Book VI: Yung Yêy

Chapter 1






The characters of Zan Yung and Tsze-sang Po-tsze, as regards their aptitude for government.
1. The Master said, “There is Yung! — He might occupy the place of a prince.”

2. Chung-kung asked about Tsze-sang Po-tsze. The Master said, ” He may pass. He does not mind small matters.”

3. Chung-kung said, “If a man cherish in himself a reverential feeling of the necessity of attention to business, though he may be easy in small matters in his government of the people, that may be allowed. But if he cherish in himself that easy feeling, and also carry it out in his practice, is not such an easymode of procedure excessive?”

4. The Master said, “Yung’s words are right.”

Chapter 2



The rarity of a true love to learn. Hûi’s superiority to the other disciples.
1. The Duke Ai asked which of the disciples loved to learn.

2. Confucius replied to him, “There was Yen Hûi; HE loved to learn. He did not transfer his anger; he did not repeat a fault. Unfortunately, his appointed time was short and he died; and now there is not such another. I have not yet heard of any one who loves to learn as he did.”

Chapter 3










Discrimination of Confucius in rewarding or salarying officers.
1. Tsze-hwâ being employed on a mission to Ch’î, the disciple Zan requested grain for his mother. The Master said, “Give her a fû.” Yen requested more. “Give her an yü,” said the Master. Yen gave her five ping.

2. The Master said, “When Ch’ih was proceeding to Ch’î, he had fat horses to his carriage, and wore light furs. I have heard that a superior man helps the distressed, but does not add to the wealth of the rich.”

3. Yuan Sze being made governor of his town by the Master, he gave him nine hundred measures of grain, but Sze declined them.

4. The Master said, “Do not decline them. May you not give them away in the neighborhoods, hamlets, towns, and villages?”

Chapter 4


The vices of a father should not discredit a virtuous son.
The Master, speaking of Chung-kung, said, “If the calf of a brindled cow be red and horned, although men may not wish to use it, would the spirits of the mountains and rivers put it aside?”

Chapter 5


The superiority of Hûi to the other disciples.
The Master said, “Such was Hûi that for three months there would be nothing in his mind contrary to perfect virtue. The others may attain to this on some days or in some months, but nothing more.”

Chapter 6







The qualities of Tsze-lû, Tsze-kung, and Tsze-Yû, and their competency to assist in government.
Chî K’ang asked about Chung-yû, whether he was fit to be employed as an officer of government. The Master said, “Yû is a man of decision; what difficulty would he find in being an officer of government?” K’ang asked, “Is Ts’ze fit to be employed as an officer of government?” and was answered, “Ts’ze is a man of intelligence; what difficulty would he find in being an officer of government?” And to the same question about Ch’iû the Master gave the same reply, saying, “Ch’iû is a man of various ability.”

Chapter 7



Min Tsze-ch’ien refuses to serve the Chî family.
The chief of the Chî family sent to ask Min Tsze-ch’ien to be governor of Pî. Min Tszech’ien said, “Decline the offer for me politely. If any one come again to me with a second invitation, I shall be obliged to go and live on the banks of the Wan.”

Chapter 8



Lament of Confucius over the mortal sickness of Po-niû.
Po-niû being ill, the Master went to ask for him. He took hold of his hand through the window, and said, “It is killing him. It is the appointment of Heaven, alas! That such a man should have such a sickness! That such a man should have such a sickness!”

Chapter 9


The happiness of Hûi independent of his poverty.
The Master said, “Admirable indeed was the virtue of Hûi! With a single bamboo dish of rice, a single gourd dish of drink, and living in his mean narrow lane, while others could not have endured the distress, he did not allow his joy to be affected by it. Admirable indeed was the virtue of Hûi!”

Chapter 10



A high aim and perseverance proper to a student.
Yen Ch’iû said, “It is not that I do not delight in your doctrines, but my strength is insufficient.” The Master said, “Those whose strength is insufficient give over in the middle of the way but now you limit yourself.”

Chapter 11


How learning should be pursued.
The Master said to Tsze-hsiâ, “Do you be a scholar after the style of the superior man, and not after that of the mean man.”

