Read this new English translation of the Analects of Confucius Book 18 to learn more about the teachings of China’s most famous philosopher.
The Lord of Wei fled from Zhouxin, the Lord of Ji became his slave, and Bi Gan was executed for remonstrating with him. Confucius said: “The Yin Dynasty had three good men.”
Liuxia Hui was dismissed three times as a magistrate. People said. “Why don’t you go elsewhere?” He replied: “If I stick to the principles of justice where would I not suffer the same fate? If I am to violate the principles of justice, why would I need to leave the land of my parents?”
Duke Jing of Qi was preparing to receive Confucius and said: “I cannot accord him the same level treatment as the Ji family receives. I shall treat him at a level between the Ji family and the Meng family.” Then he said: “I am too old. I cannot employ him.” Confucius left.
The people of the state of Qi sent a troupe of singing and dancing girls as a gift to the state of Lu. Ji Huanzi accepted them and, for three days, he did not attend court. Confucius left.
Jieyu, the Madman of Chu, walked past Confucius singing: “Phoenix, oh Phoenix! How your virtue has withered. The past is beyond repair, but the future is still worth pursuing. Give up! Give up! Those who serve in court are in peril.” Confucius stepped down from his chariot and wanted to speak with him, but he hurried away and disappeared. Confucius did not succeed in speaking with him.
Changju and Jieni were plowing the fields together. Confucius passed by and sent Zilu to ask where the ford was. Changju said: “Who is in the chariot?” Zilu said: “Confucius.” “Confucius from Lu?” “Yes.” “Then he already knows where the ford is.” Zilu then asked Jieni the same question. He replied: “Who are you?” “I am Zilu.” “The disciple of Confucius from Lu?” “Yes.” “The whole world is inundated by the same flood. Who can reverse its flow? Instead of following someone who keeps fleeing from one man to the next, wouldn’t you be better off following a man who has forsaken the world?” All the while he kept on harrowing the field without stopping. Zilu went back and reported the incident to Confucius. With a furrowed brow, Confucius sighed: “I can’t associate with the birds and beasts. If I can’t associate with men, who can I associate with? If the world were following the Way, I would not have to try to reform it.”
Zilu fell behind while traveling with Confucius. He met an old man who was carrying a basket hanging from his staff over his shoulder. Zilu asked him: “Have you seen my master?” The old man said: “You don’t toil with your four limbs, and you can’t even distinguish between the five types of grain. Who is your master?” He planted his staff in the ground and started weeding. Zilu stood respectfully, his hands clasped in front of him. The old man invited him to stay with him overnight, killed a chicken and cooked some millet for him to eat, and introduced his two sons to him. The next day, Zilu resumed his journey and reported to Confucius. Confucius said: “The man you met is a hermit.” He sent Zilu back to see the old man, but when he reached his place Zilu found that the old man had gone. Zilu said: “It is wrong to withdraw from public life. The codes that govern the rightful relationship between the old and young cannot be discarded. How can the rightful relationship between ruler and subject be discarded? You cannot disrupt the most basic human relationships just to preserve your purity. A leader takes office and performs his rightful duties even if he already knows that the Way will not prevail.”
Men who withdrew from the world: Boyi, Shuqi, Yuzhong, Yiyi, Zhuzhang, Liuxia Hui, Shaolian. Confucius said: “They never compromised their ideals and never allowed themselves to be disgraced. Doesn’t this sum up the characters of Boyi and Shuqi?” On Liuxia Hui and Shaolian, he commented: “They compromised their ideals and allowed themselves to be disgraced, but they spoke with reason and acted with prudence.” On Yuzhong and Yiyi, he said. “They lived as hermits and spoke freely. They remained pure in body and retired from public life discretely. As for me, I am different: I have no rules about what is permissible or not.”
Zhi, the grand music master, left for Qi. Guan, musician for the second course, left for Chu. Liao, musician for the third course, left for Cai. Que, musician for the fourth course, left for Qin. Fangshi, the drummer, crossed the river. Wu, the hand drummer, crossed the Han River. Yang, the grand music master’s deputy, and Xiang, who played the stone chimes, crossed the sea.
The Duke of Zhou said to his son, the Duke of Lu: “A leader does not neglect his relatives, nor does he give his ministers the opportunity to complain that his advice is not heeded. He does not dismiss old retainers without serious cause, nor does he demand all-round perfection in a single individual.”
The Zhou Dynasty had eight scholar-officials: Boda, Boshi, Zhongtu, Zhonghu, Shuye, Shuxia, Jisui, and Jigua.