The Virtuous,The Wise and The Capable
Application is the Goal of Learning
Hello, everyone! (Hello, Master!)
Happy New Year, everyone! (Happy New Year, Master!)
I wish you all auspiciousness! (Got it!)
I wish you all good fortune and blessings! (Got it!)
May your wishes be granted! (Got it!)
I wish you all more beauty! (Got it!)
But don’t change beyond recognition. If your neighbors couldn’t recognize you, that would be troublesome. You’d have to get a new ID card. I see many children here. My young friends, are you happy? (Yes.) How about my adult friends? (Yes.)
You kids are still answering! Sometimes you can’t tell whether you’re adults or kids. Those over 25 are adults. Now you know, okay? Those under 25 are children. Why do I put it this way? Because many young people rely on their parents for many things. I met a university student who was 27 and still at school. He lived at home and brought his lunch to school. One day when I passed his campus, I saw him eating his lunch. I said, “Your lunch smells good. Did you cook it yourself?”
“My mom did,” he answered.
“Oh. Don’t you know how to cook?”
“Only instant noodles.”
“How come? You are smart. How come you can’t cook anything else?”
“I’ve never cooked.”
Those of you who don’t know how to cook, please raise your hand. Please be honest. Liars are not good people. There are two raised hands on this side. Those who didn’t raise your hands, can you cook? (Yes.)
So the young friends here today are not too bad, because you can cook something. For those who don’t know how to cook, I admonish your parents. Please tell them my protest. Okay? An old saying: “It’s the father’s fault for not teaching.” Now I’d like to rephrase it: “It’s the mother’s fault for not teaching cooking.” Mothers encourage their children to do nothing but study. The mothers are to blame. Find them Cinderella’s stepmother, and they’ll know how to do everything right away. Though Cinderella’s stepmother was not nice, she trained Cinderella to be handy and independent.
All mothers, please train your children to be independent. Okay? Think about this: When your child goes to college, and if he or she will cook instant noodles only, undoubtedly, he or she will be malnourished. Also, when doing household chores, we are applying the theoretical knowledge we’ve learned at school to daily life. In the basic activities, such as cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning, one applies theories to practice. Housework also accelerates the growth of the brain.
Otherwise, a considerable number of children would be exam machines. They’re good at nothing but exams. That’s almost useless out of school. I’m kind of blunt to say so. The purpose of learning is application, isn’t it? To learn is to apply. Some university students say, “To learn is to pass exams.” That is, they learn to provide the answers that the teacher expects. Such people don’t know how to live, work, or make friends, and they have no charm. They’re as cold as ice and frost. Usually, those who are only good at exams don’t show feelings. Those rich in feelings tend to be quick-witted and know how to apply their knowledge. Please remember, my young friends and your parents, you actually grow together.
You have the honor of being parents and grandparents, but you often don’t understand children and their world. You lack parenting skills. If you possess parenting skills, your children can easily become successful. If you don’t, your children won’t become useful people. Therefore, parents and grandparents should learn and grow together with their children. Those who study and play alongside their children are good parents. Don’t wait till the end of the school year and then yell at your child: “How come you’ve got such low marks? It’s a disgrace.” It’s useless to react like this. Good marks are the result of your daily care.
Children’s wisdom comes from their parents. If parents create a caring, warm, and active environment, their children will become smart. So, I suggest parents assign their children more chores or even let them play more games, not the online games, but games in real life such as chess, sports, and other entertaining activities. Some parents say: “As long as he has good marks, I’m satisfied.” When they see children playing the piano, some parents say: “What’s the use of playing the piano?” What tempts some parents to send their children to piano lessons is nothing but a belief that exercising the hands can develop the brain. If it was not conducive to developing the brain, those parents wouldn’t be supportive.
Let me tell you: In actual fact, all extracurricular activities can make us wiser. As parents, we have only one hope: that our kids live a normal life, and are able to do things for others to get money or food in return. Parents want their kids to be able to make a living. It’s such a simple purpose. Things like serving the country, realizing a political agenda, or traveling to the moon are not priorities. Your priority is to make a living. See? Your parents have a simple notion for you: Make a living. For this reason, our parents force us to study hard so that we can attend a university.
Nowadays, it’s hard for university graduates to find a job. It’s a competitive era. After finishing university, you may need to do a Master’s or Ph.D. to achieve your ultimate goal of making a living. In future, when everyone has a Bachelor’s degree or even a Ph.D., graduates will have a hard time finding jobs. Your choices might be limited to physical jobs, hard manual labor such as construction. Having acquired knowledge, we can serve others. It’s as simple as that.
With knowledge, we can serve others. Does hairdressing require knowledge? Sure it does, as does farming. Both require skills and knowledge. Skills are taught at school. Is what you learn from me knowledge? (Yes.)
Many people may say it’s not knowledge. (Yes, it is.)
Yes. Those saying no just don’t get it. It’s knowledge, and it’s good knowledge. If one has more knowledge, one is more capable. So, my young friends and parents, since you are here to practice meditation with me, we are connected. I wish you all great success in the future, as self-motivated and knowledgeable people.
Knowledge Is Power
Knowledge is energy. Knowledge is power. Got it? Power doesn’t mean physical strength anymore. In ancient times, when introducing a great general, people said that he could lift a huge copper lion, which weighed over 500 kilograms, or that he could hold two big iron hammers.
