Pursuit of Comfort: A Taboo for the Ancient Chinese People

By Hong Yi

PureInsight | October 8, 2006

[PureInsight.org] Pursuing
comfort excessively and equating comfort with happiness is as harmful
to a person as poisonous wine.  Therefore, the ancient Chinese
people considered it a major taboo.  There is a Chinese
saying:  "people survive with worry and danger but die in
comfort."  Although comfort doesn't always lead to death, it
intensifies laziness and may cause people to indulge themselves and
lose their willpower.

Lunyu records a sentence by Confucius:  "Having nothing to do
after eating a full meal is not good.  Can't one at least play a
game of chess?  Even playing chess game is better than idling."

Meng Zi also said, "When people have good food and warm clothes and
live comfortably but are not educated, they are similar to
animals.  A sage worries about this, so he sent a teacher to teach
people etiquette and morality."  Ancient Chinese believed comfort
could be harmful.  Having a comfortable life without proper
education may lead people to an evil path and commit deeds that are no
different from those of animals.

During the Three Kingdoms period, the king of one of the Three
Kingdoms, Liu Bei, once sighed with a tear, "In the past, I had been
always on horseback and carried no meat on my legs. Now I don't ride
any more, and the meat has come back.  Time flows like
water.  I'm getting old, but I haven't achieved anything.  I
cannot help but feeling sad!"

Tao Kang, an official during the Jin Dynasty, moved 100 ceramic
containers outside every morning and carried them back to the house
every night.  Others were curious and asked him why.  He
said, "I'm trying my best to work for the country.  If I'm too
comfortable, I'm afraid I cannot fulfill my responsibility well. 
Therefore I work out often."  Later, he became governor of eight
states and very famous.


Ancient Chinese said that flowing water will not rot and hinges on the
doors do not decay due to movement.  We only have a few decades to
live our lives.  If we indulge ourselves in a comfortable life, we
are bound to be lazy, aimless and passive.  Then we will be afraid
of hardship and see our willpower become weaker and weaker.  When
we are faced with setbacks, we might give up and achieve nothing. In
addition, when one cares for comfort too much, he might bring disasters
to himself. Those who have a lot of achievements are definitely strong
and diligent people.

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2006/9/24/40098.html

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