Chapter 12




The character of Tan-tâi Mieh-ming.
Tsze-yû being governor of Wû-ch’ang, the Master said to him, “Have you got good men there?” He answered, “There is Tan-t’âi Mieh-ming, who never in walking takes a short cut, and never comes to my office, excepting on public business.”

Chapter 13


The virtue of Mang Chih-fan in concealing his merit.
The Master said, “Mang Chih-fan does not boast of his merit. Being in the rear on an occasion of flight, when they were about to enter the gate, he whipped up his horse, saying, ‘It is not that I dare to be last. My horse would not advance.'”

Chapter 14


The degeneracy of the age esteeming glibness of tongue and beauty of person.
The Master said, “Without the specious speech of the litanist T’o and the beauty of the prince Châo of Sung, it is difficult to escape in the present age.”

Chapter 15


A lament over the waywardness of men’s conduct.
The Master said, “Who can go out but by the door? How is it that men will not walk according to these ways?”

Chapter 16


The equal blending of solid excellence and ornamental accomplishments in a complete character.
The Master said, “Where the solid qualities are in excess of accomplishments, we have rusticity; where the accomplishments are in excess of the solid qualities, we have the manners of a clerk. When the accomplishments and solid qualities are equally blended, we then have the man of virtue.”

Chapter 17


Life without uprightness is not true life, and cannot be calculated on.
The Master said, “Man is born for uprightness. If a man lose his uprightness, and yet live, his escape from death is the effect of mere good fortune.”

Chapter 18


Different stages of attainment.
The Master said, “They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it.”

Chapter 19


Teachers must be guided in communicating knowledge by the susceptivity of the learners.
The Master said, “To those whose talents are above mediocrity, the highest subjects may be announced. To those who are below mediocrity, the highest subjects may not be announced.”

Chapter 20





Chief elements in wisdom and virtue.
Fan Ch’ih asked what constituted wisdom. The Master said, “To give one’s self earnestly to the duties due to men, and, while respecting spiritual beings, to keep aloof from them, may be called wisdom.” He asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, “The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success only a subsequent consideration;– this may be called perfect virtue.”

Chapter 21


Contrasts of the wise and the virtuous.
The Master said, “The wise find pleasure in water; the virtuous find pleasure in hills. The wise are active; the virtuous are tranquil. The wise are joyful; the virtuous are long-lived.”

Chapter 22


The condition of the States Chî and Lû.
The Master said, “Ch’î, by one change, would come to the State of Lû. Lû, by one change, would come to a State where true principles predominated.”

Chapter 23


The name without the reality is folly.
The Master said, “A cornered vessel without corners. — A strange cornered vessel! A strange cornered vessel!”

Chapter 24



The benevolent exercise their benevolence with prudence.
Tsâi Wo asked, saying, “A benevolent man, though it be told him, — ‘There is a man in the well” will go in after him, I suppose.” Confucius said, “Why should he do so? A superior man may be made to go to the well, but he cannot be made to go down into it. He may be imposed upon, but he cannot be fooled.”

Chapter 25


The happy effect of learning and propriety combined.
The Master said, “The superior man, extensively studying all learning, and keeping himself under the restraint of the rules of propriety, may thus likewise not overstep what is right.”

Chapter 26



Confucius vindicates himself for visiting the unworthy Nan-tsze.
The Master having visited Nan-tsze, Tsze-lû was displeased, on which the Master swore, saying, “Wherein I have done improperly, may Heaven reject me! may Heaven reject me!”

Chapter 27


The defective practice of of the people in Confucius’s time.
The Master said, “Perfect is the virtue which is according to the Constant Mean! Rare for a long time has been its practice among the people.”


Chapter 28



The true nature and art of virtue.
1. Tsze-kung said, “Suppose the case of a man extensively conferring benefits on the people, and able to assist all, what would you say of him? Might he be called perfectly virtuous?” The Master said, “Why speak only of virtue in connection with him? Must he not have the qualities of a sage? Even Yâo and Shun were still solicitous about this.

2. “Now the man of perfect virtue, wishing to be established himself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged himself, he seeks also to enlarge others.

3. “To be able to judge of others by what is nigh in ourselves;– this may be called the art of virtue.”


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