Analects 4:5

Confucius said

Though riches and honors are what people generally desire, if they cannot be obtained with accordance to tao, they should not be held. Though poverty and disgrace are what people generally detest, if they cannot be avoided with accordance to tao , they should not be avoided.

If the chun tzu abandons jen , how can he fulfill that name? The chun tzu does not abandon jen even for the space of a meal. During haste/urgency/trials, he cleaves/adheres to it; during distress/difficulty, he cleaves to it.

Riches and honors are what men desire. If it cannot be obtained in the proper way, they should not be held. Poverty and meanness are what men dislike. If it cannot be avoided in the proper way, they should not be avoided.

If a superior man abandon virtue, how can he fulfill the requirements of that name? The superior man does not, even for the space of a single meal, act contrary to virtue. In moments of haste, he cleaves to it. In seasons of danger, he cleaves to it. L

The princely man never for a single instant quits the path of virtue; in times of storm and stress he remains in it as fast as ever. G


The chun tzu resolutely follows tao for its own sake, and is satisfied with it.

If riches and honors do come to him, he takes them without doing anything contrary to tao —but he would not sacrifice tao for riches and honors or for avoiding their opposites, he is indifferent to and independent from riches and honors that are incompatible with tao, and cannot be discomposed or vexed over considerations solely for wealth and honors.

A person may be happy here and hereafter without much fame or wealth.

The chun tzu preserves life and what is genuine, and confines his pursuits only to what is essential and yi.

He uses external things, and does not allow them to use or entangle him.

Why spend life chasing wealth and honors, while neglecting what is more important and better, and living your life right now?

The one who disciplines his will and considers tao his riches—he has greater nobility than wealth and eminence. So why should such a person be discomposed even if he lacks wealth and eminence, and is among people who possess them?

The chun tzu is content with the yi of every moment, considers what is important, and forgets and discards what is unnecessary and unimportant.

Even if he lacks wealth and honors, and even if he incurs poverty and social dishonor, this does not bother him as long as he possesses wealth of character.

What a person is and does are the most essential elements in his living a satisfying, meaningful, and peaceful life.

One must rise above all conditions to follow tao .

Human existence must be transformed to jen, and not vain pleasures.

One who thoroughly examines himself will disregard external things, and use them rather than being used by them.