Idioms from The Analects



1. Yǒu jiào wú lèi


2. Yīn cái shī jiào 


3. Míng zhèng yán shùn

1. 有教无类     Yǒu jiào wú lèi (The Analects - Wei Ling Gong 15.38)  
     Everyone is equal in education.

     有 yǒu:  to have (verb)                                                                          
     教 jiào:  to teach (verb)
     无 wú:not to have, without (verb)
     类 lèi: types, categories (noun)

Confucius was the first person in Chinese history who expanded the learning rights and opportunities to common people. He started the first vocational school to teach people the practical skills, such as archering, riding carriage, accountancy and writing, also music and etiquette of worship aancestor. Anyone, who had a sincere learning attitude and paid ten pieces of dried meat as tuition, could follow him to learn.

2. 因材施教     Yīn cái shī jiào (The Analects - Xian Jin 11.21) 
    Teaching in accordance with students’ aptitude.

      因 yīn: according to (preposition)
      材 cái: material (noun)
      施 shī: to implement (verb)
      教 jiào: teaching activities (noun)

One of Confucius’ disciple Zi Lu asked, “Should I go and act on hearing immediately?” Confucius said, “How can you do that when your father and brother are still living and are in good health?”

    Another disciple Ran You asked exactly the same question: “Should I go and action on hearing?” Confucius said, “Go and act on hearing!”

    Gongxi Hua asked Confucius, 'Why are your answers different? I am confused. Would you please give me an explanation?” Confucius said, “Zi Lu is quite bold and reckless, I have to restrain him; Ran You is always shrinking back so I need to encourage him.

3. 名正言顺    Míng zhèng yán shùn (The Analects - Zi Lu 13.3)
    To rectify the names and descriptions and to make speeches justify and powerful.

      Míng   名:name, describe, famous (n., v., adj.)
      Zhèng 正:rectify, upright, straight (v., adj., adv.)
      Yán     言:speech, word, talk (n., v.)
Shùn   顺:smooth, arrange, obey, along (adj., v., prep.)

When Confucius was asked what he firstly would do if he were to help governing the country, “I would begin by making a definition and rectification of names and descriptions.” Confucius remarked, “If names and descriptions are not properly defined, words and speeches will not correspond to facts.
If words and speeches do not correspond to facts, it is impossible to perfect anything.
Where it is impossible to perfect anything, the law is unable to be followed, the civilization cannot flourish.
When the civilization cannot flourish, law and justice cannot attain their ends.
When law and justice do not attain their ends, people will be lost to know what to do.”

    Therefore, a gentleman can always specify whatever he names; whatever he can specify, he can carry out. A gentleman never treats his words and deeds carelessly.   
(English translation partly refers to Gu Hongming's book 'The Discourses & Sayings of Confucius')