The Master said “This was the manner of Hui:-he made choice of the Mean, and whenever he got hold of what was good, he clasped it firmly, as if wearing it on his breast, and did not lose it.”
The Master said, “The kingdom, its states, and its families, may be perfectly ruled; dignities and emoluments may be declined; naked weapons may be trampled under the feet; but the course of the Mean cannot be attained to.”
Tsze-lu asked about energy.
The Master said, “Do you mean the energy of the South, the energy of the North, or the energy which you should cultivate yourself?
“To show forbearance and gentleness in teaching others; and not to revenge unreasonable conduct:-this is the energy of southern regions, and the good man makes it his study.
“To lie under arms; and meet death without regret:-this is the energy of northern regions, and the forceful make it their study.
“Therefore, the superior man cultivates a friendly harmony, without being weak.-How firm is he in his energy! He stands erect in the middle, without inclining to either side.-How firm is he in his energy! When good principles prevail in the government of his country, he does not change from what he was in retirement. How firm is he in his energy! When bad principles prevail in the country, he maintains his course to death without changing.-How firm is he in his energy!”
The Master said, “To live in obscurity, and yet practice wonders, in order to be mentioned with honor in future ages:-this is what I do not do.
“The good man tries to proceed according to the right path, but when he has gone halfway, he abandons it:-I am not able so to stop.
“The superior man accords with the course of the Mean. Though he may be all unknown, unregarded by the world, he feels no regret.-It is only the sage who is able for this.”
The way which the superior man pursues, reaches wide and far, and yet is secret.
Common men and women, however ignorant, may intermeddle with the knowledge of it; yet in its utmost reaches, there is that which even the sage does not know. Common men and women, however much below the ordinary standard of character, can carry it into practice; yet in its utmost reaches, there is that which even the sage is not able to carry into practice. Great as heaven and earth are, men still find some things in them with which to be dissatisfied. Thus it is that, were the superior man to speak of his way in all its greatness, nothing in the world would be found able to embrace it, and were he to speak of it in its minuteness, nothing in the world would be found able to split it.
It is said in the Book of Poetry, “The hawk flies up to heaven; the fishes leap in the deep.” This expresses how this way is seen above and below.Share It