Excerpts from
The Analects of Confucius

When citing this text, just cite chapter and verse number.  For example.  According to Confucius “it’s honouring parents and elders that makes people human” (Analects, I.2). The same goes for using footnotes.

Chapter I

1.  The Master said: “To learn, and then, in its due season , put what you have learned into practice –isn’t that still a great pleasure?  And to have a friend visit from somewhere far away – isn’t that still a great joy?  When you’re ignored by the world like this, an yet bear no resentment – isn’t that great nobility?”

2.  Master Yu said: “It’s honouring parents and elders that makes people human.  Then they rarely turn against authority.  And if people don’t’ turn against authority, they never rise up and pitch the country into chaos.
            “The noble-minded cultivate roots.  When roots are secure, the Way is born.  To honour parents and elders – isn’t that the root of Humanity?”

5.  The Master said: “To show the Way for a nation of a thousand war-chariots, a ruler pays reverent attention to the country’s affairs and always stands by his words.  He maintains economy and simplicity, always loving the people, and so emplo9ys the people only in due season.”

6.  The Master said: “In youth, respect your parents when home and your elders when away.  Think carefully before you speak, and stand by your words.  Love the whole expanse of things, and make an intimate of Humanity.  Then, if you have any energy left, begin cultivating yourself.”

7.  Adept Hsia said: “Cherishing Wisdom as if it were a beautiful woman, devoting their strength to serving parents and their lives to serving a ruler, standing by their words in dealing with friends – such people may say they’ve never studied, but I would call them learned indeed.”

9.  Master Tseng said: “Be thorough in mourning parents, and meticulous in the ancestral sacrifices, then the people Integrity will return to its original fullness.”

12.  Master Yu said: “The most precious fruit of Ritual is harmony.  The Way of the ancient Emperors found its beauty in this, and all matters great and small depend upon it.
            “Still, things go wrong.  You may understand this harmony and even instill things with it, but if you fail to shape harmony with Ritual, you’ll never makes things right.”

13.  Master Yu said:

Make standing by words your Duty,
and your words will last and last,
make reverence an everyday Ritual,
and you’ll stay clear of all disgrace—
then kindred spirits remain kindred,
and you’re worthy to be their ancestor.”

Chapter II

1.  The Master said: “In government, the secret is Integrity.  Use it, and you’ll be like the polestar: always dwelling in its proper place, the other starts turning reverently about it.”

3.  The Master said: “If you use government to show them the Way and punishment to keep them true, the people will grow evasive and lose all remorse.  But if you sue Integrity to show them the Way and Ritual to keep them true, they’ll cultivate remorse and always see deeply into things.”

5.  When Lord Meng Yi asked about honouring parents, the Mster said: “Never disobey.”
            Later, when Fan Chi’ih was driving his carriage, the Mster said: “Meng asked me about honouring parents, and I said Never disobey.”
            “What did you mean by that?” asked Fan Ch’ih.
            “in life, serve them according to Ritual,” replied the Master. “in death, bury them according to Ritual.  And then, make offerings to them according to Ritual.”

7.  When Adept Yu asked about honouring parents, the Master said: “These days, being a worthy child just means keeping parents well-fed.  That’s what we do for dogs and horses.  Everyone can feed their parents – but without reverence, they may as well be feeding animals.”

8.  When Adept Hsia asked about honouring parents, the Master said: “It’s the way you do things that matters.  When there’s work, children may make it easy for their parents.  And when there’s wine and food, they may serve their parents first.  But isn’t there more to honouring parents than this?”

10.  The Master said: “If you look at their intentions, examine their motives, and scrutinize what brings them contentment – how can people hide who they are?  How can they hide who they really are?”

11.  the Master said: “If you can revive the ancient and use it to understand the modern, then you’re worthy to be a teacher.”

13.  Adept Hsia asked about the noble-minded, and the Master said: “Such people act before they speak, then they speak according to their actions.”

14.  The Master said: “The noble-minded are all-encompassing, not stuck in doctrines.  Little people are stuck in doctrines.”

24.  The Master said: “Sacrificing to the spirits of ancestors not your own is mere flattery.  And to recognize a Duty without carrying it out is mere cowardice.”

Chapter III

3.  The Master said: “If you’re human without Humanity, you know nothing of Ritual.  If you’re human without Humanity, you know nothing of music.”

4.  Ling Fang asked about the root of Ritual.  The Master replied: “What a huge question! In Ritual, simplicity rather than extravagance.  In mourning, grief rather than repose.”

