Confucius is one of the most humane, rational, and lucid of moral teachers, concerned not with arcane metaphysics but with practical issues of life and conduct. What is virtue? What sort of life is most conducive to happiness? How should the state be ruled? What is the proper relationship between human beings and their environment?
In this classic translation of The Analects by Arthur Waley, the questions Confucius addressed two and a half millennia ago remain as relevant as ever.
About the Author
Confucius [551-479 BC], though of noble descent, was born in humble circumstances. He believed that politics is only an extension of morals, and spent ten years travelling through the various states of China spreading his ideas. When he realised that there was no way of converting the feudal rulers to his way of thinking he returned to Lu and spent the rest of his life there teaching his pupils. D.C Lau has held a number of professorships in the field of Chinese language and literature.
Arthur Waley (1889-1966) is highly regarded for his many translations of Chinese and Japanese literature.
Sarah Allan teaches classical Chinese and Chinese philosophy at Dartmouth College.
Read an Excerpt
from Book IV
1 The Master said, It is Goodness that gives to a neighborhood its beauty. One who is free to choose, yet does not prefer to dwell among the Good–how can he be accorded the name of wise?
2 The Master said, Without Goodness a man
Cannot for long endure adversity,
Cannot for long enjoy prosperity.
The Good Man rests content with Goodness; he that is merely wise pursues Goodness in the belief that it pays to do so.
3,4 Of the adage “Only a Good Man knows how to like people, knows how to dislike them,” the Master said, He whose heart is in the smallest degree set upon Goodness will dislike no one.
5 Wealth and rank are what every man desires; but if they can only be retained to the detriment of the Way he professes, he must relinquish them. Poverty and obscurity are what every man detests; but if they can only be avoided to the detriment of the Way he professes, he must accept them. The gentleman who ever parts company with Goodness does not fulfill that name. Never for a moment does a gentleman quit the way of Goodness. He is never so harried but that he cleaves to this; never so tottering but that he cleaves to this.
Table of ContentsChronology
The 36 Disciples
Note on the Conversations
Book I. Concerning Fundamental Principles
Book II. Concerning Government
Book III. The Eight Dancers: Concerning Manners and Morals
Book IV. Concerning Virtue
Book V. Concerning Certain Disciples and Others
Book VI. Concerning Certain Disciples and Other Subjects
Book VII. Concerning the Master Himself
Book VIII. Chiefly Concerning Certain Ancient Worthies
Book IX. Chiefly Personal
Book X Concerning the Sage in His Daily Life
Book XI. Chiefly Concerning the Disciples
"Book XII. Concerning Virtue, Nobility, and Polity"
Book XIII. Chiefly Concerning Government
Book XIV. Chiefly Concerning Government and Certain Rulers
Book XV. Chiefly on the Maintenance of Principles and Character
Book XVI. Concerning Ministerial Responsibility et Alia
Book XVII. Recording Unsuitable Calls and Sundry Maxims
Book XVIII. Concerning Ancient Worthies
Book XIX. Recorded Sayings of Some Disciples
Book XX. Concerning Right Government
What People are Saying About This
“For more than two millennia, the teachings of Confucius have served as a guide for a substantial portion of humanity. English-language readers seeking to understand this remarkable body of thought are fortunate to have Annping Chin’s highly readable and judiciously annotated edition of The Analects.” —Henry A. Kissinger
“An astonishingly lucid exposition of The Analects. A kind of serene insight pervades the commentaries.” —Harold Bloom
“An incomparable new volume that combines a fresh and sympathetic translation with a wonderfully readable annotation. It is a joy to use and will unlock a whole new level of meaning for English-language readers.” —Orville Schell, Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations and co-author of Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the Twenty-First Century