The Analects

 

 

 

The Master was terribly sick. Adept Lu asked if he might offer a prayer, and the Master said: "Is there such prayer?"

"There is," replied Lu. "The Book of Eulogies says: We pray for you to the gods and spirits above and below."

"My life has been my prayer," responded the Master.

 

 

 

The Master said: "Language is insight itself."

 

 

 

The Master said: "I can hear a court case as well as anyone. But we need to make a world where there's no reason for a court case."

 

 

 

The Master said: "A cup not a cup: A cup indeed! A cup indeed!"

 

 

 

The Master said: "Grant me a few more years. After studying Change for fifty years, I'll surely be free of serious flaws."

 

 

 

The Master said: "A ruler who has rectified himself never gives orders, and all goes well. A ruler who has not rectified himself gives orders, and the people never follow them."

 

 

 

Kung-sun Ch'ao of Wei asked Adept Kung: "Where did Confucius acquire such learning?"

"The Way of Emperors Wen and Wu never fell into ruins," replied Kung. "It abides in the people. The sage sees that greatness; others see only smallness. Something of the Way is there in everyone, so where could Confucius go without learning of it? And why would he spend years studying with some master teacher?"

 

 

 

Adept Kung said: "When the Master talks about civility and cultivation, you can hear what he says. But when he talks about the nature of things and the Way of Heaven, you can't hear a word."

 

 

 

The Master said: "I'd love to just say nothing."

"But if you say nothing," said Adept Kung, "how would we disciples hand down your teachings?""What has Heaven ever said?" replied the Master. "The four seasons keep turning and the hundred things keep emerging— but what has Heaven ever said?"