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ON TEACHING (EXCERPT)

by Han Yu (768 - 824, Tang Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

Since ancient times, every learner must have had a teacher who transmits the teachings, gives instructions, and answers doubts. No one is born with knowledge, so who can claim to be without doubt? One will never find answers with only doubts and not seeking a teacher. What I seek is the teaching; why should I need to know whether the teacher is born before or after me? Therefore, there is no such thing as nobility, inferiority, seniority, or juniority. Where the teachings are, where the teacher will be.

AN APHORISM ON FAMILY

Establishing a family is an easy task to a man of character;
Setting goals is not difficult to a superior man.
A step of concession is a natural move of elegance;
Making small compromises allows some ease.
Moments of tolerance make one trouble-free;
Seconds of endurance bring happiness and repose.
Bland vegetables have a taste of their own;
To be law-abiding, no dreams will be frightening.
When someone inquires about mundane affairs,
I would shake my head and play ignorant.
I would rather go pick tea leaves in the mountains
Than to drink wine in brothels.
I see it as a must to be close to learned people,
Long have I already refused pitiless friends.
Do not worry about poverty or boast about wealth,
When has either poverty or wealth ever lasted long?

── from Han Changli Xiansheng Ji (Collection of Works by Sir Han Changli)