Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK VIII. * - The Chinese Classics: Vol. 1. The Life and Teachings of Confucius (Analects, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean)
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BOOK VIII. * - 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, “T‘ae-pih may be said to have reached the highest point of virtuous action. Thrice he declined the empire, and the people in ignorance of his motives could not express their approbation of his conduct.”
II.1. The Master said, “Respectfulness, without the rules of propriety, becomes laborious bustle; carefulness, without the rules of propriety, becomes timidity; boldness, without the rules of propriety, becomes insubordination; straightforwardness, without the rules of propriety, becomes rudeness.
2. “When those who are in high stations perform well all their duties to their relations, the people are aroused to virtue. When old ministers and friends are not neglected by them, the people are preserved from meanness.”
III. Tsăng the philosopher being sick, he called to him the disciples of his school, and said, “Uncover my feet, uncover my hands. It is said in the Book of Poetry, ‘We should be apprehensive and cautious, as if on the brink of a deep gulf, as if treading on thin ice,’ and so have I been. Now and hereafter, I know my escape from all injury to my person, O ye, my little children.”
IV.1. Tsăng the philosopher being sick, Mang King went to ask how he was.
2. Tsăng said to him, “When a bird is about to die, its notes are mournful; when a man is about to die, his words are good.
3. “There are three principles of conduct which the man of high rank should consider specially important:—that in his deportment and manner he keep from violence and heedlessness; that in regulating his countenance he keep near to sincerity; and that in his words and tones he keep far from lowness and impropriety. As to such matters as attending to the sacrificial vessels, there are the proper officers for them.”
V. Tsăng the philosopher said, “Gifted with ability, and yet putting questions to those who were not so; possessed of much, and yet putting questions to those possessed of little; having, as though he had not; full, and yet counting himself as empty; offended against, and yet entering into no altercation:—formerly I had a friend who pursued this style of conduct.”
VI. Tsăng the philosopher said, “Suppose that there is an individual who can be entrusted with the charge of a young orphan prince, and can be commissioned with authority over a State of a hundred le, and whom no emergency however great can drive from his principles:—is such a man a superior man? He is a superior man indeed.”
VII.1. Tsăng the philosopher said, “The scholar may not be without breadth of mind and vigorous endurance. His burden is heavy and his course is long.
2. “Perfect virtue is the burden which he considers it is his to sustain; is it not heavy? Only with death does his course stop;—is it not long?”
VIII.1. The Master said, “It is by the Odes that the mind is aroused.
2. “It is by the Rules of propriety that the character is established.
3. “It is from Music that the finish is received.”
IX. The Master said, “The people may be made to follow a path of action, but they may not be made to understand it.”
X. The Master said, “The man who is fond of daring and is dissatisfied with poverty, will proceed to insubordination. So will the man who is not virtuous, when you carry your dislike of him to an extreme.”
XI. The Master said, “Though a man have abilities as admirable as those of the duke of Chow, yet if he be proud and niggardly, those other things are really not worth being looked at.”
XII. The Master said, “It is not easy to find a man who has learned for three years without coming to be good.”
XIII.1. The Master said, “With sincere faith he unites the love of learning; holding firm to death, he is perfecting the excellence of his course.
2. “Such an one will not enter a tottering state, nor dwell in a disorganized one. When right principles of government prevail in the empire, he will show himself; when they are prostrated, he will keep concealed.
3. “When a country is well governed, poverty and a mean condition are things to be ashamed of. When a country is ill governed, riches and honour are things to be ashamed of.”
XIV. The Master said, “He who is not in any particular office, has nothing to do with plans for the administration of its duties.”
XV. The Master said, “When the music-master, Che, first entered on his office, the finish with the Kwan Ts‘eu was magnificent;—how it filled the ears!”
XVI. The Master said, “Ardent and yet not upright; stupid and yet not attentive; simple and yet not sincere:—such persons I do not understand.”
XVII. The Master said, “Learn as if you could not reach your object, and were always fearing also lest you should lose it.”
