Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK XVI. * - The Chinese Classics: Vol. 1. The Life and Teachings of Confucius (Analects, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean)
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BOOK XVI. * - 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 head of the Ke family was going to attack Chuen-vu.
2. Yen Yew and Ke Loo had an interview with Confucius, and said, “Our chief, Ke, is going to commence operations against Chuen-yu.”
3. Confucius said, “K‘ew, is it not you who are in fault here?
4. “Now, in regard to Chuen-yu, long ago, a former king appointed it to preside over the sacrifices to the eastern Mung; moreover, it is in the midst of the territory of our State; and its ruler is a minister in direct connection with the emperor:—What has your chief to do with attacking it?”
5. Yen Yew said, “Our master wishes the thing; neither of us two ministers wishes it.”
6. Confucius said, “K‘ew, there are the words of Chow Jin,—‘When he can put forth his ability, he takes his place in the ranks of office; when he finds himself unable to do so, he retires from it. How can he be used as a guide to a blind man, who does not support him when tottering, nor raise him up when fallen?”
7. “And further, you speak wrongly. When a tiger or wild bull escapes from his cage; when a tortoise or gem is injured in its repository:—whose is the fault?”
8. Yen Yew said, “But at present, Chuen-yu is strong and near to Pe; if our chief do not now take it, it will hereafter be a sorrow to his descendants.”
9. Confucius said, “K‘ew, the superior man hates that declining to say—‘I want such and such a thing,’ and framing explanations for the conduct.
10. “I have heard that rulers of states and chiefs of families are not troubled lest their people should be few, but are troubled lest they should not keep their several places; that they are not troubled with fears of poverty, but are troubled with fears of a want of contented repose among the people in their several places. For when the people keep their several places, there will be no poverty; when harmony prevails, there will be no scarcity of people; and when there is such a contented repose, there will be no rebellious upsettings.
11. “So it is. Therefore, if remoter people are not submissive, all the influences of civil culture and virtue are to be cultivated to attract them to be so; and when they have been so attracted, they must be made contented and tranquil.
12. “Now, here are you, Yew and K‘ew, assisting your chief. Remoter people are not submissive, and, even with your help, he cannot attract them to him. In his own territory there are divisions and downfalls, leavings and separations, and, with your help, he cannot preserve it.
13. “And yet he is planning these hostile movements within our State.—I am afraid that the sorrow of the Ke-sun family will not be on account of Chuen-yu, but will be found within the screen of their own court.”
II.1. Confucius said, “When good government prevails in the empire, ceremonies, music, and punitive military expeditions, proceed from the emperor. When bad government prevails in the empire, ceremonies, music, and punitive military expeditions proceed from the princes. When these things proceed from the princes, as a rule, the cases will be few in which they do not lose their power in ten generations. When they proceed from the great officers of the princes, as a rule, the cases will be few in which they do not lose their power in five generations. When the subsidiary ministers of the great officers hold in their grasp the orders of the kingdom, as a rule, the cases will be few in which they do not lose their power in three generations.
2. “When right principles prevail in the empire, government will not be in the hands of the great officers.
3. “When right principles prevail in the empire, there will be no discussions among the common people.”
III. Confucius said, “The revenue of the State has left the ducal house, now for five generations. The government has been in the hands of the great officers for four generations. On this account, the descendants of the three Hwan are much reduced.”
IV. Confucius said, “There are three friendships which are advantageous, and three which are injurious. Friendship with the upright; friendship with the sincere; and friendship with the man of much observation:—these are advantageous. Friendship with the man of specious airs; friendship with the insinuatingly soft; and friendship with the glib-tongued:—these are injurious.”
V. Confucius said, “There are three things men find enjoyment in which are advantageous, and three things they find enjoyment in which are injurious. To find enjoyment in the discriminating study of ceremonies and music; to find enjoyment in speaking of the goodness of others; to find enjoyment in having many worthy friends:—these are advantageous. To find enjoyment in extravagant pleasures; to find enjoyment in idleness and sauntering; to find enjoyment in the pleasures of feasting:—these are injurious.”
