The Analects of Confucius Book 14 New English Translation

Read this new English translation of the Analects of Confucius Book 14 to learn more about the teachings of China’s most famous philosopher.

Chapter 1
憲問恥。子曰:「邦有道穀,邦無道穀,恥也。」「克伐怨欲,不行焉,可以為仁矣。」子曰:「可以為難矣,仁則吾不知也。」
Yuan Xian asked about shamefulness. Confucius said: “Caring only about your official salary no matter whether good or bad government prevails in the state. That is shamefulness.” “If you can overcome aggressiveness, arrogance, bitterness, and greed can you be said to have achieved true goodness?” Confucius said: “You can be said to have achieved something difficult; but I don’t know whether it is true goodness.”

Chapter 2
子曰:「士而懷居,不足以為士矣!」
Confucius said: “A scholar-official who cherishes their material comforts isn’t worthy of the name.”

Chapter 3
子曰:「邦有道,危言危行;邦無道,危行言孫。
Confucius said: “When the way prevails in a state, speak boldly and act boldly. When the way doesn’t prevail in a state, act boldly but speak cautiously.”

Chapter 4
子曰:「有德者必有言,有言者不必有德。仁者必有勇,勇者不必有仁。」
Confucius said: “The virtuous have a lot to teach others; but people who have a lot to teach others aren’t necessarily virtuous. The good are always brave; but the brave aren’t necessarily good.”

Chapter 5
南宮适問於孔子曰:「羿善射,奡盪舟,俱不得其死然。禹稷躬稼而有天下。」夫子不答。南宮适出,子曰:「君子哉若人!尚德哉若人!」
Nangong Kuo asked Confucius, saying: “Yi was a great archer and Ao was a great sailor, but neither died a natural death. Yu and Ji toiled on the land, but they came to own the world.” Confucius made no reply. Nangong Kuo left. Confucius said: “He’s a true leader! This man truly prizes virtue!”

Chapter 6
子曰:「君子而不仁者有矣夫,未有小人而仁者也。」
Confucius said: “Although a leader may not always achieve goodness, a petty person never achieves it.”

Chapter 7
子曰:「愛之,能勿勞乎?忠焉,能勿誨乎?」
Confucius said: “Can you truly care for someone if you’re not demanding towards them? Can you be truly loyal to someone if you refrain from admonishing them?”

Chapter 8
子曰:「為命:裨諶草創之,世叔討論之,行人子羽修飾之,東里子產潤色之。」
Confucius said: “Whenever a government edict needed to be written, Bi Chen prepared the first draft, Shi Shu reviewed and revised it, Ziyu, the head of protocol, edited it, and Zichan of Dongli gave it a final polish.”

Chapter 9
或問「子產」,子曰:「惠人也。」問「子西」,曰:「彼哉彼哉!」問「管仲」,曰:「人也,奪伯氏駢邑三百,飯疏食,沒齒無怨言。」
Someone asked about Zichan. Confucius said: “He was a generous man.” “And what about Zixi?” “Don’t even mention his name!” “And what about Guan Zhong?” “What a man! He seized over three hundred households in Pian from the head of the Bo family. But even though he was reduced to eating coarse food until the end of his days, the poor man could never bring himself to utter a single word of complaint against him.”

Chapter 10
子曰:「貧而無怨難,富而無驕易。」
Confucius said: “To be poor without being resentful is difficult; to be wealthy without being arrogant is easy.”

Chapter 11
子曰:「孟公綽為趙魏老則優,不可以為滕薛大夫。」
Confucius said: “Meng Gongchuo is more than qualified to serve as the steward for the Zhao and Wei families, but he is not qualified to serve as a minister in the states of Teng and Xue.”

Chapter 12
子路問「成人」。子曰:「若臧武仲之知,公綽之不欲,卞莊子之勇,冉求之藝,文之以禮樂,亦可以為成人矣!」曰:「今之成人者,何必然?見利思義,見危授命,久要不忘平生之言,亦可以為成人矣!」
Zilu asked how to define a “complete person”. Confucius said: “Take someone as wise as Zang Wuzhong, as free from desire as Gongchuo, as brave as Zhuangzi of Bian, and as cultured as Ran Qiu, as well as being accomplished in ritual and music, and they may be considered a complete person.” Then he added: “But must a complete person be exactly like this today? Someone who thinks of what is right at the sight of profit, who is ready to risk their life when faced with danger, and who can endure hardship without forgetting the teachings that have guided their daily life may also be considered a complete person.”

