Prophet of 400 Million People (Sept. 29)

Prophet of 400 Million People
Confucius was a Chinese magistrate in 500 B.C. He lost the favor
of the Emperor and wandered from city to city, teaching and giving
counsel. After his death, Emperor and people alike bowed
before his shrine.
Read from SAYINGS OF CONFUCIUS Vol. 44, pp. 5-14

THE Master said: "In learning and straightway practising
is there not pleasure also ? When friends gather round from
afar do we not rejoice? Whom lack of fame cannot vex is
not he a gentleman?"
[2] Yu-tzu1 said: "A dutiful son and brother is seldom fond of
thwarting those over him: a man unwilling to thwart those over him
is never given to crime. A gentleman nurses the roots: when the
root has taken, the truth will grow; and what are the roots of love,
but the duty of son and of brother?"
[3] The Master said: "Honeyed words and flattering looks seldom
speak of love."
[4] Tseng-tzu1 said: "Thrice daily I ask myself: ‘Have I been unfaithful
in dealing for others? Have I been untrue to friends? Do
I practise what I preach?’"
[5] The Master said: "To guide a land of a thousand chariots,
honour business, be true and sparing, love the people, and time thy
claims upon them."
[6] The Master said: "The young should be dutiful at home,
modest abroad, heedful and true, full of goodwill for the many, close
friends with love; and should they have strength to spare, let them
spend it upon the arts."
[7] Tzu-hsia1 said: "If a man honour worth and forsake lust,
serve father and mother with all his strength, be ready to give his
life for the king, and keep faith with his friends; though men may
call him rude, I call him learned."
[8] The Master said: "Of a gentleman who is frivolous none stand
in awe, nor can his learning be sound. Make faithfulness and truth
1 Disciples.

thy masters: have no friends unlike thyself: be not ashamed to mend
thy faults."
[9] Tseng-tzu1 said: "Respect death and recall forefathers, the
good in men will again grow sturdy."
[10] Tzu-ch’in1 said to Tzu-kung1: "The Master, on coming to a
country, learns all about the government: does he ask, or is it told
Tzu-kung said: "The Master learns it by his warmth and honesty,
by politeness, modesty, and yielding. The way that the Master asks
is unlike other men’s asking."
[11] The Master said: "As long as his father lives a son should
study his wishes; after he is dead, he should study his life. If for
three years he do not forsake his father’s ways, he may be called
[12] Yu-tzu1 said: "In daily courtesy ease is of price. This was the
beauty of the old kings’ ways; this they followed in small and great.
But knowing this, it is not right to give way to ease, unchecked by
courtesy. This also is wrong."
[13] Yu-tzu said: "If promises hug the right, word can be kept: if
attentions are bounded by courtesy, shame will be banished: heroes
may be worshipped, if we choose them aright."
[14] The Master said: "A gentleman who is not a greedy eater,
nor a lover of ease at home, who is earnest in deed and careful of
speech, who seeks the righteous and profits by them, may be called
fond of learning."
[15] Tzu-kung said: "Poor, but no flatterer; rich, but not proud.
How were that?"
"Good," said the Master; "but better still were poor, yet merry;
rich, yet courteous."
Tzu-kung said: "Where the poem says:
‘If ye cut, if ye file,
If ye polish and grind’;
is that what is meant?"
The Master said: "Now I can talk of poetry to thee, Tz’u. Given
a clue, thou canst find the way."
1 Disciples.

