Read The Analects by Confucius D.C. Lau Online

the-analects

This lively new translation with clear explanatory notes by one of the foremost scholars of classical Chinese provides the ideal introduction to the Analects for readers who have no previous knowledge of the Chinese language and philosophical traditions."How dare I claim to be a sage or a benevolent man?"By constructing the philosophy expressed through The Analects, ConfucThis lively new translation with clear explanatory notes by one of the foremost scholars of classical Chinese provides the ideal introduction to the Analects for readers who have no previous knowledge of the Chinese language and philosophical traditions."How dare I claim to be a sage or a benevolent man?"By constructing the philosophy expressed through The Analects, Confucius might well dare to make such a claim. The Analects are a collection of Confucius' sayings, compiled by his pupils shortly after his death in 497 B.C., and they reflect the extent to which Confucius held up a moral ideal for all men. The aim is the perfection of one's moral character, the method one of arduous pursuit of such moral attributes as benevolence, wisdom, courage; the result is no recompense either in this life or the next – to follow the Way must be its own reward. A harsh philosophy perhaps, but shining through it is the splendid intellect and spirit of one of the most reasonable and humane thinkers of all time....

Title : The Analects
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ISBN : 9780140443486
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 249 Pages
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The Analects Reviews

  • Darwin8u
    2018-11-07 00:33

    子曰:「唯上知與下愚不移。」The Master said, 'It is only the most intelligent and the most stupid who are not susceptible to change." - Confucius, The Analects, XVII.3I rarely re-read books. An exception to this rule are ethical or religious texts. I love Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and will read this in dribs and drabs throughout the year. The same is true of the New Testament, the Wisdom Books, Psalms, parts of the Book of Mormon, and the Analects. I am drawn to some of the more universal teachings in these books (the Golden Rule seems to find a spot everywhere). Anyway, I'm still trying to avoid thinking too much about Trump by reading a book a day and so I figured this was a good time to read, again, the Analects* (I'm working on a longer book so, I rely on the help of smaller books to keep me one my 1-per-day pace). I am not sure if I've come across a translation I prefer, but I've read several now. Because I don't actually read Chinese, I'm not I guess looking for the perfect translation. I'm looking for one that seems to dance with the right amount of poetry and truth. I'm getting closer and feel as I read the different translations I can circle around some of the truth of what was originally spoken without ever hearing the original text. For example, consider the opening quote:The Master said, "There are only the wise of the highest class, and the stupid of the lowest class, who cannot be changed."- James Legge translationConfucius said: “Only the most wise and the most foolish do not change.”- A. Charles Muller translationThe Master said, "It is only the most intelligent and the most stupid who are not susceptible to change."- Lau translation* With Trump's art of the deal, I'm expecting us to belong to the Chinese in a year or two, so the more I understand of the Chinese the better I'll be treated in the reconditioning camps, me thinks.

  • Lawrence
    2018-11-18 21:42

    In a class taught by General George S. Patton, IV at the George Washington University in the early 80's, reflecting on his experience in Vietnam, he summarized the failure of US policy in SE Asia as a failure to understand the history and culture of the region.Years later as I prepared to deploy to Afghanistan it struck me that much of our formal education in my lifetime focused on European and Western philosophers and histories, only perpetuating the vicious cycle which the son of the famous World War II general observed.In the same sense that reading the Qur'an helped me to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Islamic currents that flow through Afghan and Central Asian culture Confucius provides context that helped in gaining an appreciation of the differences between Asian or Eastern and European or Western thought. General Stanley McChrystal famously reported in a classified assessment leaked by Bob Woodward and the Washington Post in August 2009 that the US and our NATO allies had the wrong "mindset" for our operations in Afghanistan. Would suggest that our focus on Plato, Aristotle and other European philosophers and their associated political, economic, and military theorists which suited us for combat and commerce in Europe and with Europeans should be balanced with study of Confucius and Asian philosophers if we hope to succeed in a "pivot" to the Asia-Pacific region.As the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle emerged during a period of conflict between Greek and Persian power so too did Confucius (and Sun Tzu) emerge during the "Waring States" period of Chinese history from roughly 475-221 BCE which interestingly overlaps the emergence of the famous Greek philosophers.

  • Foad
    2018-11-06 22:37

    تا حالا زياد جملات زيبا و بى نظيرى از كنفوسيوس شنيديم. با كمال تأثر و تأسف، بايد اعلام كنم كه همه شون جعلى هستن، يكى از موارد تب جملات جعلى به بزرگان نسبت دادن.جملات خود كنفوسيوس، بسيار خسته كننده و عارى از هر گونه زيبايى و نكته ى اخلاقى خاص هستن. به زحمت مى تونيد دو سه جمله پيدا كنيد كه ارزش نقل قول شدن رو داشته باشه. اون هم با دست كارى در جمله!

  • Stevie
    2018-11-16 21:48

    Confucius has a lot of wisdom. Anyone who is serious about living life well would do well to read the Analects.Poignant Quotes:If you try to guide the common people with coercive regulations and keep them in line with punishments, the common people will become evasive and will have no sense of shame. If, however, you guide them with Virtue, and keep them in line by means of ritual, the people will have a sense of shame and will rectify themselves.Give your parents no cause for anxiety other than the possibility that they might fall ill.Both keeping past teachings alive and understanding the present - someone able to do this is worthy of being a teacher.If you learn without thinking about what you have learned, you will be lost. If you think without learning, however, you will fall into danger.This is wisdom: to recognize what you know as what you know, and recognize what you do not know as what you do not know.When you see someone who is worthy, concentrate upon becoming their equal; when you see someone who is unworthy, use this as an opportunity to look within yourself.People in ancient times were not eager to speak, because they would be ashamed if their actions did not measure up to their words.Zigong said, "What I do not wish others to do unto me, I also wish not to do unto others." The Master said, "Ah, Zigong! That is something quite beyond you."When Zilu learned something, but had not yet been able to put it into practice, his only fear was that he would learn something new.He was diligent and loved learning, and was not ashamed to ask advice from his inferiors. This is why he was accorded the title "Cultured."I should just give up! I have yet to meet someone who is able to perceive his own faults and then take himself to task inwardly.One who knows it is not equal to one who loves it, and one who loves it is not the equal of one who takes joy in it.When walking with two other people, I will always find a teacher among them. I focus on those who are good and seek to emulate them, and focus on those who are bad in order to be reminded of what needs to be changed in myself.The gentleman is self-possessed and relaxed, while the petty man is perpetually full of worry.The Master was affable yet firm, awe-inspiring without being severe, simultaneously respectful and relaxed.Learn as if you will never catch up, and as if you feared losing what you have already attained.When a man is rebuked with exemplary words after having made a mistake, he cannot help but agree with them. However, what is important is that he change himself in order to accord with them. When a man is praised with words of respect, he cannot help but be pleased with them. However, what is important is that he actually live up to them.Yan Hui is of no help to me - he is pleased with everything that I say.The Master said, "The Good person is hesitant to speak. When being Good is so difficult, how can one not be hesitant to speak about it?"The Master said, "The gentleman is free of anxiety and fear. If you look inside yourself and find no faults, what cause is there for anxiety or fear?"A gentleman helps others to realize their good qualities, rather than their bad. A petty person does the opposite.Imagine a person who can recite the several hundred odes by heart but, when delegated a governmental task, is unable to carry it out, or when sent abroad as an envoy, is unable to engage in repartee. No matter how many odes he might have memorized, what good are they to him?Those who possess Virtue will inevitably have something to say, whereas those who have something to say do not necessarily possess Virtue. Those who are Good will necessarily display courage, but those who display courage are not necessarily Good.Do not worry that you are not recognized by others; worry rather that you yourself lack ability.Yuan Rang sat casually, with his legs sprawled out, waiting for Confucius. On seeing him, the Master remarked, "A young man devoid of humility and respect for his elders will grow into an adult who contributes nothing to his community. Growing older and older without the dignity to pass away, he becomes a burden on society." He then rapped him on the shin with his staff.The gentleman does not promote someone solely based upon their words, nor does he dismiss words simply on account of the person who uttered them.To make a mistake and yet to not change your ways - that is what is called truly making a mistake.When attending a gentleman, there are three types of errors one may commit. To speak when it is not yet time to speak - this is called being rash. To not speak when it is time to speak - this is called being secretive. to speak without taking into account the countenance of one's lord - this is called being blind.Learning broadly and firmly retaining what one has learned, being incisive in one's questioning and able to reflect upon what is near at hand - Goodness is to found in this.Love GodKnow GodLove othersBecome like Christ - humbly observe others to emulate the holy and discard the unrulyMake Disciplemakers

