Thus, when Heaven is about to confer a great office on any man, it first exercises his mind with suffering, and his sinews and bones with toil. It exposes his body to hunger, and subjects him to extreme poverty. It confounds his undertakings. By all these methods it stimulates his mind, hardens his nature, and supplies his incompetencies. Men for the most part err, and are afterwards able to reform.
They are distressed in mind and perplexed in their thoughts, and then they arise to vigorous reformation. When things have been evidenced in men's looks, and set forth in their words, then they understand them. If a prince have not about his court families attached to the laws and worthy counsellors, and if abroad there are not hostile States or other external calamities, his kingdom will generally come to ruin. From these things we see how life springs from sorrow and calamity, and death from ease and pleasure. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Bloom, Irene In de Bary, Wm. Theodore ; Bloom, Irene eds. Sources of Chinese Tradition, Vol. New York: Columbia University Press. Denecke, Wiebke New York: Oxford University Press. Fuller, Michael A An Introduction to Literary Chinese. Kern, Martin In Owen, Stephen ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lau, D. Tsz-kung made the remark: "That which I do not wish others to put upon me, I also wish not to put upon others. The same disciple once remarked, "There may be access so as to hear the Master's literary discourses, but when he is treating of human nature and the way of Heaven, there may not be such success.
Tsz-lu, after once hearing him upon some subject, and feeling himself as yet incompetent to carry into practice what he had heard, used to be apprehensive only lest he should hear the subject revived. Tsz-kung asked how it was that Kung Wan had come to be so styled Wan the talented. The Master's answer was, "Because, though a man of an active nature, he was yet fond of study, and he was not ashamed to stoop to put questions to his inferiors. However long the intercourse, he was always deferential to them.
Referring to Tsang Wan, he asked, "What is to be said of this man's discernment? Tsz-chang put a question relative to the chief Minister of Tsu, Tsz-wan. He said, "Three times he became chief Minister, and on none of these occasions did he betray any sign of exultation. Three times his ministry came to an end, and he showed no sign of chagrin. He used without fail to inform the new Minister as to the old mode of administration.
What say you of him? Proceeding to a certain other State, he had occasion to make the same remark, and left. Ki Wan was one who thought three times over a thing before he acted. The Master hearing this of him, observed, "Twice would have been enough. Of Ning Wu, the Master said that when matters went [Pg 29] well in the State he used to have his wits about him: but when they went wrong, he lost them. His intelligence might be equalled, but not his witlessness! Let me get home! My school-children  are wild and impetuous! Though they are somewhat accomplished, and perfect in one sense in their attainments, yet they know not how to make nice discriminations.
Of Wei-shang Kau he said, "Who calls him straightforward? A person once begged some vinegar of him, and he begged it from a neighbor, and then presented him with it! I too am ashamed of such things. Also of hiding resentment felt towards an opponent and treating him as a friend—of this kind of thing he was ashamed, and so too am I.
Attended once by the two disciples Yen Yuen and Tsz-lu, he said, "Come now, why not tell me, each of you, what in your hearts you are really after? On one occasion the Master exclaimed, "Ah, 'tis hopeless! I have not yet seen the man who can see his errors, so as inwardly to accuse himself. On being asked by this Yen Yung his opinion of a certain individual, the Master replied, "He is passable. Impetuous, though. If, on the other hand, he habituate himself to impetuosity of mind, and show it also in his way of doing things, is he not then over-impetuous? Unfortunately his allotted time was short, and he died, and now his like is not to be found; I have never heard of one so devoted to learning.
He applied for more. I have learnt that the 'superior man' should help those whose needs are urgent, not help the rich to be more rich. When Yuen Sz became prefect under him, he gave him nine hundred measures of grain, but the prefect declined to accept them. Speaking of Yen Yung again, the Master said, "If the offspring of a speckled ox be red in color, and horned, even though men may not wish to take it for sacrifice, would the spirits of the hills and streams reject it? The others may attain to this for a day or for a month, but there they end.
Asked the same question respecting Tsz-kung and Yen Yu he answered similarly, pronouncing Tsz-kung to be a man of perspicacity, and Yen Yu to be one versed in the polite arts. If the offer is renewed, then indeed I shall feel myself obliged to go and live on the further bank of the Wan. Peh-niu had fallen ill, and the Master was inquiring after him. Taking hold of his hand held out from the window, [Pg 33] he said, "It is taking him off! Alas, his appointed time has come!
Such a man, and to have such an illness! With his simple wooden dish of rice, and his one gourd-basin of drink, away in his poor back lane, in a condition too grievous for others to have endured, he never allowed his cheery spirits to droop. Aye, a right worthy soul was he! When Tsz-yu became governor of Wu-shing, the Master said to him, "Do you find good men about you?
