1.2

Youzi said, “A young person who is filial and respectful of his parents and elders rarely becomes the kind of person who enjoys defying their superiors. And a person who does not enjoy defying their superiors does not create chaos.

“A noble person tends to the roots first. With the roots taken care of, the Way naturally grows. Isn’t filiality and respect for parents and elders the root of humaneness?”

1.13

Youzi said, “Trustworthiness comes close to righteousness because other people can count on your words. Showing respect is close to ritual correctness because it banishes shame and disgrace. If you can stick to these principles and not lose your family’s affection, you will be revered.”

2.20

Ji Kangzi asked, “How can I get the people to be respectful, loyal, and hard-working?”

Confucius replied, “If you lead the people with dignity, they’ll be respectful. If you’re filial and compassionate, they’ll be loyal. If you promote the skilled and train the unskilled, they’ll be hard-working.”

5.16

Confucius said, “Zichan had four qualities of a noble person. He behaved with reverence. He was respectful when serving his superiors. He cared for the common people, and he was just in how he employed them.”

8.2

Confucius said, “Without ritual, being respectful becomes tiresome, caution becomes timidness, courage becomes recklessness, and straightforwardness becomes rudeness.

“When a person with a high office is generous to family and kin, the common people will be inspired to be humane. If old friends and acquaintances are not forgotten, the common people will honor their obligations, too.”

10.2

When speaking at court with his juniors, he was relaxed and friendly. When speaking with his superiors, he was straightforward, but respectful. When in the presence of the ruler, he showed reverence, but was collected.

13.19

Fan Chi asked about humaneness.

Confucius replied, “Be reverent at home, respectfully attentive in public matters, and loyal in your dealings with others.

“Even if you go and live with barbarians, don’t throw these things away.”

13.20

Zigong asked, “What sort of people are good enough to be considered a good government official?”

Confucius replied, “People who conduct themselves with a sense of shame, and who can be sent abroad on missions without disgracing the mission. Those are the sort of people who can be considered good government officials.”

Zigong then asked, “And who is one step below that?”

Confucius replied, “People whose families consider them filial and whose fellow villagers consider them respectful of elders.”

Zigong asked, “And one step below that?”

Confucius answered, “Someone who keeps their word and always follows through on their actions. They may be stubborn and small-minded, but they qualify as the next step down.”

Zigong asked, “And how about those serving in government today?”

Confucius replied, “Ugh. They’re little tools. They don’t even count.”

14.42

Zilu asked Confucius how to be a noble person.

Confucius replied, “Cultivate yourself, to develop a respectful attentiveness.”

Zilu asked, “That’s it?”

Confucius answered, “Cultivate yourself so that you can bring comfort to others.”

Zilu again asked, “That’s all?”

Confucius replied, “Cultivate yourself so that you can bring comfort to the people. Even the sage kings Yao and Shun found this hard.”

14.43

Yuan Rang was waiting for the Confucius, sprawled out.

Seeing this, Confucius said, “A youth who lacks deference and respect; to be a grown man with nothing to pass on; to be an old man who shirks death. That’s what I call a pest!”

He struck Yuan Rang across the shins with his stick.

15.6

Zizhang asked Confucius about correct conduct.

Confucius replied, “If you do your very best to make good on your word, and you act with integrity and respect, your conduct will be effective, even among barbarians. If you don’t follow through on your word, though, and you don’t act with integrity and respect, you’ll have trouble, even in your own hometown.

“When you stand, see these words in front of you. When you ride in a carriage, see them resting on the crossbar. Only then will you make progress.”

Zizhang wrote these words on his sash.

15.33

Confucius said, “Your knowledge might be sufficient, but if you don’t have the humaneness to guard it, you will lose what you gained.

“If your knowledge is sufficient and you have the humaneness to guard it, it won’t be respected by the people if you don’t exercise it with dignity.

“If your knowledge is sufficient, and you have the humaneness to guard it, and you exercise it with dignity, but you take action that’s not in line with ritual—that’s still not good enough.”

17.6

Zizhang asked Confucius about humaneness.

Confucius replied, “To be humane is to spread five practices in the world.”

Zizhang asked, “And those are?”

Confucius said, “Respect, tolerance, trustworthiness, diligence, and generosity. If you’re respectful, you won’t be insulted. If you’re tolerant, you’ll win the hearts of the people. If you’re trustworthy, people will have confidence in you. If you’re diligent, you’ll get things done. If you’re generous, people will do things for you.”

20.2

Zizhang asked Confucius, “What qualifies a person to govern?”

Confucius replied, “If a person honors the five beautiful traits and eschews the four evils, they’re qualified to govern.”

Zizhang asked, “And what are the five beautiful traits?”

Confucius replied, “A noble person is generous, but not wasteful. A noble person works the people hard, but isn’t resented for it. A noble person has desires, but isn’t greedy. A noble person has authority, but isn’t arrogant. A noble person is dignified, but not fierce.”

Zizhang asked, “What do you mean by generous, but not wasteful?”

Confucius replied, “If you let people pursue what’s beneficial for them, isn’t that being generous, but not wasteful? If you put people to work on tasks they’re capable of, isn’t that working people hard, but not being resented for it? If what you desire is humaneness, what room does that desire leave for greed? A noble person is respectful when dealing with the great and the few, the high and the lowly—isn’t that having authority without arrogance? A noble person dresses correctly and has a serious expression—people look at the noble person with awe. Isn’t this being dignified, but not fierce?”

Zizhang asked, “And what are the four evils?”

Confucius replied, “To execute people without first giving them instruction is cruelty. To demand results without first setting expectations is tyranny. To expect timely results after being slow in giving instructions is thievery. To dole out something you must hand over and being stingy about it is bureaucratic pettiness.”