Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK V. * - The Chinese Classics: Vol. 1. The Life and Teachings of Confucius (Analects, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean)
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BOOK V. * - 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 of Kung-yay Ch‘ang that he might be wived; although he was put in bonds, he had not been guilty of any crime. Accordingly, he gave him his own daughter to wife.
2. Of Nan Yung he said that if the country were well governed, he would not be out of office, and if it were ill governed, he would escape punishment and disgrace. He gave him the daughter of his own elder brother to wife.
II. The Master said, of Tsze-tseen, “Of superior virtue indeed is such a man! If there were not virtuous men in Loo, how could this man have acquired this character?”
III. Tsze-kung asked, “What do you say of me, Ts‘ze?” The Master said, “You are an utensil.” “What utensil?” “A gemmed sacrificial utensil.”
IV.1. Some one said, “Yung is truly virtuous, but he is not ready with his tongue.”
2. The Master said, “What is the good of being ready with the tongue? They who meet men with smartnesses of speech, for the most part procure themselves hatred. I know not whether he be truly virtuous, but why should he show readiness of the tongue?”
V. The Master was wishing Tseih-teaou K‘ae to enter on official employment. He replied, “I am not yet able to rest in the assurance of this.” The Master was pleased.
VI. The Master said, “My doctrines make no way. I will get upon a raft, and float about on the sea. He that will accompany me will be Yew, I dare to say.” Tsze-loo hearing this was glad, upon which the Master said, “Yew is fonder of daring than I am; but he does not exercise his judgment upon matters.”
VII.1. Măng Woo asked about Tsze-loo, whether he was perfectly virtuous. The Master said, “I do not know.”
2. He asked again, when the Master replied, “In a kingdom of a thousand chariots, Yew might be employed to manage the military levies, but I do not know whether he is perfectly virtuous.”
3. “And what do you say of K‘ew?” The Master replied, “In a city of a thousand families, or a House of a hundred chariots, K‘ew might be employed as governor, but I do not know whether he is perfectly virtuous.”
4. “What do you say of Ch‘ih?” The Master replied, “With his sash girt and standing in a court, Ch‘ih might be employed to converse with the visitors and guests, but I do not know whether he is perfectly virtuous.”
VIII.1. The Master said to Tsze-kung, “Which do you consider superior, yourself or Hwuy?”
2. Tsze-kung replied, “How dare I compare myself with Hwuy? Hwuy hears one point and knows all about a subject; I hear one point and know a second.”
3. The Master said, “You are not equal to him. I grant you, you are not equal to him.”
IX.1. Tsae Yu being asleep during the day time, the Master said, “Rotten wood cannot be carved; a wall of dirty earth will not receive the trowel. This Yu!—what is the use of my reproving him?”
2. The Master said, “At first, my way with men was to hear their words, and give them credit for their conduct. Now my way is to hear their words, and look at their conduct. It is from Yu that I have learned to make this change.”
X. The Master said, “I have not seen a firm and unbending man.” Some one replied, “There is Shin Ch‘ang.” “Ch‘ang,” said the Master, “is under the influence of his lusts, how can he be firm and unbending?”
XI. Tsze-kung said, “What I do not wish men to do to me, I also wish not to do to men.” The Master said, “Ts‘ze, you have not attained to that.”
XII. Tsze-kung said, “The Master’s personal displays of his principles and ordinary descriptions of them may be heard. His discourses about man’s nature, and the way of Heaven, cannot be heard.”
XIII. When Tsze-loo heard anything, if he had not yet carried it into practice, he was only afraid lest he should hear something else.
XIV. Tsze-kung asked saying, “On what ground did Kung-wăn get that title of wan?” The Master said, “He was of an active nature and yet fond of learning, and he was not ashamed to ask and learn of his inferiors!—On these grounds he has been styled wan.”
XV. The Master said of Tsze-ch‘an that he had four of the characteristics of a superior man:—in his conduct of himself, he was humble; in serving his superiors, he was respectful; in nourishing the people, he was kind; in ordering the people, he was just.
XVI. The Master said, “Gan P‘ing knew well how to maintain friendly intercourse. The acquaintance might be long, but he showed the same respect as at first.”
XVII. The Master said, “Tsang Wăn kept a large tortoise in a house, on the capitals of the pillars of which he had hills made, with representations of duckweed on the small pillars above the beams supporting the rafters.—Of what sort was his wisdom?”