During a stampede he was in the rear, and as they were about to enter the city gate he whipped up his horses, and said, ''Twas not my daring made me lag behind. My horses would not go. Where polish is more in evidence than naturalness, we have—the town scribe. It is when naturalness and polish are equally evident that we have the ideal man. Life without it—such may you have the good fortune to avoid! The Master replied, "To labor for the promoting of righteous conduct among the people of the land; to be serious in regard to spiritual beings, and to hold aloof from them;—this may be called wisdom.
To a further query, about philanthropy, he replied, "Those who possess that virtue find difficulty with it at first, success later. The former are active and bustling, the latter calm and quiet.
The former take their day of pleasure, the latter look to length of days. An exclamation of the Master satirizing the times, when old terms relating to government were still used while bereft of their old meaning :—"A quart, and not a quart! Tsai Wo, a disciple, put a query. Said he, "Suppose a [Pg 35] philanthropic person were told, 'There's a fellow-creature down in the well! He may be misled, but not befooled. Once when the Master had had an interview with Nan-tsz, which had scandalized his disciple Tsz-lu, he uttered the solemn adjuration, "If I have done aught amiss, may Heaven reject me!
Tsz-kung said, "Suppose the case of one who confers benefits far and wide upon the people, and who can, in so doing, make his bounty universally felt—how would you speak of him? Might he be called philanthropic? The Master exclaimed, "What a work for philanthropy! He would require indeed to be a sage! He would put into shade even Yau and Shun! If one could take an illustration coming closer home to us than yours, that might be made the starting-point for speaking about philanthropy. Yuen Sz had been a disciple. The commentators add that this was the officer's proper salary, and that he did wrong to refuse it.
In his hours of recreation and refreshment the Master's manner was easy and unconstrained, affable and winning. Once he exclaimed, "Alas! I must be getting very feeble; 'tis long since I have had a repetition of the dreams in which I used to see the Duke of Chow. If the Master was taking a meal, and there were any in mourning beside him, he would not eat to the full. Addressing his favorite disciple, he said, "To you only and myself it has been given to do this—to go when called to serve, and to go back into quiet retirement when released from office.
Tsz-lu, hearing the remark said, "But if, sir, you had the handling of the army of one of the greater States,  whom would you have associated with you in that case?
Mencius (c. 372—289 B.C.E.)
He must be one who should watch over affairs with apprehensive caution, a man fond of strategy, and of perfect skill and effectiveness in it. As to wealth, he remarked, "If wealth were an object that I could go in quest of, I should do so even if I had to take a whip and do grooms' work. But seeing that it is not, I go after those objects for which I have a liking. Riches and honors without righteousness are to me as fleeting clouds. The Master's regular subjects of discourse were the "Books of the Odes" and "History," and the up-keeping of the Rules of Propriety.
On all of these he regularly discoursed. Hearing of this, the Master said, "Why did you not say, He is a man with a mind so intent on his pursuits that he forgets his food, and finds such pleasure in them that he forgets his troubles, and does not know that old age is coming upon him? To his disciples he once said, "Do you look upon me, my sons, as keeping anything secret from you? I hide nothing from you. I do nothing that is not manifest to your eyes, my disciples. That is so with me. Four things there were which he kept in view in his teaching—scholarliness, conduct of life, honesty, faithfulness.
Neither is it given to me to meet with a good man; let me but see a man of constancy, and it will suffice. It is difficult for persons to have constancy, when they pretend to have that which they are destitute of, to be full when they are empty, to do things on a grand scale when their means are contracted!
When the Master fished with hook and line, he did not also use a net. When out with his bow, he would never shoot at game in cover. I am not of these. There is an alternative way of knowing things, viz. Pupils from Hu-hiang were difficult to speak with. One youth came to interview the Master, and the disciples were in doubt whether he ought to have been seen.
If a man have cleansed himself in order to come and see me, I receive him as such; but I do not undertake for what he will do when he goes away. He said, "I have heard that superior men show no partiality; are they, too, then, partial? That prince took for his wife a lady of the Wu family, having the same surname as himself, and had her named 'Lady Tsz of Wu, the elder. The disciple reported this to the Master, who thereupon remarked, "Well for me!
If I err in any way, others are sure to know of it. When the Master was in company with any one who sang, and who sang well, he must needs have the song over again, and after that would join in it. Once when the Master was seriously ill, Tsz-lu requested to be allowed to say prayers for him.
Better, however, the hard than the disorderly. Again, "The man of superior mind is placidly composed; the small-minded man is in a constant state of perturbation. The Master was gentle, yet could be severe; had an overawing presence, yet was not violent; was deferential, yet easy. It was the "dream" of Confucius's life to restore the country to the condition in which the Duke of Chow left it.
Each force consisted of 12, men, and three of such forces were the equipment of a greater State. And when old friendships among them are not allowed to fall off, there will be a cessation of underhand practices among the people. The Scholar Tsang was once unwell, and calling his pupils to him he said to them, "Disclose to view my feet and my hands. What says the Ode? Again, during an illness of his, Mang King, an official, went to ask after him.
