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《论语诠解英文版》——Chapter VI "述而" (Shu'er)

[7- 1] 子曰: "述而不作,信而好古,窃比千我老彭。"

7.1       The Master said, "I transmit rather than create knowledge and learning. I believe in and also enjoy the ancient culture. In private, I compare myself to Grand Primogenitor Old Peng."

[Comment] "述而不作s hu er bu zuo" indicates the actions "to transmit and inherit, but not to create or invent." "信而好古xln er hao gu" trans­ lates as "not only to believe in, but also to love the ancients and their teach­ ings." "老彭 loo  p的 g" refers to "彭祖 p的 g zu" (Grand Ancestor Peng), who was a legendary figure in Chinese culture and who, as legend has it, lived over 800 years. Regarded as a saint in Taoism, Peng Zu dedicated him­ self to the pursuit of eternity by searching for nutritional and sexual therapy treatments. Because of his supposed longevity, he is widely known as a sym­ bol of long life in China. There has been a great deal of controversy over the interpretation of "老彭 loo          p 的 g ," as he was referenced in the Analects. One opinion holds that " 老 彭 Lao Peng" may refer to two legendary figures: 老子 loo          zT and 彭 祖 p 的 g zu (Grand Ancestor Peng). However, others believe—and we agree with this second point of view—that it refers to only one figure, that is Grand Ancestor Peng.

[Reading] This section is interesting in that on the one hand, Confucius was humble and modest, regarding himself as a "messenger," who only "trans­ mits knowledge as learning, rather than creating said knowledge." On the other hand, though, Confucius was one of the greatest Chinese thinkers and educators whose philosophical thinking has tremendously shaped the collec­ tive Chinese mind. In addition, it also demonstrates that Confucius indeed looked very nostalgically at the "Golden Age" of Zhou and truly wished that feudal lords and princes would restore the Zhou institutions, and the rules of propriety, which he believed to be the zenith of human development. As a result, he was less concerned with reinventing the wheel, than with spread­ ing the knowledge of the ways of the Zhou Dynasty, knowledge that already exists.

[7- 2] 子曰: "默而识之,学而不厌,诲人不倦,何有千我哉?”

7.2       The Master said, "Keeping in heart what I have learned; studying hard without surfeit; teaching others without indolence: what else should I wor­ ry?"

[Comment] "默而识之 mo er zhl zhT''means "commit to heart what one has learned," while "不厌 bu yon" suggests that one is "not weary or tired of something." "何有千我哉 he you yu w6 zai" implies "Doing such things is not difficult for me, is it?"

[Reading] To follow up on the previous section, Confucius continued to discuss ways of learning. To be precise, he focused on three approaches to­ wards learning. First, by "Keeping in heart what I have learned," Confucius emphasized the importance of memorizing the essentials of knowledge. But that is not enough. What Confucius implied is how to internalize learning and turn that knowledge into wisdom, something practical and useful that will become part of one's life. The next logical step is to study hard without surfeit. Since wisdom is a truth one should live and act by, there is no end to the pursuit of wisdom. Third, Confucius believed knowledge is to be shared with others so that it may benefit more people. That is why he chose to be an educator even when he was advanced in age. To Confucius, a dedicated teacher is one who "teaches others without indolence."

[7- 3] 子曰:  “德之不修,学之不讲,闻义不能徙,不善不能改, 是吾忧也。"

7.3       The Master said, "Not cultivating virtue; not being engaged in learning; not doing what should be done; not correcting one's faults: these are the things that worry me."

[Com ment] " 讲 jia ng" means "to lecture on," while " 义 y1" connotes "what needs to be done."

[Reading] Obviously, Confucius was worried about one's not being able to follow "Ren" (virtue, benevolence, and self-cultivation.) For Confucius, learning was not an end in and of itself. Rather, learning has three important levels of meaning. To learn is to cultivate oneself and enhance one's sense of morality. Further, to learn is to study knowledge of virtue and righteous­ ness. In other words, virtue is knowledge, an argument somewhat akin to the Socratic perception of the human condition. Finally, a man of great learning and true virtue cultivates himself by frequently reflecting upon himself for self-rectification. That is what Confucius meant by learning.

