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Confucius met Ch’êng Pên-tzŭ of Ch’i

There is the following traditional story. When Confucius met Ch’êng Pên-tzŭ of Ch’i in the region of Yen, they put down the canopies of their chariots and talked for the rest of the day. After some time Confucius turned to Tzu-lŭ and said, "Yu, bring ten rolls of silk and present them to this gentleman."
Tzu-lŭ did not reply. After some time he again turned and said, "Yu, bring ten rolls of silk and present them to this gentleman."

Tzŭ-lu replied abruptly, "I once heard you say, Master, that the superior man does not approve of gentlemen's meeting without introduction, nor of a woman's marrying without an intermediary."
Confucius said, "Does not the Ode say,

On the moor is the creeping grass,
And how heavily is it loaded with dew!
There was a beautiful man,
Lovely, with clear eyes and fine forehead!
We met together accidentally,
And so my desire was satisfied.

What is more, Ch’êng Pên-tzŭ of Ch’i is one of the sages of the empire. If on this occasion I do not make him a present, to the end of my life I will never dare to see him again. When a person does not transgress the boundary line in the great virtues, he may pass and repass it in the small virtues."



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