6.30

Zigong asked, “If someone were able to benefit everyone and help those in need, what would you say about that? Would you call that person humane?”

Confucius replied, “Why just humane? They’d be a sage! Even Yao and Shun would find this tough!

A humane person who wants to get established helps establish others. Wanting to be successful, they help others become successful. To make an analogy of what’s close at hand—that’s the way to humaneness.”

7.26

Confucius said, “I’ve never met a sage, but I’d be satisfied to meet a noble person. I’ve never met someone who was truly good, but I’d be satisfied to meet someone who was steadfast.

“I see a lot of people who have nothing pretending to be something, who are empty while pretending to have substance, pretending to have comfort in the midst of their difficulties. Just to be steadfast is hard enough.”

7.34

Confucius said, “I can’t claim to be a sage or a noble person. But I keep on working at it without disappointment and I never get tired of teaching others.”

Gongxi Hua said, “It’s exactly these qualities that we students can’t imitate.”

9.6

A high minister asked Zigong, “Is your master really a sage? Then why does he have so many skills?”

Zigong replied, “It’s Heaven that made him a sage and allowed him to develop many skills besides.”

When he heard about this, Confucius said, “What does the high minister know about me? When I was a boy, my family was poor, so I had to learn many skills. Does a noble person need to have many skills? I don’t think so.”

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.”

16.8

Confucius said, “A noble person stands in awe of three things: the will of Heaven, great people, and the words of the sages. The small person is clueless about the will of Heaven, despises the great, and mocks the words of the sages.”