Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK IX. * - The Chinese Classics: Vol. 1. The Life and Teachings of Confucius (Analects, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean)
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BOOK IX. * - 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. The subjects of which the Master seldom spoke were—profitableness, and also the appointments of Heaven, and perfect virtue.
II.1. A man of the village of Tă-heang said, “Great indeed is the philosopher K‘ung! His learning is extensive, and yet he does not render his name famous by any particular thing.”
2. The Master heard the observation, and said to his disciples, “What shall I practise? Shall I practise charioteering, or shall I practise archery? I will practise charioteering.”
III.1. The Master said, “The linen cap is that prescribed by the rules of ceremony, but now a silk one is worn. It is economical, and I follow the common practice.
2. “The rules of ceremony prescribe the bowing below the hall, but now the practice is to bow only after ascending it. That is arrogant. I continue to bow below the hall, though I oppose the common practice.”
IV. There were four things from which the Master was entirely free. He had no foregone conclusions, no arbitrary predeterminations, no obstinacy, and no egoism.
V.1. The Master was put in fear in K‘wang.
2. He said, “After the death of king Wăn, was not the cause of truth lodged here in me?
3. “If Heaven had wished to let this cause of truth perish, then I, a future mortal, should not have got such a relation to that cause. While Heaven does not let the cause of truth perish, what can the people of K‘wang do to me?”
VI.1. A high officer asked Tsze-kung saying, “May we not say that your Master is a sage? How various is his ability!”
2. Tsze-kung said, “Certainly, Heaven has endowed him unlimitedly;—he is about a sage. And, moreover, his ability is various.”
3. The Master heard of the conversation and said, “Does the high officer know me? When I was young, my condition was low, and therefore I acquired my ability in many things, but they were mean matters. Must the superior man have such variety of ability? He does not need variety of ability.”
4. Laou said, “The Master said, ‘Having no official employment, I acquired many arts.’ ”
VII. The Master said, “Am I indeed possessed of knowledge? I am not knowing. But if a mean person, who appears quite empty-like, ask anything of me, I set it forth from one end to the other, and exhaust it.”
VIII. The Master said, “The fung bird does not come; the river sends forth no map:—it is all over with me.”
IX. When the Master saw a person in a mourning dress, or any one with the cap and upper and lower garments of full dress, or a blind person, on observing them approaching, though they were younger than himself, he would rise up, and if he had to pass by them, he would do so hastily.
X.1. Yen Yuen, in admiration of the Master’s doctrines, sighed and said, “I looked up to them, and they seemed to become more high; I tried to penetrate them, and they seemed to become more firm; I looked at them before me, and suddenly they seemed to be behind.
2. “The Master, by orderly method, skilfully leads men on. He enlarged my mind with learning, and taught me the restraints of propriety.
3. “When I wish to give over the study of his doctrines, I cannot do so, and having exerted all my ability, there seems something to stand right up before me; but though I wish to follow and lay hold of it, I really find no way to do so.”
XI.1. The Master being very ill, Tsze-loo wished the disciples to act as ministers to him.
2. During a remission of his illness, he said, “Long has the conduct of Yew been deceitful! By pretending to have ministers when I have them not, whom should I impose upon? Should I impose upon Heaven?
3. “Moreover, than that I should die in the hands of ministers, is it not better that I should die in the hands of you, my disciples? And though I may not get a great burial, shall I die upon the road?”
XII. Tsze-kung said, “There is a beautiful gem here. Should I lay it up in a case and keep it? or should I seek for a good price and sell it?” The Master said, “Sell it! Sell it! But I would wait till the price was offered.”
XIII.1. The Master was wishing to go and live among the nine wild tribes of the east.
2. Some one said, “They are rude. How can you do such a thing?” The Master said, “If a superior man dwelt among them, what rudeness would there be?”
XIV. The Master said, “I returned from Wei to Loo, and then the music was reformed, and the pieces in the Correct Odes and Praise Songs found all their proper place.”
XV. The Master said, “Abroad, to serve the high ministers and officers; at home, to serve one’s father and elder brother; in all duties to the dead, not to dare not to exert one’s-self; and not to be overcome of wine:—what one of these things do I attain to?”
XVI. The Master standing by a stream, said, “It passes on just like this, not ceasing day or night!”
XVII. The Master said, “I have not seen one who loves virtue as he loves beauty.”
XVIII. The Master said, “The prosecution of learning may be compared to what may happen in raising a mound. If there want but one basket of earth to complete the work, and I stop, the stopping is my own work. It may be compared to throwing down the earth on the level ground. Though but one basketful is thrown at a time, the advancing with it is my own going forward.”
XIX. The Master said, “Never flagging when I set forth anything to him;—ah! that is Hwuy.”
XX. The Master said of Yen Yuen, “Alas! I saw his constant advance. I never saw him stop in his progress.”
XXI. The Master said, “There are cases in which the blade springs, but the plant does not go on to flower! There are cases where it flowers, but no fruit is subsequently produced!”
