Analects 12.5

Original Text:



Other Translations:

Anxiously, Sima Niu remarked, “Everyone has brothers, I alone have none.”

Zixia replied, “I have heard it said, ‘Life and death are governed by fate, wealth and honor are determined by Heaven.’ A gentleman is respectful and free of errors. He is reverent and ritually proper in his dealings with others. In this way, everyone within the Four Seas is his brother. How could a gentleman be concerned about not having brothers?”

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

Sima Niu, troubled, said, All men have elder and younger brothers, but I alone have none.

Zixia said, The way I’ve heard it, life and death are a matter of fate; wealth and eminence rest with Heaven. If a gentleman is respectful and free of error, if he is considerate of others and treats them according to ritual, then all within the four seas are his elder and younger brothers. Why should a gentleman be troubled that he has no elder or younger brothers?

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

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