Confucius Opposes Killing (My Translation) – Analects Book 12 – Chapter 19

Those Who Possess an Abundance of Virtue do not Need to Kill…

Confucius Opposes Killing 

季康子问政于孔子曰:“如杀无道,以就有道,何如” 孔子对曰:“子为政,焉用杀?子欲善而民善矣。君子之德风,小人之德草,草,上之风,必偃。” 

Confucius: Analects – Book 12 – Chapter 19 

Ji Kangzi asked Confucius about the nature of politics: ‘Is it not a matter of (social and spiritual) ‘correction’ that those who lack a relationship with the ‘Dao’ should be removed (as a problem) by way of being killed?  

Confucius replied: 

‘The superior man is born to govern, why would one with such a profound duty for leadership (over the masses) resort to the vulgarity of killing? Surely, such a superior man, once he manifests his natural ‘goodness’ in the world, will inspire (by his example) the ordinary people to manifest their natural ‘goodness’ as a matter of consequence. The son of a lord is (a ‘gentleman’) born to manifest a benevolent ‘virtue’ – just as the ordinary people are born to be flexible and adaptable by nature when manifesting their virtue. As the virtue of the superior man is like the ‘wind’ – and given that the virtue of the ordinary people is like the grass – when the wind blows naturally, the grass bends naturally in response.’  

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