Excerpts from the writings of Chu Hsi On Study
- 2.7. In their efforts students should be worried lest they
not get the essentials. If they investigate *, everything will
naturally fall into place and interconnect with everything else;
each thing will have its order. But if they don't, they'll run into
difficulties everywhere. Students talk nonstop, speaking frequently
of "holding-on-to-it"; but if they haven't understood the
essentials, they don't know what "to hold on to". They speak of
"extending it" or "personally experiencing it", or "nurturing it" -
all are instances of choosing the right words for conversational
purposes. Only if they are really capable of these things will they
succeed. When it is said "we have to pay attention to the
essentials," it's probably for this reason.
- 2.9. To understand the essence of * is the foundation.
- 2.10. You must go to the source to gain a full
understanding of *.
- 2.12. In learning, you'll benefit only if you make the one
great advance. If you're able to ascertain the one point, the big
point (i.e., *, you'll see that the many small fragments are nothing
but this one * - and you'll feel pleased. Still, it isn't that you
should ignore the fragments; but if you don't ascertain the critical
point, even though you might understand the fragments somewhat, in
the end you won't be pleased. ... Now we should talk about what
the critical point is: under heaven there is only one *. In
learning you should desire nothing more than to understand this *.
Once you appreciate this, you will completely appreciate the
distinctions between heavenly principle and human desires,
righteousness and profit, impartiality and partiality, good and
- 2.13. Just recognize clearly the *, and the imbalance (in
psychophysical stuff) will become apparent of itself. Once you
understand * clearly, when imperfections exist, you'll be able to
transform them naturally, without even being aware of it. You won't
have to make any effort.
- 2.15. In making the effort, a student mustn't say that
he's waiting to make one big effort. He should accumulate fragments
[of effort] little by little starting immediately. Waiting just to
make the big effort is to waste the opportunities before him at the
moment. A student must begin his efforts now, forcefully and
without hesitation, and even ghosts and spirits will flee from him.
- 2.17. If you don't know where to begin, whether you
proceed in haste or only slowly, you won't get it.
- 2.18. People nowadays are mired in confusion; only when
the sages have spoken to them repeatedly [through their texts] are
they willing to take leave of it. But if they are already totally
stupified and, moreover, don't even know to pursue *, in the end
they'll become mere beasts.
- 2.19. People today think learning is something from the
outside added on to them.
- 2.22. When (beginning) students today speak of setting the
mind in the right, they briefly mouth the words "setting the mind in
the right". When they speak of making the thoughts true, they
briefly mouth the words "making the thoughts true". And when they
talk about self-cultivation, they do nothing more than recite the
sages' and worthies' many utterances about self- cultivation.
Sometimes they gather together the words of the sages and worthies
and compose an ... essay. Engaging in this sort of learning has
little effect on one's own person. It is essential that you fully
understand this matter. Our friends, of course, take much pleasure
in hearing about the learning of the worthies and the sages, but in
the end they're unable to break away from the ordinary practices of
- 2.23. Students must establish (intent). That people
nowadays are aimless is simply because they've never taken learning
- 2.24. Learning depends upon firmly establishing (intent)
and isn't related to the strength or weakness of one's
psychophysical allotment. ... It's indeed as you say. I feel that
it's sometimes extremely difficult, sometimes extremely easy. If
one simply establishes (intent) firmly, and follows *, nothing will
- 2.34. In learning, do not claim that there's no one to
analyze it for you. You need to go to the core of it yourself,
making the most careful effort. You must understand it for
- 2.29 Don't depend on teachers or friends.
- 2.30 Don't wait.
- 2.38. Establish a strict work schedule, relax your
thoughts, and, after a long time, you naturally should find * in it.
You can't look for quick results.
- 2.39. People often say that they're busy with things and
that this hinders their study. This is unconvincing. ... If
students have even a shred of strength left in them, they must carry
on; only if they are completely out of strength and their mouths can
no longer speak may they stop. "Even if an iron wheel goes round
and round on your head, your concentration, wisdom, and perfect
brightness should never be lost."
- 2.41. Learning is just like punting a boat upstream. Only
in the calm spots does the boat move along without problems. As it
enters the rapids.....
- 2.43 You must train your mental energy if you are to
understand. The affairs under heaven cannot be carried out
successfully in leisure and relaxation.
