His own approbation is the superior man's rule. The approbation of others is the mean man's.
The Master said, "What the superior man seeks, is in himself. What the mean man seeks, is in others."
The superior man is dignified and affable, without the faults to which those qualities often lead.
The Master said, "The superior man is dignified, but does not wrangle. He is sociable, but not a partisan."
The superior man is discriminating in his employment of men and judging of statements.
The Master said, "The superior man does not promote a man simply on account of his words, nor does he put aside good words because of the man."
The great principle of reciprocity is the rule of life.
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life?" The Master said, "Is not RECIPROCITY such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others."
Confucius showed his respect for men by strict truthfulness in awarding praise or censure.
1. The Master said, "In my dealings with men, whose evil do I blame, whose goodness do I praise, beyond what is proper? If I do sometimes exceed in praise, there must be ground for it in my examination of the individual.
2. "This people supplied the ground why the three dynasties pursued the path of straightforwardness."
Instances of the degeneracy of Confucius's times.
The Master said, "Even in my early days, a historiographer would leave a blank in his text, and he who had a horse would lend him to another to ride. Now, alas! there are no such things."
The danger of specious words, and of impatience.
The Master said, "Specious words confound virtue. Want of forbearance in small matters confounds great plans."
In judging of a man, we must not be guided by his being generally liked or disliked.
The Master said, "When the multitude hate a man, it is necessary to examine into the case. When the multitude like a man, it is necessary to examine into the case."
Priciples of duty an instrument in the hand of man.
The Master said, "A man can enlarge the principles which he follows; those principles do not enlarge the man."
The culpability of not reforming known faults.
The Master said, "To have faults and not to reform them, -- this, indeed, should be pronounced having faults."
The fruitlessness of thinking, without reading.
The Master said, "I have been the whole day without eating, and the whole night without sleeping:-- occupied with thinking. It was of no use. The better plan is to learn."
The superior man should not be mercenary, but have truth for his object.
The Master said, "The object of the superior man is truth. Food is not his object. There is plowing;-- even in that there is sometimes want. So with learning;-- emolument may be found in it. The superior man is anxious lest he should not get truth; he is not anxious lest poverty should come upon him."
How knowledge without virtue is not lasting, and to knowledge and virtue a ruler should add dignity and the rules of propriety.
1. The Master said, "When a man's knowledge is sufficient to attain, and his virtue is not sufficient to enable him to hold, whatever he may have gained, he will lose again.
2. "When his knowledge is sufficient to attain, and he has virtue enough to hold fast, if he cannot govern with dignity, the people will not respect him.
3. "When his knowledge is sufficient to attain, and he has virtue enough to hold fast; when he governs also with dignity, yet if he try to move the people contrary to the rules of propriety:-- full excellence is not reached."
How to know the superior man and the mean man; and their capacities.
The Master said, "The superior man cannot be known in little matters; but he may be intrusted with great concerns. The small man may not be intrusted with great concerns, but he may be known in little matters."
Virtue more to man than water or fire, and never hurtful to him.
The Master said, "Virtue is more to man than either water or fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue."
Virtue personal and obligatory on every man.
The Master said, "Let every man consider virtue as what devolves on himself. He may not yield the performance of it even to his teacher."
The superior man's firmness is based on right.
The Master said, "The superior man is correctly firm, and not firm merely."
The faithful minister.
The Master said, "A minister, in serving his prince, reverently discharges his duties, and makes his emolument a secondary consideration."
The comprehensiveness of teaching.
The Master said, "In teaching there should be no distinction of classes."
Agreement in principle necessary to concord in plans.
The Master said, "Those whose courses are different cannot lay plans for one another."
Perspicuity the chief virtue of language.
The Master said, "In language it is simply required that it convey the meaning."
Consideration of Confucius for the blind.
1. The music master, Mien, having called upon him, when they came to the steps, the Master said, "Here are the steps." When they came to the mat for the guest to sit upon, he said, "Here is the mat." When all were seated, the Master informed him, saying, "So and so is here; so and so is here."
2. The music master, Mien, having gone out, Tsze-chang asked, saying. "Is it the rule to tell those things to the music master?"
3. The Master said, "Yes. This is certainly the rule for those who lead the blind."