Book III: Pa Yih

Chapter 1


Confucius’s indignation at the usurpation of royal rites.
Confucius said of the head of the Chî family, who had eight rows of pantomimes in his area, “If he can bear to do this, what may he not bear to do?”

Chapter 2

  三家者以《雍》徹 。子曰:“‘相維辟公,天子穆穆’,奚取於三家之堂?”

Again against usurped rites.
The three families used the YUNG ode, while the vessels were being removed, at the conclusion of the sacrifice. The Master said, “‘Assisting are the princes;– the son of heaven looks profound and grave’;– what application can these words have in the hall of the three families?”

Chapter 3


Ceremonies and music vain without virtue.
The Master said, “If a man be without the virtues proper to humanity, what has he to do with the rites of propriety? If a man be without the virtues proper to humanity, what has he to do with music?”

Chapter 4


The object of ceremonies should regulate them:– against formalism.
1. Lin Fang asked what was the first thing to be attended to in ceremonies.

2. The Master said, “A great question indeed!

3. “In festive ceremonies, it is better to be sparing than extravagant. In the ceremonies of mourning, it is better that there be deep sorrow than a minute attention to observances.”

Chapter 5


The anarchy of Confucius’s time.
The Master said, “The rude tribes of the east and north have their princes, and are not like the States of our great land which are without them.”

Chapter 6


子謂冉有曰:“女弗能救與?” 對曰:“不能。”


On the folly of usurped sacrifices.
The chief of the Chî family was about to sacrifice to the T’ai mountain. The Master said to Zan Yû, “Can you not save him from this?” He answered, “I cannot.” Confucius said, “Alas! will you say that the T’âi mountain is not so discerning as Lin Fang?”

Chapter 7


The superior man avoids all contentious striving.
The Master said, “The student of virtue has no contentions. If it be said he cannot avoid them, shall this be in archery? But he bows complaisantly to his competitors; thus he ascends the hall, descends, and exacts the forfeit of drinking. In his contention, he is still the Chün-tsze.”

Chapter 8





Ceremonies are secondary and merely ornamental.
1. Tsze-hsiâ asked, saying, “What is the meaning of the passage — ‘The pretty dimples of her artful smile! The well-defined black and white of her eye! The plain ground for the colors?'”

2. The Master said, “The business of laying on the colors follows (the preparation of) the plain ground.”

3. “Ceremonies then are a subsequent thing?” The Master said, “It is Shang who can bring out my meaning. Now I can begin to talk about the odes with him.”

Chapter 9


The decay of the monuments of antiquity.
The Master said, “I could describe the ceremonies of the Hsiâ dynasty, but Chî cannot sufficiently attest my words. I could describe the ceremonies of the Yin dynasty, but Sung cannot sufficiently attest my words. (They cannot do so) because of the insufficiency of their records and wise men. If those were sufficient, I could adduce them in support of my words.”

Chapter 10


The sage’s dissatisfaction at the want of propriety in ceremonies.
The Master said, “At the great sacrifice, after the pouring out of the libation, I have no wish to look on.”

Chapter 11

  或問禘之說。子曰:“不知也。知其說者之於天下也,其如示諸斯乎!” 指其掌。

The profound meaning of the great sacrifice.
Some one asked the meaning of the great sacrifice. The Master said, “I do not know. He who knew its meaning would find it as easy to govern the kingdom as to look on this” — pointing to his palm.

Chapter 12


Confucius’s own sincerity in sacrificing.
1. He sacrificed to the dead, as if they were present. He sacrificed to the spirits, as if the spirits were present.

2. The Master said, “I consider my not being present at the sacrifice, as if I did not sacrifice.”

Chapter 13


That there is no resource against the consequences of violating the right.
1. Wang-sun Chiâ asked, saying, “What is the meaning of the saying, ‘It is better to pay court to the furnace than to the southwest corner?'”

2. The Master said, “Not so. He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he can pray.”

Chapter 14


The completeness and elegance of the institutions of the Châu dynasty.
The Master said, “Châu had the advantage of viewing the two past dynasties. How complete and elegant are its regulations! I follow Châu.”

Chapter 15




Confucius in the grand temple.
The Master, when he entered the grand temple, asked about everything. Some one said, “Who say that the son of the man of Tsâu knows the rules of propriety! He has entered the grand temple and asks about everything.” The Master heard the remark, and said, “This is a rule of propriety.”

Chapter 16


How the ancients made archery a discipline of virtue.
The Master said, “In archery it is not going through the leather which is the principal thing;– because people’s strength is not equal. This was the old way.”

Chapter 17



How Confucius cleaved to ancient rites.
1. Tsze-kung wished to do away with the offering of a sheep connected with the inauguration of the first day of each month.

2. The Master said, “Ts’ze, you love the sheep; I love the ceremony.”

Chapter 18


How the princes should be served:– against the spirit of the times.
The Master said, “The full observance of the rules of propriety in serving one’s prince is accounted by people to be flattery.”

Chapter 19



The guiding principles in the relation of prince and minister.
The duke Ting asked how a prince should employ his ministers, and how ministers should serve their prince. Confucius replied, “A prince should employ his minister according to according to the rules of propriety; ministers should serve their prince with faithfulness.”

Chapter 20


The praise of the first of the odes.
The Master said, “The Kwan Tsü is expressive of enjoyment without being licentious, and of grief without being hurtfully excessive.”

Chapter 21




A rash reply of Tsai Wo about the altars to the spirits of the land, and lament of Confucius thereon.
1. The duke Âi asked Tsâi Wo about the altars of the spirits of the land. Tsâi Wo replied, “The Hsiâ sovereign planted the pine tree about them; the men of the Yin planted the cypress; and the men of the Châu planted the chestnut tree, meaning thereby to cause the people to be in awe.”

2. When the Master heard it, he said, “Things that are done, it is needless to speak about; things that have had their course, it is needless to remonstrate about; things that are past, it is needless to blame.”

Chapter 22






Confucius’s opinion of Kwan Chung:– against him.
1. The Master said, “Small indeed was the capacity of Kwan Chung!”

2. Some one said, “Was Kwan Chung parsimonious?” “Kwan,” was the reply, “had the San Kwei, and his officers performed no double duties; how can he be considered parsimonious?”

3. “Then, did Kwan Chung know the rules of propriety?” The Master said, “The princes of States have a screen intercepting the view at their gates. Kwan had likewise a screen at his gate. The princes of States on any friendly meeting between two of them, had a stand on which to place their inverted cups. Kwan had also such a stand. If Kwan knew the rules of propriety, who does not know them?”

Chapter 23


On the playing of music.
The Master instructing the Grand music master of Lü said, “How to play music may be known. At the commencement of the piece, all the parts should sound together. As it proceeds, they should be in harmony while severally distinct and flowing without break, and thus on to the conclusion.”

Chapter 24




A stranger’s view of the vocation of Confucius.
The border warden at I requested to be introduced to the Master, saying, “When men of superior virtue have come to this, I have never been denied the privilege of seeing them.” The followers of the sage introduced him, and when he came out from the interview, he said, “My friends, why are you distressed by your master’s loss of office? The kingdom has long been without the principles of truth and right; Heaven is going to use your master as a bell with its wooden tongue.”

Chapter 25



The comparative merits of the music of Shun and Wû.
The Master said of the Shâo that it was perfectly beautiful and also perfectly good. He said of the Wû that it was perfectly beautiful but not perfectly good.

Chapter 26


The disregard of what is essential vitiates all services.
The Master said, “High station filled without indulgent generosity; ceremonies performed without reverence; mourning conducted without sorrow;– wherewith should I contemplate such ways?”


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