Lun Yu, Analects of Confucius
Translated into modern Chinese by Cai Xiqin
Translated into English by Lai Bo and Xia Yuhe
Published by Sinolingua, Beijing, 1996
385 pages, paperback, 8 inch x 5.5 inch
This is a new version of Analects of Confucius containing modern Chinese and English translations. The book records the sayings and deeds of the great thinker, educationist Confucius and his disciples. Compiled by the disciples of Confucius and their disciples after their Master's death, it covers a wide scope of subjects, ranging from politics, philosophy, literature and art to education and moral cultivation. It is indispensable material for the study of the Master's thought.
To help readers both at home and abroad who are not specialists in ancient Chinese language, and to make this classic useful to more people in today's economic surge and reform, while being faithful to the original meaning, a free approach is taken in the rendering so as to make the translations more consistent and easy to read, recite and understand.
Analects, or Analects of Confucius, written in twenty chapters, is thought to be a composition of the late Spring and Autumn Period. It is undoubtedly the most influential text in East Asian intellectual history, collecting maxims and short discussions between Confucius and his disciples. Many of them take sense in an historically well-defined context.
It is within this work that most of the basic framework regarding Confucian values such as humaneness, righteousness, filial piety, and propriety is uncovered.
The book opens on a sentence beginning with the word 'learn', a constant injunction in the Analects:
The Master said, To learn and at due times to repeat what one has learned, is that not after all a pleasure? That friends should come to one from afar, is this not after all delightful? To remain unsoured even though one's merits are unrecognized by others, is that not after all what is expected of a gentleman? (Analects I. 1., tr. A. Waley)
Chapter X contains detailed descriptions of Confucius' behaviors in different daily activities. This has been pointed at by Voltaire and Ezra Pound to show how much he was human, not god, not even a saint. Simon Leys, who recently translated the Analects into French and English, says that this book may well have been the first in human history to describe the life of a man.
There are various theories regarding its compilation, but it is obvious that it is somewhat of a patchwork, assembled over a period of time, but the core of the book could be attributed to the second generation disciples.