THE ANALECTS (Sayings)
1.   The Duke Ling of Wei asked Confucius about tactics.
Confucius replied, "I have heard all about sacrificial
vessels, but I have not learned military matters." On this,
he took his departure the next day.
2.   When he was in Chan, their provisions were exhausted, and
his followers became so in that they were unable to rise.
Tsze-lu, with evident dissatisfaction, said, "Has the
superior man likewise to endure in this way?" The Master
said, "The superior man may indeed have to endure want, but
the mean man, when he is in want, gives way to unbridled license."
3.   The Master said, "Ts'ze, you think, I suppose, that I
am one who learns many things and keeps them in memory?"
Tsze-kung replied, "Yes,-but perhaps it is not so?"
"No," was the answer; "I seek a unity all
4.   The Master said, "Yu I those who know virtue are few."
5.   The Master said, "May not Shun be instanced as having
governed efficiently without exertion? What did he do? He did
nothing but gravely and reverently occupy his royal seat."
6.   Tsze-chang asked how a man should conduct himself, so as to
be everywhere appreciated.
The Master said, "Let his words be sincere and truthful
and his actions honorable and careful; —such conduct may be
practiced among the rude tribes of the South or the North. If his
words be not sincere and truthful and his actions not honorable
and carefull will he, with such conduct, be appreciated, even in
"When he is standing, let him see those two things, as it
were, fronting him. When he is in a carriage, let him see them
attached to the yoke. Then may he subsequently carry them into
Tsze-chang wrote these counsels on the end of his sash.
7.   The Master said, "Truly straightforward was the
historiographer Yu. When good government prevailed in his state,
he was like an arrow. When bad government prevailed, he was like
an arrow. A superior man indeed is Chu Po-yu! When good
government prevails in his state, he is to be found in office.
When bad government prevails, he can roll his principles up, and
keep them in his breast."
8.   The Master said, "When a man may be spoken with, not
to speak to him is to err in reference to the man. When a man may
not be spoken with, to speak to him is to err in reference to our
words. The wise err neither in regard to their man nor to their
9.   The Master said, "The determined scholar and the man
of virtue will not seek to live at the expense of injuring their
virtue. They will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their
10.   Tsze-kung asked about the practice of virtue. The Master
said, "The mechanic, who wishes to do his work well, must
first sharpen his tools. When you are living in any state, take
service with the most worthy among its great officers, and make
friends of the most virtuous among its scholars."
11.   Yen Yuan asked how the government of a country should be
The Master said, "Follow the seasons of Hsia.
"Ride in the state carriage of Yin.
"Wear the ceremonial cap of Chau.
"Let the music be the Shao with its pantomimes. Banish
the songs of Chang, and keep far from specious talkers. The songs
of Chang are licentious; specious talkers are dangerous."
12.   The Master said, "If a man take no thought about what
is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand."
13.   The Master said, "It is all over! I have not seen one
who loves virtue as he loves beauty."
14.   The Master said, "Was not Tsang Wan like one who had
stolen his situation? He knew the virtue and the talents of Hui
of Liu-hsia, and yet did not procure that he should stand with
him in court."
15.   The Master said, "He who requires much from himself
and little from others, will keep himself from being the object
16.   The Master said, "When a man is not in the habit of
saying: 'What shall I think of this? What shall I think of this?'
I can indeed do nothing with him!"
17.   The Master said, "When a number of people are
together, for a whole day, without their conversation turning on
righteousness, and when they are fond of carrying out the
suggestions of a small shrewdness; —theirs is indeed a hard case."
18.   The Master said, "The superior man in everything
considers righteousness to be essential. He performs it according
to the rules of propriety. He brings it forth in humility. He
completes it with sincerity. This is indeed a superior man."
19.   The Master said, "The superior man is distressed by
his want of ability. He is not distressed by men's not knowing
20.   The Master said, "The superior man dislikes the
thought of his name not being mentioned after his death."
21.   The Master said, "What the superior man seeks, is in
himself. What the mean man seeks, is in others."
22.   The Master said, "The superior man is dignified, but
does not wrangle. He is sociable, but not a partisan."
23.   The Master said, "The superior man does not promote a
man simply on account of his words, nor does he put aside good
words because of the man."
24.   Tsze-kung asked, saying, "Is there one word which may
serve as a rule of practice for all one's life?" The Master
said, "Is not RECIPROCITY such a word? What you do not want
done to yourself, do not do to others."
25.   The Master said, "In my dealings with men, whose evil
do I blame, whose goodness do I praise, beyond what is proper? If
I do sometimes exceed in praise, there must be ground for it in
my examination of the individual.
"This people supplied the reason why the three dynasties
pursued the path of straightforwardness."
26.   The Master said, "Even in my early days, a
historiographer would leave a blank in his text, and he who had a
horse would lend him to another to ride. Now, alas! there are no
27.   The Master said, "Specious words confound virtue.
Want of forbearance in small matters confounds great plans."
28.   The Master said, "When the multitude hate a man, it
is necessary to examine into the case. When the multitude like a
man, it is necessary to examine into the case."
29.   The Master said, "A man can enlarge the principles
which he follows; those principles do not enlarge the man."
30.   The Master said, "To have faults and not to reform
them, —this, indeed, should be pronounced having faults."
31.   The Master said, "I have been the whole day without
eating, and the whole night without sleeping: occupied with
thinking. It was of no use. better plan is to learn."
32.   The Master said, "The object of the superior man is
truth. Food is not his object. There is plowing; —even in that
there is sometimes want. So with learning; —emolument may be
found in it. The superior man is anxious lest he should not get
truth; he is not anxious lest poverty should come upon him."
33.   The Master said, "When a man's knowledge is
sufficient to attain, and his virtue is not sufficient to enable
him to hold, whatever he may have gained, he will lose again.
"When his knowledge is sufficient to attain, and he has
virtue enough to hold fast, if he cannot govern with dignity, the
people will not respect him.
"When his knowledge is sufficient to attain, and he has
virtue enough to hold fast; when he governs also with dignity,
yet if he try to move the people contrary to the rules of
propriety: —full excellence is not reached."
34.   The Master said, "The superior man cannot be known in
little matters; but he may be intrusted with great concerns. The
small man may not be intrusted with great concerns, but he may be
known in little matters."
35.   The Master said, "Virtue is more to man than either
water or fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and
fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of
36.   The Master said, "Let every man consider virtue as
what devolves on himself. He may not yield the performance of it
even to his teacher."
37.   The Master said, "The superior man is correctly firm,
and not firm merely."
38.   The Master said, "A minister, in serving his prince,
reverently discharges his duties, and makes his emolument a
39.   The Master said, "In teaching there should be no
distinction of classes."
40.   The Master said, "Those whose courses are different
cannot lay plans for one another."
41.   The Master said, "In language it is simply required
that it convey the meaning."
41.   The music master, Mien, having called upon him, when they
came to the steps, the Master said, "Here are the steps."
When they came to the mat for the guest to sit upon, he said,
"Here is the mat." When all were seated, the Master
informed him, saying, "So and so is here; so and so is here."
The music master, Mien, having gone out, Tsze-chang asked,
"Is it the rule to tell those things to the music master?"
The Master said, "Yes. This is certainly the rule for
those who lead the blind."