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The Analects of Confucius (from the Chinese Classics) (English Edition) Format Kindle
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CHAP. III. The Master said, 'Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.' CHAP. IV. The philosopher Tsang said, 'I daily examine myself on three points:— whether, in transacting business for others, I may have been not faithful;— whether, in intercourse with friends, I may have been not sincere;— whether I may have not mastered and practised the instructions of my teacher.'
The whole work, which is less than 200 pp. long, is divided in to 20 books, with, as you can see, very short chapters.
Is the wisdom of Confucius all platitude? No, there are some really obscure remarks as well:
CHAP. XIII. 1. Wang-sun Chia asked, saying, 'What is the meaning of the saying, "It is better to pay court to the furnace than to the south-west corner?"' 2. The Master said, 'Not so. He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he can pray.'
CHAP. XI. Tsze-kung said, 'What I do not wish men to do to me, I also wish not to do to men.' The Master said, 'Ts'ze, you have not attained to that.'
Perhaps the wisdom is flattened out in translation. Perhaps there are ironies only scholars can recognize. Unlike one reader, who couldn't put it down, I found its fragmentary quality made it easy to pick up and put down whenever I felt like it. Was I wiser, having finished it? Perhaps, or perhaps not.
CHAP. XVIII. 1. The Duke of Sheh asked Tsze-lu about Confucius, and Tsze-lu did not answer him. 2. The Master said, 'Why did you not say to him,— He is simply a man, who in his eager pursuit (of knowledge) forgets his food, who in the joy of its attainment forgets his sorrows, and who does not perceive that old age is coming on?' CHAP. XIX. The Master said, 'I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it there.' CHAP. XX. The subjects on which the Master did not talk, were— extraordinary things, feats of strength, disorder, and spiritual beings.