Tag Archives: goodness

Analects Book 4: Overview

Book 4 of the Analects begins with an exploration of the meaning of goodness. Only people who practice it constantly in their daily lives without a desire for personal profit are able to enjoy true satisfaction and contentment. “Small-minded men” who only pursue it for personal gain will never be truly fulfilled and happy. Continue reading Analects Book 4: Overview

Analects Book 1: on goodness


Confucius never provides a single unified definition of what he means by goodness (仁/rén) – the supreme value that he believed everyone should aspire to reach – in The Analects. Instead, he explores its many different facets throughout the text, either with simple statements or in response to questions from his disciples and contemporaries. Continue reading Analects Book 1: on goodness

Analects Book 4 presentation

As with Book 2 and Book 3, Confucius dominates Book 4 of the Analects with the curious exceptions of Chapter XV and Chapter XXVI. The only plausible explanation for these two anomalies is that they were slipped in by an unscrupulous or careless editor.  Continue reading Analects Book 4 presentation

Zizhang gets a kicking

Ziyou said: “My friend Zizhang is a man of great ability, but he has not yet achieved goodness.”

Zengzi said: “Zizhang is so full of himself that it is difficult to cultivate goodness by his side.”

I presume that it wasn’t an editorial accident that these two put-downs of Zizhang are paired together. Continue reading Zizhang gets a kicking

Stay on the highway

Zixia said: “Although there’s a lot to see when you stroll along the byways, you risk getting get stuck in the mud if you have to travel far. That is why a leader should avoid them.”

Zixia said: “If you recognize day by day what you still need to learn and don’t forget month by month what you have already learned, you truly love learning!”

Zixia said: “Expand your learning and stick firmly to your purpose; question everything and reflect deeply: this is how you find goodness.”

Zixia said: “Artisans of all types live in their workshops to master their trade. A leader learns to master the Way.”

In contrast with the extroverted Zizhang, Zixia was one of the more conventional, some might say pedantic, disciples of Confucius. He had no time for fripperies and was relentlessly focused on the application of the teachings of his master by both himself and the students who joined his school. Continue reading Stay on the highway