The Choice of Four Friends (Post No.2857)


Compiled by london swaminathan


Date: 31 May 2016


Post No. 2857


Time uploaded in London :– 10-18 AM


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Once when Tzu-Lu, Tseng Hsi, Jan Chhiu and Kunghsi Jua were seated in attendance on the Master, he said, “You consider me as a somewhat older man than yourselves. Forget for a moment that I am so. At present you are out of office, and feel that your merits are not recognised. Now supposing someone were to recognise your merits, what employment would you choose?”


Tzu-Lu promptly and confidently replied “Give me a country of a thousand war chariots hemmed in by powerful enemies, or even invaded by hostile armies, with drought and famine to boot – in the space of three years I could endow the people with courage and teach them in what direction right conduct lies.”


Our Master smiled at him and said, “What about you, Chhiu?”



Jan Chhiu replied saying, “Give me a domain of fifty to seventy square leagues, and in the space of three years I could bring it about that the common people should lack for nothing. But as to rites and music, I should have to leave those to a real Chun-tzu”


What about you, Chhih?”

Kunghsi Jua answered, “I do not say what I could; but I should like at any rate to be trained for it. In ceremonies at the ancestral temple, and at the audiences of  the Princes with the High King, I would like, dressed in the dark square made robe and the black linen cap, to act like a junior assistant”


Tien, what about you?

Tseng Hsi laid aside the lute on which  he had been softly playing, rose and said, “I fear my words and will not be so well chosen as those of the other three.:


The Master said, “What harm is there in that? All that matters is that each should name his desire.”


Tsen Hsi said, “At the end of  spring, when the making of the Spring clothes have been completed, to go with five or six newly capped  young men and six or seven boys, the perform the lustration and bathe in the River Yi, enjoy the breeze among the Rain Dance  altars, and return home signing”.

The Master sighed and said, “ I agree with Tien.”