  • Letitia
    2018-10-20 23:36

    It’s depressing to think that the teachings of Confucius constituted a religion in most of East Asia – i.e. they were wise sayings and stories of a great man from a certain time, that have been selectively reinterpreted by kings and heads of state, force-fed to generations of schoolchildren in various eras as a substitute for original thought, and generally manipulated out of context to subjugate a nation into obedience over and over again.That’s probably why many Chinese intellectuals and progressives (who have not studied The Analects objectively, or perhaps cannot) abhor Confucius and consider his teachings part of the machinery of imperialism and feudal tyrants.Note that my five-star rating is not forThe Analects per se, but specifically for the edition with Simon Leys’ excellent translation and notes (see below for more details).Three Things you need to know about Confucius:1) Though he is lauded as China's Supreme Teacher, his goal in life was to be a politician and he failed at that. He basically believed he was the Hari Seldon of China (witnessing the crumbling of the Zhou dynasty, his Heavenly mission was to “revive [the Duke of Zhou’s] grand design, restore the world order under a new ethical basis, and salvage the entire civilization”). That’s why he educated and built up a ‘cabinet’ of disciples around him in order to usher in a new model government*.2) The Analects are to Confucius as the Gospels are to Jesus: not written by him personally, but a record of his sayings and deeds compiled by (in Confucius’ case) a group of his disciples and grand-disciples.3) Confucius lived and taught in the 6th century BCE. To put things in perspective, that’s when Buddha and Zoroaster were active, and 10 years after Confucius dies, Socrates is born. That means these teachings in the Analects are old. As Mr. Leys states in his introduction, “no book in the entire history of the world has exerted, over a longer period of time, a greater influence on a larger number of people than this slim volume."* Ironically, this led to the failure of his political career, because Confucius and his disciples threatened the incompetent incumbents and thus were not offered positions in court.Ideas- The greatest innovation Confucius devised is inventing his own occupation of the private teacher.- Confucius’ second most revolutionary idea was redefining the term 君子 (junzi, meaning nobleman / gentleman) to mean anyone who was educated and moral, so that commoners could aspire to become junzi and join the ruling class even though they were not born to aristocratic families.Selected Quotes from The AnalectsEach of the 20 chapters contains passages on various topics; they are largely not organised thematically. For my own records, I’ve included a sample quote that represents one of the strong themes from each chapter.Chapter 1: virtue1.9. Master Zeng said: “When the dead are honored and the memory of remote ancestors is kept alive, a people’s virtue is at its fullest."1.16. The Master said: “Don’t worry if people don’t recognize your merits; worry that you may not recognize theirs."Chapter 2: filial piety2.6. Lord Meng Wu asked about filial piety. The Master said: “The only time a dutiful son ever makes his parents worry is when he is sick."Chapter 3: ritual3.13. Wangsun Jia asked: “What does this saying mean: ‘Flatter the god of the kitchen rather than the god of the house’?" The Master said: “Nonsense. If you offend Heaven, prayer is useless.”(Translation note) Wangsun Jia: minister of Duke Ling of Wei, to whose court Confucius had come, seeking employment. The proverbial saying which W is quoting here is an expression of cynical folk wisdom: rather ingratiate yourself with the servants who can feed you than with their master, whose distant benevolence is of no practical use. The exact intention of Wangsun Jia is not clear. Either he is asking advice for the advancement of his own career: should he court the favour of the duke (“the god of the house”) or of his favorite (“the god of the kitchen”)? Or, under the guise of a question, he may be addressing a veiled warning to Confucius: Do not trust the duke too much; if you wish to succeed here, it is with me you will have to deal. The question may be ambiguous, but the answer is clear: Confucius condemns all opportunistic maneuvers––the only right policy is to follow the dictates of morality. – See why Leys is a delightful guide for this voyage?Chapter 4: ren, i.e. humanity, benevolence4.16. The Master said: “A gentleman considers what is just; a small man considers what is expedient."Chapter 5: evaluating the disciples5.10. Zai Yu was sleeping during the day. The Master said: “Rotten wood cannot be carved; dung walls cannot be troweled. What is the use of scolding him?"The Master said: “There was a time when I used to listen to what people said and trusted that they would act accordingly, but now I listen to what they say and watch what they do. It is Zai Yu who made me change."Chapter 6: modesty6.15. The Master said: “Meng Zhifan was no boaster. In a rout, he remained behind to cover the retreat. It was only upon reaching the city gate that he spurred his horse and said: “It was not courage that kept me at the rear, but the slowness of my horse."Chapter 7: Confucius on himself7.7. The Master said: “I never denied my teaching to anyone who sought it, even if he was too poor to offer more than a token present for his tuition."7.27 The Master fished with a line, not with a net. When hunting, he never shot a roosting bird.Chapter 8: cultivation8.17. “Learning is like a chase in which, as you fail to catch up, you fear to lose what you have salready gained."Chapter 9: gentlemen do not specialise9.7. Lao said: “The Master said that his failure in public life forced him to develop various skills."Chapter 10: Confucian humanism10.17. The stables burned. The Master left court and asked: “Was anyone hurt?” He did not inquire about the horses.Note that in Confucius’s time, a horse was much more valuable than a stable hand.Chapter 11: moderation is best11.16. Zigong asked: “Which is the better: Zizhang or Zixia?” The Master said: “Zizhang overshoots and Zixia falls short.” Zigong said: “Then Zizhang must be the better?” The Master said: “Both miss the mark."Chapter 12: ritual is preferable to laws12.13. The Master said: “I could adjudicate lawsuits as well as anyone. But I would prefer to make lawsuits unnecessary."Chapter 13: principles of government13.1. Zilu asked about government. The Master said: “Guide them. Encourage them.” Zilu asked him to develop these precepts. The Master said: “Untiringly."13.6. The Master said: “He is straight: things work out by themselves, without his having to issue orders. He is not straight: he has to multiply orders, which are not being followed anyway."Chapter 14: loyalty14.22. Zilu asked how to serve a prince. The Master said: “Tell him the truth even if it offends him."Chapter 15: discouraging glib talk15.41. The Master said: "Words are merely for communication."Chapter 16: learning16.9. Confucius said: “Those who have innate knowledge are the highest. Next come those who acquire knowledge through learning. Next again come those who learn through the trials of life. Lowest are the common people who go through the trials of life without learning anything."Chapter 17: polite insult17.20. Ru Bei wanted to see Confucius. Confucius declined on the grounds of illness. As Ru Bei’s messenger was leaving, the Master took up his zithern and sang loudly enough for him to hear.Chapter 18: Confucius withdraws18.4. The people of Qi sent to Lu a present of singing and dancing girls. Lord Ji Huan accepted them and, for three days, he did not attend court. Confucius left.Chapter 19: flexibility19.11. Zixia said: “Major principles suffer no transgression. Minor principles may allow for compromise."Chapter 20: meaning and function of language20.3. Confucius said: “He who does not understand fate is incapable of behaving as a gentleman. He who does not understand the rites is incapable of taking his stand. He who does not understand words is incapable of understanding men."My ReactionsThe first thing I need to remember when thinking about Confucius, is the context that he lived in. It’s easy to blame him for an East Asian culture where originality and disagreement have been so taboo for so long. In the Warring States era, a feudal society with a high turnover rate of kings and lords, it’s not surprising that harmony was valued (perhaps overvalued) because it was so rare.Maybe one of the most important myths to debunk about Confucianism is that LOYALTY DOES NOT EQUAL SUBMISSIVENESS. Confucius emphasizes loyalty, and teaches disciples to advise kings to do what is right and to correct them when they are wrong (3.6, 14.22), and he himself stood up to many monarchs in his time. To him, loyalty is to stand by your king and advise him and protect him. It doesn’t mean to obey orders when those orders are immoral. If the foolish king refuses to listen, then it’s time to bounce (and bounce Confucius did, between many kingdoms when he couldn’t get a word in, see 18.4).Another notable concept absent from The Analects is the concept of punishment. When we today learn about the cruel traditional punishments inflicted by Chinese regimes, or the perverse measures that civil service scholars went to in the name of studiousness, little do we realise Confucius would cringe at such extremities. This punitive culture developed as a result of Legalism, which enforced harsh discipline and helped the state of Qin ascend to empire a couple hundred years after Confucius died.Further Reading:Mencius, who unified all the fragmented schools of post-Confucianism, and advanced the philosophy in the directions of both politics (opining that the common people were more important than rulers, and legitimising tyrannicide if necessary) and human nature (believing that all people were inherently born good).TranslationI highly recommend the W. W. Norton edition, with translation and notes by Simon Leys. Most of these sayings are actually responses to certain events, and reading the responses without understanding the events will leave you scratching your head or wanting to ragequit. Leys' extensive notes are excellent; they tell us the stories and explain his rationale as well as what D.C. Lau, Arthur Waley and other previous translators have thought.It helped that prior to this, I had primed myself with a picture-book version of his life and stories: Confucius – Sage of the Orient by Singaporean publisher Canfonian. (I loved these books growing up! Must buy for future children.)

