Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK VI. * - The Chinese Classics: Vol. 1. The Life and Teachings of Confucius (Analects, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean)
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BOOK VI. * - 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).
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ChapterI.1. The Master said, “There is Yung!—He might occupy the place of a prince.”
2. Chung-kung asked about Tsze-sang Pih-tsze. The Master said, “He may pass. He does not mind small matters.”
3. Chung-kung said, “If a man cherish in himself a reverential feeling of the necessity of attention to business, though he may be easy in small matters in his government of the people, that may be allowed. But if he cherish in himself that easy feeling, and also carry it out in his practice, is not such an easy mode of procedure excessive?”
4. The Master said, “Yung’s words are right.”
II. The Duke Gae asked which of the disciples loved to learn. Confucius replied to him, “There was Yen Hwuy; he loved to learn. He did not transfer his anger; he did not repeat a fault. Unfortunately, his appointed time was short and he died; and now there is not such another. I have not yet heard of any one who loves to learn as he did.”
III.1. Tsze-hwa being employed on a mission to Ts‘e, the disciple Yen requested grain for his mother. The Master said, “Give her a foo.” Yen requested more. “Give heran yu,” said the Master. Yen gave her five ping.
2. The Master said, “When Ch‘ih was proceeding to Ts‘e, he had fat horses to his carriage, and wore light furs. I have heard that a superior man helps the distressed, but does not add to the wealth of the rich.”
3. Yuen Sze being made governor of his town by the Master, he gave him nine hundred measures of grain, but Sze declined them.
4. The Master said, “Do not decline them. May you not give them away in the neighbourhoods, hamlets, towns, and villages?”
IV. The Master, speaking of Chung-kung, said, “If the calf of a brindled cow be red and horned, although man may not wish to use it, would the spirits of the mountains and rivers refuse it?”
V. The Master said, “Such was Hwuy that for three months there would be nothing in his mind contrary to perfect virtue. The others may attain to this once a day or once a month, but nothing more.”
VI. Ke K‘ang asked, “Is Chung-yew fit to be employed as an officer of government?” The Master said, “Yew is a man of decision; what difficulty would he find in being an officer of government?” K‘ang asked, “Is Ts‘ze fit to be employed as an officer of government?” and was answered, Ts‘ze is a man of intelligence; what difficulty would he find in being an officer of government?” And to the same question about K‘ew, the Master gave the same reply, saying, “K‘ew is a man of various ability.”
VII. The chief of the Ke family sent to ask Min Tsze-k‘een to be governor of Pe. Min Tsze-k‘een said, “Decline the offer for me politely. If any one come again to me with a second invitation, I shall be obliged to go and live on the banks of the Wăn.”
VIII. Pih-new being sick, the Master went to ask for him. He took hold of his hand through the window, and said, “It is killing him. It is the appointment of Heaven, alas! That such a man should have such a sickness! That such a man should have such a sickness!”
IX. The Master said, “Admirable indeed was the virtue of Hwuy! With a single bamboo dish of rice, a single gourd dish of drink, and living in his mean narrow lane, while others could not have endured the distress, he did not allow his joy to be affected by it. Admirable indeed was the virtue of Hwuy!”
X. Yen K‘ew said, “It is not that I do not delight in your doctrines, but my strength is insufficient.” The Master said, “Those whose strength is insufficient give over in the middle of the way, but now you limit yourself.”
XI. The Master said to Tsze-hea, “Do you be a scholar after the style of the superior man, and not after that of the mean man.”
XII. Tsze-yew being governor of Woo-shing, the Master said to him, “Have you got good men there?” He answered, “There is Tan-t‘ae Meĕ-ming, who never in walking takes a short cut, and never comes to my office, excepting on public business.”
XIII. The Master said, “Măng Che-fan does not boast of his merit. Being in the rear on an occasion of flight, when they were about to enter the gate, he whipt up his horse, saying, ‘It is not that I dare to be last. My horse would not advance.’ ”
XIV. The Master said, “Without the specious speech of the litanist T‘o, and the beauty of the prince Chaou of Sung, it is difficult to escape in the present age.”
