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At fifteen my heart was set on learning; at thirty I stood firm; at forty I had no more doubts; at fifty I knew the mandate of heaven; at sixty my ear was obedient; at seventy I could follow my heart's desire without transgressing the norm.
Russian: Никанор Иванович налил лафитничек, выпил, налил второй, выпил, подхватил на вилку три куска селедки и в это время позвонили, а Пелагея Антоновна внесла дымящуюся кастрюлю, при одном взгляде на которую сразу можно было догадаться, что в ней, в гуще огненного борща, находится то, чего вкуснее нет в мире, – мозговая кость.
See a person's means … Observe his motives. Examine that in which he rests. How can a person conceal his character?
When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.
The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success only a subsequent consideration: this may be called perfect virtue.
I do not open up the truth to one who is not eager to get knowledge, nor help out any one who is not anxious to explain himself. When I have presented one corner of a subject to any one, and he cannot from it learn the other three, I do not repeat my lesson.
He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place when all the stars are rotating about it.
The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success only a subsequent consideration.
Guide the people by law, subdue them by punishment; they may shun crime, but will be void of shame. Guide them by example, subdue them by courtesy; they will learn shame, and come to be good.
What Heaven has conferred is called The Nature; an accordance with this nature is called The Path of duty; the regulation of this path is called Instruction. The path may not be left for an instant. If it could be left, it would not be the path.
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.
In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself.
His presenting himself with his institutions before spiritual beings, without any doubts arising about them, shows that he knows Heaven. His being prepared, without any misgivings, to wait for the rise of a sage a hundred ages after, shows that he knows men.
It is the way of the superior man to prefer the concealment of his virtue, while it daily becomes more illustrious, and it is the way of the mean man to seek notoriety, while he daily goes more and more to ruin.
What Heaven has conferred is called The Nature; an accordance with this nature is called The Path of duty; the regulation of this path is called Instruction. The path may not be left for an instant. If it could be left, it would not be the path. On this account, the superior man does not wait till he sees things, to be cautious, nor till he hears things, to be apprehensive.
There is nothing more visible than what is secret, and nothing more manifest than what is minute. Therefore the superior man is watchful over himself, when he is alone.
Let the states of equilibrium and harmony exist in perfection, and a happy order will prevail throughout heaven and earth, and all things will be nourished and flourish.
Perfect is the virtue which is according to the Mean! Rare have they long been among the people, who could practice it!
I know how it is that the path of the Mean is not walked in — The knowing go beyond it, and the stupid do not come up to it. I know how it is that the path of the Mean is not understood — The men of talents and virtue go beyond it, and the worthless do not come up to it.
Men all say, "We are wise"; but being driven forward and taken in a net, a trap, or a pitfall, they know not how to escape. Men all say, "We are wise"; but happening to choose the course of the Mean, they are not able to keep it for a round month.
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.
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