Let battle commence!

子張曰:「士見危致命,見得思義,祭思敬,喪思哀,其可已矣。」
Zizhang said: “A scholar-official who is ready to give his life when faced with danger; who does the right thing when presented with an opportunity of profit; who shows due reverence when carrying out a sacrifice, and who truly grieves when in mourning. Such a man is acceptable.”

Confucius doesn’t appear in Book 19 of the Analects at all. He is already dead, and his disciples have started battling it out for control of his legacy by putting their own spin on his teachings.

Confucius had originally hoped that his favorite disciple Yan Hui would be his successor, but after his untimely death the sage couldn’t bring himself to choose anyone else to carry his mantle. Not surprisingly, this led to intense rivalry and ideological battles between his disciples as they maneuvered to take over the leadership of the group.

Although Zizhang sets out his stall with this attempt here to define the qualities expected of a scholar-official provides, his voice is very quickly overwhelmed by the fireworks that are set off between Zigong and Zixia. Let the battle commence!

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