Analects 2.21

Original Text:



Other Translations:

Some people said of Confucius, “Why is it that he is not participating in government?”

[Upon being informed of this,] the Master remarked, “The Book of Documents says,

‘Filial, oh so filial,

Friendly to one’s elders and juniors;

[In this way] exerting an influence upon those who govern.’

Thus in being a filial son and good brother one is already taking part in government. What need is there, then, to speak of ‘participating in government’?”

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

Someone questioned Confucius, saying, Why aren’t you in government?

The Master said, The Book of Documents says: Filial, only be filial, a friend to elder and younger brothers – this contributes to government. To do this is in fact to take part in government. Why must I be “in government”?

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

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