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