"It is because I have not yet been tried out in office that I have developed accomplishments." (Book 9, Saying 7.)
"Is there any way to boil down your counsel into some simple principle that even a round-eyed barbarian might grasp?"
"If you do not want others to inflict something on you, you also should want to avoid inflicting it on others." (Book 5, Saying 12.)
"Good advice. It sounds familiar somehow. Like a golden rule. But I need something, well, more original. If I'm going to get a column out of this interview, I'll need something zingier, something with a clever twist to it."
"Clever words upset virtue. (Book 15, Saying 27.) What is the point of eloquence? Those who confront others with a ready tongue are often hated by them." (Book 5, Saying 5.)
"Yeah, so I've discovered, but the virtuous are often hated, too, especially those who aren't eloquent."
"I have never come across anyone who admires virtue as much as he admires sexual attraction." (Book 9, Saying 18.) "How perceptive. We are sexual creatures, after all. Male and female He made us. But what about those of us who aren't so attractive, and risk criticism every day? We yearn for admiration instead."
"My disciple Hui is of no help to me. In my words there is nothing which he does not admire." (Book 11, Saying 4.)
"I suppose we do learn from our critics."
"One does not worry about the fact that other people do not appreciate one. One worries about not being worthy." (Book 14, Saying 30.)
"Thank you, Master Kong, and not just for the tea."
The master smiled a smile neither obsequious nor haughty, but bestowed with a certain guarded but clear beneficence. I bowed in farewell. And gratitude. The old man does put things in perspective. The food looked good in the Chinese place, but I passed it up. I already had my take-out.