The Hu District villagers were known to be unreceptive. So when one of its young men was admitted [to Confucius’s circle for a session], the disciples were doubtful.
Confucius said, “I can be involved with someone’s approach without being involved in his leaving—for it is unnecessary to be that fastidious. If someone uncorrupts himself in his approach, I can accept his incorruptness without being a sponsor of his past.”
It was difficult to talk [(profitably and reputably)] with the people of Hu-hsiang, and a lad of that place having had an interview with the Master, the disciples doubted.
The Master said, “I admit people’s approach to me without committing myself [as to what they may do] when they have retired. Why must one be so severe? If a man purify himself to wait upon me, I receive him so purified, without guaranteeing his past conduct.” L
The inhabitants of Hu-hsiang were un-conversable people, and when a young man from those parts came to see Confucius, the disciples hesitated to let him in.
But the Master said: “When a man comes to me, I accept him at his best, not at his worst. Why make so much ado? When a man washes his hands before paying a visit and you receive him in that clean state, you do not thereby stand surety for his always having been clean in the past.” G
It was ill talking to the Hu villagers. A lad having been admitted, the disciples wondered.
The Master said: “I allow his coming, not what is to come. Why be so harsh? If a man cleanse himself to gain admission, I admit his cleanness, but go not bail for his past.” H
At Hu village the people were difficult to talk to. But an uncapped boy presented himself for an interview. The disciples were in two minds about showing him in. But the Master said, In sanctioning his entry here I am sanctioning nothing he may do when he retires. We must not be too particular. If anyone purifies himself in order to come to us, let us accept this purification. We are not responsible for what he does when he goes away. (Translator Unknown)