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Translated by A. Charles Muller. Table of Contents. First translated during the summer of Revised Isn't it also great when friends visit from distant places?

If people do not recognize me and it doesn't bother me, am I not a noble man? In the Analects , Confucius imbues the term with a special meaning. The character of the noble man, in contrast to the sage, is being taught as a tangible model for all in the here and now. Thus, the categorization is not so rigid. Those who do not enjoy offending superiors are never troublemakers. The noble man concerns himself with the fundamentals.

Once the fundamentals are established, the proper way appears. Are not filial piety and obedience to elders fundamental to the actualization of fundamental human goodness? It is a difficult concept to translate because it doesn't really refer to any specific type of virtue or positive endowment, but refers to an inner capacity possessed by all human beings to do good, as human beings should.

It is the quality that makes humans human, and not animals. In earlier iterations of this translation I have gone through various transitions: at first I attempted to use a unified English rendering throughout the text. I then pursued a strategy of leaving untranslated, as ren. Now I am presently leaning in the direction of translating the term variously, according to the context, but at present, remnants of all three strategies remain in the text.

I intend to eventually sort this out. In my interactions with friends, have I been untrustworthy? Have not practiced what I have preached? You should employ them [appropriately] according to the seasons.

During the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods in China, selfish and aggressive warlords frequently pulled farmers off their land at important farming times, to use them for public works projects, or have them fight in the ruler's personal wars.

He should be earnest and truthful, loving all, but become intimate with his innate good-heartedness. After doing this, if he has energy to spare, he can study literature and the arts. It is the process of manifesting one's ren by developing oneself in self-reflection through the various types of human relationships. If he is not learned, then he will not be on firm ground.

He takes loyalty and good faith to be of primary importance, and has no friends who are not of equal moral caliber. When he makes a mistake, he doesn't hesitate to correct it. The difference between him and other people is that he rectifies his errors as soon as he becomes aware of them.

Does he seek this information? Or is it given to him? His way of getting information is quite different from that of other men. People naturally opened up to him due to his warmth and honesty. When your father is dead observe his former actions. Confucius believed that if people cultivated this innate tendency well, all other natural forms of human goodness would be positively affected by it.

This is what the ancient kings did so well— both the greater and the lesser used flexibility. Yet there are occasions when this does not apply: If you understand flexibility and use it, but don't structure yourself with propriety, things won't go well.

This is a word that also has a wide range of meaning in Classical Chinese thought, and is difficult to translate in a single word. The most significant of course, would be wedding ceremonies and funerals. But there were also various agricultural rituals, coming-of-age rituals, coronations, etc. Confucius was an expert on the proper handling of all sorts of rituals. For instance, in the modern context, I might go up and slap my friend on the back. But I certainly wouldn't to that to my professor, or to a student in my class whom I don't know very well.

In the Analects , li , as a general category, is clearly defined in a relationship with ren , where ren is the inner, substantial goodness of the human being, and li is the functioning of ren in the manifest world. When your show of respect is guided by propriety, you will be far from shame and disgrace. If you have genuine affection within your family, you can become an ancestor.

Being attuned to fairness allows people to do the proper thing in the proper situation, to give each person, place and thing its proper due. Thus, one of the greatest qualities to be possessed by teacher, a supervisor, a judge, a company owner, or the leader of any social circle is that of fairness, or justice, in treating those over whom he or she has power or influence.

He avails himself to people of the Way and thereby corrects himself. Like cutting and filing,. Grinding and polishing 2. I speak of various things, and he knows what is to be brought back. I am bothered when I do not know others.

It just stays in its place while all the other stars position themselves around it. But numerous Confucian passages such as this which suggest of the ruler's governance by a mere attunement with an inner principle of goodness, without unnecessary external action, quite like the Daoist wu-wei are far more numerous than has been noted.

If you govern them by means of virtue and control them with propriety, they will gain their own sense of shame, and thus correct themselves. But everyone does this for even horses and dogs.

Without respect, what's the difference? But when he retires and I observe his personal affairs, it is quite clear that he is not stupid. He died at a young age, probably around thirty, a fact which Confucius lamented.

Observe his motives. Examine that in which he rests. How can a person conceal his character? When someone is good and honest, everyone knows it. On another level, his mind is not narrowly oriented by a specific task. The junzi thinks broadly and does not limit himself quickly into a certain world-view, and cannot easily be used as a cog in someone else's machine.

