Home|365 Days for Travelers

by Mencius (372 BCE - 289 BCE, Warring States Period)
English translation: James Legge


When Heaven is about to confer a great office on any man, it first exercises his mind with suffering, and his sinews and bones with toil. It exposes his body to hunger, and subjects him to extreme poverty. It confounds his undertakings. By all these methods it stimulates his mind, hardens his nature, and supplies his incompetencies.

I like fish, and I also like bear’s paws. If I cannot have the two together, I will let the fish go, and take the bear’s paws. So, I like life, and I also like righteousness. If I cannot keep the two together, I will let life go, and choose righteousness.


That whereby the superior man is distinguished from other men is what he preserves in his heart─namely, benevolence and propriety. The benevolent man loves others. The man of propriety shows respect to others. He who loves others is constantly loved by them. He who respects others is constantly respected by them.

── from Mengzi (Mencius)