Confucius Analects – 3 Levels of Practice
Last week we finished our discussion on study. This week we start our discussion on practice. Practice is the application of knowledge in life. in Chinese practice is (修行）, which includes study and application. Alongside with our ongoing study, let see what Confucius and his students had to say on how to practice, and how to integrate teachings into their lives.
6.1 Three levels of cultivation: knowing, loving, enjoying
The Master said, ‘They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it.’
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This chapter presents the 3 major stages of practice. One
1) knows about the truth (intellectual)
2) loves it (feeling)
3) delights in it (awareness)
The first stage one find interest in exploring the truth, and seek to know about it thoroughly. In second stage after understanding, one sees its value, feels the effect, and loves the truth. Finally, with practice and dedication, one realizes the wholeness of the practice, fully integrates in ones life, and therefore delights in it.
These 3 stages of practice could be applied to any topic of interest. For example in meditation, beginning students seek to understand the what-about and how-to of meditation. Intermediate students see and feel the value and love it. Advanced students is in meditative state all the time and is therefore at one with the internal joy of it.
Which stage of practice are you in?