This text is adapted from the A. C. Muller translation of 1990, available at Words transliterated from the Chinese are given in Wades-Giles/Pin Yin (for example, tao/dao), the latter being a much better system introduced by the current Chinese government. Pin Yin allows for a much closer approximation to correct Mandarin pronunciation. Except for Confucius’ name, all proper names and place names have been put in Pin Yin, and I will always render Tao as Dao.

Note that some words such as li, wang, and sheng are the same in both transliteration systems. Starting with Chapter Four Pin Yin will be used exclusively. Also note that some translations differ in the numbering of the verses. You may have to read ahead or behind in order to find the corresponding verse.

For more information check this website: Chinese Philosophical Terms

Chapter One

1:2 Master You said: "There are few who have developed themselves filially and fraternally who enjoy offending their superiors. Those who do not enjoy offending superiors are never troublemakers. The person of jen/ren concerns himself with the fundamentals. Once the fundamentals are established, the proper way (tao/dao) appears. Are not filial piety and obedience to elders fundamental to the enactment of jen/ren?"

[Muller's Comment] The Chinese term jen/ren has been translated into English as "humanity," "benevolence," "goodness," "Perfect Goodness," etc. 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. This is the reason some have translated it as "humanity." The problem with this translation is that it does not indicate the "goodness" implied by the term jen/ren.

In the Chinese "essence-function" perception, jen/ren can be understood as the essence of all kinds of manifestations of virtuosity: wisdom, filial piety, reverence, courtesy, love, sincerity, etc., all of which are aspects, or functions of jen/ren. Through one's efforts at practicing at the function of jen/ren, one may enhance and develop one's jen/ren, until one may be called a superior man (chün-tzu/junzi, or even better, a "person of jen/ren." In the Analects, "person of jen/ren" is an extremely high state, rarely acknowledged of any human being by Confucius.

The Chinese term chün-tzu/junzi originally means "Son of a Prince"--thus, someone from the nobility. In the Analects, Confucius imbues the term with a special meaning. Though sometimes used strictly in its original sense, it also refers to a person who has made significant progress in the Way (Dao) of self-cultivation, by practicing righteousness, by loving treatment of parents, respect for elders, honesty with friends, etc. Though the chün-tzu/junzi is clearly a highly advanced human being, he is still distinguished from the category of sage (sheng-jen/shengren) . . . .

1:3 Confucius said: "Someone who is a clever speaker and maintains a 'too-smiley' face is seldom considered a person of jen/ren."

1:4 Master Zeng said: "Each day I examine myself in three ways: in doing things for others, have I been disloyal? In my interactions with friends, have I been untrustworthy? Have not practiced what I have preached?"

1:5 Confucius said: "If you would govern a state of a thousand chariots (a small-to-middle-size state), you must pay strict attention to business, be true to your word, be economical in expenditure and love the people. You should use them according to the seasons."

[Muller's Comment] "Usage of the people according to the seasons" is extremely important in an agriculture-based society, where planting, cultivating, or harvesting a certain crop during a certain few-day period can be critical. 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.

1:6 Confucius said: "A young man should serve his parents at home and be respectful to elders outside his home. He should be earnest and truthful, loving all, but become intimate with jen/ren. After doing this, if he has energy to spare, he can study literature and the arts."

[Muller's Comment] In the above-mentioned essence-function view, the development of one's proper relationship with one's parents and others around her/him is fundamental in life. Only after these things are taken care of is it proper to go off and play at whatever one likes--even if this "play" involves the serious study of some art form.

1:7 Zixia said: "If you can treat the worthy as worthy without strain, exert your utmost in serving your parents, devote your whole self in serving your prince, and be honest in speech (hsin/xin) when dealing with your friends. Then even if someone says you are not learned (hsüeh/xue), I would say that you are definitely learned."

[Muller's Comment] In the Confucian tradition, learning (hsüeh/xue) is more than intellectual, academic study, or the accumulation of facts (although this aspect is included). It is the process of manifesting one's jen/ren by developing-oneself in self-reflection through the various types of human relationships.

1:8 Confucius said: "If the person of jen/ren is not 'heavy,' then he will not inspire awe in others. 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."

Ames and Rosemont translation: The Master said: "Exemplary persons lacking in gravity would have no dignity. Yet in their studies they are not inflexible. Take doing your utmost and making good on your word as your mainstay. Do not have as a friend anyone who is not as good as you are. And where you have erred, do not hesitate to mend your ways." See Roger T. Ames and Henry Rosemont, Jr., The Analects of Confucius: A Philosophical Translation (New York: Ballantine Books, 1998).

