PureInsight | August 31, 2007
[PureInsight.org] Mencius, from
the Warring States Period, was well known for his eloquent speech and
was an excellent debater. He had not only profound knowledge but also
the skills to advise people in power, particularly with vivid metaphors.
Ji Wang, King of the Ji State, was not a smart man and he often
failed to adhere to the principles. In addition, Ji Wang favored
fawning officials. Mencius was unhappy about the stupidity of Ji Wang,
so he was very straight forward and told Ji Wang, "Your Majesty, you
are not too wise. Even the toughest living thing on earth will die if
you let it be exposed to the sun for one day, but you can expose it to
the chill for ten days. I stay here with you for only very short time.
You show some determination to be good when I am here. However, when I
am not here, you are deceived by the evil officials. You lose your mind
and listen to their sweet talk. What am I supposed to do?"
Immediately he used an analogy, "It is a small matter to play chess.
However, if you don't pay attention, you cannot learn it well and you
will lose the game. Yi Qiu is a chess master. He had two apprentices.
One paid attention to Yi Qiu's instructions and guidance, but the other
was constantly waiting for a big swan to fly over so that he could
shoot the bird. As a result, they had varying degrees of skill, not
because of difference in their intelligence, but because of how much
attention they paid.
Later, people used the phrase of sun for one but chill for ten, a
shorter version of "Expose to the sun for one day but expose to the
chill for ten," to indicate one who does not persevere in learning or
gives up on a half-completed task.