XV. The Master said, “Who can go out but by the door? How is it that men will not walk according to these ways?”
XVI. The Master said, “Where the solid qualities are in excess of accomplishments, we have rusticity; where the accomplishments are in excess of the solid qualities, we have the manners of a clerk. When the accomplishments and solid qualities are equally blended, we then have the man of complete virtue.”
XVII. The Master said, “Man is born for uprightness. If a man lose his uprightness, and yet live, his escape from death is the effect of mere good fortune.”
XVIII. The Master said, “They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who find delight in it.”
XIX. The Master said, “To those whose talents are above mediocrity, the highest subjects may be announced. To those who are below mediocrity, the highest subjects may not be announced.”
XX. Fan Ch‘e asked what constituted wisdom. The Master said, “To give one’s-self earnestly to the duties due to men, and, while respecting spiritual beings, to keep aloof from them, may be called wisdom.” He asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, “The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success only a subsequent consideration;—this may be called perfect virtue.”
XXI. The Master said, “The wise find delight in water; the virtuous find delight in hills. The wise are active; the virtuous are tranquil. The wise are joyful; the virtuous are long-lived.”
XXII. The Master said, “Ts‘e, by one change, would come to the state of Loo. Loo, by one change, would come to a state where true principles predominated.”
XXIII. The Master said, “A cornered vessel without corners.—A strange cornered vessel! A strange cornered vessel!”
XXIV. Tsae Wo asked, saying, “A benevolent man, though it be told him,—‘There is a man in the well,’ will go in after him, I suppose.” Confucius said, “Why should he do so? A superior man may be made to go to the well, but he cannot be made to go down into it. He may be imposed upon, but he cannot be befooled.”
XXV. The Master said, “The superior man, extensively studying all learning, and keeping himself under the restraint of the rules of propriety, may thus likewise not overstep what is right.”
XXVI. The Master having visited Nan-tsze, Tsze-loo was displeased, on which the Master swore, saying, “Wherein I have done improperly, may Heaven reject me! may Heaven reject me!”
XXVII. The Master said, “Perfect is the virtue which is according to the Constant Mean! Rare for a long time has been its practice among the people.”
XXVIII.1. Tsze-kung said, “Suppose the case of a man extensively conferring benefits on the people, and able to assist all, what would you say of him? Might he be called perfectly virtuous?” The Master said, “Why speak only of virtue in connection with him? Must he not have the qualities of a sage? Even Yaou and Shun were still solicitous about this.
2. “Now the man of perfect virtue, wishing to be established himself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged himself, he seeks also to enlarge others.
3. “To be able to judge of others by what is nigh in ourselves;—this may be called the art of virtue.”
[* ]Heading and subjects of this book. “There is Yung!” commences the first chapter, and stands as the title of the book. Its subjects are much akin to those of the preceding book, and therefore, it is said, they are in juxtaposition.
[1. ]The characters of Yen Yung and Tsze-sang Pih-tsze, as regards their adaptation for government. 1. “Might occupy the place of a prince,” is literally “Might be employed with his face to the south.” In China, the emperor sits facing the south. So did the princes of the states in their several courts in Confucius’ time. An explanation of the practice is attempted in the Yih-King. “The diagram Le conveys the idea of brightness, when all things are exhibited to one another. It is the diagram of the south. The custom of the sages (i. e. monarchs) to sit with their faces to the south, and listen to the representations of the empire, governing towards the bright region, was taken from this.” 2. Observe, Chung-kung was the designation of Yen Yung, see V. iv. 3. Of Tsze-sang Pih-tsze, we know nothing certain but what is here stated. Choo He seems to be wrong in approving the identification of him with a Tsze-sang Hoo.—“To dwell in respect,” to have the mind imbued with it.
[2. ]The rarity of a true love to learn. Hwuy’s superiority to the other disciples. “He did not transfer his anger,” i. e. his anger was no tumultuary passion in the mind, but was excited by some specific cause, to which alone it was directed. The idea of “learning,” with the duke and the sage, was a practical obedience to the lessons given.