XXII. The Master said, “A youth is to be regarded with respect. How do we know that his future will not be equal to our present? If he reach the age of forty or fifty, and has not made himself heard of, then indeed he will not be worth being regarded with respect.”
XXIII. The Master said, “Can men refuse to assent to the words of strict admonition? But it is reforming the conduct because of them which is valuable. Can men refuse to be pleased with words of gentle advice? But it is unfolding their aim which is valuable. If a man be pleased with these words, but does not unfold their aim, and assents to those, but does not reform his conduct, I can really do nothing with him.”
XXIV. The Master said, “Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles. Have no friends not equal to yourself. When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.”
XXV. The Master said, “The commander of the forces of a large State may be carried off, but the will of even a common man cannot be taken from him.”
XXVI.1. The Master said, “Dressed himself in a tattered robe quilted with hemp, yet standing by the side of men dressed in furs, and not ashamed;—ah! it is Yew who is equal to this.
2. “ ‘He dislikes none, he covets nothing!—what does he do which is not good?’ ”
3. Tsze-loo kept continually repeating these words of the ode, when the Master said, “Those ways are by no means sufficient to constitute perfect excellence.”
XXVII. The Master said, “When the year becomes cold, then we know how the pine and the cypress are the last to lose their leaves.”
XXVIII. The Master said, “The wise are free from perplexities; the virtuous from anxiety; and the bold from fear.”
XXIX. The Master said, “There are some with whom we may study in common, but we shall find them unable to go along with us to principles. Perhaps we may go on with them to principles, but we shall find them unable to get established in those along with us. Or if we may get so established along with them, we shall find them unable to weigh occurring events along with us.”
XXX.1. How the flowers of the aspen-plum flutter and turn! Do I not think of you? But your house is distant.
2. The Master said, “It is the want of thought about it. How is it distant?”
[* ]Heading and subjects of this book. “The Master seldom.” The thirty chapters of this book are much akin to those of the seventh. They are mostly occupied with the doctrine, character, and ways of Confucius himself.
[1. ]Subjects seldom spoken of by Confucius. “Profitableness” is taken here in a good sense;—not as selfish gain, but as it is defined under the first of the diagrams in the Yih-king, “the harmoniousness of all that is righteous;” that is, how what is right is really what is truly profitable. Compare Mencius, I. Pt I. i. Yet even in this sense Confucius seldom spoke of it, as he would not have the consideration of the profitable introduced into conduct at all. With his not speaking of “perfect virtue,” there is a difficulty which I know not how to solve. The IVth book is nearly all occupied with it, and it was a prominent topic in Confucius teachings.
[2. ]Amusement of Confucius at the remark of an ignorant man about him. Commentators, old and new, say that the chapter shows the exceeding humility of the sage, educed by his being praised, but his observation on the man’s remark was evidently ironical.
[3. ]Some common practices indifferent and others not. 1. The cap here spoken of was that prescribed to be worn in the ancestral temple, and made of very fine linen dyed of a deep dark colour. It had fallen into disuse, and was superseded by a simpler one of silk. Rather than be singular, Confucius gave in to a practice, which involved no principle of right, and was economical. 2. “In the ceremonial intercourse between ministers and their prince, it was proper for them to bow below the raised hall. This the prince declined, on which they ascended and completed the homage.” The prevailing disregard of the first part of the ceremony Confucius considered inconsistent with the proper distance to be observed between prince and minister, and therefore he would be singular in adhering to the rule.
[4. ]Frailties from which Confucius was free.
[5. ]Confucius assured in a time of danger by his conviction of a divine mission. Compare VII. xxii., but the adventure to which this chapter refers is placed in the sage’s history before the other, and seems to have occurred in his fifty-seventh year, not long after he had resigned office, and left Loo. There are different opinions as to what state K‘wang belonged to. The most likely is that it was a border town of Ch‘ing, and its site is now to be found in the department of K‘ae-fung in Ho-nan. The account is that K‘wang had suffered from Yang Foo, an officer of Loo, to whom Confucius bore a resemblance. As he passed by the place, moreover, a disciple who had been associated with Yang Foo in his operations against K‘wang, was driving him. These circumstances made the people think that Confucius was their old enemy, so they attacked him, and kept him prisoner for five days. The accounts of his escape vary, some of them being evidently fabulous. The disciples were in fear. The text would indicate that Confucius himself was so, but this is denied. He here identifies himself with the line of the great sages, to whom Heaven has intrusted the instruction of men. In all the six centuries between himself and King Wăn, he does not admit of such another.
[6. ]On the various ability of Confucius.—his sagehood not therein. The officer had found the sagehood of Confucius in his various ability. Tsze-kung, positively, and yet with some appearance of hesitancy, affirms the sagehood, and makes that ability only an additional circumstance. Confucius explains his possession of various ability, and repudiates its being essential to the sage, or even to the keun-tsze. 4. Laou was a disciple, by surname K‘in, and styled Tsze-k‘ae, or Tsze-chang. It is supposed that when these conversations were being digested into their present form, some one remembered that Laou had been in the habit of mentioning the remark given, and accordingly it was appended to the chapter.
