Analects 4:1

Confucius said

Neighboring in jen is finest. If a person chooses to not abide in jen, is he being wise?

It is virtuous manners which constitute the excellence of a neighborhood. If a man in selecting a residence, do not fix on one where such prevail, how can he be wise? L

It is the moral life of a neighbourhood which constitutes its excellence. He is not an intelligent man, who, in choosing his residence, does not select a place with a moral surrounding. K

It is the moral character of a neighbourhood that constitutes its excellence, and how can he be considered wise who does not elect to dwell in moral surroundings? S

The virtue of villagers is beautiful: he who in selecting a residence refuses to dwell among the virtuous, how can he be considered intelligent? C

It is social good feeling that gives charm to a neighbourhood. And where is the wisdom of those who choose an abode where it does not abide? J


All people need to be surrounded by good examples and a good environment.

The chun tzu aims to carry out tao, and in doing so, he is self-possessed, venerates and admires people’s hsien, has compassion and tolerance for others’ non hsien, and can interact with any other people without losing his root and integrity. He is himself and others are others—so how can they defile him?

On the other hand, he is careful to spend time in the right environment, prudently choose and draw towards people of the highest hsien, select the right companions, friends, and teachers when he can do so, limit his association with people of low hsien when proper to do so, and pursue the right work and activities.

Even individuals with exceptional personal substance, perception, and self-possession can hindered from progressing much in various ways if they are not positioned and neighbored in the proper place, and surrounded by what is exemplary.