THE ANALECTS (Sayings)
1.   Yen Yuan asked about perfect virtue. The Master said,
"To subdue one's self and return to propriety, is perfect
virtue. If a man can for one day subdue himself and return to
propriety, an under heaven will ascribe perfect virtue to him. Is
the practice of perfect virtue from a man himself, or is it from
Yen Yuan said, "I beg to ask the steps of that process."
The Master replied, "Look not at what is contrary to
propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not
what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary
to propriety." Yen Yuan then said, "Though I am
deficient in intelligence and vigor, I will make it my business
to practice this lesson."
2.   Chung-kung asked about perfect virtue. The Master said,
"It is, when you go abroad, to behave to every one as if you
were receiving a great guest; to employ the people as if you were
assisting at a great sacrifice; not to do to others as you would
not wish done to yourself; to have no murmuring against you in
the country, and none in the family." Chung-kung said,
"Though I am deficient in intelligence and vigor, I will
make it my business to practice this lesson."
3.   Sze-ma Niu asked about perfect virtue.
The Master said, "The man of perfect virtue is cautious
and slow in his speech."
"Cautious and slow in his speech!" said Niu;
—"is this what is meant by perfect virtue?" The Master
said, "When a man feels the difficulty of doing, can he be
other than cautious and slow in speaking?"
4.   Sze-ma Niu asked about the superior man. The Master said,
"The superior man has neither anxiety nor fear."
"Being without anxiety or fear!" said Nui; "does
this constitute what we call the superior man?"
The Master said, "When internal examination discovers
nothing wrong, what is there to be anxious about, what is there
5.   Sze-ma Niu, full of anxiety, said, "Other men all have
their brothers, I only have not."
Tsze-hsia said to him, "There is the following saying
which I have heard: 'Death and life have their determined
appointment; riches and honors depend upon Heaven.'
"Let the superior man never fail reverentially to order
his own conduct, and let him be respectful to others and
observant of propriety: —then all within the four seas will be
his brothers. What has the superior man to do with being
distressed because he has no brothers?"
6.   Tsze-chang asked what constituted intelligence. The Master
said, "He with whom neither slander that gradually soaks
into the mind, nor statements that startle like a wound in the
flesh, are successful may be called intelligent indeed. Yea, he
with whom neither soaking slander, nor startling statements, are
successful, may be called farseeing."
7.   Tsze-kung asked about government. The Master said, "The
requisites of government are that there be sufficiency of food,
sufficiency of military equipment, and the confidence of the
people in their ruler."
Tsze-kung said, "If it cannot be helped, and one of these
must be dispensed with, which of the three should be foregone
first?" "The military equipment," said the Master.
Tsze-kung again asked, "If it cannot be helped, and one
of the remaining two must be dispensed with, which of them should
be foregone?" The Master answered, "Part with the food.
From of old, death has been the lot of an men; but if the people
have no faith in their rulers, there is no standing for the state."
8.   Chi Tsze-ch'ang said, "In a superior man it is only
the substantial qualities which are wanted; —why should we seek
for ornamental accomplishments?"
Tsze-kung said, "Alas! Your words, sir, show you to be a
superior man, but four horses cannot overtake the tongue.
Ornament is as substance; substance is as ornament. The hide of a
tiger or a leopard stripped of its hair, is like the hide of a
dog or a goat stripped of its hair."
9.   The Duke Ai inquired of Yu Zo, saying, "The year is
one of scarcity, and the returns for expenditure are not
sufficient; —what is to be done?"
Yu Zo replied to him, "Why not simply tithe the people?"
"With two tenths, said the duke, "I find it not
enough; —how could I do with that system of one tenth?"
Yu Zo answered, "If the people have plenty, their prince
will not be left to want alone. If the people are in want, their
prince cannot enjoy plenty alone."
10.   Tsze-chang having asked how virtue was to be exalted, and
delusions to be discovered, the Master said, "Hold
faithfulness and sincerity as first principles, and be moving
continually to what is right, —this is the way to exalt one's
"You love a man and wish him to live; you hate him and
wish him to die. Having wished him to live, you also wish him to
die. This is a case of delusion. 'It may not be on account of her
being rich, yet you come to make a difference.'"
