The Confucian Life

Confucius summed up his life once in the Analects rather nicely. I remembered this after watching my daughter’s TV show, nihongo de asobo, which taught the famous quotation (in Japanese, not Chinese):

ware jūyū ni shite gaku ni kokorozasu.

This is the first line in fact of a famous quotation from Confucius’s Analects (rongo in Japanese, 論語):

[2:4] Confucius said: “At fifteen my heart was set on learning; at thirty I stood firm; at forty I had no more doubts; at fifty I knew the mandate of heaven; at sixty my ear was obedient; at seventy I could follow my heart’s desire without transgressing the norm.” (trans. A.C. Muller)

Now in my early thirties, I cannot hope to match Confucius’s wisdom, but I do find that at this age I have become more appreciative of my own mortatlity. It’s always fun to mess around when you’re young, but such things quickly fade, and provide little lasting fulfillment. Any effort now, no matter what the age, to set firmly upon the path of wisdom is the best investment you can make. :)

P.S. Another one of those “why not” posts, I wanted to leave as a parting thought, even if off-schedule. Something to ponder I guess on a rainy Saturday before I head off to the airport. :)

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