  • Marius
    2018-10-28 21:49

    O ediție în bătaie de joc. Păcat de copacii care au trebuit tăiați pentru a se face hârtia care a fost mânjită cu porcăria asta.E învățătură de minte să nu mai arunc banii pe cărți ale unor edituri obscure în care patronul e și traducător, editor, tehnoredactor, contabil iar nevastă-sa se îngrijește de copertă (alege o poză) și seara stinge lumina după ce dă cu mătura. Bineînțeles, asta nu e o traducere din chineză ci o încropeală din mai multe traduceri. A adunat lucian pricop ediții din toate limbile și cică a tradus pe Confucius. Iată exemple de traducere profesionistă. Cine înțelege ceva să traducă mai departe:1.1 Maestrul spune: Cel ce învață reia la un moment dat ce a învățat; oare nu se bucură astfel? Ca atunci când revine un prieten de departe, căci nu este oare, atunci când îl reîntâlnește, deplină bucuria pe care o trăiește? Și dacă, neprețuit de ceilalți după merit supărarea de a nu fi recunoscut nu-i permite, nu înseamnă că, între oameni, e un spirit ales?Chiar prima învățătură a maestrului a pocit-o de a rupt-o. De aici m-am înnegrit la minte și n-am mai putut termina cartea.Și încă un exemplu de artă a traducerii și redactării: 7.25 Cel ce nu are și pretinde că are, cel ce e gol și vrea să pară plin, cel ce este sărac și se dă drept bogat, acela poate fi cu greu de cel care păstrează în inimă Binele.Cartea e plină de neglijențe de felul ăsta. N-am mai avut răbdare să le culeg. Însuși Confucius s-ar fi enervat.Atât a întortochiat limba română încât pare că vorbește Yoda din Star Wars nu Confucius: „nobilii supuși ajută când sacrificiile se oficiază, Fiul Cerului în măreția sa prezidează” sau „Omul ales nu se lasă de Omenie îndepărtat vreo secundă”.Îmi este rușine pentru editura Cartex și ”creierul” din spatele ei, lucian pricop.Îmi pare rău că nu am prins ediția Analectelor lui Confucius de la editura Humanitas tradusă din chineză de doamna Florentina Vișan. E păcat că editurile serioase nu mai îngrijesc ediții ale capodoperelor universale.

  • Roy Lotz
    2018-10-28 00:36

    There are two things that are commonly labeled ‘philosophy’. The first is philosophy sensu strictu, which deals with technical problems in its various branches, such as epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, etc. The other is what one could call a “philosophy of life”, a vague category that one encounters in religious texts, works of literature, poetry, and also intermingled with formal philosophy. Confucianism, insofar as I understand it, mostly falls into the latter category.The Analects mainly takes the form of aphorisms that are interspersed in conversation between Confucius and his various disciples. I suppose the closest parallel I can think of would be Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, although at times the Analects reads more like the Gospels. There are some fine maxims in here, but also many sections that are alternately baffling or boring. Why must I wade through descriptions of ‘the Master’s’ clothing style? There is no narrative or didactic drive to the book; it just floats along from parable to aphorism, with no apparent connection. If there were not some interesting quotes, it would be a very dry read.If I were asked to shoehorn Confucius’s thinking into Western philosophy, I would say that he is propounding a form of virtue ethics, with a special emphasis on social life. Although the final goal is to become a ‘superior man’, this is accomplished through the fulfillment of various duties, in accordance with custom and etiquette. Propriety is key here. If it is considered proper to do something, one should do it (provided that it does not conflict with basic morality). This will seem very strange and perhaps servile to some modern readers, I expect, but I can see the logical kernel behind this idea. Abiding by custom and performing social rituals could have the effect of realigning one’s own personal interests with the interests of the community, leading to more harmonious social relationships.I especially appreciate Confucius’s emphasis on action instead of speculation. A person can be the world’s foremost expert on Kantian and utilitarian ethics and still be a serial killer. But, be that as it may, I would have appreciated a more focused, more organized, and more didactic treatment. In Western works, the reasons for accepting arguments are usually made very explicit. In this book, by contrast, the maxims appeal more for their apparent prudence and wisdom than from the weight of reasoning. Still, I do appreciate the way that the lessons are put forward, because they beg the reader to figure out the reasoning behind the arguments for themselves, rather than being spoon-fed by the author.For a book that I found rather dull when I was working through it, I have spent a lot of time thinking about its contents afterwards. So kudos to you, Confucius, your reputation is well-deserved.

  • David Sarkies
    2018-10-30 23:56

    The political sayings of a Chinese master22 June 2011 While I have credited the writing of this work to Confucius, it was not actually written by him but rather by his disciples. Thus Confucius joins Socrates and Jesus Christ of having an enormous influence upon the world without actually writing anything down (though this is not correct, as I further outline below). Further, like Jesus Christ and Socrates, the books are a record of his sayings (though, unlike Jesus Christ, he did not perform any miracles, nor did he speak of salvation). An interesting point, the phrase 'Confucius says' appears only once in the book, most of the time his sayings are introduced with the phrase 'the master says'. Like Jesus and Socrates, these writings were collected years after his death, though it does appear that there are some books attributed to him, though there is no hard evidence that he actually wrote anything, though it might be best to suggest that we have no works authored by Confucius, only books attributed to him. Further, since he was in politics for a time, it is more than possible that he did write things, and bureaucratic writing does tend to lead to other literary creations. Confucius married, had children, and died a natural death (it appears) as opposed to being executed like Jesus and Socrates. The Analects is a book of wisdom which has created a lot of controversy over the centuries. While Confucius is held in high regard, he has a lot to say about our relations to the sovereign and does suggest that submission to the sovereign is the best (which brings him in line with Jesus' political teachings). Confucius holds education in high regard, and this is where I will quote my favourite analect 'to study without thinking is futile, to think without studying is dangerous'. While one could sit down and explore these analects, one to the best ways to approach them is to consider each one on their merit. While there is a lot of context to consider, many of these sayings (like the book of Proverbs) are timeless. Confucius is also a big supporter of election by merit. That is a person should hold a managerial position because of his (or her) skill and ability rather than simply through family or friends. Our society, and indeed the British Empire, does consider merit in a lot of managerial roles that exist, though due to our human nature, it is always the case that we will tend to look over somebody much more qualified in favour of somebody that we tend to like. However the days of generals and lords being appointed by family are long gone, and those entities that end up running on familial benefits end up not lasting all that long. This version of the book is full of footnotes, and that can be quite annoying when one is constantly flicking back and forth to read the footnotes. Granted, many of us don't even bother reading them, however with a book like the Analects, it is required because it was written so long ago in a society that was completely foreign to us. As such these footnotes tend to identify the characters in the Analects as well as comment on the difficulty of the translation. Further, this was written in the pre-imperial age when China was little more than a collection of feudal states. Confucius did not have an immediate impact upon China, however after his disciples commemorated him by writing down his sayings, his style of politics ended up becoming the dominant. Some have suggested that Confucius was an Atheist, however the Analects do not seem to suggest that this is the case, he pays due respect to heaven, and there is no indication that he did not believe in a spiritual world. What he is interested in though is how to effectively rule the physical world.

  • Justin Evans
    2018-11-10 03:00

    You can't review the Analects. But you can review editions of the Analects, and this one, translated and commented upon by Annping Chin, is one of the great editions of any philosophy book I've ever come across. The translation clear without being condescending, and Chin includes the Chinese text at the back of the book. Her comments are fascinating; best of all, she includes references to and quotes from the many traditional commentaries on the book, so you know not only what e.g. one random American translator thinks about a given passage, but what one random American professor thinks about it... and one to four of the best known Confucians and scholars of Confucius' thought. It's almost a history of Confucian thought and scholarship in itself: E.g., in 6.22 Fan Chi asks about wisdom and humaneness. We get information about who Fan Chi was, and learn that "the Song statesman and general Fan Zhongyan, many centuries later, rephrased what Confucius says... 'To be first in worrying about the world's worries and last to enjoy its pleasures'" is to be truly committed to public service. It's hard to express my enthusiasm for this edition, really. One small thought about the Analects themselves: Chin's translation, more than others I've read, helped me understand the importance Confucius places on education and tradition: tradition (i.e., the rites) holds us back, while education (i.e., literature) lets us broaden ourselves. To have either without the other produces a vicious person; to have them both in perfect balance produces the best person. Were I still a scholar, I'd love to write a paper about Confucius as negative dialectician. Thankfully, I'm not.