[7. ]Confucius disclaims the knowledge attributed to him, and declares his earnestness in teaching. The first sentence here was probably an exclamation with reference to some remark upon himself as having extraordinary knowledge.
[8. ]For want of auspicious omens, Confucius gives up the hope of the triumph of his doctrines. The fung is the male of a fabulous bird, which has been called the Chinese phœnix, said to appear when a sage ascends the throne, or when right principles are going to triumph through the empire. The female is called hwang. In the days of Shun, they gambolled in his hall, and were heard singing on mount K‘e, in the time of King Wăn. The river and the map carry us farther back still,—to the time of Fuh-he, to whom a monster with the head of a dragon, and the body of a horse, rose from the water, being so marked on the back as to give that first of the sages the idea of his diagrams. Confucius endorses these fables.
[9. ]Confucius’ sympathy with sorrow, respect for rank, and pity for misfortune.
[10. ]Yen Yuen’s admiration of his master’s doctrines, and his own progress in them.
[11. ]Confucius’ dislike of pretension, and contentment with his condition. Confucius had been a great officer, and had enjoyed the services of ministers, as in a petty court. Tsze-loo would have surrounded him in his great sickness with the illusions of his former state, and brought on himself this rebuke.
[12. ]How the desire for office should be qualified by self-respect. The disciple wanted to elicit from Confucius why he declined office so much, and insinuated the subject in this way.
[13. ]How barbarians can be civilized. This chapter is to be understood, it is said, like V. vi., not as if Confucius really wished to go among the E (barbarians), but that he thus expressed his regret that his doctrine did not find acceptance in China.
[14. ]Confucius’ services in correcting the music of his native state and adjusting the Book of Poetry. Confucius returned from Wei to Loo in his sixty-ninth year, and died five years after. The “Correct Odes” and “Praise Songs” are the names of two, or rather three of the divisions of the She-king, the former being the “elegant” or “correct” odes, to be used with music mostly at imperial festivals, and the latter, celebrating principally the virtues of the founders of different dynasties, to be used in the services of the ancestral temple.
[15. ]Confucius’ very humble estimate of himself. Compare VII. ii; but the things which Confucius here disclaims are of a still lower character than those there mentioned. Very remarkable is the last, as from the sage.
[16. ]How Confucius was affected by a running stream. What does the it in the translation refer to? The construction of the sentence indicates something in the sage’s mind, suggested by the ceaseless movement of the water. Choo He makes it “our course of nature.” Others say “events,” “the things of time.” Probably Choo He is correct. Compare Mencius, IV. Pt II. xviii.
[17. ]The rarity of a sincere love of virtue.
[18. ]That learners should not cease nor intermit their labours. This is a fragment like many other chapters, of some conversation, and the subject thus illustrated must be supplied, after the modern commentators, as in the translation; or, after the old, by “the following of virtue.” See the Shoo-king, Pt V. Bk V. ix., where the subject is virtuous consistency. The lesson of the chapter is—that repeated acquisitions individually small will ultimately amount to much, and that the learner is never to give over.
[19. ]Hwuy the earnest student.
[20. ]Confucius’ fond recollection of Hwuy as a model student.
[21. ]It is the end which crowns the work.
[22. ]How and why a youth should be regarded with respect. The same person is spoken of throughout the chapter. With Confucius’ remark compare that of John Trebonius, Luther’s schoolmaster at Eisenach, who used to raise his cap to his pupils on entering the schoolroom, and gave as the reason—“There are among these boys men of whom God will one day make burgomasters, chancellors, doctors, and magistrates. Although you do not yet see them with the badges of their dignity, it is right that you should treat them with respect.”
[23. ]The hopelessness of the case of those who assent and approve without reformation or serious thought.
[24. ] This is a repetition of part of I. viii.
[25. ]The will unsubduable.
[26. ]Tsze-loo’s brave contentment in poverty. but failure to seek the highest aims. 2. See the She-king. Pt I. Bk III. viii. 4. Tsze-loo was a man of impulse, with many fine points, but not sufficiently reflective.
[27. ]Men are known in times of adversity. “The last to lose their leaves,” may be regarded as a meiosis for their being evergreens.
[28. ]Sequences of wisdom, virtue, and bravery.
[29. ]How different individuals stop at different stages of progress. More literally rendered, this chapter would be—“It may be possible with some parties together to study, but it may not yet be possible with them to go on to principles,” &c.
[30. ]The necessity of reflection. 1. This is from one of the pieces of poetry which were not admitted into the She-king, and no more of it being preserved than what we have here, it is not altogether intelligible. 2. With this paragraph Choo He compares VII. 30.—The whole chapter is like the 20th of the last book, and suggests the thought of its being an addition by another hand to the original compilation.