The Master said, "Perfect is the
virtue which is according to the Constant Mean! Rare for a long
time has been its practice among the people."
Tsze-kung said, "Suppose the case of a man extensively
conferring benefits on the people, and able to assist all, what
would you say of him? Might he be called perfectly virtuous?"
The Master said, "Why speak only of virtue in connection with
him? Must he not have the qualities of a sage? Even Yao and Shun
were still solicitous about this.
"Now the man of perfect virtue, wishing to be established
himself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged
himself, he seeks also to enlarge others.
"To be able to judge of others by what is nigh in
ourselves;-this may be called the art of virtue."
The Master said, "A transmitter and not a maker, believing in
and loving the ancients, I venture to compare myself with our
The Master said, "The silent treasuring up of knowledge;
learning without satiety; and instructing others without being
wearied:-which one of these things belongs to me?"
The Master said, "The leaving virtue without proper cultivation;
the not thoroughly discussing what is learned; not being able to
move towards righteousness of which a knowledge is gained; and
not being able to change what is not good:-these are the things
which occasion me solicitude."
When the Master was unoccupied with business, his manner was
easy, and he looked pleased.
The Master said, "Extreme is my decay. For a long time, I have
not dreamed, as I was wont to do, that I saw the duke of Chau."
The Master said, "Let the will be set on the path of duty.
"Let every attainment in what is good be firmly grasped.
"Let perfect virtue be accorded with.
"Let relaxation and enjoyment be found in the polite arts."
The Master said, "From the man bringing his bundle of dried
flesh for my teaching upwards, I have never refused instruction
to any one."
The Master said, "I do not open up the truth to one who is not
eager to get knowledge, nor help out any one who is not anxious
to explain himself. When I have presented one corner of a
subject to any one, and he cannot from it learn the other three,
I do not repeat my lesson."
When the Master was eating by the side of a mourner, he never
ate to the full.
He did not sing on the same day in which he had been weeping.
The Master said to Yen Yuan, "When called to office, to
undertake its duties; when not so called, to he retired;-it is
only I and you who have attained to this."
Tsze-lu said, "If you had the conduct of the armies of a great
state, whom would you have to act with you?"
The Master said, "I would not have him to act with me, who will
unarmed attack a tiger, or cross a river without a boat, dying
without any regret. My associate must be the man who proceeds to
action full of solicitude, who is fond of adjusting his plans,
and then carries them into execution."
The Master said, "If the search for riches is sure to be
successful, though I should become a groom with whip in hand to
get them, I will do so. As the search may not be successful, I
will follow after that which I love."
The things in reference to which the Master exercised the
greatest caution were-fasting, war, and sickness.
When the Master was in Ch'i, he heard the Shao, and for three
months did not know the taste of flesh. "I did not think'" he
said, "that music could have been made so excellent as this."
Yen Yu said, "Is our Master for the ruler of Wei?" Tsze-kung
said, "Oh! I will ask him."
He went in accordingly, and said, "What sort of men were Po-i
and Shu-ch'i?" "They were ancient worthies," said the Master.
"Did they have any repinings because of their course?" The
Master again replied, "They sought to act virtuously, and they
did so; what was there for them to repine about?" On this, Tsze-kung
went out and said, "Our Master is not for him."
The Master said, "With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink,
and my bended arm for a pillow;-I have still joy in the midst of
these things. Riches and honors acquired by unrighteousness, are
to me as a floating cloud."
The Master said, "If some years were added to my life, I would
give fifty to the study of the Yi, and then I might come to be
without great faults."
The Master's frequent themes of discourse were-the Odes, the
History, and the maintenance of the Rules of Propriety. On all
these he frequently discoursed.
The Duke of Sheh asked Tsze-lu about Confucius, and Tsze-lu did
not answer him.
The Master said, "Why did you not say to him,-He is simply a
man, who in his eager pursuit of knowledge forgets his food, who
in the joy of its attainment forgets his sorrows, and who does
not perceive that old age is coming on?"
The Master said, "I am not one who was born in the possession of
knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in
seeking it there."
The subjects on which the Master did not talk,
were-extraordinary things, feats of strength, disorder, and
The Master said, "When I walk along with two others, they may
serve me as my teachers. I will select their good qualities and
follow them, their bad qualities and avoid them."
The Master said, "Heaven produced the virtue that is in me. Hwan
T'ui-what can he do to me?"
The Master said, "Do you think, my disciples, that I have any
concealments? I conceal nothing from you. There is nothing which
I do that is not shown to you, my disciples; that is my way."
There were four things which the Master taught,-letters, ethics,
devotion of soul, and truthfulness.
The Master said, "A sage it is not mine to see; could I see a
man of real talent and virtue, that would satisfy me."
The Master said, "A good man it is not mine to see; could I see
a man possessed of constancy, that would satisfy me.
"Having not and yet affecting to have, empty and yet affecting
to be full, straitened and yet affecting to be at ease:-it is
difficult with such characteristics to have constancy."
The Master angled,-but did not use a net. He shot,-but not at
The Master said, "There may be those who act without knowing
why. I do not do so. Hearing much and selecting what is good and
following it; seeing much and keeping it in memory: this is the
second style of knowledge."