Confucian Analects

Hsien Tsin


Chi Tsze-zan asked whether Chung Yu and Zan Ch'iu could be called great ministers.

The Master said, 'I thought you would ask about some extraordinary individuals, and you only ask about Yu and Ch'iu!

'What is called a great minister, is one who serves his prince according to what is right, and when he finds he cannot do so, retires.

'Now, as to Yu and Ch'iu, they may be called ordinary ministers.'

Tsze-zan said, 'Then they will always follow their chief;- will they?'

The Master said, 'In an act of parricide or regicide, they would not follow him.'