[16] The Master said: "Not to be known should not grieve you:
grieve that ye know not men."
[i] THE Master said: "In governing, cleave to good; as the north
star holds his place, and the multitude of stars revolve upon him."
[2] The Master said: "To sum up the three hundred songs in a
word, they are free from evil thought."
[3] The Master said: "Guide the people by law, subdue them by
punishment; they may shun crime, but will be void of shame. Guide
them by example, subdue them by courtesy; they will learn shame,
and come to be good."
[4] The Master said: "At fifteen, I was bent on study; at thirty, I
could stand; at forty, doubts ceased; at fifty, I understood the laws
of Heaven; at sixty, my ears obeyed me; at seventy, I could do as
my heart lusted, and never swerve from right."
[5] Meng Yi asked the duty of a son.
The Master said: "Obedience."
As Fan Ch’ih1 was driving him, the Master said: "Mengsun2
asked me the duty of a son; I answered ‘Obedience.’ "
"What did ye mean?" said Fan Ch’ih.
"To serve our parents with courtesy whilst they live," said the
Master; "to bury them with all courtesy when they die; and to worship
them with all courtesy."
[6] Meng Wu asked the duty of a son.
The Master said: "What weighs on your father and mother is
concern for your health."
[7] Tzu-yu3 asked the duty of a son.
The Master said: "To-day a man is called dutiful if he keep his
father and mother. But we keep both our dogs and horses, and unless
we honour parents, is it not all one?"
[8] Tzu-hsia asked the duty of a son.
The Master said: "Our manner is the hard part. For the young
to be a stay in toil, and leave the wine and cakes to their elders, is
this to fulfil their duty?"
1 A disciple. 2 Meng Yi. 3 A disciple.

[9] The Master said: "If I talk all day to Hui,4 like a dullard, he
never stops me. But when he is gone, if I pry into his life, I find he
can do what I say. No, Hui is no dullard."
[10] The Master said: "Look at a man’s acts; watch his motives;
find out what pleases him: can the man evade you? Can the man
evade you?"
[11] The Master said: "Who keeps the old akindle and adds new
knowledge is fitted to be a teacher."
[ 12] The Master said: "A gentleman is not a vessel."
[13] Tzu-kung asked, What is a gentleman?
The Master said: "He puts words into deed first, and sorts what
he says to the deed."
[14] The Master said: "A gentleman is broad and fair: the vulgar
are biassed and petty."
[15] The Master said: "Study without thought is vain: thought
without study is dangerous."
[16] The Master said: "Work on strange doctrines does harm."
[17] The Master said: "Yu,5 shall I teach thee what is understanding?
To know what we know, and know what we do not know,
that is understanding."
[18] Tzu-chang6 studied with an eye to pay.
The Master said: "Listen much, keep silent when in doubt, and
always take heed of the tongue; thou wilt make few mistakes. See
much, beware of pitfalls, and always give heed to thy walk; thou
wilt have little to rue. If thy words are seldom wrong, thy deeds
leave little to rue, pay will follow."
[19] Duke Ai7 asked: "What should be done to make the people
Confucius answered: "Exalt the straight, set aside the crooked,
the people will be loyal. Exalt the crooked, set aside the straight, the
people will be disloyal."
[20] Chi K’ang8 asked how to make the people lowly, faithful, and
The Master said: "Behave with dignity, they will be lowly: be
4 The Master’s favourite disciple, Yen Yuan.
5 The disciple, Tzu-lu. 6 A disciple. 7 Duke of Lu, during Confucius’ closing
years. 8 Head of the Chi clan during Confucius’ closing years.

pious and merciful, they will be faithful: exalt the good, teach the
unskilful, they will grow willing."
[21] One said to Confucius: "Why are ye not in power, Sir?"
The Master answered: "What does the book say of a good son ? ‘An
always dutiful son, who is a friend to his brothers, showeth the way
to rule.’ This also is to rule. What need to be in power?"
[22] The Master said: "Without truth I know not how man can
live. A cart without a crosspole, a carriage without harness, how
could they be moved?"
[23] Tzu-chang asked whether we can know what is to be ten
generations hence.
The Master said: "The Yin9 inherited the manners of the Hsia;9
the harm and the good that they wrought them is known. The
Chou9 inherited the manners of the Yin; the harm and the good
that they wrought them is known. And we may know what is
to be, even an hundred generations hence, when others follow
[24] The Master said: "To worship the ghosts of strangers is
fawning. To see the right and not do it is want of courage."
[1] OF the Chi having eight rows of dancers1 in his hall, Confucius
said: "If this is to be borne, what is not to be borne?"
[2] At the end of worship, the Three Clans made use of the Yung
The Master said:
" ‘The dukes and princes assist,
Solemn is the Son of Heaven;’
what sense has this in the hall of the Three Clans?"
[3] The Master said: "A man without love, what is courtesy to
him? A man without love, what is music to him?"
[4] Lin Fang asked, What is the life of ceremony?
The Master said: "A great question! At hightides, waste is worse
than thrift: at burials, grief outweighs nicety."
9 The three dynasties that had ruled China up till the time of Confucius.
1 An imperial prerogative.