XVIII.1. Tsze-chang asked, saying, “The minister Tsze-wăn, thrice took office, and manifested no joy in his countenance. Thrice he retired from office, and manifested no displeasure. He made it a point to inform the new minister of the way in which he had conducted the government;—what do you say of him?” “The Master replied, “He was loyal.” “Was he perfectly virtuous?” “I do not know. How can he be pronounced perfectly virtuous?”
2.Tsze-chang proceeded, “When the officer Ts‘uy killed the prince of Ts‘e, Ch‘in Wăn, though he was the owner of forty horses, abandoned them and left the country. Coming to another state, he said, ‘They are here like our great officer, Ts‘uy,’ and left it. He came to a second state, and with the same observation left it also;—what do you say of him?” The Master replied, “He was pure.” “Was he perfectly virtuous?” “I do not know. How can he be pronounced perfectly virtuous?”
XIX. Ke Wăn thought thrice, and then acted. When the Master was informed of it, he said, “Twice may do.”
XX. The Master said, “When good order prevailed in his country, Ning Woo acted the part of a wise man. When his country was in disorder, he acted the part of a stupid man. Others may equal his wisdom, but they cannot equal his stupidity.”
XXI. When the Master was in Ch‘in, he said, “Let me return! Let me return! The little children of my school are ambitious and too hasty. They are accomplished and complete so far, but they do not know how to restrict and shape themselves.”
XXII. The Master said, “Pih-e and Shuh-ts‘e did not keep the former wickedness of men in mind, and hence the resentments directed towards them were few.”
XXIII. The Master said, “Who says of Wei-shang Kaou that he is upright? One begged some vinegar of him, and he begged it of a neighbour and gave it him.”
XXIV. The Master said, “Fine words, an insinuating appearance, and excessive respect;—Tso-k‘ew Ming was ashamed of them. I also am ashamed of them. To conceal resentment against a person, and appear friendly with him;—Tso-k‘ew Ming was ashamed of such conduct. I also am ashamed of it.”
XXV.1. Yen Yuen and Ke Loo being by his side, the Master said to them, “Come, let each of you tell his wishes.”
2. Tsze-loo said, “I should like, having chariots and horses, and light fur dresses, to share them with my friends, and though they should spoil them, I would not be displeased.”
3. Yen Yuen said, “I should like not to boast of my excellence, nor to make a display of my meritorious deeds.”
4. Tsze-loo then said, “I should like, sir, to hear your wishes.” The Master said, “They are, in regard to the aged, to give them rest; in regard to friends, to show them sincerity; in regard to the young, to treat them tenderly.”
XXVI. The Master said, “It is all over! I have not yet seen one who could perceive his faults, and inwardly accuse himself.”
XXVII. The Master said, “In a hamlet of ten families, there may be found one honourable and sincere as I am, but not so fond of learning.”
[* ]Heading and subjects of this book.—“Kung-yay Ch‘ang,” the surname and name of the first individual spoken of in it, heads this book, which is chiefly occupied with the judgment of the sage on the character of several of his disciples and others. As the decision frequently turns on their being possessed of that jin, or perfect virtue, which is so conspicuous in the last book, this is the reason, it is said, why the one immediately follows the other. As Tsze-kung appears in the book several times, some have fancied that it was compiled by his disciples.
[1. ]Confucius in marriage-making was guided by character, and not by fortune. Of Kung-yay Ch‘ang, though the son-in-law of Confucius, nothing certain is known, and his tablet is only third on the west among the ὁι πολλοί Silly legends are told of his being put in prison from his bringing suspicion on himself by his knowledge of the language of birds. Nan Yung, another of the disciples, is now fourth, east, in the outer hall. The discussions about who he was, and whether he is to be identified with Nan-Kung Kwoh, and several other aliases, are very perplexing. We cannot tell whether Confucius is giving his impression of Young’s character, or referring to events that had taken place.
[2. ]The Keun-tsze formed by intercourse with other Keun-tsze. Tsze-tseen, by surname Fuh, and named Puh-ts‘e, appears to have been of some note among the disciples of Confucius, both as an administrator and writer, though his tablet is now only second, west, in the outer hall. What chiefly distinguished him, as appears here, was his cultivation of the friendship of men of ability and virtue.
[3. ]Whereto Tsze-kung had attained. See I. x.; II. xii. While the sage did not grant to Tsze that he was a Keun-tsze (II. xii.), he made him “a vessel of honour,” valuable and fit for use on high occasions.
