Analects of Confucius Book 6: new English translation

Read this new English translation of the Analects of Confucius Book 6 to learn more about the teachings of China’s most famous philosopher. It includes interesting insights into the characters and abilities of many of Confucius’s followers plus other contemporary and historical figures.

Chapter 1
子曰:「雍也可使南面。」
Confucius said: “Ran Yong could take a seat facing south.”

Chapter 2
仲弓問子桑伯子。子曰:「可也簡。」仲弓曰:「居敬而行簡,以臨其民,不亦可乎?居簡而行簡,無乃大簡乎?」子曰:「雍之言然。」
Ran Yong asked about Zisang Bozi. Confucius said: “He’s fine with his easygoing ways.” Ran Yong said: “Taking your duties seriously while being easygoing towards the people might be OK. But being easygoing towards yourself and the people is going too far. Am I right?” Confucius said: “You are right.”

Chapter 3
哀公問:「弟子孰為好學?」孔子對曰:「有顏回者好學,不遷怒,不貳過。不幸短命死矣,今也則亡,未聞好學者也。」
Duke Ai asked: “Which of your followers love learning?” Confucius replied: “There was Yan Hui who loved learning; he never vented his anger; he never made the same mistake again. Sadly, his allotted time was short and he died. I have not heard of anyone else with such a love of learning.”

Chapter 4
子華使於齊,冉子為其母請粟。子曰:「與之釜。」請益。曰:「與之庾。」冉子與之粟五秉。子曰:「赤之適齊也,乘肥馬,衣輕裘。吾聞之也:君子周急不繼富。」
When Gongxi Chi was sent on a mission to the state of Qi, Ran Qiu requested an allowance of grain for Gongxi’s mother. Confucius said: “She should receive a measure.” When Ran Qiu asked for more, Confucius said: “She should receive a double measure.” Ran Qiu gave her five double measures. Confucius said: “Gongxi Chi is traveling to Qi with sleek horses and fine furs. I’ve always heard that a leader helps those in need; he does not make the rich even richer.”

Chapter 5
原思為之宰,與之粟九百,辭。子曰:「毋!以與爾鄰里鄉黨乎!」
Yuan Xian became Confucius’s steward and was offered a salary of nine hundred measures of grain but declined it. Confucius said: “Please don’t! Surely you can give it to your neighbors and the people in your village.”

Chapter 6
子謂仲弓,曰:「犁牛之子騂且角,雖欲勿用,山川其舍諸?」
Confucius said of Ran Yong: “Some might hesitate to choose the offspring of a plow ox for a sacrifice, but if a bullock has fine horns and sports a ruddy coat would the spirits of the hills and rivers reject it?”

Chapter 7
子曰:「回也,其心三月不違仁,其餘則日月至焉而已矣。」
Confucius said: “Ah! Yan Hui could focus his mind solely on goodness for three months, whereas others can manage only a day or a month.”

Chapter 8
季康子問:「仲由可使從政也與?」子曰:「由也果,於從政乎何有?」曰:「賜也可使從政也與?」曰:「賜也達,於從政乎何有?」曰:「求也可使從政也與?」曰:「求也藝,於從政乎何有?」
Ji Kangzi asked: “Is Zilu fit for government office?” Confucius said: “Zilu is resolute. Why isn’t he fit for government office?” Ji Kangzi asked again: “Is Zigong fit for government office?” Confucius said: “Zigong is intelligent. Why isn’t he fit for government office?” Ji Kangzi asked again: “Is Ran Qiu fit to be appointed to government office?” Confucius said: “Ran Qiu has many talents. Why isn’t he fit for government office?”

Chapter 9
季氏使閔子騫為費宰。閔子騫曰:「善為我辭焉!如有復我者,則吾必在汶上矣。」
When the head of the Ji Family sent an invitation to Min Ziqian to become governor of the town of Bi, he replied to the messenger: “Please convey my regrets. If anyone comes with a second invitation, I will be obliged to go and live on the other side of the River Wen.”

Chapter 10
伯牛有疾,子問之,自牖執其手,曰:「亡之,命矣夫!斯人也,而有斯疾也!斯人也,而有斯疾也!」
When Boniu fell ill, Confucius went to enquire after him. Holding Boniu’s hand through the window, he said: “He is dying. Such is fate, alas! That such a man should have an illness like this! That such a man should have an illness like this!”

Chapter 11
子曰:「賢哉,回也!一簞食,一瓢飲,在陋巷,人不堪其憂,回也不改其樂。賢哉,回也!」
Confucius said: “Yan Hui was so admirable! A handful of rice to eat, a gourd of water to drink, a hovel in a mean street to live in: while others would have been unable to endure such misery, Yan Hui never let it make any difference to his happiness. Yan Hui was so admirable!”

Chapter 12
冉求曰:「非不說子之道,力不足也。」子曰:「力不足者,中道而廢。今女畫。」
Ran Qiu said: “It’s not that I don’t enjoy the way of the Master, but I don’t have the strength to follow it.” Confucius said: “If you don’t have enough strength you can always give up halfway. But you’ve already given up before you’ve even started.”

