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by Zhuge Liang (181 - 234, Three Kingdoms Period)
English translation: Miao Guang

To act as a superior man, cultivate yourself with serenity, and foster your virtue by practicing frugality. Without detachment, your principles cannot be clarified, and without serenity, your perspective cannot be far. Before learning, you must first gain serenity; without learning, you cannot enhance your abilities.

Without serenity, learning will not be possible. Idleness and arrogance cannot refine your character, and impatience cannot bring rationality. Just as the years swiftly pass, your resolve wanes with age and turns dry and withered. What is the point of sighing with regret and wishing to turn back time?

── from Jiezi Tong Lu (Admonishing Sons: A Comprehensive Record)


Ministers who serve and defend their sovereign untiringly carry out their duties inside walls of the capital, while loyal and aspiring officers on the outside also selflessly devote themselves to their missions.

Having acquainted with dutiful ministers and eschewed wicked ones, Western Han thus saw prosperity. On the contrary, having acquainted with the latter and eschewed the former, Eastern Han thus fell.

── from Zizhi Tongjian (History as a Mirror)