5.7

Confucius said, “If the Way isn’t put into practice, I’ll just head out to sea on a small raft. I bet Zilu would go with me.”

Zilu was happy to hear this.

Confucius said, “Zilu loves daring more than I do, but he lacks judgment.”

6.9

The Jisun Family asked Min Ziqian to serve as steward of their family fortress.

Min Ziqian replied to the messenger, “Do your best to decline the offer politely. If they ask again, I’ll exile myself to the north of the River Wen.”

18.2

The magistrate Liuxia Hui was fired three times.

People asked him, “Why don’t you go to another state?”

Liuxia Hui replied, “If I serve in a straight way, where can I go where the same thing won’t happen to me? If I wanted to go crooked, why would I bother to leave the land of my parents?”

18.6

Chang Ju and Jie Ni were yoked together, plowing the fields. Confucius, who was passing by, sent Zilu to ask where the river crossing was.

Chang Ju asked, “Who’s that holding the carriage reigns?”

“Confucius,” replied Zilu.

“Confucius from Lu?”

“Yes.”

“Then he already knows where the river crossing is.”

Zilu then asked Jie Ni the same question.

“And who are you?” asked Jie Ni.

“Zilu.”

“Zilu, the student of Confucius from Lu?”

“I am.”

“The water keeps moving forward, all over the world. Who can change it? Why do you bother following someone who keeps running from one ruler to another? Wouldn’t it be better to follow someone who’s given up this world altogether?”

The two of them went back to their work.

Zilu reported this conversation to Confucius, who furrowed his brow and said, “I can’t flock with birds and beasts! Who am I supposed to keep company with, if not other human beings? If the Way prevailed in the world, I wouldn’t have to reform it!”

18.9

Music Master Zhi left for Qi. Gan, the master of the second course, went to Chu. Liao, master of the third course, left for Cai. Master of the fourth course, Que, went to Qin.

The drummer, Fangshu, crossed the Yellow River valley and the hand drum player, Wu, crossed the Han River Valley. The Master’s assistant, Yang, and Xiang, who played the stone chimes, took to the sea.

20.1

Yao said, “Oh, Shun! The regulation of Heaven’s calendar now falls to you. Hold to the middle way. If the people fall into distress, this gift of Heaven’s will be withdrawn forever.”

In turn, Shun charged Yu with these same words.

T’ang said, “I, Lü, am only a youth, but I dare to sacrifice this black ox and make this declaration to the Lord of Heaven. I don’t dare pardon the guilty. We can’t hide anything from the Lord of Heaven, since we’re his subjects, and guilt is known in the Lord’s heart.

“If I commit a crime, don’t make the people of the ten thousand regions suffer for it. But if the people of the ten thousand regions commit a crime, let the punishment fall to me alone.”

The Zhou was greatly rewarded because it had good people to serve it.

King Wu said, “Although I have all my kin, it’s better to employ people who have humaneness. If the people commit crimes, let it fall to me alone.”

Set standard weights and measures, align the laws and regulations, and restore offices that have been abolished. Revive the states that are about to fall and the lineages about to end. Find worthy people who have gone into hiding and raise them up into high offices. By doing this, the people will flock to you.

This is what’s important to the people: their food, their funerals, and their sacrifices.

Be generous, and you’ll win the hearts of the people. Be trustworthy, and you’ll gain the confidence of the people. If you’re industrious, you’ll get things done. If you’re just, the people will be pleased.