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Confucius - The Great Learning



THE capacity for knowledge of the inferior man is small and easily filled up; the intelligence of the superior man is deep and not easily satisfied.

It matters not what you Learn; but when you once learn a thing, you must never give it up until you have mastered it. It matters not what you inquire into; but when you inquire into a thing, you must never give it up until you have thoroughly understood it. It matters not what you try to think out, but when you once try to think out a thing, you must never give it up until you have got what you want. It matters not what you try to sift; but when you once try to sift out a thing, you must never give it up until you have sifted it out clearly and distinctly. It matters not what you try to carry out; but when you once try to carry out a thing, you must never give it up until you have done it thoroughly and well.

THE TRUE SCHOLAR

WHEN the opportunity of gain is presented to him, he thinks on virtue. He is reverent in sacrifice; in mourning, absorbed in the sorrow he should feel. He who cherishes love of comfort is not fit to be a scholar.

The main object of study is to unfold the aim; with one who loves words, but does not improve, I can do nothing.

The scholar's burden is perfection; is it not heavy? It ends but with life; is it not enduring?

Learning is like raising a monument; if I stop with this basket of earth, it is my own fault. It is like throwing earth on the ground; one basket at a time, yet I advance.

The true scholar is not a mere utensil. Leaving Virtue without proper culture; failing thoroughly to discuss what is Learned; being unable to move toward the righteousness of which knowledge is gained; and being unable to change what is not good, these are the things that (in my scholars) give me anxiety.

If a man keeps cherishing his old knowledge, so as ever to acquire new, he may be a teacher of others. I marked Yen-Yuen's constant advance; I never saw him pause. Often the blade springs, but the plant does not go on to flower; often the plant flowers, but produces no fruit.

Having completed his studies, the scholar should devote himself to official functions. He should say : "I am not concerned that I have no place; I am concerned how I shall fit myself for one. I am not concerned at not being known; I seek to be worthy to be known."

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