1.15

Zigong asked, “To be a poor person who doesn’t grovel or a rich person who isn’t arrogant. What do you think of that?”

Confucius replied, “Not bad, not bad. But not as good as being poor and enjoying the Way or being rich and loving ritual.”

Zigong said, “The Book of Odes says,

Like cutting and filing,

like grinding and polishing.

Is that what you mean?”

Confucius said, “Ah Zigong, you’re the kind of person I can talk about The Book of Odes with. I give you a little and you come back with the rest!”

4.5

Confucius said, “Everyone wants money and fame, but if you can’t get them by following the Way, don’t go after them. Everyone hates being broke and disgraced, but if that’s what you get for following the Way, then don’t reject it.

“If a noble person abandons humaneness, how can they be worthy of being called a noble person? A noble person doesn’t abandon humaneness, even for the space of a meal. A noble person clings to humaneness, even in times of rushing or crisis.”

6.4

Gongxi Hua was sent on a mission to the state of Qi. Ran Qiu asked their employer to provide grain to Gongxi Hua’s mother. Ran Qiu asked Confucius how much he should request for her.

Confucius said, “Request a full measure of grain.”

Ran Qiu asked for more.

Confucius said, “Then request a double measure of grain.”

In the end, Ran Qiu requested ten measures of grain.

Confucius said, “Gongxi Hua travelled to Qi, he drove the best horses and wore fine furs. I’ve always heard, ‘The noble person helps out the poor, but doesn’t make the rich richer.’”

8.13

Confucius said, “Be devoted and love learning. Stick to the Way until death. Don’t enter a state in peril and don’t stay in a state in chaos.

“When the Way prevails in the world, show yourself. When it does not, withdraw into seclusion.

“When the Way prevails in a state, it’s shameful to be poor and of low rank. When the Way doesn’t prevail in a state, it’s shameful to be rich and honored.”

8.21

Confucius said, “I can’t find fault with Yu. He lived on the simplest food and drink, but he showed his filial devotion with lavish offerings to the spirits. He wore shabby clothes in his daily life, but his ceremonial robes and caps were elegant. He lived in a humble home, but he exhausted his strength building irrigation canals to water the fields. I can’t find fault with Yu.”

11.17

Even though the head of the Chi family was wealthier than the Duke of Zhou, Ran Qiu collected more taxes to make him even richer.

Confucius said, “He’s no follower of mine. My students, you have my permission to beat the drum and attack him if you want.”

12.5

Sima Niu was in distress. He said, “Everyone has brothers! I alone have none!”

Zixia said, “I have heard a proverb:

Life and death are up to fate,

Wealth and honors are up to Heaven.’

“Because the noble person behaves with reverence and tries to be free of error, is courteous to others and behaves with ritual correctness, all within the Four Seas are his brothers. How can a noble person worry about not having brothers?”

13.8

Confucius said, “Prince Jing of Wei was sensible about household management. When he first began accumulating wealth, he said, ‘That’s about right.’ When he got a little more, he said, ‘This will do.’ When he became wealthy, he said, ‘This opulent enough.’”

13.9

Ran Qiu drove the chariot for Confucius on a trip to Wei. When they arrived, Confucius said, “There are so many people here!”

Ran Qiu asked, “Once there are this many people, what should be done for them?”

Confucius replied, “Enrich them.”

“And after they’re rich,” asked Ran Qiu, “what next?”

Confucius replied, “Educate them.”