[Muller’s Comment] Persons of jen/ren still make mistakes. The difference between them and other people is that they rectify their errors as soon as they become aware of them.

1:9 Master Zheng Tzu said: "When they are careful (about their parents) to the end and continue in reverence after (their parents) are long gone, the virtue (te/de) of the people will return to its natural depth."

1:11 Confucius said: "When your father is alive, observe his will. When your father is dead observe his former actions. If, for three years you do not change from the ways of your father, you can be called a 'real son (hsiao/xiao).'"

[Muller's Comment] In terms of the development of the character of the human being, the most fundamental practice is that of "filial piety," the English translation of the Chinese hsiao/xiao, which means to love, respect and take care of one's parents. Confucius believed that if people cultivated this innate tendency well, all other natural forms of human goodness would be positively affected by it.

1:12 Master You said: "In the actual practice of propriety (li), flexibility is important. This is what the ancient kings did so well--both the greater and the lesser used flexibility. Yet you should be aware: If you understand flexibility and use it, but don't structure yourself with propriety, things won't go well."

Ames and Rosemont: Master You said: "Achieving harmony is the most valuable (he) function of observing ritual propriety. In the ways of the Former Kings, this achievement of harmony made them elegant, and was a guiding standard in all things large and small. But when things are not going well, to realize harmony just for its own sake without regulating the situation through observing ritual propriety will not work."

[Muller’s Comment] Propriety is the English rendition of the Chinese li. This is a word that also has a wide spectrum of meaning in Classical Chinese thought, and is difficult to translate by a single word. Its most basic meaning is that of "ritual" or "ceremony," referring to all sorts of rituals that permeated early East Asian society. 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.

The term li however, has, in the Analects, a much broader meaning than ritual, since it can also refer to the many smaller ritualized behavior patterns involved in day-to-day human interactions. This would include proper speech and body language according to status, age, sex--thus, manners. In this sense, li means any action proper, or appropriate to the situation. 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 jen/ren, where jen/ren is the inner, substantial goodness of the human being, and li is the functioning of jen/ren in the manifest world. That is to say, li is righteousness (doing what is right or appropriate), filial piety, fraternal respect, familial affection, etc.

1:13 Master You said: "When your own trustworthiness is close to righteousness (i/yi), your words can be followed. When your show of respect is according to propriety, you will be far from shame and disgrace. If you have genuine affection within your family, you can become an ancestor."

Ames and Rosemont: "That making good on one’s word (hsin/xin) gets one close to being appropriate (i/yi) is because then what one says will bear repeating. That being deferential gets one close to observing ritual propriety is because it keeps disgrace and insult at a distance. Those who are accommodating and do not lose those whom they are close are deserving of esteem."

[Muller's Comment] I/Yi has commonly been translated as righteousness. Although not quite as essential a concept as jen/ren, it is a strongly internalized human capacity. Being attuned to righteousness allows people to do the proper thing in the proper situation, to give each person, place and thing its proper due.

[Gier’s Comment]. Although Muller has a fairly good definition, Ames and Rosemont has the best translation of i/yi, which I believe is just as essential as jen/ren and li. Later passages in the Analects (4:10 for example) will make the meaning of this word clearer. Righteousness is ultimately misleading because in the Judeo-Christian tradition it means being right with God while in the Confucian tradition it means being right with oneself, with others, and with one’s surroundings. Granted, it might mean "right with Heaven" but Confucian Heaven never gives direct commands; rather, its regularities are the general pattern for the order of society and virtuous people.

1:14 Confucius said: "When the person of jen/ren eats he does not try to stuff himself; at rest he does not seek perfect comfort; he is diligent in his work and careful in speech. He avails himself to people of the Tao/Dao and thereby corrects himself. This is the kind of person of whom you can say, 'he loves learning.'"

1:15 Zigong asked: "What do you think of a poor man who doesn't grovel or a rich man who isn't proud?" Confucius said, "They are good, but not as good as a poor man who is satisfied and a rich man who loves propriety." Zigong said, "The Book of Odes says: "Like bone carved and polished/ Like jade cut and ground."

