An official position is comparable to a loom used to weave benevolence; the authority is comparable to a shuttle facilitating righteousness. The sage steps on the loom and holds the shuttle, weaving educational lessons for the world, enabling all things to grow in harmony, and
making the moral relations of human beings upright and proper.
Scroll 46: Zhong Lun
Sages live in seclusion in order to avoid danger, but quietly they make observations and wait for the next opportunity to arise. But petty persons, who do not know why good or bad fortune happens, would stumble into catastrophe every time they acted rashly, irrespective of how many precautions they might have taken to protect themselves.
Scroll 35: Wen Zi
Confucius said: “A superior person must calm himself before he takes any actions; be at ease before he speaks; earn the trust of others before he asks any favor from them. If a superior person can exemplify these three traits, he will be able to exist harmoniously with others without misgivings.”
Scroll 1: Zhou Yi
Confucius said: “For a superior person, there are nine things he needs to take notice of: In seeing, he must seek to understand correctly. In hearing, he must listen with clarity. His demeanor must be one of cordiality. His countenance must be one of respectfulness. He must be conscientious when he speaks, and serious in his tasks. When in doubt, he must seek advice. When in anger, he must seek to realize its negative impact. He must also think of what is right at the sight of gain.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
A superior person is knowledgeable but he is humble. He says little but he puts principles into practice. He takes actions but allows others do the talking. When he sees personal gains he contemplates whether these gains will bring forth humiliations. When he wants to back off from a problem he contemplates whether this action will bring forth insults. As soon as greed arises, he can sense shamefulness. As soon as his anger arises, he can sense pending disasters. A superior person will hold on to this prudent attitude all his life.
Scroll 35: Zeng Zi
Confucius said: “A superior person strives to be discreet in speech but quick in action.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
Success depends upon preparation in advance. Without such preparation there will be failure. Know what to say in advance and you will not be stuck for words. Know what to do in advance and you will not be trapped in difficulties. Take actions after a plan has been carefully laid out and you will not make regrettable mistakes. Once the principles of moral standards have been set in one’s mind, it will not be difficult to put the principles into practice.
Scroll 10: Kong Zi Jia Yu
Zixia was appointed as the magistrate of county Ju Fu. He asked Confucius about governance. Confucius said: “Do not expect to achieve results quickly. Do not look at small advantages only. The desire to achieve quick results will lead to the opposite. The narrow view on gaining small advantages will impede us from achieving bigger successes.”
Scroll 9: Lun Yu
Yan Ying said: “I have heard that one can serve one hundred kings with all his heart, but he cannot serve one king well with divided loyalties. While the wishes of the three lords are not the same, I, for one, am not a servant with divided loyalty.”
Scroll 33: Yan Zi
A country that does not have nine years of food in reserve is said to be deficient in its financial standing. If it does not have six years of food in reserve, it is said to be in a state of fiscal crisis. If it does not have three years of food in reserve, it is said to be a country that has lost its sovereignty. In every three years of farming, one year of surplus food must be reserved for emergency use; in every nine years of farming, three years of surplus food must be reserved. If we use thirty years as the base, the country will be able to have enough reserved food to withstand periods of drought and flood, and thus no famine will occur. The Son of Heaven can then be worry-free and be able to dine in fine music.
Scroll 7: Li Ji