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READING AND CONDUCTING ONESELF WITH INTEGRITY (EXCERPT)

by Qian Mu (1895 - 1990)
English translation: Miao Guang

The learning of how to be a human being begins at an early age. Even when we get old, we still need to diligently continue our efforts in learning and practicing these ways. As the saying goes, “live and learn till your old ages.” The learning process of how to conduct oneself is endless. School students will eventually graduate, but human beings can never graduate from life. Even upon the moment of death, one is still a human being who must do what needs to be done. Thus such a learning process ends only at death.

How does studying take one to a higher level of being human? Because one can, from books, meet all kinds of people whose superior life experiences, and profound sentiments can serve as an exemplar for you. They are the ones who had emerged from thousands and millions of people, whose legends could withstand the test of time in order to remain until today. Take Confucius for example, it has been two thousand and six hundred years, has anyone good enough to parallel him ever existed? Furthermore, we revere and admire people such as Jesus, Sakyamuni Buddha, or Muhammad simply because of the type of human beings they had been. No legends of anyone who ever became a millionaire by winning the lottery has remained through time. Not even presidents or emperors can be well-remembered or admired. If we truly wish to be a human being, the following would suffice to benefit you for the rest of your life, “Nurture a sentiment, and elevate your spirituality.”

── from Qian Binsi Xiansheng Quanji (Complete Works of Mister Qian Binsi)