The Scholar had some conversation with him, in the course of which he said—. There are three points which a man of rank in the management of his duties should set store upon:—A lively manner and deportment, banishing both severity and laxity; a frank and open expression of countenance, allied closely with sincerity; and a tone in his utterances utterly free from any approach to vulgarity and impropriety.
As to matters of bowls and dishes, leave such things to those who are charged with the care of them. Another saying of the Scholar Tsang: "I once had a friend who, though he possessed ability, would go questioning men of none, and though surrounded by numbers, would go with his questions to isolated individuals; who also, whatever he might have, appeared as if he were without it, and, with all his substantial acquirements, made as though his mind were a mere blank; and when insulted would not retaliate;—this was ever his way.
Again he said: "The man that is capable of being intrusted with the charge of a minor on the throne, and given authority over a large territory, and who, during the important term of his superintendence cannot be forced out of his position, is not such a 'superior man'? That he is, indeed. Again:—"The learned official must not be without breadth and power of endurance: the burden is heavy, and the way is long.
And since only with death it is done with, is not the way long? So, too, has the misanthrope, groaning at any severity shown towards him. When the empire is well ordered he will show himself; when not, he will hide himself away. Under a good government it will be a disgrace to him if he remain in poverty and low estate; under a bad one, it would be equally disgraceful to him to hold riches and honors. How it rang in one's ears!
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Was he not sublime! Say that Heaven only is great, then was Yau alone after its pattern! How profound was he! The people could not find [Pg 45] a name for him. How sublime in his achievements! How brilliant in his scholarly productions! With reference to these facts Confucius observed, "Ability is hard to find. Is it not so indeed? During the three years' interregnum between Yau and Shun there was more of it than in the interval before this present dynasty appeared.
There were, at this latter period, one woman, and nine men only. We speak of the virtue of the House of Chow; we may say, indeed, that it reached the pinnacle of excellence. Living on meagre food and drink; yet providing to the utmost in his filial offerings to the spirits of the dead! Dressing in coarse garments; yet most elegant when vested in his sacrificial apron and coronet! Dwelling in a poor palace; yet exhausting his energies over those boundary-ditches and watercourses! I can find no flaw in Yu. Topics on which the Master rarely spoke were—Advantage, and Destiny, and Duty of man to man.
A man of the village of Tah-hiang exclaimed of him, "A great man is Confucius! The Master heard of this, and mentioning it to his disciples he said, "What then shall I take in hand? Shall I become a carriage driver, or an archer? Let me be a driver! However, as it is economical, I do as all do. This is great freedom; and I, though I go in opposition to the crowd, bow when at the lower end. The Master barred four words:—he would have no "shall's", no "must's", no "certainly's", no "I's. If Heaven be about to allow this ' wan ' to perish, then they who survive [Pg 47] its decease will get no benefit from it.
A high State official, after questioning Tsz-kung, said, "Your Master is a sage, then? How many and what varied abilities must be his! The disciple replied, "Certainly Heaven is allowing him full opportunities of becoming a sage, in addition to the fact that his abilities are many and varied.
When the Master heard of this he remarked, "Does that high official know me? In my early years my position in life was low, and hence my ability in many ways, though exercised in trifling matters. In the gentleman is there indeed such variety of ability? From this, the disciple Lau used to say, "'Twas a saying of the Master: 'At a time when I was not called upon to use them, I acquired my proficiency in the polite arts. I know nothing. Let a vulgar fellow come to me with a question—a man with an emptyish head—I may thrash out with him the matter from end to end, and exhaust myself in doing it!
May I not as well give up? Whenever the Master met with a person in mourning, or with one in full-dress cap and kirtle, or with a blind person, although they might be young persons, he would make a point of rising on their appearance, or, if crossing their path, would do so with quickened step! Once Yen Yuen exclaimed with a sigh with reference to the Master's doctrines , "If I look up to them, they are ever the higher; if I try to penetrate them, they are ever the harder; if I gaze at them as if before my eyes, lo, they are behind me!
By literary lore he gave me breadth; by the Rules of Propriety he narrowed me down. When I desire a respite, I find it impossible; and after I have exhausted my powers, there seems to be something standing straight up in front of me, and though I have the mind to make towards it I make no advance at all. Once when the Master was seriously ill, Tsz-lu induced the other disciples to feign they were high officials acting in his service.
During a respite from his malady the Master exclaimed, "Ah! Whom should I delude, if I were to pretend to have officials under me, having none? Should I deceive Heaven? Besides, were I to die, I would rather die in the hands of yourselves, my disciples, than in the hands of officials. And though I should fail to have a grand funeral over me, I should hardly be left on my death on the public highway, should I?
Tsz-kung once said to him, "Here is a fine gem. Would you guard it carefully in a casket and store it away, or seek a good price for it and sell it? Once he remarked, "After I came back from Wei to Lu the music was put right, and each of the Festal Odes and Hymns was given its appropriate place and use. Standing once on the bank of a mountain stream, he said musingly , "Like this are those that pass away—no cessation, day or night!
