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Chinese Text Project
Show translation:[None] [English]

《君子卷第十二 - The Junzi》

English translation: Jeffrey S. Bullock [?] Library Resources
1 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Someone asked: When the junzi speaks, it becomes literature. When he acts, it becomes de. How does this happen?
Yangzi said: It is because internally he is like a fully drawn bow and externally he is elegantly patterned like a tiger. He is like Gong Shuban wielding axes and Hou Yi shooting arrows. The junzi does not speak but that his speech hits the mark, does not act but that his act is in perfect balance.

2 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Someone asked: When is the junzi flexible? When is he firm?
Yangzi said: In matters of ren, the junzi is flexible. In matters of yi, he is firm.

3 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Someone asked: The oar of a large storied boat is not used as a ladle, and a war cart is not used for gathering vegetables. Is this correct?
Yangzi said: This is correct.
The other said: So a big tool cannot do everything that a small tool can do?
Yangzi said: Such are implements. A junzi is not an implement.

4 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Someone asked: Did Mengzi not understand the key points of words and the subtleties of de?
Yangzi said: Not only did he understand them, he also faithfully followed their path.
The other said: You treat all the philosophers lightly. Was Mengzi not one of them as well?
Yangzi said: The other philosophers take their knowledge to be different from Confucius's. Was Mengzi's different? It was not.

5 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Someone said: Xunzi's book criticizing the various schools is acceptable. But when it comes to Zisi and Mengzi, it is misleading.
Yangzi said: My attitude toward Xunzi? I see him as having entered through the same courtyard gate, but gone into the house through a different door. Only a sage would not differ from Confucius.

6 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Only completely black, red, and white oxen with perfect horns can be offered up in the temple for sacrifice! Therefore, a junzi perfects his de.

7 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Someone said: The junzi resembles jade.
Yangzi said: He is pure and rippled, warm and glossy, soft but solid, rounded but clean edged—his depth cannot be described.

8 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Someone said: Confucius's teaching is all encompassing but impenetrable, grand but not adaptable to small affairs. To practice it would be like using an ox to catch a mouse.
Yangzi said: Confucius's dao is like the four rivers; they pass through all the Central Kingdom, and finally enter the great ocean. Other masters' daos are like the streams of the far Northwest; they flow through the lands of the the Yi and Mo barbarians, some entering the Tuo River, some flowing into in the Han River.

9 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
The Huainanzi's teaching is not as the useful as the Shiji. In the Shiji, a sage will find things he can use; the Huainan rarely has things he can use. Inevitably, what he selects to use must accord with the Confucian Dao! Now he's coming, now he's going—that's the Huainan. Elegant literature that is rarely useful, that's Sima Xiangru. Having many interests and not content to leave out anything—that was Sima Qian. Confucius had many interests, but his interests all revolved around yi. Sima Qian had many interests, but he was interested in the unusual.

10 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Someone said: Numerous indeed are the falsehoods in the commentaries to the Classics!
Yangzi said: If they're false, they're false—but worse, they also propagate the drumming of shamans!

11 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Someone said: The sage's words are bright and clear like red and green, are they not?
Yangzi said: Ugh! What sort of saying is that! At first, red and green are bright and clear, but after time they fade. Do the sage's words fade?

12 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Someone said: The sage's dao is like Tian. But if it is like Tian, then it should be constant. Why, then, the sage's many changes?
Yangzi said: The sage indeed changes much. Ziyou and Zixia understood his writings, but they did not grasp why he wrote. Zai Wo and Zigong understood his words, but they did not grasp why he spoke. Yan Yuan and Min Ziqian understood his actions, but they did not grasp why he acted. The sage's writings, words, and actions are Tian. How can it be that Tian rarely changes?

13 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Someone said: Is the sage not self-indulgent? Why do his words flow from so many fonts?
Yangzi said: Have you not seen how Yu made water flow? Sometimes east, sometimes north—but always flowing without obstruction. How can the junzi's path alone be without obstruction? How can he be direct? If water avoids obstructions, then it reaches the sea. If a junzi avoids obstructions, he will reach the universal principle.

