2.8

Zixia asked about filiality.

Confucius said, “The tough part is having the right demeanor. The young should take on the harder physical tasks and defer to their elders when food and wine is passed around, of course, but filiality is more than that.”

5.25

Confucius said, “Clever words, a plastic smile, and superficial gestures of respect. Zuoqiu Ming considered this stuff to be shameful and so do I.

“Hiding your resentment and pretending to be someone’s friend. Zuoqiu Ming considered this to be shameful, too, and so do I.”

8.4

When Zengzi became ill, Meng Jingzi visited him.

Zengzi said, “When a bird is about to die, its song is melancholy. When a man is about to die, his words are excellent.

“There are three things a noble person should value in the Way. In conduct and bearing, avoiding violence and arrogance. In facial expression, welcoming trustworthiness. In words and tone of voice, avoiding coarseness and vulgarity. As to the sacrificial vessels, there are professionals to deal with those matters.”

10.4

When passing through the door of his ruler, he would draw himself in, as if the gate wasn’t large enough to accommodate him. He wouldn’t stand in the middle of the gate or step on the threshold. When he passed by the throne, his expression became serious, his steps, short and deliberate. His voice dropped to a whisper, as if he could barely get the words out.

When he lifted the hem of his robe to climb the steps, he again drew himself in, holding his breath as if he’d stopped breathing altogether. On leaving the ruler’s place, after he had gone back down the first step, his expression became relaxed. After reaching the bottom of the stairs, he’d glide back to his position like a bird and resume a reverent attitude.

10.5

When Confucius carried the jade tablet of his ruler, he drew himself in as if he couldn’t bear the weight. When he held it high, it was as if he was bowing to someone. When he held it low, it was as if he was offering it to someone. His expression was serious and concerned. His steps were short and controlled, as if his feet never left the ground.

During the presentation ritual, his expression was relaxed. In a private meeting, he was even more at ease.

10.25

When Confucius saw a person wearing clothes of mourning, even if it was someone he saw every day, his face would express grief. When he saw someone wearing a court cap or a blind person, even if it was someone he saw every day, he would become solemn.

If Confucius was riding in his carriage and he came across someone in mourning, or someone carrying official documents, he would bow down and grasp the crossbar.

If he was served a rare delicacy at a banquet, he would rise and express his appreciation.

He would also change his expression at the clap of thunder or a strong gust of wind.

16.10

Confucius said, “A noble person takes care to give attention to nine things. In seeing, to have clear vision. In hearing, to be keen. In expression, to be warm. In attitude, to be courteous. In speech, to be loyal. In service, to be reverent. In doubt, to ask questions. In anger, to think of the consequences. In gaining an advantage, to think of fairness.”