Prophet of 400 Million People

Monday, 29 September 2014

Confucius

The Sayings of Confucius.
Vol. 44, pp. 5-14 of The Harvard Classics

Confucius was a Chinese magistrate in 500 B. C. He lost the favor of the Emperor and wandered from city to city, teaching and giving counsel. After his death, Emperor and people alike bowed before his shrine.


I


[1]  
THE MASTER said: “In learning and straightway practising is there not pleasure also? When friends gather round from afar do we not rejoice? Whom lack of fame cannot vex is not he a gentleman?”
[2]  
  Yu-tzu 1 said: “A dutiful son and brother is seldom fond of thwarting those over him: a man unwilling to thwart those over him is never given to crime. A gentleman nurses the roots: when the root has taken, the truth will grow; and what are the roots of love, but the duty of son and of brother?”
[3]  
  The Master said: “Honeyed words and flattering looks seldom speak of love.”
[4]  
  Tseng-tzu 2 said: “Thrice daily I ask myself: ‘Have I been unfaithful in dealing for others? Have I been untrue to friends? Do I practise what I preach?’”
[5]  
  The Master said: “To guide a land of a thousand chariots, honour business, be true and sparing, love the people, and time thy claims upon them.”
[6]  
  The Master said: “The young should be dutiful at home, modest abroad, heedful and true, full of goodwill for the many, close friends with love; and should they have strength to spare, let them spend it upon the arts.”
[7]  
  Tzu-hsia 3 said: “If a man honour worth and forsake lust, serve father and mother with all his strength, be ready to give his life for the king, and keep faith with his friends; though men may call him rude, I call him learned.”

[8]  
  The Master said: “Of a gentleman who is frivolous none stand in awe, nor can his learning be sound. Make faithfulness and truth thy masters: have no friends unlike thyself: be not ashamed to mend thy faults.”
[9]  
  Tseng-tzu 4 said: “Respect death and recall forefathers, the good in men will again grow sturdy.”
[10]  
  Tzu-ch´in 5 said to Tzu-kung 6: “The Master, on coming to a country, learns all about the government: does he ask, or is it told him?”
  Tzu-kung said: “The Master learns it by his warmth and honesty, by politeness, modesty, and yielding. The way that the Master asks is unlike other men’s asking.”
[11]  
  The Master said: “As long as his father lives a son should study his wishes; after he is dead, he should study his life. If for three years he do not forsake his father’s ways, he may be called dutiful.”
[12]  
  Yu-tzu 7 said: “In daily courtesy ease is of price. This was the beauty of the old kings’ ways; this they followed in small and great. But knowing this, it is not right to give way to ease, unchecked by courtesy. This also is wrong.”
[13]  
  Yu-tzu said: “If promises hug the right, word can be kept: if attentions are bounded by courtesy, shame will be banished: heroes may be worshipped, if we choose them aright.”
[14]  
  The Master said: “A gentleman who is not a greedy eater, nor a lover of ease at home, who is earnest in deed and careful of speech, who seeks the righteous and profits by them, may be called fond of learning.”
[15]  
  Tzu-kung said: “Poor, but no flatterer; rich, but not proud. How were that?”
  “Good,” said the Master; “but better still were poor, yet merry; rich, yet courteous.”
  Tzu-kung said: “Where the poem says:
        
‘If ye cut, if ye file,
If ye polish and grind’;
is that what is meant?”
  The Master said: “Now I can talk of poetry to thee, Tz´u. Given a clue, thou canst find the way.”
[16]  
  The Master said: “Not to be known should not grieve you: grieve that ye know not men.”

Note 1. Disciples. 
Note 2. Disciples. 
Note 3. Disciples. 
Note 4. Disciples. 
Note 5. Disciples. 
Note 6. Disciples. 
Note 7. Disciples.


II


[1]  
THE MASTER said: “In governing, cleave to good; as the north star holds his place, and the multitude of stars revolve upon him.”
[2]  
  The Master said: “To sum up the three hundred songs in a word, they are free from evil thought.”
[3]  
  The Master said: “Guide the people by law, subdue them by punishment; they may shun crime, but will be void of shame. Guide them by example, subdue them by courtesy; they will learn shame, and come to be good.”
[4]  
  The Master said: “At fifteen, I was bent on study; at thirty, I could stand; at forty, doubts ceased; at fifty, I understood the laws of Heaven; at sixty, my ears obeyed me; at seventy, I could do as my heart lusted, and never swerve from right.”
[5]  
  Meng Yi asked the duty of a son.

  The Master said: “Obedience.”