- 2.48 ... in the course of a day (students) minds fix on *
very little and on trivial matters a great deal - they remain
unacquainted with * and become thoroughly familiar with trivial
- 2.49. The important thing for students today is to
distinguish between the paths. What's important is the boundary
between "doing it for one's own sake" and "doing it for the sake of
others". "To do it for one's own sake" is to grasp the essence of
things and affairs firsthand in reaching an understanding of them -
you want to understand them for yourself. It isn't to understand
them recklessly, nor is it to understand them in a way that makes
you look good, so that people will say yes, you have indeed
understood; if this is how you were to go about it, even supposing
you did understand them 100 percent accurately, they'd still have no
effect on you at all. You must first come to understand these
- 2.50. In recent times scholarly discussion hasn't been
very genuine. Mostly, people are intent on showing off. This
situation is like our having food but, rather than eating it
ourselves, simply placing it outside the door so that others know
our household has it. Only if people readjust their ambitions will
they advance in learning.
- 2.52. Nowadays people tirelessly (verbalize) the lofty.
The ancients, they took concrete step after concrete step.
- 2.53. Learning must genuinely be for the sake of oneself;
if it is, one will become tranquil and true and embody the many
manifestations of *. If a person touches only slightly on learning,
how will he get at *? And even if he does get at it and talks about
it, he still won't embody it.
- 2.54. The first step to entering the Way is to place
yourself in the midst of *; gradually you will become intimate with
it. After a while you and it will have become one.
- 2.57. As for the way to learn: you must first preserve *,
and only then can you examine into particular matters.
- 2.58. "Extensive learning" refers to all that one ought to
learn: the principle of heaven, of earth, and of the myriad things
and the way of cultivating the self and of governing others. But
there is an order to all that you learn: you must place what is
important and urgent first - learning can't be unsystematic and
- 2.59. It's like climbing a mountain. Men often want to
reach the highest point and don't realize that in the end there is
no way to do so unless they're familiar with the low points.
- 2.60. In your understanding of obvious or easy passages
lies an understanding of abstruse ones.
- 2.62. To understand it, you must understand it with
- 2.67. If a student is possessed of the foundation, all the
many details will congregate there one by one. In reading, he'll be
sure to find it easy to understand; and in studying, he'll be sure
to find it easy to remember.
- 2.80. The usefulness of teachers and friends lies simply
in their ability to make it known to you at the beginnng and to
correct it at the end. You have to struggle to do the middle 30% of
the work on your own. Once you've been instructed in it at the
beginning, worked diligently on it yourself in the middle, and
deliberated with others to correct it at the end, the benefits will
be great. If you don't proceed like this, what good will it do?
- 2.82. You absolutely must get rid of the mind that's
attached to externals.
- 2.84. After you become intimately familiar with *, it will
be your true standard. You'll view the myriad affairs of the world
as confusing, enticing, and all part of a staged play - you'll find
it truly unbearable to keep your eyes on them. ... Probing * and
cultivating the self alone constitute the perfect way.
- 3.1. Knowledge and action are mutually dependent. As for
their order, knowledge comes first. As for their importance, action
is more significant.
- 3.2. The Master said: When you know something but don't
act on it, your knowledge of it is still superficial.
- 3.3. The "Doctrine of the Mean" first speaks of study,
inquiry, reflection, and discrimination and then speaks of earnest
Enlarge one's mind with learning
extend knowledge to the utmost
apprehend the * in things
restrain oneself with ritual
subdue one's self
return to propriety
- 3.4. As to order, we should place "the extension of
knowledge to the utmost" first. As to importance, we should
consider "vigorous action" the more significant.
- 3.5. What is called "probing *" is this: the big must be
probed, the small must be probed, and soon everything will become
one. What is meant by "the extension of knowledge lies in fully
apprehending the * of things" is, that if we wish to extend our
knowledge to the utmost we must probe thoroughly the * in those
things that we encounter. It would seem that every man's intellect
is possessed of the capacity for knowing and that everything in the
world is possessed of *. But, to the extent that * is not yet
thoroughly probed, man's knowledge is not yet fully realized.
Hence, the first step of the instruction in greater learning is to
teach the student, whenever he encounters anything at all in the
world, to build upon what is already known to him of * and to probe
still further, so that he seeks to reach the limit. After exerting
himself in this way for a long time, he will one day become
enlightened and thoroughly understand (*); then, the manifest and
the hidden, and the subtle and the obvious qualities of all things
will all be known, and the mind, in its whole substance and vast
operations, will be completely illuminated. This is called "fully
apprehending the * in things." This is called "the completion of
- 3.9. The student's efforts consist solely in practicing
inner mental attentiveness and probing *, these two matters. These
matters are mutually dependent. If one is able to probe *, one's
efforts at practicing inner mental attentiveness will improve daily.