  • umberto
    2018-11-01 04:01

    From my 5-day study tour in South Korea (August 5-9), I read a bit about Korean history in English, according to Prof. Han Young Woo (2010: 7), Confucius said, "Learning is a joy of life." This is an interestingly philosophical, psychological and educational quote as well as a groundbreaking one. Just imagine, Confucius said this some 2,500 years ago! Of course, we still need to read him to learn more even in this 21st century and beyond.I've just posted this quote in my Facebook so that my students can see and read it, think and take action. That means for those good and great students of mine in the past, at present and in the years to come. Here's what Confucius said in Book I, 1. The Master said, To learn and at due times to repeat what one has learnt, is that not after all a pleasure? (p. 75)I think Prof. Han Young Woo might have paraphrased from Chinese into Korean first. However, I understand the original Chinese is highly subtle, therefore, it depends on each translator to interpret as close as the heart of the matter as possible.Note:Han Young Woo. (2010). A Review of Korean History Vol. 1 Ancient/Goryeo Era. Hahm Chaibong (trans.). Pajubookcity: KYONGSAEWON.

  • Jimmy
    2018-11-17 02:53

    One of the great classics of world literature. Worth reading for the parts that still apply. Confucius describes himself as a transmitter, not an originator. The book may not contain any original sayings. Its main philosophical idea is to avoid extremes. That's also an ancient Greek idea. One can do no better than to follow that precept. In some places, the orifices of a corpse were plugged up to prevent the soul escaping and doing harm to the community. In China, mortuary jades were used in the same way. The currently accepted dates of the life of Confucius are 551 to 479 BCE. Book I1. ... To learn and at due times to repeat what one has learnt, is that not after all a pleasure?...3. ... Clever talk and a pretentious manner are seldom found in the Good....Book II 2. ... Let there be no evil in your thoughts.... 15. ... He who learns but does not think is lost.... 17. ... Yu, shall I teach you what knowledge is? When you know a thing, to recognize that you know it, and when you do not know a thing, to recognize that you do not know it. That is knowledge. 18. ... Hear much, but maintain silence as regards doubtful points and be cautious in speaking of the rest; then you will seldom get into trouble. ...Book VI 2. ... He had a great love of learning. ... Book VII (My personal favorite.) 2. ... I have listened in silence and noted what was said, I have never grown tired of learning nor wearied of teaching others what I have learnt. These at least are merits which I can confidently claim. ... 4. In his leisure hours the Master's manner was very free-and-easy, and his expression alert and cheerful. 5. ... How utterly things have gone to the Bad with me! It is long now indeed since I dreamed that I saw the Duke of Chou. 6. ... lean upon Goodness, seek distraction in the arts. 7. ... none has ever come to me without receiving instruction. 8. ... Only one who bursts with eagerness do I instruct; only one who bubbles with excitement, do I enlighten. If I hold up one corner and a man cannot come back to me with the other three, I do not continue the lesson. 10. ... The man who was ready to 'beard a tiger or rush a river' without caring whether he lived or died--that sort of man I should not take. I should certainly take someone who approached difficulties with due caution and who preferred to succeed by strategy. 15. ... Any thought of accepting wealth and rank by means that I know to be wrong is as remote from me as the clouds that float above. 16. ... Give me a few more years, so that I may have spent a whole life in study, and I believe that after all I should be fairly free from error. 18. The Duke of She asked Tzu-lu about Master K'ung. Tzu-lu did not reply. The Master said, Why did you not say, 'This is the character of the man: so intent upon enlightening the eager that he forgets his hunger, and so happy in doing so, that he forgets the bitterness of his lot and does not realize that old age is at hand. That is what he is.' 19. ... I for my part am not one of those who have innate knowledge. I am simply one who loves the past and who is diligent in investigating it. 20. The Master never talked of prodigies, feats of strength, disorders, or spirits. 21. ... Even when walking in a party of no more than three I can always be certain of learning from those I am with. There will be good qualities that I can select for imitation and bad ones that will teach me what requires correction in myself. 23. ... My friends, I know you think that there is something I am keeping from you. I take no steps about which I do not consult you, my friends. Were it otherwise, I should not be Ch'iu (the familiar name for Confucius). 24. The Master took four subjects for his teaching: culture, conduct of affairs, loyalty to superiors, and the keeping of promises. 26. The Master fished with a line but not with a net; when fowling he did not aim at a roosting bird. 27. ... There may well be those who can do well without knowledge; but I for my part am certainly not one of them. To hear much, pick out what is good and follow it, to see much and take due note of it, is the lower of the two kinds of knowledge. 31. When in the Master's presence anyone sang a song that he liked, he did not join at once, but asked for it to be repeated and then joined in. 33. The Master said, As to being a Divine Sage or even a Good Man, far be it from me to make any such claim. As for unwearying effort to learn and unflagging patience in teaching others, those are merits that I do not hesitate to claim. Kung-hsi Hua said, The trouble is that we disciples cannot learn. Book VIII 17. ... Learn as if you were following someone whom you could not catch up, as though it were someone you were frightened of losing. 18. ... Sublime were Shun and Yu! All that is under Heaven was theirs, yet they remained aloof from it. Book IX 7. The Master said, Do I regard myself as a professor of wisdom? Far from it. But if even a simple peasant comes in all sincerity and asks me a question, I am ready to thrash the matter out, with all its pros and cons, to the very end. 24. ... if you have made a mistake, do not be afraid of admitting the fact and mending your ways. Book XII 2. ... Do not do unto others what you would not like yourself. ... Book XIII 24. ... Best of all would be that the good people in his village loved him and the bad hated him. Book XV 11. ... He who will not worry about what is far off will soon find something worse than worry close at hand. (Hear that climate change deniers?) 20. ... The demands that a gentleman makes are upon himself; those that a small man makes are upon others. 23. Tzu-kung asked saying, Is there any single saying that one can act upon all day and every day? The Master said, Perhaps the saying about consideration: Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you. 30. ... I once spent a whole day without food and a whole night without sleep, in order to meditate. It was no use. It is better to learn. Book XVII 3. ... It is only the very wisest and the very stupidest who cannot change. (I hope I'm on the very wisest side.)

  • Scriptor Ignotus
    2018-10-27 22:36

    A good starting point for thinking about Confucius is that he was concerned with training rulers and subjects. This puts him in the company of the Sophists of Plato’s dialogues. Protagoras and Socrates begin their debate over the question of whether good citizenship can be taught, and consequently whether Sophists like Protagoras can be useful to that end. For Confucius, there is no distinction between the ethical and the political, because the political virtue of social stability relies upon the ethical foundations of self-mastery, self-knowledge, benevolence, wisdom, filial piety, adherence to tradition, and a disposition towards lifelong learning. The state is constituted by clans, households, and individuals, all coming together to form an organic whole. Ethical turpitude among the people undermines the foundations of political order, like termites infesting a house. His fondness in recounting the deeds of wise rulers reminded me a little of Machiavelli as well; but whereas Machiavelli, as the first Western modernist, subordinated ethical considerations to the utilitarian concerns of political expediency, Confucius rightly regards morality as the aim of social and political life. While the two shared a desire for what we would now call civic virtue, or the notion that successful government relies upon a virtuous citizenry, they entertained remarkably different ideas on the nature of virtue. For Machiavelli, the virtuous have an agile and flexible mind, machismo, daring, and a perceptiveness that allows them to see the potential in chaos. Confucius’s virtue is almost the inverse of that; to be moral, for him, is to be in such a condition that the Machiavellian virtues are regarded only as the virtues of brigands. I find the comparison between them fascinating, because in the great ethical teacher of China and the forefather of modern Western republicanism, you find the seeds of two great cultures, which in our time can either be adversaries or can learn from one another for their mutual benefit.