[5] The Master said: "The wild tribes have kings; whilst the
realm of Hsia2 is without!"
[6] The Chi worshipped on Mount T’ai.3
The Master said to Jan Yu4 : "Canst thou not stop this?"
He answered: "I cannot."
"Alas!" said the Master; "dost thou set Mount T’ai below Lin
[7] The Master said: "A gentleman has no rivalries—except perhaps
in archery; and then, as bowing he joins the winners, or steps
down to see the loser drink, throughout the struggle he is still the
[8] Tzu-hsia asked: "What is the meaning of:
‘Her cunning smiles,
Her dimples light,
Her lovely eyes,
So clear and bright,
The ground, not yet
With colours dight’?"
The Master said: "Colouring follows groundwork."
"Then does courtesy follow after?" said Tzu-hsia.
"Shang,"5 said the Master, "thou hast hit my meaning! Now I
can talk of poetry to thee."
[9] The Master said: "I can speak of the manners of Hsia; but for
Chi witnesses fail. I can speak of the manners of Yin; but for Sung
witnesses fail. This is due to their dearth of books and great men.
Were there enough of these, they would witness for me."
[10] The Master said: "After the drink offering at the Great
Sacrifice, I have no wish to see more."
[11] One asked about the words of the Great Sacrifice.
The Master said: "I do not understand them. Could one understand
them, he would overlook the world as I this"—and he pointed
to his palm.
[12] Worship as though those ye worship stood before you; worship
the spirits, as though they stood before you.
The Master said: "If I take no part in the sacrifice, it is none to me."
2 China. 3 A prerogative of the Duke of Lu. 4 A disciple, in the service of the Chi.
5 Tzu-hsia.

[13] Wang-sun Chia6 said: "What is the meaning of ‘it is better
to court the Kitchen God than the God of the Home’?"
"Not at all," said the Master. "A sin against Heaven is past
praying for."
[14] The Master said: "Two lines of kings have passed beneath the
ken of Chou. How rich in art is Chou! It is Chou I follow."
[15] On entering the Great Temple, the Master asked how each
thing was done.
One said: "Who says that the man of Tsou’s son has a knowledge
of ceremony? On entering the Great Temple, he asked how each
thing was done!"
On hearing this, the Master said: "Such is the ceremony."
[16] The Master said: "To pierce through the target does not
score in archery; because men differ in strength. This was the old
[ 17] Tzu-kung wished to do away with the sheep offering at the
new moon.
The Master said: "Thou lovest the sheep, Tz’u: I love the rite."
[18] The Master said: "Treat the king with all courtesy, men call
it fawning."
[19] Duke Ting asked how a king should behave to his ministers;
how ministers should serve their king ?
Confucius answered: "A king should behave with courtesy to his
ministers; ministers should serve their king faithfully."
[20] The Master said: "The poem ‘The Osprey’ is glad, but not
wanton; it is sad, but not morbid."
[21] Duke Ai asked Tsai Wo7 about the shrines of the guardian
Tsai Wo answered: "The Hsia Emperors grew firs round them;
the men of Yin grew cypress; the men of Chou grew chestnut,
meaning ‘jest not over holy matters.’ " 8
6 Wang-sun Chia was minister of Wei, and more influential than his master. The
Kitchen God is less honourable than the God of the Home (the Roman lares), but
since he sees all that goes on in the house, and ascends to Heaven at the end of the
year to report what has happened, it is well to be on good terms with him.
7 A disciple of Confucius.
8 Literally "to cause the people to be in awe." The commentators are more than
usually learned over the Master’s anger. I attribute it to the foolishness of the pun,
and translate accordingly.