[Gier’s Comment]: The previous reference to the sage kings as "elegant" and this simile shows that Confucius has an aesthetics of virtue in which one can see moral self-cultivation as a process of shaping one’s life in appropriate ways. In fact one can speak of a literal dance of virtue, one that is choreographed in the finest detail. See my "The Dancing Ru: A Confucian Aesthetics of Virtue," forthcoming in Philosophy East & West 51:3 (July, 2001).

Chapter Two

2:1 Confucius said: "If you govern with the power of your virtue, you will be like the North Star. It just stays in its place while all the other stars position themselves around it."

[Muller's Comment] This is the Analects' first statement on government. Scholars of Chinese thought have commonly placed great emphasis on a supposed radical distinction between Confucian "authoritative" government and Daoist "laissez-faire" government. 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. This is one good reason for us to be careful when making the commonplace Confucian/Daoist generalizations without qualification.

2:2 Confucius said: "The 300 verses of the Book of Odes can be summed up in a single phrase: 'Don't think in an evil way.'"

[Gier’s Comment] Yet another indication of an aesthetics of virtue: a book of poetry is a principal moral guide for the Confucians.

2:3 Confucius said: "If you govern the people legalistically and control them by punishment, they will avoid crime, but have no personal sense of shame. 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."

2:4 Confucius said: "At fifteen my heart [-mind] was set on learning; at thirty I stood firm; at forty I had no more doubts; at fifty I knew the mandate of heaven; at sixty my ear was obedient; at seventy I could follow my heart[-mind]'s desire without transgressing the norm [boundaries]."

Ames and Rosemont’s translation has been selectively added in brackets. Avoiding any dichotomy of mind and emotions, the Chinese word hsin/xin includes both of them.

2:7 Ziyou asked about the meaning of filial piety. Confucius said, "Nowadays filial piety means being able to feed your parents. But everyone does this for even horses and dogs. Without respect, what's the difference?"

2:8 Zixia asked about filial piety. Confucius said, "What is important is the expression you show in your face. You should not understand 'filial' to mean merely the young doing physical tasks for their parents, or giving them food and wine when it is available."

2:9 Confucius said: "I can talk with Yan Hui for a whole day without him differing with me in any way--as if he is stupid. But when he retires and I observe his personal affairs, it is quite clear that he is not stupid."

[Muller's Comment] Yan Hui is Confucius' favorite disciple, who is praised in many passages of the Analects [as a person of jen/ren]. He died at a young age, probably around thirty, a fact which Confucius lamented.

2:10 Confucius said: "See a person's means (of getting things). Observe his motives. Examine that in which he rests. How can a person conceal his character? How can a person conceal his character?"

[Muller's Comment] People think that they are successfully hiding the devious plots that are going on in their minds. But as the Doctrine of the Mean teaches, "The sincerity on the inside shows on the outside." When someone is deceitful, everyone knows it. When someone is good and honest, everyone knows it.

2:12 Confucius said: "The person of jen/ren is not a utensil."

[Muller's Comment] The person of jen/ren is not a technician, to be used by others to do a single job. On another level, [her] mind is not narrowly oriented by a specific task. The chün-tzu/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.

2:13 Zigong asked about the character of the person of jen/ren. Confucius said, "First he practices what he preaches and then he follows it."

2:14 Confucius said: "The person of jen/ren is all-embracing and not partial. The inferior man is partial and not all-embracing."

Chapter Three

3:3 Confucius said: "If a man has no jen/ren what can his propriety be like? If a man has no jen/ren what can his music be like?"

[Muller's Comment] Since jen/ren is the essence of all positive human attributes, without it, how can they truly operate?

Chapter Four (sometimes called "The Book of Ren")

4:1 Confucius said: "As for a neighborhood, it is its jen/ren that makes it beautiful. If you choose to live in a place that lacks jen/ren, how can you grow in wisdom?"

4:2 Confucius said: "If you lack jen/ren you can't handle long periods of difficulty or long periods of comfortability. Jen/ren men are comfortable in jen/ren. The wise take advantage of jen/ren."

4:3 Confucius said: "Only the jen/ren person is able to really like others or to really dislike them."

Ames and Rosemont translation: "The person of ren alone has the wherewithal to properly discriminate the good person from the bad."

4:4 Confucius said: "If you are really committed to ren, you will have no evil in you."

4:5 Confucius said, "Riches and honors are what all men desire. But if they cannot be attained in accordance with the Dao they should not be kept. Poverty and low status are what all men hate. But if they cannot avoided in while staying in accordance with the Dao, you should not avoid them. If the junzi departs from ren, how can she be worthy of that name? A junzi never leaves ren for even the time of a single meal. In moments of haste she acts according to it. In times of difficulty or confusion she acts according to it."

