Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK XII. * - The Chinese Classics: Vol. 1. The Life and Teachings of Confucius (Analects, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean)
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BOOK XII. * - 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. Yen Yuen asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, “To subdue one’s self and return to propriety, is perfect virtue. If a man can for one day subdue himself and return to propriety, all under heaven will ascribe perfect virtue to him. Is the practice of perfect virtue from a man himself, or is it from others?”
2. Yen Yuen said, “I beg to ask the steps of that process.” The Master replied, “Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety.” Yen Yuen then said, “Though I am deficient in intelligence and vigour, I will make it my business to practise this lesson.”
II. Chung-kung asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, “It is, when you go abroad, to behave to every one as if you were receiving a great guest; to employ the people as if you were assisting at a great sacrifice; not to do to others as you would not wish done to yourself; to have no murmuring against you in the country, and none in the family.” Chung-kung said, “Though I am deficient in intelligence and vigour, I will make it my business to practise this lesson.”
III.1. Sze-ma New asked about perfect virtue.
2. The Master said, “The man of perfect virtue is cautious and slow in his speech.”
3. “Cautious and slow in his speech!” said New;—“is this what is meant by perfect virtue?” The Master said, “When a man feels the difficulty of doing, can he be other than cautious and slow in speaking?”
IV.1. Sze-ma New asked about the superior man. The Master said, “The superior man has neither anxiety nor fear.”
2. “Being without anxiety or fear!” said New;—“does this constitute what we call the superior man?”
3. The Master said, “When internal examination discovers nothing wrong, what is there to be anxious about, what is there to fear?”
V.1. Sze-ma New, full of anxiety, said, “Other men all have their brothers, I only have not.”
2. Tsze-hea said to him, “There is the following saying which I have heard:—
3. “ ‘Death and life have their determined appointment; riches and honours depend upon Heaven.’
4. “Let the superior man never fail reverentially to order his own conduct, and let him be respectful to others and observant of propriety:—then all within the four seas will be his brothers. What has the superior man to do with being distressed because he has no brothers?”
VI. Tsze-chang asked what constituted intelligence. The Master said, “He with whom neither slander that gradually soaks into the mind, nor statements that startle like a wound in the flesh, are successful, may be called intelligent indeed. Yea, he with whom neither soaking slander, nor startling statements, are successful, may be called far-seeing.”
VII.1. Tsze-kung asked about government. The Master said, “The requisites of government (illegible) that there be sufficiency of food, sufficiency of military equipment, and the confidence of the people in their ruler.”
2. Tsze-kung said, “If it cannot be helped, and one of these must be dispensed with, which of the three should be foregone first?” “The military equipment,” said the Master.
3. Tsze-kung again asked, “If it cannot be helped, and one of the remaining two must be dispensed with, which of them should be foregone?” The Master answered, “Part with the food. From of old, death has been the lot of all men; but if the people have no faith in their rulers, there is no standing for the State.”
VIII.1. Kih Tsze-shing said, “In a superior man it is only the substantial qualities which are wanted;—why should we seek for ornamental accomplishments?”
2. Tsze-kung said, “Alas! Your words, sir, show you to be a superior man, but four horses cannot overtake the tongue.
“Ornament is as substance; substance is as ornament. The hide of a tiger or leopard stript of its hair is like the hide of a dog or goat stript of its hair.”
IX.1. The Duke Gae inquired of Yew Jŏ, saying, “The year is one of scarcity, and the returns for expenditure are not sufficient;—what is to done?”
2.Yew Jŏ replied to him, “Why not simply tithe the people.”
3. “With two tenths,” said the duke, “I find them not enough;—how could I do with that system of one tenth?”
4. Yew Jŏ answered, “If the people have plenty, their prince will not be left to want alone. If the people are in want, their prince cannot enjoy plenty alone.”
X.1. Tsze-chang having asked how virtue was to be exalted, and delusions to be discovered, the Master said, “Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles, and be moving continually to what is right;—this is the way to exalt one’s virtue.
2. “You love a man and wish him to live; you hate him and wish him to die. Having wished him to live, you also wish him to die. This is a case of delusion.
3. “ ‘It may not be on account of his being rich, yet you come to make a difference.’ ”
XI.1. The Duke King, of Ts‘e, asked Confucius about government.
2. Confucius replied, “There is government, when the prince is prince, and the minister is minister; when the father is father, and the son is son.”
3. “Good!” said the duke; “if, indeed, the prince be not prince, the minister not minister, the father not father, and the son not son, although I have my revenue, can I enjoy it?”
