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Book of Confucius Chapter Three

Updated on December 5, 2015

Passage Forty One


English Translation

Confucius' opinion on the head of the Ji family: He is able to perform the King's ritual dance, in the front court, of his home. If he can put up with this sort of insult, then what else can he not put up with?

Passage Forty Two


English Translation

After the three families that hold the real power to Lu nation, completed the ceremony to remember their ancestor, they start singing the song that the King use, while remembering his ancestors. Confucius said: The term "Help the King in solemn" should not be sung in the three families’ home.

Note: Prior to 221BC China was multiple smaller nations. Nations throughout China come together to form an international body similar to modern UN and the European Union, this federation is known as the Jhou dynasty. It is believed the Federation was formed in 1046BC and end in 771BC, where western nations of China pulled away from the Federation. Eastern nations of China remain as a part of the Federation until 256BC. Until the Cing nation conqueror, all of Western China and then finally defeated the ally forces of the Jhou Federation, from Eastern China. Confucius lived between 551BC~479BC.

Passage Forty Three


English Translation

Confucius said: Politeness and music are useless in relation to a man who is anti-humane.

Passage Forty Four


English Translation

Lingfang asked Confucius the nature of politeness. Confucius said: This is a very big deal! It is better to make it cheap and simple, then to make it big and expensive. In tragic, it is better to show your sadness than to make it expensive.

Passage Forty Five


English Translation

Confucius said: If a nation of the savages have a King, it would be better than a civilized nation which has no King.

Note: In other words, it is unwise for a country to be in an anarchy status.

Passage Forty Six


English Translation

The head of the Ji family is planning to pray to the Ti mountain

Confucius asked Ranyou: Can you stop him?

Ranyou said: No

Confucius said: Do you think the Tai mountain would accept none sense worships?

Passage Forty Seven


English Translation

Confucius said: Between two real gentlemen, there is nothing for them to fight about. If they are to fight, it would be like competing in a game. Before the competition, they bow to each other. After the competition, they bow to each other again. That is what a true gentleman is like.

Passage Forty Eight


English Translation

Zihsia asked Confucius: In the book it wrote "A beautiful smile, charming eyes, look extremely classy”, what is it inferring?

Confucius said: Only after having paper, can you start drawing.

Zihsia said: Do you need to be humane, before been polite.

Confucius said: Zihsia, you have understood it. Now we can start talking about poetry.

Note: Base on this statement and the previous passage of “The principle of manner is to maintain harmony” we can argue in Confucius ideology, a behaviour that is politeness and of good manners, cannot be anti-humane.

Passage Forty Nine


English Translation

Confucius said: Sia nation's polite custom, I have a rough understanding towards it. But, I don't know anything about Ci nation's polite custom. Shang nation's polite custom, I have a rough understanding towards it. Song nation's custom, I am not so clear about it. I am not clear about it because there are not enough record, otherwise, I would have some understanding too.

Passage Fifty


English Translation

Confucius said: The type of ceremony, modern King use to remember their ancestors, I can't stand watching it, right from the beginning.

Passage Fifty One


English Translation

Somebody asked Confucius about meaning and politeness of praying. Confucius replied: Don't know. If we can know about it, then governing the world would be just as easy.

Passage Fifty Two


English Translation

In response to the statement pray to your ancestors like they are your ancestors and pray to the gods like they are the god, Confucius said: If you don't do it yourself, then it is equal to you hasn’t done it.

Passage Fifty Three


English Translation

Wangsunjia asked Confucius: How do you define the term "Instead of praying to the more powerful god, why not pray to the god whom actually have authorities."?

Confucius said: This statement is wrong, if you did something horrible, no god would answer your prayer.

Passage Fifty Four


English Translation

Confucius said: Jhou Federation era's politeness culture is influenced by Sia and Shang era. It is not under or over doing it, that make it perfect, that is why I follow it.

Passage Fifty Five


English Translation

After entering a temple, Confucius asked about everything in detail. A person said: Who said Confucius is polite? Once he entered a temple, he asks about everything.

Confucius responded saying: This is been polite.

Passage Fifty Six


English Translation

Confucius said: In an archery competition, it should be a competition of who is more accurate rather than who can break the target because some people are stronger than others that have always been the principle.

Passage Fifty Seven


English Translation

Zihgong is campaigning against animal sacrifice in rituals.

Confucius said: Zihgong, you love animals. I love been polite.

Passage Fifty Eight


English Translation

Confucius said: Treat your superior with the politeness he deserves, even if people call me a suck up, because of it.

Passage Fifty Nine


English Translation

Mr. Ding asked Confucius: How should a superior treat his subject and how should a subject treat his superior

Confucius said: A superior should be polite to his subjects. In exchange, the subject would be loyal to his superior.

Passage Sixty


English Translation

Confucius said: Guwanwei is a poem that is happy but isn't unethical, Tragic, but not sad.

Passage Sixty One


English Translation

Mr. A asked Zaiwo about what sort of wood, should be used, to make statues, for the god of earth.

Zaiwo said: Sia nation use loose clay, Yin nation use cypress, Jhou era use chestnuts, saying it will make the people feel fear.

Confucius said: The past is the past, don't criticize it. Don't debate about the past that can't be undone. Don't revive the past that can't be changed.

Passage Sixty Two


English Translation

Confucius said: Guanjhong is a little man

Somebody asked Confucius: Is Guanjhong economical?

Confucius said: Guanjhong's home, not only have three safes, but also a lot of servants, how is that economical?

The same man asked: Is Guanjhong a polite man?

Confucius said: His home have a screen, just like the palace. His home has the same bar, as the state banquet, if he is polite, then who else isn't polite?

Passage Sixty Three


English Translation

Confucius comment on the music, of Lu nation's musician, said: The sound is very beautiful, the content is also very good, the end is pure, clear and soft and that is how it is completed.

Passage Sixty Four


English Translation

Yidi's Lord asked to meet Confucius and said: Whenever a gentleman come here, I would wish to meet them.

After meeting Confucius, the Lord said: People, have no worries about how big of a Lord are you. The world has lost the way of justice, for a long time, the gods want your master, to be the true saint.

Passage Sixty Five


English Translation

Confucius comment on Shao music is: Beautiful and kind.

Confucius comment on war music: It is beautiful, but not kind.

Note: Shao music is a type of music in Confucius' time.

Passage Sixty Six


English Translation

Confucius said: How can I stand a King, who is not tolerating to his people, not respectful to the law of politeness, not sad while conducting funeral?

This article's translation of key word





禮=polite, manner


義=justice, just

士=paladin, scholar

仁=humane, kind

文=culture, scholar









儉=cheap, economical

讓=make way

信=honest, true to one's word, keep one's word, faith, believe

德=moral, kindness, ethnic

道=just, justice, principle, thinking, road


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