4:6 Confucius said: "I have never seen one who really loves ren or really hates non-ren. If you really loved ren you would not place anything above it. If you really hated the non-ren, you would not let it near you. Is there anyone who has devoted their strength to ren for a single day? I have not seen anyone who has lacked the strength to do so. Perhaps there has been such a case, but I have never seen it."

4:8 Confucius said: "If I can hear the Dao in the morning, in the evening I can die content."

4:10 Confucius said: "When the junzi deals with the world he is not prejudiced for or against anything. He does what is right (yi)."

Ames and Rosemont: The Master said: "Exemplary persons in making their way in the world are neither bent on nor against anything; rather, they go with what is appropriate."

4:15 Confucius said: "Zeng, my Dao is penetrated by a single thread." Master Zeng said, "Yes." When the Master left, some disciples asked what he meant.  Master Zeng said, "Our master's Dao is to be sincere and fair, and that's it."

Ames and Rosemont: "The way of the Master is doing one's utmost (zhong) and putting oneself in the other's place (shu), nothing more."

[Gier's comment]:  Please note the self-regarding "doing one's utmost" and the other regarding "putting oneself in the other's place."

4:16 Confucius said: "The junzi is aware of righteousness, the inferior man is aware of advantage."

Ames and Rosemont: "Exemplary persons understand what is appropriate; petty persons understand what is of personal advantage."

4:17 Confucius said: "When you see a good person, think of becoming like her/him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points."

4:18 Confucius said: "When you serve your mother and father it is okay to try to correct them once in a while. But if you see that they are not going to listen to you, keep your respect for them and don't distance yourself from them. Work without complaining."

[Heiner Roetz]: "In serving your parents, you may remonstrate with them when there is an opportunity.  If you see that they do not follow your will, then keep on being respectful, but do not abandon your purpose.  Keep on exerting yourself for them, and do not resent them."

The Book of Mencius quotes favorably a saying that implies that virtue trumps the duties of the five social relationships: "A man of abundant virtue cannot be treated as a subject by the prince, nor can he be treated as a son by this father" (5a4).

Chapter Five

5:9(10) Zaiwo slept during the daytime. Confucius said, "Rotten wood cannot be carved; dirty earth cannot be used for cement: why bother scolding him? . . .

5:11 Zigong said: "What I don't want done to me, I don't want to do to others."

Chapter Six

6:5 Confucius said: "Yan Hui could keep his mind on ren for three months without lapse. Others are lucky if they can do it for one day out of a month."

6:9 Confucius said: "Yan Hui was indeed a worthy! With a single bamboo bowl of rice and gourd-cup of water he lived in a back alley. Others could not have endured his misery, but Hui never changed from his happy disposition. Hui was a worthy indeed!"

[Muller's Comment] In Confucian and Daoist thought, the term hsien/xian ('worthy') means "good, kind, intelligent, courageous," etc. But it is also a technical term for a person of a high level of moral and intellectual advancement. Generally speaking, it indicates someone who is "almost perfect" but who is not a "divine being," a sage.

6:15 (17) Confucius said: "Who can go out without using the door? So why doesn't any body follow the Dao?"

6:16 (18) Confucius said: "If raw substance dominates refinement, you will be coarse. If refinement dominates raw substance, you will be clerical. When refinement and raw qualities are well blended, you will be a junzi."

Ames and Rosemont have "basic disposition" instead of "raw substance."

6:17 (19) Confucius said: "People are straightforward at birth. Once they lose this, they rely on luck to avoid trouble."

Wing-Tsit Chan: "Man is born with uprightness.  If one loses it it he will be lucky if he escapes with his life."

Ames and Rosemont: "The life of a person lies in being true; as for the life of someone who is crooked, they will need good fortune to avoid losing it." See 5:10 and 14:34.

[Gier's Comment]: Is Confucius talking about something innate at birth, so an integrity that we develop with moral cultivation?

6:20 (22) Confucius said, "Working to give the people justice (yi) and paying respect to the spirits, but keeping away from them, you can call wisdom."

Ames and Rosemont have "To devote yourself to what is appropriate for the people. . . ."

6:26 (28) The Master visited Nanzi (a woman known for her sexual excesses) and Zilu was displeased. The Master dealt with this, saying: "Whatever I have done wrong, may Heaven punish me! May Heaven punish me!"

