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Yüan Hsien dwelt in Lu

Confucius’ disciple Yüan Hsien dwelt in Lu in a house only one room surrounded by four walls; it was thatched with grasses; the door was a mat, and the window the mouth of a broken pot; a bent mulberry tree served as door support; above, the roof leaked, and below the floor was wet. After seating himself correctly, he would play the lute and sing.

Another disciple of Confucius Tzŭ-kung came to see Yüan Hsien, with fat horses to his carriage and wearing light furs, deep purple inside and undyed outside. Since his high chariot could not get into the lane, he walked up to call upon him.

Yüan Hsien answered the door, wearing a cap of ch’u bark and carrying a wooden staff. He straightened his cap and the string broke; he adjusted the lapel of his gown and his elbows came out; he put on his shoes and the heels burst.

Tzŭ-kung said, "Eh, sir, what ails you?"

Yüan Hsien looking up answered, "I have heard that to be without property is termed poverty, and that to be unable to put into practice what one has studied is termed ailing. I am poor; I am not ailing. Now acting with an eye to public opinion, making friends on a partisan basis, studying for the sake of others and teaching for one's own sake, so that benevolent (jên) and righteousness (i) are concealed, so that horse and carriage are ostentatious, so that clothes and furs are elegant—I cannot bear to practice the like."

Tzŭ-kung drew back, his face coloured with shame, and he left without saying farewell. Whereupon Yüan Hsien returned with slow steps, trailing his stick and singing the Sacrificial Odes of Shang. The sound merged with Heaven and Earth, as though it issued from metal and stone [musical instruments]. The emperor had no way of getting him as minister and the feudal lords had no way of getting him for a friend. Truly he who is cultivating his person forgets his family, and he who cultivates his will forgets his person. Since he does not love even his person, who can dishonour him?

The Ode says,
My mind is not a stone; —
It cannot be rolled about.
My mind is not a mat; —
It cannot be rolled up.

原宪居鲁,环堵之室,茨以蒿莱,蓬户瓮牖,桷桑而无枢,上漏下湿,匡坐而弦歌。子贡乘肥马,衣轻裘,中绀而表素,轩不容巷,而往见之。原宪楮冠黎杖而应门,正冠则缨绝,振襟则肘见,纳履则踵决。子贡曰:“嘻!先生何病也!”原宪仰而应之曰:“宪闻之:无财之谓贫,学而不能行之谓病。宪、贫也,非病也。若夫希世而行,比周而友,学以为人,教以为己,仁义之匿,车马之饰,衣裘之丽,宪不忍为之也。”子贡逡巡,面有惭色,不辞而去。原宪乃徐步曳杖,歌商颂而反,声沦于天地,如出金石。天子不得而臣也,诸侯不得而友也。故养身者忘家,养志者忘身,身且不爱,孰能忝之。《诗》曰:“我心匪石,不可转也;我心匪席,不可卷也。”

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