The Chinese Classics — Volume 1: Confucian Analects by James Legge

I know people who have a good grasp of Aristotle and Plato etc. I’m a total amateur in all this. I’m also a little bit tired of the privileging of certain western based philosophies (as well as specific epistemologies) while ignoring my roots. But since I can read both Chinese and English … I thought I’d go with the basics. So, I’m starting with The Chinese Classics Volume 1: Confucian Analects by James Legge. I read with interest the life of James Legge who “Believing in the necessity of missionaries being able to comprehend the ideas and culture of the Chinese, he began in 1841 a translation in many volumes of the Chinese classics, a monumental task admirably executed and completed a few years before his death.”

Some excerpts which caught my immediate attention tonight:


【一節】子曰、 學而時習之、不亦說乎。

CHAPTER I. 1. The Master said, ‘Is it not pleasant to learn
with a constant perseverance and application?


CHAP. V. The Master said, To rule a country of a thousand
chariots, there must be reverent attention to business, and
sincerity; economy in expenditure, and love for men; and the
employment of the people at the proper seasons.’


CHAP. VII. Tsze-hsia said, ‘If a man withdraws his mind from the love of beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous; if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength; if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life; if, in his intercourse with his friends, his words are sincere:– although men say that he has not learned, I will certainly say that he has.’


CHAP. VIII. 1. The Master said, ‘If the scholar be not
grave, he will not call forth any veneration, and his learning
will not be solid.
2. ‘Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.
3. ‘Have no friends not equal to yourself.
4. ‘When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.’


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