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The Duke Ting asked whether t...


The Duke Ting asked whether there was a single sentence which could make a country prosperous. Confucius replied, 'Such an effect cannot be expected from one sentence.

'There is a saying, however, which people have— "To be a prince is difficult; to be a minister is not easy."

'If a ruler knows this,— the difficulty of being a prince,— may there not be expected from this one sentence the prosperity of his country?'

The duke then said, 'Is there a single sentence which can ruin a country?' Confucius replied, 'Such an effect as that cannot be expected from one sentence. There is, however, the saying which people have— "I have no pleasure in being a prince, but only in that no one can offer any opposition to what I say!"

'If a ruler's words be good, is it not also good that no one oppose them? But if they are not good, and no one opposes them, may there not be expected from this one sentence the ruin of his country?'


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