Analects Book 1: Confucius in his own words

Happy Chinese New Year of the Rooster! It looks like we have some interesting times ahead of us. I’ve been taking advantage of the holiday to clean up my translation of The Analects and organize the materials into a book.

Here is a collection of the quotes of Confucius found in Book 1 of The Analects, as well as a link to a SlideShare download.  You can also download the complete translation of Book 1 here:

Book 1, Chapter I
Book 1, Chapter III
Book 1, Chapter V
Book 1, Chapter VI
Book 1, Chapter VIII
Book 1, Chapter XI
Book 1, Chapter XIV
Book 1, Chapter XV
Book 1, Chapter XVI

Chapter I
Confucius said: “To learn something and apply it at the appropriate time: isn’t this wonderful? To have friends visit from afar: isn’t this delightful? To remain unconcerned when others don’t recognize your talents: isn’t this the mark of a leader?”

Chapter III
Confucius said: “Smooth talk and an affected manner are seldom signs of goodness.”

Chapter V
Confucius said: “To govern a medium-size country, you must pay strict attention to its affairs and fulfill your promises; be economical and love your people; and only mobilize them for labor at the right times of the year.”

Chapter VI
Confucius said: “At home, a young man should respect his parents. Outside, he should respect his elders; talk little but truthfully; and love everyone but only associate with those who are good. If he still has time and energy to spare after all this, he can study the cultural arts.”

Chapter VIII
Confucius said: “If a leader isn’t serious he will inspire no awe and lack a solid foundation for learning. Hold loyalty and trustworthiness as your highest principles; don’t make friends with people who are not your equal; and when you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to correct yourself.”

Chapter XI
Confucius said: “When the father is alive, observe his son’s intentions. When the father is dead, watch his son’s conduct. If he has not deviated from his father’s path after three years he may be called a dutiful son.”

Chapter XIV
Confucius said: “A leader eats without stuffing his belly; chooses a home without demanding comfort; is quick to act but careful in what he says; and keeps the company of others who possess the Way so that he can be corrected by them. This is what it means to truly love learning.”

Chapter XV
Zigong said: “’Poor but not subservient; wealthy but not arrogant.’ What do you think of that?” Confucius said: “Not bad, but this would be better still: ‘Poor but content; wealthy but loves ritual.’” Zigong said: “In the Book of Songs it is said: ‘Like carving and polishing stones, like cutting and grinding gems.’ Is this not the same idea?” Confucius said: “Wonderful, Zigong! At last I can discuss the Book of Songs with you! I only have to tell you what came before, and you can work out what comes next!”

Chapter XVI
Confucius said: “Don’t be concerned if people fail to recognize your merits; be concerned that you may fail to recognize theirs.”


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