[7- 4] 子之燕居,申申          如也, 天天如也。

7.4       When the Master was done with business and returned home, he was relaxed, enjoying himself.

[Com ment] " 燕居 yo n ju" describes "a life with a great deal of leisure." "申申如 s he n shen ru" connotes "relaxed and comfortable," while "天天如yao yao ru" implies the adjectives "pleasant and delightful."

[Reading] Contrary to the stereotyped image of Confucius as a man of all work, here we see that he also knew how to enjoy life. He was not one who worried himself about everything constantly. Rather, in this section Con­ fucius was relaxed and knew how to enjoy himself when he retired to his residence.

[7- 5] 子曰: "甚矣吾衰也!久矣吾不复梦见周公!”

7.5       The Master said, "I am really getting old. I have not dreamed of the Duke of Zhou for quite a long time!"

[Comment] "周公 zho u gong" refers to the Duke of Zhou,

[Reading] In this section Confucius is seen lamenting his advanced age when he seems to dream less of the Duke of Zhou. On a deeper level, how­ ever, this shows how Confucius looked nostalgically at the "Good Old Days" of Zhou when the Duke of Zhou was a supreme personal embodi­ ment of perfect virtue, moral integrity, and sacred honor, at least in Confu­ cius'eyes. In Chapter II, Confucius eulogized the Duke of Zhou by saying, "If one governs with the power of moral force and true virtue, one will be like the Polar Star, which stays in its position while all the other stars rotate around it." Consequently, he made it clear that in politics, he would "follow Zhou 吾从周 wu c6ng zhou ." (Section 14, Chapter III) In trying to dream of the Duke of Zhou, he wishes to revive a gradually receding, but glorious tradition.

[7- 6] 子曰:  “志千道,据千德,依千仁,游千艺。"

7.6       The Master said, "One should set his will on the Way, hold onto the high-principled, rest firm in perfect virtue, and relax in the polite arts."

[Com ment] " 志 zh1" means "to be committed to something" and " 据 ju" asserts that one should "stay firm." 汁 衣 yT'' i mplies that the actions "to get close to," but also "to rely on." " 游 y6 u" can be translated into the phrase "to indulge oneself in the classics including the Six Arts."

[Reading] Central to Confucius'philosophy of education is moral <level­ opment and cultivation of true virtue, which is implemented by stressing the development of the mind and body as a whole, which includes the all- important rites ( 礼 Li), music ( 乐 Yue), archery ( 射 She), charioteering (御Yu), calligraphy ( 书 Shu), and mathematics ( 数 Shu).

[7- 7] 子曰:  “自行束修以上,吾未尝无诲焉。"

7.7       The Master said, "I have never denied my instruction to those who are advanced in age and who wear sashes."

[Com ment] " 束修 s hu xiu" may have two translations. It may first refer to ten pieces of dried meat usually presented by poor students to their teachers as tuition. However, it may also be translated as "wearing sashes" and we favor this second meaning.

[Reading] This section points to one important aspect of Confucian philoso­ phy of education, that is "有教无类 yo u jiao WU 伦i ," which translates as "Leaming should be made accessible to people regardless of their different classes." (Section 39, Chapter XV) To Confucius, virtue is knowledge and knowledge is to be shared with all. Education therefore, should benefit all without discrimination.

[7- 8] 子曰:“ 不愤不启,不徘不发。举一隅不以三隅反,则不复也。”

7.8       The Master said, "I will not teach a student unless he is eager to learn. I will not help a student unless he is desirous of expressing himself. I will not repeat my instruction to anyone who is unable, by induction, to find the other three comers even when I have already presented one comer of a sub­ ject to him."

[Comment] "愤伶n"  implies that one is "anxious to learn," while  " 启 qT ,, means "to instruct, to teach." " 徘 f 色 i" indicates that one is "desirous but un­ able to express" their knowledge. " 发 fa" implies a state of "enlightenment." "隅yu" means "corner" and "复 f u" translates as "repeat."

