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SELECTIONS FROM XUNZI
by Xunzi (313 BCE - 238 BCE, Warring States Period)
English translation: Miao Guang

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR LEARNING (EXCERPT)

When earth accumulates to form a mountain,
the winds and rains thereupon flourish;
When water accumulates to form a deep well,
a dragon controlling rain and flood is thus born.

Without the accumulation of half-steps,
a thousand miles cannot be crossed;
Without the accumulation of small streams,
rivers and oceans cannot be formed.

A steed cannot exceed ten steps in a single leap,
while a nag can keep running for ten days by
never giving up.

To give up only after a few chisels,
not even rotten wood will snap;
To keep chiseling without giving up,
even gold and stone can be engraved.

THE GREAT COMPENDIUM (EXCERPT)

If the seasons never get cold, then there is no way of knowing the nature of the cypress and the cedar.

If tasks were not difficult, there is no way of knowing the character of a superior man.

── from Xunzi