The Master said, A teller and not a maker, one that trusts and
Source: The Sayings Of Confucius
1. The Master said, A teller and not a maker, one that trusts and
loves the past; I might liken myself to our old P'eng.
2. The Master said, To think things over in silence, to learn and be
always hungry, to teach and never weary; is any of these mine?
3. The Master said, Not making the most of my mind, want of
thoroughness in learning, failure to do the right when told it, lack
of strength to overcome faults; these are my sorrows.
4. In his free moments the Master was easy and cheerful.
5. The Master said, How deep is my decay! It is long since I saw the
Duke of Chou in a dream.
6. The Master said, Keep thy will on the Way, lean on mind, rest in
love, move in art.
7. The Master said, From the man that paid in dried meat upwards, I
have withheld teaching from no one.
8. The Master said, Only to those fumbling do I open, only for those
stammering do I find the word.
If I lift one corner and the other three are left unturned, I say no
9. When eating beside a mourner the Master never ate his fill. On days
when he had been wailing, he did not sing.
10. The Master said to Yen Yuean, To go forward when in office and lie
quiet when not; only I and thou can do that.
Tzu-lu said, If ye had to lead three armies, Sir, whom would ye have
No man, said the Master, that would face a tiger bare-fisted, or
plunge into a river and die without a qualm; but one, indeed, who,
fearing what may come, lays his plans well and carries them through.
11. The Master said, If shouldering a whip were a sure road to riches
I should turn carter; but since there is no sure road, I tread the
path I love.
12. The Master gave heed to abstinence, war and sickness.
13. When he was in Ch'i, for three months after hearing the Shao
played, the Master knew not the taste of flesh.
I did not suppose, he said, that music could reach such heights.
14. Jan Yu said, Is the Master for the lord of Wei?
I shall ask him, said Tzu-kung.
He went in, and said, What kind of men were Po-yi and Shu-ch'i?
Worthy men of yore, said the Master.
Did they rue the past?
They sought love and found it; what had they to rue?
Tzu-kung went out, and said, The Master is not for him.
15. The Master said, Eating coarse rice and drinking water, with bent
arm for pillow, we may be merry; but ill-gotten wealth and honours are
to me a wandering cloud.
16. The Master said, Given a few more years, making fifty for learning
the Yi, I might be freed from gross faults.
17. The Master liked to talk of poetry, history, and the upkeep of
courtesy. Of all these he liked to talk.
18. The Duke of She asked Tzu-lu about Confucius.
Tzu-lu did not answer.
The Master said, Why didst thou not say, He is a man that forgets to
eat in his eagerness, whose sorrows are forgotten in gladness, who
knows not that age draws near?
19. The Master said, I was not born to wisdom: I loved the past, and
sought it earnestly there.
20. The Master never talked of goblins, strength, disorder, or
21. The Master said, Walking three together I am sure of teachers. I
pick out the good and follow it; I see the bad and shun it.
22. The Master said, Heaven begat the mind in me; what can Huan
T'ui do to me?
23. The Master said, My two-three boys, do ye think I hide things? I
hide nothing from you. I am a man that keeps none of his doings from
his two-three boys.
24. The Master taught four things: art, conduct, faithfulness and
25. The Master said, A holy man I shall not live to see; enough could
I find a gentleman! A good man I shall not live to see; enough could I
find a steadfast one! But when nothing poses as something, cloud as
substance and want as riches, it is hard indeed to be steadfast!
26. The Master angled, but he did not fish with a net; he shot, but
not at birds sitting.
27. The Master said, There may be men that do things without knowing
why. I do not. To hear much, pick out the good and follow it; to see
much and think it over; this comes next to wisdom.
28. To talk to the Hu village was hard. When a lad was seen by the
Master, the disciples doubted.
The Master said, I allow his coming, not what he does later. Why be so
harsh? If a man cleans himself to come in, I admit his cleanness, but
do not warrant his past.
29. The Master said, Is love so far a thing? I long for love, and lo!
love is come.
30. A judge of Ch'en asked whether Duke Chao knew good form.
Confucius answered, He knew good form.
After Confucius had left, the judge beckoned Wu-ma Ch'i to him,
and said, I had heard that gentlemen are of no party, but do they,
too, take sides? This lord married a Wu, whose name was the same as
his, and called her Miss Tzu of Wu: if he knew good form, who does not
know good form?
When Wu-ma Ch'i told the Master this he said, How lucky I am! If I go
wrong, men are sure to know it!
31. When anyone sang to the Master, and sang well, he made him sing it
again and joined in.
32. The Master said, I have no more reading than others; to live as a
gentleman is not yet mine.
33. The Master said, How dare I lay claim to holiness or love? A man
of endless craving, who never tires of teaching, I might be called,
but that is all.
That is just what we disciples cannot learn, said Kung-hsi Hua.
34. When the Master was very ill, Tzu-lu asked leave to pray.
Is it done? said the Master.
It is, answered Tzu-lu. The Memorials say, Pray to the spirits above
and to the Earth below.
The Master said, Long-lasting has my prayer been.
35. The Master said, Waste makes men unruly, thrift makes them mean;
but they are better mean than unruly.
36. The Master said, A gentleman is calm and spacious; the small man
is always fretting.
37. The Master's manner was warm yet dignified. He was stern, but not
fierce; humble, yet easy.
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