(Translated by Transn and Edited by Kaer)
This article was inspired by The Annotation to the Analects: Xue Er, Verse I
“Once the roots are established, the way will grow therefrom.”
Having roots is the way to be human and how to learn about the universe. If you understand how to be human, you can lay the foundation to understand about heaven and the earth. If you do not understand how to be human, it will be difficult to learn about heaven and the earth.
What is the way to be human? In my humble opinion, we must first understand our place in the time and space of the universe. Namely, that you are neither God, Buddha, a Celestial Being, a ghost, a devil, nor a beast, but that you are a mortal human.
Knowing that you are a human, you need to do human things, speak human words, take the human way, and seek human business. You should not do ghostly things, speak the Gods’ words, take the devil’s way, or engage in absurd businesses.
- How does one do human things? Show filial piety to your parents, respect your teachers and seniors, care for the young and lonely, help your siblings, show concern for your relatives and neighbours, show compassion to plants and insects, and protect the landscape and the environment. These are human things and anything that is contrary to them is inhuman.
- How does one speak human words? Consider if others were in your place and speak respectfully, do not spread unsubstantiated rumors, help others to resolve their differences and bring them peace, advise others to do good things and not to go astray, motivate people to make progress and fight for their futures.
- How does one take the human way? Be committed to your own duties, manage your household with diligence and thrift, be studious and make progress, cast off your destructive habits, take only what is right for you, study that which is worthy of being studied, take only the way of Tao, and do nothing against righteousness.
- How does one practice human business? Engage in farming, forestry, industry, commerce, or politics. They are human businesses. Human business is the foundation of social stability and it underlies the success or failure of the family and the state. People who actively participate in these endeavors and pursuits are doing human business. If it is not a human business, even if it can bring you much quick wealth, do not do it.
- How does one avoid doing ghostly things? By not being sneaky and afraid of being found out by victims or the legal system, doing things that are offensive to heaven and reason, cheating a superior or deceiving a subordinate, dishonoring one’s parents, bullying the young and the weak, wrongly accusing and murdering the good and virtuous, insulting the sovereign, duping the ignorant, speaking ill of one’s peers, bearing false witness, rebelling against the clan leader, taking credit for the work of subordinates by bullying them, seeking favour by flattering, disrespecting one’s countrymen, disrupting state affairs, rewarding unjust acts, harming and implicating the innocent, slandering the saints and sages, undermining morality, “filling the cave and covering the nest”, harming conception and breaking eggs, stealing other’s achievements, discrediting their good conduct, disclosing their indecent secrets, injuring their appearance, separating children from their parents, wasting other people’s money and resources, engaging in illegal conduct, forcing young girls to prostitute themselves, damaging marriages, taking away people’s beloved, harbouring murderous hearts, blaming others, desecrating ancestral graves, destroying homes, deluding with heretical doctrines, bewitching minds, talking about ghosts and monsters, or by poisoning the spirituality. These are some of nearly a hundred items enumerated in: Lifechanyuan – LIFE & LIFE’s Track.
- How does one not speak the Gods’ words? They are the words of Gods in heaven and are unknown to those who have not attained Tao. And even those who have attained Tao must be very knowledgeable about the truths of the universe. It is not something that ordinary people can understand. If you do not know how to be human but speak the Gods’ words, then you are either talking nonsense or you have lost your mind.
- How does one not take the devil’s way? By not misleading living beings, pursuing special magic arts and powers, inciting to rebel, promoting tyranny, touting heroes, singing the praises of totalitarianism, teaching others not to do the things of ordinary people, and other heterodoxical doctrines. All these are the devil’s ways.
- How does one not engage in deluded businesses? By not farming their own land but still expecting wealth to arrive, not working but scamming, not studying or learning but expecting to know, not attending to their own business but wanting everything, being the blade of grass that wants to be a flower, the flower that wants to be in the orchard, the tiger that wants wings, or the bandit who want to be a Deity Celestial Being. All these are absurd businesses.
If roots are not established then everything will be void, but if roots are established then everything will be done.
First be a person, then be a lady or gentleman. After that, follow the examples of the saints and sages and then pursue the way to become a Deity Celestial Being.
Alas! The secrets of the Great Way are hidden to most people, but they reveal themselves to those who are enlightened. After seeking the Great Way everywhere for three thousand (3,000) years, it still hides in narrow margins. Therefore, to be a human being is the best coordinate system and the coordinate points of Life.