  • Michael Connolly
    2018-11-19 21:39

    When Confucius was asked what he thought about the idea of being kind to someone who does you wrong, he pointed out that this would be unfair to people who treat you right, who deserve to be treated better than people who do you wrong. Confucius was therefore an advocate of justice, was Aristotle. Jesus, on the other hand, said turn the other cheek and love your enemies, which is not justice. I also liked the suggestion of Confucius that one should not serve in government when evil people dominated the government. Confucius thought that good government should resemble a good family. The parents should treat the children fairly, and the children should, in return, be loyal to their government. There is very little that is mystical or other-worldly in Confucianism, which gives it a great advantage over Christianity and Islam.

  • Cuong Khong
    2018-10-23 20:38

    At the time that ancient Greek philosophy was blossoming in 400 BC, on the other side of the world a different set of philosophical traditions seeded in China. Like Greece, this terrain had complex social structures, sophisticated cultures, and, most importantly, systems of writing that enabled people to record their thoughts. But unlike Greek philosophy which was largely secular, Eastern philosophies were intimately tied to their local religious traditions such as Confucianism or Daoism. For distinguishing Eastern philosophy from religion is an issue of emphasis: its philosophy deals less with worship rituals and depictions of the gods, and more with larger questions of our relation to the cosmos.Confucianism, one of the most respectful religions at the present time, was being considered the most important "state religion" of imperial China. Confucianism, literally means "The School of the Scholars", is an East Asian ethical and philosophical system originally developed from the teachings of the early Chinese sage Confucius. It is a complex system of moral, social, political, and religious thought which had tremendous influence on the history of Chinese civilization up to the 21st century. The cultures most strongly influenced by Confucianism include those of China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as various territories including Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and Singapore, where ethnic Chinese are the majority. The Fours legendary records Tứ Thư that remained famous today for those who are extremely interested in Confucianism: The Great Learning (Đại Học); The Doctrine of the Mean (Trung Dung); The Analects of Confucius (Luận Ngữ); The Mencius (Mạnh tử).Let's go into the main part, for the project of Well-Read Man, I read The Analects of Confucius (D.C. Lau’s English translation by Penguin Books). This text is an anthology of brief passages that present the words of Confucius and his disciples, describe Confucius as a man, and recount some of the events of his life. The Analects includes twenty Vấn, each generally featuring a series of chapters that encompass quotes from Confucius, which were compiled by his disciples after his death.The Analects of Confucius is a relatively short philosophical work that for the most part uses a Socratic-style question-and-answer format. But whereas Plato’s version of Socrates engages in dialogues that slowly build to a philosophical zenith, Confucius’ interactions with his students are all over the place. One minute he is telling you how to be a superior man, and the next minute he is refusing to eat his meat if it isn’t cut up properly.One thing that is clear from the text is that Confucius is wise. In addition to his disciples, members of the royal court come to question him on the meaning and duties of life. “The Master” answers them with common-sense responses about “filial piety” and the “rules of propriety,” two of his favorite topics. The Golden Rule appears twice, including this version from Book V: “What I do not wish men to do to me, I also wish not to do to men.” He also spends a lot of time speaking of “perfect virtue,” especially for the “superior man.”It took me 1 month to finish only 280 pages of ideological dialogues. Through out the text, I didn’t comprehend much of the words. There are many pious proverbs that are good for anyone to follow, but much of the text is random. However, it is because the Analects is a difficult text, it’s not that it is unworthy of being read; you should read it. But more than being read, it is the kind of text that can only be understood through years of study and immersion in its content. Perhaps this was the intent of Confucius’ disciples all along.And for you, I hope that you could enjoy my review and please have a wonderful Thursday of reading. To my lovely Goodreaders!Cuong Khong

  • Vaishali
    2018-10-28 23:41

    A jewel, though many maxims require prior knowledge of China's dynastic period. I took about 2 days to familiarize with the history; the excerpts below are the more universal sayings. What's interesting is that many aphorisms are Confucius joking with disciples :) Excerpts:---------1.8 If you study you will not be crude.3.12 Sacrifice to the spirits as though the spirits were present.3.24 The world has long been without the dao.4.22 The ancients were wary of speaking - ashamed if their conduct did not match up4.23 Rarely has anyone missed the mark through self-constraint.4.24 The junzi wishes to be slow of speech and quick in action.5.12 Zigong said, “What I do not wish others to do to me, I do not wish to do to others.”The Master said, “This is a level you have not yet reached.”5.21 His wisdom may be matched; his stupidity is unmatchable.5.24 If someone asked to borrow vinegar from him, he would borrow it from a neighbor and give it.7.16 Wealth and high rank obtained by unrighteous means are to me like the floating clouds.7.20 I was not born with knowledge. I love what is old and am assiduous in pursuing it.7.25 The Master taught by means of four things: patterns, conduct, loyalty, fidelity.7.29 When a person purifies himself for advancement, you approve his purity; you are not endorsing his past.8.4 When a bird is about to die, his call is mournful; when a man is about to die, his words are good.9.17 The Master stood on the riverbank. “How it flows on, never ceasing, night and day!”9.18 I have yet to see a man who loved virtue as much as sex.9.28 Only when the year turns cold can one see that pine and cypress are the last to wither.10.19 When a friend died, if there was no family to make arrangements, he said, “Let the coffin be prepared at my home.”11.12 Ji Lu asked “May I ask about death?”Master replied “When you do not yet understand life, how could you understand death?”13.1 Be tireless.13.26 The junzi is at ease without arrogance; the small man is arrogant without being at ease.14.20 Words uttered without modesty are difficult to live up to.14.27 The junzi is ashamed when his words outstrip his actions.14.37 Worthy are those who shun the world. Next are those who shun a specific place. The next best shun the lewd, and the next best after shun speech.”15.2 The junzi is steadfast through poverty. When the small man falls into poverty, he will do anything.15.3 Do you take me for one who studies a great deal and remembers it? … It is not so. I link all on a single thread.15.8 To not speak with someone worthwhile is to waste that person. To speak with someone worthless is to waste words. The wise man wastes neither people nor words.15.10 The craftsman who wishes to work well must first sharpen his tools.15.12 A man who does not think far ahead will have troubles near at hand.15.30 To err and not change – that, we may say, is to err.15.40 Do not make plans with others whose dao differs from yours.15.41 Words should do no more than convey the idea.16.1 The junzi detests those who cover up their desires by making excuses.17.24 I hate those who think insulting others is straightforwardness. 18.8 I differ from them all. I have no rule of what is permissible and what is not.20.3 If you do not know your destiny, you cannot be a junzi.

  • Robert Jacoby
    2018-10-24 20:40

    Title: Excellent introduction to how language impacts individual thought, a culture, and a civilization(Background: Over a couple of decades' time I planned to read the scriptures of the world's great religions/philosophies. I started with my own, reading the Bible in two different translations, first the Hebrew-Greek Word Study Bible by Spiros Zodhiates, and then the NIV. Next I turned to Islam and Al-Quaran. After that The Bhagavad Gita and the Analects of Confucius. Every reading is helping me go a bit deeper and wider into man's search for God and, through that, meaning in this life. More books and reviews to come.)I read this book on a beach vacation a few years ago. I enjoyed it very much. I'd not read much previously about Confucius or Confucianism, the ethical and philosophical system derived from the man's teachings; this volume filled that void.The book consists of a lengthy Introduction--70 pages. The Analects are then presented in 20 "books"; the Chinese text is presented alongside the English translation. Appendices take up the remainder.What I enjoyed most about this book was the Introduction. The authors go to great lengths to explain the times that Confucius (551-479 BC) lived in--the government, the politics, the family structure--and the language of classical Chinese. This is most important to understanding a people, their culture, and what (and why) they believe what they believe, and how they build their civilization. We in the West know that the Orient is different; the authors gave me a better understanding of why. For example, in classical Chinese there are no words as there are in English for--among others--"freedom," "liberty," "choice," "individual," "reason," "autonomy." The authors write: "None of these English words has a close analogue in classical Chinese...." (p. 54).Let that sink in.I mean: *really* sink in."Freedom." "Liberty." "Choice." "Individual." "Reason." "Autonomy."If you don't have a word to describe something, then that something simply and "correctly" does not exist for you. Frightening and eye-opening all at once.....So for me the Introduction and the insight it provided into Chinese language and, thus, fundamentally, Chinese thinking was worth the price of the book. The Analects themselves are stories of Confucius' wanderings in the countryside and his sayings on what he thinks is best for proper government, from the emperor down to local rulers down to relations among family. That's about it. But it provides great insight into Chinese thinking. The text at times is rather dry and straightforward. Don't expect "Confucius say...." nonsense. It doesn't exist.Read this book for the great introduction it is to one of the world's great and largest philosophical (some would say religious) systems. And also for the keen insight it provides into the Chinese people and why things are the way they are.What's past is prologue.