If one is able to practice inner mental attentiveness, one's efforts
at probing * will become more intense daily. In actual fact, these
cases are simply one matter, not two.
- 3.10. As soon as a person makes the effort, he'll discover
the obstacles. When he begins making the effort, he'll be intent on
doing one thing, but some other thing will get in his way, and he'll
understand neither. It's just like when we practice inner mental
attentiveness and probe * - these two things get in each other's
way: practicing inner mental attentiveness refers to the way of
controlling and restraining oneself; probing * refers to the way of
investigating the ultimate. These two things simply hinder each
other. But when we get good at them, naturally they no longer get
in each other's way.
- 3.11. Adhering to inner mental attentiveness is the basis
of probing *.
- 3.12. If you are able to be perfectly attentive, naturally
you will have no depravities. What use will you have for "subduing
yourself"? Should you have depravities, it is simply because you
practice inner mental attentiveness imperfectly. Blame your inner
mental attentiveness alone. Thus, if you are mentally attentive,
there is no self to be subdued - this is what results from inner
mental attentiveness. It's essential that beginning learners exert
effort everywhere and do their utmost in everything.
- 3.13. If you wish to probe *, you must give your entire
attention to it. If you don't, how will you ever understand
- 3.14. The myriad affairs will all [be clear] after you
probe *. If there is no order to affairs and * is unclear to you,
no matter what you do to keep a hold on yourself it'll merely be in
- 3.16. If moral principle isn't clear, how can one act
- 3.17. People today talk only about "governing the mind"
and "cultivating the self". But if one doesn't understand *, how
can one's mind be governed, how can one's self be cultivated? ...
When one's thoughts, from first to last, are constantly fixed on
learning, one's virtue becomes cultivated imperceptibly. If from
beginning to end one is constantly fixed on learning, one's virtue
will improve as a matter of course, without one ever being conscious
- 3.18. In learning, you must want to know with absolute
certainty what is right.
- 3.19. It's simply a struggle between knowing it and not
knowing it, between knowing it well and not so well.
- 3.20. * is engendered with all life. Essentially, to
understand *is no big thing. I don't know why people give it so
little attention; it seems they are content in their ignorance.
- 3.21. Man, heaven, and earth are all possessed of the many
manifestations of *.
- 3.23. The mind embraces the myriad manifestations of *.
The myriad manifestations of * are embodied in the one mind. Unable
to preserve the mind, one is unable to probe *. Unable to probe *,
one is unable to give full realization to the mind.
- 3.24 In probing *, an open mind and quiet reflection are
- 3.25. Open the mind to observe *.
- 3.26. Now if you can't see * clearly, it isn't that you
don't know what it is but rather that it is obstructed by things.
Now the ordinary means [of dealing with this problem] is to rectify
the many evil distractions in the mind. Only then can [* be seen].
The big problem is that men frequently are unwilling to give up
their old understanding.
- 3.27. * is not some separate thing in front of us; rather
it's in our minds. People must discover for themselves that this
thing is truly within them, then everything will be ok.
- 3.28. There is no need to talk of convergence. All that
appears before one's eyes are affairs and things. Just probe them
one by one to their limit and gradually the many, of themselves,
will become interconnected. The point of convergence is the mind.
- 3.29. In general, to appreciate * one must understand the
great foundation clearly. The subordinate parts are simply this
principle dispersed into myriad manifestations. ..once you
understand the great ultimate clearly, you will surely understand
that the many manifestations of * in the universe come from it. All
things and affairs have * - absolutely nothing is without it.
- 3.30. Today's scholars have never understood the main
point of learning. One should simply probe *; * is the same as
heavenly principle [t'ien-li]. Even if sages don't appear, this *
exists of its own. * exists of itself eternally. [The judgements
of] "good fortune", "bad fortune","remorse", and "humiliation" were
all inferred from *.
- 3.32. * is infinite. What our predecessors have said
doesn't necessarily exhaust it. We must pick it up ourselves and
look at it from every angle, penetrating it deeply and exploring it
- 3.33. * is the * right in front of your face.
- 3.36. To appreciate *, you must understand it concretely.
