1. The Master said, To learn and then do, is not that a pleasure? When friends come from afar do we not rejoice? To live unknown and not fret, is not that to be a gentleman?
2. Yu-tzu said. Few men that are good sons and good brothers are fond of withstanding those over them. A man that is not fond of withstanding those over him and is yet fond of broils is nowhere found. A gentleman heeds the roots. When the root has taken, the Way is born. And to be a good son and a good brother, is not that the root of love?
3. The Master said, Smooth words and fawning looks are seldom found with love.
4. Tseng-tzu said, Thrice daily I ask myself: In dealing for others, have I been unfaithful? Have I been untrue to friends? Do I practise what I preach?
5. The Master said, To guide a land of a thousand chariots, honour business and be true; spend little and love men; time thy calls on the people.
6. The Master said, The young should be dutiful at home, modest abroad, careful and true, overflowing in kindness for all, but in brotherhood with love. And if they have strength to spare they should spend it on the arts.
7. Tzu-hsia said, If a man eschews beauty and honours worth, if he serves his father and mother with all his strength, if he is ready to give his life for his lord, and keeps faith with his friends, though others may say he has no learning, I must call him learned.
8. The Master said, A gentleman will not be looked up to unless he is staid, nor will his learning be sound. Put faithfulness and truth first; have no friends unlike thyself; be not ashamed to mend thy faults.
9. Tseng-tzu said, Heed the dead, follow up the past, and the soul of the people will again grow great.
10. Tzu-ch'in said to Tzu-kung, When he comes to a country the Master always hears how it is governed; does he ask, or is it told him?
Tzu-kung said, The Master gets it by his warmth and honesty, by politeness, modesty and yielding. The way the Master asks is unlike other men's asking.
11. The Master said, Whilst thy father lives look for his purpose; when he is gone, look how he walked. To change nothing in thy father's ways for three years may be called pious.
12, Yu-tzu said, To behave with ease is the best part of courtesy. This was the beauty of the old kings' ways; this they followed in small and great. But knowing this, it will not do to give way to ease, unchecked by courtesy. This too is wrong.
13. Yu-tzu said, If pledges are close to right, word can be kept. If attentions are close to courtesy, shame will be kept far. If we do not choose our leaders wrong, we may worship them too.
14. The Master said, A gentleman that does not seek to eat his fill, nor look for ease in his home, who is earnest at work and careful of speech, who walks with those that keep the Way, and is guided by them, may be said to love learning.
15. Tzu-kung said, Poor, but no flatterer; rich, but not proud: how would that be?
It would do, said the Master; but better still were poor but merry; rich, but loving courtesy.
Tzu-kung said, When the poem says:
If ye cut, if ye file, If ye polish and grind, is that what is meant?
The Master said, Now I can begin to talk of poetry to Tz'u. Tell him what is gone, and he knows what shall come.
16. The Master said, Not to be known is no sorrow. My sorrow is not knowing men.
[2-8] A disciple.
Return to the The Sayings of Confucius Summary Return to the Confucius Library