[3. ]Discrimination of Confucius in rewarding or salarying officers. 1. Choo He says the commission was a private one from Confucius, but this is not likely. The old interpretation makes it a public one from the court of Loo. “Yen, the disciple;” see III. vi. Yen is here styled “the philosopher,” like Yew, in I. ii., but only in narrative, not as introducing any wise utterance. A foo contained 6 tow and 4 shing, or 64 shing. The yu contained 160 shing, and the ping 16 hŏ, or 1600 shing. A shing of the present day is about one-fourth less than an English pint. 2. Ch‘ih. i.e. Tsze-hwa; see V. vii. 4. 3. Yuen Sze, named Heen, is now the third, east, in the outer hall of the temples. He was noted for his pursuit of truth, and carelessness of worldly advantages. After the death of Confucius, he withdrew into retirement in Wei. It is related that Tsze-kung, high in official station, came one day in great style to visit him. Sze received him in a tattered coat, and Tsze-kung asking him if he were ill, he replied. “I have heard that to have no money is to be poor and that to study truth and not be able to find it is to be ill.” This answer sent Tsze-kung away in confusion.—The 900 measures (whatever they were) was the proper allowance for an officer of Sze’s station.
[4. ]The vices of a father should not discredit a virtuous son. “The father of Chung-kung (see V. iv.) was a man of bad character,” and some would have visited this upon his son, which drew forth Confucius’ remark. The rules of the Chow dynasty required that sacrificial victims should be red, and have good horns. An animal with those qualities, though it might spring from one not possessing them, would certainly not be unacceptable on that account to the spirits sacrificed to.
[5. ]The superiority of Hwuy to the other disciples.
[6. ]The Qualities of Tsze-loo, Tsze-kung, and Tsze-yew, and their competency to assist in government. The prince is called “the doer of government;” his ministers and officers are styled “the followers (officers) of government.”
[7. ]Min Tsze-k‘een refuses to serve the Ke family. The tablet of Tsze-k‘een (his name was Sun) is now the first on the east among “the wise ones” of the temple. He was among the foremost of the disciples. Confucius praises his filial piety; and we see here, how he could stand firm in his virtue, and refuse the proffers of powerful but unprincipled families of his time. Pe was a place belonging to the Ke family. Its name is still preserved in a district of the department of E-chow, in Shan-tung. The Wăn stream divided Ts‘e and Loo. Tsze-k‘een threatens, if he should be troubled again, to retreat to Ts‘e, where the Ke family could not reach him.
[8. ]Lament of Confucius over the mortal sickness of Pih-new. Pih-new, “elder or uncle New,” was the denomination of Yen Kăng, who had an honourable place among the disciples of the sage. In the old interpretation, his sickness is said to have been “an evil disease,” by which name leprosy is intended. Suffering from such a disease, Pih-new would not see people, and Confucius took his hand through the window. A different explanation of that circumstance is given by Choo He. He says that sick persons were usually placed on the north side of the apartment, but when the prince visited them, in order that he might appear to them with his face to the south (see ch. I.), they were moved to the south. On this occasion, Pih-new’s friends wanted to receive Confucius after this royal fashion, which he avoided by not entering the house.
[9. ]The happiness of Hwuy independent of poverty.
[10. ]A high aim and perseverance proper to a student. Confucius would not admit K‘ew’s apology for not attempting more than he did. “Give over in the middle of the wav,” i. e. they go as long and as far as they can, they are pursuing when they stop; whereas K‘ew was giving up when he might have gone on.
[11. ]How learning should be pursued.
[12. ]The character of Tan-t‘ae Meĕ-ming. The chapter shows, according to Chinese commentators, the advantage to people in authority of their having good men about them. In this way, after their usual fashion, they seek for a profound meaning in the remark of Confucius. Tan-t‘ae Meĕ-ming, who was styled Tsze-yu, has his tablet the second east outside the hall. The accounts of him are very conflicting. According to one, he was very good-looking, while another says he was so badlooking that Confucius at first formed an unfavourable opinion of him, an error which he afterwards confessed on Meĕ-ming’s becoming eminent. He travelled southwards with not a few followers, and places near Soo-chow and elsewhere retain names indicative of his presence.
[13. ]The virtue of Mang Che-fan in concealing his merit. But where was his virtue in deviating from the truth? And how could Confucius commend him for doing so? These question have never troubled the commentators. Măng Che-fan was an officer of Loo. The defeat, after which he thus distinguished himself, was in the 11th year of Duke Gae, bc 483.