A simple basketful is wanting to complete it, and the work stops. So I stop short. Suppose again just one basketful is left, when the work has so progressed. There I desist! How know we what difference there may be in them in the future from what they are now? Yet when they have reached the age of forty or fifty, and are still unknown in the world, then indeed they are no more worthy of such regard. Only let them reform by such advice, and it will then be reckoned valuable. Can any be other than pleased with words of gentle suasion? Only let them comply with them fully, and such also will be accounted valuable.
With those who are pleased without so complying, and those who assent but do not reform, I can do nothing at all. Some may go on together in this latter course, but be wide apart in the standards they reach in it.
The Life of Mencius & Wan Chang
Some, again, may together reach the same standard, and yet be diverse in weight of character. Commenting on these lines the Master said, "There can hardly have been much thought going out. What does distance signify? Here Confucius simply means, "If you kill me, you kill a sage. In his own village, Confucius presented a somewhat plain and simple appearance, and looked unlike a man who possessed ability of speech.
But in the ancestral temple, and at Court, he spoke with the fluency and accuracy of a debater, but ever guardedly. At Court, conversing with the lower order of great officials, he spoke somewhat firmly and directly; with those of the higher order his tone was somewhat more affable. When the prince was present he was constrainedly reverent in his movements, and showed a proper degree of grave dignity in demeanor. Whenever the prince summoned him to act as usher to the Court, his look would change somewhat, and he would make as though he were turning round to do obeisance.
He would salute those among whom he took up his position, using the right hand or the left, and holding the skirts of his robe in proper position before and behind. He would make his approaches with quick step, and with elbows evenly bent outwards. When the visitor withdrew, he would not fail to report the execution of his commands, with the words, "The visitor no longer looks back.
When he entered the palace gate, it was with the body somewhat bent forward, almost as though he could not be admitted. When he stood still, this would never happen in the middle of the gateway; nor when moving about would he ever tread on the threshold. When passing the [Pg 52] throne, his look would change somewhat, he would turn aside and make a sort of obeisance, and the words he spoke seemed as though he were deficient in utterance. On going up the steps to the audience chamber, he would gather up with both hands the ends of his robe, and walk with his body bent somewhat forward, holding back his breath like one in whom respiration has ceased.
On coming out, after descending one step his countenance would relax and assume an appearance of satisfaction. Arrived at the bottom, he would go forward with quick step, his elbows evenly bent outwards, back to his position, constrainedly reverent in every movement. When holding the sceptre in his hand, his body would be somewhat bent forward, as if he were not equal to carrying it; wielding it now higher, as in a salutation, now lower, as in the presentation of a gift; his look would also be changed and appear awestruck; and his gait would seem retarded, as if he were obeying some restraining hand behind.
When he presented the gifts of ceremony, he would assume a placid expression of countenance. At the private interview he would be cordial and affable. The good man would use no purple or violet colors for the facings of his dress. For his black robe he had lamb's wool; for his white one, fawn's fur; and for his yellow one, fox fur. His furred undress robe was longer, but the right sleeve was shortened. He would needs have his sleeping-dress one and a half times his own [Pg 53] length. For ordinary home wear he used thick substantial fox or badger furs.
When he left off mourning, he would wear all his girdle trinkets. His kirtle in front, when it was not needed for full cover, he must needs have cut down. He would never wear his black lamb's-wool, or a dark-colored cap, when he went on visits of condolence to mourners. When observing his fasts, he made a point of having bright, shiny garments, made of linen. He must also at such times vary his food, and move his seat to another part of his dwelling-room.
As to his food, he never tired of rice so long as it was clean and pure, nor of hashed meats when finely minced. Rice spoiled by damp, and sour, he would not touch, nor tainted fish, nor bad meat, nor aught of a bad color or smell, nor aught overdone in cooking, nor aught out of season. Neither would he eat anything that was not properly cut, or that lacked its proper seasonings. Although there might be an abundance of meat before him, he would not allow a preponderance of it to rob the rice of its beneficial effect in nutrition.
Only in the matter of wine did he set himself no limit, yet he never drank so much as to confuse himself. Tradesmen's wines, and dried meats from the market, he would not touch. Ginger he would never have removed from the table during a meal. He was not a great eater. Meat from the sacrifices at the prince's temple he would never put aside till the following day. The meat of his own offerings he would never give out after three days' keeping, for after that time none were to eat it.
At his meals he would not enter into discussions; and when reposing afterwards he would not utter a word. When the village people were exorcising the pests, he would put on his Court robes and stand on the steps of his hall to receive them. When he was sending a message of inquiry to a person in another State, he would bow twice on seeing the messenger off. He bowed, and received it; but remarked, "Until I am quite sure of its properties I must not venture to taste it. Once when the stabling was destroyed by fire, he withdrew from the Court, and asked, "Is any person injured?