  • Morgan
    2018-10-24 01:33

    I've been wanting to read this book for years. For some reason Confucius has sparked my interest. Earlier this year I got into philosophy again and remembered I'd wanted to read this book. Now having actually read this, I can say I find Confucius relaxing and enjoyable. Him and Machiavelli have become my favorite philosophers (odd combo I know).The translation I read by Annping Chin was wonderful and highly recommend this edition. Not only do you get the text, but you get more than enough commentaries, notes, and alternative translations. I like the fact she spent so much time trying to get the modern reader to understand the text with what other previous scholars and translators have said. She points out several times how translation is very important with Confucius.If this book didn't have all the notes and commentary I don't think I would enjoy it as much. Not only would I not understand it, but probably assume he wrote all the fortune cookies (bad joke, but without context some of his stuff does sound like fortune cookies). This book probably would only take a day or two for me to read without the notes as well. Just goes to show you some books need those long translation notes and some books (even ones I love) I thought needed better translators or a translator who actually cared about what they are translating.I do think this a book people should read at some point in their life. It talks a lot about manners, how to be a gentleman, and how to be learned. Sometime in the future I think I'll reread this. Not sure how one could get everything in one sitting. Confucius didn't write many words, but he had a wise mind.

  • M.
    2018-11-19 02:55

    2.500 yıl önce yaşamış bir insanın, bugün bile hala geçerli olabilecek; bugünün ahlak anlayışını da karşılayan sözleri yer alan bu kitapta; Konfüçyus'un ne kadar büyük bir bilge olduğunu bir defa daha anladım."Üstad cevap verdi: 'Konuşmadan önce harekete geçer, ve sonra hareketlerine göre konuşur.'"(s. 26)"Üstad dedi ki, 'Büyük ve üstün insan, özgür fikirlidir ve partizan eğildir. Ancak küçük bir insan partizandır ve özgür fikirli değildir." (s. 26)Her kütüphanede bulunması gereken, başta gençler olmak üzere her kesimden insanın okuması gereken bir kitap bu."Üstad dedi ki, 'erdemli insanlar muhakkak ki doğru konuşur. Fakat doğru konuşanlar erdemli olmayabilir..." (s. 100)Eski metinlere baktığımızda, Ahlak kurallarının bugünden çok farklı olduğunu görürüz, çocuklarla evliliği hoş gören, inanılan değer yargıları uğruna insan öldürmeyi meşru bulan; miras bölüşümünde kadının daha az payı olmasını yanlış görmeyen, kadın veya erkek köleliği başta olmak üzere; savaş esiri olan kadının alınıp satılmasını yanlış bulmayan metin veya metinlerin yerine; bu kitap insanların başucunda olsaydı, tarihte çok daha düzgün, barışçıl, eşitçi ve bilge bir ahlak anlayışı oturabilirdi.Konfüçyus'un dünyaya yeterince yayılmamış olmasında insançocuğunun işine gelmemesi sebep olabilir mi?"Üstad dedi ki, 'iradeni gerçek prensipler için kullan'-Erdemli olan şeyleri kazanmaya çalış.-Kendini iyiliğe ver.-Eğlencelerin san'at için olsun" (s. 52)Okuyun, okutturun derim.

  • Alex
    2018-11-02 01:34

    Confucius yo. Again, more research on the translation is needed.

  • Sách Chuyền Tay
    2018-11-03 00:41

    At the time that ancient Greek philosophy was blossoming in 400 BC, on the other side of the world a different set of philosophical traditions seeded in China. Like Greece, this terrain had complex social structures, sophisticated cultures, and, most importantly, systems of writing that enabled people to record their thoughts. But unlike Greek philosophy which was largely secular, Eastern philosophies were intimately tied to their local religious traditions such as Confucianism or Daoism. For distinguishing Eastern philosophy from religion is an issue of emphasis: its philosophy deals less with worship rituals and depictions of the gods, and more with larger questions of our relation to the cosmos.Confucianism, one of the most respectful religions at the present time, was being considered the most important "state religion" of imperial China. Confucianism, literally means "The School of the Scholars", is an East Asian ethical and philosophical system originally developed from the teachings of the early Chinese sage Confucius. It is a complex system of moral, social, political, and religious thought which had tremendous influence on the history of Chinese civilization up to the 21st century. The cultures most strongly influenced by Confucianism include those of China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as various territories including Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and Singapore, where ethnic Chinese are the majority. The Fours legendary records Tứ Thư that remained famous today for those who are extremely interested in Confucianism: The Great Learning (Đại Học); The Doctrine of the Mean (Trung Dung); The Analects of Confucius (Luận Ngữ); The Mencius (Mạnh tử).Let's go into the main part, for the project of Well-Read Man, I read The Analects of Confucius (D.C. Lau’s English translation by Penguin Books). This text is an anthology of brief passages that present the words of Confucius and his disciples, describe Confucius as a man, and recount some of the events of his life. The Analects includes twenty Vấn, each generally featuring a series of chapters that encompass quotes from Confucius, which were compiled by his disciples after his death.The Analects of Confucius is a relatively short philosophical work that for the most part uses a Socratic-style question-and-answer format. But whereas Plato’s version of Socrates engages in dialogues that slowly build to a philosophical zenith, Confucius’ interactions with his students are all over the place. One minute he is telling you how to be a superior man, and the next minute he is refusing to eat his meat if it isn’t cut up properly.One thing that is clear from the text is that Confucius is wise. In addition to his disciples, members of the royal court come to question him on the meaning and duties of life. “The Master” answers them with common-sense responses about “filial piety” and the “rules of propriety,” two of his favorite topics. The Golden Rule appears twice, including this version from Book V: “What I do not wish men to do to me, I also wish not to do to men.” He also spends a lot of time speaking of “perfect virtue,” especially for the “superior man.”It took me 1 month to finish only 280 pages of ideological dialogues. Through out the text, I didn’t comprehend much of the words. There are many pious proverbs that are good for anyone to follow, but much of the text is random. However, it is because the Analects is a difficult text, it’s not that it is unworthy of being read; you should read it. But more than being read, it is the kind of text that can only be understood through years of study and immersion in its content. Perhaps this was the intent of Confucius’ disciples all along.And for you, I hope that you could enjoy my review and please have a wonderful Thursday of reading. To my lovely Goodreaders!______Admin Cuong KhongThe AnalectsSách Chuyền Tay - Books in the City"Cộng đồng mượn sách được yêu thích nhất tại Việt Nam"

  • Ericka Clouther
    2018-11-05 23:43

    This is a great translation. I only compared it to one other but it far exceeded the other translation. The language in the Analects is clear and then followed by short paragraphs to explain the missing context or the connotation of particular Chinese words. I enjoyed the number of passages focused on education and respect, though the ones about the historical politicians held less interest for me.(I don't rate religious or semi-religious texts.)

  • Sean Leas
    2018-11-05 04:37

    The particular version that I read did not have an analysis along with the text. While enjoyable it wasn't quite the same when I read it long ago. I'm making it a point to re-read again soon.