7.  The Master said: “The noble-minded never contend.  It’s true that archery is a kind of contention.  But even then, they bow and yield to each other when stepping up to the range.  And when they step down, they toast each other.  Even in contention, they retain their nobility.”

25.  The Master said Emperor Shun’s music was perfectly beautiful, and perfectly virtuous too.  He said Emperor Wu’s music was perfectly beautiful, but no perfectly virtuous.

26.  The Master said: “Governing without generosity, Ritual without reverence, mourning without grief – how could I bear to see such things?”

Chapter IV

1.  The Master said: “Of villages, Humanity is the most beautiful.  If you choose to dwell anywhere else, how can you be called wise?”

2.  The Master said: “Without Humanity, you can’t dwell in adversity for long, and you can’t dwell in prosperity for long.  If you’re Humane, Humanity is your repose.  And if you’re wise, Humanity is your reward.

3.  The Master said: “only the Humane can love people, and only they can despise people.”

4.  The Master said: “Those who aspire to Humanity – they despise no one.”

5.  The Master said: “Wealth and position – that’s what people want.  But if you enjoy wealth and position without following the Way, you‘ll never dwell at ease.  Poverty and obscurity – that’s what people despise.  And if you endure poverty and obscurity without following th Way, you’ll never get free.

            “If you ignore Humanity, how will you gain praise and renown? The noble-minded don’t’ forget Humanity for a single moment, not even in the crush of confusion and desperation.”

6.  the Master said: “I’ve never seen a person who really loves Humanity and despises Inhumanity.  Those who love Humanity know of nothing more essential.  And those who despise Inhumanity act with such Humanity that Inhumanity never touches them.

            “Can people devote their full strength to Humanity for even a single day?  I’ve never seen anyone who isn’t strong enough.  There may be such people, but I’ve never seen them.”

7.  The Master said: “A person’s various faults are all of a piece.  Recognizing your faults is a way of understanding Humanity.”

8.  The Master said: “If you hear the Way one morning and die that night, you die content.”

9.  The Master said: “Aspiring to the Way, but ashamed of bad clothes and bad food: such a person knows nothing worth discussing.”

10.  The Master said: “In their dealings with all beneath Heaven, the noble-minded do not themselves favour some things and oppose others.  They form judgments according to Duty.”

11.  The Master said: “While the noble-minded cherish Integrity, little people cherish territory.  And while the noble-minded cherish laws, little people cherish priviledge.”

12.  The Master said: “If profit guides your actions, there will be no end of resentment.”

13.  The Master said: “If you found a nation on Ritual and yielding, what more is there?  If you cannot found a nation on Ritual and yielding, what’s left of Ritual?”

14.  The Master said: “Don’t’ worry if you have no position: worry about making yourself worthy of one.  Don’t’ worry if you aren’t known and admired: devote yourself to a life that deserves admiration.”

15.  The Master said: “Tseng! There’s a single thread stringing my Way together.”
            “There is indeed,” replied Master Tseng.
            When the Master left, some disciples asked: “What did he mean?”
            “Be loyal to the principles of your heart, and treat others with that same loyalty,” answered Master Tseng.  “That is the Master’s Way.  There is nothing more.”

16.  The Master said: “The noble-minded are clear about Duty.  Little people are clear about profit.”

18.  The Master said: “In serving your mother and father, admonish them gently.  If they understand, and yet choose not to follow your advice, deepen your reverence without losing faith.  And however exhausting this may be, avoid resentment.”

25.  The Master said: “Integrity’s never alone.  It always has neighbors.”

Chapter V

18.  Adept Chang said: “Tzu-wen was appointed Prime Minister three times without ever showing delight.  And he resigned three times without ever showing resentment.  Instead, he dutifully explained the operation of his government to his successors.  What do you think of such a man?”

            “He was loyal indeed,” replied the Master.

            “And was he Humane?”

            “I don’t know,” replied the Master.  “Would such things make him Humane?”

            Adept Change began again: “When Ts’ui Tzu killed the Ch’I sovereign, Lord Ch’en Wen was  a minister who had ten teams of horses, but they abandoned everything and left.  He went o another country – but soon, saying They’re just like our grand Ts’ui Tzu here, he left.  He went to the next country – and soon, saying the same thing, he left there too.  What do you think of such a man?”

            “He was pure indeed.”