[14. ]The degeneracy of the age esteeming glibness of tongue and beauty of person. T‘o, the officer charged with the prayers in the ancestral temple. I have coined the word litanist, to come as near to the meaning as possible. He was an officer of the state of Wei, styled Tsze-yu. Prince Chaou had been guilty of incest with his sister Nan-tsze (see ch. 26), and afterwards, when she was married to the Duke Ling of Wei, he served as an officer there, carrying on his wickedness. He was celebrated for his beauty of person.
[15. ]A lament over the waywardness of men’s conduct. “These ways,”—in a moral sense;—not deep doctrines, but rules of life.
[16. ]The equal blending of solid excellence and ornamental accomplishments in a complete character.
[17. ]Life without uprightness is not true life, and cannot be calculated on. “No more serious warning than this,” says one commentator, “was ever addressed to men by Confucius.” We long here, as elsewhere, for more perspicuity and fuller development of view. An important truth struggles for expression, but only finds it imperfectly. Without uprightness, the end of man’s existence is not fulfilled, but his preservation in such case is not merely a fortunate accident.
[18. ]Different stages of attainment.
[19. ]Teachers must be guided in communicating knowledge by the susceptivity of the learners.
[20. ]Chief elements in wisdom and virtue. We may suppose from the second clause that Fan Ch‘e was striving after what was uncommon and superhuman. The sage’s advice therefore is—“attend to what are plainly human duties, and do not be superstitious.”
[21. ]Contrasts of the wise and the virtuous. The wise or knowing are active and restless, like the waters of a stream, ceaselessly flowing and advancing. The virtuous are tranquil and firm, like the stable mountains. The pursuit of knowledge brings joy. The life of the virtuous may be expected to glide calmly on and long. After all, the saying is not very comprehensible.
[22. ]The condition of the states Ts‘e and Loo. Ts‘e and Loo were both within the present Shan-tung. Ts‘e lay along the coast on the north, embracing the present department of Ts‘ing Chow and other territory. Loo was on the south, the larger portion of it being formed by the present department of Yen-chow. At the rise of the Chow dynasty, King Woo invested “the great Duke Wang” with the principality of Ts‘e, while his successor, King Ch‘ing, constituted the son of his uncle, the famous duke of Chow, prince of Loo. In Confucius’ time, Ts‘e had degenerated more than Loo.
[23. ]The name without the reality is folly. This was spoken with reference to the governments of the time, retaining ancient names without ancient principles. The vessel spoken of was made with corners, as appears from the composition of the character, which is formed from Këŏ, “a horn,” “a sharp corner.” In Contucius’ time, the form was changed, while the name was kept.
[24. ]The benevolent exercise their benevolence with prudence. Tsae Wo could see no limitation to acting on the impulses of benevolence. We are not to suppose, with modern commentators, that he wished to show that benevolence was impracticable.
[25. ]The happy effect of learning and propriety combined.
[26. ]Confucius vindicates himself for visiting the unworthy Nan-tsze. Nan-tsze was the wife of the duke of Wei, and sister of Prince Chaou, mentioned chapter xiv. Her lewd character was well known, and hence Tsze-loo was displeased, thinking an interview with her was disgraceful to the Master. Great pains are taken to explain the incident. “Nan-tsze,” says one, “sought the interview from the stirrings of her natural conscience.” “It was a rule,” says another, “that officers in a state should visit the prince’s wife.” “Nan-tsze,” argues a third, “had all influence with her husband, and Confucius wished to get currency by her means for his doctrine.”
[27. ]The defective practice of the people in Confucius’ times. See the Doctrine of the Mean, III.
[28. ]The true nature and art of virtue. There are no higher sayings in the Analects than we have here. 1. Tsze-kung appears to have thought that great doings were necessary to virtue, and propounds a case which would transcend the achievements of Yaou and Shun. From such extravagant views the Master recalls him. 2. This is the description of “the mind of the perfectly virtuous man” as void of all selfishness. 3. It is to be wished that the idea intended by “being able to judge of others by what is nigh in ourselves,” had been more clearly expressed. Still we seem to have here a near approach to a positive enunciation of “the golden rule.”