Therefore, a person should first be changed by a teacher’s instructions, and guided by principles of ritual. Only then can he observe the rules of courtesy and humility, obey the conventions and rules of society, and achieve order.
Human nature is such that people are born with a love of profit If they follow these inclinations, they will struggle and snatch from each other, and inclinations to defer or yield will die.
If the gentleman has ability, he is magnanimous, generous, tolerant, and straightforward, through which he opens the way to instruct others.
If the quickness of the mind and the fluency of the tongue are too punctilious and sharp, moderate them in your activity and rest.
Whether the gentleman is capable or not, he is loved all the same; conversely the petty man is loathed all the same.
Now it is human nature to want to eat to ones fill when hungry, to want to warm up when cold, to want to rest when tired. These all are a part of people’s emotional nature.
In order to properly understand the big picture, everyone should fear becoming mentally clouded and obsessed with one small section of truth.
Music is a fantastic peacekeeper of the world, it is integral to harmony, and it is a required fundamental of human emotion.
If the impulse to daring and bravery is too fierce and violent, stay it with guidance and instruction.
Thus, anybody who follows this nature and gives way its states will be led into quarrels and conflicts, and go against the conventions and rules of society, and will end up a criminal.
When a man sees something desirable, he must reflect on the fact that with time it could come to involve what is detestable. When he sees something that is beneficial, he should reflect that sooner or later it, too, could come to involve harm.
Thus, that one can find no place to walk through the breadth of the earth is not because the earth is not tranquil but because the danger to every step of the traveler lies generally with words.
There are successful scholars, public-spirited scholars, upright scholars, cautious scholars, and those who are merely petty men.
If what the heart approves conforms to proper patterns, then even if one’s desires are many, what harm would they be to good order?
I once tried standing up on my toes to see far out in the distance, but I found that I could see much farther by climbing to a high place.
When you locate good in yourself, approve of it with determination. When you locate evil in yourself, despise it as something detestable.
In antiquity the sage kings recognized that men’s nature is bad and that their tendencies were not being corrected and their lawlessness controlled.
When people lack teachers, their tendencies are not corrected; when they do not have ritual and moral principles, then their lawlessness is not controlled.
The petty man is eager to make boasts, yet desires that others should believe in him. He enthusiastically engages in deception, yet wants others to have affection for him. He conducts himself like an animal, yet wants others to think well of him.
When you concentrate on agriculture and industry and are frugal in expenditures, Heaven cannot impoverish your state.
A person is born with feelings of envy and hate. If he gives way to them, they will lead him to violence and crime, and any sense of loyalty and good faith will be abandoned.
A person is born with desires of the eyes and ears, and a liking for beautiful sights and sounds. If he gives way to them, they will lead him to immorality and lack of restriction, and any ritual principles and propriety will be abandoned.
Since the nature of people is bad, to become corrected they must be taught by teachers and to be orderly they must acquire ritual and moral principles.
Quarreling over food and drink, having neither scruples nor shame, not knowing right from wrong, not trying to avoid death or injury, not fearful of greater strength or of greater numbers, greedily aware only of food and drink – such is the bravery of the dog and boar.