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The Governing Principles of Ancient China

Confucius said: “A superior person may hold different opinions from others. A petty person may seem agreeable with others, but he cannot live in harmony with others.” (Scroll 9: Lun Yu)

 

Confucius said: “A superior person perfects what is good in people. He does not perfect what is bad. A petty person does the opposite.” (Scroll 9: Lun Yu)

 

A superior person conceals that faults of others as a means to cultivate his own kindness. A petty person destroys the kind deeds of others as a means to show off his own greatness. (Scroll 48: Ti Lun)

 

Zigong asked Confucius: “Will superior persons despise anyone?” Confucius said: “Superior persons despise people who expose the faults of others. They despise subordinates who slander their superiors. They despise brave people who are discourteous, and they despise resolute people who are unreasonable.” (Scroll 9: Lun Yu)

 

Superior persons possess solid principles and goals, and every plan that they make is firmly grounded in these principles. They do not need to know too many principles, but whatever they know is applied in their daily life. They do not need to do too many principles, but whatever they know is applied in their daily life. They do not need to do too many things, but whatever they do is done with good reasons. Their minds are calm and rest in good faith as if it is second nature to them. When they do good deeds, they are always apprehensive about not being able to put in their best efforts. Petty persons do the opposite. They do not care about moral principles, they cannot speak of remonstrations that are meaningful, they refuse to take lessons from the virtuous to improve themselves, and they cannot ground themselves in good deeds. They simply go with the flow, oblivious to their deeds. (Scroll 48: Ti Lun)

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