Book II: Wei Chang
The influence of virtue in a ruler.
The Master said, “He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.”
The pure design of the Book of Poetry.
The Master said, “In the Book of Poetry are three hundred pieces, but the design of them all may be embraced in one sentence — ‘Having no depraved thoughts.'”
How rulers should prefer moral appliances.
1. The Master said, “If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame.
2. “If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of shame, and moreover will become good.”
Confucius’s own account of his gradual progress and attainments.
1. The Master said, “At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning.
2. “At thirty, I stood firm.
3. “At forty, I had no doubts.
4. “At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven.
5. “At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth.
6. “At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without transgressing what was right.”
Filial piety must be shown according to the rules of propriety.
1. Mang Î asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “It is not being disobedient.”
2. Soon after, as Fan Ch’ih was driving him, the Master told him, saying, “Mang-sun asked me what filial piety was, and I answered him, — ‘not being disobedient.'”
3. Fan Ch’ih said, “What did you mean?” The Master replied, “That parents, when alive, be served according to propriety; that, when dead, they should be buried according to propriety; and that they should be sacrificed to according to propriety.”
The anxiety of parents about their children an argument for filial piety.
Mang Wû asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “Parents are anxious lest their children should be sick.”
How there must be reverence in filial duty.
Tsze-yû asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “The filial piety nowadays means the support of one’s parents. But dogs and horses likewise are able to do something in the way of support;– without reverence, what is there to distinguish the one support given from the other?”
The duties of filial piety must be performed with a cheerful countenance.
Tsze-hsiâ asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “The difficulty is with the countenance. If, when their elders have any troublesome affairs, the young take the toil of them, and if, when the young have wine and food, they set them before their elders, is THIS to be considered filial piety?”
The quiet receptivity of the disciple Hûi.
The Master said, “I have talked with Hûi for a whole day, and he has not made any objection to anything I said;– as if he were stupid. He has retired, and I have examined his conduct when away from me, and found him able to illustrate my teachings. Hûi! — He is not stupid.”
How to determine the characters of men.
1. The Master said, “See what a man does.
2. “Mark his motives.
3. “Examine in what things he rests.
4. “How can a man conceal his character? How can a man conceal his character?”
To be able to teach others one must from his old stores be continually developing things new.
The Master said, “If a man keeps cherishing his old knowledge, so as continually to be acquiring new, he may be a teacher of others.”
The general aptitude of the Chün-tsze.
The Master said, “The accomplished scholar is not a utensil.”
How with the superior man words follow actions.
Tsze-kung asked what constituted the superior man. The Master said, “He acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions.”
The difference between the Chün-tsze and the small man.
The Master said, “The superior man is catholic and not partisan. The mean man is partisan and not catholic.”
In learning, reading and thought must be combined.
The Master said, “Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.”
Strange doctrines are not to be studied.
The Master said, “The study of strange doctrines is injurious indeed!”
There should be no pretense in the profession of knowledge, or the denial of ignorance.
The Master said, “Yû, shall I teach you what knowledge is? When you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it;– this is knowledge.”
The end in learning should be one’s own improvement, and not emolument.
1. Tsze-chang was learning with a view to official emolument.
2. The Master said, “Hear much and put aside the points of which you stand in doubt, while you speak cautiously at the same time of the others:– then you will afford few occasions for blame. See much and put aside the things which seem perilous, while you are cautious at the same time in carrying the others into practice:– then you will have few occasions for repentance. When one gives few occasions for blame in his words, and few occasions for repentance in his conduct, he is in the way to get emolument.”
How a prince by the right employment of his officers may secure the real submission of his subjects.
The Duke Âi asked, saying, “What should be done in order to secure the submission of the people?” Confucius replied, “Advance the upright and set aside the crooked, then the people will submit. Advance the crooked and set aside the upright, then the people will not submit.”
Example in superiors is more powerful than force.
Chî K’ang asked how to cause the people to reverence their ruler, to be faithful to him, and to go on to nerve themselves to virtue. The Master said, “Let him preside over them with gravity;– then they will reverence him. Let him be final and kind to all;– then they will be faithful to him. Let him advance the good and teach the incompetent;– then they will eagerly seek to be virtuous.”
Confucius’s explanation of his not being in any office.
1. Some one addressed Confucius, saying, “Sir, why are you not engaged in the government?”
2. The Master said, “What does the Shû-ching say of filial piety? — ‘You are final, you discharge your brotherly duties. these qualities are displayed in government.’ This then also constitutes the exercise of government. Why must there be THAT — making one be in the government?”
The necessity to a man of being truthful and sincere.
The Master said, “I do not know how a man without truthfulness is to get on. How can a large carriage be made to go without the crossbar for yoking the oxen to, or a small carriage without the arrangement for yoking the horses?”
The great principles governing society are unchangable.
1. Tsze-chang asked whether the affairs of ten ages after could be known.
2. Confucius said, “The Yin dynasty followed the regulations of the Hsiâ: wherein it took from or added to them may be known. The Châu dynasty has followed the regulations of Yin: wherein it took from or added to them may be known. Some other may follow the Châu, but though it should be at the distance of a hundred ages, its affairs may be known.”
Neither in sacrifice nor in any other practice may a man do anything but what is right.
1. The Master said, “For a man to sacrifice to a spirit which does not belong to him is flattery.
2. “To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage.”