17.4

Confucius went to Wucheng, where Ziyou was governor. While there, he heard stringed instruments played together with singing. Amused by this, he commented, “Why use an ox-cleaver to kill a chicken?”

Ziyou replied, “I can remember you saying, ‘The noble person who cultivates the Way loves everyone. The common people who cultivate the way are easy to govern.’”

Confucius said, “My friends, Ziyou is right. I was only joking.”

17.5

Gongshan Furao was holding Bi as his base, and was about to start a rebellion. He asked Confucius to join him. Confucius was tempted.

Ziyou said, “We may be at the end of the line, but is that a good reason to join Gongshan?”

Confucius replied, “The man must’ve had some purpose in inviting me. If someone would employ me, I could establish a new Zhou dynasty in the East.”

19.12

Ziyou said, “Zixia’s students are well-trained when it comes to sweeping and mopping, answering the door, and saying hello and goodbye. But these are just details. When it comes to the fundamentals, though, they’re completely lost. How is this possible?”

When Zixia heard this, he said, “Ziyou is way off-base! When it comes to the Way of the noble person, how can a teacher know if someone is ready to understand from the start or if they’ll get frustrated and lose interest?

“It’s like planting grass and trees. They have to be separated into categories and planted in the spots that suit them. How can he slander the Way of the noble person like that? After all, it’s only a sage that masters it from beginning to end.”