  • Otto Lehto
    2018-11-06 22:32

    There is still a lot of insight in this collection of sayings and maxims attributed to Confucius and his disciples. The maxims are pithy and often enigmatic, much like the book itself. Despite the Master's emphasis on hierarchy, obedience and class consciousness as essential elements of a good society, there is much more nuance, in Confucius, beyond the consolidation of social stratification. Yes, the ruler should act like a ruler and the ruled should act like the ruled, and yes, sons should respect their elders (even, or especially, after their passing), and yes, poor people should be content with their lot; but this is hardly even the most important lessons of Confucianism. While Confucius made it clear that he was concerned with transmitting tradition rather than innovating it, and he was happy spreading ancestral wisdom, while giving it his own twist, his penetrating insight into the human condition spawned a vibrant interpretative tradition. In this tradition, it is not blind obedience, but critical reading, self-cultivation and learned discussion, that are duly emphasized.I do not think there is any reason to take Confucius's sayings as gospel. Many of Confucius's great sayings may have been around for centuries, even millennia, before him, although in different forms. Many of his views are, in fact, contradictory or ambiguous. Many of his teachings are so mundane or self-evident as to lack any relevance for today's society. But the best ones are great. And they do not merely satisfy the class interest of the rulers: they go much beyond courtly advice.To really understand what is meant by looking inward to find virtue and benevolence, it is not enough to simply follow rule R, or tradition T, let alone the authority of the emperor, but to cultivate one's soul. To learn, and to be willing to learn, and to be a good student - these are the vital teachings of the Master. To understand wisdom as a never-ending, self-critical, other-critical, tortuous learning process. To learn how to retain what one has already learned and to keep one's mind open for new knowledge. To instigate moral wisdom in one's speech, act and behaviour. To know when one really knows and to know when one is really ignorant. To have the courage to pass judgment when dealing with important matters, and to have the humility to refrain from passing judgment when dealing with trivial matters. To abstain from physical intimidation and to prefer to lead the life of a moral saint. To become a better person, in order to (incrementally) approach the state of benevolence, let alone the seemingly impossible status of a sage (which Confucius thought almost impossible). Whatever you may say of his politics, his morality is a powerful self-help tool for all generations, a way to learn to become a better person through letting go of temptations.This method, despite its conservative trappings, is a character building exercise, rather than merely a road-map into ancestral worship. Confucius, because of his humility and broad-mindedness, can be seen as a moral teacher who had something to say for all people, and all classes of people, even though he lived and breathed the life of a privileged, conservative and snobbish upper-class scholar, whose very livelihood depended upon finding rulers - preferably good ones -to serve.While there is perhaps more "oomph" in Daoism, more modernity in Maoism, and more self-transcendence in Buddhism, the somber sayings of Confucianism, with its tradition's long history of conservative radicalism, aiming to preserve the rites of the past while rectifying the sins of the present, ever illuminating the minds of the young with the secret wisdom of the ages, stands tall in the company of the alternative traditions; it lacks the paralysis of Daoism, the blood-thirstiness of Maoism, and the self-denial of Buddhism. While looking back to the classics, it relies on the critical prism of the wisdom of today, with the help of the "eager-to-learn" young scholars that it breeds; and it provides an earthly account - both materially and spiritually - of what it means to serve humanity, without (completely) forgoing the simple pleasures of the life of the flesh. It may not be an appropriate social philosophy for a contemporary, complex society, but its self-help heart still palpitates for individuals who are ready to challenge themselves. The true follower of Confucius, whatever his other beliefs and practices, "cultivates himself and thereby brings peace and security to his fellow men." (XIV.42) This cannot be an altogether bad thing, can it?

  • Karl H.
    2018-11-20 20:44

    Where to begin talking about Confucius? It is fascinating to read a philosophy that is so different than that of the Greeks. It is different, not only in form, but in its very essence than the early Western philosophy and culture that permeates American and European thought. When we talk about the “central value” of any philosophical system, we are necessarily engaging in a gross simplification. Plato valued truth, Socrates valued happiness, Jesus valued love, and Confucius values fidelity. But what is not clear from this gross simplification is how the impact of those central values plays out on thought.The Analects are much more individual and much less structural than Socrates or Plato. Socrates and Plato seem concerned with the internal structures of values. What is truth? What is beauty? What is goodness? We have a word, and we explore the meaning of that word through intense questioning and logic. When we read Socrates through Plato, we are reading a dialectic. Questions are raised and answered. We hear one side and then the other. It seems as though we are sitting in on a conversation. We have clearly stated premises, and we derive from those premises until we finally reach a conclusion. Examples are used to test the validity of that logic, but in some sense they are extraneous. In some sense the conclusions are completely superfluous to the process- it is the process of logical reasoning that matters. Plato’s ideal society is constructed brick by brick, every decision made on an overarching top-down logical model. Not so with the Analects. The Analects are more individual, more relative, and less explicit in nature. This is evident in the very structure of the Analects. The vast majority of these “chapters” are one or two sentences quoted from the Master. They are aphorisms stripped of conversational context- they are not part of an explicit larger reasoning conversation. What is the method here? Confucius has a system of values, yes, but to get to the heart of those values, we have to look to others for examples. These values are not derived within oneself- at least not at first. They are copied from tradition. By existing in harmony with that tradition, we come to gain implicit and reliable knowledge. (Incidentally, Confucius prefers people whose goodness is innate rather than learned, but this sort of internalized goodness is not the result of a process of logic; it is simply one's natural temperament.) The connection with others is therefore in some sense the most important part of this system. So in this context, it makes sense that Confucius spends a great deal of time rendering verdicts on people. Who was humane? Who was fond of learning? Who was a gentleman? In order for us to understand humaneness we need to talk about concrete examples of behavior and of people, not of logical categories. These terms achieve meaning in relationship to the past and to examples of behavior. They are also relative to the listener. There is a great passage where Confucius gives two definitions of the same word to two different students. When a third student asks him which definition is correct, Confucius says that one student was too forward, and the other too backward, so he gave each the definition they needed. Confucius’ vision of society is also based on the individual fulfilling their responsibilities. If a leader takes care of his own responsibilities, Confucius feels that the rest of society will act in accordance. And if a people act ethically regardless of if they are rewarded, then rewards will come to them. One has to focus on one’s own duties, and not being concerned with how others behave. This can be a good thing, but it can also mean looking the other way. Take for example, a passage where a virtuous young man informs on his father for stealing. Confucius disapproves of those actions as an example of non-filial behavior. This value system seems to view some level of deception or covering up for the sake of others as a moral imperative. Startling results like these conspire with other factors to make the Analects seem cryptic to the Western reader. There is a tendency to make pointed questions, to allude to ones points through allegory, to reference other texts or cultural norms which the Western reader will not be familiar. To which I would say- persist, and make sure to have good footnotes. The Analects is a small book, not even one hundred pages, but it took me a week to read. I have not yet scratched the surface. This is a classic of Eastern thought well worth the study.

  • Jesse
    2018-10-26 03:56

    Confucius was, in his youthful studies, deeply influenced by the Tao Te Ching, and this is evident in the way he supposedly spoke - dialectically. The dialectics are almost always displaying the inverted contrasts of the wise man and the common man. Confucius disparages common people, saying, "They can be made to follow a path, but not to understand it." Confucius, however, did not condone the leading of people along any path, for he well knew that there is no path for people to follow by the Dao unless it is their own (something the CCP aggressively denies in our own day). Despite having said that, Confucius is not haughty; he constantly reminds everyone how inferior he is to the demands of benevolence, and speculates that, in any given neighborhood, there are probably people more benevolent than he, to which he adds, "But no one is as eager to learn as I am." Unfortunately, Confucius recommended learning rites, which we now know has about as little to do with education as memorizing a crossword puzzle. Confucius may have been a wise teacher in practice though, for he was said to lead his students from behind. How this is accomplished is simply by teaching without coercion and integrating lessons within an individual's particular frame of reference. Confucius somehow reconciled this with learning the rites; this is confusing, but one must remember that historically Confucius was trying to change the working of the state from the inside-out and the rites were mandatory for statesmen. The Daoist element, over the centuries, was lost in the codification of Confucianism, but these Analects remain to show us the wise and complicated being that combined reverence for the past with acceptance for the Way.

  • Daniel Cunningham
    2018-11-08 03:55

    Interesting, in parts. Elsewhere... confusing. Elsewhere... boring and re-re-repetitive.The Analects is collection of aphorisms, fragmentary historical references, fragmentary literary references, and the occasional pearl of wisdom. On the one hand I find it hard to see how it has the status that it does, as a major work of philosophy. On the other hand, I see how, in attempting to piece together meaning and wisdom from the bits and saying here, it could take on that status: though one is forced to wonder, then, how much of Confucian wisdom is the reader's and how much was Master K'ung's.Do not expect anything like a system per se. And be prepared for a incredible level of conservative pointing back to what, especially for an American reader unfamiliar with (now ancient) Chinese culture, is at best a dim outline. I've heard Confucius compared to Jesus, and that may actually be the more apt comparison, ignoring the mystical/religious part of Jesus: there is much moral and esoteric advice, but nothing like a philosophical system, metaphysics, physics , etc.

  • Thomas
    2018-11-21 01:35

    As with all books on philosophy, your mileage may vary. It didn't really resonate with me, but it was a relatively easy read, and Confucius himself stands out in it as a surprisingly interesting and relatable figure - a wise and greatly respected man, but one who suffered disappointments throughout his life, such as the loss of his favorite pupil, the failure of some of his other students to live up to his beliefs, and his disappointment in not achieving greater things. While his advice and vision of gentlemanly behavior is clear, he never pretends to have the answers to questions about gods, the afterlife or mysticism, and focuses primarily on following ritual (and it's interesting to read about the rituals that were valued then) and achieving goodness through model behavior. Interestingly, though, his core value, the good old "Golden Rule" of Christianity, still holds up as a maxim to live by.