            “And was he humane?”

            “I don’t know,” replied the Master.  “Would such things make him Humane?”

20.  The Master said: “People say Lord Ning Wu

Was a sage when his country followed the Way
and a fool when his country abandoned the Way

We may master his wisdom, but never his foolishness.”

26.  The Master said: “It’s hopeless! I never see people who can recognize their own faults and then inwardly accuse themselves.”

Chapter VI

1.  The Master said: “Jan Yung is one who could take the Emperor’s seat and sit facing south.”
            Jan Yung asked about Tzu-sang Po-tzu, and the Master said: “Yes, with his mastery of simplicity, he too could take the Emperor’s seat.”
            “To act simply because your life if reverent,” replied Yung, “isn’t that enough to lead the people?  But to act simply because your life is simple, isn’t that simplicity gone too far?”
            “Yes.  What you say is quite true.”

2.  Duke Ai asked which of the disciples had a true love of learning.
            “Yen Hui had a true love of learning,” replied Confucius.
“He never blamed others and never made the same mistake twice.  Unfortunately, destiny allowed him but a brief life, and now he’s dead.  Now I know of no one who loves learning.”

17.  The Master said: “People are too wild when nature dominates culture in them, and too tame when culture dominates nature.  But when nature and culture are blended and balanced in them, they’re noble-minded.”

21.  Fan Ch’ih asked about wisdom, and the Master said: “Devotion to perfecting your Duties toward the people, and reverence for gods and spirits while keeping your distance from them – that can be called wisdom.”

            And when Fan Ch’ih asked about Humanity, the Master said: “The Humane master the difficult parts before expecting any rewards – that can be called Humanity.”

29.  Adept Kung said: “How would you describe a person who sows all the people with blessings and assists everyone in the land?  Could such a person be called Humane?”

            “What does this have to do with Humanity?” replied the Master.  “If you must have a name, call this person a sage.  For even the enlightened Emperors Yao and Shun would seem lacking by comparison.  As for Humanity: if you want to make a stand, help other makes a stand, and if you want reach your goal, help other reach their goal.  Consider yourself and treat others accordingly: this is the method of Humanity.”

Chapter VII

3.  The Master said: “These are the kinds of things I find troubling:

possessing Integrity without cultivating it
and possessing knowledge without deepening it,
knowing Duties without following them
and knowing failings without changing them.

6.  The Master said: “Devote yourself to the Way, depend on Integrity, rely on Humanity, and wander in the arts.”

8.  The Master said: “I never instruct those who aren’t full of passion, and I never enlighten those who aren’t struggling to explain themselves.
            “If I show you one corner and you can’t show me the other three, I’ll say nothing more.”

14.  In Ch’I, after hearing the music of Emperor Shun, it was three months before the Master noticed the taste of food again.  He just kept saying, “I never dreamed music was capable of such things.”

15.  Jan Ch’iu said: “Does our Master support the Wei ruler?”
            “Yes, I should ask him about that,” replied Adept Kung.
            So Kung went in to see the Master and asked: “Who were Po Yi and Chu Ch’I?”
            “Wise men of ancient times,” replied Confucius.
            “Did they harbour any resentments?”
            “They devoted themselves to Humanity, and so become Humane.  How could they harbour any resentments?”
            Kung returned to Jan Ch’iu and said: “No, the Master doesn’t support him.”

18.  The Master never used Lu dialect for The Book of Songs, The Book of History, or the observance of Ritual.  Never. [ed’s note: Lu is the common, as opposed to formal, dialect]

22.  The Master said: “Out walking with two companions, I’m sure to be in my teacher’s company.  The good in one I adopt in myself; the evil in the other I change in myself.”

23.  The Master said: “My Integrity is born of Heaven.  So what can Huan T’ui’s assassins do to me?”

28.  The Master said: “I suppose there are some who don’t need wisdom to live wisely.  I am no so lucky.  I’ve heard countless things, choosing what is good and adopting it in myself.  I’ve seen countless things and remembered them well.  This is a lesser form of wisdom.”

Chapter VIII

8.  The Master said: “Be incited by the Songs, established by Ritual, and perfected by music.”

9.  The Master said: “You can make the people follow the Way, but you can’t make them understand it.”

10.  The Master said: “If courageous people suffer from poverty, they’ll soon tear the country apart.  Unless they’ve mastered Humanity, anyone whose sufferings are great would tear it apart with abandon.”