[Reading] This section focuses on the pedagogical aspects of Confucian education. For Confucius, to teach is to enlighten. To ensure desired instruc­ tional effect, he focused on what is now called the elicitation method of motivating and teaching his students. Confucius strongly believed that for instruction to be effective it is imperative that the instructor know about his students and teach different things differently to accommodate their diverse learning needs due to their different levels of achievement, ability, learning and cognitive capacity. In a sense, this section echoes what Confucius wrote in Chapter VI, "You can discuss profound learning with those whose talents are above average, but you should not do this to those whose talents are below average." (Section 21, Chapter VI)

[7- 9] 子食千有丧者之侧, 未尝饱也。

7.9       When the Master was eating beside a person in mourning, he would not eat to the full.

[7- 10] 子千是日哭, 则不歌。

7.10     The Master kept weeping on the day when he was mourning and would not sing.

[Reading] Both Section 9 and 10 demonstrate Confucius'belief that the essence of the rules of propriety, particularly mourning rites, lies in sincerity and genuine feelings.

[7- 11] 子谓颜渊曰: “用之则行,舍之则藏,惟我与尔有是夫。" 子路曰: “子行 三军, 则谁与?” 子曰:           “暴虎冯河,死而无悔者, 吾不与也。必也临事而惧,好谋而成者也。"

7.11     The Master said to Yan Hui, "When summoned to office, one under­ takes the duties resolutely. When not summoned, one leaves without a sec­ ond thought. Only you and I are able to do this." Zilu asked, "Sir, if you need to lead a military force, who would you select to assist you?" The Master said, "I would not select those who like to fight tigers barehanded or cross rivers without a boat or even die with no regrets. He whom I select should be able to handle missions with caution and plan carefully before launching an initiative."

[Comment] "有是夫 yo u sh] fu" translates as "to be able to do like this." “行三军 xf ng  son   jun" refers to "military activities" and " 与 yu"  means "together with." " 暴 虎 pu hu" describes one who would "single-handedly fight against a tiger." "冯河 pf ng  h令 means "cross a river without a boat." “临事而惧 lf n sh] er ju" implies "to handle things with caution." " 好谋而成 ha o m6u er c h 的 g" means "plan well and stay resolute while making a decision" and " 成 c h的 g" connotes "to decide."

[Reading] Here, Confucius praised his disciple Yan Hui for being discreet and cautioned Zilu against being audacious." 勇 y6 ng" (courage) is one of the important elements of moral integrity and virtue, as Confucius perceived them. However, Confucius believed a man of real courage is one who "handles mis­ sions with caution and plans carefully before launching an initiative." Otherwise, this supposed courage, "勇yong," is nothing but audacity and recklessness.

[7- 12] 子曰: “富而可求也,虽执鞭之士,吾亦为之。如不可求, 从吾所好。"

7.12     The Masters said, "If there is the Way under Heaven and wealth can thus be attained through searching, I will do it even if I were only to be a petty local market guardian with a whip in hand. But if things do not work that way, I will follow what my heart desires to do."

[Com ment] " 而 矿 means "if." "执鞭之士zh f bian zhT sh1" has two pos­ sible translations: 1) those who serve as a groom with a whip in hand; and 2) those who serve as petty local market guardians with a whip in hand (a low and servile job). In the context of this passage we employ the second mean- ing. "所好 s u6 hao" connotes "things one likes," which here implies "this very Way."

[Reading] Moral integrity occupies a central position in Confucian thought. To Confucius, any gain obtained that is not in accordance with righteousness is detestable. The same idea is echoed in Section 5 of this chapter, in which Confucius writes, "Wealth and status are what men desire, but if they are at­ tained in a way not in accordance with the proper way, men should not keep them." Obviously, Confucius is not opposed to the pursuit of wealth and profit so long as such act accords with the principles ofrighteousness.

[7- 13] 子之所慎: 齐, 战, 疾。

7.13     The things about which the Master was extremely cautious include fast­ ing, war and disease.

[Com ment] " 齐 zha i " is here used interchangeably with ' 斋 zha i" to mean '斋戒 zha i jie" (fasting).

[Reading] This section discusses things which Confucius was cautious about, and which he expressed a sense of apprehension.

[7- 14] 子在齐闻《韶》,三月不知肉味,曰:“ 不图为乐之至千斯也。”

7.14     After enjoying the Shao music in the State of Qi, for a long time the Master did not know the taste of meat. He said, "I never realized music could have reached such a supreme level of excellence."

[Comment] "韶s h6o " is believed to be music which was popular during the reign of Emperor Shun. "三月的n yue" does not necessarily mean its literal translation of "three months." Here it is used in a more general sense, and connotes "a long time." " 乐 yue " means "music," while " 斯 SI " means "this kind of state."

