Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK II * - The Chinese Classics: Vol. 1. The Life and Teachings of Confucius (Analects, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean)
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BOOK II * - 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. The Master said, “He who exercises government by means of his virtue, may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.”
II. The Master said, “In the Book of Poetry are three hundred pieces, but the design of them all may be embraced in that one sentence—‘Have no depraved thoughts.’ ”
III.1. The Master said, “If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame.
2. “If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of shame, and moreover will become good.”
IV.1. The Master said, “At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning.
2. “At thirty, I stood firm.
3. “At forty, I had no doubts.
4. “At fifty, I knew the decrees of heaven.
5. “At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth.
6. “At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without transgressing what was right.”
V.1. Măng E asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “It is not being disobedient.”
2.Soon after, as Fan Ch‘e was driving him, the Master told him, saying, “Măng-sun asked me what filial piety was, and I answered him—‘Not being disobedient.’ ”
3. Fan Ch‘e said, “What did you mean?” The Master replied, “That parents, when alive, should be served according to propriety; that when dead, they should be buried according to propriety; and that they should be sacrificed to according to propriety.”
VI. Măng Woo asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “Parents are anxious lest their children should be sick.”
VII. Tsze-yew asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “The filial piety of now-a-days means the support of one’s parents. But dogs and horses likewise are able to do something in the way of support;—without reverence, what is there to distinguish the one support given from the other?”
VIII. Tsze-hea asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “The difficulty is with the countenance. If, when their elders have any troublesome affairs, the young take the toil of them, and if, when the young have wine and food, they set them before their elders, is this to be considered filial piety?”
IX. The Master said, “I have talked with Hwuy for a whole day, and he has not made any objection to anything I said;—as if he were stupid. He has retired, and I have examined his conduct when away from me, and found him able to illustrate my teachings. Hwuy! He is not stupid.”
X.1. The Master said, “See what a man does.
2. “Mark his motives.
3. “Examine in what things he rests.
4. “How can a man conceal his character!
5. “How can a man conceal his character!”
XI. The Master said, “If a man keeps cherishing his old knowledge so as continually to be acquiring new, he may be a teacher of others.”
XII. The Master said, “The accomplished scholar is not an utensil.”
XIII. Tsze-kung asked what constituted the superior man. The Master said, “He acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions.”
XIV. The Master said, “The superior man is catholic and no partizan. The mean man is a partizan and not catholic.”
XV. The Master said, “Learning without thought is labour lost; thought without learning is perilous.”
XVI. The Master said, “The study of strange doctrines is injurious indeed!”
XVII. The Master said, “Yew, shall I teach you what knowledge is? When you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it;—this is knowledge.”
XVIII.1. Tsze-chang was learning with a view to official emolument.
2. The Master said, “Hear much and put aside the points of which you stand in doubt, while you speak cautiously at the same time of the others:—then you will afford few occasions for blame. See much and put aside the things which seem perilous, while you are cautious at the same time in carrying the others into practice:—then you will have few occasions for repentance. When one gives few occasions for blame in his words, and few occasions for repentance in his conduct, he is in the way to get emolument.”
XIX. The Duke Gae asked, saying, “What should be done in order to secure the submission of the people.” Confucius replied, “Advance the upright and set aside the crooked, then the people will submit. Advance the crooked and set aside the upright, then the people will not submit.”
XX. Ke K‘ang asked how to cause the people to reverence their ruler, to be faithful to him, and to urge themselves to virtue. The Master said, “Let him preside over them with gravity;—then they will reverence him. Let him be filial and kind to all;—then they will be faithful to him. Let him advance the good and teach the incompetent;—then they will eagerly seek to be virtuous.”
XXI.1. Some one addressed Confucius, saying, “Sir, why are you not engaged in the government?”
2. The Master said, “What does the Shoo-king say of filial piety?—‘You are filial, you discharge your brotherly duties. These qualities are displayed in government.’ This then also constitutes the exercise of government. Why must there be that to make one be in the government?”
XXII. The Master said, “I do not know how a man without truthfulness is to get on. How can a large carriage be made to go without the cross bar for yoking the oxen to, or a small carriage without the arrangement for yoking the horses?”
