Analects 19.23

Original Text:

叔孙武叔语大夫于朝曰子贡贤于仲尼子服景伯以告子贡子贡曰譬之宫墙赐之墙也及肩窥见室家之好夫子之墙数仞不得其门而入不见宗庙之美百官之富得其门者或寡矣夫子之云不亦宜乎

Translation:

Other Translations:

Shusun Wushu remarked to his ministers at court, “Zigong is an even greater worthy than Confucius.” Zifu Jingbo reported this to Zigong.

Zigong replied, “Let us use the analogy of a residence surrounded by a wall. The walls around my residence are only shoulder-high, so people can look over them and see the beauty of the chambers and apartments within. The walls of the Master’s residence, on the other hand, are fifteen feet high. This means that, unless one is able to enter through the gate, one cannot see the fineness of the ancestral temples or the luxuriousness of the various offices. Those who have been able to enter through the gate are rather few, so it is not at all surprising that your master spoke as he did.”

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

Shusun Wushu, speaking to the high officials at court, said, Zigong is a worthier man than Zhongni. Zifu Jingbo reported this to Zigong.

Zigong said, To use the simile of the wall surrounding a building, my wall is only shoulder-high, so you can get a good view of the living quarters inside. But Confucius’s wall is many feet high. Unless you enter by the gate, you can never see the beauty of the ancestral altar or the wealth of rooms for the hundred officials. And those who manage to enter that gate are likely to be few. So it’s not surprising that that gentleman said what he did.

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

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