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REFINEMENT (EXCERPT)

by Liang Shuming (1893 - 1988)
English translation: Miao Guang

Throughout our entire lives, the need to resolve the relationship between people and matters has always come first, followed by interpersonal relationships, and finally that between others and our inner self.

This process is similar to the arduously long training of an outstanding fighting rooster: in the first stage, it appears fierce though it lacks strength like a clamoring street hooligan. In the second stage, it is still tense and indomitable, just like the critical and passionate words of a youth. In the third stage, though its competitiveness appears to have completely disappeared, fierceness still remains in its eyes, meaning that aggressiveness and impulsiveness are still there. Finally, it will appear rusty and stupid, yet subtle with its superb skills well-hidden. Only when such an animal steps into the arena will true invincibility be displayed.

── from Xiulian (Refinement)