Analects of Confucius BOOK I Chapters 7-12


Tsze-hsia said, “If a man withdraws mind from the love of beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of virtuous; if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost  strength; if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life; if, in his intercourse with his friends, his words are sincere; although men may say he has not learned, I will certainly say that he has.”


1. The Master said, “If the scholar be not grave, he will not call forth any veneration, and his learning will not be solid.

2. “Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.

3. “Have no friends not equal to yourself.

4. “When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.”


The philosopher Tsang said, “Let there be a careful attention to perform funeral rites to parents, and let them be followed when long gone with the ceremonies of sacrifice; then the virtue of the people will resume its proper excellence.”


1. Tsze-ch’in asked Tzse-kung, saying, “When our Master comes to any country, he does not fail to learn about its government. Does he ask his information? Or is it given to him?”

2. Tzse-kung said, “Our Master is benign, upright, courteous, temperate and complaisant, and thus he gets his information! Is not different from other men?”


The Master said, “While a man’s father is alive, look at the bent of his will; when his father is dead, look at his conduct. If for three years he does not alter from the ways of his father, he may be called filial.”


1. The philosopher Yu said, “In practicing the rules of propriety, a natural case is to be prized. In the ways prescribed by the ancient kings, this is the excellent quality, and in things small and great, we follow them.

2. “Yet it is not to be observed in all cases. If one, knowing how much ease should be prized, manifests it, without regulating it by the rules of propriety, this likewise is not to be done.”


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