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BOOK I ** - Confucius, The Chinese Classics: Vol. 1. The Life and Teachings of Confucius (Analects, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean) 
The Chinese Classics: Translated into English with Preliminary Essays and Explanatory Notes by James Legge. Vol. 1. The Life and Teachings of Confucius. Second Edition (London: N. Trübner, 1869).
Part of: The Chinese Classics
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ChapterI.1. The Master said, “Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application?
2. “Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant quarters?
3. “Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure though men may take no note of him?”
II.1. Yew the philosopher said, “They are few who, being filial and fraternal, are fond of offending against their superiors. There have been none, who, not liking to offend against their superiors, have been fond of stirring up confusion.
2. “The superior man bends his attention to what is radical. That being established, all right practical courses naturally grow up. Filial piety and fraternal submission!—are they not the root of all benevolent actions?”
III. The Master said, “Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.”
IV. Tsăng the philosopher said, “I daily examine myself on three points:—whether, in transacting business for others, I may have been not faithful;—whether, in intercourse with friends, I may have been not sincere;—whether I may have not mastered and practised the instructions of my teacher.”
V. The Master said, “To rule a country of a thousand chariots, there must be reverent attention to business, and sincerity; economy in expenditure, and love for the people; and the employment of them at the proper seasons.”
VI. The Master said, “A youth, when at home, should be filial, and, abroad, respectful to his elders. He should be earnest and truthful. He should overflow in love to all, and cultivate the friendship of the good. When he has time and opportunity, after the performance of these things, he should employ them in polite studies.”
VII. Tsze-hea said, “If a man withdraws his mind from the love of beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous; if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength; if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life; if, in his intercourse with his friends, his words are sincere:—although men say that he has not learned, I will certainly say that he has.”
VIII.1. The Master said, “If the scholar be not grave, he will not call forth any veneration, and his learning will not be solid.
2. “Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.
3. “Have no friends not equal to yourself.
4. “When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.”
IX. Tsăng the philosopher said, “Let there be a careful attention to perform the funeral rites to parents when dead, and let them be followed when long gone with the ceremonies of sacrifice;—then the virtue of the people will resume its proper excellence.”
X.1. Tsze-k‘in asked Tsze-kung, saying, “When our Master comes to any country, he does not fail to learn all about its government. Does he ask his information? or is it given to him?”
2. Tsze-kung said, “Our Master is benign, upright, courteous, temperate, and complaisant, and thus he gets his information. The Master’s mode of asking information!—is it not different from that of other men?”
XI. The Master said, “While a man’s father is alive, look at the bent of his will; when his father is dead, look at his conduct. If for three years he does not alter from the way of his father, he may be called filial.”
XII.1. Yew the philosopher said, “In practising the rules of propriety, a natural ease is to be prized. In the ways prescribed by the ancient kings, this is the excellent quality; and in things small and great we should thus follow those rules.
2. “Yet it is not to be observed in all cases. If one, knowing how such ease should be prized, manifests it, without regulating it by the rules of propriety, this likewise is not to be done.”
XIII. Yew the philosopher said, “When agreements are made according to what is right, what is spoken can be made good. When respect is shown according to what is proper, one keeps far from shame and disgrace. When the parties upon whom a man leans are proper persons to be intimate with, he can make them his guides and masters.”
XIV. The Master said, “He who aims to be a man of complete virtue, in his food does not seek to gratify his appetite, nor in his dwelling-place does he seek the appliances of ease: he is earnest in what he is doing, and careful in his speech; he frequents the company of men of principle that he may be rectified:—such a person may be said indeed to love to learn.”
XV.1. Tsze-kung said, “What do you pronounce concerning the poor man who yet does not flatter, and the rich man who is not proud?” The Master replied, “They will do; but they are not equal to him, who, though poor, is yet cheerful, and to him, who, though rich, loves the rules of propriety.”
2. Tsze-kung replied, “It is said in the Book of Poetry, ‘As you cut and then file, as you carve and then polish.’—The meaning is the same, I apprehend, as that which you have just expressed.”
3. The Master said, “With one like Tsze, I can begin to talk about the Odes. I told him one point, and he knew its proper sequence.”
XVI. The Master said, “I will not be afflicted at men’s not knowing me; I will be afflicted that I do not know men.”
[** ]Heading and subjects of this book. The two first characters, literally, “To learn and—” after the introductory—“The Master said,” are adopted as its heading. This is similar to the custom of the Jews, who name many books in the Bible from the first word in them. In some of the books we find a unity or analogy of subjects, which evidently guided the compilers in grouping the chapters together. Others seem devoid of any such principle of combination. The sixteen chapters of this book are occupied, it is said, with the fundamental subjects which ought to engage the attention of the learner, and the great matters of human practice. The word “learn” rightly occupies the forefront in the studies of a nation, of which its educational system has so long been the distinction and glory.
[1. ]The whole work and achievement of the learner, first perfecting his knowledge, then attracting by his fame likeminded individuals, and finally complete in himself. 1. “The Master” here is Confucius; but if we render the original term by “Confueius,” as all preceding translators have done, we miss the indication which it gives of the handiwork of his disciples, and the reverence which it bespeaks for him. Some years ago, an able Chinese scholar published a collection of moral sayings by David, Solomon, Paul, Augustine, Jesus, Confucius, &c. To the sayings of the others he prefixed their names, and to those of Confucius the phrase of the text,—“The Master said,” thus telling his readers that he was himself a disciple of the sage, and exalting him above Solomon, and every other name which he introduced, even above Jesus himself!
