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.”
Confucius said, “A person who can’t be trusted, I don’t see how they get anywhere. When the linchpin is missing from the yoke-bar of a large wagon or the collar-bar of a small wagon—how can you drive them anywhere?”
Yan Hui and Zilu were with Confucius, and he asked them, “How about each of you tell me what you’d like to accomplish?”
Zilu replied, “I’d like to have wagons, horses, and fur coats to give to my friends, and not to get angry if they got damaged.”
Yan Hui replied, “I’d like not to be proud of my good points and not to brag about what I’ve done for other people.”
Zilu asked Confucius, “What would you like to accomplish?”
Confucius replied, “I’d like to comfort the elderly, have the trust of my friends, and nurture the young.”
Confucius said, “In any given village of ten houses, there are bound to be people who are as dutiful and trustworthy as I am. But I doubt I could find anyone who loves learning as much as I do.”
Confucius taught four things: culture, correct conduct, doing one’s best, and trustworthiness.
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.”
Confucius said, “People who are wild without at least being upright, simple-minded without at least being honest, tactless without at least being trustworthy—I just don’t get them.”
Zizhang asked Confucius how to accumulate virtue and recognize confusion.
Confucius replied, “Take loyalty and trustworthiness as your first principles, and always move in the direction of what is right. That’s how to accumulate virtue.
“If you love something, you want it to live. If you hate something, you want it to die. If you want something to live and die at the same time, this is confusion.
“‘Not for her wealth,
But just for the novelty.’”
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.”
Confucius said, “If you don’t expect to be duped or not believed, but you’re the first to recognize these things—isn’t that the sign of a worthy?”
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.
Confucius said, “The noble person takes justice as their essential, carries it out in accordance with ritual, expresses it with modesty, and brings it to completion through trustworthiness. Now that’s a noble person!”
Confucius said, “There are three kinds of friends who can help you and three kinds of friends who can harm you. Friends who are upright, trustworthy, and learned—these will help you. Friends who are devious, brown nosers, and smooth-talkers—these will harm you.”
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.”
Zixia said, “The noble person earns the trust of the people before putting them to work. Without that trust, they’ll feel ill-used.
“The noble person earns the trust of a ruler before remonstrating with him. Without that trust, the ruler will feel slandered.”
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’re 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’ll win the hearts of the people. Be trustworthy, and you’ll gain the confidence of the people. If you’re industrious, you’ll get things done. If you’re just, the people will be pleased.