Confucius the Man
Selections from The Analects
by Randall Nadeau, Trinity University
was 15 years old, I became serious about my studies.
When I was 30, I was established in my career.
When I was 40, I was no longer uncertain about right and wrong.
When I was 50, I understood the will of Heaven (Tian-ming). At 60,
my ear was attuned to the truth, and at 70, I could do whatever my heart desired
without overstepping the bounds of decorum."
Speaking to Confucius' disciples,
someone said: "The kingdom has
been without the
for a long time.
Tian intends to use your
master as a bell with a wooden clapper."
every village of ten households, there is undoubtedly someone who is as
conscientious and trustworthy as I am, but no one who loves learning as much as
Confucius once made this vow:
all of my wrongs, may
punish me! May
Tian punish me!"
transmit but do not create: I put my
trust in my love for antiquity."
find happiness even in eating course food, drinking plain water, and sleeping
with my arm as my pillow. To be
wealthy and honored without
is like a floating cloud to me."
Confucius was gentle, but stern; distinguished, but not overbearing;
deferential to others, but at ease with himself.
Confucius was threatened with his life in the state of Kuang.
He said: "Since the
death of King Wen, hasn't the responsibility for preserving civilization fallen
on my shoulders? If
intended for civilization to die out, it would not have been preserved for later
generations. But if
does not intend for civilization to die out, what can the people of Kuang do to
If his mat was not straight, Confucius would not sit on it.
A stable was destroyed in a fire.
asked: "Was anyone hurt?"
He did not inquire about the horses.
When Yan Yuan, his favorite student, died, Confucius cried:
is destroying me!
is destroying me!"
are three ways to be a jün-zi, but I
have been unable to fulfill any of them.
A man of
has no worries; a man of wisdom has no confusion; a man of courage has no
fear." Zi-gong said:
"But you are talking about yourself!"
No one understands me! I do
Tian or bear a grudge against other men for my own shortcomings.
By studying things on a lower level, I reach to a higher level.
The one who understands me is
Zi-lu was staying overnight at the Stone Gate outside the city.
The gate-keeper for the morning watch asked him, "Who sent
Zi-lu replied. "Oh, isn't he
the one who knows full well that something can't be done, but goes ahead and
does it anyway?"
The hermits Chang-zhu and Jie-ni were pulling a plow.
Confucius was passing by and sent Zi-lu to ask them where he could cross
the river. Jie-ni asked,
"Aren't you a disciple of Confucius of Lu?"
"Yes, I am."
said, "The world is as chaotic as a flood.
Who can change it?
following someone who avoids certain particular men, why don't you become a
disciple of someone who avoids society altogether?"
He went back to his hoeing.
Zi-lu reported this conversation to Confucius.
Impatiently, Confucius said, "Men cannot flock with birds and
beasts. If I do not associate with
men, with whom should I associate? The
world has a certain Dao -- who am I to change