The Master said, "A transmitter and not a maker, believing in and loving the ancients, I venture to compare myself with our old P'ang."
The Master said, "The silent treasuring up of knowledge; learning without satiety; and instructing others without being wearied:-which one of these things belongs to me?"
The Master said, "The leaving virtue without proper
cultivation; the not thoroughly discussing what is learned; not being
able to move towards righteousness of which a knowledge is gained; and
not being able to change what is not good:-these are the things which
occasion me solicitude."
He went in accordingly, and said, "What sort of men were Po-i and Shu-ch'i?"
"They were ancient worthies," said the Master. "Did they have any repinings
because of their course?" The Master again replied, "They sought to act
virtuously, and they did so; what was there for them to repine about?" On this,
Tsze-kung went out and said, "Our Master is not for him."
The Master said, "I admit people's approach to me without committing myself as
to what they may do when they have retired. Why must one be so severe? If a man
purify himself to wait upon me, I receive him so purified, without guaranteeing
his past conduct."
The Master said, "Is virtue a thing remote? I wish to be virtuous, and lo! virtue is at hand."
The minister of crime of Ch'an asked whether the duke Chao knew propriety, and Confucius said, "He knew propriety."
Confucius having retired, the minister bowed to Wu-ma Ch'i to come forward, and said, "I have heard that the superior man is not a partisan. May the superior man be a partisan also? The prince married a daughter of the house of WU, of the same surname with himself, and called her,-'The elder Tsze of Wu.' If the prince knew propriety, who does not know it?"
Wu-ma Ch'i reported these remarks, and the Master said, "I am fortunate! If I have any errors, people are sure to know them."
When the Master was in company with a person who was singing, if he sang well, he would make him repeat the song, while he accompanied it with his own voice.
The Master said, "In letters I am perhaps equal to other men, but the character of the superior man, carrying out in his conduct what he professes, is what I have not yet attained to."
The Master said, "The sage and the man of perfect virtue;-how dare I rank myself with them? It may simply be said of me, that I strive to become such without satiety, and teach others without weariness." Kung-hsi Hwa said, "This is just what we, the disciples, cannot imitate you in."
The Master being very sick, Tsze-lu asked leave to pray for him. He said, "May such a thing be done?" Tsze-lu replied, "It may. In the Eulogies it is said, 'Prayer has been made for thee to the spirits of the upper and lower worlds.'" The Master said, "My praying has been for a long time."
The Master said, "Extravagance leads to insubordination, and parsimony to meanness. It is better to be mean than to be insubordinate."
The Master said, "The superior man is satisfied and composed; the mean man is always full of distress."
The Master was mild, and yet dignified; majestic, and yet not fierce; respectful, and yet easy.