子曰: “学而时习之，不亦说乎？有朋自远方来，不亦乐乎？人不知而不愠，不亦君子乎？” -《论语学而篇1:1》 “Is it not a pleasure to have learnt things pertaining to life, and practice them in due time? Is it not a joy to have likeminded friends coming from afar? Isn’t it being a gentleman to take no offense against others who fail to appreciate you?” – Analects of Confucius 1:1 **Interpretation based on Professor Fu Peirong’s work, 《傅佩荣解读论语》
During college years, I studied Analects of Confucius as introduction to Chinese philosophy. After hosting our first guests at our first home, the familiar quote of Confucius as in the above came to my mind.
Indeed, having been through different seasons of life, resided in different countries, and hosted friends from afar, I appreciated this introductory lines of the Analects more than ever.
Confucius (551–479 BC) was raised by his widowed mom in poverty. Before he became a respected teacher and minister at the government, he had worked as a shepherd, cowherd, clerk, and a book-keeper. As a master of wisdom, who gave the world the Five Classics of the Ancient China, Confucius has much to offer for modern readers.
“Is it not a pleasure to have learnt things pertaining to life, and practice them in due time?”
True enough. Learning itself doesn’t get us far, but digesting what one has learnt, especially getting insights and things pertaining to life, would benefit one in the long run.
“Is it not a joy to have likeminded friends coming from afar?”
Indeed, having friends from afar, friends who have been there for you, who are part of your life’s story, who have the same appreciation of life and beauty like you… that’s so precious!
“Isn’t it being a gentleman to take no offense against others who fail to appreciate you?”
Confucius was in exile during the prime time of his life. However, he held that a gentleman is responsible for his own learning and maturity, in spite of how well (or not well) one is doing.
Reviewing the introductory lines of Analects of Confucius brought back much memories when I was first introduced to the treasures of Chinese Classics. Are you interested to pick up Chinese Classics and read for yourself?
Ref: http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/confucius/c748a/ Analects of Confucius, trans. James Legge in 1861. Legge was a Scottish sinologist. He was a representative of the London Missionary Society in Melaka Malaysia and Hong Kong (1840-1873). He was also the first professor of Chinese at Oxford Universtiy (1876–1897).