XII.1. The Master said, “Ah! it is Yew, who could with half a word settle litigations!”
2. Tsze-loo never slept over a promise.
XIII. The Master said, “In hearing litigations, I am like any other body. What is necessary, is to cause the people to have no litigations.”
XIV. Tsze-chang asked about government. The Master said, “The art of governing is to keep its affairs before the mind without weariness, and to practise them with undeviating consistency.”
XV. The Master said, “By extensively studying all learning, and keeping himself under the restraint of the rules of propriety, one may thus likewise not err from what is right.”
XVI. The Master said, “The superior man seeks to perfect the admirable qualities of men, and does not seek to perfect their bad qualities. The mean man does the opposite of this.”
XVII. Ke K‘ang asked Confucius about government. Confucius replied, “To govern means to rectify. If you lead on the people with correctness, who will dare not to be correct?”
XVIII. Ke K‘ang distressed about the number of thieves in the State, inquired of Confucius about how to do away with them. Confucius said, “If you, sir, were not covetous, although you should reward them to do it, they would not steal.
XIX. Ke K‘ang asked Confucius about government, saying, “What do you say to killing the unprincipled for the good of the principled?” Confucius replied, “Sir, in carrying on your government, why should you use killing at all? Let your evinced desires be for what is good, and the people will be good. The relation between superiors and inferiors is like that between the wind and the grass. The grass must bend when the wind blows across it.”
XX.1. Tsze-chang asked, “What must the officer be, who may be said to be distinguished?”
2. The Master said, “What is it you call being distinguished?”
3. Tsze-chang replied, “It is to be heard of through the State, to be heard of through the Family.”
4. The Master said, “That is notoriety, not distinction.
5. “Now, the man of distinction is solid and straightforward, and loves righteousness. He examines people’s words, and looks at their countenances. He is anxious to humble himself to others. Such a man will be distinguished in the country; he will be distinguished in the Family.
6. “As to the man of notoriety, he assumes the appearance of virtue, but his actions are opposed to it, and he rests in this character without any doubts about himself. Such a man will be heard of in the country; he will be heard of in the Family.”
XXI.1. Fan-ch‘e rambling with the Master under the trees about the rain-altars, said, “I venture to ask how to exalt virtue, to correct cherished evil, and to discover delusions.”
2. The Master said, “Truly a good question!
3. “If doing what is to be done be made the first business, and success a secondary consideration;—is not this the way to exalt virtue? To assail one’s own wickedness and not assail that of others;—is not this the way to correct cherished evil? For a morning’s anger, to disregard one’s own life, and involve that of one’s parents;—is not this a case of delusion?”
XXII.1. Fan Ch‘e asked about benevolence. The Master said, “It is to love all men.” He asked about knowledge. The Master said, “It is to know all men.”
2. Fan Ch‘e did not immediately understand these answers.
3. The Master said, “Employ the upright and put aside all the crooked;—in this way, the crooked can be made to be upright.”
4. Fan Ch‘e retired, and seeing Tsze-hea, he said to him, “A little ago, I had an interview with our Master, and asked him about knowledge. He said, ‘Employ the upright, and put aside all the crooked;—in this way, the crooked can be made to be upright.’ What did he mean?”
5. Tsze-hea said, “Truly rich is his saying!
6. “Shun, being in possession of the empire, selected from among all the people, and employed Kaou-yaou, on which all who were devoid of virtue disappeared. T‘ang being in possession of the empire, selected from among all the people, and employed E-Yin, and all who were devoid of virtue disappeared.”
XXIII. Tsze-kung asked about friendship. The Master said, “Faithfully admonish your friend, and kindly try to lead him. If you find him impracticable, stop. Do not disgrace yourself.”
XXIV. The philosopher Tsăng said, “The superior man on literary grounds meets with his friends, and by their friendship helps his virtue.”
[* ]Heading and subjects of this book. “Yen Yuen.” It contains twenty-four chapters, conveying lessons on perfect virtue, government, and other questions of morality and policy, addressed in conversation by Confucius chiefly to his disciples. The different answers given about the same subject to different questioners, show well how the sage suited his instructions to the characters and capacities of the parties with whom he had to do.