  As Fan Ch´ih 1 was driving him, the Master said: “Meng-sun 2 asked me the duty of a son; I answered ‘Obedience.’”
  “What did ye mean?” said Fan Ch´ih.
  “To serve our parents with courtesy whilst they live,” said the Master; “to bury them with all courtesy when they die; and to worship them with all courtesy.”
[6]  
  Meng Wu asked the duty of a son.
  The Master said: “What weighs on your father and mother is concern for your health.”
[7]  
  Tzu-yu 3 asked the duty of a son.
  The Master said: “To-day a man is called dutiful if he keep his father and mother. But we keep both our dogs and horses, and unless we honour parents, is it not all one?”
[8]  
  Tzu-hsia asked the duty of a son.
  The Master said: “Our manner is the hard part. For the young to be a stay in toil, and leave the wine and cakes to their elders, is this to fulfil their duty?”
[9]  
  The Master said: “If I talk all day to Hui, 4 like a dullard, he never stops me. But when he is gone, if I pry into his life, I find he can do what I say. No, Hui is no dullard.”
[10]  
  The Master said: “Look at a man’s acts; watch his motives; find out what pleases him: can the man evade you? Can the man evade you?”
[11]  
  The Master said: “Who keeps the old akindle and adds new knowledge is fitted to be a teacher.”
[12]  
  The Master said: “A gentleman is not a vessel.”
[13]  
  Tzu-kung asked, What is a gentleman?
  The Master said: “He puts words into deed first, and sorts what he says to the deed.”
[14]  
  The Master said: “A gentleman is broad and fair: the vulgar are biassed and petty.”
[15]  
  The Master said: “Study without thought is vain: thought without study is dangerous.”
[16]  
  The Master said: “Work on strange doctrines does harm.”
[17]  
  The Master said: “Yu, 5 shall I teach thee what is understanding? To know what we know, and know what we do not know, that is understanding.”
[18]  
  Tzu-chang 6 studied with an eye to pay.
  The Master said: “Listen much, keep silent when in doubt, and always take heed of the tongue; thou wilt make few mistakes. See much, beware of pitfalls, and always give heed to thy walk; thou wilt have little to rue. If thy words are seldom wrong, thy deeds leave little to rue, pay will follow.”
[19]  
  Duke Ai 7 asked: “What should be done to make the people loyal?”
  Confucius answered: “Exalt the straight, set aside the crooked, the people will be loyal. Exalt the crooked, set aside the straight, the people will be disloyal.”
[20]  
  Chi K´ang 8 asked how to make the people lowly, faithful, and willing.
  The Master said: “Behave with dignity, they will be lowly: be pious and merciful, they will be faithful: exalt the good, teach the unskilful, they will grow willing.”
[21]  
  One said to Confucius: “Why are ye not in power, Sir?”
  The Master answered: “What does the book say of a good son? ‘An always dutiful son, who is a friend to his brothers, showeth the way to rule.’ This also is to rule. What need to be in power?”
[22]  
  The Master said: “Without truth I know not how man can live. A cart without a crosspole, a carriage without harness, how could they be moved?”
[23]  
  Tzu-chang asked whether we can know what is to be ten generations hence.
  The Master said: “The Yin 9 inherited the manners of the Hsia; 10 the harm and the good that they wrought them is known. The Chou 11 inherited the manners of the Yin; the harm and the good that they wrought them is known. And we may know what is to be, even an hundred generations hence, when others follow Chou.”
[24]  
  The Master said: “To worship the ghosts of strangers is fawning. To see the right and not do it is want of courage.”


Note 1. A disciple. 
Note 2. Meng Yi. 
Note 3. A disciple. 
Note 4. The Master’s favourite disciple, Yen Yüan. 
Note 5. The disciple, Tzu-lu. 
Note 6. A disciple. 
Note 7. Duke of Lu, during Confucius’ closing years. 
Note 8. Head of the Chi clan during Confucius’ closing years. 
Note 9. The three dynasties that had ruled China up till the time of Confucius. 
Note 10. The three dynasties that had ruled China up till the time of Confucius. 
Note 11. The three dynasties that had ruled China up till the time of Confucius.


