Culture, conduct, loyalty, and trustworthiness


Confucius covered four subjects in his teaching: culture; conduct; loyalty; and trustworthiness.

This is passage is clearly linked to the previous chapter of Book 7. Note that out of the four subjects that Confucius taught, three were aimed at ensuring the correct behavior of an individual.

Loyalty (忠/zhōng) and trustworthiness (信/xìn) were the core of proper conduct (行/xíng), and governed an individual’s relationships with his family, ruler, officials, and friends. The study of culture (文/wén) was essential for learning the lessons of the past and hence avoiding committing the same mistakes as the ancients.

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