Professor Bernard's picture

Benevolence: the Words

By Bernard

Here are the exact words of the ANALECTS about Benevolence:

1.3 A man who speaks with honeyed words and pretends to be kind cannot be benevolent.

1.6 At home, a young man should be dutiful towards his parents;  going outside, he should be respectful towards his elders;  he should be cautious in deeds and trustworthy in words;  he should love everyone yet make close friends only with those of benevolence;  If he has any more energy to spare, let him devote it to books.

2.20 Be upright in their (people) presence, and they will hold you in respect;  be filial and benevolent, and they will be loyal to you;  use the righteous and instruct the unqualified, and they will try their best in service.

3.3 What can a man do about the rites if he is not benevolent?  What can he do about music if he is not benevolent?

3.8 Can we say that the rites can only base themselves on benevolence?  Confusius said joyfully…

4.1 One should choose to dwell in such a place where there are men of benevolence.  Otherwise, how can one be said to be wise?

4.2 Ill-cultivated man can neither be content in poverty nor happy in wealth. The well-cultivated man is content in benevolence, and wise man knows to use benevolence.

4.3 Only a benevolent man is able to tell whom to love and whom to hate.

4.4 One who sets his heart on benevolence will be free from evil.

4.5 How can one be called a gentleman if one betrays benevolence?  Under no circonstances should a gentleman forget to practive benevolence.

4.6 I have neither seen a man who really loves benevolence, nor a man who really hates unbenevolence.  A man who really loves benevolence is the rightest in virtue, and a man who really hates unbenevolence may only considered benevolent in the sense that he would not allow unbenevolent people to contaminate him.  Is there anyone who is willing to devote all his energy to benevolence for a whole day?  Though I could find no one who does not possess the energy, yet I have never seen such a man who has devoted himself to it.  Or perhaps there is such a person, but I have not yet come across him.

5.5 “He is benevolent but is a poor orator”.  Why bother with clever speech?  If one is always using clever arguments, he will be hated by others.  I don’t know if he is benevolent, but why must he be a good orator?

5.8 He can be given responsibility of managing military affairs in a state of one thousand chariots, but whether he is benevolent or not, I don’t know…
He ca be appointed magistrate of a town with one thousand households, or steward in a noble manor with a hundred chariots, but whether he is benevolent or not, I don’t know…
He is a suitable choice for the job of receiving foreign guests, but whether he is benevolent or not, I don’t know…
Note.  Confusius knew all his disciples very well.  When he said: “I don’t know”, it only served the purpose of politeness…
Confusius showed his appreciation for the special talents of his disciples while believing that they had their own weaknesses, far from perfect.  Therefore, he said he did not know whether they were benevolent or not.

5.19 “…He neither looked happy when he was appointed to office three times, nor did he look unhappy when he was removed from office three times.  Moreover, before his leaving, he always told his successor what he had done in his term of office.  Can we say that he was benevolent?”  I don’t know, but how can this be called benevolence?
“…He gave up his position and left his state.  He went to two other states, left again, for he found the rulers of these states were just like…  What do you think of him?”  He was very pure.  “Can we say he was benevolent?”  I don’t know, but how can this be called benevolence?

6.7 Only he was able to devote himself to benevolence constantly!  the other disciples only thought of it occasionally.

6.17 Who can go out of a room except through its door?  So why is no one following my way of benevolence?

6.22 If one is the first to take a difficult job and the last to think about reward, then one can be called benevolent.

6.23 The wise take delight in water, the benevolent in mountains.  The wise are active while the benevolent are still.  The wise enjoy life while the benevolent achieve longevity.

6.24 If reform is carried out in Qi, it will catch up with Lu;  and if Lu reforms, it will be on the way to benevolence.

6.26 “If you tell a man of benevolence that a man has fallen into the well, will he jump in after him?”
How can your raise such a question?  A gentleman will rescue the man in the well, but he wouldn’t jump in himself.  He may be cheated but will never be fooled into taking unintelligent actions.

