Confucius Analects – Cautions in 3 Stages of Life, facing desire – 孔子论语 – 人生三阶段留意事项,面对欲望

16.3 Three caution in three stages in life

孔子曰、君子有三戒、少之時、血氣未定、戒之 在色、及其壯也、血氣方剛、戒之在鬥、及其老也、血氣既衰、戒之在得。

Confucius said, ‘There are three things which the superior man guards against. In youth, when the physical powers are not yet settled, he guards against lust. When he is strong and the physical powers are full of vigor, he guards against quarrelsomeness. When he is old, and the animal powers are decayed, he guards against covetousness.’

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When young, energy is abundant but not stable, be careful not to lost one self in following different forms of desire in life, it is time to set our goal into something healthy and positive;

When mature, energy is strong and stable, be careful not to lost one self in competing and beating up of others, it is time to consolidate what we have achieved, and allow others to do the same.

When in the old age, energy is declining, be careful not to hold on to what is achieved, like health, fortune and fame, it is time to relax and pass over our roles to the next generations.

Confucius describe our desire very lively in this chapter.  When we are young, we are easily swayed by various desires in life; when we are getting more mature, we are drawn to competition and status in life; when we have achieve money power and fame in late years, we want it to last forever.  Isn’t it so?  Even for spiritual student, there is desire to health, to knowledge, to experience, to power, to longevity, then we want spiritual enlightenment.  While some of these qualities are healthy and necessarily, over emphasis and attachment would lead to dogma and enslavement.

Actually, temptation to various forms of desire is present in all age of life, much like the temptation the genius professor perceived in the movie – A beautiful mind.  You just need to accept it and endure it in a non-attached manner, just like in meditation, and then the phenomenon will pass over time.  Awareness, discernment, acceptance, and patience are key in facing one’s desires.

16.3 君子有三戒

孔子曰、君子有三戒、少之時、血氣未定、戒之 在色、及其壯也、血氣方剛、戒之在鬥、及其老也、血氣既衰、戒之在得。

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孔子在这一章非常活泼的形容了我们的欲望。年轻的时候,我们容易被生活中的各种欲望所左右而迷失,当我们越来越成熟时,又往往会为了名利去与他人进行无止境的斗争,当我们实现了金钱,权力和名声后,又希望它能永远的持续下去。我们的欲望是不是这样的?即使是心灵学生,也会有对健康,知识,体验,力量,长寿,成佛成道的渴望。 虽然适当的去寻求这些特质本身并无不当,过分的强调和执着,就会变成教条和束缚。



2 responses to “Confucius Analects – Cautions in 3 Stages of Life, facing desire – 孔子论语 – 人生三阶段留意事项,面对欲望”

  1. 妮姬 Avatar

    Do you think that the practice of stillness is key to cultivating these various types of non-attachment?

    1. Derek Avatar

      Indeed! Stillness, or concentration, is a key quality to develop in the process of spiritual cultivation. Without it, non-attachment would be temporary, or would exist only in one’s head as a mental concept and understanding! Explore, experiment, and practice!

      On the topic of stillness, more fundamental questions are: What is needed to be stilled? Why is there such need? How to still it? And, what is the end result of stillness? Ponder on it.

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