Analects 12.19

Original Text:



Other Translations:

Ji Kangzi asked Confucius about governing, saying, “If I were to execute those who lacked the Way in order to advance those who possessed the Way, how would that be?”

Confucius responded, “In your governing, Sir, what need is there for executions? If you desire goodness, then the common people will be good. The Virtue of a gentleman is like the wind, and the Virtue of a petty person is like the grass—when the wind moves over the grass, the grass is sure to bend.”

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

Ji Kangzi asked Confucius about government, saying, If I kill those who don’t follow the Way, and thereby encourage those who do follow the Way, how would that be?

Confucius replied, Your task is to govern. What need is there for killing? If you desire goodness, the common people will be good. The virtue of the gentleman is like the wind; the virtue of the petty people like the grass. When the wind blows over the grass, surely it will bend.

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