365 Days for Travelers: Jan 11

Wisdom from Chinese Literary and Buddhist Classics


The biggest reason to why we read is to rid
ourselves of mediocrity. Mediocrity is an
attitude that passively seeks ways of survival.
Mediocre people do not lack anything; they are
just nonchalant about the excitements in this
world, the length of human history, the sacredness
of ultimate justice, or the profound meaning of life.
What they are missing out on is something which
no one, in their limited life experiences, can ever
gain. Huang Shangu once said, “A mind without the
enrichment of ancient and present experiences will
in the long run become vulgar. One’s reflection in
the mirror will look repulsive, and their speech will
sound tasteless in front of people.” This is the face
of mediocrity.

Only books can bring the expansiveness of space
and infiniteness of time in front of you; only books
can direct the already flying signals of the noble life
towards you; only books can present to you the
profound wisdom in that wonderful contrast against
ignorance and hideousness. For a five-foot tall being
to be able to course through time and extend
beyond the spaces within just a few short decades,
such a miracle should be attributed mostly to the
action of reading.