The Master said, "In serving his
parents, a son may remonstrate with them, but gently; when he
sees that they do not incline to follow his advice, he shows an
increased degree of reverence, but does not abandon his purpose;
and should they punish him, he does not allow himself to
The Master said, "While his parents are alive, the son may not
go abroad to a distance. If he does go abroad, he must have a
fixed place to which he goes."
The Master said, "If the son for three years does not alter from
the way of his father, he may be called filial."
The Master said, "The years of parents may by no means not be
kept in the memory, as an occasion at once for joy and for
The Master said, "The reason why the ancients did not readily
give utterance to their words, was that they feared lest their
actions should not come up to them."
The Master said, "The cautious seldom err."
The Master said, "The superior man wishes to be slow in his
speech and earnest in his conduct."
The Master said, "Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who
practices it will have neighbors."
Tsze-yu said, "In serving a prince, frequent remonstrances lead
to disgrace. Between friends, frequent reproofs make the
The Master said of Kung-ye Ch'ang that he might be wived;
although he was put in bonds, he had not been guilty of any
crime. Accordingly, he gave him his own daughter to wife.
Of Nan Yung he said that if the country were well governed he
would not be out of office, and if it were in governed, he would
escape punishment and disgrace. He gave him the daughter of his
own elder brother to wife.
The Master said of Tsze-chien, "Of superior virtue indeed is
such a man! If there were not virtuous men in Lu, how could this
man have acquired this character?"
Tsze-kung asked, "What do you say of me, Ts'ze!" The Master
said, "You are a utensil." "What utensil?" "A gemmed sacrificial
Some one said, "Yung is truly virtuous, but he is not ready with
The Master said, "What is the good of being ready with the
tongue? They who encounter men with smartness of speech for the
most part procure themselves hatred. I know not whether he be
truly virtuous, but why should he show readiness of the tongue?"
The Master was wishing Ch'i-tiao K'ai to enter an official
employment. He replied, "I am not yet able to rest in the
assurance of this." The Master was pleased.
The Master said, "My doctrines make no way. I will get upon a
raft, and float about on the sea. He that will accompany me will
be Yu, I dare say." Tsze-lu hearing this was glad, upon which
the Master said, "Yu is fonder of daring than I am. He does not
exercise his judgment upon matters."
Mang Wu asked about Tsze-lu, whether he was perfectly virtuous.
The Master said, "I do not know."
He asked again, when the Master replied, "In a kingdom of a
thousand chariots, Yu might be employed to manage the military
levies, but I do not know whether he be perfectly virtuous."
"And what do you say of Ch'iu?" The Master replied, "In a city
of a thousand families, or a clan of a hundred chariots, Ch'iu
might be employed as governor, but I do not know whether he is
"What do you say of Ch'ih?" The Master replied, "With his sash
girt and standing in a court, Ch'ih might be employed to
converse with the visitors and guests, but I do not know whether
he is perfectly virtuous."
The Master said to Tsze-kung, "Which do you consider superior,
yourself or Hui?"
Tsze-kung replied, "How dare I compare myself with Hui? Hui
hears one point and knows all about a subject; I hear one point,
and know a second."
The Master said, "You are not equal to him. I grant you, you are
not equal to him."
Tsai Yu being asleep during the daytime, the Master said,
"Rotten wood cannot be carved; a wall of dirty earth will not
receive the trowel. This Yu,-what is the use of my reproving
The Master said, "At first, my way with men was to hear their
words, and give them credit for their conduct. Now my way is to
hear their words, and look at their conduct. It is from Yu that
I have learned to make this change."
The Master said, "I have not seen a firm and unbending man."
Some one replied, "There is Shan Ch'ang." "Ch'ang," said the
Master, "is under the influence of his passions; how can he be
pronounced firm and unbending?"
Tsze-kung said, "What I do not wish men to do to me, I also wish
not to do to men." The Master said, "Ts'ze, you have not
attained to that."
Tsze-kung said, "The Master's personal displays of his
principles and ordinary descriptions of them may be heard. His
discourses about man's nature, and the way of Heaven, cannot be
When Tsze-lu heard anything, if he had not yet succeeded in
carrying it into practice, he was only afraid lest he should
hear something else.
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "On what ground did Kung-wan get that
title of Wan?"
The Master said, "He was of an active nature and yet fond of
learning, and he was not ashamed to ask and learn of his
inferiors!-On these grounds he has been styled Wan."
The Master said of Tsze-ch'an that he had four of the
characteristics of a superior man-in his conduct of himself, he
was humble; in serving his superior, he was respectful; in
nourishing the people, he was kind; in ordering the people, he
The Master said, "Yen P'ing knew well how to maintain friendly
intercourse. The acquaintance might be long, but he showed the
same respect as at first."
The Master said, "Tsang Wan kept a large tortoise in a house, on
the capitals of the pillars of which he had hills made, and with
representations of duckweed on the small pillars above the beams
supporting the rafters.-Of what sort was his wisdom?"
Tsze-chang asked, saying, "The minister Tsze-wan thrice took
office, and manifested no joy in his countenance. Thrice he
retired from office, and manifested no displeasure. He made it a
point to inform the new minister of the way in which he had
conducted the government; what do you say of him?" The Master
replied. "He was loyal." "Was he perfectly virtuous?" "I do not
know. How can he be pronounced perfectly virtuous?"
Tsze-chang proceeded, "When the officer Ch'ui killed the prince
of Ch'i, Ch'an Wan, though he was the owner of forty horses,
abandoned them and left the country. Coming to another state, he
said, 'They are here like our great officer, Ch'ui,' and left
it. He came to a second state, and with the same observation
left it also;-what do you say of him?" The Master replied, "He
was pure." "Was he perfectly virtuous?" "I do not know. How can
he be pronounced perfectly virtuous?"
Chi Wan thought thrice, and then acted. When the Master was
informed of it, he said, "Twice may do."
The Master said, "When good order prevailed in his country, Ning
Wu acted the part of a wise man. When his country was in
disorder, he acted the part of a stupid man. Others may equal
his wisdom, but they cannot equal his stupidity."
When the Master was in Ch'an, he said, "Let me return! Let me
return! The little children of my school are ambitious and too
hasty. They are accomplished and complete so far, but they do
not know how to restrict and shape themselves."
The Master said, "Po-i and Shu-ch'i did not keep the former
wickednesses of men in mind, and hence the resentments directed
towards them were few."