[Reading] One of the Six Arts highly extolled by Confucius is " 乐 yue" (music), which ranks the second of them all in terms of their degree of im- portance [Rites ( 礼 Li), Music ( 乐 Yue), Archery ( 射 She), Charioteering( 御 Yu), Calligraphy ( 书 Shu), and Mathematics ( 数 Shu)]. An educator and thinker, Confucius was also a kind of connoisseur and possessed a strong knowledge of music. For example, Section 23 of Chapter III records an amazing dialogue Confucius conducted with the Head Musician of Lu, which displays his impressive knowledge of how music is played: "We can understand how music is played. At the beginning music rises up in unison. Then it moves in pure and clear notes, so pleasant and distinct! Afterwards it flows harmoniously without pause before finally proceeding to the conclu­ s1on.

[7- 15] 冉有曰: “夫子为卫君乎?”子贡曰: “诺,吾将问之。" 入,曰: “伯夷、叔齐何人也?”曰: “古之贤人也。"曰: "怨乎?” 曰: “求仁而得仁,又何怨?”出,曰: “夫子不为也。"

7.15     Ran You said, "Will our Master help the Prince of Wei?" Zigong said, "Well, let me go find out." Entering the Master's room he asked, "What kind of men were Boyi and Shuqi?" The Master said, "They were ancient sages." Zigong further asked;'Did they have any resentment?'The Master said;'They sought the virtuous and the benevolent, and they attained them. How could they incur resentment?" Coming out, Zigong said, "Our Master would not help the Prince of Wei."

[Com ment] "为 w创' means "to help." " 卫君 we i jun" refers to "卫出公辙w创 c hu gong zh 句 who was the grandson of Duke Ling of Wei. "仁 伦n" is used to describe the virtuous, the righteous and the benevolent.

[Reading] The rules of propriety are one of the criterions Confucius used  to judge if a government is good or not. Here Confucius used the example of the two ancient sages of Boyi and Shuqi, who tried respectfully to give up the crown each other, to illustrate his point that those who seek the virtu­ ous and the benevolent would never incur resentment from others. It is in this context that the wickedness of Prince Kuai Kui of Wei is revealed, who drove away his son Duke Chu of Wei in a willful transgression of the rules of propriety.

[7- 16] 子曰: "饭疏食饮水,曲胧而枕之,乐亦在其中矣。不义而富且贵,千我如浮云。"

7.16     The Master said, "Though I eat crude rice, drink cold water, and sleep on my arm for a pillow, I am still happy. Wealth and honors acquired by unethical means are nothing but floating clouds to me."

[Comment]" 饭 疏 食 fa n shu shf"translates as"to eat coarse rice." Here," 饭伯 n" is used as a verb, meaning "to eat." " 水 s hu T" connotes "cold water," while "曲脓而枕之 q u gong er zh的 zhT'' means "to sleep on the arm as a pillow" and it implies a very poor living condition.

[Reading] As discussed previously Confucius was not opposed to any pur­ suit of material wealth as long as such pursuit was conducted within the framework of that which was ethical and could be justified in the grounds of moral integrity and true virtue. (See Section 12, Chapter VII)

[7- 17] 子曰: “加我数年,五十以学《易》,可以无大过矣。"

7.17     The Master said, "If I could loan a few more years that would allow me to go back to when I was at fifty and that I could start learning the Classic of Changes, I would not have made any big mistakes."

[Comment] "加 jia" is here used interchangeably with "假 jia" and "大过啦 g uo " means "a grave error."

[Reading] Confucius placed great importance onto the Classic of Changes. As a matter of fact, most of his thinking was inspired by this seminal work in Chinese civilization. According to Confucius, "At fifty I understood the Way of Heaven with reverence." (Section 4, Chapter II) The Classic of Changes enabled him to better understand "the Way of Heaven," by which he lived and acted. In his Records of the Grand Historian, Sima Qian de­ scribed how Confucius, when studying the Classic of Changes, several times wore out the leather cord that bound the bamboo slips on which the book was inscribed 一due to Confucius'overuse of the text.(孔子”读《易》,韦编三绝" k6 ng zT du yl, weT bian son ju 旬

[7- 18] 子所雅言, 《诗》、           《书》、执礼,皆雅言也。

7.18     Sometimes, the Master would use the formal language of the Zhou royal family to recite the Classic of Odes and the Book of History, as well as perform the rites of propriety.

