7.35

Confucius became very sick and Zilu asked permission to offer a prayer for him.

Confucius asked, “Is there a precedent for that?”

Zilu replied, “Yes. There is a passage in the Eulogies, ‘We pray to the spirits above and the spirits below for you.’”

Confucius replied, “Then I have already been praying for a long time.”

8.3

When Zengzi became ill, he called his students to him and said, “Uncover my feet and hands. “The Book of Odes says,

In fear and trembling,

As if standing on the edge of an abyss,

As is treading on thin ice.’

It’s only now that I know I’ve made it through safely, my young friends.”

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.”

9.12

When Confucius became ill, Zilu told the other students to act as if they were Confucius’ “ministers.”

During a remission in his illness, Confucius said, “Ah, Zilu, you’ve been carrying on this charade for a long time now, haven’t you? You want to make believe that I have ‘ministers?’ Who are you fooling? Heaven?

I’d much rather die in the arms of my students than in the arms of ministers. Besides, even though I won’t get a grand state funeral, it’s not like I’m dying on the side of the road.”