Yen Yuan asked about jen.
Confucius said, “Conquering your self and returning/turning to li is jen. If a person can for one day conquer himself and return to li, the entire world will turn to jen. The practice of jen comes from a person himself—can it really be from others?”
Yen Yuan said, “May I ask the steps?”
Yen Yuan said, “Though my cleverness/quickness is limited, I will make it my business/devote to practice this lesson.”
Yen Yuan asked about perfect virtue.
The Master said, “To subdue one’s self and return to propriety, is perfect virtue. If a man can for one day subdue himself and return to propriety, all under heaven will ascribe perfect virtue to him. Is the practice of perfect virtue from a man himself, or is it from others?”
Yen Yuan said, “I beg to ask the steps of that process.”
The Master replied, “Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety.”
Yen Yuan [then] said, “Though I am deficient in intelligence and vigor, I will make it my business to practice this lesson.” L
Yen Yuan inquired as to the meaning of true goodness.
The Master said: “The subdual of self, and reversion to the natural laws governing conduct—this is true goodness. If a man can for the space of one day subdue his selfishness and revert to natural laws, the whole world will call him good. True goodness springs from a man’s own heart. How can it depend on other men?”
Yen Yuan said: “Kindly tell me the practical rule to be deduced from this.”
The Master replied: “Do not use your eyes, your ears, your power of speech or your faculty of movement without obeying the inner law of self-control.”
Yen Yuan said: “Though I am not quick in thought or act, I will make it my business to carry out this precept.” G