XVIII. The Master said, “How majestic was the manner in which Shun and Yu held possession of the empire, as if it were nothing to them!”
XIX.1. The Master said, “Great indeed was Yaou as a sovereign! How majestic was he! It is only Heaven that is grand, and only Yaou corresponded to it. How vast was his virtue! The people could find no name for it.
2. “How majestic was he in the works which he accomplished! How glorious in the elegant regulations which he instituted!”
XX.1. Shun had five ministers, and the empire was well governed.
2. King Woo said, “I have ten able ministers.”
3. Confucius said, “Is not the saying that talents are difficult to find, true? Only when the dynasties of T‘ang and Yu met, were they more abundant than in this of Chow; yet there was a woman among its able ministers. There were no more than nine men.”
4. “King Wăn possessed two of the three parts of the empire, and with those he served the dynasty of Yin. The virtue of the house of Chow may be said to have reached the highest point indeed.”
XXI. The Master said, “I can find no flaw in the character of Yu. He used himself coarse food and drink, but displayed the utmost filial piety towards the spirits. His ordinary garments were poor, but he displayed the utmost elegance in his sacrificial cap and apron. He lived in a low mean house, but expended all his strength on the ditches and water-channels. I can find nothing like a flaw in Yu.”
[* ]Heading and subjects of this book.—“T‘ae-pih.” As in other cases, the first words of the book give name to it. The subjects of the book are miscellaneous, but it begins and ends with the character and deeds of ancient sages and worthies; and on this account it follows the seventh book, where we have Confucius himself described.
[1. ]The exceeding virtue of T‘ae-pih. T‘ae-pih was the eldest son of King T‘ae, the grandfather of Wăn, the founder of the Chow dynasty. T‘ae had formed the intention of upsetting the Yin dynasty, of which T‘ae-pih disapproved. T‘ae, moreover, because of the sage virtues of his grandson Ch‘ang, who afterwards became King Wan, wished to hand down his principality to his third son, Ch‘ang’s father. T‘ae-pih observing this, and to escape opposing his father’s purpose, retired with his second brother among the barbarous tribes of the south, and left their youngest brother in possession of the state. The motives of his conduct T‘ae-pih kept to himself, so that the people “could not find how to praise him. There is a difficulty in making out the refusal of the empire three times, there being different accounts of the times and ways in which he did so. Choo He cuts the knot, by making “thrice” = “firmly,” in which solution we may acquiesce. There is as great difficulty to find out a declining of the empire in T‘ae-pih’s withdrawing from the petty state of Chow. It may be added that King Woo, the first emperor of the Chow dynasty, subsequently conferred on T‘ae-pih the posthumous title of Chief of Woo, the country to which he had withdrawn, and whose rude inhabitants gathered round him. His second brother succeeded him in the government of them, and hence the ruling house of Woo had the same surname as the imperial house of Chow, that namely of Tsze. See VII. xxx.
[2. ]The value of the rules of propriety; and of example in those in high stations. 1. We must bear in mind that the ceremonies, or rules of propriety, spoken of in these books, are not mere conventionalities, but the ordinations of man’s moral and intelligent nature in the line of what is proper. 2. There does not seem any connection between the former paragraph and this, and hence this is by many considered to be a new chapter, and assigned to the philosopher Tsăng.
[3. ]The philosopher Tsăng’s fillal piety seen in his care of his person. We get our bodies perfect from our parents, and should so preserve them to the last. This is a great branch of filial piety with the Chinese, and this chapter is said to illustrate how Tsăng-tsze had made this his life-long study. He made the disciples uncover his hands and feet, to show them in what preservation those members were. The passage quoted from the poetry is in Pt II. Bk V. i. 8.
[4. ]The philosopher Tsăng’s dying counsels to a man of high rank. King was the honorary epithet of Chung-sun Tseĕ, a great officer of Loo and son of Mang-woo, II. vi. From the conclusion of this chapter, we may suppose that he descended to small matters below his rank.