Only then will you benefit. If you regard it as somewhat mysterious
and strange, you don't fully understand concrete *.
- 3.37. ...conjecture about it [is a vice]. Just observe *
calmly, and its significance will naturally become manifest.
- 3.39. Rely on the ideas of the sages and worthies in
examining the books of the sages and worthies. Rely on the * of the
universe in examining the affairs of the universe.
- 4.2. Book learning is of secondary importance. It would
seem that * is originally complete in man; the reason he must engage
in book learning is that he hasn't experienced much. Now in book
learning we must simply apprehend the many manifestations of *.
Once we understand them, we'll find that all of them were complete
in us from the very beginning, not added to us from the outside.
- 4.4. In teaching others, the sages and the worthies
explained the way of learning quite clearly. Generally speaking, in
their reading students should probe to the limit. "The pursuit of
learning" is an important matter, for one has to understand * to
become fully human.
- 4.5. Read books to observe the intentions of the sages and
worthies. Follow the intentions of the sages and the worthies to
- 4.9. There is layer upon layer [of meaning] in the words
of the sages. In your reading of them, penetrate deeply. If you
simply read what appears on the surface you will misunderstand.
Steep yourself in the words.
- 4.10. When men read a text, they merely read one layer;
they don't try to get at the second layer.
- 4.11. In reading, you must look for an opening in the
text; only then will you find the * in it. If you do not see an
opening, you'll have no way to enter into the text. Once you find
an opening, the coherence of the text will naturally become clear.
- 4.16. In reading, to understand * the mind must be open,
unobstructed, and bright.
- 4.17. In reading, open wide the mind and * will appear.
If the mind is anxious and under pressure, * ultimately will have no
way of appearing.
- 4.18. Your reading will be successful only if you
understand the spot where everything interconnects. Because you
have never done it before, exert the right effort now, and make up
for past failures.
- 4.20. Read little but become intimately familiar with what
you have read; experience the text over and over again; and do not
think about gain.
- 4.21. ...read little but become intimately familiar with what you read
don't [far-fetch] but rather personally experience it over and over
concentrate fully, without thought of gain
- 4.23. In reading one text, you cannot simultaneously look
at those you haven't yet read; you should, however, simultaneously
look at those you've read already.
- 4.29. Reading is one way of apprehending the * in things.
... What's required here is that we never stop thinking,
occasionally turning over and over in our minds what's already
become clear to us; then, enlightenment may occur, without our
specially arranging for it.
- 4.33. [first intimate familiarity] so that its words seem
to come from our own mouths. We should then continue to reflect on
it so that its ideas seem to come from our own minds. We must
continue to question. Then there might be additional progress. If
we cease questioning, in the end there'll be no additional progress.
- 4.37. If we haven't read to the point of intimate
familiarity, there is nothing we can possibly ponder.
- 4.40. If your (reading) effort is lax and you're not given
to reflection, you'll simply conclude that there's nothing in your
understanding of it that need be doubted; it isn't really that
there's nothing to be doubted, but since your understanding isn't
complete you just don't realize it.
- 5.2. The books you read, the * you probe, should be
embodied in your person. I don't know whether what you routinely
study and probe is on your mind at all times or not. But if it
isn't, you're just hurrying through the texts, reading for their
literal meaning and taking little pleasure in them. This, I fear,
will be of no benefit to you in the end.
- 5.4. The beginner is sure to have lapses in his inner
mental attentiveness. But as soon as he's aware there's been a
lapse, he'll arouse his mind. Awareness of the lapse then leads to
the resumption of inner mental attentiveness. What I hope is that
people, in reading, will grasp * for themselves.
- 5.5. When one's original mind has been submerged for a
long time, and the * in it hasn't been fully penetrated, it's best
to read books and probe * without any interruption, then the mind of
human desire will naturally be incapable of winning out, and the *
in the original mind will naturally become safe and secure.
The mind - unprejudiced, spiritual, and conscious - is one.
