The meanness of presumption and pusillanimity conjoined.
The Master said, "He who puts on an appearance of stern firmness, while inwardly he is weak, is like one of the small, mean people;-- yea, is he not like the thief who breaks through, or climbs over, a wall?"
Contentment with vulgar ways and views injurious to virtue.
The Master said, "Your good, careful people of the villages are the thieves of virtue."
Swiftness to speak incompatible with the cultivation of virtue.
The Master said, "To tell, as we go along, what we have heard on the way, is to cast away our virtue."
The case of mercenary officers, and how it is impossible to serve one's prince along with them.
1. The Master said, "There are those mean creatures! How impossible it is along with them to serve one's prince!
2. "While they have not got their aims, their anxiety is how to get them. When they have got them, their anxiety is lest they should lose them.
3. "When they are anxious lest such things should be lost, there is nothing to which they will not proceed."
The defects of former times become vices in the time of Confucius.
1. The Master said, "Anciently, men had three failings, which now perhaps are not to be found.
2. "The high-mindedness of antiquity showed itself in a disregard of small things; the high-mindedness of the present day shows itself in wild license. The stern dignity of antiquity showed itself in grave reserve; the stern dignity of the present day shows itself in quarrelsome perverseness. The stupidity of antiquity showed itself in straightforwardness; the stupidity of the present day shows itself in sheer deceit."
See Book I Chapter 3.
The Master said, "Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with virtue."
Confucius's indignation at the way in which the wrong overcame the right.
The Master said, "I hate the manner in which purple takes away the luster of vermilion. I hate the way in which the songs of Chang confound the music of the Ya. I hate those who with their sharp mouths overthrow kingdoms and families."
The actions of Confucius were lessons and laws, and not his words merely.
1. The Master said, "I would prefer not speaking."
2. Tsze-kung said, "If you, Master, do not speak, what shall we, your disciples, have to record?"
3. The Master said, "Does Heaven speak? The four seasons pursue their courses, and all things are continually being produced, but does Heaven say anything?"
How Confucius could be "not at home," and yet give intimation to the visitor of his presence.
Zû Pei wished to see Confucius, but Confucius declined, on the ground of being sick, to see him. When the bearer of this message went out at the door, (the Master) took his lute and sang to it, in order that Pei might hear him.
The period of three years' mourning for parents; it may not on any account be shortened; the reason of it.
1. Tsâi Wo asked about the three years' mourning for parents, saying that one year was long enough.
2. "If the superior man," said he, "abstains for three years from the observances of propriety, those observances will be quite lost. If for three years he abstains from music, music will be ruined.
3. "Within a year the old grain is exhausted, and the new grain has sprung up, and, in procuring fire by friction, we go through all the changes of wood for that purpose. After a complete year, the mourning may stop."
4. The Master said, "If you were, after a year, to eat good rice, and wear embroidered clothes, would you feel at ease?" "I should," replied Wo.
5. The Master said, "If you can feel at ease, do it. But a superior man, during the whole period of mourning, does not enjoy pleasant food which he may eat, nor derive pleasure from music which he may hear. He also does not feel at ease, if he is comfortably lodged. Therefore he does not do what you propose. But now you feel at ease and may do it."
6. Tsâi Wo then went out, and the Master said, "This shows Yü's want of virtue. It is not till a child is three years old that it is allowed to leave the arms of its parents. And the three years' mourning is universally observed throughout the empire. Did Yü enjoy the three years' love of his parents?"
The hopeless case of gluttony and idleness.
The Master said, "Hard is it to deal with who will stuff himself with food the whole day, without applying his mind to anything good! Are there not gamesters and chess players? To be one of these would still be better than doing nothing at all."
Valour to be valued only in subordination to righteousness; its consequences apart from that.
Tsze-lû said, "Does the superior man esteem valor?" The Master said, "The superior man holds righteousness to be of highest importance. A man in a superior situation, having valor without righteousness, will be guilty of insubordination; one of the lower people having valor without righteousness, will commit robbery."
Characters disliked by Confucius and Tsze-kung.
1. Tsze-kung said, "Has the superior man his hatreds also?" The Master said, "He has his hatreds. He hates those who proclaim the evil of others. He hates the man who, being in a low station, slanders his superiors. He hates those who have valor merely, and are unobservant of propriety. He hates those who are forward and determined, and, at the same time, of contracted understanding."
2. The Master then inquired, "Ts'ze, have you also your hatreds?" Tsze-kung replied, "I hate those who pry out matters, and ascribe the knowledge to their wisdom. I hate those who are only not modest, and think that they are valorous. I hate those who make known secrets, and think that they are straightforward."
The difficulty how to treat concubines and servants.
The Master said, "Of all people, girls and servants are the most difficult to behave to. If you are familiar with them, they lose their humility. If you maintain a reserve towards them, they are discontented."
The difficulty of improvement in advanced years.
The Master said, "When a man at forty is the object of dislike, he will always continue what he is."