Chapter IX

3.  The Master said: “Ritual calls for caps of linen, but now everyone uses black silk.  It’s more frugal, so I follow the common practice.

            “Ritual calls for bowing before ascending the stairs, but now everyone bows only at the top of stairs.  That’s too presumptuous, so even though it violates the common practice, I bow before ascending.”

19.  The Master said: “It’s like building a mountain: even if I don’t stop until I’m only short one last basket of dirt – still, I’ve stopped.  It’s like levelling ground: even if I’m just starting out with the first basketful – still, I’m forging ahead.

22. The Master said: “There are, indeed, sprouts that never come to flower.  And there are flowers that never bear fruit.”

23.  The Master said: “Hold the young in awe. How can we know their generation will not equal our own?  Only when they’ve lived to be forty or fifty without any distinction – only then are they no longer worthy of our awe.”

26.  The Master said: “Vast armies can be robbed of their commander, but even the simplest people cannot be robbed of their free will.”

Chapter X

6.  During purification for the sacrifice, he changed what he ate and where he sat.  Polished rice was fine, and minced meat.  He didn’t eat sour rice or rancid fish or spoiled meat.  He didn’t eat anything that looked or smelled bad.  He didn’t eat food that wasn’t well-cooked and in season, or food that wasn’t properly sliced and served with the proper sauce.  Even when there was plenty of meat, he only ate enough to balance the ch’i of rice.  Only in wine did he set no limits, but he never drank himself into confusion.  He wouldn’t drink wine from a wineshop or eat meat forma  market.  And though he didn’t refuse ginger, he ate it only sparingly.

            After the state sacrifice, he never kept the meat overnight.  And he never kept meat more than three days after the family sacrifice.  After three days, he wouldn’t eat it. 

            He didn’t speak at meals, and he didn’t talk in bed.

            He made an offering of even the simplest rice and vegetable, both and melon – and he did so with the greatest solemnity.

12.  When the Sovereign sent a gift of food, he straightened his mat and dined immediately.  When the sovereign sent a gift of uncooked food, he cooked it and made an offering.  When the sovereign sent a gift of live animals, he always raised them.

            When serving at the royal table, he always began with rice once the sovereign had made offerings.

Chapter XII

1.  yen Hui asked about Humanity, and the Master said: “Giving yourself over to Ritual – that is Humanity.  If a ruler gave himself to Ritual for even a single day, all beneath Heaven would return to Humanity.  For doesn’t the practice of Humanity find its source first in the self, and only then in others?”
            “Could you explain how giving yourself to Ritual works?” asked Yen Hui.
            “Never look without Ritual.  Never listen without Ritual.  Never speak without Ritual.  Never move without Ritual.”
            “I’m not terribly clever,” said yen Hui, “but I’ll try to serve these words.”

2.  Jan Yung asked about Humanity, and the Master said: “Go out into the world as if greeting a magnificent guest.  Use the people asif offering a magnificent sacrifice.  And never impose on others what you would no choose for yourself.  Then, there will be no resentment among the people or the great families.”
            “I’m not terribly clever,” said Jan Yung, “but I’ll try to serve these words.

3.         Szu-ma Niu asked about Humanity, and the Master said: “The Humane speak with slow deliberation.”
            “So, those who speak with slow deliberation can be called Humane?”
            “It’s so difficult to put words into action,” replied the Master.  “How can anyone fail to speak with slow deliberation.”

7.         Adept Kung asked about governing, and the Master said: “Plenty of food, plenty of weapons, and the truth of the people.”
            “If you couldn’t have all three,” asked Kung, “which would you give up first?”
            “I’d give up weapons.”
            “And if you couldn’t have both the others, which would you give up first?”
            “I’d give up food,” replied the Master.  “There’s always been death.  But without trust, the people are lost.”

10.  Adept Chang asked about exalting Integrity and unravelling delusion.
            The Master said: “Be loyal and stand by your words.  Devote yourself to that, above all, and dwell wherever Duty rules – that’s exalting Integrity.
            “When you love a thing, you wish it life.  When you hate a thing, you wish it death.  To wish both life and death for thing – that is delusion.

            Maybe it’s for her money,
            And maybe for the novelty.

13.  The Master said: “I can hear a court case as well as anyone.  But we need to make a world where there’s no reason for a court case.”