[1. ]How to attain to perfect virtue:—a conversation with Yen Yuen. 1. In Ho An “to subdue one’s self” is explained by “to restrain the body.” Choo He defines the “subdue” by “to overcome,” and the “self” by “the selfish desires of the body.” In one commentary it is said “self here is not exactly selfishness, but selfishness is what abides by being attached to the body, and hence it is said that selfishness is self.” And again, “To subdue one’s self is not subduing and putting away the self, but subduing and putting away the selfish desires in the self.” This “selfishness in the self” is of a three-fold character:—first, what is said by Morrison to be “a person’s natural constitution and disposition of mind:” it is, I think, very much the ψυχικὸς ἅνθρωπος or “animal man;” second, “the desires of the ears, the eyes, the mouth, the nose, i.e., the dominating influences of the senses: and third, “Thou and I,” i.e., the lust of superiority. More concisely the self is said to be “the mind of man” in opposition to the “mind of reason.” See the Shoo-king II. Bk II. xv. This refractory “mind of man,” it is said, is “innate,” or perhaps “connate.” In all these statements there is an acknowledgment of the fact—the morally abnormal condition of human nature—which underlies the Christian doctrine of original sin. With reference to the above three-fold classification of selfish desires, the second paragraph shows that it was the second order of them—the influence of the senses, which Confucius specially intended. We turn to propriety, see note on VIII. ii. The thing is not here ceremonies. Choo He defines it “the specific divisions and graces of heavenly principle or reason.” This is continually being departed from, on the impulse of selfishness, but there is an ideal of it as proper to man, which is to be sought—“returned to”—by overcoming that.
[2. ]Wherein perfect virtue is realized:—a conversation with Chung-kung. From this chapter, it appears that reverence and reciprocity, on the largest scale, are perfect virtue. “Ordering the people” is apt to be done with haughtiness. This part of the answer may be compared with the apostle’s precept—“Honour all men,” only the “all men” is much more comprehensive there.—The answer, the same as that of Hwuy in last chapter, seems to betray the hand of the compiler.
[3. ]Caution in speaking a characteristic of perfect virtue:—a conversation with Tsze-new. Tsze-new was the designation of Sze-ma Kang, whose tablet is now the seventh, east, in the outer range of the temples. He belonged to Sung, and was a brother of Hwan T‘uy, VII. xxii. Their ordinary surname was Heang, but that of Hwan could also be used by them, as they were descended from the duke so called. The office of “Master of the horse” had long been in the family, and that title appears here as if it were New’s surname.
[4. ]How the Keun-tsze has neither anxiety nor fear, conscious rectitude freeing from these.
[5. ]Consolation offered by Tsze-hea to Tsze-new anxious about the peril of his brother. 1. Tsze-new’s anxiety was occasioned by the conduct of his eldest brother, Hwan T‘uy, who, he knew, was contemplating rebellion, which would probably lead to his death. “All have their brothers,”—i.e., all can rest quietly without anxiety in their relation. 2. It is naturally supposed that the author of the observation was Confucius. 4. One writer says that the expression:—“all within the four seas are brothers,” “does not mean that all under heaven have the same genealogical register.” Choo He’s interpretation is that, when a man so acts, other men will love and respect him as a brother. This no doubt is the extent of the saying. I have found no satisfactory gloss on the phrase—“the four seas.” It is found in the Shoo-king the She-king, and the Le-ke. In the (illegible) Ya, a sort of Lexicon, very ancient, which was once reckoned among the king, it is explained as a territorial designation, the name of the dwelling-place of all the barbarous tribes. But the great Yu is represented as having made the four seas as four ditches, to which he drained the waters inundating “the middle kingdom.” Plainly, the ancient conception was of their own country as the great habitable tract, north, south, east, and west of which were four seas or oceans, between whose shores and their own borders the intervening space was not very great, and occupied by wild hordes of inferior races. Commentators consider Tsze-hea’s attempt at consolation altogether wide of the mark.
[6. ]What constitutes intelligence:—addressed to Tsze-chang. Tsze-chang, it is said, was always seeking to be wise about things lofty and distant, and therefore Confucius brings him back to things near at hand, which it was more necessary for him to attend to.
[7. ]Requisites in government:—a conversation with Tsze-chang. 3. The difficulty here is with the concluding clause which is literally. “No faith, not stand.” Transferring the meaning of faith or confidence from paragraph 1, we naturally render as in the translation, “the state will not stand.” This is the view, moreover, of the old interpreters. Choo He and his followers, however, seek to make much more of “faith.” On the first paragraph he comments,—“The granaries being full, and the military preparation complete, then let the influence of instruction proceed. So shall the people have faith in their ruler, and will not leave him or rebel.” On the third paragraph he says,—“If the people be without food, they must die, but death is the inevitable lot of men. If they are without faith though they live, they have not wherewith to establish themselves. It is better for them in such case to die. Therefore it is better for the ruler to die, not losing faith to his people, so that the people will prefer death rather than lose faith to him.”
