Analects 17.4

Original Text:

子之武城闻弦歌之声夫子莞尔而笑曰割鸡焉用牛刀子游对曰昔者偃也闻诸夫子曰君子学道则爱人小人学道则易使也子曰二三子偃之言是也前言戏之耳

Translation:

Other Translations:

When the Master went to Wucheng, he heard the sound of stringed instruments and song. Smiling gently, he remarked, “Why use an ox-cleaver to kill a chicken?”

Ziyou replied, “In the past, Master, I have heard you say, ‘If the gentleman learns the Way he will be able to care for others, and if commoners learn the Way they will be easy to manage.’ ”

[Addressing the disciples who had accompanied him to Wucheng,] the Master said, “Take note, my disciples! What Ziyou says is true. My earlier comment was meant only as a joke.”

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

When the Master visited Wucheng, he listened to the music of stringed instruments and a chorus. A smile came to his face, and he said, To cut up a chicken, why use an ox-cleaver?

Ziyou replied, In the past I have heard you say, Master, that when the gentleman studies the Way, he learns to love others, and when the petty man studies the Way, he becomes easy to employ.

The Master said, You young men, what Yan (Ziyou) says is right. My earlier remark was just meant as a joke.

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

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