365 Days for Travelers: Mar 24


Wisdom from Chinese Literary and Buddhist Classics

THE CULTIVATION OF HUMANITIES (EXCERPT)

To cultivate a disposition of elegance, one must
first learn how to attain a tranquil repose. In the
Great Learning, what can be said to be the most
penetrative insight is given:

Stopping allows for concentration,
which gives rise to tranquility.
From tranquility, peace arises,
which allows for careful reflection
that ultimately leads to attainment.

Nowadays, people attach too much importance to
gaining immediate results, wanting to master the
English language in seven days, or become a
millionaire in half a year. Everything is about
“the sooner, the better.”

How is it possible for us to nurture an eye for art,
or an appreciation of beauty in the world within a
short time? Zhu Guangqian once said, “The world
of aesthetics is a purely abstract one. To appreciate
art means to shift from a practical world to an ideal
one. In other words, into a world free of personal
interests. Indeed, how can you appreciate
something with a calm mind when everything
concerns personal interests? For this reason, every
one of us should possess something within
ourselves that transcends personal interests and
expectations for something in return. In this way,
we will be able to discover ourselves from a
different perspective, and find ourselves in that of
a tranquil repose.