Learning without Thinking is Labor Lost
Learning without Thinking is Labor Lost
Confucius (551 – 479 BC), was born in the Kingdom of Lu in the Spring and Autumn Period. His given name was Qiu and his courtesy name was Zhongni. (A courtesy name in Chinese culture is a name to be used later in life instead of the given name.)
Confucius was appointed as an official in the Kingdom of Lu, but he spent his life mainly focusing on education. He traveled throughout the numerous kingdoms teaching moral values, such as ethical concepts, thought, political views, and cultivation within the context of morality, as well as the ideological and cultural concepts of his time.
It was said that Confucius's highest standard was “Mercy.” One of Confucius’ most prized students, Zeng Sen, said that his instruction centered around “loyalty and consideration of others.” It’s well known that Confucius emphasized the “doctrine of the mean," which was compiled in one of the four ancient Confucian texts, known as the Four Books, and published in 1190 AD by Zhu Xi.
Cultivators know that to improve xinxing (one's morality and ethical behavior), a person should behave well and become a good person. But this extends even further, meaning to turn into a better person and improve one's moral standard beyond the norm for humans.
So, what's the standard for a human as given by God? What kinds of standards are there? The words of Confucius that follow might open our minds.
According to the Analects of Confucius, which are thought to be an interpretation of his words and behavior, Confucius said:
"Learning without thinking means labor lost; thinking without learning is perilous."
By this, Confucius explained that if one learns without thinking, one will not understand, and that if one thinks but does not learn, one will get confused.
When a person learns, he can memorize and then remember what he has learned. But often he only gains a superficial understanding and not the deeper meanings that are being presented. Many do not connect what they learn with reality, which means that they read it but can't apply what they have read. Thus, learning becomes superficial. We could describe it as “inhaling information without digesting it.” He will know the basics but cannot put into practice what has he learned given the half understanding. He learns mechanically, without processing what he has learned.
Because modern science is very mechanical, formulaic and superficial, it prevents one from understanding the deeper content unless one cultivates one's xinxing and improves one's character. Modern science limits people's thoughts in terms of depth, breadth and richness. People nowadays should therefore pay attention to this method of study and understand its strengths and weaknesses to avoid becoming computerized, mechanized, and linearized.
On the other hand, Confucius advised that if one solely thinks but doesn't study, one will become confused and one will not improve one's level. Without improvement, conflicts and problems cannot be solved. Of course, a wise teacher plays an important role when instructing students. It is really hard to find a master that has wisdom. Therefore, when one finds such a teacher, one should not be lazy but seize the time, realize what a precious opportunity it is, and study hard, follow teacher's directions, and do better until one succeeds.
Cultivation is different from human behavior. The learning of a cultivator is different from studying human knowledge, cultivating one's moral character, or self-improvement. The standard for a cultivator is higher, and the reason for it is more profound. Only cultivators can understand this concept when they cultivate diligently.
    来源: 看中国 责编: Kitt

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