14 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
The junzi likes what is good in others, and forgets about what is good in himself; the small man likes what is bad in himself and forgets about what is good in others.

15 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Someone said: Of whom in the world do you approve?
Yangzi said: I approve of those who advance.
The other said: Why do you approve of those who covet status and long for salary?
Yangzi said: Coveting these is not what I mean by advancing. Those who advance, advance in the Dao, long for de, and make themselves prosperous by means of ren and yi. They advance in the Dao and advance in office, or they retire from office and advance in the Dao, every day being unceasing in their effort and not knowing weariness.
The other said: Advancing in the Dao in order to advance in office, this is hearing Tian's decree. But may I ask about retiring and advancing?
Yangzi said: In the past Yan Yuan retired [from public life] in order to advance in the Dao. Among all under Heaven, this combination is rare.
The other said: If this is the case, then why do you not advocate retiring in every situation?
Yangzi said: Insisting on advancing and advancing is an easy combination. Insisting on retiring and retiring is also an easy combination. But advancing according to li and retiring according to yi—that is a difficult combination!

16 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Someone said: Some people think that life and death are equivalent, poverty and wealth are the same, and honor and lowliness are indistinguishable. What do you think about that?
Yangzi said: Does someone who thinks this way have anything to fear? If I believed that life and death are equivalent, poverty and wealth are the same, and honor and lowliness are indistinguishable, then I would think that the sage's dao was a bunch of frivolous nonsense.

17 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Having a penetrating understanding of Heaven, Earth, and Man is called ru (Confucian). Having a penetrating understanding of Heaven and Earth, but not understanding Man, is called "clever."

18 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
A man must first act, then he will be recognized. He must first seek, then it will be given. A man must first love himself; thereafter others will love him. A man must first respect himself; thereafter, others will respect him. Loving oneself is the height of ren. Respecting oneself is the height of li. There has never been a case of a man who did not love and respect himself, yet others loved and respected him.

19 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Someone asked: Do the dragon, the turtle, and the wild swan not live long?
Yangzi said: They do.
The other said: Can people live long?
Yangzi said: Such animals live long because of their nature. People live long because of their ren.

20 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Someone asked: People speak of immortals. Do they exist?
Yangzi sighed, saying: I have heard that Fu Xi and Shen Nong died; that Huangdi, Yao, and Shun also passed away; that King Wen was buried at Bi; and that Confucius was buried north of the Lu walls. Do you alone begrudge your death? It is not something that men can do anything about. Indeed, immortality is of no benefit to mankind.
The other said: Sages do not study the immortals, their skills are different. The sage's relation to the world is such that he is ashamed if there is one thing that he does not understand. For the immortal, he is ashamed that there is a single day that he does not live.
Yangzi said: Life? It is called "life," but it is really death.
The other said: If the world does not have immortals, then where does talk of them come from?
Yangzi said: Isn't the talk of immortals just a bunch of frivolous nonsense? Only that sort of nonsense is able to make something out of nothing.
The other asked: What is the truth regarding immortals?
Yangzi said: There is nothing to say. Whether they exist or not is not a question that you should be concerned with. The questions you ought to ask about concern loyalty and filial devotion. Do loyal ministers and filial sons have the leisure to ask about such things? They do not.

21 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
Someone asked: Can a person's longevity be extended?
Yangzi said: By means of de.
The other said: Yan Hui and Ran Geng's conduct were de. Why was their longevity not extended?
Yangzi said: De is like this. If Yan Hui and Ran Geng had been cruel and cunning, would they have thus been thus remembered?
The other said: Yes, sometimes the cruel and cunning have long life.
Yangzi said: They are reckless. But the junzi is not reckless.

22 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
That which lives inevitably must die. That which has a beginning inevitably has an end. This is the dao of Nature.

23 君子卷第... :
The Junzi:
The junzi is honest with others—how much more so with himself! The petty man deceives himself—how much more so does he deceive others!

URN: ctp:yangzi-fayan/juan-shi-er