2. The “Friends” here are not relatives, nor even old and intimate acquaintances; but individuals of the same style of mind as the subject of the paragraph,—students of truth and friends of virtue.
3. The “man of complete virtue” is, literally, “a princely man.” The phrase is a technical one with Chinese moral writers, for which there is no exact correspondency in English. We cannot always translate it in the same way.
[2. ]Filial piety and fraternal submission are the foundation of all virtuous practice. 1. Yew was a native of Loo, and famed among the other disciples of Confucius for his strong memory, and love for the doctrines of antiquity. In personal appearance he resembled the sage. See Mencius, III. Pt. II. iv. 13. There is a peculiarity in the style—“Yew, the philosopher,” the title following the surname, which has made some Chinese critics assign an important part in the compilation of the Analects to his disciples; but the matter is too slight to build such a conclusion on. The tablet to Yew’s spirit is in the same apartment of the sage’s temples as that of the sage himself, among the “wise ones” of his followers.
[3. ]Fair appearances are suspicious.
[4. ]How the philosopher Tsăng daily examined himself, to guard against his being guilty of any self-deception. Tsăng was one of the principal disciples of Confucius. A follower of the sage from his 16th year, though inferior in natural ability to some others, by his filial piety and other moral qualities he entirely won the Master’s esteem, and by persevering attention mastered his doctrines. Confucius employed him in the composition of the Classic of Filial Piety. The authorship of the “Great Learning” is also ascribed to him, though incorrectly, as we shall see. Ten books, moreover, of his composition are preserved in the Le Ke. His spirit tablet, among the sage’s four assessors, has precedence of that of Mencius. There is the same peculiarity in the designation of him here, which I have pointed out under the last chapter in connection with the style—“Yew, the philosopher;” and a similar conclusion has been argued from it.
[5. ]Fundamental principles for the government of a large state. “A country of a thousand chariots” was one of the largest fiefs of the empire,—a state which could bring such a force into the field—The last principle means that the people should not be called away from their husbandry at improper seasons to do service on military expeditions and public works.
[6. ]Duty first and then accomplishments. “Polite duties” are not literary studies merely, but all the accomplishments of a gentleman also: ceremonies, music, archery, horsemanship, writing, and numbers.
[7. ]Tsze-hea’s views of the substance of learning. Tsze-hea was another of the sage’s distinguished disciples, and now placed among the “wise ones.” He was greatly famed for his learning, and his views on the She-king and the Ch‘un Ts‘ew are said to be preserved in the commentary of Maou, and of Kung-yang Kaou, and Kuh-leang Ch‘ih. He wept himself blind on the death of his son, but lived to a great age, and was much esteemed by the people and princes of the time. With regard to the scope of this chapter, there is some truth in what the commentator Woo says,—that Tsze-hea’s words may be wrested to depreciate learning, while those of the Master in the preceding chapter hit exactly the due medium.
[8. ]Principles of self-cultivation.
[9. ]The good effect of attention on the part of princes to the offices to the dead:—an admonition of Tsăng Sin. This is a counsel to princes and all in authority. The effect which it is supposed would follow from their following it is an instance of the influence of example, of which so much is made by Chinese moralists.
[10. ]Characteristics of Confucius, and their influence on the princes of the time.
1. Tsze-k‘in and Tsze-k‘ang are designations of Ch‘in K‘ang, one of the minor disciples of Confucius. His tablet is in the outer hall of the temples. A good story is related of him. On the death of his brother, his wife and major-domo wished to bury some living persons with him, to serve him in the regions below. The thing being referred to Tsze-k‘in, he proposed that the wife and steward should themselves submit to the immolation, which made them stop the matter. Tsze-kung, with the double surname Twan-muh, and named Ts‘ze, occupies a higher place in the Confucian ranks, and is now among the “wise ones.” He is conspicuous in this work for his readiness and smartness in reply, and displayed on several occasions practical and political ability.
[11. ]On filial duty. It is to be understood that the way of the father had not been very bad. An old interpretation, that the three years are to be understood of the three years of mourning for the father, is now rightly rejected.
[12. ]In ceremonies a natural ease is to be prized, and yet to be subordinate to the end of ceremonies,—the reverential observance of propriety. The term here rendered “rules of propriety,” is not easily rendered in another language. There underlies it the idea of what is proper. It is “the fitness of things,” what reason calls for in the performance of duties towards superior beings, and between man and man. Our term “ceremonies” would come near its meaning here.
[13. ]To save from future repentance, we must be careful in our first steps.
[14. ]With what mind one aiming to be a Keun-tsze pursues his learning.
[15. ]An illustration of the successive steps in self-cultivation. 1. Tsze-kung had been poor, and then did not cringe. He became rich, and was not proud. He asked Confucius about the style of character to which he had attained. Confucius allowed its worth, but sent him to higher attainments. 2. The ode quoted is the first of the songs of Wei, praising the prince Woo, who had dealt with himself as an ivory-worker who first cuts the bone, and then files it smooth; or a lapidary whose hammer and chisel are followed by all the appliances for smoothing and polishing. See the She-king, Pt I. Bk v. i. 2.
[16. ]Personal attainment should be our chief aim.