Confucius Analects – who love to learn? speech vs. action
1.6 Characteristics of man who love learning
The Master said, ‘He who aims to be a man of complete virtue in his food does not seek to gratify his appetite, nor in his dwelling place does he seek the appliances of ease; he is earnest in what he is doing, and careful in his speech; he frequents the company of men of principle that he may be rectified:– such a person may be said indeed to love to learn.’
-> Confucius does not advocate for poverty, just for non-attachment to sensual and emotional comfort or stability. Do your work diligently, speak carefully, and refine yourself from virtuous persons.
2.7 Act before speak
Zigong asked what constituted the superior man. The Master said, ‘He acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions.’
-> Why? To build up one’s credibility. When we accomplish what we say or promise, we build trust so others can rely on us. If we promise too much but later cannot deliver, it hurts our confidence, and credibility.
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Eat, but do not indulge in taste; Live, but do not endulge in stability. What else do we seek? Aren’t we here to seek comfort, stability, and enjoyment? To Confucius, there are many things that are of more importance, which are knowledge, learning, benevolence and harmony. What is important to you?
When speaking of our plan, how often can we deliver them as said? How often did we speak of something that we fail to deliver? It takes time to build up one’s credibility, but it takes only a few incidence to destroy it. Therefore, Confucius suggested earnest in doing, and careful in speaking. This is in line with the Buddhist teachings of mindfulness in action, speech, and intention.