If the gentleman has ability, he is magnanimous, generous, tolerant, and straightforward, through which he opens the way to instruct others.
There are successful scholars, public-spirited scholars, upright scholars, cautious scholars, and those who are merely petty men.
The nature of man is evil; what is good in him is artificial.
Thus, that one can find no place to walk through the breadth of the earth is not because the earth is not tranquil but because the danger to every step of the traveler lies generally with words.
If the blood humor is too strong and robust, calm it with balance and harmony.
Quarreling over food and drink, having neither scruples nor shame, not knowing right from wrong, not trying to avoid death or injury, not fearful of greater strength or of greater numbers, greedily aware only of food and drink – such is the bravery of the dog and boar.
Therefore, a person should first be changed by a teacher’s instructions, and guided by principles of ritual. Only then can he observe the rules of courtesy and humility, obey the conventions and rules of society, and achieve order.
Mencius said that human nature is good. I disagree with that.
The rigid cause themselves to be broken; the pliable cause themselves to be bound.
When a man sees something desirable, he must reflect on the fact that with time it could come to involve what is detestable. When he sees something that is beneficial, he should reflect that sooner or later it, too, could come to involve harm.
If the quickness of the mind and the fluency of the tongue are too punctilious and sharp, moderate them in your activity and rest.
Human nature is what Heaven supplies.