Confucius said, “When you see a good person, think of becoming their equal. When you see someone who is not worthy, turn back and look at yourself.”
Confucius said, “What a worthy person Yan Hui was! He survived on a small bowl of rice and ladleful of water in a dingy back alley. Most people couldn’t have endured that kind of misery, but Yan Hui never let it spoil his joy. What a worthy person Yan Hui was!”
Ran Qiu wondered, “Does Confucius support the ruler of Wei?”
Zigong said, “Okay, I’ll go and ask.”
He went to Confucius’ room and asked, “What kind of men were Bo Yi and Shu Qi?”
Confucius replied, “They were worthies of ancient times.”
Zigong followed up, “Didn’t anyone resent them?”
Confucius replied, “They pursued humaneness and they got it. What resentment would that stir up?”
Zigong left the room and said, “No, Confucius doesn’t support the ruler of Wei.”
Zigong asked Confucius, “Who is more worthy, Zhizhang or Zixia?”
Confucius replied, “Zhizhang overshoots the mark and Zixia undershoots it.”
Zigong said, “Then Zhizhang is superior.”
Confucius replied, “Overshooting the mark is just as bad as undershooting it.”
Confucius said, “Didn’t Zang Wenzhong hold his office under false pretenses? He knew Liuxia Hui was worthy, but did not promote him.”
Students of Zixia asked Zizhang about making friends. Zizhang asked, “What did Zixia teach you?”
“Zixia taught us, ‘Associate with the right kind of people and avoid the wrong kind.’”
Zizhang replied, “I was taught something else. I was taught that the noble person respects the worthy and tolerates the ordinary people. The noble person applauds the good and takes pity on those who have a hard time being good.
“If I’m worthy, who can I not tolerate? If I’m not worthy, people will surely avoid me, so on what grounds could I avoid them?”
Gongsun Chao, a counselor in Wei, asked Zigong , “Who did Confucius learn from?”
Zigong replied, “The way of King Wen and King Wu never completely disappeared. It always remained with the people. The worthy retained its major points and the unworthy retained its minor points. All of them had some aspects of the way of King Wen and King Wu.
“So there was no one from whom Confucius couldn’t have learned something and no single teacher from whom he could have learned everything.”
Shusun Wushu disrespected Confucius, but Zigong said, “There’s no point in even trying. Confucius can’t be disparaged.
“The worthiness of other great people is like a hill. You can climb to the top of a hill. But Confucius is like the sun and the moon. You can’t reach them. Even if people want to cut themselves off from the sun and the moon, how could this touch the sun and moon? This just shows they overestimate themselves.”
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 are 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 will win the hearts of the people. Be trustworthy, and you will gain the confidence of the people. If you are industrious, you will get things done. If you’re just, the people will be pleased.