[Comment] There have been two interpretations of " 雅言 ya y6n ." The first is that of standard language, that is a language intended for common use in the age of Zhou, similar to the Mandarin of contemporary Chinese speakers. While it could also refer to familiar sayings or phrases, here we stick with the first interpretation.

[Reading] For Confucius, it is imperative that the formal language of Zhou be used to recite such canonical works as the Classic of Odes and the Book of History. Confucius was born and resided in the State of Lu and so he spoke the dialect of Lu for daily affairs. But he would insist on using the so­ called "standard language" of Zhou, which was originally located in what is today ' s Shannxi and which has the Shannxi dialect as its formal language of the Zhou royal court. The use of such formal language afforded Confucius a sense of linguistic authenticity that he believed to be essential to the execu­ tion of the Zhou rules of propriety. This demonstrates how deferential Con­ fucius was in his respect for all the Zhou institutions.

[7- 19] 叶公问孔子千子路,子路不对。子曰:“女        奚不曰,其 为人也, 发愤忘食,乐以忘忧,不知老之将至云尔。"

7.19     She Gong asked Zilu about the Master, but Zilu did not answer him. The Master said, "Why did you not tell him what kind of man he is: this man would often forget to eat when he is in enthusiastic pursuit of learning, and he would often forget his worries when he is in moments of joyfulness. He is not even aware that he is already getting old. So that's him."

[Comment] "叶公 s he gong" refers to " 沈诸梁 s he n zhCi li6ng" who was a minister in the State of Chu, and who held a courtesy name of " 子 高 zTg oo ." " 奚 xT " means "why."

[Reading] In this section Confucius presented a self-portrait: an old man who loved to learn and who derived great pleasure in learning. Advanced age did not dampen his enthusiasm for knowledge at all. As a matter of fact, the more advanced he was in age, the more diligently he became in pursuing knowledge, which was virtue and which enabled him to overcome all worries in life.

[7- 20] 子曰: “我非生而知之者,好古,敏以求之者也。"

7.20     The Master said, "I am not born with knowledge. I love teachings of antiquity and have diligently studied them."

[Com ment] "敏 mTn" can be translated as "diligent, intelligent, and quick­ witted."

[Reading] For Confucius, the key to success is diligence. Doubtless, he is a sage who is in possession of profound knowledge. However, he never re- garded himself as a genius, "上智 s ha ng zhl," which translates as "a man of supreme wisdom who is born with knowledge: 生而知之者 s he ng er zhT zhT zhe." He wished to use himself as an example to motivate his students and let them know that they can all become men of knowledge if they study harder.

[7- 21] 子不语: 怪力、乱神。

7.21     The Master never talked about strange phenomena, supernatural things, and the ghostly.

[Com ment] " 语 yu" means "to tell, to talk about." " 怪 力 g ua i ll" implies a "supernatural force," while " 乱 神 l ua n s h 的 " implies "spirits that were not supposed to be worshipped."

[Reading] The core value of Confucian thought consists of virtue, benevo­ lence, moral integrity, honor, self-cultivation, the Six Arts, etc. Seldom did Confucius mention, nor did he ever discuss strange phenomena, supernatural things, and the ghostly. This is because, as he warned his disciples, he did not know much about the present world and know even less about the after world. It would only make sense that he worries himself about the world of immediate reality which he can relate to. On the other hand, Confucius never flatly denied the existence of another world of strange phenomena. His attitude is: "敬鬼神而远之jlng  guT s陡 n er yuan zhT," which can be trans­lated as "People should be encouraged to respect spiritual beings but not to be swayed by them." (See Section 22, Chapter VI) As discussed before, Confucius would not bother to prove or disprove the existence of spiritual beings. Instead, he advised that people remain deferential to and at the same time keep a respectful distance from them.

[7- 22] 子曰: “ 三人行, 必有我师焉 : 择其善者而从之, 其不善者而改之。"

7.22     The Master said, "Of any group of three people, there must be someone whose virtue and integrity I can learn. I will focus on their good qualities and practice them, and avoid their bad qualities."

[Comment] "行xf ng" means "the virtuous, integrity."

[Reading] Confucius believed one can always learn something from others. This is another way of saying that while a teacher is important, students can also learn something else from other people. It is interesting to note that Confucius also seems to encourage learning from others'mistakes so as  for one to avoid them in the future. Arguably, the remark " 三人行, 必有我师焉的n 伦n xfng, bl you  w6  shT yon" has remained one of the most popu­lar quotes for the Chinese.