Whenever the prince sent him a present of food, he was particular to set his mat in proper order, and would be the first one to taste it. If the prince's present was one of raw meat, he must needs have it cooked, and make an oblation of it. If the gift were a live animal, he would be sure to keep it and care for it. When he was in waiting, and at a meal with the prince, the prince would make the offering,  and he the Master was the pregustator.
When unwell, and the prince came to see him, he would arrange his position so that his head inclined towards the east, would put over him his Court robes, and draw his girdle across them. When summoned by order of the prince, he would start off without waiting for his horses to be put to. If a friend died, and there were no near relatives to take him to, he would say, "Let him be buried from my house. For a friend's gift—unless it consisted of meat that had been offered in sacrifice—he would not bow, even if it were a carriage and horses.
Whenever he met with a person in mourning, even though it were a familiar acquaintance, he would be certain to change his manner; and when he met with any one in full-dress cap, or with any blind person, he would also unfailingly put on a different look, even though he were himself in undress at the time. In saluting any person wearing mourning he would bow forwards towards the front bar of his carriage; in the same manner he would also salute the bearer of a census-register. When a sumptuous banquet was spread before him, a different expression would be sure to appear in his features, and he would rise up from his seat.
At a sudden thunder-clap, or when the wind grew furious, his look would also invariably be changed. On getting into his car, he would never fail first to stand up erect, holding on by the strap. When in the car, he would never look about, nor speak hastily, nor bring one hand to the other. Apropos of this, he said, "Here is a hen-pheasant from Shan Liang—and in season! If I had to employ any of them, I should stand by the former.
Nan Yung used to repeat three times over the lines in the Odes about the white sceptre. Confucius caused his own elder brother's daughter to be given in marriage to him. When Yen Yuen died, his father, Yen Lu, begged for the Master's carriage in order to get a shell for his coffin. On the death of Yen Yuen the Master exclaimed, "Ah me! Heaven is ruining me, Heaven is ruining me! On the same occasion, his wailing for that disciple becoming excessive, those who were about him said, "Sir, this is too much! The disciples then wished for the deceased a grand funeral.
The Master could not on his part consent to this. They nevertheless gave him one. Upon this he remarked, "He used to look upon me as if I were his father. I could never, however, look on him as a son. Tsz-lu propounded a question about ministering to the spirits of the departed. The Master replied, "Where there is scarcely the ability to minister to living men, how shall there be ability to minister to the spirits? The disciple Min was by his side, looking affable and bland; Tsz-lu also, looking careless and intrepid; and Yen Yu and Tsz-kung, firm and precise.
The Master was cheery. Some persons in Lu were taking measures in regard to the Long Treasury House.
The Chinese Classics: Vol. 2 The Life and Teachings of Mencius - Online Library of Liberty
The Chief of the Ki family was a wealthier man than the Duke of Chow had been, and yet Yen Yu gathered and hoarded for him, increasing his wealth more and more. Tsz-kung does not submit to the appointments of Heaven; and yet his goods are increased;—he is often successful in his calculations. Once the Master said, "Because we allow that a man's words have something genuine in them, are they necessarily those of a superior man?
Tsz-lu put a question about the practice of precepts one has heard. The Master's reply was, "In a case where there [Pg 59] is a father or elder brother still left with you, how should you practise all you hear? Kung-si Hwa animadverted upon this to the Master. The Master replied, "Yen Yu backs out of his duties; therefore I push him on.
Tsz-lu has forwardness enough for them both; therefore I hold him back. On Ki Tsz-jen putting to him a question anent Tsz-lu and Yen Yu, as to whether they might be called "great ministers," the Master answered, "I had expected your question, sir, to be about something extraordinary, and lo! Those whom we call 'great ministers' are such as serve their prince conscientiously, and who, when they cannot do so, retire.
At present, as regards the two you ask about, they may be called 'qualified ministers. Tsz-lu rejoined, "But he will have the people and their [Pg 60] superiors to gain experience from, and there will be the altars; what need to read books? He can become a student afterwards.
He said to them, "Though I may be a day older than you, do not for the moment regard me as such. While you are living this unoccupied life you are saying, 'We do not become known. Tsz-lu—first to speak—at once answered, "Give me a State of large size and armament, hemmed in and hampered by other larger States, the population augmented by armies and regiments, causing a dearth in it of food of all kinds; give me charge of that State, and in three years' time I should make a brave country of it, and let it know its place.
As regards their knowledge of ceremonial or music, I should wait for superior men to teach them that. This disciple's reply was, "I have nothing to say about my capabilities for such matters; my wish is to learn. I should like to be a junior assistant, in dark rob and cap, at the services of the ancestral temple, and at the Grand Receptions of the Princes by the Sovereign. This disciple was strumming on his harpsichord, but now the twanging ceased, he turned from the instrument, [Pg 61] rose to his feet, and answered thus: "Something different from the choice of these three.
