On discernment

子張問「明」。子曰:「浸潤之譖,膚受之愬,不行焉,可謂明也已矣。浸潤之譖,膚受之愬,不行焉,可謂遠也已矣。」
Zizhang asked about discernment. Confucius said: “If you are soaked with slander and wounded by insults but still do not falter, you may be said to have discernment. Indeed, you may also be said to be farsighted.”

Confucius was speaking from bitter experience here. In his efforts to promote his teachings and secure a high-level position with a ruler, he attracted more than his fair share of enmity.

Despite being “soaked with slander and wounded by insults”, however, he had the discernment to stick to the right path.

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