(Clearwisdom.net) Confucius (1) had a disciple named Sima Niu, whose brother wanted to hunt down and kill Confucius because the latter had criticized his secret and illegal city wall construction. As a result, Confucius and his disciples could no longer stay in the Song Kingdom.

Thinking of his brother's bad deeds, Sima Niu couldn’t help sighing sadly, "Other people have brothers worthy of praising. It is only I who don’t."

Zixia, a student of Confucius, heard what he said, and comforted him: "I have heard people say, ‘Life and death are just destiny; riches and honor are up to the heavens.’ As long as a gentleman is honest and respectful at heart, has no negligence, and treats others with respect and courtesy, all other people in the world are his brothers. Why would a gentleman worry about having no brothers worthy of praise?"

Sima Niu then asked Confucius how a person could be considered a gentleman. Confucius replied, "A gentleman has no worries or fear."

Sima Niu said, "Without worries or fear, one can be considered a gentleman?"

Confucius knew well about Sima Niu’s feelings. To increase his confidence, Confucius answered, "If you don’t have guilt to find when looking within, why would you worry or fear?"

At this moment Sima Niu understood what Confucius had said. Confucius continued, "The evil and rebellious things your brother has done have nothing to do with you. If you always worry that others may be prejudiced against you for your brother's actions, your heart won’t be calm. Trust yourself. If you behave righteously and are not guilty, why would you care what others may think?"

From Lun Yu (2)

(1) Confucius (551 B.C. - 479 B.C.) was a famous Chinese spiritual Master. His teachings about morality have deeply influenced East Asian life and thought for two thousand years.

(2) Lun Yu, or Analects of Confucius, are a record of the words and acts of the Chinese Sage Confucius and his disciples, as well as the discussions they held.