XXIII.1. Tsze-chang asked whether the affairs of ten ages after could be known.
2. Confucius said, “The Yin dynasty followed the regulations of the Hea: wherein it took from or added to them may be known. The Chow dynasty has followed the regulations of the Yin: wherein it took from or added to them may be known. Some other may follow the Chow, but though it should be at the distance of a hundred ages, its affairs may be known.”
XXIV.1. The Master said, “For a man to sacrifice to a spirit which does not belong to him is flattery.”
2. “To see what is right and not to do it, is want of courage.”
[* ]Heading and subjects of this Book. This second book contains twenty-tour chapters, and is named “The practice of government.” That is the object to which learning, treated of in the last book, should lead; and here we have the qualities which constitute, and the character of the men who administer, good government.
[1. ]The influence of virtue in a ruler. Choo He’s view of the comparison is that it sets forth the illimitable influence which virtue in a ruler exercises without his using any effort. This is extravagant. His opponents say that virtue is the polar star, and the various departments of government the other stars. This is far-fetched. We must be content to accept the vague utterance without minutely determining its meaning.
[2. ]The pure design of the Book of Poetry. The number of compositions in the She-king is rather more than the round number here given. “Have no depraved thoughts,”—see the She-king, IV. ii. 1. st. 4. The sentence there is indicative, and in praise of one of the dukes of Loo, who had no depraved thoughts. The sage would seem to have been intending his own design in compiling the She. Individual pieces are calculated to have a different effect.
[3. ]How rulers should prefer moral appliances.
[4. ]Confucius’ own account of his gradual progress and attainments. Chinese commentators are perplexed with this chapter. Holding of Confucius, that “He was born with knowledge, and did what was right with entire ease,” they say that he here conceals his sagehood, and puts himself on the level of common men, to set before them a stimulating example. We may believe that the compilers of the Analects, the sage’s immediate disciples, did not think of him so extravagantly as later men have done. It is to be wished, however, that he had been more definite and diffuse in his account of himself. 1. The “learning,” to which, at the age of fifteen, Confucius gave himself, is to be understood of the subjects of the “Superior Learning.” See Choo He’s preliminary essay to the Ta Hëŏ. 2. The “standing firm” probably indicates that he no more needed to bend his will. 3. The “no doubts” may have been concerning what was proper in all circumstances and events. 4. “The decrees of Heaven,” the things decreed by Heaven, the constitution of things making what was proper to be so. 5. “The ear obedient” is the mind receiving, as by intuition, the truth from the ear.
[5. ]Filial piety must be shown according to the rules of propriety. 1. Măng E was a great officer of the state of Loo, by name Ho-ke, and the chief of one of the three great families by which in the time of Confucius the authority of that state was grasped. Those families were descended from three brothers, the sons by a concubine of the Duke Hwan (bc 710-693). E which means “mild and virtuous,” was the posthumous honorary title given to Ho-ke. Fan Ch‘e was a minor disciple of the sage. Confucius repeated his remark to Fan. that he might report the explanation of it to his friend Măng E, and thus prevent him from supposing that all the sage intended was disobedience to parents.
[6. ]The Anxiety of parents about their children an argument for filial piety. This enigmatical sentence has been interpreted in two ways. Choo He takes it thus:—“Parents have the sorrow of thinking anxiously about their—i. e. then children’s—being unwell. Therefore children should take care of their persons.” The old commentators interpreted differently: in the sense of “only.” “Let parents have only the sorrow of their children’s illness. Let them have no other occasion for sorrow. This will be filial piety.” Măng Woo (the hou. epithet=“Bold and of straightforward principle,”) was the son of Măng E, of the last chapter.
[7. ]How there must be reverence in filial duty. Tsze-yew was the designation of Yen Yen, a native of Woo, and distinguished among the disciples of Confucius for his knowledge of the rules of propriety, and for his learning. He is now among the “wise ones.” Choo He gives a different turn to the sentiment. “But dogs and horses likewise manage to get their support.” The other and older interpretation is better.
[8. ]The duties of filial piety must be performed with a cheerful countenance. To the different interrogatories here recorded about filial duty, the sage, we are told, made answer according to the character of the questioner, as each one needed instruction.