The three other disciples having gone out, leaving Tsang Sin behind, the latter said, "What think you of the answers of those three? If Kung-si were to become an unimportant assistant at these functions, who could become an important one? At twenty they underwent the ceremony of capping, and were considered men. A religious dance. Yen yuen was asking about man's proper regard for his fellow-man. The Master said to him, "Self-control, and a habit of falling back upon propriety, virtually effect it.
Let these conditions be fulfilled for one day, and every one round will betake himself to the duty. Is it to begin in one's self, or think you, indeed! Then said the Master, "Without Propriety use not your eyes; without it use not your ears, nor your tongue, nor a limb of your body. To him the Master replied thus: "When you go forth from your door, be as if you were meeting some guest of importance.
When you are making use of the common people for State purposes , be as if you were taking part in a great religious function. Do not set before others what you do not desire yourself. Let there be no resentful feelings against you when you are away in the country, and none when at home. Sz-ma Niu asked the like question. The answer he received [Pg 63] was this: "The words of the man who has a proper regard for his fellows are uttered with difficulty.
The same disciple put a question about the "superior man. The Master added, "Where there is found, upon introspection, to be no chronic disease, how shall there be any trouble? The same disciple, being in trouble, remarked, "I am alone in having no brother, while all else have theirs—younger or elder. Let the superior man keep watch over himself without ceasing, showing deference to others, with propriety of manners—and all within the four seas will be his brethren. How should he be distressed for lack of brothers!
The Master replied, "That man with whom drenching slander and cutting calumny gain no currency may well be called enlightened. Ay, he with whom such things make no way may well be called enlightened in the extreme. Tsz-kung put a question relative to government. In reply the Master mentioned three essentials:—sufficient food, sufficient armament, and the people's confidence.
Without the people's trust nothing can stand. Kih Tsz-shing once said, "Give me the inborn qualities of a gentleman, and I want no more. How are such to come from book-learning? Tsz-kung exclaimed, "Ah! A gentleman! A tiger's or leopard's skin without the hair might be a dog's or sheep's when so made bare. Duke Ngai was consulting Yu Joh. Said he, "It is a year of dearth, and there is an insufficiency for Ways and Means—what am I to do?
The minister replied, "So long as the people have enough left for themselves, who of them will allow their prince to be without enough? But—when the people have not enough, who will allow their prince all that he wants? Tsz-chang was asking how the standard of virtue was to be raised, and how to discern what was illusory or misleading. The Master's answer was, "Give a foremost place to honesty and faithfulness, and tread the path of righteousness, and you will raise the standard of virtue. As to [Pg 65] discerning what is illusory, here is an example of an illusion:—Whom you love you wish to live; whom you hate you wish to die.
To have wished the same person to live and also to be dead—there is an illusion for you. His answer was, "Let a prince be a prince, and ministers be ministers; let fathers be fathers, and sons be sons. Tsz-chang having raised some question about government, the Master said to him, "In the settlement of its principles be unwearied; in its administration—see to that loyally.
Again, "The noble-minded man makes the most of others' good qualities, not the worst of their bad ones. Men of small mind do the reverse of this. Confucius answered him, "A director should be himself correct. If you, sir, as a leader show correctness, who will dare not to be correct? He received [Pg 66] this reply: "If you, sir, were not covetous, neither would they steal, even were you to bribe them to do so. Covet what is good, and the people will be good.
The virtue of the noble-minded man is as the wind, and that of inferior men as grass; the grass must bend, when the wind blows upon it. Tsz-chang asked how otherwise he would describe the learned official who might be termed influential. The influential man, then, if he be one who is genuinely straightforward and loves what is just and right, a discriminator of men's words, and an observer of their looks, and in honor careful to prefer others to himself—will certainly have influence, both throughout the country and at home.
The man of mere reputation, on the other hand, who speciously affects philanthropy, though in his way of procedure he acts contrary to it, while yet quite evidently engrossed with that virtue—will certainly have reputation, both in the country and at home. And is not attacking the evil in one's self, and not the evil which is in others, a way of reforming dissolute habits?
And as to illusions, is not one morning's fit of anger, causing a man to forget himself, and even involving in the consequences those who are near and dear to him—is not that an illusion? The same disciple asked him what was meant by "a right regard for one's fellow-creatures. The Master went on to say, "Lift up the straight, set aside the crooked, so can you make the crooked straight. In his answer he said, 'Lift up the straight, set aside the crooked, and so can you make the crooked straight. Tsz-kung was consulting him about a friend. If you do not succeed, then stop; do not submit yourself to indignity.
The learned Tsang observed, "In the society of books the 'superior man' collects his friends; in the society of his friends he is furthering good-will among men. Tsz-lu was asking about government. Chung-kung, on being made first minister to the Chief of the Ki family, consulted the Master about government, and to him he said, "Let the heads of offices be heads. Excuse small faults. Promote men of sagacity and talent. Tsz-lu said to the Master, "As the prince of Wei, sir, has been waiting for you to act for him in his government, what is it your intention to take in hand first?
