The Analects

Book 5 (cont.): Kung-Yê Ch'ang


Chapter 15.

The excellent qualities of Tsze-ch'an.

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 was just.

Chapter 16.

How to maintain friendship.

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."

Chapter 17.

The superstition of Tsang Wan.

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?"

Chapter 18.

The praise of perfect virtue is not to be lightly accorded.

1. 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?"

2. Tsze-chang proceeded, "When the officer Ch'ûi killed the prince of Ch'î, 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'ûi,' 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?"

Chapter 19.

Prompt decision good.

Chî Wan thought thrice, and then acted. When the Master was informed of it, he said, "Twice may do."

Chapter 20.

The uncommon but admirable stupidity of Ning Wû.

The Master said, "When good order prevailed in his country, Ning Wû 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."

Chapter 21.

The anxiety of Confucius about the training of his disciples.

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."

Chapter 22.

The generosity of Po-î and Shû-ch'î.

The Master said, "Po-î and Shû-ch'î did not keep the former wickednesses of men in mind, and hence the resentments directed towards them were few."

Chapter 23.

Small meanness inconsistent with uprightness.

The Master said, "Who says of Wei-shang Kâo that he is upright? One begged some vinegar of him, and he begged it of a neighbor and gave it to the man."

Chapter 24.

Praise of sincerity, and of Tso Ch'iû-ming.

The Master said, "Fine words, an insinuating appearance, and excessive respect;-- Tso Ch'iˆu-ming was ashamed of them. I also am ashamed of them. To conceal resentment against a person, and appear friendly with him;-- Tso Ch'iˆu-ming was ashamed of such conduct. I also am ashamed of it."

Chapter 25.

The different wishes of Yen Yüan, Tsze-lû, and Confucius.

1. Yen Yüan and Chî Lû being by his side, the Master said to them, "Come, let each of you tell his wishes."

2. Tsze-lû said, "I should like, having chariots and horses, and light fur clothes, to share them with my friends, and though they should spoil them, I would not be displeased."

3. Yen Yüan said, "I should like not to boast of my excellence, nor to make a display of my meritorious deeds."

4. Tsze-lû then said, "I should like, sir, to hear your wishes." The Master said, "They are, in regard to the aged, to give them rest; in regard to friends, to show them sincerity; in regard to the young, to treat them tenderly."

Chapter 26.

A lament over men's persistence in error.

The Master said, "It is all over. I have not yet seen one who could perceive his faults, and inwardly accuse himself."

Chapter 27.

The humble claim of Confucius for himself.

The Master said, "In a hamlet of ten families, there may be found one honorable and sincere as I am, but not so fond of learning."