11.   The Duke Ching, of Ch'i, asked Confucius about government.
Confucius replied, "There is government, when the prince is
prince, and the minister is minister; when the father is father,
and the son is son."
"Good!" said the duke; "if, indeed, the prince
be not prince, the not minister, the father not father, and the
son not son, although I have my revenue, can I enjoy it?"
12.   The Master said, "Ah! it is Yu, who could with half a
word settle litigations!"
Tsze-lu never slept over a promise.
13.   The Master said, "In hearing litigations, I am like
any other body. What is necessary, however, is to cause the
people to have no litigations."
14.   Tsze-chang asked about government. The Master said, "The
art of governing is to keep its affairs before the mind without
weariness, and to practice them with undeviating consistency."
15.   The Master said, "By extensively studying all
learning, and keeping himself under the restraint of the rules of
propriety, one may thus likewise not err from what is right."
16.   The Master said, "The superior man seeks to perfect
the admirable qualities of men, and does not seek to perfect
their bad qualities. The mean man does the opposite of this."
17.   Chi K'ang asked Confucius about government. Confucius
replied, "To govern means to rectify. If you lead on the
people with correctness, who will dare not to be correct?"
18.   Chi K'ang, distressed about the number of thieves in the
state, inquired of Confucius how to do away with them. Confucius
said, "If you, sir, were not covetous, although you should
reward them to do it, they would not steal."
19.   Chi K'ang asked Confucius about government, saying, "What
do you say to killing the unprincipled for the good of the
principled?" Confucius replied, "Sir, in carrying on
your government, why should you use killing at all? Let your
evinced desires be for what is good, and the people will be good.
The relation between superiors and inferiors is like that between
the wind and the grass. The grass must bend, when the wind blows
20.   Tsze-chang asked, "What must the officer be, who may
be said to be distinguished?"
The Master said, "What is it you call being
Tsze-chang replied, "It is to be heard of through the
state, to be heard of throughout his clan."
The Master said, "That is notoriety, not distinction.
"Now the man of distinction is solid and straightforward,
and loves righteousness. He examines people's words, and looks at
their countenances. He is anxious to humble himself to others.
Such a man will be distinguished in the country; he will be
distinguished in his clan.
"As to the man of notoriety, he assumes the appearance of
virtue, but his actions are opposed to it, and he rests in this
character without any doubts about himself. Such a man will be
heard of in the country; he will be heard of in the clan."
21.   Fan Ch'ih rambling with the Master under the trees about
the rain altars, said, "I venture to ask how to exalt
virtue, to correct cherished evil, and to discover delusions."
The Master said, "Truly a good question!
"If doing what is to be done be made the first business,
and success a secondary consideration: —is not this the way to
exalt virtue? To assail one's own wickedness and not assail that
of others; —is not this the way to correct cherished evil? For a
morning's anger to disregard one's own life, and involve that of
his parents; —is not this a case of delusion?"
22.   Fan Ch'ih asked about benevolence. The Master said, "It
is to love all men." He asked about knowledge. The Master
said, "It is to know all men."
Fan Ch'ih did not immediately understand these answers. The
Master said, "Employ the upright and put aside all the
crooked; in this way the crooked can be made to be upright."
Fan Ch'ih retired, and, seeing Tsze-hsia, he said to him,
"A Little while ago, I had an interview with our Master, and
asked him about knowledge. He said, 'Employ the upright, and put
aside all the crooked; —in this way, the crooked will be made to
be upright.' What did he mean?"
Tsze-hsia said, "Truly rich is his saying!
"Shun, being in possession of the kingdom, selected from
among all the people, and employed Kai-yao-on which all who were
devoid of virtue disappeared. T'ang, being in possession of the
kingdom, selected from among all the people, and employed I Yin
—and any who were devoid of virtue disappeared."
23.   Tsze-kung asked about friendship. The Master said, "Faithfully
admonish your friend, and skillfully lead him on. If you find him
impracticable, stop. Do not disgrace yourself."
24.   The philosopher Tsang said, "The superior man on
grounds of culture meets with his friends, and by friendship
helps his virtue."