The subjects of which the Master seldom spoke were-profitableness, and also the appointments of Heaven, and perfect virtue.
A man of the village of Ta-hsiang said, "Great indeed is
the philosopher K'ung! His learning is extensive, and yet he does not
render his name famous by any particular thing."
The Master said, "Am I indeed possessed of knowledge? I am not knowing. But if a
mean person, who appears quite empty-like, ask anything of me, I set it forth
from one end to the other, and exhaust it."
The Master said, "Abroad, to serve the high ministers and nobles; at home, to
serve one's father and elder brothers; in all duties to the dead, not to dare
not to exert one's self; and not to be overcome of wine:-which one of these
things do I attain to?"
The Master standing by a stream, said, "It passes on just like this, not ceasing day or night!"
The Master said, "I have not seen one who loves virtue as he loves beauty."
The Master said, "The prosecution of learning may be compared to what may happen in raising a mound. If there want but one basket of earth to complete the work, and I stop, the stopping is my own work. It may be compared to throwing down the earth on the level ground. Though but one basketful is thrown at a time, the advancing with it my own going forward."
The Master said, "Never flagging when I set forth anything to him;-ah! that is Hui." The Master said of Yen Yuan, "Alas! I saw his constant advance. I never saw him stop in his progress."
The Master said, "There are cases in which the blade springs, but the plant does not go on to flower! There are cases where it flowers but fruit is not subsequently produced!"
The Master said, "A youth is to be regarded with respect. How do we know that his future will not be equal to our present? If he reach the age of forty or fifty, and has not made himself heard of, then indeed he will not be worth being regarded with respect."
The Master said, "Can men refuse to assent to the words of strict admonition? But it is reforming the conduct because of them which is valuable. Can men refuse to be pleased with words of gentle advice? But it is unfolding their aim which is valuable. If a man be pleased with these words, but does not unfold their aim, and assents to those, but does not reform his conduct, I can really do nothing with him."
The Master said, "Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles. Have no friends not equal to yourself. When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them."
The Master said, "The commander of the forces of a large state may be carried off, but the will of even a common man cannot be taken from him."
The Master said, "Dressed himself in a tattered robe quilted with hemp, yet standing by the side of men dressed in furs, and not ashamed;-ah! it is Yu who is equal to this!
"He dislikes none, he covets nothing;-what can he do but what is good!"
Tsze-lu kept continually repeating these words of the ode, when the Master said, "Those things are by no means sufficient to constitute perfect excellence."
The Master said, "When the year becomes cold, then we know how the pine and the cypress are the last to lose their leaves."
The Master said, "The wise are free from perplexities; the virtuous from anxiety; and the bold from fear."
The Master said, "There are some with whom we may study in common, but we shall find them unable to go along with us to principles. Perhaps we may go on with them to principles, but we shall find them unable to get established in those along with us. Or if we may get so established along with them, we shall find them unable to weigh occurring events along with us."
"How the flowers of the aspen-plum flutter and turn! Do I not think of you? But your house is distant."
The Master said, "It is the want of thought about it. How is it distant?"