6:27 (29) Confucius said: "Even over a long period of time, there have been few people who have actualized the Mean into Manifest Virtue."

Chapter Seven

7:1 Confucius said: "I am a transmitter, rather than an original thinker. I trust and enjoy the teachings of the ancients. In my heart I compare myself to old Peng."

7:6 Confucius said: "Set your aspirations on the Dao, hold to virtue (de), rely on your ren, and relax in the study of the arts."

7:7 Confucius said: "From the one who brought a bundle of dried meat (the poorest person) upwards, I have never denied a person my instruction."

7:13 When Confucius was in Qi, he heard the Shao music, and for three months did not know the taste of meat. He said, "I never knew music could reach this level of excellence!"

7:15 Confucius said: "I can live with coarse rice to eat, water for drink and my arm as a pillow and still be happy. Wealth and honors that one possesses in the midst of injustice are like floating clouds."

7:19 Confucius said: "I was not born with wisdom. I love the ancient teachings and have worked hard to attain to their level."

7:20 The master never discussed strange phenomena, physical exploits, disorder or ghost stories.

7:22 Confucius said: "Heaven gave birth to the virtue (de) within me. What can Huan Tui (a high official of the Sung, who was trying to assassinate Confucius) do to me?"

7:25 Confucius said: "I have not yet been able to meet a sage, but I would be satisfied to meet a junzi. I have not yet met a man of true goodness (shanren), but would be satisfied to meet a man of constancy. Lacking, yet possessing; empty, yet full; in difficulty yet at ease. How difficult it is to have constancy!"

7:29 Confucius said: "Is ren far away? If I aspire for ren it is right here!"

7:32 Confucius said: "In literature, perhaps I am equal to others. But I cannot manifest the behavior of the Superior Man."

7:33 Confucius said: "I dare not claim to be a sage or a man of ren. But I strive for these without being disappointed, and I teach without becoming weary. This is what can be said of me." Gongxi Hua said, "It is exactly these qualities that cannot be learned by the disciples."

7:34 The Master was very sick, and Zilu said that he would pray for him. Confucius said, "is there such a thing?" Zilu said, "There is. The Eulogies say: 'I pray for you to the spirits of the upper and lower realm.'"Confucius said, "Then I have been praying for a long time already."

Chapter Eight

8:9 Confucius said: "You might force people (min) act according a certain principle, but you won't be able to force them to understand it."

Ames and Rosemont: "The common people may be induced to following the way, but they cannot be induced to realize it (chi/zhi)."

Chapter Nine

9:13 The Master wanted to go and stay with the Nine Tribes of the East. Someone said, "They are unruly! Why do you want to do such a thing?" Confucius said, "If a junzi dwells with them, how could they be unruly?"

9:17 Confucius said: "I have never seen one who loves virtue as much as he loves sex."

Chapter Eleven

11:8 When Yan Hui died, the master cried: "How cruel! Heaven is killing me! Heaven is killing me!"

11:9 When Yan Hui died, the Master wept uncontrollably. The disciples said, "Master, you are going overboard with this!" Confucius said, "Going overboard?! If I can't cry now, when should I cry?"

11:10 When Yan Hui died, the disciples wanted to give him a lavish funeral. The Master told them not to, but they did it anyway. Confucius said, "Hui treated me like a father. Now I have not been able to treat him as a son, and it is the fault of you students."

11:11 Zhilu asked about serving the spirits. Confucius said, "If you can't yet serve men, how can you serve the spirits?" Lu said, "May I ask about death?" Confucius said, "If you don't understand what life is, how will you understand death?"

Chapter Twelve

12:1 Yan Hui asked about the meaning of ren. The Master said, "To completely overcome selfishness and keep to propriety is ren. If for a full day you can overcome selfishness and keep to propriety, everyone in the world will return to ren. Does ren come from oneself, or from others?"

Emphasizing Confucius’ strong humanism, Ames and Rosemont render the last sentence thusly: "Becoming ren in one’s conduct is self-originating–how good it originate with others?"

