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Book Review #14: The Analects

"The Analects" by Lun yu.

Translation by D.C. Lau

One word review: Scrupulous

Did you know?

It is believed that Confucius was born with a deformity; his head was always depicted as being very large and oddly shaped.

The Analects is a philosophical book about the ideology of the Chinese Philosopher Confucius. Originally an ancient Chinese text, I read the translated version; translated by D.C. Lau. The book provides an introduction to Confucianism in a dialectic conversation between Confucius and his protégées.

Having read an introductory book on Buddhism I thought I'll explore Confucianism. And I just wanted an overview of the philosophy. The Analects provided more than an overview to the subject. The dialectic conversation conveyed the ideologies smoothly most of the times but proved to be inscrutable at times. Compared to Plato's The Republic, this book was easier to understand and grasp the crux of the matter.

Those who are born with knowledge are the highest. Next come those who turn to study after having been vexed by difficulties. The common people, in so far as they make no effort to study even after having been vexed by difficulties, are the lowest.

There were many notions that resonated with me. Just few pages into the introduction, I realized this book isn't just a time pass read but an edifying read. So, I began to start making notes and pencil marks. Along with the principles of Confucius, the book also narrates to a little extent about the life of Confucius; where he lived, what he did for a living, how he gathered followers etc.

The virtue of the gentleman is like the wind; the virtue of the small man is like grass. Let the wind blow over the grass and it is sure to bend.

The book which I had bought, Penguin Classics, was just over 200 pages. And it provides a thorough introduction to Confucianism which is considered to be more than a philosophy; a religion, a way of life.

To say you know when you know, and to say you do not know when yo do not, is knowledge.

Verdict: A beautiful philosophy!


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