Zigong wished to do away with the sacrifice of a sheep for the ceremony welcoming the new moon. Confucius said: “You love the sheep; I love the rites.”
What is more important: the life of a sheep or the preservation of a centuries-old Zhou Dynasty ritual? For Confucius it’s obviously the latter, but I side with Zigong and the sheep here.
Throughout the Analects, it’s always Confucius who gets the last word in on any topic of conversation. I wish the compilers had made an exception in this case. I would love to know whether Zigong stood up to him on this and continued to fight for the life of the sheep.