ONESELF, SELF-DISCIPLINE, AND
RETURNING TO PROPRIETY
YEH TS'AI'S TITLE AND DESCRIPTION: On Self-discipline. 41 sections. In this chapter the effort to practice what one has learned is discussed. Having clearly investigated principles and having deeply preserved one's mind and richly nourished one's nature, one is about to extend one's understanding and cultivation into personal practice. At this point one should devote the utmost effort to self-discipline.
1. MASTER LIEN-HSI [CHOU TUN-I] SAID: "The superior man is active and vigilant and is unceasing in his sincerity." But he must "restrain his wrath and repress his desires,""move toward good," and "correct his mistakes"1. before he can achieve his objective.2. Among the functions of ch'ien [Heaven] none is better than to achieve this,3. and the greatness of sun [decrease] and i [increase] does not go beyond this. The thought of the Sage is deep indeed!4. "Good fortune, evil fortune, occasion for repentance, and reason for regret all arise from activity."5. Alas! Good fortune is only one out of four. Should we not be careful about activity?
2. MASTER LIEN-HSI SAID: Mencius said, "For nourishing the mind there is nothing better than to have few desires."6. I say that to nourish the mind one should not stop at having few desires and preserving his mind. One should have fewer and fewer desires until there is none. Without desires, sincerity will be established and intelligence____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Reflections on Things at Hand:The Neo-Confucian Anthology. Contributors: Chu Hsi - Compiler, LÜ Tsu-Ch'Ien - Compiler, Wing-Tsit Chan - Translator. Publisher: Columbia University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1967. Page number: 154.
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