Analects 2.21

Original Text:

或谓孔子曰子奚不为政子曰书云孝乎惟孝友于兄弟施于有政是亦为政奚其为为政

Translation:

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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