15.  The Master said: “Well-versed in culture and well-grounded in Ritual – how could you ever go wrong?”

20.  Adept Chang asked: “What must a man be like before he is pronounced influential?”
            “What on earth do you mean by influential?” countered the Master.
            Influential means a person who gains renown among the people and the great families,” replied Chang.
            “But that’s only renown,” said the Master, “not influence.  A person of influence is, by nature, forthright and a lover of Duty.  He weighs people’s words carefully and studies their faces.  He cultivates humility before others.  Such a person infuses the people and great families with his influence.
            “A person of renown makes a show of Humanity, but acts quite differently.  And he never doubts himself.  That is the kind o f person who gains renown among the people and the great families.”

22.  Fan Ch’ih asked about Humanity, and the Master said: “Love people.”
            Then he asked about understanding, and the Master said: “Understand people.”
            Fan Ch’ih couldn’t fathom what he meant, so the Master said: “If you raise up the straight and case out the crooked, the crooked will be made straight.”
            After leaving, Fan Ch’ih went to visit Adept Hsia, and said: “I was just visiting the Master.  I asked him about understanding, and he said: If you raise up the straight and cast out the crooked, the crooked will be made straight.  What does he mean by that?”
            “O, there’s such bounty in those words, “ replied Hsia.  “When Shun possessed all beneath Heaven, he recognized Kao Yao and raised him up, thus leaving those without Humanity far away.  And when T’ang possessed all beneath Heaven, he recognized Yi Yin and raised him up, thus leaving those without Humanity far away.”

23.  Adept Hsia asked about friends, and the Master said: “Advise them faithfully in perfecting the Way.  If that fails, then stop.  Don’t humiliate yourself.”

24.  Master Tseng said: “The noble-minded use cultivation to assemble their friends, and friends to sustain their Humanity.” 

Chapter XIII

3.  Adept Lu said: “If the Lord of Wei wanted you to govern his country, what would you put first in importance?”
            “The rectification of names,” replied the Master.  “Without a doubt.”
            “That’s crazy!” countered Lu.” “What does rectification have to do with anything?”
            “You’re such an uncivil slob,” said the Master.  “When the noble-minded can’t understand something, they remain silent.
            “Listen.  If names aren’t rectified, speech doesn’t follow from reality.  If speech doesn’t follow from reality, endeavours never come to fruition.  If endeavours never come to fruition, the Ritual and music cannot flourish.  If Ritual and music cannot flourish, punishments don’t fit the crime.  If punishments don’t fit the crime, people can’t put their hands and feet anywhere without fear of losing them.
            “Naming enables the noble-minded to speak, and speech enables the noble-minded to act.  Therefore, the noble-minded are anything but careless in speech.”

5.  The Master said: “A man may be able to chant all three hundred Songs from memory, and still falter when appointed to office or waver when sent on embassies to the four corners of the earth.  What good are all those Songs if he can’t put them to use?”

19.  Fan Ch’ih asked about Humanity, and the Master said: “Dwell at home in humility.  Conduct your business in reverence.  And in your dealings with others, be faithful.
            “Even if you east or north to live among wild tribes, these are things you must never disregard.”

Chapter XIV

1.  Yuan Szu asked about disgrace, and the Master said: “To enjoy a salary when your country abides in the Way – that is fine.  But to enjoy a salary when your country ignores the Way – that is a disgrace.”
            “Never domineering or arrogant, free of resentment and desire – is that Humanity?” asked Yuan.
            “It’s certainly difficult,” replied the Master.  “But I don’t know if it’s Humainty.”

Chapter XV

33.  The Master said: “You may understand it, but if you can’t sustain it with Humanity, it will slip from your grasp.
            “You may understand it and sustain it with Humanity, but if you don’t govern with solemn dignity, there’ll be no reverence among the people.
            “You may understand it, sustain it with Humanity, and govern with solemn dignity, but if you don’t put it into practice according to Ritual, no good will come of it.”

35. The Master said: “Humanity is more essential to the people than fire and water.  I’ve seen people die trying to purify themselves by walking through fire or over water.  But I’ve never seen anyone die because they’ve walked in Humanity.”

36.  The Master said: “Abide in Humanity, and you need not defect to any teacher.”

37.  The Master said: “The noble-minded are principled, but never dogmatic.”

41.  The Master said: “Language is insight itself.”

Chapter XX

3.  The Master said: “If you don’t understand destiny, you’ll never be noble-minded.  If you don’t understand Ritual, you’ll never stand firm.  And if you don’t understand words, you’ll never understand people.”

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