If terms be incorrect, language will be incongruous; and if language be incongruous, deeds will be imperfect. So, again, when deeds are imperfect, propriety and harmony cannot prevail, and when this is the case laws relating to crime will fail in their aim; and if these last so fail, the people will not [Pg 69] know where to set hand or foot.
Hence, a man of superior mind, certain first of his terms, is fitted to speak; and being certain of what he says can proceed upon it. In the language of such a person there is nothing heedlessly irregular—and that is the sum of the matter. Let him be a lover of righteousness, and they will not presume to be aught but submissive.
Let him love faithfulness and truth, and they will not presume not to lend him their hearty assistance. Ah, if all this only were so, the people from all sides would come to such a one, carrying their children on their backs. What need to turn his hand to husbandry? If he be not personally upright, his directions will not be complied with. Of King, a son of the Duke of Wei, he observed that "he managed his household matters well. On his coming [Pg 70] into possession, he thought, 'What a strange conglomeration! The Master was on a journey to Wei, and Yen Yu was driving him.
Yen Yu asked him, "Seeing they are so numerous, what more would you do for them? Again, "How true is that saying, 'Let good men have the management of a country for a century, and they would be adequate to cope with evil-doers, and thus do away with capital punishments. Again, "Suppose the ruler to possess true kingly qualities, then surely after one generation there would be good-will among men. Again, "Let a ruler but see to his own rectitude, and what trouble will he then have in the work before him?
If he be unable to rectify himself, how is he to rectify others? Once when Yen Yu was leaving the Court, the Master accosted him. Duke Ting asked if there were one sentence which, if acted upon, might have the effect of making a country prosperous. But there is a proverb people use which says, 'To play the prince is hard, to play the minister not easy. Confucius again replied, "A sentence could hardly be supposed to do so much as that.
But there is a proverb men have which says, 'Not gladly would I play the prince, unless my words were ne'er withstood. But assuming that they were not good, and yet none withstood them, would it not be probable that with that one saying he would work his country's ruin? When the Duke of Sheh consulted him about government, he replied, "Where the near are gratified, the war will follow. Do not look at trivial advantages. If you wish for speedy results, they will not be far-reaching; and if you regard trivial advantages you will not successfully deal with important affairs. The Duke of Sheh in a conversation with Confucius said, "There are some straightforward persons in my neighborhood.
If a father has stolen a sheep, the son will give evidence against him. They are on their way to becoming straightforward. Even though you were to go amongst the wild tribes, it would not be right for you to neglect these duties. In answer to Tsz-kung, who asked, "how he would characterize one who could fitly be called 'learned official,'" the Master said, "He may be so-called who in his private life is affected with a sense of his own unworthiness, and who, when sent on a mission to any quarter of the empire, would not disgrace his prince's commands.
Once he remarked, "If I cannot get via media men to impart instruction to, then I must of course take the impetuous and undisciplined! The impetuous ones will at least go forward and lay hold on things; and the undisciplined have at least something in them which needs to be brought out. Tsz-kung was consulting him, and asked, "What say you of a person who was liked by all in his village? Better if he were liked by the good folk in the village, and disliked by the bad. Try to please him by the adoption of wrong principles, and you will fail. Also, when such a one employs others, he uses them according to their capacity.
The inferior man is, on the other hand, difficult to serve, but easy to please. Try to please him by the adoption of wrong principles, and you will succeed. And when he employs others he requires them to be fully prepared for everything. Again, "The superior man can be high without being haughty. The inferior man can be haughty if not high. Tsz-lu asked how he would characterize one who might fitly be called an educated gentleman. The master replied, "He who can properly be so-called will have in him a seriousness of purpose, a habit of controlling himself, and an agreeableness of manner: among his friends and associates the seriousness and the self-control, and among his brethren the agreeableness of manner.
But as to the mutual good-will—I cannot tell. Again, "In a country under good government, speak boldly, act boldly. When the land is ill-governed, though you act boldly, let your words be moderate. Again, "Men of virtue will needs be men of words—will speak out—but men of words are not necessarily men of virtue. They who care for their fellow-men will needs be bold, but the bold may not necessarily be such as care for their fellow-men.
Nan-kung Kwoh, who was consulting Confucius, observed respecting I, the skilful archer, and Ngau, who could propel a boat on dry land, that neither of them died a natural death; while Yu and Tsih, who with their own hands had labored at husbandry, came to wield imperial sway. The Master gave him no reply. But when the speaker [Pg 76] had gone out he exclaimed, "A superior man, that! A man who values virtue, that! He asked, "Can any one refuse to toil for those he loves? Can any one refuse to exhort, who is true-hearted? To some one who asked his opinion of the last-named, he said, "He was a kind-hearted man.
Tsz-lu asked how he would describe a perfect man. But," said he, "what need of such in these days? The man that may be regarded as perfect now is the one who, seeing some advantage to himself, is mindful of righteousness; who, seeing danger, risks his life; and who, if bound by some covenant of long standing, never forgets its conditions as life goes on. My master speaks when there is occasion to do so, and men are not surfeited with his speaking.