[5. ]The admirable simplicity and freedom from egotism of a friend of the philosopher Tsăng. This friend is supposed to have been Yen Yuen.
[6. ]A combination of talents and virtue constituting a Keuntsze.
[7. ]The necessity to the scholar of compass and vigour of mind. The designation “scholar” here might also be translated “officer.” Scholar is the primary meaning; but in all ages learning has been the qualification for, and passport to, official employment in China, hence it is also a general designation for “an officer.”
[8. ]The effects of poetry, proprieties, and music.
[9. ]What may, and what may not, be attained to with the people. This chapter has a very doubtful merit, and the sentiment is much too broadly expressed. Some commentators say, however, that all which is meant is that a knowledge of the reasons and principles of what they are called to do need not be required from the people.
[10. ]Different causes of insubordination—a lesson to rulers.
[11. ]The worthlessness of talent without virtue.
[12. ]How quickly learning leads to good. I have translated here according to the old interpretation of K‘ung Gan-kwŏ. Choo He takes the term for “good” in the sense of “emolument,” which it also has, and would change the character for “coming to,” into another of the same sound and tone, meaning “setting the mind on,” thus making the whole a lamentation over the rarity of the disinterested pursuit of learning. But we are not at liberty to admit alterations of the text, unless, as received, it be absolutely unintelligible.
[13. ]The qualifications of an officer, who will always act right in accepting and declining office. 1. This paragraph is to be taken as descriptive of character, the effects of whose presence we have in the next, and of its absence in the last.—The whole chapter seems to want the warmth of generous principle and feeling. In fact. I doubt whether its parts bear the relation and connection which they are supposed to have.
[14. ]Every man should mind his own business. So the sentiment of this chapter is generalized by the paraphrasts and perhaps correctly. Its letter, however, has doubtless operated to prevent the spread of right notions about political liberty in China.
[15. ]The praise of the music-master Che.
[16. ]A lamentation over moral error added to natural defect. “I do not understand them,” that is, say commentators, natural defects of endowment are generally associated with certain redeeming qualities, as hastiness with straightforwardness, &c. In the parties Confucius had in view, those redeeming qualities were absent. He did not understand them, and could do nothing for them.
[17. ]With what earnestness and continuousness learning should be pursued.
[18. ]The lofty character of Shun and Yu. Shun received the empire from Yaou, bc 2254, and Yu received it from Shun, bc 2204. The throne came to them not by inheritance. They were called to it by their talents and virtue. And yet the possession of empire did not seem to affect them at all.
[19. ]The praise of Yaou. 1. No doubt Yaou, as he appears in Chinese annals, is a fit object of admiration, but if Confucius had had a right knowledge of, and reverence for. Heaven, he could not have spoken as he does here. Grant that it is only the visible heaven overspreading all, to which he compares Yaou, even that is sufficiently absurd.
[20. ]The scarcity of men of talent, and praise of the house of Chow. 1. Shun’s five ministers were Yu, superintendent of works, Tseih, superintendent of agriculture, Seĕ, minister of instruction, Kaou-yaou, minister of justice, and Pih-yih, warden of woods and marshes. Those five, as being eminent above all their compeers, are mentioned. 2. See the Shoo-king, V. Bk I. ii. 6. Of the ten ministers, the most distinguished of course was the duke of Chow. One of them, it is said in the next paragraph, was a woman, but whether she was the mother of King Wăn, or his wife, is much disputed. 3. Instead of the usual “The Master said,” we have here “K‘ung the philosopher said”. This is accounted for on the ground that the words of king Woo having been quoted immediately before, it would not have done to crown the sage with his usual title of “the Master.” The style of the whole chapter, however, is different from that of any previous one, and we may suspect that it is corrupted. “The dynasties of T‘ang and Yu” were those of Yaou and Shun. Yaou is called T‘ang, having ascended the throne from the marquisate of that name, and Yu became the accepted surname or style of Shun.
[21. ]The praise of Yu.