[8. ]Substantial qualities and accomplishments in the Keun-tsze. 1. Tsze-shing was an officer of the state of Wei, and, distressed by the pursuit in the times of what was merely external, made this not sufficiently well-considered remark, to which Tsze-kung replied, in, according to Choo He, an equally one-sided manner. 3. The modern commentators seem hypercritical in condemning Tsze-kung’s language here. He shows the desirableness of the ornamental accomplishments, but does not necessarily put them on the same level with the substantial qualities.
[9. ]Light taxation the best way to secure the government from embarrassment for want of funds. 2. By the statutes of the Chow dynasty, the ground was divided into allotments cultivated in common by the families located upon them, and the produce was divided equally, nine tenths being given to the farmers, and one tenth being reserved as a contribution to the state. 3. A former duke of Loo, Seuen (bc 601—590), had imposed an additional tax of another tenth from each family’s portion. 4. The meaning of this paragraph is given in the translation. Literally rendered it is,—“The people having plenty, the prince—with whom not plenty? The people not having plenty, with whom can the prince have plenty?” Yew Jŏ wished to impress on the duke, that a sympathy and common condition should unite him and his people. If he lightened his taxation to the regular tithe, then they would cultivate their allotments with so much vigour, that his receipts would be abundant. They would be able, moreover, to help their kind ruler in any emergency.
[10. ]How to exalt virtue and discover delusions. 2. The Master says nothing about the “discriminating,” or “discovering,” of delusions, but gives an instance of a twofold delusion. Life and death, it is said, are independent of our wishes. To desire for a man either the one or the other, therefore, is one delusion. And on the change of our feelings to change our wishes in reference to the same person, is another. But in this Confucius hardly appears to be the sage. 3. See the Sheking, Pt II Bk IV. iv. 3. I have translated according to the meaning in the She-king. The quotation may be twisted into some sort of accordance with the preceding paragraph, as a case of delusion, but the commentator Ch‘ing is probably correct in supposing that it should be transferred to XVI. xii.
[11. ]Good government obtains only when all the relative duties are maintained. 1. Confucius went to Ts‘e in his thirty-sixth year, and finding the reigning duke—styled King after his death—overshadowed by his ministers, and thinking of setting aside his eldest son from the succession, he shaped his answer to the question about government accordingly.
[12. ]With what ease Tsze-loo could settle litigations. 1. We translate here—“could,” and not—“can,” because Confucius is not referring to facts, but simply praising the disciple’s character. 2. This paragraph is a note by the compilers, stating a fact about Tsze-loo, to illustrate what the Master said of him.
[13. ]To prevent better than to determine litigations. See the Great Learning, Commentary, IV. Little stress is to be laid on the “I.” The meaning simply=“One man is as good as another.” Much stress is to be laid on “to cause” as=“to influence to.”
[14. ]The art of governing.
[15. ]Hardly different from VI. xxv.
[16. ]Opposite influence upon others of the superior man and the mean man.
[17. ]Government moral in its end, and efficient by example.
[18. ]The people are made thieves by the example of their rulers. This is a good instance of Confucius’ boldness in reproving men in power. Ke K‘ang had confirmed himself as head of the Ke family, and entered into all its usurpations, by taking off the infant nephew, who should have been its rightful chief.
[19. ]Killing not to be talked of by rulers; the effect of their example.
[20. ]The man of true distinction, and the man of notoriety.
[21. ]How to exalt virtue, correct vice, and discover delusions. Compare chapter x. Here, as there, under the last point of the inquiry, Confucius simply indicates a case of delusion, and perhaps this is the best way to teach how to discover delusions generally.
[22. ]About benevolence and wisdom;—how knowledge subserves benevolence. Fan Ch‘e might well deem the Master’s replies enigmatical, and, with the help of Tsze-hea’s explanations, the student still finds it difficult to understand the chapter.—Shun and T‘ang showed their wisdom—their knowledge of men—in the selection of those ministers. That was their employment of the upright, and therefore all devoid of virtue disappeared. That was their making the crooked upright;—and so their love reached to all.
[23. ]Prudence in friendship.
[24. ]The friendship of the Keun-tsze. “On literary grounds,”—literally, “by means of letters,” i.e., common literary studies and pursuits.