When there is occasion to be merry too, he will laugh, but men have never over much of his laughing. And whenever it is just and right to take things from others, he will take them, but never so as to allow men to think him burdensome. Respecting Tsang Wu-chung the Master said, "When he sought from Lu the appointment of a successor to him, and for this object held on to his possession of the fortified city of Fang—if you say he was not then using constraint towards his prince, I must refuse to believe it. Duke Wan of Tsin he characterized as "artful but not upright"; and Duke Hwan of Ts'i as "upright but not artful.
I should say he was not a man who had much good-will in him—eh? The Master replied, "When Duke Hwan held a great gathering of the feudal lords, dispensing with military [Pg 78] equipage, it was owing to Kwan Chung's energy that such an event was brought about. Match such good-will as that—match it if you can. Tsz-kung then spoke up. He could not give up his life when Duke Hwan caused his brother to be put to death. Besides, he became the duke's counsellor. Had it not been for him we should have been going about with locks unkempt and buttoning our jackets like barbarians on the left.
Would you suppose that he should show the same sort of attachment as exists between a poor yokel and his one wife—that he would asphyxiate himself in some sewer, leaving no one the wiser? Kung-shuh Wan's steward, who became the high officer Sien, went up accompanied by Wan to the prince's hall of audience. May I request that you proceed against him? Soliloquizing upon this, Confucius said, "Since he uses me to back his ministers,  I did not dare not to announce the matter to him; and now he says, 'Inform the Three Chiefs.
He went to the Three Chiefs and informed them, but nothing could be done. Whereupon again he said, "Since he uses me to back his ministers, I did not dare not to announce the matter. Tsz-lu was questioning him as to how he should serve his prince. Again, "Students of old fixed their eyes upon themselves: now they learn with their eyes upon others. Confucius gave him a seat, and among other inquiries he asked, "How is your master managing? The Learned Tsang used to say, "The thoughts of the 'superior man' do not wander from his own office. Again, "There are three attainments of the superior man [Pg 80] which are beyond me—the being sympathetic without anxiety, wise without scepticism, brave without fear.
Whenever Tsz-kung drew comparisons from others, the Master would say, "Ah, how wise and great you must have become! Now I have no time to do that. Again, "If a man refrain from making preparations against his being imposed upon, and from counting upon others' want of good faith towards him, while he is foremost to perceive what is passing—surely that is a wise and good man.
Wi-shang Mau accosted Confucius, saying, "Kiu, how comes it that you manage to go perching and roosting in this way? Is it not because you show yourself so smart a speaker, now? Requite enmity with straightforwardness, and kindness with kindness. Tsz-lu, having lodged overnight in Shih-mun, was accosted by the gate-keeper in the morning. When the Master was in Wei, he was once pounding on the musical stone, when a man with a basket of straw crossed his threshold, and exclaimed, "Ah, there is a heart that feels!
Aye, drub the stone! What is meant by that? Tsz-lu having asked what made a "superior man," he answered, "Self-culture, with a view to becoming seriously-minded. To Yuen Jang,  who was sitting waiting for him in a squatting disrespectful posture, the Master delivered himself as follows: "The man who in his youth could show no humility or subordination, who in his prime misses his opportunity, and who when old age comes upon him will not die—that man is a miscreant.
Some one asked about his attendant—a youth from the village of Kiueh—whether he was one who improved. He replied, "I note that he seats himself in the places reserved for his betters, and that when he is walking he keeps abreast with his seniors. He is not one of those who care for improvement: he wants to be a man all at once. It is a custom much older than the time of Confucius. Duke Ling of Wei was consulting Confucius about army arrangements.
His answer was, "Had you asked me about such things as temple requisites, I have learnt that business, but I have not yet studied military matters. Tsz-lu, with indignation pictured on his countenance, exclaimed, "And is a gentleman to suffer starvation? Addressing Tsz-kung, the Master said, "You regard me as one who studies and stores up in his mind a multiplicity of things—do you not? I have one idea—one cord on which to string all.
What did he indeed do? He bore himself with reverent dignity and undeviatingly 'faced the south,' and that was all. Tsz-chang was consulting him about making way in life. He answered, "Be true and honest in all you say, and seriously earnest in all you do, and then, even if your country [Pg 84] be one inhabited by barbarians, South or North, you will make your way. If you do not show yourself thus in word and deed how should you succeed, even in your own district or neighborhood? Then may you make your way. When the land is being rightly governed he will serve; when it is under bad government he is apt to recoil, and brood.
Those who are wise will not lose their man, nor yet their words. Again, "The scholar whose heart is in his work, and who is philanthropic, seeks not to gain a livelihood by any means that will do harm to his philanthropy. There have been men who have destroyed their own lives in the endeavor to bring that virtue in them to perfection.