On hearing this, the Master said: "I do not speak of what is ended,
chide what is settled, or find fault with what is past."
[22] The Master said: "How shallow was Kuan Chung!"9
"But," said one, "was not Kuan Chung thrifty?"
"Kuan owned San Kuei, and in his household none doubled
offices," said the Master; "was that thrift?"
"At least Kuan Chung was versed in courtesy."
The Master said: "Kings screen their gates with trees; Kuan, too,
had trees to screen his gate. When two kings make merry together,
they have a stand for the turned-down cups; Kuan had a turneddown
cup-stand too! If Kuan were versed in courtesy, who is not
versed in courtesy?"
[23] The Master said to the chief musician of Lu: "How to play
music may be known. At first each part in unison; then, a swell of
harmony, each part distinct, rolling on to the finish."
[24] The warden of Yi asked to see Confucius, saying: "No gentleman
has ever come here, whom I have failed to see."
The followers presented him.
On leaving he said: "My lads, why lament your fall ? The world
has long been astray. Heaven will make of the Master a warning
[25] The Master said: "All beautiful and noble is the music of
Shao! The music of Wu is as beautiful, but less noble."
[26] The Master said: "Rank without bounty; ritual without
reverence; mourning without grief, why should I cast them a
[1] THE Master said: "Love makes a spot beautiful: who chooses
not to dwell in love, has he got wisdom?"
[2] The Master said: "Loveless men cannot bear need long, they
cannot bear fortune long. Loving hearts find peace in love; clever
heads find profit in it."
[3] The Master said: "Love can alone love others, or hate others."
9 Kuan Chung (+B.C. 645), a famous man in his day, was chief minister to the
Duke of Ch’i, whom he raised to such wealth and power, that he became the leading
prince of the empire. His chief merit lay in crushing the barbarous frontier tribes.
The rest of his work, being founded in the sand, died with Mm.

[4] The Master said: "A heart set on love will do no wrong."
[5] The Master said: "Wealth and honours are what men desire;
but abide not in them by help of wrong. Lowliness and want are
hated of men; but forsake them not by help of wrong.
"Shorn of love, is a gentleman worthy the name? Not for one
moment may a gentleman sin against love; not in flurry and haste,
nor yet in utter overthrow."
[6] The Master said: "A friend to love, a foe to evil, I have yet to
meet. A friend to love will set nothing higher. In love’s service, a
foe to evil will let no evil touch him. Were a man to give himself
to love, but for one day, I have seen no one whose strength would
fail him. Such men there may be, but I have not seen one."
[7] The Master said: "A man and his faults are of a piece. By
watching his faults we learn whether love be his."
[8] The Master said: "To learn the truth at daybreak and die at
eve were enough."
[9] The Master said: "A scholar in search of truth who is ashamed
of poor clothes and poor food it is idle talking to."
[10] The Master said: "A gentleman has no likes and no dislikes
below heaven. He follows right."
[11] The Master said: "Gentlemen cherish worth; the vulgar
cherish dirt. Gentlemen trust in justice; the vulgar trust in
[12] The Master said: "The chase of gain is rich in hate."
[13] The Master said: "What is it to sway a kingdom by courteous
yielding ? Who cannot by courteous yielding sway a kingdom, what
can he know of courtesy?"
[14] The Master said: "Be not concerned at want of place; be concerned
that thou stand thyself. Sorrow not at being unknown, but
seek to be worthy of note."
[15] The Master said: "One thread, Shen,1 runs through all my
"Yes," said Tseng-tzu.
After the Master had left, the disciples asked what was meant.
Tseng-tzu said: "The Master’s teaching all hangs on faithfulness
and fellow-feeling."
‘The disciple Tseng-tzu.

[16] The Master said: "A gentleman considers what is right; the
vulgar consider what will pay."
[17] The Master said: "At sight of worth, think to grow like it.
When evil meets thee, search thine own heart."
[18] The Master said: "A father or mother may be gently chidden.
If they will not bend, be the more lowly, but persevere; nor
murmur if trouble follow."
[19] The Master said: "Whilst thy father and mother live, do not
wander afar. If thou must travel, hold a set course."
[20] The Master said: "If for three years a son do not forsake his
father’s ways, he may be called dutiful."
[21] The Master said: "A father’s and a mother’s age must be
borne in mind; with joy on the one hand, fear on the other."
[22] The Master said: "Men of old were loth to speak; lest a word
that they could not make good should shame them."
[23] The Master said: "Who contains himself goes seldom wrong."
[24] The Master said: "A gentleman wishes to be slow to speak
and quick to act."
[25] The Master said: "Good is no hermit. It has ever neighbours."
[26] Tzu-yu said: "Preaching to princes brings disgrace, nagging
at friends estrangement."


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