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TEN ADMONISHMENTS FOR A LIFE WELL-LIVED (EXCERPT)
Jiang Kanghu (1883 - 1954, Qing Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

Dress coarsely:

While brocades are splendid, it is a pity to see matters being wasted. Stressing the importance of frugality to a nation indulged in extravagance is a correction which needs to be made urgently.


A diet of vegetables:

To be human yet inhumane is the fashion of barbarism. A bite of vegetables offers a mouthful of savory flavor.


Sleep in the wilderness:

Spring and autumn nights are ideal when accompanied by the bright moon and floral scents. The sky is our canopy and the earth our mat, in-between which we wander about freely.


Rise early:

Each day is a new day; be studious. Rest well at night, and prevent indulgence in wasteful play.


Abstinence:

Aroused sensuality leads to the decline of one’s nature; extreme pleasure will be followed by tragedy. For the sake of vitality and longevity, abstain from such.

Reticence:

Silent unless struck; a man of greatness should be like the bell. Who has ever heard Heaven speak? Understanding is gained through experiences.


Labor:

To be laborious in mental and physical activities is an ability of the sages and deities. To be skilled in various disciplines is excellent training for one’s body.


Recuperate:

Within the ground of the mind, not even a speck of dust is disturbed. Deep and clear as still water, it stands firmly like the Great Wall.


Introspect:

Why not seek the cause in oneself and self-reflect on a daily basis? Self-reproach for one’s faults, and eliminate pretentiousness to preserve genuineness.


Have perspective:

From all heavens to dust-motes, from eternity to mere seconds, all are equal in front of cause and effect, leaving nothing unresolved.

── from Jiang Kanghu Sixiang Yiban (Thoughts of Jiang Kanghu)