Confucius disclaims being an originator or maker.
The Master said, "A transmitter and not a maker, believing in and loving the ancients, I venture to compare myself with our old P'ang."
Confucius's humble estimate of himself.
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?"
Confucius's anxiety about his self-cultivation:-- another humble estimate of himself.
The Master said, "The learning 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."
The manner of Confucius when unoccupied.
When the Master was unoccupied with business, his manner was easy, and he looked pleased.
How the disappointment of Confucius's hopes affected even his dreams.
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 Châu."
Rules for the full maturing of character.
1. The Master said, "Let the will be set on the path of duty.
2. "Let every attainment in what is good be firmly grasped.
3. "Let perfect virtue be accorded with.
4. "Let relaxation and enjoyment be found in the polite arts."
The readiness of Confucius to impart instruction.
The Master said, "From the man bringing his bundle of dried flesh for my teaching upwards, I have never refused instruction to any one."
Confucius required a real desire and ability in his disciples.
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."
Confucius's sympathy with mourners.
1. When the Master was eating by the side of a mourner, he never ate to the full.
2. He did not sing on the same day in which he had been weeping.
The attainments of Hûi like those of Confucius. The excessive boldness of Tsze-lû.
1. The Master said to Yen Yuan, "When called to office, to undertake its duties; when not so called, to lie retired;-- it is only I and you who have attained to this."
2. Tsze-lû said, "If you had the conduct of the armies of a great state, whom would you have to act with you?"
3. 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 uncertainty and folly of the pursuit of riches.
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."
What things Confucius was particularly careful about.
The things in reference to which the Master exercised the greatest caution were -- fasting, war, and sickness.
The effect of music on Confucius.
When the Master was in Ch'î, he heard the Shâo, 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."
Confucius did not approve of a son opposing his father.
1. Yen Yû said, "Is our Master for the ruler of Wei?" Tsze-kung said, "Oh! I will ask him."
2. He went in accordingly, and said, "What sort of men were Po-î and Shû-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 joy of Confucius independent of outward circumstances.
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 value which Confucius set upon the study of the Yî.
The Master said, "If some years were added to my life, I would give fifty to the study of the Yî, and then I might come to be without great faults."
Confucius's most common topics.
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.
Confucius's description of his own character, as being simply a cheerful, earnest learner.
1. The Duke of Sheh asked Tsze-lû about Confucius, and Tsze-lû did not answer him.
2. 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?"
Confucius's knowledge not connate, but the result of his study of antiquity.
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."