III


[1]  
OF the Chi having eight rows of dancers 1 in his hall, Confucius said: “If this is to be borne, what is not to be borne?”
[2]  
  At the end of worship, the Three Clans made use of the Yung hymn. 2
  The Master said:
        
“‘The dukes and princes assist,
Solemn is the Son of Heaven;’
what sense has this in the hall of the Three Clans?”
[3]  
  The Master said: “A man without love, what is courtesy to him? A man without love, what is music to him?”
[4]  
  Lin Fang asked, What is the life of ceremony?
  The Master said: “A great question! At hightides, waste is worse than thrift: at burials, grief outweighs nicety.”
[5]  
  The Master said: “The wild tribes have kings; whilst the realm of Hsia 3 is without!”
[6]  
  The Chi worshipped on Mount T´ai. 4.
  The Master said to Jan Yu 5: “Canst thou not stop this?”
  He answered: “I cannot.”
  “Alas!” said the Master; “dost thou set Mount T´ai below Lin Fang?”
[7]  
  The Master said: “A gentleman has no rivalries-except perhaps in archery; and then, as bowing he joins the winners, or steps down to see the loser drink, throughout the struggle he is still the gentleman.”
[8]  
  Tzu-hsia asked: “What is the meaning of:
        
‘Her cunning smiles,
Her dimples light,
Her lovely eyes,
So clear and bright,
The ground, not yet
With colours dight’?”

  The Master said: “Colouring follows groundwork.”
  “Then does courtesy follow after?” said Tzu-hsia.
  “Shang,” 6 said the Master, “thou hast hit my meaning! Now I can talk of poetry to thee.”
[9]  
  The Master said: “I can speak of the manners of Hsia; but for Chi witnesses fail. I can speak of the manners of Yin; but for Sung witnesses fail. This is due to their dearth of books and great men. Were there enough of these, they would witness for me.”
[10]  
  The Master said: “After the drink offering at the Great Sacrifice, I have no wish to see more.”
[11]  
  One asked about the words of the Great Sacrifice.
[12]  
  The Master said: “I do not understand them. Could one understand them, he would overlook the world as I this”—and he pointed to his palm.
[13]  
  Worship as though those ye worship stood before you; worship the spirits, as though they stood before you.
  The Master said: “If I take no part in the sacrifice, it is none to me.”
[14]  
  Wang-sun Chia 7 said: “What is the meaning of ‘it is better to court the Kitchen God than the God of the Home’?”
  “Not at all,” said the Master. “A sin against Heaven is past praying for.”
[15]  
  The Master said: “Two lines of kings have passed beneath the ken of Chou. How rich in art is Chou! It is Chou I follow.”
[16]  
  On entering the Great Temple, the Master asked how each thing was done.
  One said: “Who says that the man of Tsou’s son has a knowledge of ceremony? On entering the Great Temple, he asked how each thing was done!”
  On hearing this, the Master said: “Such is the ceremony.
[17]  
  The Master said: “To pierce through the target does not score in archery; because men differ in strength. This was the old rule.”
[18]  
  Tzu-kung wished to do away with the sheep offering at the new moon. The Master said: “Thou lovest the sheep, Tz´u: I love the rite.”
[19]  
  The Master said: “Treat the king with all courtesy, men call it fawning.”
[20]  
  Duke Ting asked how a king should behave to his ministers; how ministers should serve their king?
  Confucius answered: “A king should behave with courtesy to his ministers; ministers should serve their king faithfully.”
[21]  
  The Master said: “The poem ‘The Osprey’ is glad, but not wanton; it is sad, but not morbid.”
[22]  
  Duke Ai asked Tsai Wo 8 about the shrines of the guardian spirits. Tsai Wo answered: “The Hsia Emperors grew firs round them; the men of Yin grew cypress; the men of Chou grew chestnut, meaning ‘jest not over holy matters.’” 9
  On hearing this, the Master said: “I do not speak of what is ended, chide what is settled, or find fault with what is past.”
[23]  
  The Master said: “How shallow was Kuan Chung!” 10
  “But,” said one, “was not Kuan Chung thrifty?”
  “Kuan owned San Kuei, and in his household none doubled offices,” said the Master; “was that thrift?”
  “At least Kuan Chung was versed in courtesy.”
  The Master said: “Kings screen their gates with trees; Kuan, too, had trees to screen his gate. When two kings make merry together, they have a stand for the turned-down cups; Kuan had a turned-down cup-stand too! If Kuan were versed in courtesy, who is not versed in courtesy?”
[24]  
  The Master said to the chief musician of Lu: “How to play music may be known. At first each part in unison; then, a swell of harmony, each part distinct, rolling on to the finish.”
[25]  
  The warden of Yi asked to see Confucius, saying: “No gentleman has ever come here, whom I have failed to see.”
  The followers presented him.
  On leaving he said: “My lads, why lament your fall? The world has long been astray. Heaven will make of the Master a warning bell.”
[26]  
  The Master said: “All beautiful and noble is the music of Shao! The music of Wu is as beautiful, but less noble.”
[27]  
  The Master said: “Rank without bounty; ritual without reverence; mourning without grief, why should I cast them a glance?”


