Stories behind Chinese Idiomatic Expressions: Being Absent-Minded

PureInsight | June 3, 2007

[] The key to
the cultivation of the body lies in a righteous mind. If one harbors
hatred or anger, being afraid or frightened, has favorites or habits,
has worries or adversities, then one's mind cannot be positioned
righteously. If one's mind is absent, then one cannot see anything even
if one looks at it, hear anything even if one listens to it, or taste
anything even if one eats it. Clearly, then, one must correct one's
mind in order to cultivate one's body.

In The Book of Rites, there
are many articles about the discuss rites from their philosophical to
their political aspects, from ritual music and utensils to etiquette
and courtesy in everyday life. The book was an important classic in
Confucian ritual study. The paragraph above talks about the principle
of rectifying one's mind and cultivating one's body. Later on, "being
absent-minded" became an idiom and is used as an analogy to describe
the state in which one cannot concentrate.

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