Analects 11.22

Original Text:

子路问闻斯行诸子曰有父兄在如之何其闻斯行之冉有问闻斯行诸子曰闻斯行之公西华曰由也问闻斯行诸子曰有父兄在’求也问闻斯行诸子曰‘闻斯行之赤也惑敢问子曰求也退故进之由也兼人故退之

Translation:

Other Translations:

Zilu asked, “Upon learning of something that needs to be done, should one immediately take care of it?”

The Master replied, “As long as one’s father and elder brothers are still alive, how could one possibly take care of it immediately?”

[On a later occasion] Ran Qiu asked, “Upon learning of something that needs to be done, should one immediately take care of it?”

The Master replied, “Upon learning of it, you should immediately take care of it.”

Zihua, [having observed both exchanges], inquired, “When Zilu asked you whether or not one should immediately take care of something upon learning of it, you told him one should not, as long as one’s father and elder brothers were still alive. When Ran Qiu asked the same question, however, you told him that one should immediately take care of it. I am confused, and humbly ask to have this explained to me.”

The Master said, “Ran Qiu is overly cautious, and so I wished to urge him on. Zilu, on the other hand, is too impetuous, and so I sought to hold him back.”

Confucius, & Slingerland, E. (2003). Analects: With selections from traditional commentaries. Hackett Publishing.

Zilu asked, When I hear something, should I proceed to put it into action?

The Master said, While your father and elder brothers are alive, how can you hear something and immediately put it into action?

Ran You asked, When I hear something, should I proceed to put it into action?

The Master said, When you hear it, then act on it.

Gongxi Hua said, When You asked if, when I hear something, I should put it into action, you, Master, said, Your father and elder brothers are still alive. But when Qiu (Ran You) asked if, when I hear something, I should put it into action, you said, When you hear it, put it into action. I’m confused—may I venture to ask for an explanation?

The Master said, Qiu is timid—so I urged him on. You always tries to outdo others—so I restrained him.

Confucius, & Watson, B. (2007). The Analects of Confucius. Columbia University Press.

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