Note 1. An imperial prerogative. 
Note 2. An imperial prerogative. 
Note 3. China. 
Note 4. A prerogative of the Duke of Lu. 
Note 5. A disciple, in the service of the Chi. 
Note 6. Tzu-hsia. 
Note 7. Wang-sun Chia was minister of Wei, and more influential than his master. Kitchen God is less honourable than the God of the Home (the Roman lares), but since he sees all that goes on in the house, and ascends to Heaven at the end of the year to report what has happened, it is well to be on good terms with him. 
Note 8. A disciple of Confucius. 
Note 9. Literally “to cause the people to be in awe.” The commentators are more than usually learned over the Master’s anger. I attribute it to the foolishness of the pun, and translate accordingly. 
Note 10. Kung Chung (+B.C. 645), a famous man in his day, was chief minister to the Duke of Ch´i, whom he raised to such wealth and power, that he became the leading prince of the empire. His chief merit lay in crushing the barbarous frontier tribes. The rest of his work, being in the sand, died with him.


IV


[1]  
THE MASTER said: “Love makes a spot beautiful: who chooses not to dwell in love, has he got wisdom?”
[2]  
  The Master said: “Loveless men cannot bear need long, they cannot bear fortune long. Loving hearts find peace in love; clever heads find profit in it.”
[3]  
  The Master said: “Love can alone love others, or hate others.”
[4]  
  The Master said: “A heart set on love will do no wrong.”
[5]  
  The Master said: “Wealth and honours are what men desire; but abide not in them by help of wrong. Lowliness and want are hated of men; but forsake them not by help of wrong.
  “Shorn of love, is a gentleman worthy the name? Not for one moment may a gentleman sin against love; not in flurry and haste, nor yet in utter overthrow.”
[6]  
  The Master said: “A friend to love, a foe to evil, I have yet to meet. A friend to love will set nothing higher. In love’s service, a foe to evil will let no evil touch him. Were a man to give himself to love, but for one day, I have seen no one whose strength would fail him. Such men there may be, but I have not seen one.”
[7]  
  The Master said: “A man and his faults are of a piece. By watching his faults we learn whether love be his.”
[8]  
  The Master said: “To learn the truth at daybreak and die at eve were enough.”
[9]  
  The Master said: “A scholar in search of truth who is ashamed of poor clothes and poor food it is idle talking to.”
[10]  
  The Master said: “A gentleman has no likes and no dislikes below heaven. He follows right.”
[11]  
  The Master said: “Gentlemen cherish worth; the vulgar cherish dirt. Gentlemen trust in justice; the vulgar trust in favour.”
[12]  
  The Master said: “The chase of gain is rich in hate.”
[13]  
  The Master said: “What is it to sway a kingdom by courteous yielding? Who cannot by courteous yielding sway a kingdom, what can he know of courtesy?”
[14]  
  The Master said: “Be not concerned at want of place; be concerned that thou stand thyself. Sorrow not at being unknown, but seek to be worthy of note.”
[15]  
  The Master said: “One thread, Shen, 1 runs through all my teaching.”
  “Yes,” said Tseng-tzu.
  After the Master had left, the disciples asked what was meant.
  Tseng-tzu said: “The Master’s teaching all hangs on faithfulness and fellow-feeling.”
[16]  
  The Master said: “A gentleman considers what is right; the vulgar consider what will pay.”
[17]  
  The Master said: “At sight of worth, think to grow like it. When evil meets thee, search thine own heart.”
[18]  
  The Master said: “A father or mother may be gently chidden. If they will not bend, be the more lowly, but persevere; nor murmur if trouble follow.”
[19]  
  The Master said: “Whilst thy father and mother live, do not wander afar. If thou must travel, hold a set course.”
[20]  
  The Master said: “If for three years a son do not forsake his father’s ways, he may be called dutiful.”
[21]  
  The Master said: “A father’s and a mother’s age must be borne in mind; with joy on the one hand, fear on the other.”
[22]  
  The Master said: “Men of old were loth to speak; lest a word that they could not make good should shame them.”
[23]  
  The Master said: “Who contains himself goes seldom wrong.”
[24]  
  The Master said: “A gentleman wishes to be slow to speak and quick to act.”
[25]  
  The Master said: “Good is no hermit. It has ever neighbours.”
[26]  
  Tzu-yu said: “Preaching to princes brings disgrace, nagging at friends estrangement.”


Note 1. The disciple Tseng-tzu.


 

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