Chapter 13
子問「公叔文子」於公明賈,曰:「信乎?夫子不言不笑不取乎?」公明賈對曰:「以告者過也!夫子時然後言,人不厭其言;樂然後笑,人不厭其笑;義然後取,人不厭其取。」子曰:「其然!豈其然乎?」
Confucius asked Gongming Jia about Gongshu Wenzi: “Is it true that your master never spoke, laughed, nor took anything?” Gongming Jia replied: “Whoever told you this exaggerated. My master spoke, but only at the right time, and so no one ever thought he spoke too much; he laughed, but only when he was happy, and so no one ever thought that he laughed too much; he took things, but only when it was right, and so no one ever thought that he took too much.” Confucius said: “How commendable! Assuming of course it is true.”

Chapter 14
子曰:「臧武仲以防,求為後於魯,雖曰不要君,吾不信也。」
Confucius said: “Zang Wuzhong demanded that the city of Fang be acknowledged by the Duke of Lu as his hereditary fief. Although it’s said he didn’t coerce his ruler, I don’t believe it.”

Chapter 15
子曰:「晉文公譎而不正,齊桓公正而不譎。」
Confucius said: “Duke Wen of Jin was crafty and improper; Duke Huan of Qi was proper and not crafty.”

Chapter 16
子路曰:「桓公殺公子糾,召忽死之,管仲不死。」曰:「未仁乎!」子曰:「桓公九合諸侯,不以兵車,管仲之力也。如其仁!如其仁!」
Zilu said: “When Duke Huan had Prince Jiu put to death, Shao Hu took his own life but Guan Zhong chose to keep his. Should we say that Guan Zhong was a man without goodness?” Confucius said: “Duke Huan was able to bring the rulers of all the states together nine times without having to resort to military force because of the power of Guan Zhong. Such was his goodness! Such was his goodness!”

Chapter 17
子貢曰:「管仲非仁者與?桓公殺公子糾,不能死,又相之。」子曰:「管仲相桓公,霸諸侯,一匡天下,民到于今受其賜。微管仲,吾其被髮左衽矣!豈若匹夫匹婦之為諒也,自經於溝瀆,而莫之知也!」
Zigong said: “Guan Zhong wasn’t a good person, was he? After Duke Huan had Prince Jiu put to death, he not only chose to live but also served as the duke’s chief minister.” Confucius said: “By serving as Duke Huan’s chief minister, Guan Zhong imposed his authority over all the states and brought order to the world; the people still reap the benefits of his actions until this day. Without Guan Zhong, we would still be wearing our hair loose and folding our robes on the wrong side. Or would you prefer it if he had drowned himself in a ditch like some wretched husband or wife in their petty fidelity and died with nobody knowing about it?”

Chapter 18
公叔文子之臣大夫僎,與文子同升諸公。子聞之曰:「可以為文矣!」
The steward of Gongshu Wenzi, Zhuan, was promoted together with him to the duke’s court. Confucius heard this and said: “Gongshu truly deserves to be called ‘the Refined.’”

Chapter 19
子言衛靈公之無道也,康子曰:「夫如是,奚而不喪?」孔子曰:「仲叔圉治賓客,祝鮀治宗廟,王孫賈治軍旅,夫如是,奚其喪?」
Confucius said that Duke Ling of Wei didn’t follow the way. Ji Kangzi said: “If this is the case, how come he hasn’t lost his state?” Confucius said: “He has Kong Wenzi looking after guests and foreign delegations, Zhu Tuo taking care of the ancestral temple, and Wangsun Jia in charge of defense. With such officials as these, how could he possibly lose his state?”

Chapter 20
子曰:「其言之不怍,則為之也難!」
Confucius said: “People who make rash promises will find them hard to keep.”

