Roots of vegetable, roots of wisdom

A few days ago, one of my teachers asked me about Confucianism, and I had not been reading any book about it for a long time. Especially now, I’m learning Dutch at home, I was focused on exploring the Dutch and Flanders culture and close myself at my parent’s house. Some frustration at home often came to me, after not staying at my parent’s this long since 15 years old. My behaviour and thinking have probably been altered so differently from theirs. Some of the controversial thoughts between European philosophy and Confucianism have aroused my confusion.

In the hope of being enlighted, although it has nothing to do with religion, I decided to revisit the classic book taking away from Confucianism: Roots of Wisdom 《菜根谭》. After flipping over to a few random pages, I couldn’t stop but reading more. I remember trying to read it when younger, but it never became so readable as today.

A noble’s mind is as light as the sky in the day, nothing needs to be hidden. A noble’s talent and knowledge are comparable to treasure, it shouldn’t be known easily.
君子之心事,天青日白,不可使人不知;君子之才华,玉韫珠藏,不可使人易知。

Delicious food with salt is not its real taste, the actual food is tasteless. Those who stand out are not the most excellent person, the most fabulous look ordinary.
肥辛甘非真味,真味只是淡;神奇卓异非至人,至人只是常。

Exercising with hardworking while enjoying, the achievement makes one happy, and this happiness lasts long. Learning with confidence while questioning, the research & verification makes one knowledgable; then the knowledge starts to be real.
一苦一乐相磨练,练极而成福者,其福始久;一疑一信相勘,勘极而成知者,其知始真。

These above are only a few abstracts that I take from the book. It’s written in ancient writing, but the simple expressing is not anything like today’s various decorated writing style. I feel lucky about my mother language, allowing me to approach the essence of sageness from thousands of years ago. Yet some abstracts make me question why they were stated this way or whether they fit into today’s globalisation culture compatibility.

Maybe that’s precisely why the book is named literally after this meaning: the wordings are just like vegetable roots, you need to chew long enough to digest!

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