[9. ]The quiet receptivity of the disciple Hwuy. Yen Hwuy was Confucius’ favourite disciple, and is now honoured with the first place east among his four assessors in his temples, with the title of “The second sage, the philosopher Yen.” At the age of twenty-nine, his hair was entirely white: and at thirty-three, he died, to the excessive grief of the sage.
[10. ]How to determine the characters of men.
[11. ]To be able to teach others one must from his old stores be continually developing things new.
[12. ]The general aptitude of the Superior Man. This is not like our English saying, that “such a man is a machine,”—a blind instrument. An utensil has its particular use. It answers for that and no other. Not so with the superior man, who is ad omnia paratus.
[13. ]How with the superior man words follow actions. The reply is literally: “He first acts his words, and afterwards follows them.”
[14. ]The difference between the superior man and the small man. The sentence is this—“With the superior man, it is principles not men; with the small man, the reverse.”
[15. ]In learning, reading and thought must be combined.
[16. ]Strange doctrines are not to be studied. In Confucius’ time Buddhism was not in China, and we can hardly suppose him to intend Taouism. Indeed, we are ignorant to what doctrines he referred, but his maxim is of general application.
[17. ]There should be no pretence in the profession or knowledge, or the denial of ignorance. Yew, by surname Chung, and generally known by his designation of Tsze-loo, was one of the most famous disciples of Confucius, and now occupies in the temples the fourth place east in the sage’s own hall, among the “wise ones.” He was noted for his courage and forwardness, a man of impulse rather than reflection. Confucius had foretold that he would come to an untimely end, and so it happened. He was killed through his own rashness in a revolution in the state of Wei. The tassel of his cap being cut off when he received his death-wound, he quoted a saying—“The superior man must not die without his cap,” tied on the tassel, adjusted the cap, and expired.
[18. ]The end in learning should be one’s own improvement, and not emolument. Tzse-chang, named Sze, with the double surname Chuen-sun, a native of Ch‘in, was not undistinguished in the Confucian school. Tsze-kung praised him as a man of merit without boasting, humble in a high position, and not arrogant to the helpless. From this chapter, however, it would appear that inferior motives did sometimes rule him.
[19. ]How a prince by the right employment of his officers may secure the real submission of his subjects. Gae was the honorary epithet of Tseang, Duke of Loo (bc 494—367). Confucius died in his sixteenth year. According to the laws for posthumous titles, Gae denotes “the respectful and benevolent, early cut off,” and Duke Gae, “The to-be-lamented duke.”
[20. ]Example in superiors is more powerful than force. K‘ang, “easy and pleasant, people-soother,” was the honorary epithet of Ke-sun Fei, the head of one of the three great families of Loo; see ch. 5. His idea is seen in “to cause,” the power of force; that of Confucius appears in “then,” the power of influence.
[21. ]Confucius’ explanation of his not being in any office. 1. “Confucius” is here “K‘ung, the philosopher,” the surname indicating that the questioner was not a disciple. He had his reason for not being in office at the time, but it was not expedient to tell. He replied, therefore, as in par. 2. See the Shoo-king, v. xxi. 1. But the text is neither correctly applied nor exactly quoted. A western may think that the philosopher might have made a happier evasion.
[22. ]The necessity to a man of being truthful and sincere.
[23. ]The great principles governing society are unchangeable. 1. Confucius made no pretension to supernatural powers, and all commentators are agreed that the things here asked about were not what we would call contingent or indifferent events. He merely says that the great principles of morality and relations of society had continued the same, and would ever do so. 2. The Hea, Yin, and Chow, are now spoken of as the “Three dynasties,” literally, “The three Changes.” The first emperor of the Hea was “The great Yu,” bc 2204, of the Yin, T‘ang, bc 1765; and of Chow, Woo, bc 1121.
[24. ]Neither in sacrifice nor in other practice may a man do anything but what is right. The spirits of which a man may say that they are his, are those only of his ancestors, and to them only he may sacrifice. The ritual of China provides for sacrifices to three classes of objects—“Spirits of heaven, of the earth, of men.” This chapter is not to be extended to all the three. It has reference only to the manes of departed men.