VI. Confucius said, “There are three errors to which they who stand in the presence of a man of virtue and station are liable. They may speak when it does not come to them to speak,—this is called rashness. They may not speak when it comes to them to speak;—this is called concealment. They may speak without looking at the countenance of their superior;—this is called blindness.”
VII. Confucius said, “There are three things which the superior man guards against. In youth, when the physical powers are not yet settled, he guards against lust. When he is strong, and the physical powers are full of vigour, he guards against quarrelsomeness. When he is old, and the animal powers are decayed, he guards against covetousness.”
VIII.1. Confucius said, “There are three things of which the superior man stands in awe. He stands in awe of the ordinances of Heaven. He stands in awe of great men. He stands in awe of the words of sages.
2. “The mean man does not know the ordinances of Heaven, and consequently does not stand in awe of them. He is disrespectful to great men. He makes sport of the words of sages.”
IX. Confucius said, “Those who are born with the possession of knowledge are the highest class of men. Those who learn, and so, readily, get possession of knowledge, are the next. Those who are dull and stupid, and yet compass the learning, are another class next to these. As to those who are dull and stupid and yet do not learn;—they are the lowest of the people.”
X. Confucius said, “The superior man has nine things which are subjects with him of thoughtful consideration. In regard to the use of his eyes, he is anxious to see clearly. In regard to the use of his ears, he is anxious to hear distinctly. In regard to his countenance, he is anxious that it should be benign. In regard to his demeanour, he is anxious that it should be respectful. In regard to his speech, he is anxious that it should be sincere. In regard to his doing of business, he is anxious that it should be reverently careful. In regard to what he doubts about, he is anxious to question others. When he is angry, he thinks of the difficulties his anger may involve him in. When he sees gain to be got, he thinks of righteousness.”
XI.1. Confucius said, “Contemplating good, and pursuing it, as if they could not reach it; contemplating evil, and shrinking from it, as they would from thrusting the hand into boiling water:—I have seen such men, as I have heard such words.
2. “Living in retirement to study their aims, and practising righteousness to carry out their principles:—I have heard these words, but I have not seen such men.”
XII.1. The Duke King of Ts‘e had a thousand teams, each of four horses, but on the day of his death, the people did not praise him for a single virtue. P‘ih-e and Shuh-ts‘e died of hunger at the foot of the Show-yang mountain, and the people, down to the present time, praise them.
2. “Is not that saying illustrated by this?”
XIII.1. Ch‘in K‘ang asked Pih-yu, saying, “Have you heard any lessons from your father different from what we have all heard?”
2. Pih-yu replied, “No. He was standing alone once, when I passed below the hall with hasty steps, and said to me, ‘Have you learned the Odes?’ On my replying ‘Not yet,’ he added, ‘If you do not learn the Odes, you will not be fit to converse with.’ I retired and studied the Odes.
3. “Another day, he was in the same way standing alone, when I passed by below the hall with hasty steps, and he said to me, ‘Have you learned the rules of Propriety?’ On my replying ‘Not yet,’ he added, ‘If you do not learn the rules of Propriety, your character cannot be established.’ I then retired, and studied the rules of Propriety.
4. “I have heard only these two things from him.”
5. Ch‘in K‘ang retired, and, quite delighted, said, “I asked one thing, and I have got three things. I have heard about the Odes. I have heard about the rules of Propriety. I have also heard that the superior man maintains a distant reserve towards his son.”
XIV. The wife of the prince of a State is called by him foo-jin. She calls herself seaou t‘ung. The people of the State call her keun foo-jin, and, to the people of other States, they call her k‘wa seaou keun. The people of other States also call her keun foo-jin.
[* ]Heading and subjects of this book. “The chief of the Ke.” Throughout this book, Confucius is spoken of as “K‘ung, the philosopher,” and never by the designation, “The Master.” Then, the style of several of the chapters (IV.—XI.) is not like the utterances of Confucius to which we have been accustomed. From these circumstances, one commentator. Hung Kwŏh, supposed that it belonged to the Ts‘e recensus of these analects; the other books belonging to the Loo recensus. This supposition, however, is not otherwise supported.
