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100-WORD INSCRIPTION OF SHENG SHIH-HSING
by Zhu Maichen ( ? - 115 BCE, Western Han Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

Lessened desires means a clear mind;
Overthinking drains your energy.
Lesser drinks means controlled composure;
Restraining one’s temper prevents loss of wealth.
Nobility is attained through diligent endeavors,
Wealth comes from frugality.
Gentleness and softness ultimately benefits oneself,
Force and violence will cause inevitable misfortune.
Friendliness makes one truly superior,
He who sows disaccord is a root of trouble.
Do not shoot an arrow into someone’s back,
Appear slow-witted on top of deference.
Cultivation of the self cannot be done without virtue,
Seek no remedy for a deceitful mind in vegetarianism.
Avoid presence in a court of law,
Maintain harmony amongst relatives and friends.
Knowing one’s place keeps one safe,
Speak cautiously especially with gossips.
Those who abide by these words,
Shall attract good fortunes and luck.

── from Jie Ren Yi (Making People Laugh)


CUI ZIYU’S MOTTOS
by Cui Yuan (77 - 142 , Eastern Han Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

Do not speak of others’ shortcomings,
Nor mention your own merits.
Expect no return for what you give,
Nor forget the kindness you have received.
What is there to envy about worldly fame?
Seek only the principle of self-discipline.
Conceal your intentions before acting upon them;
Remain unaffected by slander or criticism.
Do not let your reputation exceed you;
Sages admire the fact that still water runs deep.
Remain uninfluenced when emerged in black;
Let a dim appearance hide your splendor.
Soft and weak is the way to survive,
Laozi had thus admonished against the hard and strong.
Acts of the latter are that of mediocre minds,
As time goes by, the trouble deepens immeasurably.
Speak with caution and control what you eat,
Contentment defeats misfortune,
If one acts with persistence,
Eventually there will be fragrance in life.

── from Quan Song Ci (Complete Collection of Song Poems)