Confucius and the music master

師冕見。及階,子曰:「階也!」及席,子曰:「席也!」皆坐,子告之曰:「某在斯!某在斯!」師冕出,子張問曰:「與師言之道與?」子曰:「然,固相師之道也。」
Mian, the (blind) music master, came to visit. When he reached the steps, Confucius said: “Mind the steps.” When he reached the mat, Confucius said: “Here is the mat.” When everyone was seated, Confucius told him: “This person is here; that person is there.” After the music master had left, Zizhang asked: “Is this the way to talk to a music master?” Confucius said: “Yes, this is the way to assist a music master.”

Music masters in ancient China were traditionally blind. Confucius greets Mian with the greatest respect and anticipates his each and every need in order to make his visit as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

This, Confucius reminds his disciple Zizhang, who questions the great solicitude he showed Mian, is how all guests should be treated.

This brings my translation of Book 15 of the Analects to a close. You can read the full translation here.

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