Confucius: The Analects Chapter 1

The Analects or Lunyu(论语) is a collection of sayings derived from Confucius, who lived about 2500 years ago. There are all together 19 chapters (or books, as they are sometime called) in Lunyu. I hope to publish every chapter of Lunyu in coming weeks.

Confucius: The Analects (论语)

学而第一 (Chapter 1)

Verse 1: 子曰:学而时习之,不亦悦乎?有朋自远方来,不亦乐乎?人不知而不愠,不亦君子乎?

The Master said:

To learn and at times to practice what’s learnt is pleasure, is it not?


To have friends coming from afar is happiness, is it not?


To be unresentful when not appreciated by others is gentlemanly, is it not?



Verse 2: 有子曰:其为人也孝悌而好犯上者,鲜矣。不好犯上而好作乱者,未之有也。君子务本,本立而道生。孝悌也者,其为仁之本与

You Zi said:

It is seldom that a man of filial piety and brotherly love would be inclined
to offend those above.

There has not been a man inclined to cause disorder without the inclination
to offer those above.

The gentleman nourishes the roots. With the roots established, the way grows.

Is filial piety and brotherly love not the roots of benevolence?

Verse 3:

The Master said:

Clever talks and pretentious manners are seldom compatible with the benevolence.

Verse 4:

Zeng Zi said:

Each day I examine myself on three counts:

whether or not I am loyal to those in whose behalf I act;

whether or not I am trustworthy in my dealings with friends;

whether or not I practise what is imparted.


Verse 5: 子曰:道千乘之国,敬事而信,节用而爱人,使民以时。

The Master said:

In leading a state of a thousand chariots (a superpower state at that time),
respect the office and be trustworthy;
economise in the use of resources and love the people,
and employ the people when it is timely.


Verse 6: 子曰:弟子入则孝,出则悌,谨而信,泛爱众而亲仁,行有余力,则以学文。

The Master said:

In the home, the young should behave with filial piety, out in the world,
with brotherly love. They should be prudent and trustworthy. They should
love all people and be intimate with benevolence. In addition, their remaining energy should be used to study ‘culture’".


Verse 7: 子夏曰:贤贤易色,事父母,能竭其力。事君,能致其身。与朋友交,言而有信。虽曰未学,吾必谓之学矣。

Confucius’ disciple, Zi Xia said:

To revere virtue instead of beauty, to devote utmost strength in serving parents,
to be willing to die in serving the lord, to be  trustworthy when speaking with friends :
even if he has not studied, I say he is learned."


Verse 8: 子曰:君子不重则不威,学则不固。主忠信,无友不如己者,过则勿惮改。

The Master said:

Without resoluteness, the gentleman would not command respect, and his learning would not be sound.

Advocating loyalty and trustworthiness, he has no friends who are not up to his standard.

He would not hesitate to correct his faults.

Verse 9:

Zeng Zi, a disciple of Confucius, said:

To be prudent in mourning, and to remember those who have passed away before,

is to enhance the virtue of the people.

Verse 10: 子禽问于子贡曰:夫子至于是邦也,必闻其政。求之与?抑与之与?子贡曰:夫子温良恭俭让以得之。夫子求之也,其诸异乎人之求之与?

Zi Qin (disciple) asked Zi Gong (another disciple):

When our master comes to any country, he does not fail to learn all about its government.  Does he ask for information, or is it given to him?

Zi Gong said:

Our master is warm, amiable, courteous, frugal, and deferential, and thus he gets the information. The master’s way of request for information – is it not different from that of other men?

Verse 11:

The master said:

While a man’s father is alive, observe his intention; when his father is dead, look at his conduct.
If for three years he does not alter from the way of his father, he may be considered having filial piety.


Verse 12: 有子曰:礼之用,和为贵。先王之道斯为美。小大由之,有所不行。知和而和,不以礼节之,亦不可行也。

You Zi said:

In practising the rules of propriety, a natural ease is to be prized. In the ways prescribed by the ancient kings, this is the excellent quality, and in things small and great we follow them. Yet it is not to be observed in all cases. If one, knowing how such ease should be prized, manifests it, without regulating it by the rules of propriety, this likewise is not to be done


Verse 13: 有子曰:信近于义,言可复也。恭近于礼,远耻辱也。因不失其亲,亦可宗也。

You Zi said:

When agreements are made according to what is right, what is spoken can be made good. When respect is shown according to what is proper, one keeps far from shame and disgrace. When the parties upon whom a man leans are proper persons to be intimate with, he can make them his guides and masters


Verse 14: 子曰:君子食无求饱,居无求安。敏于事而慎于言,就有道而正焉。可谓好学也已。

The master said:

A gentleman avoids seeking to gratify his appetite to the full when eating, nor avoids seeking comfort at home; he is earnest in what he is doing, and careful in his speech; he frequents the company of men of principle that he may be rectified:— such a person may be said  to love  learning.


Verse 15:子贡曰:贫而无谄,富而无骄。何如?子曰:可也。未若贫而乐,富而好礼者也。子贡曰:诗云:如切如磋,如琢如磨。其斯之谓与?子曰:赐也,始可与言诗已矣。告诸往而知来者。

Zigong said:
Regarding the poor man who yet does not flatter, and the rich man who is not arrogant – what have you to say? 


The Master replied, ‘They will do; but they are not equal to being poor, and yet is cheerful cheerful; and to who is  rich and loves the rules of propriety. 


Zigong replied, ‘It is said in the Book of Poetry, "As you cut and then file, as you carve and then polish."— The meaning is the same, I apprehend, as that which you have just expressed.

The Master said, ‘With one like Si (Zigong), I can begin to talk. If I report what occured, he knows what to come’.


Verse 16: 子曰:不患人之不己知,患不知人也。

The master said:

I will not be worried at men’s not knowing me; I will be worried that I do not know (appreciate) men.





2. Chung Yoon Ngan, Asiawind forum

3. Confucius, The Analects: Oxford Worlds’s Classics, Oxford University Press 


About kchew

an occasional culturalist
This entry was posted in Philosophy. Bookmark the permalink.

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