[7- 23] 子曰: “天生德千予,桓魅其如予何?”

7.23     The Master said, "Heaven blessed me with the virtue. So, what can Heng Tui do to me?

[Comment] "魅tuf" refers to " 司马向魅 s1 ma xiang tuf," a native of the State of Song and a descendant of Duke Huan of Song.

[Reading] On his way to the State of Chen, Confucius and his disciples passed the State of Song where Sima Xiangtui, who was a military chief at the moment, intended to harm Confucius. With the assistance of his disci­ ples, Confucius managed to escape from the State of Song to a safe place. He thus believed that as a man with virtue bestowed on him by Heaven, he was blessed and well protected. There was nothing Sima Xiangtui could do to harm him.

[7- 24] 子曰: “ 二三子以我为隐乎? 吾无隐乎尔。吾无行而不与二三子者, 是丘也。"

7.24     The Master said, "Young men, do you think, that I conceal things from you? I have nothing to conceal from you. Everything I do I share with you, my young men. That is the way I am."

[Comment] "二三子 扫s on zT" was the way Confucius addressed his disci­ ples. "隐 yTn" means "to conceal, to reserve," while "乎尔 h O 色r" means " 千尔yu 砬 " connoting "you."

[Reading] In this section Confucius told his students that as their teacher he was dedicated to teaching them all the knowledge he had and that there was nothing he would hide from them. This remark shows that Confucius, the Master, had enjoyed a close relationship with his students and that he really enjoyed teaching them.

[7- 25] 子以四教: 文、行 、忠、信。

7.25     The Master taught four things to his disciples: knowledge, integrity, loyalty, and trustworthiness.

[Comment] "文 w的 " refers to the classics such as "《诗》s hl'' (Classic ofOdes),"《书》s h O" (Book of History),"《礼》IT "(Book of Rites), and"《乐》yue" (Classic of Music). "行 xfng"           indicates "ethics and integrity."

[Reading] To be 君子Junzi (a superior man of true virtue) through cultiva­ tion is a major goal of Confucian education. As mentioned before, to Con­ fucius, learning is not an end in and of itself. Rather, to learn is to cultivate 141 oneself into a man of moral integrity, high honor, steadfast truthfulness and trustworthiness, and above all, perfect virtue. As shown here, Confucius also emphasized the importance of acting out these qualities and actively practic­ ing this knowledge. Thus, Confucius'curriculum, if we may call it so, con­ sists of three major components: book knowledge, social practice, and self­ cultivation.

[7- 26] 子曰: “圣人,吾不得而见之矣。得见君子者,斯可矣。" 子曰:     “善人,吾不得而见之矣;得见有恒者,斯可矣。亡而为有, 虚而为盈,约而为泰,难乎有恒矣。"

7.26     The Master said, "A sage is not for me to meet. Yet I would be happy if I could meet a man of true virtue." The Master continued, "A man of true goodness is not for me to meet. Yet I would be happy if I could meet a man of constancy. Those who have nothing desire for something; those who are empty desire substance; those who are poor desire wealth. Indeed, it is hard for men to have constancy."

[Comment]"亡 wa,ng"   has a similar meaning as "无 wu ," which implies "nothingness." "为 we i" is used to mean "to pursue." "约yu召 indicates "poverty," while " 泰 ta i" connotes "arrogance."

[Reading] While Confucius acknowledged that it was indeed a rarity in his time to meet a sage, a man of true virtue, or even a man of goodness, he believed that it requires consistency and steadfastness in self-cultivation for one to develop in the direction of 君子 J unz i, if not entirely sagehood.

[7- 27] 子钓而不纲,飞 不 射宿。

7.27     When the Master angled, he did not use a fishing net. When he shot birds, he did not shoot ones flying back to their nest.

[Comment] "钓 dia o " means "angle" as in "to fish." "纲 ga ng" connotes the action of "fishing with a net." 飞 y1" implies "to shoot at birds with a bow."

[Reading] This section portrays Confucius as a man of benevolence and vir­ tue, who showed concern for fish and birds which he had to catch for food. Therefore, he would not use a big fishing net nor would he shoot birds that were returning home. In other words, he would try to minimalize his catch so as to take only those fish and birds which he needed.