[Muller’s Comment] This passage has always provided problems for translators and commentators. All of the modern English translators either alter the grammar of this sentence or reinterpret it and in such a way as to disallow the power of the mind of a single individual to bring peace to the world. For example, Wing-tsit Chan translates:

"If a man (the ruler) can for one day master himself and return to propriety, all under heaven will return to humanity"

This rendering makes the assumption that the only way to make the people "humane" is through the enforcement of political power. There is no doubt that Confucius himself sought the employment of a king to help bring peace to the world. But there is also no indication that he is speaking to a king here, nor does the word wang appear in the sentence. James Legge says:

"If a man can for one day subdue himself and return to propriety, all under heaven will ascribe virtue to him."

This rendering damages the force of the passage even further by interpreting the word kuei/guei (which clearly means "return" in Chinese) as "ascribe to him," a thoroughly unnatural reading of the word. D.C. Lau stays fairly close to Legge when he translates:

"If for a single day a man could return to the observance of rites through overcoming himself, then the whole Empire would consider benevolence to be his."

I.e., we are expected to acknowledge that a single person obviously does not have the power to influence the whole world, and only one in a position of political power can do so. For this reason, I hesitate to rewrite the text in this case, and try to think further of what Confucius meant.

For instance, do we really know what it is like to "completely overcome our selfishness" for a full day, and be perfectly guided by proper action? I would like to suggest that perhaps we do not know the level of spiritual influence that may be brought about by the actualization of one's inner perfection. Also, in the case of a ruler: can political power in itself make the people become good? It is doubtful.

This is an important passage in that it shows very clearly a world-view that is common to all the philosophers whose works are contained in this volume: a world not of isolated monads, but a world that is much more transparent, unified and connected than we of modernity perceive.

12:2 Zhonggong asked about the meaning of ren. The Master said: "Go out of your home as if you were receiving an important guest. Employ the people as if you were assisting at a great ceremony. What you don't want done to yourself, don't do to others. . . ."

12:5 Sima Niu, upset, said: "Everyone has brothers, I alone have none." Zixia said: "If the junzi is reverent without lapse, and courteous to everyone within the frame of propriety, everything within the four seas will be his brother. Why should a junzi be concerned about not having brothers?"

12:11 Duke Jing of Qi asked Confucius about government. Confucius replied: "Let the ruler be a ruler, minister be a minister, father be a father, son be a son." The Duke said, "Excellent! Indeed, if the ruler is not a ruler, the ministers not ministers, fathers not fathers and sons not sons, even if I have food, how can I eat it?"

12:17 Ji Kangzi asked Confucius about government. Confucius replied saying: "To 'govern' [zheng] means to 'rectify' [zheng]."

[Muller's Comment] Here Confucius is punning on the fact that in Chinese, the words "government" and "rectify" are pronounced the same. If you were to lead the people with correctness, who would not be rectified?

12:22 Fan Chi asked about the meaning of ren. Confucius said "love others." He asked about the meaning of knowledge (zhi). The Master said, "Know others." Fan Chi couldn't get it. The Master said, "If you put the honest in positions of power and discard the dishonest, you will force the dishonest to become honest."

Chapter 13

13:3 "If terminology is not corrected, then what is said cannot be followed. If what is said cannot be followed, then work cannot be accomplished. If work cannot be accomplished, then ritual and music cannot be developed. If ritual and music cannot be developed, then criminal punishments will not be appropriate. If criminal punishments are not appropriate, the people cannot make a move. Therefore, the junzi needs to have his terminology applicable to real language, and his speech must accord with his actions. The speech of the junzi cannot be indefinite."

Ames and Rosemont begin with "When names are not used properly . . ." to emphasize that Confucius is talking about the "rectification of names."

13:18 The Duke of She told Confucius: "In my land, there are righteous men. If a father steals a sheep, the son will testify against him." Confucius said, "The righteous men in my land are different from this. The father conceals the wrongs of his son, and the son conceals the wrongs of his father. This is righteousness (Ames & Rosemont: "being true")!"  Compare with Mencius 2a18 and Plato's Euthyphro.

13:23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony."

13:24 Tzu Kung asked: "What do you think if all the people in town like someone?" "Not too good," said Confucius. "What if they all hate you?" "Also not too good. It is better if the good people in town like you, and the evil ones hate you."

Chapter Fourteen

14:5 Confucius said: ". . . the ren man is always brave, but the brave man is not necessarily possessed of ren."

14:36 Someone said: "What do you think of the saying: 'Repay harm with virtue'?" Confucius replied, "Then how will you repay virtue? Repay harm with righteousness (zhi) and repay virtue with virtue."

Repaying harm with virtue comes from the Daodejing chapter 63.

