Rigorous self-cultivation

子路問「君子」。子曰:「修己以敬。」曰:「如斯而已乎?」曰:「修己以安人。」曰:「如斯而已乎?」曰:「修己以安百姓。修己以安百姓,堯舜其猶病諸。」
Zilu asked what makes a leader. Confucius said: “Rigorous self-cultivation.” Zilu asked: “Is that all there is to it?” Confucius said: “He cultivates himself to bring comfort to the people. He cultivates himself to bring comfort to the people: this is something even Yao and Shun would have found very difficult.”

You can read all the “pearls of ancient wisdom” and “inspirational quotes” you like, but there’s no substitute for the daily grind of cultivating your thoughts and behavior. In the end, it’s all down to you.

Confucius used the final phrase before in Book 6, Chapter XXX. Yao and Shun were ancient, probably mythical, kings from the third millennia BC who were regarded as role models for rulers.

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