The Straight and Narrow

Zengzi may have been a prolific author during his lifetime, but like Confucius he was a strong believer that practical application was a more important aspect of education than the simple acquisition of theoretical knowledge. What would be the point of learning about key ethical principles such as loyalty and sincerity if you are not going to follow them?

The best way to do this, he recommends in Chapter 4 of Book One of the Analects, is through a rigorous process of constant self-examination. Three times a day might seem a little excessive, but it would certainly make sure that you keep to the straight and narrow.

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