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19. Zi Zhang (子張) said

1. Zi Zhang said, "If you are an officer, you should dedicate your life when your cause is in danger; you must think first about what is right when you see gain; you must conduct sacrificial ceremonies with respectful thoughts; in a funeral, you must feel poignancy. That's just about it."

2. Zi Zhang said, "If you stick to a virtue and yet fail to broaden it; if you believe in the Way and yet fail to have sincerity, can we say that you have it or do not have it?"

3. Zi Xia's student asked Zi Zhang about socializing. Zi Zhang replied, "What did Zi Xia say about it?" The student answered, "Zi Xia said, 'You should be friend with those who are capable. You should reject those who are not capable.'" Zi Zhang said, "That is different from what I heard from the Master. A noble man looks up to talented persons and embraces the general public. He is delighted by excellent persons and he has sympathy for the incompetent. If I am a person of great talents, there is no reason why I should not embrace people. If I am not a person of talents, people will soon reject me. How can I reject people?"

4. Zi Xia said, "Even in small arts, there is bound to be something worthwhile. But if you have a long way to go, you should be wary of being bogged down. This is why a noble man is not engaged in small arts."

5. Zi Xia said, "If you constantly realise what you lack and do not forget what you have achieved in the meantime, you deserve to be called someone who loves to learn."

6. Zi Xia said, "Learn broadly and have firm resolve. Scrutinise intensely and pay close attention. Ethical resolve will arise from there."

7. Zi Xia said, "Craftsmen remain in their atelier to complete their work. A noble man learns in order to accomplish the Way."

8. Zi Xia said, "When the petty and the lowly make some mistakes, they are bound to make it worse by trying to gloss over their mistakes."

9. Zi Xia said, "A noble man changes three times. When you look at him from a distance, he appears stern. When you actually meet with him, he is mild. When you hear him speak, he is sharp."

10. Zi Xia said, "A noble man would first of all establish the trust before he mobilizes his people. If you attempt to mobilize people while trust is not established, they will think that you are being harsh to them. A nobleman would first of all establish the trust before he offers criticism. If you offer critical remarks while the trust is not established, they will think that you are denigrating them."

11. Zi Xia said, "As long as the big business does not transgress the limits, the smaller ones may have some leeway."

12. Zi You said, "Students of Zi Xia are capable of keeping things nice and tidy, dealing with guests and adopting appropriate manners when they arrive and when they leave. But these are mere details. When it comes to the root, they know nothing. What can be done about them?" Zi Xia heard this and said, "What! Yan You (= Zi You) is wrong. In the training to become a noble man, is there something that must be taught first and something that may be left to be picked up later? Like plants and trees, students differ from each other. How dare I mislead the way of a noble man. Only a saint can master the beginning as well as the end."

13. Zi Xia said, "Public service and learning must go hand in hand."

14. Zi You said, "Funeral should stop where it reaches the point of poignancy."

15. Zi You said, "My friend Zhang (子張) is capable of doing things which are difficult to do. But he still lacks ethical resolve."

16. Master Zeng said, "Zhang is full of self confidence. With him, it is difficult to carry out the ethical resolve."

17. Master Zeng said, "I heard from the Master as follows: It is rarely the case that people do their utmost. But the funeral of their parents will surely make them do their utmost."

18. Master Zeng said, "I heard from the Master as follows: Mr Meng's manner of serving his parents can be emulated by others. But Mr Meng did not change his father's support staff and he did not change his father's policies. That is difficult to emulate."

19. Mr Meng appointed Yang Fu (陽膚) to the post of the prison warden. Yang Fu asked Master Zeng for advice. Master Zeng said, "As the upper class lost its proper way, the general public has long been at a loss. If you find out about this, you should feel sadness and pity. Don't be delighted."

20. Zi Gong said, "King Zhou (紂)'s own evil deeds were actually not as bad as they would appear. This is why a noble man would hate to dwell in the low-lying places. All evils of the the world will eventually find their way there."

21. Zi Gong said, "When a noble man makes a mistake, it is like an eclipse of the sun or the moon. The mistake will be watched by everyone. When it is rectified, everyone will look up to him."

22. Gong Sun Zhao (公孫朝) of Wei (衛) asked Zi Gong, "How did Zhong Ni [Confucius] learn?" Zi Gong replied, "The ethos of king Wen and king Wu has not yet fallen to the ground. It remains with the people. Men of talents remember the important points. Those who lack talents remember the unimportant points. The ethos of king Wen and king Wu is everywhere. How can he not learn? Also, how can there be a designated teacher for him?"

23. Shu Sun Wu Shu (叔孫武叔) spoke to the ministers in the court as follows: "Zi Gong is more talented than Zhong Ni." Zi Fu Jing Bo (子服景伯) reported this to Zi Gong. Zi Gong said, "It is like the wall of a palace. Mine has a wall which is only shoulder high. So people can have a peek and admire the good rooms and buildings. The Master's wall is several feet higher. If you do not find the gate and enter inside, you cannot see the beauty of the altars and shrines, you cannot see the riches of hundreds of officers there. As there are few who find the gate, no wonder that Shu Sun Wu Shu says such things."

24. Shu Sun Wu Shu (叔孫武叔) spoke ill of Zhong Ni. Zi Gong said, "It is of no use. It is impossible to defame Zhong Ni. Others' talents may be like hills and mountains. You can climb over them. But Zhong Ni is like the sun or the moon. There is no way that you can climb over it. Even if you may want to have nothing to do with it, does it do any damage to the sun or to the moon? Many will see that you do not know your own capacity."

25. Zi Qin (子禽) of Chen (陳) told Zi Gong, "You are being too modest, but how can Zhong Ni be more talented than you?" Zi Gong said, "A noble man will be judged by virtue of a single remark to be knowledgeable or to be ignorant. So you must be careful in your remarks. The Master is beyond reach just as the sky cannot be reached by a ladder. If a country or a household is entrusted to him, it will be like 'If he raises them, they stand. If he leads them, they carry it out. If he raises the flag, they all come. If he stimulates them, they all work in harmony.' He lived in glory. When he died, he is sadly missed. How can one reach his level?"

Published on Categories ACLP