Chapter 13
子謂子夏曰:「女為君子儒!無為小人儒!」
Confucius said to Zixia: “Be a refined scholar, not a common pedant.”

Chapter 14
子游為武城宰。子曰:「女得人焉爾乎?」曰:「有澹臺滅明者,行不由徑,非公事,未嘗至於偃之室也。」
When Ziyou became governor of Wucheng, Confucius asked him: “Have you managed to find any good people there?” He replied: “There’s one called Tantai Mieming. He takes no shortcuts and has never visited me at home except on official business.”

Chapter 15
子曰:「孟之反不伐,奔而殿,將入門,策其馬,曰:「『非敢後也,馬不進也。』」
Confucius said: “Meng Zhifan isn’t given to boasting. When he and his soldiers were in retreat, he stayed with the rearguard. It was only when they reached the city gate that he spurred his horse and said: ‘It wasn’t courage that kept me at the rear. My horse wouldn’t run.’”

Chapter 16
子曰:「不有祝鮀之佞,而有宋朝之美,難乎免於今之世矣。」
Confucius said: “It’s difficult to survive in an age like ours without the smooth tongue of Zhu Tuo and the good looks of Song Chao.”

Chapter 17
子曰:「誰能出不由戶?何莫由斯道也?」
Confucius said: “Who would leave a house except through the gateway? Why is it that nobody follows the way?”

Chapter 18
子曰:「質勝文則野,文勝質則史。文質彬彬,然後君子。」
Confucius said: “When native substance wins out over cultural refinement, you get the coarseness of a peasant; when cultural refinement wins out over natural substance, you get the pedantry of a clerk. Only when native substance and cultural refinement are in balance do you get a leader.”

Chapter 19
子曰:「人之生也直,罔之生也幸而免。」
Confucius said: “If you take the right path, you’ll enjoy a happy life. If you deviate from it, the only way that you’ll enjoy a happy life will be out of sheer luck.”

Chapter 20
子曰:「知之者不如好之者,好之者不如樂之者。」
Confucius said: “Those who know the way are not the equal of those who love it; those who love the way are not the equal of those who take joy in it.”

Chapter 21
子曰:「中人以上,可以語上也;中人以下,不可以語上也。」
Confucius said: “You can discuss advanced topics with people of above-average intelligence; but it’s pointless to discuss them with people of below-average intelligence.”

Chapter 22
樊遲問知。子曰:「務民之義,敬鬼神而遠之,可謂知矣。」問仁。曰:「仁者先難而後獲,可謂仁矣。」
Fan Chi asked about wisdom. Confucius said: “Do what is right for the common people; respect the spirits and gods but keep them at a distance. This is wisdom.” Fan Chi asked about goodness. Confucius said: “A good man is first in line to confront difficulties and last in line to collect rewards. This is goodness.”

Chapter 23
子曰:「知者樂水,仁者樂山。知者動,仁者靜。知者樂,仁者壽。」
Confucius said: “The wise love water, the good love mountains. The wise are active, the good are tranquil. The wise are joyful, the good enjoy long life.”

Chapter 24
子曰:「齊一變,至於魯;魯一變,至於道。」
Confucius said: “With a single reform, the state of Qi could reach the level of the state of Lu; with a single reform, the state of Lu could reach the way.”

Chapter 25
子曰:「觚不觚,觚哉!觚哉!」
Confucius said: “A cornered chalice without any corners. How can that be called a cornered chalice? How can that be called a cornered chalice?”

Chapter 26
宰我問曰:「仁者,雖告之曰,『井有仁焉。』其從之也?」子曰:「何為其然也?君子可逝也,不可陷也;可欺也,不可罔也。」
Zai Yu asked: “If a good person was told that someone lies at the bottom of a well, should they jump in after them?” Confucius said: “Why should they? A leader be enticed down the wrong path but not into a trap; they can be deceived, but not made a fool of.”

Chapter 27
子曰:「君子博學於文,約之以禮,亦可以弗畔矣夫!」
Confucius said: “A leader who expands their learning through culture and keeps their behavior in check through ritual is unlikely to go wrong.”

Chapter 28
子見南子,子路不說。夫子矢之曰:「予所否者,天厭之!天厭之!」
Confucius went to see Nanzi (the concubine of Duke Ling of Wei). Zilu was not happy. Confucius swore: “If I have done wrong, may Heaven punish me! May Heaven punish me!”

Chapter 29
子曰:「中庸之為德也,其至矣乎!民鮮久矣。」
Confucius said: “Achieving the golden mean is the highest level of virtue. It’s been rare among the people for a long time.”

Chapter 30
子貢曰:「如有博施於民,而能濟眾,何如?可謂仁乎?」子曰:「何事於仁,必也聖乎!堯舜其猶病諸!夫仁者,己欲立而立人,己欲達而達人。能近取譬,可謂仁之方也已。」
Zigong said: “What about someone who acts generously towards the people and benefits the masses? Could that be described as goodness?” Confucius said: “Why stop at calling it goodness? It could be defined as perfection. Even Yao and Shun wouldn’t be able to match it! Good people help others get on their feet while establishing their own career; they help others to achieve their goals while achieving their own objectives. By standing in other people’s shoes, it can be said that they’re on the right track to goodness.” 

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