[7- 28] 子曰: “盖有不知而作之者,我无是也。多闻,择其善者而从之;多见而识之。知之次也。"

7.28     The Master said, "There may be those who are ignorant yet dare to ere­ ate something. I am not that kind. I listen carefully and select what is good and follow it. I observe attentively and learn things by heart. This is how a man pursues knowledge."

[Comment] "次 cl" means "order."

[Reading] For Confucius, it is imperative that one, when pursuing knowl­ edge, be serious and earnest. One should never create anything out of ig­ norance. Real learning is obtained only through honest effort. One should "listen carefully and select what is good and follow it." One should also "observe attentively and learn things by heart."

[7- 29]  互乡难与言 , 童子见,门 人惑。子曰: ”与其进也,不与其退也,唯何甚?人沽己以进,与其沽也,不保其往也。"

7.29     It was hard to talk with the people of Huxiang. Yet the Master met with a young man from that place. His disciples were perplexed. The Master said, "We should appreciate his progress but not his regress. So, why should we be so rigid? If a man desires to refine himself, we should appreciate it but not focus on his past conduct."

[Comment] "互乡 hu xiang" should be the name of a place, while "难与言 n6 n yu y6n" means "hard to talk with, difficult to socialize with." " 与沁" connotes "赞许 za n xu." " 进 jln" means "progress," while "保 boo " implies "to defend."

[Reading] This section discusses the issue of forgiveness. To Confucius, it is important that one be forgiving and learn to appreciate the progress made by others while not focusing on their past mistakes. This is similar to what Alexander Pope said, "To err is human, to forgive divine."

[7- 30] 子曰: “仁远乎哉?我欲仁,斯仁至矣。"

7.30     The Master said, "Is true virtue far away from us? If I desire to be vir­ tuous, true virtue is here."

[Comment] "欲yu" means "to want, wish, desire."

[Reading] With these remarks, Confucius told us that it is indeed not dif­ ficult to pursue virtue if we are serious and sincere about becoming virtuous. It is interesting to note that Confucius emphasized the importance of exercis­ ing one's willpower and of being consistent in action in the pursuit of virtue and righteousness.

[7- 31] 陈司败问昭公知礼乎, 孔子曰:   “知礼。"孔子退,揖巫马期而进之,曰:    “吾闻君子不党,君子亦党乎? 君取千吴,为同姓,谓之吴孟子。君而知礼,孰不知礼?”巫马期以告。子曰:            "丘也幸,苟有过,人必知之。"

7.31     The Minister of Justice in the State of Chen asked the Master, "Does Duke Zhao of Lu know the rites of propriety?" The Master said, "He does." After the Master left, the minister bowed to Wuma Qi. Inviting him to come forward, he said to Wuma Qi, "I have heard that a man of true virtue is not a partisan. But may the Master be a partisan? Duke Zhao of Lu married a lady of the State of Wu who had the same surname as himself and called her Wu Mengzi. If he knew the rites of propriety, who does not know it?" Wuma Qi told all this to the Master and he said, "I am indeed fortunate! If I err, people always know it."

[Com ment] " 陈 c h 的 " here means "the State of Chen." " 司 败 s『 ba i" connotes"司寇 sT kou ," which is a minister of justice. "昭公 zha o  gong" refers to "Duke Zhao of Lu," whose surname was 喟 c h6  u ."  He was the son of " 襄公 Duke Xiang of Lu" and succeeded him as ruler. '巫 马期 WU ma qi''was a disciple of Confucius. His surname, given name and courtesy names were '巫马 WU ma ," " 施s hT,"  a nd "子期 zT qT." Here, " 党 da ng" means "partisan." " 取 q u" is used here interchangeably with " 娶 q u," meaning "marry," while "而 钳' is a hypothetical word, similar to "如 ru ," implying "if."

[Reading] This is a very interesting section in which Confucius was defend­ ing Duke Zhao of Lu who married a woman of the same surname, which was viewed as improper and a transgression of the rules of propriety. But as soon as he was made aware of the erroneous nature of his remark, he did not try to cover it. Rather, he acknowledged it by saying, "I am indeed fortunate! If I err, people always know it."

[7- 32] 子与人歌而善,必使 反之, 而后和之。

7.32     While singing with someone, the Master would ask him to repeat the song if he sang well and he himself would join the singer.