[1. ]Confucius exposes the presumptuous and impolitic conduct of the chief of the Ke family in proposing to attack a minor State. and rebukes Yen Yew and Tsze-loo for abetting the design. 1. Chuen-yu was a small territory in Loo, whose ruler was of the fourth order of nobility. It was one of the States called “attached,” whose chiefs could not appear in the presence of the emperor, excepting in the train of the prince within whose jurisdiction they were embraced. Their existence was not from a practice like the sub-infeudation, which belonged to the feudal system of Europe. They held of the lord paramount or emperor, but with the restriction which has been mentioned, and with a certain subservience also to their immediate superior. Its particular position is fixed by its proximity to Pe, and to the Mung hill. The word “to attack,” is not merely “to attack,” but “to attack and punish,”—an exercise of judicial authority, which could emanate only from the emperor. The term is used here, to show the nefarious and presumptuous character of the contemplated operations. 2. There is some difficulty here, as, according to the “Historical Records,” the two disciples were not in the service of the Ke family at the same time. We may suppose, however, that Tsze-loo, returning with the sage from Wei on the invitation of Duke Gae, took service a second time, and for a short period, with the Ke family, of which the chief was then Ke K‘ang. This brings the time of the transaction to bc 483, or 482. 3. Confucius addresses himself only to K‘ew, as he had been a considerable time, and very active, in the Ke service. 4. It was the prerogative of the princes to sacrifice to the hills and rivers within their jurisdictions;—here was the chief of Chuen-yu, imperially appointed (the “former king” is probably Ch‘ing, the second emperor of the Chow dynasty) to be the lord of the Mung mountain, that is, to preside over the sacrifices offered to it. This raised him high above any mere ministers or officers of Loo. The mountain Mung is in the present district of Pe, in the department of E-chow. It was called eastern, to distinguish it from another of the same name in Shen-se, which was the western Mung. “It is in the midst of the territory of our State,”—this is mentioned, to show that Chuen-yu was so situated as to give Loo no occasion for apprehension. “Its ruler is a minister in direct connection with the emperor” is, literally, “a minister of the altars to the spirits of the land and grain.” To those spirits only, the prince had the prerogative of sacrificing. The chief of Chuen-yu having this, how dared an officer of Loo to think of attacking him? The term “minister” is used of his relation to the emperor. Choo He makes the phrase = “a minister of the ducal house,” saying that the three families had usurped all the dominions proper of Loo, leaving only the chiefs of the “attached” States to appear in the ducal court. I prefer the former interpretation 6. Chow Jin is by Choo He simply called—“a good historiographer of ancient times.” Some trace him back to the Shang dynasty, and others only to the early times of the Chow. There are other weighty utterances of his in vogue, besides that in the text. From this point, Confucius speaks of the general disorganization of Loo under the management of the three families, and especially of the Ke. 12. All this is to be understood of the head of the Ke family, as controlling the government of Loo and as being assisted by the two disciples, so that the reproof falls heavily on them. 13. “Within the screen of their own court” is, literally, “in the inside of the wall of reverence.” “Officers, on reaching the screen, which they had only to pass, to find themselves in the presence of their head, were supposed to become more reverential,” and hence the expression in the text—“among his own immediate officers.”
[2. ]The supreme authority ought ever to maintain its power. The violation of this rule always leads to ruin, which is speedier as the rank of the violator is lower. In these utterances, Confucius had reference to the disorganized state of the empire, when “the son of Heaven” was fast becoming an empty name, the princes of States were in bondage to their great officers, and those again at the mercy of their family ministers.
[3. ]Illustration of the principles of the last chapter. In the year bc 608, at the death of Duke Wan, his rightful heir was killed, and the son of a concubine raised to the dukedom. He is in the annals as Duke Seuen, and after him came Shing, Seang, Ch‘aou, and Ting, in whose time this must have been spoken. These dukes were but shadows, pensionaries of their great officers, so that it might be said the revenue had gone from them. “The three Hwan” are the three families, as being all descended from Duke Hwan, see on II. v. Choo He appears to have fallen into a mistake in enumerating the four heads of the Ke family who had administered the government of Loo as Woo, Taou, P‘ing, and Hwan, as Taou died before his father, and would not be said therefore to have the government in his hands. The right enumeration is Wăn, Woo, P‘ing, and Hwan.