[4. ]Of Yen Yung Readiness with the tongue no part of virtue. Yen Yung, styled Chung-Kung, has his tablet the second on the east of Confucius’ own tablet, among the “wise ones.” His father was a worthless character (see VI. iv.), but he himself was the opposite.
[5. ]Tseih-teaou K‘ae’s opinion of the qualifications necessary to taking office. Tseih-teaou, now sixth on the east, in the outer hall, was styled Tsze-jŏ. His name originally was K‘e, changed into Ka‘e, on the accession of the Emperor Heaou-King, ad 155, whose name was also K‘e. In the chapter about the disciples in the “Family Sayings,” it is said that K‘ae was reading in the Shoo-king, when Confucius spoke to him about taking office, and he pointed to the book, or some particular passage in it, saying, “I am not yet able to rest in the assurance of this.” It may have been so.
[6. ]Confucius proposing to withdraw from the world:—a lesson to Tsze-loo. Tsze-loo supposed his master really meant to leave the world, and the idea of floating along the coasts pleased his ardent temper, while he was delighted with the compliment paid to himself. But Confucius only expressed in this way his regret at the backwardness of men to receive his doctrines.
[7. ]Of Tsze-loo, Tsze-yew, and Tsze-hwa. Măng Woo, see II. vi. 3. K‘ew, see III. vi. “A house of a hundred chariots,” in opposition to “A State of a thousand chariots,” was the secondary fief, the territory appropriated to the highest nobles or officers in a State, supposed also to comprehend 1000 families. 4. Ch‘ih, surnamed Kung-se, and styled Tsze-hwa, having now the fourteenth place, west, in the outer hall, was famous among the disciples for his knowledge of rules of ceremony, and those especially relating to dress and intercourse.
[8. ]Superiority of Yen Hwuy to Tsze-kung.
[9. ]The idleness of Tsae Yu and its reproof. Tsae Yu is the same individual as Tsae-wo in III. xxi.
[10. ]Unbending virtue cannot co-exist with indulgence of the passions. Shin Ch‘ang (there are several aliases, but they are disputed,) was one of the minor disciples, of whom little or nothing is known. He was styled Tsze-chow, and his place is thirty-first, east, in the outer ranges.
[11. ]The difficulty of attaining to the not wishing to do to others as we wish them not to do to us. It is said, “This chapter shows that the ‘no I’ (freedom from selfishness) is not easily reached.” In the Doctrine of the Mean, XIII 3, it is said, “What you do not like when done to yourself, do not do to others.” The difference between it and the sentence here is said to be that of “reciprocity,” and “benevolence,” or the highest virtue, apparent in the two adverbs used, the one prohibitive, and the other a simple, unconstrained negation. The golden rule of the Gospel is higher than both,—“Do ye unto others as ye would that others should do unto you.”
[12. ]The gradual way in which Confucius communicated his doctrines. So the lesson of this chapter is summed up: but there is hardly another more perplexing to a translator. The commentators make the subject of the former clause to be the deportment and manners of the sage and his ordinary discourses, but the verb “to hear” is an inappropriate term with reference to the former. These things, however, were level to the capacity of the disciples generally, and they had the benefit of them. As to his views about man’s nature, the gift of Heaven, and the way of Heaven generally:—these he only communicated to those who were prepared to receive them; and Tsze-kung is supposed to have expressed himself thus, after being on some occasion so privileged.
[13. ]The ardour of Tsze-loo in practising the Master’s instructions.
[14. ]An example of the principle on which honorary posthumous titles were conferred. “Wăn,” corresponding nearly to our “accomplished, was the posthumous title given to Tsze-yu an officer of the state of Wei, and a contemporary of Confucius. Many of his actions had been of a doubtful character, which made Tsze-kung stumble at the application to him of so honourable an epithet. But Confucius shows that, whatever he might otherwise be he had those qualities which justified his being so denominated. The rule for posthumous titles in China has been, and is very much—“De mortuis nil nist bonum.”
[15. ]The excellent qualities of Tsze-ch‘an. Tsze-ch‘an, named Kung-sun K‘eaou, was the chief minister of the state of Ching—the ablest perhaps, and most upright, of all the statesmen among Confucius’ contemporaries. The sage wept when he heard of his death.
[16. ]How to maintain friendship. “Familiarity breeds contempt,” and with contempt friendship ends. It was not so with Gan P‘ing, another of the worthies of Confucius’ times. He was a principal minister of Ts‘e, by name Ying. P‘ing (“Ruling and averting calamity”) was his posthumous title.
