Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Confucius = the Master.

(book number.line number; page number)


Be trustworthy in speech

1. act. 2. speak; get help from moral people

“Tell such a man something and he can see its relevance to what he has not been told.” (1.16; 62)

Guide by virtue; then subjects will develop shame

“[Take] on the burden when there is work to be done.” (2.8; 64)

“In your speech you make few mistakes and in your action you have few regrets.” (2.18; 65) - leave out anything doubtful/dangerous, use the rest cautiously

Dignity and kindness; raise the good; frugality, honesty, curiosity (ask questions)

“Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.” (2.24; 66)

“In his errors a man is true to type. Observe the errors and you will know the man.” (4.7; 73)

“Chi Wen Tzu always thought three times before taking action. When the Master was told of this, he commented, ‘Twice is quite enough.’” (5.20; 79)

Make new mistakes, correct the old ones

“You can tell those who are above average about the best, but not those who are below average.” (6.21; 84) - my band teacher should read this quote

“In the eating of coarse rice and the drinking of water, the using of one’s elbow for a pillow, joy is to be found.” (7.16; 88)

“The Master is cordial yet stern, awe-inspiring yet not fierce, and respectful yet at ease.” (7.38; 91)

“Only when the cold season comes is the point brought home that the pine and the cypress are the last to lose their leaves” (9.28; 100) - I know the point of this quote is moral, but I shall take this opportunity to say that I love cypresses.

“Either this man does not speak or he says something to the point.” (11.14; 108)

“The thing about the gentleman is that he is anything but casual where speech is concerned.” (13.3; 118)

“If a man is correct in his own person, then there will be obedience without orders being given; but if he is not correct in his own person, there will not be obedience even though orders be given.” (13.6; 119)

“Unbending strength, resoluteness, simplicity, and reticence are close to benevolence.” (13.27; 123)

Always “act with perilous high-mindedness.” (14.3; 124) - high-mindedness meaning honor, not self-righteousness

Superior man: “Without anticipating attempts at deception or presuming acts of bad faith, is nevertheless the first to be aware of such behavior.” (14.31; 129)

Cultivate self - what am I to do?

“In word you are conscientious and trustworthy and in deed singleminded and reverent.” (15.6; 133)

Think about future difficulties and plan accordingly

“What the gentleman seeks, he seeks within himself; what the small man seeks, he seeks in others.” (15.21; 135)

“In instruction there is no separation into categories.” (15.39; 137)

Learn, inquire, reflect; question and answer with disciples

Is it not a pleasure to learn and put your learning into practice?

Know what you (don’t) know.

A teacher gains new understanding from review.

Reading without thinking is useless; thinking without reading is dangerous.

If you hurry, you will not be thorough; if you are petty, you will not achieve great things.

Knowing truth < loving truth < finding joy in truth.

When three meet, one can always learn: emulate the good and avoid the mistakes of the bad.

By a stream, the Master remarked that everything endlessly flows away.

The superior man acts before speaking.

Superior man: knows right, is at ease, is dignified (not proud), and is harmonious without conformity.

The inferior man knows what is profitable, is anxious, is proud (not dignified), and conforms without harmony.

Worry not of your fame, but of your worth. 

If you learn in the morning, you can die content in the evening.

To err without reforming is truly to err.

The wise have no perplexities, the moral no doubts, the brave no fears.

You can kill an army’s general, but not a man’s ambition.



Confucius. The Analects. NY: Dorset Press, 1979. translated by D. C. Lau

Last year’s Chinese school textbook.


"Confucius say" irks the Chinese girl. The phrase trivializes, and while Confucius said some things with which I do not agree (and have therefore omitted), his wisdom is genuinely helpful. Compare with Aurelius, whom I must admit I prefer.


This week is crunch time for EA apps. Have notes! Friday there will be a poem.

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