare
"
2 Literally,
faces
one
the
who
south
for
royalty enthroned.
position

to be that

"

"

"

customary

SAYINGS

128

THE

OF

DISCIPLES

But

if he becomes easy-going in his own
habits
as
well as in his practice abroad, this is surely
too much
of a good thing. The Master said :
Yung's words are true.
Jan Yu asked : Is our Master for or against
the Prince of Wei ? ^ Oh, said Tzii Kung, I will
ask him that. He went in and said : What sort
Po I and Shu Ch'i ? ^ Thev were
were
of men
two ancient worthies, was
the reply. Did they
They
ever
repine ? he asked.
made
perfect
it.
Why
virtue their aim, and they attained
then should they repine ? Tzu Kung
went
out
again and said : Our Master is not for the Prince.
"

"

"

"

"

"

"

Tseng Tzii said : Ability asking instruction of
incomnetence, abundance
sittine at the feet of
insufficiency,a man
of every virtue who thought
he had none,
solid in character yet making himself
reout a cypher, trespassed against but never
taliat
the humble state of mind in
such was
which my late friend^ spent his life.
"

can
safely be ensaid : If a man
truste
a
young orphan prince,
with the care of
or with the government
of a large province, and
if the approach
cannot
of a great emergency
of the
shake his resolution, is he not a man

Tseng

Tzu

succeeded
reigning duke, who had
his
father's
now
attempts
and was
opposing
See
secure
the
throne.
p. 43.
exile and
2 See
note on p. 74.
8 The
discipleYon Hux.
1

The

his grandfather
to return from

SAYINGS
princely type ?
indeed !

OP
Of

THE

the

DISCIPLES
princely

129

he

type

is

constru
proposing to reauthorities of Lu were
Min Tzu-ch'ien
the Long Treasury.
not restore it, rather, in the ancient
said : Why
it alis it necessary to renovate
togeth
style ? Why
This
is no
man
? The Master said :
talker, but when he does speak, he speaks to the

The

"

purpose.
Ssu-ma Niu lamenting said : All other men
Tzu Hsia
have brothers ; I alone have none.
said to him : I have heard it said that lifeand
death are divine dispensations, that wealth and
The higher
rank depend on the will of God.
is unfailingly attentive to his own
type of man
"

conduct, and shows respect and true courtesy to
Thus all within the four seas ^ are his
others.
brethren. How
then should he grieve at having
brothers ?
no
'

said : The higher type of man
is possessed of solid qualities, and that is all.
What has he to do with the ornamental ? Tzu
Kung
sorry, Sir, to hear you say
replied : I am
; for
such a thing about the higher type of man
a four-horse chariot cannot
overtake the spoken
word.^ The value of the ornament
and the value
Chi Tzu-ch'eng

"

1

Believed to constitute the boundaries of the habitable
Ocean-river.
Hence
the phrase is used
earth, like Homer's
for the Chinese Empire.
as a synonym
* A
2 A
minister in the Wei State.
proverb.

9

SAYINGS

130

OF

THE

DISCIPLES

Stripped
of the substance are closely connected.
of hair, the hide of a tiger or a leopard is very
like the hide of a dog or a sheep.
Duke Ai asked Yu Jo, saying : It has been a
is low. What
My
exchequer
year of famine.
I to do ? Yu Jo replied : Why
am
not collect
tithes ? Why, said the Duke, with a tax of twoHow
I to
am
tenths I stillhave not enough.
make one-tenth do ? If the people have plenty,
the Prince alone be in
was
the reply, how can
in want,
how
want ? But if the people are
can
the Prince alone have plenty ?^
"

"

"

Tseng Tzu said of the higher type of man
that
his culture tended to bring him into communion
his friendships tended
to
with friends, and
heighten his altruism.

disciples of Tzu Hsia asked Tzu Chang
ship.
about the principles which should govern friendis Tzu
Hsia's
Tzu Chang
said : What
opinion ? They replied : Tzu Hsia says, Associate
come
up to your
standard ;
with those who
rejectall those who do not. This, said Tzu
Chang, is different from what I have been taught.
honours the virtuous
The nobler sort of man
and wise, but he admits to his society all men
without distinction. He admires the good, but
he also pities the weaker brethren. Am I a man
is
and goodness ? then who
of great wisdom
The

"

"

"

1

A rebuke

to the Prince for his greed in

a

time of distresa.

SAYINGS

OF

THE

DISCIPLES

131

there among
my fellow-men that I will not bear
I neither wise nor
good ? then
with ? Or am
How
me.
one
can
justify
will reject
other men
*
this rejection
of others ?
"

Tzu Hsia said : The inferiortype of
his faults.
tries to gloss over

man

always

will gain the
said : The wise man
confidence of the people before laying burdens
them ; otherwise, they will consider it
upon
He will gain the confidence of his
oppression.
sovereign before censuring his actions ; otherwise,
libeland abuse.
the latter will consider it mere
Tzii Hsia

Tzii Hsia said : He who does not transgress
the larger principles of virtuous conduct may be
line in
excused for disregarding the boundary
of smaller import.

matters

Tzii Yu
Tzu Hsia

said : The followers and disciples of
are
trained well enough in sprinkling
and sweeping the floor,in responding and answering
questions, in entering and leaving a room.
But these are mere
accessories. Of fundamentals
How
can
they are
totally ignorant.
this be
considered enough ? Tzu Hsia, hearing of these
It
remarks, said : Ah ! Yen Yu is mistaken.
"

1

Each

We
need not
discrimination
saying

on

p.
disciples, puts

has

seized only one
side of the truth.
rejectany of our fellow-men, and yet show
in the choice of our
See the first
associates.
53, where
Confucius, clearer-headed than his
in a nutshell.
the matter

pedagogue

-"

OF

SAYINGS

132

THE

DISCIPLES

is not the way of the wise teacher to distingu:
importance, whi
between
of first-class
subjects
be taught, and
must
of secondary i
subjects
portance, which may be neglected. He cultiva
minds justas he would cultivate plants, ea
It cam
species requiring separate treatment.
be the wise man's
way to produce confusion a
He only is inspired who teaches metho
error.
cally,having a beginning and an end.
Hsia said : Let the officialwho has tii
to spare devote it to study ; let the student w
has time to spare devote it to public affairs.

Tzu

Tzu Yu said
extend beyond

:

The rites of mourning should i
the expression of heartfelt gri

The chief of the Meng family having appoini
Yang Fu to be Criminal Judge, the latter went
Tseng Tzu for advice. Tseng Tzu said : C
rulers have lost their way, and the people he
long been scattered and distracted. When
j
w
discover the facts of a crime, be not moved

joybut

.

"

rather with pity and grief.

said : The mistakes of a great 9^-^
lilieeclipses of the sun and moc
are
good man
by all,and when he repairs
his failing is seen
all look up to him with awe.
Tzu

Kung

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