Confucius said, “Isn’t it satisfying to learn and apply what you’ve learned? Isn’t it great when friends come from afar? If I’m not bothered that people don’t recognize me, isn’t that the mark of a noble person?”


Youzi said, “A young person who is filial and respectful of his parents and elders rarely becomes the kind of person who enjoys defying their superiors. And a person who does not enjoy defying their superiors does not create chaos.

“A noble person tends to the roots first. With the roots taken care of, the Way naturally grows. Isn’t filiality and respect for parents and elders the root of humaneness?”


Zengzi said, “Every day I examine myself on three counts. When working for others, did I fail to do my best? With my friends, did I fail to be trustworthy? Have I practiced what I preached?”


Confucius said, “To govern an important state, take care of business, keep your word, and watch your spending. Care for the people and only employ them at the right times.”


Confucius said, “A young person should be filial to parents inside the home and respectful of elders outside the home. Conscientious and trustworthy, cherishing everyone, but with a special affection for the humane. If you have any energy left over, use it to study the cultural arts.”


Zixia said, “If you can appreciate character more than beauty, serve your parents tirelessly, give all of yourself in service to your ruler, and keep your word to your friends—though other people may say you lack learning, I would say you are very well-educated.”


Zengzi said, “Tend to the recently deceased with great care, and continue venerating the long-departed. Doing this, the people will return to virtue.”


Ziqin asked Zigong, “When our teacher arrives in another state, he always manages to learn about its government. Does he ask around about it, or do people just tell him?”

Zigong replied, “Our teacher gets information by being friendly, kind, humble, and not being pushy. He goes about this differently from other people.”


Confucius said, “While you father is alive, observe his intentions. After he’s passed away, reflect on his actions. If you hold back from changing your father’s ways for three years, you can be called filial.”


Youzi said, “When it comes to ritual, harmony is key. This is what made the Way of the great kings of old so elegant, and it applies in all matters—great and small. But if you just try to achieve harmony for its own sake without following ritual, it won’t work.”


Youzi said, “Trustworthiness comes close to righteousness because other people can count on your words. Showing respect is close to ritual correctness because it banishes shame and disgrace. If you can stick to these principles and not lose your family’s affection, you will be revered.”


Confucius said, “A noble person isn’t motivated by the desire for a full belly or a comfortable house. A noble person gets things done and is careful with words, sticking close to those who know the Way, being improved by them. We could say that this is the kind of person who loves learning.”


Zigong asked, “To be a poor person who doesn’t grovel or a rich person who isn’t arrogant. What do you think of that?”

Confucius replied, “Not bad, not bad. But not as good as being poor and enjoying the Way or being rich and loving ritual.”

Zigong said, “The Book of Odes says,

Like cutting and filing,

like grinding and polishing.

Is that what you mean?”

Confucius said, “Ah Zigong, you’re the kind of person I can talk about The Book of Odes with. I give you a little and you come back with the rest!”