6.30 “What do you think of one who can bring bountiful benefits and a better life to all the people?  Is he benevolent?”
Far more than benevolent, he would be a sage for whom two ancient sages would be no match.  A benevolent man is one who helps others establish what himself wishes to establish, helps others achieve something he wishes to achieve.  To be capable of treating others as one would be treated oneself is the best way to be benevolent.

7.6 Stick to the way to your goal, base yourself on virtue, lean upon benevolence, and take your recreation in the six arts ( i.e. music, the rites, archery,carriage driving, classic books and arithmetic).

7.15 “What sort of people were Bo Yi and Shu Qi, who both insisted on giving the throne to the other?  Did they resent each other after giving up the throne?”
They were both men of virtue in the ancien time.  They sought benevolence and they got it.  What would they resent?

7.26 I cannot expect to see a sage, but it is enough for me to see a gentleman.  I cannot expect to see a benevolent man, but it is enough to see a man who persists in principle.  I’m afraid that even those who persist in principle cannot say that they have never pretended to have when they have not, pretended fullness when there is emptiness and pretended to by rich when poor.

7.30 Is benevolence really far away from us?  You only have to really want it and it will come.

7.34 How can I deserve to be called a sage or a benevolent man?  I simply study and work tirelessly and teach others patiently, and that is all.

8.2 Courtesy without following the rites leads to tiredness;  caution without following the rites leads to cowardice;  courage without following the rites leads to rudeness;  frankness without the rites leads to harshness.  Subordinates imitate their superiors;  when a superior man devotes himself to his own kin, the people will cherich the cultivation of benevolence.  When he does not forget his friends, people will not be indifferent to one another.

8.7 A scholar must be resolute and steadfast, for his burden is heavy and his road is long.  To practise the virtue of benevolence in the world is his burden. Is that not heavy?  Only with death does his journey come to an end.  Is that not long?

8.10 Those who are brave and cannot tolerate living in poverty are likely to riot.  Those who know nothing about benevolence, if not carefully guided will also make trouble.

9.1 Seldom did Confucius talk about profit, fate and benevolence.

11.24 A minister should serve the ruler with benevolence.  If he can’t do this, he should rather resign his office.

12.1 One who restrains himself in order to observe the rites is benevolent.  Once you can do this, you will be unaninously considered as a man of benevolence.  Such a practice wholly depends on oneself, not on anybody else.
“How can one carry on such a practice?”
Do not look at things that do not accord with the rites;  do not listen to things that do not accord with the rites;  do not say anything that does not accord to the rites;  and do not do anything that does not accord to the rites.

12..2 He asked what benevolence was.
Deal with your work as earnestly and conscientiously as you receive a distinguished guest;  call up the common people for corvée labour as coutiously as if you were at a sacrificial ceremony;  never impose upon others what you dislike yourself.   By so doing, you will cause no resentment anywhere you go.

12.3 A benevolent man is always careful in speech.
“Can a man be considered benevolent only because he is careful in speech?”
How can a man not be careful in speech as long as he knows it is difficult to act?

12.10 He who makes friends with those trustworthy and honest, and is observant to benevolence can cultivate virtue.  To love someone is to wish him longevity;  to hate someone means to wish him an immediate death.  To wish someone longevity and at the same time to wish them dead is to be unable to distinguish between right and wrong.

12.20 “What should an intellectuel do to become knowledgeable?”
What do you mean by knowledgeable?
“I mean having a good reputation no matter whether one serves the court or a ruling family.”
This is called being known, not being knowledgeable.  In order to be knowledgeable, one must be frank and upright by nature, and be lover of the rites.  One must carefully weigh up a person’s words and closely watch his expression.  He must give precedence to others out of courtesy.  Such a person is sure to be knowledgeable no matter whether he serves the court or a ruling family.  The known person you mentioned is one who only talks about benevolence but goes back on benevolence in practice.  He considers himself benevolent.  As a matter of fact, such a person wins his fame only through whether he serves the court or a ruling family.

12.22 To be benevolent is to love.  To know others well is to be wise.  To put those who are straight and upright in important positions makes the wicked become straight and upright. 