But that there is a distinction between the "human mind" and the
"ontological mind" is because of this: the mind at times arises in
the self-centeredness of the psychophysical stuff and at times
originates in the perfect impartiality of the moral nature decreed
by heaven, so the resulting consciousnesses are different. Hence
the mind can be precarious and unsettled, or abstruse and almost
imperceptible. Yet all men have a psychophysical form, so even the
very wisest will always have a human mind; and all men have a moral
nature, so even the very stupidest will always have an ontological
mind. If the human mind and the ontological mind become mixed in
the heart and one does not know how to control them, the precarious
will become even more precarious, the imperceptible will become even
more imperceptible, and the impartiality of the heavenly principle
in the end will be unable to overcome the selfishness of human
desires. "Be discriminating" means to distinguish between the human
and ontological minds so that they do not become mixed. "Be
undivided" means to protect the perfect impartiality of the original
mind so that it does not take leave of one. Should one devote
oneself without interruption to these matters, making certain that
the ontological mind always acts as master of the body and the human
mind always obeys its orders, the precarious will become settled and
the almost imperceptible will become manifest. And in activity and
tranquility, in words and actions, one will not err in going either
too far or not far enough.
- 5.8. The great end of learning is nothing else but to seek
for the lost mind.
- 5.9. It's often because their minds are not present as
they read that students don't understand *. Simply give a little
attention to them and you'll see the * in them. If you were to
concentrate, you'd certainly see it.
- 5.10. When the mind isn't settled, it doesn't understand
*. Presently, should you want to engage in book learning, you must
first settle the mind so that it becomes like still water or a clear
- 5.12. There is a method to book learning. Simply scrub
clean the mind, then read. If you don't understand the text, put it
down for the moment, wait until your thoughts have cleared, then
pick it up and read it again.
- 5.13. Take the case of "one who studies widely and with
set purpose, who questions earnestly, then thinks for himself about
what he has heard"; why is it said that "such a one will incidently
- 5.14. I'm afraid that students often read recklessly
because their efforts basically aren't well regulated. It's simply
that they read with confused and disordered minds, not clear,
settled ones. They should turn the * with which they're already
intimate over and over in their minds, until it permeates their
entire person, and afterwards go read the text. Then naturally
they'd understand it.
- 5.17. In reading a sentence of text we must ascertain for
ourselves where we might sometime put that sentence into practice.
- 5.19. In reading a text, you must open your mind. Don't
come to the text with preconceived ideas - you'll commit many
mistakes in no time at all. If you open your mind, you'll
understand * clearly.
- 5.33.Students today have two kinds of flaws: one is that
they let themselves be ruled by personal prejudices; the other is
that they embrace received theories. Even if they wished to shake
free of these, they'd still be naturally troubled by them.
- 5.36. In reading, if you have no doubts, encourage them.
And if you do have doubts, get rid of them.
- 5.41. We're simply seeking the * in ourselves - this * is
easy to understand.
- 5.42. We must read the thinkers of the hundred schools to
observe their various faults.
- 5.48. In reading, first and foremost don't come to the
text with preconceived ideas.
- 5.50. Generally, in reading a text, if a person probes to
the point where * becomes clear, his mind will be greatly uplifted.
- 5.51. Generally, in reading a text, you should examine
most closely those passages for which there are differing
explanations. [take all viewpoints]. Invariably the truth will
- 5.52. We rely on the [mystical texts] to understand *.
Once we have grasped *, there is no need for the [texts].
- 5.60. The classical texts contain passages that can't be
explained. The only alternative is to offer no explanation; if you
insist on offering one, it'll be unintelligent and mistaken in
- 5.64. Generally, you mustn't let a student look at a text
while he's explaining it. For if he looks at the text, his mind
will die right there.
- 6.1. Since antiquity, sages and worthies have considered
the mind to be the root.
- 6.2. The myriad words of the sages and worthies ask only
that people do not lose their original minds.
- 6.7 Man's spirit flies about, like dust. If the mind be
not present inside the shell, harm will result.
- 6.14. If a person doesn't know his own faults, it's
because he has never personally examined and become conscious of
- 6.17. In learning, before inquiring into what constitutes
true knowledge and vigorous action, a student should collect his
mind and give it a place to settle. If in gathering it in he places
it in the midst of *, it'll be largely free of reckless thoughts,
and after a while it'll weigh light with material desire and heavy
with * - it's essential that * outweigh material desire in the
- 6.18. Students must seek their lost minds. Afterward
they'll understand the goodness of their natures.
- 6.19. Someone asked about "preserving the mind".
"Preserving the mind" isn't just something you write down on a piece
of paper. You should fully understand the sort of thing the mind
- 6.21. ... keep the mind open and calm, and in time it'll
become bright of itself.
- 6.22. It's best if in responding to affairs the mind of
man is always just as it is when it has nothing to respond to.
