1. The Master said, "Tai Bo (泰伯) can be considered to have attained the ultimate virtue. Three times he relinquished the rulership of the whole world. And yet, people had no knowledge of it and no way of praising him."
2. The Master said, "When modesty is not grounded on Li, it becomes slavish; when cautiousness is not grounded on Li, it becomes cowardly; when courage is not grounded on Li, it becomes disruptive; when honesty is not grounded on Li, it becomes a snare. When the ruler genuinely serves his parents, people will rise up to ethical resolve. If he does not desert his old friends, people will not be shallow."
3. Master Zeng was ill. He summoned his students and said, "Uncover my feet. Uncover my hands. In the Poems, it is said, 'I fear and I tremble; as if I am on the verge of a deep water; as if I tread on a wafer-thin ice.' I know that from henceforth I am released from this, my dear students!"
4. Master Zeng was ill. Meng Jing Zi (孟敬子) paid a visit. Master Zeng spoke thus: "When a bird is about to die, its sound becomes sad. When a man is about to die, his speech becomes good. A noble man will think highly of these three in his pursuit of the Way: When you move about, you should avoid being rough or lazy. You should maintain a determined look so that you can inspire confidence. When you speak, you should avoid being vulgar and rowdy. As for complying with the ceremonial details, that is what a steward is there for."
5. Master Zeng said, "While he was capable he nevertheless sought advice from those who are not capable. While he had many talents, he nevertheless sought advice from those who have few talents. He got it but it appeared as if he did not get it. He was full of substance and yet he appeared to have no substance. He received blow without retaliating. My old friend used to do his work in this manner."
6. Master Zeng said, "If you could be entrusted with a four foot tall orphan, you could be entrusted with the fate of one hundred villages. Faced with a great penurie and yet not to make exactions from your charge, this is how a ruler should deal with his people. It is how a noble man deals with the people."
7. Master Zeng said, "An officer must be immensely firm. His task is heavy and he has a long way to go. Ethical resolve is his task. Isn't it heavy? Death only will put an end to his task. Isn't it long?"
8. The Master said, "Poetry will move you. Li will give you a standing. Music will accomplish you."
9. The Master said, "You can make people use the knowledge; but you cannot give them knowledge."
10. The Master said, "If you cherish courage and abhor deprivation, you become disruptive. Likewise, seeing a man lacking in ethical resolve, if you abhor him too much, you become disruptive."
[Also see 4.6]
11. The Master said, "You may have superb talents like the Duke of Zhou. But if you are arrogant and condescending, the rest of you is not worth looking at."
12. The Master said, "Having devoted three years to learning and yet still not finding an employment is indeed rare."
[Also see 2.8]
13. The Master said, "With full confidence, proceed to learning. Have the deadly determination to abide by the good Way. If the country is dangerous, do not enter. If the country is turbulent, do not stay. If the Way prevails in the world, come to the surface. If the Way is lost, lie low. If the country has the Way and you have no wealth or honour, you should be ashamed. If the country has lost the Way and you still have wealth or honour, you should be ashamed."
14. The Master said, "If you are not in the right place, do not scheme to govern."
15. The Master said, "Music Director Zhi's rendition of the last movement of guan qu; isn't it magnificent! It fills your ear with its quivering resonance."
16. The Master said, "If you express yourself bluntly and yet not even honest, if you are thick and yet not even sincere, if you are incapable and yet not even trustworthy, I have no business with you."
17. The Master said, "Learning is like pursuing the unattainable. Perhaps you should rather be afraid of losing what you have already learned."
18. The Master said, "How majestic! Shun and Wu, they had the whole world but they did not exploit it."
19. The Master said, "Great indeed was the way Yao governed! How majestic! Only the Heaven is great; only Yao could emulate the greatness. Vast and serene! People had no words to describe it. Majestic is he who brought his endeavour to completion! Brilliant is he who had the splendid civilization!'
20. Shun had five ministers and he could govern the whole world. King Wu [주 무왕] had also said, "I only have ten capable ministers." The Master said, "Talent is hard to get by. What else could be the reason? During the period between Tang and Wu, those few managed to achieve the prosperity. [As for the reign of King Wu], not counting the woman, nine people managed it in fact. Having conquered two thirds of the whole world, Zhou nevertheless respectfully served Yin. The virtue of Zhou can certainly be called the ultimate of the virtues."
21. The Master said, "About Wu, I have nothing to reproach. Simple were his food and drinks. But he served ghosts and spirits to the utmost. Ragged were his clothes. But his ceremonial robe and cap were of utmost beauty. Ignoble were his palace and residence. But he devoted all his force to build canals and aqueducts. About Wu, I have nothing to reproach."