[4. ]Three friendships advantageous, and three injurious.
[5. ]Three sources of enjoyment advantageous, and three injurious.
[6. ]Three errors in regard to speech to be avoided in the presence of the great. “Without looking at the countenance,”—i.e., to see whether he is paying attention or not.—The general principle is that there is a time to speak. Let that be observed, and these three errors will be avoided.
[7. ]The vices which youth, manhood and age have to guard against. As to what causal relation Confucius may have supposed to exist between the state of the physical powers and the several vices indicated, that is not developed. Hing Ping explains the first caution thus:—“Youth embraces all the period below 29. Then, the physical powers are still weak, and the sinews and bones have not reached their vigour, and indulgence in lust will injure the body.”
[8. ]Contrast of the superior and the mean man in regard to the three things of which the former stands in awe. “The ordinances of Heaven,” according to Choo He, means the moral nature of man, conferred by Heaven. High above the nature of other creatures, it lays him under great responsibility to cherish and cultivate himself. The old interpreters take the phrase to indicate Heaven’s moral administration by rewards and punishments. The “great men” are men high in position and great in wisdom and virtue, the royal instructors, who have been raised up by Heaven for the training and ruling of mankind. So, the commentators; but the verb employed suggests at once a more general and a lower view of the phrase.
[9. ]Four classes of men in relation to knowledge. On the first clause, see on VII. xix., where Confucius disclaims for himself being ranked in the first of the classes here mentioned. In the concluding words, “They are the lowest of the people,” I suppose “the people”=men. The term is elsewhere so used.
[10. ]Nine subjects of thought to the superior man:—various instances of the way in which he regulates himself. The conciseness of the text contrasts here with the verbosity of the translation, and yet the many words of the latter seem necessary.
[11. ]The contemporaries of Confucius could eschew evil, and follow after good, but no one of the highest capacity had appeared among them. 1. The two first clauses here, and in the next paragraph also, are quotations of old sayings, current in Confucius’ time. Such men were several of the sage’s own disciples. 2. “To study their aims” is, literally, “seeking for their aims;” i.e., meditating on them, studying them, fixing them, to be prepared to carry them out, as in the next clause. Such men among the ancients were the great ministers E-Yin and T‘ae-kung. Such might the disciple Yen Hwuy have been, but an early death snatched him away before he could have an opportunity of showing what was in him.
[12. ]Wealth without virtue and virtue without wealth:—their different appreciations. This chapter is plainly a fragment. As it stands, it would appear to come from the compilers and not from Confucius. Then the second paragraph implies a reference to something which has been lost. Under XII. x., I have referred to the proposal to transfer to this place the last paragraph of that chapter, which might be explained so as to harmonize with the sentiment of this.—The Duke King of Ts‘e,—see XII. xi. Pih-e and Shuh-ts‘e,—see VI. xxii. The mountain Show-yang is to be found probably in the department of P‘oochow in Shan-se.
[13. ]Confucius’ instruction of his son not different from his instruction of his disciples generally. Ch‘in K‘ang is the Tsze-k‘in of I. x. When Confucius’ eldest son was born, the duke of Loo sent the philosopher a present of a carp, on which account he named the child Le (the carp), and afterwards gave him the designation of Pih-yu (Fish, the elder).
[14. ]Appellations for the wife of a prince. This chapter may have been spoken by Confucius to rectity some disorder of the times, but there is no intimation to that effect. The different appellations may be thus explained:—“Wife” is “she who is her husband’s equal.” The designation foo-jin is equivalent to “help-meet.” The wife modestly calls herself Seaou-t‘ung, “the little girl.” The old interpreters take—most naturally—keun foo-jin as = “our prince’s help-meet,” but the modern commentators take keun to be a verb, with reference to the office of the wife to “preside over the internal economy of the palace.” On this view keun foo-jin is “the domestic help-meet.” The ambassador of a prince spoke of him by the style of k‘wa-keun, “my prince of small virtue.” After that example of modesty, his wife was styled to the people of other States, “our small prince of small virtue.” The people of other States had no reason to imitate her subjects in that, and so they styled her—“your prince’s help-meet,” or “the domestic help-meet.”