- 6.24. Generally speaking, you needn't be too concerned
with unrefined psychophysical stuff. If the mind is calm, the
psychophysical stuff will naturally become tranquil. It's just that
a coarse mind is a common failing among students. If you do not
preserve it with every breath, it'll become coarse. The important
thing is to reflect carefully on matters and make clear distinctions
between them in order that * may become clear and righteousness
apparent in all its subtlety; and if in preserving and nurturing it
[the mind] there isn't a moment's interruption, * will be constantly
preserved and human desire disappear. This, indeed, is to approach
- 6.26. Man's mind is originally bright. It's just that it
gets covered over by things and affairs and can't get out from under
them; hence, illuminating * is difficult. Let's strip away the
things covering over the mind, and wait for it to come out and be
itself. Since it's called the mind, it'll naturally know right from
wrong and good from evil.
- 6.28. A person must examine his mistaken mind with his
unmistaken mind. The unmistaken mind is the original mind; the
mistaken one is the original mind lost.
- 6.30. The effort required of students entails pruning away
superficial and extraneous ideas.
- 6.31. Generally speaking, in order to learn you must first
brighten the mind. Only afterward are you capable of learning.
- 6.33. the apprehension of * in things
the extension of knowledge
setting the mind in the right
making the thoughts true
Drifting around in the texts, I felt they were all different. It's only when
I really applied myself that the * running through them all became
apparent. ... I'm just afraid that you won't make the effort.
- 6.34 ...what was it that the ordinary person was supposed
to do to become "free of desire"? There (he) simply talked about
inner mental attentiveness, letting people work it out for
themselves; having a pretty firm grasp of it, they'd have a point
from which to begin. ... But all those who nowadays speak of inner
mental attentiveness are eloquent about external matters; they don't
know to seek results directly from the mind, and consequently they
end up distressed and unhappy. Their approach is not so effective
as seeking the lost mind from right under their noses, thereby
saving themselves a great deal of trouble. It's an extremely simple
matter: just arouse the mind and prevent it from growing dim, and
in one or two days you'll see the results. It'll be easy and save
you trouble. It's simply a state somewhere between thinking and
not-thinking. Why is it that you find it difficult and don't do it?
- 6.38. Practice inner mental attentiveness and the myriad
manifestations of * will be complete in you.
- 6.47. What nowadays is referred to as "holding on to inner
mental attentiveness" doesn't mean to make the words "inner mental
attentiveness" into some great object you clutch to your bosom.
It's important only that the mind be constantly possessed of the
intention [to practice inner mental attentiveness], not the term.
- 6.53. When I read, my mind would fix on the text; when I
dealt with matters my mind would fix on those matters. It thus
seemed that I had become somewhat good at (inner mental
attentiveness). And yet when I closed my eyes and practiced
quiet-sitting, I couldn't expel my thoughts. ...when you closed
your eyes you began to get wild ideas. ...you didn't yet understand
the substance of inner mental attentiveness.
- 6.55. There's a dead inner mental attentiveness, and
there's a living one. ... It's essential that inner mental
attentiveness and righteousness sustain each other, with one
following upon the other ad infinitum. Then inner and outer will be
- 6.58. Inner mental attentiveness and righteousness are not
two different matters.
- 6.62. Now if you never did it [i.e. concentrate the mind]
when you were young, there's nothing you can do about that now; only
if you do it from here on out might you achieve any success. If you
don't make the effort, ... it'll be just like wanting to build a
house when there's no foundation for it or place to erect the
- 7.1. Studying it extensively isn't the same as knowing its
essentials, and knowing its essentials isn't the same as actually
- 7.3. If we need not practice it personally but only have
to talk about it and that's all, then the seventy disciples ...
would have required a mere two days to talk about it and been done.
- 7.4. If a person isn't able to put * into practice, it's
simply because the * within him has yet to be fully realized.
- 7.5. As far as matters are concerned, you yourselves must
go care for them, examine them, nurture them. As far as books are
concerned you yourselves must go read them. And as far as * is
concerned, you yourselves must go investigate it. I'm just one who
guides and corroborates: if you have questions or difficulties,
we'll discuss them together, but that's it.
- 7.7. If you don't actually [engage in learning, and
practice] but just fantasize about it, you'll be incapable of
understanding even the lowest.
- 7.10 Generally speaking, if a person is capable of standing
firmly on the threshold between * and human desire, he'll make great
- 7.11. The boundary between * and human desire is a
shifting one. (The Master) always spoke of "anticipating".
