Analects 14.12

Original Text:



Other Translations:

Zilu asked about the complete person.

The Master said, “Take a person as wise as Zang Wuzhong, as free of desire as Gongchuo, as courageous as Zhuangzi of Bian, and as accomplished in the arts as Ran Qiu, and then acculturate them by means of ritual and music—such a man might be called a complete person.”

He continued: “But must a complete person today be exactly like this? When seeing a chance for profit he thinks of what is right; when confronting danger he is ready to take his life into his own hands; when enduring an extended period of hardship, he does not forget what he had professed in more fortunate times—such a man might also be called a complete person.”

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

Zilu asked about the complete person. The Master said, Zang Wuzhong’s understanding, Meng Gongchuo’s freedom from desire, the valor of Zhuangzi of Pian, the arts of Ran Qiu—embellish them through rites and music, and you have what may be termed the complete person.

And he said, But the complete person of our times need not necessarily be like this. If when he spies gain, he remembers what is right; when he spies danger, is ready to risk his life; when faced with old promises, does not forget his past words; then he can be termed a complete person.

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

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