Confucius's indignation at the usurpation of royal rites.
Confucius said of the head of the Chî family, who had eight rows of pantomimes in his area, "If he can bear to do this, what may he not bear to do?"
Again against usurped rites.
The three families used the YUNG ode, while the vessels were being removed, at the conclusion of the sacrifice. The Master said, "'Assisting are the princes;-- the son of heaven looks profound and grave';-- what application can these words have in the hall of the three families?"
Ceremonies and music vain without virtue.
The Master said, "If a man be without the virtues proper to humanity, what has he to do with the rites of propriety? If a man be without the virtues proper to humanity, what has he to do with music?"
The object of ceremonies should regulate them:-- against formalism.
1. Lin Fang asked what was the first thing to be attended to in ceremonies.
2. The Master said, "A great question indeed!
3. "In festive ceremonies, it is better to be sparing than extravagant. In the ceremonies of mourning, it is better that there be deep sorrow than a minute attention to observances."
The anarchy of Confucius's time.
The Master said, "The rude tribes of the east and north have their princes, and are not like the States of our great land which are without them."
On the folly of usurped sacrifices.
The chief of the Chî family was about to sacrifice to the T'ai mountain. The Master said to Zan Yû, "Can you not save him from this?" He answered, "I cannot." Confucius said, "Alas! will you say that the T'âi mountain is not so discerning as Lin Fang?"
The superior man avoids all contentious striving.
The Master said, "The student of virtue has no contentions. If it be said he cannot avoid them, shall this be in archery? But he bows complaisantly to his competitors; thus he ascends the hall, descends, and exacts the forfeit of drinking. In his contention, he is still the Chün-tsze."
Ceremonies are secondary and merely ornamental.
1. Tsze-hsiâ asked, saying, "What is the meaning of the passage -- 'The pretty dimples of her artful smile! The well-defined black and white of her eye! The plain ground for the colors?'"
2. The Master said, "The business of laying on the colors follows (the preparation of) the plain ground."
3. "Ceremonies then are a subsequent thing?" The Master said, "It is Shang who can bring out my meaning. Now I can begin to talk about the odes with him."
The decay of the monuments of antiquity.
The Master said, "I could describe the ceremonies of the Hsiâ dynasty, but Chî cannot sufficiently attest my words. I could describe the ceremonies of the Yin dynasty, but Sung cannot sufficiently attest my words. (They cannot do so) because of the insufficiency of their records and wise men. If those were sufficient, I could adduce them in support of my words."
The sage's dissatisfaction at the want of propriety in ceremonies.
The Master said, "At the great sacrifice, after the pouring out of the libation, I have no wish to look on."
The profound meaning of the great sacrifice.
Some one asked the meaning of the great sacrifice. The Master said, "I do not know. He who knew its meaning would find it as easy to govern the kingdom as to look on this" -- pointing to his palm.
Confucius's own sincerity in sacrificing.
1. He sacrificed to the dead, as if they were present. He sacrificed to the spirits, as if the spirits were present.
2. The Master said, "I consider my not being present at the sacrifice, as if I did not sacrifice."
That there is no resource against the consequences of violating the right.
1. Wang-sun Chiâ asked, saying, "What is the meaning of the saying, 'It is better to pay court to the furnace than to the southwest corner?'"
2. The Master said, "Not so. He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he can pray."
The completeness and elegance of the institutions of the Châu dynasty.
The Master said, "Châu had the advantage of viewing the two past dynasties. How complete and elegant are its regulations! I follow Châu."
Confucius in the grand temple.
The Master, when he entered the grand temple, asked about everything. Some one said, "Who say that the son of the man of Tsâu knows the rules of propriety! He has entered the grand temple and asks about everything." The Master heard the remark, and said, "This is a rule of propriety."