- 7.13. ... there is only one mind; it just depends on the
waxing and waning of * and human desire.
- 7.14. Wealth and position (and love) are things external
... Yet you seek them, fearing only that you will not get them.
Even supposing you did get them, they wouldn't do ... the slightest
bit of good; moreover, you can't be certain of getting them. Now if
you were to seek *, you'd get it; and, if you were capable of not
losing what you had, you'd become a sage...
- 7.15. All matters, be they large or small, possess
righteousness and profit. Just now you've done something good; but
it involved some private gain as well. This is what is meant by
"doing it with goodness, without understanding the Way."
- 7.16. Benevolence and righteousness are rooted in the
original endowment of man's mind. The mind of profit is engendered
by the urge we have to keep up with each other.
- 7.20. Discussion is absolutely essential. But then you
must go and personally make the effort. If you simply talk about a
matter, within a day or two you'll be done. The moment that (the
mind) sees good and wants to do it is the seed of the true mind
manifesting itself. But as soon as it becomes manifest, it's
immediately obstructed by the psychophysical endowment and the
- 7.22. Heaven simply engendered you, entrusting you with *.
Whether you take on the task or not is simply up to you. Doing it
well depends on you; doing it poorly likewise depends on you.
- 7.26. There exists this *, and only (subsequently) does
there exist this thing or matter.
- 7.30. Often we wish to accomplish something without
appreciating that if we ourselves aren't established yet we'll be
absolutely incapable of seeing the matter through. For should even
the slightest selfish thought remain in a man's mind, it's enough to
ruin matters. If there's the slightest blemish above [in the mind],
there'll be a conspicuous one below [in the matter].
- 7.33. People today, before they understand something,
impulsively act on it - without understanding it in the least. Once
they do understand it, they realize that what they've already done
is often reason to be horrified.
- 7.34. If as you do things you're concerned with profit and
loss, in the end you're bound to suffer loss.
- 7.39. What your physical being expends is simply a "guest"
energy [i.e., it's yours only temporarily]. If you just spoke about
and immersed yourself in human nature and *, there'd naturally be a
difference in your dealings with matters.
- 7.40. Compassion and kindness must be the foundation. As
for bravery and determination, though we cannot be without them,
their use is restricted to certain occasions.
- 7.41. Discussion that sidesteps and avoids the issue is
most harmful to matters.
- 7.44 ... as for "consciously avoiding suspicion", the
worthy man mustn't do it, how much less the sage. ... if one is
"consciously avoiding suspicion", fearful of what other people might
say - this is selfish thinking. It's like not doing what one knows
fully well one should do - it's selfishness. It's also "consciously
avoiding suspicion". Only after having made considerable effort and
having examined himself at some length will a person understand
- 7.50. The reason people become distressed about poverty
and humble status and anxious about wealth and honor is simply that
they don't understand *. If they understood *, poverty and baseness
would be incapable of doing them harm, and wealth and honor would
add nothing to them. They need only to understand *.
- 7.53 * is something all minds share; it's easy for people
to investigate it.
- 7.55. As for the person who specializes in writing ( ),
what he says is always what the sages and the worthies have said.
... when he speaks of incorruptibility; he is able to do so
eloquently. And when he speaks of righteousness, he again is able
to do so eloquently. Yet in his own behavior he naturally is
neither incorruptible nor righteous. This is because he takes so
many words and merely expresses them on paper. Incorruptibility is
something he explains in response to a posed question; the same with
righteousness. Neither are matters of personal concern at all.
- 7.56. ...you still haven't succeeded. From this we can
see that success and failure aren't necessarily what we might
expect. You have immersed yourself in them, but have never stood
out; in the end you're just going to ruin yourself. Put them aside
and try to understand *, because its essential; and later you might
even achieve ().
With those who do violence to themselves, it is impossible to
speak. With those who throw themselves away, it is impossible to do
anything. ...they themselves say, "* is good. I've heard what
others say, and furthermore accept it. I'm just unable to do it; no
matter what you do I'm unable to do it." This is to throw
themselves away. Those who throw themselves away sever themselves
from it, practicing it not at all. (this) is to say that they know
* exists but that they cut themselves off from it, unwilling to
practice it. (there is an implication of) timidity and weakness.
To Top of Document
HTML validation by:
reset in HTML 4.0 in September 2000