1. Zi Lu asked about governing. The Master said, "Lead by example. Work hard." Zi Lu asked for more guidance. The Master said, "Don't be lazy."
2. Zhong Gong became a minister to Lord Ji. Zhong Gong asked about governing. The Master said, "Lead sundry officers, pardon small wrongdoings, employ talented persons." Zhong Gong asked, "How can I know and employ talented persons?" The Master said, "Employ those whom you know. Those who are not known to you, do you think people will discard them?"
3. Zi Lu said, "The ruler of Wei is waiting for you intending to entrust the governing. What will you do first?" The Master said, "Rectify names, of course." Zi Lu said, "Is that so? You are off the mark. How come rectifying names is your first priority?" The Master said, "How uncivilized you are! A noble man would remain quiet when it is about something he does not know. If names are not correctly used, your speech will be feigned. With a feigned speech, you cannot accomplish anything. If things are not accomplished, the Li and the Music will not flourish. If the Li and the Music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly administered. If punishments are not properly administered, people would not know where to stand. If a noble man should name names, he must be able to defend it. If he should say things, he must be able to act on it. When it comes to speech, a noble man ought not to talk nonsense."
4. Fan Chi wanted to learn how to sow seeds. The Master said, "I am not a farmer." He then wanted to learn fruit and vegetable gardening. The Master said, "I am not a gardener." Fan Chi left. The Master said, "Petty and lowly, he is! When those in high positions are fond of Li, people dare not be irreverent. When those in high positions are fond of righteousness, people dare not rebel. When those in high positions are fond of trust, people dare not be insincere. When things are like this, people from all corners will come to you carrying their children. Why do you need to know how to sow seeds?
5. The Master said, "There are people who can recite all three hundred poems. But when they are entrusted with governing, they cannot manage. When they are sent on diplomatic missions, they cannot cope on their own. There are many of them, but they are all useless.
6. The Master said, "If the commander is an upright person, carry out his wishes without waiting for an order. If the commander is not an upright person, do not follow his orders."
子曰：「其身正，不令而行；其身不正，雖令不從。」 (Zhu Xi keeps quiet about this. 論語注疏 presents this as a 'description' rather and an 'exhortation to disobey'.)
7. The Master said, "Government of Lu and government of Wei are like brothers." [魯，周公之後。衛，康叔之後。本兄弟之國]
8. The Master spoke of Gong Zi Jing of Wei, "He has a beautiful house. At the beginning, he said, 'I just want it to be put together.' When he had some structures, he said, 'I just want it be complete.' When it was richly done, he said, 'I just want it be beautiful.' "
9. The Master went to Wei. Ran You was driving the carriage. The Master said, "A lot of people!" Ran You said, "Now that there are a lot, what should be done to them?" The Master said, "Make them rich." Ran You said, "Suppose they became rich, what should be done to them?" The Master said, "Teach them."
10. The Master said, "If only someone employs me, in a month, I can produce some good results. In three years, I can complete my task."
11. The Master said, " 'If good people govern a country for a hundred years, cruel people will be tamed and execution can be abolished.' How true this is!"
12. The Master said, "Even with a king, it would take a generation before ethical resolve reigns supreme.
13. The Master said, "If you conduct yourself in an upright manner, what difficulty is there for you to govern? If you cannot behave in an upright manner, how can you make people behave in an upright manner?
14. Mr Ran was coming home from the court [of Lord Ji]. The Master said, "Why are you so late?" Mr Ran answered, "Because of governing." The Master said, "You mean private business [of Lord Ji]. If it was about governing, I would have been informed although I am not employed."
15. Duke Ding (定) asked, "Is there a saying which can make a country prosper?" Confucius answered, "Speech cannot have such an effect. But there is something close. There is a saying, 'It is hard to be a ruler, it is not easy to be a minister.' If a ruler knows how difficult it is to be a ruler, isn't it close to the case of one sentence making the country prosper?" Duke Ding said, "Is there a saying which can ruin a country?" Confucius answered, "Speech cannot have such an effect. But there is something close. There is a saying, 'The only joy of being a ruler is that people say nothing which is against you.' If you are doing good and no one is against you, then that's not bad. But if you are not doing good and no one is against you, isn't it close to the case of one sentence ruining the country?"
16. Duke of She asked about governing. The Master said, "It is to give happiness to those who are near and to attract those who are far removed."
17. Zi Xia became governor of the town of Ju Fu. Zi Xia asked about governing. The Master said, "Don't rush. Don't look for small gains. If you rush, you won't succeed. If you seek small gains, you won't have big achievements."
18. Duke of She (葉公) told Conficius, “In my village, there is an honest person. When his father stole a sheep, he testified against it.” Confucius said, “In my village, honesty is different. Father’s deed may be covered by the son. Son’s deed may be covered by the father. Honesty is there!”
19. Fan Chi asked about ethical resolve. The Master said, "Be polite at home. Be respectful when you do things. Be loyal in your dealings with others. Even if you go to barbarian tribes, you should not let go of this."
20. Zi Gong asked, "What qualities are needed to be regarded as an officer?" The Master said, "When you have a sense of shame in your conduct and when you do not put your ruler's commands into disrepute wherever you are sent on a mission, you can be regarded as an officer." Zi Gong said, "May I ask what kind of persons come next?" The Master said, "Those who are praised by family members for serving parents well and those who are praised by townspeople for being kind-hearted." Zi Gong said, "May I ask what kind of persons come next?" The Master said, "Those whose speech is trustworthy and who get things done. Although they may have stubbornness of the petty and the lowly, they can come next." Zi Gong said, "How about those who are in the government these day?" The Master said, "Oh, dear! Those small minded people, there are too many to count."
21. The Master said, "If you cannot manage to do things at the right pace, you are bound to be either mad or indecisive. A mad man will go ahead, an indecisive person leaves things unaccomplished."
22. The Master said, "People of the South have a saying, 'Without constant perseverance, you won't make a shaman nor a doctor.' Well said, indeed!" [According to Book of Changes,] "If your virtues are not constant, you may encounter shame." The Master said, "Divinatory readings are not enough."
23. The Master said, "A noble man achieves harmony without being a conformist. The petty and the lowly are conformists without achieving harmony.
24. Zi Gong asked, "If a person is liked by everyone in the village, how about him?" The master said, "That is not possible." "If a person is hated by everyone in the village, how about him?" The Master said, "That is not possible. It is different from being liked by the good people of the village and hated by the bad people of the village."
25. The Master said, "A noble man is easy to serve but difficult to please. Try to please him in a manner which is not the proper way, he will not be pleased. When he employs people, he entrusts them with a task commensurate with their calibre. The petty and the lowly are difficult to serve but easy to please. Even when you please them in an improper way, they are pleased. When they employ a person, they expect him to be all capable.
26. The Master said, "A noble man is relaxed and generous without being arrogant. The petty and the lowly are arrogant without being relaxed and generous.
27. The Master said, "Hard, unswerving, uncouth, terse. These are closer to ethical resolve.
28. Zi Lu asked, "What qualities are needed to be regarded as an officer?" The Master said, "To be regarded as an officer, one must be wholehearted, stalwart, and convivial. With his friends, he is wholehearted and stalwart. With his brothers, he is convivial."
29. The Master said, "If people are educated by good teachers for seven years, they can go to war."
30. The Master said, "If you don't teach people and take them to war, that is to waste them."