The Analects

Book 14: Hsien Wan


Chapter I.

It is shameful in an officer to be caring only about his emolument.

Hsien asked what was shameful. The Master said, "When good government prevails in a state, to be thinking only of salary; and, when bad government prevails, to be thinking, in the same way, only of salary;-- this is shameful."

Chapter 2.

The praise of perfect virtue is not to be allowed for the repression of bad feelings.

1. "When the love of superiority, boasting, resentments, and covetousness are repressed, this may be deemed perfect virtue."

2. The Master said, "This may be regarded as the achievement of what is difficult. But I do not know that it is to be deemed perfect virtue."

Chapter 3.

A scholar must be aiming at what is higher than comfort or pleasure.

The Master said, "The scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar."

Chapter 4.

What one does must always be right; what one feels need not always be spoken:-- a lesson of prudence.

The Master said, "When good government prevails in a state, language may be lofty and bold, and actions the same. When bad government prevails, the actions may be lofty and bold, but the language may be with some reserve."

Chapter 5.

We may predicate the external from the internal, but not vice versa.

The Master said, "The virtuous will be sure to speak correctly, but those whose speech is good may not always be virtuous. Men of principle are sure to be bold, but those who are bold may not always be men of principle."

Chapter 6.

Eminent prowess conducting to ruin; eminent virtue leading to dignity. The modesty of Confucius.

Nan-kung Kwo, submitting an inquiry to Confucius, said, "Î was skillful at archery, and Âo could move a boat along upon the land, but neither of them died a natural death. Yü and Chî personally wrought at the toils of husbandry, and they became possessors of the kingdom." The Master made no reply; but when Nan-kung Kwo went out, he said, "A superior man indeed is this! An esteemer of virtue indeed is this!"

Chapter 7.

The highest virtue not easily attained to, and incompatible with meanness.

The Master said, "Superior men, and yet not always virtuous, there have been, alas! But there never has been a mean man, and, at the same time, virtuous."

Chapter 8.

A lesson for parents and ministers, that they must be strict and decided.

The Master said, "Can there be love which does not lead to strictness with its object? Can there be loyalty which does not lead to the instruction of its object?"

Chapter 9.

The excellence of the official notifications of Chang, owing to the ability of four of its officers.

The Master said, "In preparing the governmental notifications, P'î Shan first made the rough draft; Shî-shû examined and discussed its contents; Tsze-yü, the manager of foreign intercourse, then polished the style; and, finally, Tsze-ch'ân of Tung-lî gave it the proper elegance and finish."

Chapter 10.

The judgement of Confucius concerning Tsze-ch'ân, Tsze-hsî, and Kwan Chung.

1. Some one asked about Tsze-ch'ân. The Master said, "He was a kind man."

2. He asked about Tsze-hsî. The Master said, "That man! That man!"

3. He asked about Kwan Chung. "For him," said the Master, "the city of Pien, with three hundred families, was taken from the chief of the Po family, who did not utter a murmuring word, though, to the end of his life, he had only coarse rice to eat."

Chapter 11.

It is harder to bear poverty aright than to carry riches.

The Master said, "To be poor without murmuring is difficult. To be rich without being proud is easy."

Chapter 12.

The capacity of Mang Kung-ch'o.

The Master said, "Mang Kung-ch'o is more than fit to be chief officer in the families of Châo and Wei, but he is not fit to be great officer to either of the States Tang or Hsieh."

Chapter 13.

Of the complete man:-- a conversation with Tsze-lû.

1. Tsze-lû asked what constituted a COMPLETE man. The Master said, "Suppose a man with the knowledge of Tsang Wû-chung, the freedom from covetousness of Kung-ch'o, the bravery of Chwang of Pien, and the varied talents of Zan Ch'iû; add to these the accomplishments of the rules of propriety and music;-- such a one might be reckoned a COMPLETE man."

2. He then added, "But what is the necessity for a complete man of the present day to have all these things? The man, who in the view of gain, thinks of righteousness; who in the view of danger is prepared to give up his life; and who does not forget an old agreement however far back it extends:-- such a man may be reckoned a COMPLETE man."

Chapter 14.

The character of Kung-shû Wan, who was said neither to speak, nor laugh, nor take.

1. The Master asked Kung-ming Chiâ about Kung-shû Wan, saying, "Is it true that your master speaks not, laughs not, and takes not?"

2. Kung-ming Chiâ replied, "This has arisen from the reporters going beyond the truth. -- My master speaks when it is the time to speak, and so men do not get tired of his speaking. He laughs when there is occasion to be joyful, and so men do not get tired of his laughing. He takes when it is consistent with righteousness to do so, and so men do not get tired of his taking." The Master said, "So! But is it so with him?"

Chapter 15.

Condemnation of Tsang Wû-chung for forcing a favour from his prince.

The Master said, "Tsang Wû-chung, keeping possession of Fang, asked of the duke of Lû to appoint a successor to him in his family. Although it may be said that he was not using force with his sovereign, I believe he was."