This refers to a person’s ability and attributes. To be specific, it has two meanings. First, it refers to a person’s ability to respond to and handle things. In this regard, such ability differs from person to person. A person may or may not have talent. There are people who have many talents, and there are also those who have one special talent. Second, it refers to one’s attributes one is born with. Attributes of a well-rounded person are close or even equal to that of a person with perfect human nature. People differ in views on whether talent is good or evil, just like their views on human nature.
- 仲弓为季氏宰，问政。子曰：“先有司，赦小过，举贤才。” （《论语•子路》） （仲弓担任季氏的总管，向孔子询问政事。孔子说：“将政务先分派给下面的官员，宽赦他们轻微的过错，举用有贤能的人才。”）
Zhong Gong, manager of the Ji family, asked Confucius about governance. Confucius said: “Assign administrative work to your subordinates first, pardon those who make errors and promote those who are virtuous and capable.” (The Analects)
- 孟子曰：“富岁，子弟多赖；凶岁，子弟多暴。非天之降才尔殊也，其所以陷溺其心者然也。” （《孟子•告子上》） （孟子说：“丰年，年轻子弟多善行；灾年，年轻子弟多暴虐。并不是天赋的材质有所不同，而是由于恶劣的环境使他们丧失了善心。”）
Mencius said: “In a year of bumper harvest, young people tend to do good deeds; in a year of natural calamity, young people tend to be violent. Not that they are different in nature, but that harsh circumstances make them lose virtuous intent.” (Mencius)