The inferior man is partial and not all-embracing. To think and not study is dangerous. What you know, you know, what you don't know, you don't know. This is knowledge. It has been noted in the teachings of other religious traditions to be a very high level of attainment. See much and get rid of what is dangerous and be careful in acting on the rest and your causes for regret will be few. Advance the crooked and set aside the upright, and the people will not follow you. Be filial and compassionate and they will be loyal.

Promote the able and teach the incompetent, and they will work positively for you. When a pin is missing from the yoke-bar of a large wagon, or from the collar-bar of a small wagon, how can it go? The Zhou has based its propriety on that of the Shang and what it added and subtracted is knowable. In this way, what continues from the Zhou, even if generations hence, is knowable. If you see what is right and fail to act on it, you lack courage. If he does this, what will he not do?

The head of the Qi family is often criticized in the Analects for similar improprieties. Confucius said,.

Attended on by Lords and Princes:. How magnificent is the Son of Heaven! How could these words be used in the halls of the Three Families? If a man has no ren what can his music be like? In ritual, it is better to be frugal than extravagant; in funerals deep sorrow is better than ease. Does this meant that Mt. Tai is not the equal of Lin Fang? But if he must compete, he does it in an archery match, wherein he ascends to his position, bowing in deference.

Descending, he drinks the ritual cup. This is the competition of the noble man. Her tactful smile charms;. Her eyes, fine and clear,. Beautiful without accessories. And asked its meaning. Now we can really begin to discuss the Book of Odes.


The Analects Quotes

Translated by A. Charles Muller. Table of Contents. First translated during the summer of Revised Isn't it also great when friends visit from distant places?


The Analects of Confucius

The Analects of Confucius The Analects are a collection of the teachings and thoughts of Confucius; they also contain fragments of dialogues between the great Chinese philosopher and his disciples. The name in English derived from the word "analect" which means a fragment or extract of literature, or a collection of teachings. In Chinese, the book is literally called "discussion on the words [of Confucius]. The Analects were probably written over a period of years. Started during the Spring and Autumn Period, the work of collection and organization of Confucian teachings was probably completed during the Warring States Period, although the precise date of publication of the complete work is unknown. In China, the work has been by many attributed to Confucius himself, but the philological investigations to date do not allow to go back to a reliable source, partly because of the devastating book burning of BC by the First Emperor Qin Shi Huang.


At different times in Chinese history, Confucius trad. This means that the philosophy of Confucius is historically underdetermined, and it is possible to trace multiple sets of coherent doctrines back to the early period, each grounded in different sets of classical sources and schools of interpretation linked to his name. After introducing key texts and interpreters, then, this entry explores three principal interconnected areas of concern: a psychology of ritual that describes how ideal social forms regulate individuals, an ethics rooted in the cultivation of a set of personal virtues, and a theory of society and politics based on normative views of the family and the state. Because of the wide range of texts and traditions identified with him, choices about which version of Confucius is authoritative have changed over time, reflecting particular political and social priorities. The portrait of Confucius as philosopher is, in part, the product of a series of modern cross-cultural interactions. In Imperial China, Confucius was identified with interpretations of the classics and moral guidelines for administrators, and therefore also with training the scholar-officials that populated the bureaucracy. At the same time, he was closely associated with the transmission of the ancient sacrificial system, and he himself received ritual offerings in temples found in all major cities.


By the early Han dynasty the Analects was considered merely a "commentary" on the Five Classics , but the status of the Analects grew to be one of the central texts of Confucianism by the end of that dynasty. During the late Song dynasty — the importance of the Analects as a philosophy work was raised above that of the older Five Classics, and it was recognized as one of the " Four Books ". The Analects has been one of the most widely-read and studied books in China for the last 2, years, and continues to have a substantial influence on Chinese and East Asian thought and values today. Confucius believed that the welfare of a country depended on the moral cultivation of its people, beginning from the nation's leadership. He believed that individuals could begin to cultivate an all-encompassing sense of virtue through ren , and that the most basic step to cultivating ren was devotion to one's parents and older siblings. He taught that one's individual desires do not need to be suppressed, but that people should be educated to reconcile their desires via rituals and forms of propriety , through which people could demonstrate their respect for others and their responsible roles in society.

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