Chapter 21
陳成子弒簡公。孔子沐浴而朝,告於哀公曰:「陳恒弒其君,請討之。」公曰:「告夫三子。」孔子曰:「以吾從大夫之後,不敢不告也!」君曰:「告夫三子者!之三子告,不可。」孔子曰:「以吾從大夫子後,不敢不告也!」
Chen Chengzi assassinated Duke Jian of Qi. Confucius took a bath and went to court, where he told Duke Ai of Lu: “Chen Heng murdered his ruler. Please punish him.” The Duke said: “Report this to the three lords.” Confucius said: “As a former official myself, I had no choice but to make this report. Yet my lord has only said, “Report this to the three lords.’” He went and made his report to the three lords. They refused to intervene. Confucius said: “As a former official myself, I had no choice but to make this report.”

Chapter 22
子路問「事君」。子曰:「勿欺也,而犯之。」
Zilu asked how to serve a ruler. Confucius said: “Don’t deceive them; be willing to oppose them.”

Chapter 23
子曰:「君子上達,小人下達。」
Confucius said: “A leader goes high. A petty person goes low.”

Chapter 24
子曰:「古之學者為己,今之學者為人。」
Confucius said: “In ancient times people learned to improve themselves. Nowadays they learn to impress others.”

Chapter 25
蘧伯玉使人於孔子,孔子與之坐而問焉。曰:「夫子何為?」對曰:「夫子欲寡其過而未能也。」使者出。子曰:「使乎!使乎!」
Qu Boyu sent a messenger to Confucius. Confucius sat together with him and asked: “How is your master?” The messenger replied: “My master wishes to reduce his faults, but he hasn’t succeeded yet.” The messenger left. Confucius said: “The perfect messenger! The perfect messenger!”

Chapter 26
子曰:「不在其位,不謀其政。」曾子曰:「君子思不出其位。」
Confucius said: “Don’t concern yourself with the affairs of an office that you don’t hold.” Zengzi said: “A leader would never consider overstepping the bounds of their position.”

Chapter 27
子曰:「君子恥其言而過其行。」
Confucius said: “A leader is ashamed if their actions don’t match their words.”

Chapter 28
子曰:「君子道者三,我無能焉:仁者不憂,知者不惑,勇者不懼。」子貢曰:「夫子自道也!」
Confucius said: “A leader adheres to three principles that I haven’t been able to live up to: the good are never anxious; the wise are never perplexed; the brave are never afraid.” Zigong said: “Master, you’ve just described yourself.”

Chapter 29
子貢方人。子曰:「賜也,賢乎哉?夫我則不暇!」
Zigong was in the habit of criticizing other people. Confucius said: “Zigong must already be perfect. I have no free time for that.”

Chapter 30
子曰:「不患人之不己知,患其不能也。」
Confucius said: “Don’t be concerned if people fail to recognize what you’ve accomplished; be concerned about what you haven’t been able to accomplish yet.”

Chapter 31
子曰:「不逆詐,不億不信。抑亦先覺者,是賢乎?」
Confucius said: “Without anticipating deception or suspecting bad faith, but still to be able to sense them beforehand, is that not what wisdom is?”

Chapter 32
微生畝謂孔子曰:「丘何為是栖栖者與?無乃為佞乎?」孔子曰:「非敢為佞也,疾固也。」
Weisheng Mu said to Confucius: “Qiu, why do you flit around preaching all over the place? Is it to show off how clever you are?” Confucius said: “I wouldn’t dare presume that I am clever; I simply can’t stand willful ignorance.”

Chapter 33
子曰:「驥不稱其力,稱其德也。」
Confucius said: “A fine horse is admired not for its strength but its heart.”

Chapter 34
或曰:「以德報怨,何如?」子曰:「何以報德?以直報怨,以德報德。」
Someone said: “What do you think of the old saying ‘repay evil with kindness?’” Confucius said: “In that case how will you repay kindness? Better repay evil with justice, and kindness with kindness.”

Chapter 35
子曰:「莫我知也夫!」子貢曰:「何為其莫知子也?」子曰:「不怨天,不尤人,下學而上達。知我者,其天乎!」
Confucius said: “No one understands me!” Zigong said: “How is it that no one understands you?” Confucius said: “I neither complain about heaven nor do I blame other people. I study what’s below in order to understand what’s above. If there’s anyone who understands me, it can only be heaven.”

