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SIX ADMONITIONS (EXCERPT)

by Ye Yuping (Years unknown, Qing Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

While being proudly wealthy is not ideal,
the troubles caused by being proudly knowledgeable can be just as bad.

To be able to hold one’s thoughts,
no reasons will pass one by;

To be able to let one’s ambitions soar,
nothing will be impossible to achieve.

In educating their children, parents should know:
Upon their children’s maturing perceptions,
they must teach them to not hurt living organisms that they see,
so as to nurture their kindness.

Upon meeting respectable ones, elders, relatives, and friends,
they must teach their children to be respectful,
so as to nurture their manners.

Upon learning the importance of a promise,
they should teach the children to be stern in speech,
so as to nurture their honor.

Principles behind all matters in the world
begin with unhurriedness and end with haste.

Haste wears out energy,
while unhurriedness accumulates it.

When carried out with unhurriedness,
space will be left for matters;
and time left in people’s lives.

If thin, soil will collapse, and vessels will shatter easily;
If thick, wine will store for long, and fabrics will be durable.
The strength of your heart determines the thick and thins of your life.

Every bit saved is an extra bit of freedom.
Traveling less attracts less trouble,
Speaking less minimizes faults,
Thinking less, you consume less thoughts,
Being less witty gives an extra disguise of ignorance,
Those who seek more instead of less in their daily lives
result in lives lived in shackles.

As a dutiful son, one must be sure not to cause the following emotions in their parents: indifference, unhappiness, fear, sorrow and sadness, hesitation to speak their thoughts, or resentment.

── from Liushi Zhenyan (Six Admonitions)