  • Matt
    2018-10-23 23:40

    If you're familiar with the book of Proverbs in the Christian Bible and the Socratic dialogues, the format of Confucius' sayings is a blend of the two. To understand the work in its entirety a reader would need LOTS of historical footnotes, as many Chinese historical figures are mentioned with the assumption that the reader will know who they are. But the real "meat" is in the sayings themselves, set apart from any historical narrative. There are so many great thoughts on leadership and good character that I just about wore out my Kindle's highlighter function... Anyone interested in being a good person and a good leader will soak up the wisdom in this book.

  • Köksal Kök
    2018-11-02 20:31

    Konfüçyüs, Confucius (M.Ö. 551-M.Ö. 479)Lun-yü (Konfüçyüs'ün Konuşmaları)kitap, Konfüçyüs’ün düşüncelerini ve konuşmalarını içeriyor. biyografisi, öğretileri, devlet yönetme, siyaset bilimi, ahlak ve erdem üzerine bilgece sözlerini aktarıyor. kötü örnek vereceği zaman kuzey komşuları türkleri-hunları örnek verip "Kuzey'in ve Doğu'nun yabanıl boyları" der."Lun-yü (Konfüçyüs'ün Konuşmaları), Konfüçyüs'ün öğrencileriyle yaptığı konuşmaları toplayan, Konfüçyüsçülerin kullandığı en önemli el kitabı ve Çin'in en önemli felsefe yapıtlarından biridir".s.9tam olarak ne zaman yazıldığı-derlendiği bilinemiyor; ama M.Ö. 206 da, elde üç tane "Lun-yü" kopyası varmış.kitap hakkında biraz teklnik bilgi vereyim;kitapta 20 bölüm var. her bölümde de sözler, cümleler, parağraflar madde madde sıralanmış.-Birinci bölüm, "öğrenmek", 16 madde, söz, parağraf var, "büyük ve üstün insan"dan söz eder.-İkinci bölüm, "ülkeyi yönetmek", 24 madde, söz, parağraf var, "erdem, doğruluk" konulu.-Üçüncü bölüm, "sekiz sıra", 26 madde var, "sekiz tür eğlence düzenleyen Chi ailesi"nden bahseder.-Dördüncü bölüm, “komşulara karşı erdemli olmak” 66 madde.-Beşinci bölüm, "Kung-yeh Ch'ang" (İ kentinin sınır korumalarından biri ve damadı), 27 madde. okumanın güzelliğinden bahseder.-Altıncı bölüm, "Yung Yeh", diğer adı "Chung-kung", bir öğrenci sanırım. 28 madde. öğrenciler-hoca arası konuşma tartışma. bir de dikkat ettim, "kim devlet görevine alınır alınmaz getirilir getirilmez, kim yetkin, değil" diye sohbetler var. bu, sanırım okumuşluğu (bilgeliği değil, lakin bilge olup, kendini deli gösteren, devlet hizmetine girmeyen üstadlar varmış) gösteren bir olgu: devlette görev almak, bakan olmak. -Yedinci bölüm, "Aktarmak", 37 madde var. " XVI - Üstat dedi ki: "Ömrüm daha uzatılacak olursa, bunun elli yılını 'İ-ching' üzerinde çalışmaya verirdim. Böylece hiç yanlışım olmazdı." s. 45.-Sekizinci bölüm, "T'ai-po" (Chou kralı Wan'ın torunu, üç kez tahtı geri çevirmiş), 21 madde var. " XIII - Üstat dedi ki: "İçtenlik ve bağlılıkla öğrenmeye çalış. Ölümle karşılaşsan bile yolunu yetkinliğe götürmeye çabala." s.49.-Dokuzuncu bölüm, "Üstadın Seyrek Olarak Ele Aldığı Konular", 30 madde var. giyim kuşam, töre, tören gibi sosyal hayata dair sözler, öğütler. "Fang kuşu", Föniks, Phoenix, anka kuşu, ve talih getirdiği hakkında bir gönderme var, sohbette.-Onuncu bölüm, "Köyü", 18 madde.-On birinci bölüm, "Eski Çağlardaki İnsanlar", 25 madde var.-On ikinci bölüm, "Yen Yüan", 24 madde var. "II - Chung-kung, 'üstün erdem'i sordu. Üstat yanıt verdi: "Ülke dışına çıktığında, herkese sanki büyük bir konuğu kabul ediyormuşsun gibi davran. Sanki bir kurban töreninde görevliymişsin gibi halkına hizmet et. Kendine yapılmasını istemediğin şeyleri başkasına yapma. Gerek ülkende, gerekse ailende kendine karşı bir yakınmada bulunulmasına yol açma." Chung-kung dedi ki: "Öyle pek yetenekli değilsem de, bunlar üzerinde çalışmayı bir ödev bileceğim." s.67."X - Tzu-chang, 'Erdemimizi nasıl geliştirebileceğimizi ve kötülükleri nasıl anlayabileceğimizi' sordu. Üstat dedi ki: "Bağlılığı ve içtenliği birinci ilke olarak ele al; doğruluktan ayrılma; işte bu, erdemi yükseltmektir." s.69-On üçüncü bölüm, "Tzu-lu", 30 madde."III - Tzu-lu dedi ki: "Wei derebeyi, hükümeti birlikte yönetmeniz için sizi bekliyor. Yapılacak ilk işin ne olduğunu açıklar mısınız?" Üstat dedi ki: "Yapılacak ilk iş, ayıklamadır." - Tzu-lu, "Gerçekten böyle mi?" dedi, "Bu çok yanlış bir şey! Neden bir ayıklamaya gerek görülsün?"s.72.Yu dedi ki: "İnsanlar böyle türlü türlü olunca, onlara karşı ne yapılabilir?"Üstat, "Onları zenginleştir," dedi."Onlar zenginleşince, başka ne yapılabilir?"Üstat, "Onlara bilgi ver," dedi.s.74XIII - Üstat dedi ki: "Bir yönetici doğru davranırsa, hükümeti yönetmekte ne gibi bir güçlük çekebilir? Kendisi doğru yolda gitmezse, başkalarının davranışlarını düzeltmenin anlamı ne?"s.74-On dördüncü bölüm, "Hsien Wen" (Yüan Sze,sanırım bir öğrencisi ya da arkadaşı, Konfüçyüs'ün ölümünden sonra yalnızlığa çekilmiş). 47 madde var."XXV - Üstat dedi ki: "Eski zamanlarda, insanlar bilgiyi kendilerini yetiştirmek için edinirlerdi. Bu zamandaysa, insanlar bilgiyi başkalarını övmek için elde etmeye çalışıyorlar."s.82.-On beşinci bölüm, "Weil Ling Kung", 41 madde var.-On altıncı bölüm, "Chi ailesi", 14 madde var.-On yedinci bölüm, "Yang Ho" (Yang Hu, Chi ailesinin başbakanlarından), 26 madde var.XIX - Üstat dedi ki: "Susmayı yeğlerim." Tzu-kung dedi ki: "Üstadım, siz konuşmazsanız, biz öğrenciler neyi yazacağız?"s.99.-On sekizinci bölüm, "Wei Tzu", 11 madde, "Ch'ulardan Chieh-yü adındaki bir deli, şarkı söyleyerek Konfüçyüs'ün yanından geçiyordu. Şöyle diyordu: "O Fâng! O Fâng! Nasıl oldu da erdemin bozuldu! Geçmişte olan şeyler için sitemde bulunmak yararsızdır; ama gelecekte bundan sakınılabilir. Boş işlerden vazgeç! Boş şeylerden vazgeç! Hükümet işlerinde görevli olanları tehlike bekliyor." s.102. Phoenixe sitem.-On dokuzuncu bölüm, "Tzu-chang", 25 madde, "VII - Tzu-hsia dedi ki: "Zanaatçıların, işlerini yaptıkları dükkânları vardır. 'Büyük ve üstün insan' ilkelerine erişmek için bilgi edinir."s.106.-yirminci bölüm, "Yao dedi ki", 9 bölüm. Yao=T'ang, Söylencesel imparatorlardan (M.Ö. 2357-2256).Shun=Yü, Söylencesel imparatorlardan,kanalları yapmış (M.Ö. 2255-2206).

  • Mohsen
    2018-10-25 21:44

    بالاخره ماراتون نفس‌گیر خواندن این کتاب تمام شد. باز هم این اخلاق قدیمی، که کتابی را که به دست می‌گیرم نمی‌توانم تمام نشده کنار بگذارم یقه‌ام را گرفت. کتابی بود به شدت کسل کننده.