Analects 14.39

Original Text:



Other Translations:

The Master was playing the stone chimes in the state of Wei.

A man with a wicker basket strapped to his back passed by the door of the Kong Family residence and remarked, “Whoever is playing the chimes like that certainly has something on his mind!” After listening for a moment, he added, “How despicable is this petty stubbornness! If no one understands you, just tend to yourself.

‘If the river ford is deep, use the stepping-stones;

If it is shallow, simply raise your hem.’ ”

The Master [hearing these comments] responded, “Such resoluteness! Who could take issue with that!”

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

When he was in Wei, the Master was once playing the chiming stones. A man carrying a basket passed the gate of the house where Confucius was staying. He said, Someone of strong convictions is sounding the stones! After a while he said, Shallow—all this clang-clanging! If no one understands you, you give up, that’s all.

In deep water, let your robe get wet;

In shallow, hike it up.

The Master said, Quite right—that would be the easy way out.

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

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