Ames and Rosemont render the first part of Confucius’ last sentence this way: "Repay ill will with being true. . . ."

Other translations of zhi in this passage: uprightness (Chan, Slingerland); justice (Hinton, Leys); and impartiality (Huang).

14:37 Confucius said: "Aah! No one understands me!" Xigong said, "What do you mean, 'No one understands you'?" Confucius said, "I have no resentment against Heaven, no quarrel with men. I study from the bottom and penetrate to the top. Who understands me? Heaven does!"

Chapter Fifteen

15:8 Confucius said: "The determined shi (knight-scholar) and the man of ren will not save their lives if it requires damaging their ren. They will even sacrifice themselves to consummate their ren."

15:9 Zigong asked about ren. Confucius said, "When a craftsman wants to do a nice piece of work, he will always sharpen his tools first. When you live in a certain district, get into the service of the most worthy officers, and seek friends among scholars who are steeped in ren."

15:17 Confucius said: "The junzi takes righteousness (yi) as the essence (zhi). She actualizes it through propriety (li), demonstrates it in humility, develops it by truthfulness. This is the junzi!"

Ames and Rosemont: "Having a sense of appropriate conduct as one’s basic disposition, developing it in observing ritual propriety, . . . ."

15:23 Zigong asked: "Is there a single concept that we can take as a guide for the actions of our whole life?" Confucius said, "What about 'fairness' (shu)? What you don't like done to yourself, don't do to others."

15:27 Confucius said: "If everybody hates something, you'd better check into it. If everybody loves something, you'd better check into it."

15:28 Confucius said: "The human being manifests the Dao. The Dao doesn't manifest the human being."

Ames and Rosemont: "It is the person who is able to broaden the Dao, not the Dao that broadens the person."

15:32 Confucius said: "If your wisdom (zhi)can grasp it, but your ren is incapable of maintaining it, even though you have grasped it, you will certainly lose it. If your wisdom grasps it and your ren is sufficient to maintain it, but you don't manifest it, the people will not revere you. If your wisdom grasps it, your ren is sufficient to maintain it, and you manifest it but don't act according to propriety, you are still not perfect."

[Muller's Comment] This is a decidedly Confucian perspective on the unity of essence and function, similar to that expressed in 12:8. Even with a deep understanding of reality (essence) and a concomitant reflection in the person, external polish is still necessary to be a complete human being.

Confucius said: "People are similar by nature, but through habituation become quite different from each other."

15:38 Confucius said: "In teaching people, there is no discrimination (of class, type, etc.)"

Chapter Seventeen

17:2 Confucius said: "People are similar by nature (xing), but through habituation become quite different from each other."

17:14 Confucius said: "To apprehend the Dao and lecture on it before actualization is to throw away your accumulation of virtue."

17:23 Zilu said: "Does the junzi esteem bravery?" Confucius said, "The junzi puts righteousness (yi) first. If the junzi is brave without righteousness, he will be rebellious. If the inferior man is brave without righteousness, he will become an outlaw."

Ames and Rosemont: "The exemplary person gives first priority to appropriate conduct. . . ."

17:25 Confucius said: "Girls and inferior men are hard to raise. If you get familiar with them, they lose their humility; if you are distant, they resent it."

17:26 Confucius said: "One who has reached the age of forty and is disliked, will be disliked to the end."

Chapter Nineteen

19:11 Zixia said: "As long as you don't transgress the norm of great virtue, you may utilize small virtues freely."

Ames and Rosemont: "In matters which demand surpassing excellence, one never oversteps the mark; in minor affairs one has some latitude."

19:24 Zigong, having heard about Shusun Wushu's disparagement of Confucius, said, "It is ridiculous talking this way. Confucius cannot be slandered. The virtue of other men is like a small hill, which can be climbed over. Confucius is like the sun and the moon. There is no way they can be climbed over. Even if you want to cut yourself off from the sun and moon, how can you hurt them? It is easy to see that Wushu does not know value."

[Gier's Comment]:  The fact that Confucius is being compared to the sun and the moon brings up the issue of his deification.  Although he was elevated to the second rank of deities in popular religion, Confucian philosophers never deified Confucius in the way that Buddhist and Christian philosophers deified their founders.  See my article "On the Deification of Confucius," Asian Philosophy 1:3 (1993), pp. 43-54, which is reprinted as Chapter 9 in Spiritual Titanism: Indian, Chinese, and Western Perspectives. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2000.