[17. ]The superstition of Tsang Wan. Tsang Wăn (Wăn is the honorary epithet) had been a great officer in Loo, and left a reputation for wisdom, which Confucius did not think was deserved. He was descended from the Duke Heaou (bc 794—767), whose son was styled Tsze-Tsang. This Tsang was taken by his descendants as their surname. This is mentioned to show one of the ways in which surnames were formed among the Chinese. The old interpreters make the keeping such a tortoise an act of usurpation on the part of Tsang Wăn. Choo He finds the point of Confucius’ words, in the keeping it in such a style, as if to flatter it.
[18. ]The praise of perfect virtue is not to be lightly accorded. 1. Tsze-wăn, the chief minister of the State of Tsoo, had been noted for the things mentioned by Tsze-chang, but the sage would not concede that he was therefore perfectly virtuous. 2. Ts‘uy was a great officer of Ts‘e. Gan P‘ing (ch. xvi.), distinguished himself on the occasion of the murder (bc 547) here referred to. Ch‘in Wăn was likewise an officer of Ts‘e.
[19. ]Prompt decision good. Wăn was the posthumous title of Ke Hing-foo a faithful and disinterested officer of Loo. Compare Robert Hall’s remark.—“In matters of conscience first thoughts are best.”
[20. ]The uncommon but admirable stupidity of Ning Woo. Ning Woo (Woo, hon. ep. See II. vi.), was an officer of Wei in the times of Wăn (bc 635—627), the second of the five p‘a (See on III. xxii.). In the first part of his official life, the State was quiet and prosperous, and he “wisely” acquitted himself of his duties. Afterwards came confusion. The prince was driven from the throne, and Ning Woo might, like other wise men, have retired from the danger. But he “foolishly,” as it seemed, chose to follow the fortunes of his prince, and yet adroitly brought it about in the end, that the prince was reinstated and order restored.
[21. ]The anxiety of Confucius about the training of his disciples. Confucius was thrice in Ch‘in. It must have been the third time when he thus expressed himself. He was then over sixty years, and being convinced that he was not to see for himself the triumph of his principles, he became the more anxious about their transmission, and the training of the disciples in order to that. Such is the common view of the chapter. Some say, however, that it is not to be understood of all the disciples. Compare Mencius, VII. Pt II. xxxvii. By an affectionate way of speaking of the disciples, he calls them his “little children.”
[22. ]The generosity of Pih-e and Shuh-ts‘e, and its effects. These were ancient worthies of the closing period of the Shang dynasty. Compare Mencius, II. Pt I. ii. ix., et al. They were brothers, sons of the king of Koo-chuh, named respectively Yun and Che. E and Ts‘e are their honourable epithets, and Pih and Shuh only indicate their relation to each other as elder and younger. Pih-e and Shuh-ts‘e, however, are in effect their names in the mouths and writings of the Chinese. Koo-chuh was a small state, included in the present department of Yung-p‘ing, in Pih-chih-le. Their father left his kingdom to Shuh-ts‘e, who refused to take the place of his elder brother. Pih-e in turn declined the throne, so they both abandoned it, and retired into obscurity. When King Woo was taking his measures against the tyrant Chow, they made their appearance, and remonstrated against his course. Finally, they died of hunger, rather than live under the new dynasty. They were celebrated for their purity, and aversion to men whom they considered bad, but Confucius here brings out their generosity.
[23. ]Small meannesses inconsistent with uprightness. It is implied that Kaou gave the vinegar as from himself.
[24. ]Praise of sincerity, and of Tso-k‘ew ming. Compare I. iii., “excessive respect.” The discussions about Tso-k‘ew Ming are endless. It is sufficient for us to rest in the judgment of the commentator, Ch‘ing, that “he was an ancient of reputation.” It is not to be received that he was a disciple of Confucius, or the author of the Tso-chuen.
[25. ]The different wishes of Yen Yuen, Tsze-loo, and Confucius. The Master and the disciples, it is said, agreed in being devoid of selfishness. Hwuy’s, however, was seen in a higher style of mind and object than Yew’s. In the sage, there was an unconsciousness of self, and without any effort, he proposed acting in regard to his classification of men just as they ought severally to be acted to.
[26. ]A lament over men’s persistence in error. The remark affirms a fact, inexplicable on Confucius view of the nature of man. But perhaps such an exclamation should not be pressed too closely.
[27. ]The humble claim of Confucius for himself. Confucius thus did not claim higher natural and moral qualities than others, but sought to perfect himself by learning.