from Book IV
1 The Master said, It is Goodness that gives to a neighborhood its beauty. One who is free to choose, yet does not prefer to dwell among the Good–how can he be accorded the name of wise?
2 The Master said, Without Goodness a man
Cannot for long endure adversity,
Cannot for long enjoy prosperity.
The Good Man rests content with Goodness; he that is merely wise pursues Goodness in the belief that it pays to do so.
3,4 Of the adage “Only a Good Man knows how to like people, knows how to dislike them,” the Master said, He whose heart is in the smallest degree set upon Goodness will dislike no one.
5 Wealth and rank are what every man desires; but if they can only be retained to the detriment of the Way he professes, he must relinquish them. Poverty and obscurity are what every man detests; but if they can only be avoided to the detriment of the Way he professes, he must accept them. The gentleman who ever parts company with Goodness does not fulfill that name. Never for a moment does a gentleman quit the way of Goodness. He is never so harried but that he cleaves to this; never so tottering but that he cleaves to this.
Copyright © 2001 by Confucius. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.