Some months ago Paulette gave me a tiny book, a reprint ca. 1940 of the 1910 translation by Oxford Professor William Edward Soothill of The Analects or The Conversations of Confucius with His Disciples and Certain Others. It includes a helpful essay by Prof. Soothill's daughter (Lady Hosie) concerning the historical context of the ancient sage. The renderings of Chinese into English are somewhat stilted, but occasionally rise to the level of charming proverbs. Among the most memorable:

Book II, Chapter XV: "Learning without thinking is useless. Thinking without learning is dangerous."

Book V, Chapter XXV (concerning the Master's wishes): "... [C]omfort the aged, be faithful to my friends, and cherish the young."

Book VII, Chapter XXI: "When walking in a party of three, my teachers are always present. I can select the good qualities of the one and copy them, and the unsatisfactory qualities of the other and correct them in myself."

Book XV, Chapter XVIII: "The noble man is pained over his own incompetency; he is not pained that others ignore him."

TopicPhilosophy - TopicLiterature - 2006-11-09

(correlates: Comments on Where Was God, CraftsmanShip, HarmonicMotel, ...)