In pursuit of virtue, do not be afraid to overtake your teacher.


Confucius (c. 551- c. 479 BC) Chinese philosopher, sage, politician [孔夫子 (Kǒng Fūzǐ, K'ung Fu-tzu, K'ung Fu Tse), 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ, Chungni), 孔丘 (Kǒng Qiū, K'ung Ch'iu)]
The Analects [論語, 论语, Lúnyǔ], Book 15, verse 36 (15.36) (6th C. BC – 3rd C. AD) [tr. Leys (1997)]

(Source (Chinese) 1, 2). Modern numbering is 15.36; exceptions (mostly after Legge) noted below. Alternate translations:

Let every man consider virtue as what devolves on himself. He may not yield the performance of it even to his teacher.
[tr. Legge (1861), 15.35]

Rely upon good-nature. 'Twill not allow precedence (even) to a teacher.
[tr. Jennings (1895), 15.35]

When the question is one of morality, a man need not defer to his teacher.
[tr. Ku Hung-Ming (1898), 15.35]

He upon whom a Moral duty devolves should not give way even to his Master.
[tr. Soothill (1910), 15.35]

He who has undertaken the way of Virtue does not yield place to his Teacher.
[tr. Soothill (1910), 15.35, alternate]

Manhood’s one's own, not leavable to teacher.
[tr. Pound (1933), 15.35]

When it comes to Goodness one need not avoid competing with one's teacher.
[tr. Waley (1938), 15.35]

When faced with the opportunity to practice benevolence do not give precedence even to your teacher.
[tr. Lau (1979)]

When one is confronted by humaneness, one does not yield precedence to one's teacher.
[tr. Dawson (1993)]

One should not decline modestly to one's teacher when one faces the benevolent thing.
[tr. Cai/Yu (1998), analect 420]

In striving to be authoritative in your conduct (ren), do not yield even to your teacher.
[tr. Ames/Rosemont (1998)]

With (ren), one need not defer to one's teacher.
[tr. Brooks/Brooks (1998)]

Abide in Humanity, and you need not defer to any teacher.
[tr. Hinton (1998)]

When it comes to being Good, defer to no one, not even your teacher.
[tr. Slingerland (2003)]

In matters of humaneness, do not defer even to your teacher.
[tr. Watson (2007)]

When encountering matters that involve the question of humaneness, do not yield even to your teacher.
[tr. Annping Chin (2014)]

When confronted with a challenge of upholding Ren virtue or not, one should not yield -- not even to his own teacher.
[tr. Li (2020), 15.37]

Added on 1-Aug-22 | Last updated 1-Aug-22
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