Chapter 36
公伯寮愬子路於季孫,子服景伯以告曰:「夫子固有惑志於公伯寮,吾力猶能肆諸市朝。」子曰:「道之將行也與?命也!道之將廢也與?命也!公伯寮其如命何!」
Gongbo Liao made accusations against Zilu to the head of the Ji Family. Zifu Jingbo reported this to Confucius, saying: “My master’s mind is being led astray by Gongbo Liao; but I still have enough power to have Liao’s corpse splayed open in the market and court.” Confucius said: “Will the way prevail? That’s for fate to decide. Will the way be cast aside? That’s for fate to decide. What does Gongbo Liao matter compared with fate?”

Chapter 37
子曰:「賢者辟世,其次辟地,其次辟色,其次辟言。」子曰:「作者七人矣!」
Confucius said: “The worthy withdraw from the world because it’s fallen into chaos; next come those who withdraw from their state because it’s fallen into disorder; next come those who withdraw because of their ruler’s evil looks; and next come those who withdraw because of their ruler’s threatening words.” Confucius said: “The number of people who did this was seven.”

Chapter 38
子路宿於石門。晨門曰:「奚自?」子路曰:「自孔氏。」曰:「是知其不可而為之者與?」
Zilu stayed for the night at the Stone Gate. In the morning, the gatekeeper said: “Where are you coming from?” Zilu said: “From Confucius.” “Isn’t he the one who knows he’s trying to achieve the impossible but still keeps on doing it?”

Chapter 39
子擊磬於衛。有荷蕢而過孔氏之門者,曰:「有心哉,擊磬乎!」既而曰:「鄙哉,硜硜乎!莫己知也,斯已而已矣!『深則厲,淺則揭。』」子曰:「果哉!末之難矣!」
Confucius was striking some stone chimes in Wei. A man carrying a basket passed in front of the gate of the house where he was staying and said: “Whoever is playing music like that seems to have something else on his mind!” A little while later, he added: “What a tiresome racket! If no one understands what you are trying to say, keep it to yourself!
When the water is deep, wade through it with your clothes on;
When the water is shallow, hold up the hem of your gown.”
Confucius said: “He certainly doesn’t mince his words! I don’t have any response to that!”

Chapter 40
子張曰:「書云:『高宗諒陰,三年不言』何謂也?」子曰:「何必高宗?古之人皆然。君薨,百官總已以聽於冢宰三年。」
Zizhang said: “In the Book of Documents it is written: ‘When Gaozong was mourning his father, he did not speak for three years.’ What does this mean?” Confucius said: “This did not apply only to Gaozong; all the ancients did the same. When a king died, all the officials gathered together and took their orders from the chief minister for three years.”

Chapter 41
子曰:「上好禮,則民易使也。」
Confucius said: “When their rulers love ritual, the common people are easy to manage.”

Chapter 42
子路問「君子」。子曰:「修己以敬。」曰:「如斯而已乎?」曰:「修己以安人。」曰:「如斯而已乎?」曰:「修己以安百姓。修己以安百姓,堯舜其猶病諸。」
Zilu asked how to become a leader. Confucius said: “Cultivate yourself to be respectful.” Zilu asked: “Is that all there is to it?” Confucius said: “Cultivate yourself to bring peace to the people. Cultivate yourself to bring peace to the people: even Yao and Shun wouldn’t have been able to match it.”

Chapter 43
原壤夷俟。子曰:「幼而不孫弟,長而無述焉,老而不死是為賊。」以杖叩其脛。
Yuan Rang sat with his legs stretched out waiting for Confucius. Confucius said: “A person who is disrespectful to their elders when they’re young, achieves nothing of note when they grow up, and lacks the grace to die when they’re old is nothing but a thief.” He then gave him a rap on the shin with his staff.

Chapter 44
闕黨,童子將命。或問之曰:「益者與?」子曰:「吾見其居於位也,見其與先生並行也;非求益者也,欲速成者也。」
A boy from the village of Que came bearing a message. Someone asked about him, saying: “Is he likely to improve himself?” Confucius said: “I have noticed that he seats himself among others and walks alongside people older than himself. He is not looking to improve himself; he wants to grow up too fast.”

I live in Taiwan and am interested in exploring what ancient Chinese philosophy can tell us about technology and the rise of modern China.