Analects of Confucius, Book 15

Chapter I
Duke Ling of Wei asked Confucius about military tactics. Confucius replied: “Although I have experience in handling ritual vessels, I have never studied military matters.” He left the next day.

Chapter II
In Chen, the food supplies were exhausted. His disciples became so weak that they could not rise to their feet. Zilu came to him and said indignantly: “How is it possible for a leader to be brought to such dire straits?” Confucius said: “A leader stays resolute in even the direst of straits but only a petty person loses his cool about it.”

Chapter III
Confucius said: “Zigong, do you take me for someone who learns a lot and then stores it all up in my head?” Zigong replied: “Yes, is that not the case?” Confucius said: “No. I weave it all together into a single thread.”

Chapter IV
Confucius said: “Zilu, there only a very few people who understand virtue.”

Chapter V
Confucius said: “If there was a ruler who achieved order through effortless action it was Shun, wasn’t it? How did he do it? He composed himself with reverence and sat facing south. That was all.”

Chapter VI
Zizhang asked about getting on in the world. Confucius said: “If your words are sincere and trustworthy and your actions are honorable and respectful, you will get on in the world even among the barbarian tribes. If your words are insincere and untrustworthy, if you act without honor and respect, how can you possibly get on in the world even in your own village? When you stand, you should always have this principle in front of you. When you drive you should have it carved upon the yoke of your carriage; only then will you truly be able to move ahead.” Zizhang wrote this down on his sash.

Chapter VII
Confucius said: “Shi Yu is truly a man of principle! When the Way prevails in the state, he is as straight as an arrow; when the Way doesn’t prevail in the state, he is as straight as an arrow. Qu Boyu is a true leader! When the Way prevails in the state, he serves as an official; when the Way doesn’t prevail in the state, he folds up his principles and hides them in his breast.”

Chapter VIII
Confucius said: “To fail to speak with someone who is open to what you have to say is to let the person go to waste; to speak with someone who is not open to what you have to say is to let your words go to waste. A wise person never lets people or words go to waste.”

Chapter IX
Confucius said: “Men of purpose and men of goodness do not seek to live on at the expense of goodness; there are times when they will sacrifice their lives in order to make their goodness complete.”

Chapter X
Zigong asked how to practice goodness. Confucius said: “A craftsman who wishes to do outstanding work must first sharpen his tools. No matter which state you settle in, offer your services to the wisest ministers and make friends with others who cultivate goodness.”

Chapter XI
When Yan Hui asked how to govern a state, Confucius said: “Observe the calendar of the Xia Dynasty; ride in the chariot of Yin Dynasty; wear the ceremonial cap of the Zhou Dynasty. As for music, follow the Coronation Hymn of Shun and the Victory Hymn of Wu. Ban the music of Zheng. Stay away from smooth talkers. The music of Zheng corrupts. Smooth talkers are dangerous.”

Chapter XII
Confucius said: “A man who doesn’t think about the future is sure to have worries much closer at hand.”

Chapter XIII
Confucius said: “I give up! I’ve never seen anyone who loves virtue as much as physical beauty.”

Chapter XIV
Confucius said: “Zang Wenzhong stole his position! He knew that Liuxia Hui had great ability but wouldn’t share the position with him.”

Chapter XV
Confucius said: “If you demand a lot from yourself but little from others, you will keep clear from resentment.”

Chapter XVI
Confucius said: “I can do nothing for people who don’t ask themselves ‘What should I do? What should I do?’”

Chapter XVII
Confucius said: “I can’t stand people who can spend a whole day together indulging in idle chatter without ever reaching a deeper truth.”

Chapter XVIII
Confucius said: “A leader takes rightness as his essence, practices it in conformity with the rites, enacts it with humility, and faithfully brings it to fruition. This is how a leader behaves.”

Chapter XIX
Confucius said: “A leader is distressed by his own lack of ability; he is never distressed at the failure of others to recognize him.”

Chapter XX
Confucius said: “A leader hates the thought of leaving this world without having made a name for himself.”

Chapter XXI
Confucius said: “A leader makes demands on himself; a petty person makes demands on others.”

Chapter XXII
Confucius said: “A leader is proud without being contentious and sociable without taking sides.”

Chapter XXIII
Confucius said: “A leader doesn’t promote someone simply because of what they say, nor does he dismiss what is said because of the person who said it.”

Chapter XXIV
Zigong asked: “Is there one single word that can guide you through your entire life?” Confucius said: “Should it not be reciprocity? Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.”

Chapter XXV
Confucius said: “In my dealings with people, do I ever praise or blame anyone excessively? If I praise anyone, it is only after they have been put to the test. It is because the common people acted in the same way that the Three Dynasties kept to the straight path.”

Chapter XXVI
Confucius said: “Even when I was young scribes would leave a blank space if they were unsure of what to write and people who owned horses would lend them to others to ride. Nowadays such practices have disappeared.”

Chapter XXVII
Confucius said: “Smooth talk confounds virtue. Impatience in small matters confounds great plans.”

Chapter XXVIII
Confucius said: “If everyone hates someone, you should investigate that person further. If everyone loves someone, you should investigate that person further.”

Chapter XXIX
Confucius said: “People can enrich the Way; the Way cannot enrich people.”

Chapter XXX
Confucius said: “To make a mistake and not correct it is to make a mistake indeed.”

Chapter XXXI
Confucius said: “I once spent a whole day without eating and a whole night without sleeping in order to think. I gained nothing from this; it was nowhere near as useful as studying.”

Chapter XXXII
Confucius said: “A leader is devoted to seeking the Way – not just a living. Even if you plough the fields there’s a chance you may still go hungry. If you apply yourself to learning, there’s a chance you may find an official position. A leader is concerned about finding the Way; he isn’t concerned about poverty.”

Chapter XXXIII
子曰:「知及之,仁不能守之,雖得之,必失之。知及之,仁能守之,不莊以 之,則民不敬。知及之,仁能守之,莊以 之,動之不以禮,未善也。」
Confucius said: “Power acquired through knowledge that cannot be maintained through goodness will inevitably be lost. Power acquired through knowledge and maintained through goodness will not be respected by the people if it is not exerted with dignity. Power acquired through knowledge, maintained through goodness, and exerted with dignity is still not perfect if it is not implemented in accordance with the rites.”

Chapter XXXIV
Confucius said: “A leader is incapable of focusing on minor matters but can be trusted to undertake great tasks. A petty person cannot be entrusted to undertake great tasks, but is capable of focusing on minor matters.”

Chapter XXXV
Confucius said: “Goodness is even more vital to the common people than water and fire. I have seen people step through water and fire and die; I have yet to see anyone step through goodness and die.”

Chapter XXXVI
Confucius said: “In the pursuit of goodness do not defer even to your teacher.”

Chapter XXXVII
Confucius said: “A leader is principled but not pedantic.”

Confucius said: “In serving your ruler, your devotion to duty should come before any consideration of your salary.”

Chapter XXXIX
Confucius said: “Education is for everybody.”

Chapter XL
Confucius said: “There’s no point in taking counsel from people following a different Way.”

Chapter XLI
Confucius said: “As long as the words you use are enough to communicate your meaning, that’s enough.”

Chapter XLII
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.”

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