Confucius said, “Zang Wenzhong housed his sacred tortoises in a hall where the tops of the pillars were carved in the shapes of mountains and the roof beams were decorated with water plants. How could we call him wise?”


Confucius said, “When the Way was being practiced in his state, Ning Wuzi showed his wisdom. When the Way was not being practiced, though, he played the fool. Someone might be able to match his wisdom, but no one can match his foolishness.”


Fan Chi asked about wisdom.

Confucius said, “Work for justice and harmony in society. Respect the spirits, but keep them at a distance. That’s wisdom.”

Fan Chi then asked about humaneness.

Confucius replied, “Ah, humaneness. The humane person takes on the difficulty of self-cultivation first and only looks for the outcomes afterwards. That’s humaneness.”


Confucius said, “The wise enjoy the waters and the humane enjoy the mountains. The wise are busy and the humane are still. The wise are happy and the humane are long-lived.”


Confucius said, “Do I have wisdom? No, I don’t. But if a simple person asks me a question and I come up empty, I’ll look into it from one end to the other.”


Chen Ziqin said to Zigong, “Surely you’re just being reverent towards your teacher. How could Confucius be more worthy than you?”

“With just a single word, a person can reveal their wisdom, or expose their ignorance,” Zigong replied, “that’s why you have to choose your words carefully.”

Zigong continued, “Confucius can’t be matched, just like you can’t climb the sky! If he’d been put in charge of a state or a ruling family, he would have fulfilled the saying,

He raised them up, and they stood on their own.

He set the direction, and they forged ahead.

He put them at ease, and they flocked to him.

He set them in motion, and they worked in harmony.’

“In life he was honored and in death he was mourned. How can he be equaled?”