13.12 Even with the rise of a sagacious ruleer, it will still take him thirty years to realise benevolent governement.

13.19 …About benevolence.
Be respectful to parents, be conscientious in official affairs, be loyal and honest to friends.  These are three moral principles can never be defied anywhere.

13.27 The four qualities of unyieldingness, resoluteness, modesty and cautiousness in speech can make a person almost benevolent.

14.1 “Can a man be called benevolent who has never done others down, bragged about himself, had a grudge against others, or been covetous?”
I’m afraid what he has accomplished can only be said to be difficult and worty of praise.  But I do not know for sure whether or not he has become benevolent.

14.4 A benevolent man is surely courageous, but a courageous man is not necessary a man of benevolence.

14.6 It is true that some gentlemen are not benevolent, but is will never be true that a petty man is benevolent.

14.16 et 14.17 ***Histoires de princes…  Compliqué!

14.23 The gentleman achieves benevolence while the petty man achieves material gains.

14.28 I fail to do any of the following three things that a gentleman should do:  a man of benevolence never worries;  a man of wisdom never gets confused;  a man of courage never fears.
“That is just the master’s self image.

15.9 A man of benevolence and lofty ideals should not, at the expenses of benevolence, cling cravenly to life instead of braving death.  He will, on the contrary, lay down his life for the accomplishment of benevolence.

15.10 “How to practice benevolence.”
A craftman must prepare his tooks beforehand in order to do his work well.  Similary, in a country, one must serve those among the senior officials who are virtuous, and make friends with those among the educated who are benevolent.

15..13 That’s enough.  I have never met a man who loves benevolence more than woman beauty.

15.33 Without benevolence, one will lose the position of power that one has attained through wisdom and talent.  With benevolence, one can keep the position.  But one cannot gain the support of the multitude if one does not command the multitude with conscience.  If one can attain a position of power with wisdom and talent, keep it with benevolence, and at the same time, can command the multitude with conscience, still such a regime can not be called a perfect regime if one does not command the multitude according to the rites.

15.35 Benevolence is more vital to the common people than water and fire.  I have seen people die in water and fire, but I never seen anyone die of practising benevolence.

15.36 In the face of benevolence, do not give precedence even to your teacher.

17.4 Those in office will develop benevolence when they have studied the rites and music.  The common people will be easy to command when they have studied the rites and music.  Education is useful after all!

17.6 To embrace five qualities at once is benevolent…  They are gravity, tolerance, trustworthiness, diligence, and generosity.  With gravity you will not be humiliated;  tolerance brings the support of the multitude;  trustworthiness wins the trust of others;  diligence paves the way to success;  and generosity makes it easy to exercice control over others.

17.8 Do you have heard about the relationship between the six qualities and the six faults?  …  To love benevolence without loving learning is to be liable to be fooled;  to believe in wisdom without loving learning is to be liable to dissoluteness;  to be honest without loving learning is to be liable to being made use of and self-destruction;  to be straight without loving learning is to be liable to harmful and biting speech;  to be courageous without loving learning is to be liable to disobedience;  to be unyielding without loving learning is to be liable to recklessness.

17.17 A man who speaks with honeyed words and pretends to be kind cannot be benevolent.

17.21 ***Benevolence pour le deuil de 3 ans…  trop long pour rien!

18.1 ***Dans l’histoire, Yin, 3 benevolents résistant un despote

19.2 He is a nobody, who does not stick to benevolence, nor to his belief.

19.6 The is no need for one to look for benevolence if one has learned widely, inquired earnestly, and dealt with things throughfully.

19.15 He is hard to emulate.  Still he cannot be said to be a benevolent man.

19.16 In learning, he is too great to surpass.  So it is impossible for people to cultivate benevolence together with him.

20.1 Although I have close relatives, I would rather enfeoff the benevolent men.  When common people make mistakes, let me alone take the responsibility.

20.2 ***Parmi les 5 vertus… la 3ème :  He should pursue virtue but not be greedy for profit.
***Explication… What more could one be greedy for if one desires benevolence and gets benevolence?

***Texte partiel ou résumé d’un article.