[Com ment] " 反 fa n" here means "repeat."

[Reading] This section demonstrates that Confucius was good at learning from others, even people beneath his status, which is echoed in Chapter V where he said of Kong Wenzi, "He was never ashamed to learn from his inferiors! That is why he obtained the title."

[7- 33] 子曰: “文莫吾,犹人也。躬行君子,则吾未之有得。"

7.33     The Master said, "Insofar as my outward appearance is the manifesta­ tion of my real self, I am no different from others. But I have not yet attained the status of a noble man of true virtue."

[Reading] Here, Confucius was presented as a virtuous man of modesty and humbleness. Great though he was, he remained a low-key figure and was unpretentious.

[7- 34] 子曰: “若圣与仁,则吾岂敢?抑为之不厌,诲人不倦, 则可谓云尔巳矣。“公西华曰:           “正唯弟子不能学也。"

7.34     The Master said, "How dare I compare myself with a sage or a man of true virtue? I only strive for excellence without satiety and teach without las­ situde. So, that is me." Gong Xihua said, "That's exactly what we disciples will not be able to attain from you."

[Reading] As in the preceding section, here Confucius remained humble and modest. He repeatedly emphasized the importance of "striving for ex-

cellence without satiety and teaching without lassitude," which he believed to be of great importance in the pursuit of virtue.

[7- 35] 子疾病, 子路请祷。子曰: 诔曰: `祷尔千上下神祗。'"子曰:




7.35     The Master was very sick and Zilu asked to pray for him. The Master said, "There isn't such a thing, is it?" Zilu said, "Yes, there is. There is. The Eulogies say,'I pray for you to the spirits of the four directions."'The Mas­ ter said, "I have already prayed for a long time."

[Com ment]  "疾病 jf bing" indicates that one is "seriously ill." "请祷 qTng 啦 o " translates as the phrase "asking for permission to pray." " 有 诸 yo u zhCi" means "Is there such a thing?" "上下神祗s ha ng  xia s h的  qf"  refers to "spirits of Heaven and Earth," while " 神 s h 如 " refers to "spirits in Heav­ en," and "祗qf"  refers to "spirits on Earth."

[Reading] Confucius remained ambiguous about his attitude towards the existence of supernatural beings. He never discussed strange supernatural phenomenon or matters of the spirit. On the other hand, he did not deny the existence of the other worldly outright, by saying "敬鬼神而远之 jlng guT shen er yuan zhT" ("People should be encouraged to respect spiritual be­ ings but not to be swayed by them.") (Section 22, Chapter VI) He advised that people remain deferential to and at the same time keep a respectful distance from them.

[7- 36] 子曰: "奢则不孙,俭则固。与其不孙也,宁固。"

7.36     The Master said, "Extravagance leads to conceitedness, frugality leads to rigorousness. It is better to be rigorous than to be conceited."

[Comment] "不孙bu xun" means "conceited." "固 g u" connotes "cheap and ignorant."

[Reading] To Confucius both the extravagant and the frugal are not in ac­ cordance with the rules of propriety. But if he had to choose from them, he would rather be a man of frugality, even though it would make him appear stringent, because after all "It is better to be stringent than to be conceited."

[7- 37] 子曰: “君子坦荡荡,小人长戚戚。"

7.37     The Master said, "The noble man of true virtue is broad-minded, and always at ease, whereas the mean man is narrow-minded, full of distress."

[Comment] "荡荡da ng  dang" means "broad-minded," while "戚戚 qT qT''connotes "mean-minded, distress."

[Reading] In this section Confucius discussed the differences between the man of true virtue and the mean-minded person. In a sense, Confucius be­ lieved, these differences would be externalized and would affect their out­ ward appearances.

[7- 38] 子温而厉, 威而不猛, 恭而安。

7.38     The Master was benign and yet adamant; dignified and yet not fero­ cious; respectful and yet composed.

[Com ment] " 温而厉 we n er 11" means "mild but rigid." "威而不猛 we i er bu meng" connotes "majestic yet not ferocious" and " 恭而安 go ng er an" translates as "respectful yet composed."

[Reading] This section presents an impressive portrayal of Confucius who, as a man of perfect virtue and moral integrity, is "benign yet adamant; digni­ fied yet not ferocious; respectful yet composed."