Today, people can’t lift such things, while ancient people could, as if they could do magic. In creating the present-day world, physical strength matters less. Intelligence and wisdom are crucial. Physical strength alone is far from enough. In the novel The Three Kingdoms, the most capable fighter is not Zhang Fei, but Zhuge Liang. He does not hold a sword, but rather a fan. In many martial arts performances, there are girls holding fans which have an embroidery needle hidden inside them. When they fan, the needle flies out or the fan’s top edge is a blade.
All these skills are of low level. Instead, Zhuge Liang holds a feather fan, probably goose feathers. He relies on his wisdom. What is wisdom? Knowledge. He had knowledge of astronomy, geography, and all kinds of other knowledge of the human world. All knowledge contains energy. If you know how to use it, it will serve you. Applying knowledge is the purpose of learning. Once you have knowledge, you’ll be more creative. Your skills will be more complex than those of a builder or a tailor. You’ll become a person of energy and creativity. These things we need to acquire. To use a business metaphor, one dollar spent is two dollars made. Is it a good deal? (Yes.)
Yes, it’s a very good deal. If you invest $100,000, then once the deal is done, say, in seven days, your $100,000 will become $200,000. Isn’t it wonderful? If we have a million, we earn another million, with which we can buy a house, right? How wonderful it is! Is it a good deal? (Yes.)
Such a good deal is far less valuable than acquiring knowledge. What you acquire is the best knowledge and experience passed down from previous generations. It’s the summarized essence. Some acquired it with a little money, some with nothing at all. As a student, you haven’t yet had the opportunity to use the knowledge, so you haven’t discovered its value and power. You haven’t felt the honor that it brings you. Because of your young age, you haven’t yet had the opportunity to use it.
My mother once told me a story: In ancient times, there was a child named Ganluo whose grandfather was a prime minister who dealt with state affairs under the king. This important minister was framed by a treacherous court official who bad-mouthed him in front of the king. The king decided to punish Ganluo’s grandfather. If he came to the royal court, the king would put him into prison. Ganluo’s grandfather heard about this. He was deeply worried. “The king wants to punish me. What should I do? One of the officials is framing me to obtain my position. The king believes his lies. How can I fix this?” He was so worried that he came down with a fever. Ganluo was about nine years old at that time. After hearing this, he thought about it carefully. Then he said, “I’ll go to the court on your behalf. I’ll be fine. Just don’t worry.”
The previous day, the king wasn’t in a good mood. He stayed up late drinking with a concubine until he was drunk. Being a king is not easy. Early the next morning, he had to go to the court. Day hadn’t broken yet; the first rooster had just crowed. It was an early bird; the lazy ones wouldn’t crow for another two hours. But when the first rooster crowed, the king was at court, still drunk. The guard told him that a child had come to see him. “What’s a child doing here?” Ganluo approached the king who asked him who he was. The boy stated his name and explained who his grandfather was. The king said, “What do you want from me?” Ganluo said he came to replace his grandfather because his grandfather was sick. “On behalf of my grandfather, I come here to bring messages back to him so that state affairs are not delayed.” Seeing that Ganluo’s grandfather wasn’t present, the other officials continued to bad-mouth and defame him.
The slandering and defaming so inflamed the king, who continued to believe the lies, that he made up his mind to kill Ganluo’s grandfather. The king was dumb at that moment because he was drunk. The king was considered both a mortal and a deity, and thus was allowed to do anything. The king decided to kill his prime minister, totally swayed by the lies others were telling. The king gave Ganluo’s grandfather a tough, ridiculous nut to crack as a way to save himself.
When the prime minister arrived home, he told Ganluo, “Without the solution, I’ll die. What can I do?”
“What’s the challenge?” Ganluo asked.
His grandfather said, “The king will kill me if I can’t get this task done. I’ll die for sure. He wants me to find him an egg laid by a rooster.”
Ganluo said, “That’s easy. I’ll take care of it.” He then went to the court.
The officials again slandered his grandfather. The king pounded the table and said: “Ganluo, tell your grandfather to come here right away. If he doesn’t bring me the egg in three days, I’ll have him killed.” Obviously, the king had created a silly excuse to execute him. The king was again drunk on alcohol and absolute power, so he wasn’t thinking clearly. He knew he could do whatever he wanted. There was no justice.
Ganluo said, “Your Majesty, I have some truth to tell you.”
“Go ahead,” said the king.
The boy told the truth: “In fact, my grandfather wasn’t sick. The reason he didn’t attend the court is that he was confined at home in childbirth.”
The king burst out laughing. “You mean your old grandfather can give birth to a child? That’s impossible! A man can’t give birth to a child.”
Then Ganluo said to the king: “Similarly, a rooster doesn’t lay eggs. If you don’t believe me, you can ask the people here. Who has eaten an egg laid by a rooster? Does a rooster lay eggs?”
At that moment, no one dared to say yes. No one wanted to risk being killed if they couldn’t find a rooster to prove their answer. Everyone knows roosters don’t lay eggs. So the king had to find another excuse to kill, and Ganluo’s grandfather escaped calamity. The king also allowed Ganluo to work at the court at the age of 12. He assisted the king in dealing with state affairs.
This is a true story. At 12, he began to work at the court and held a high official rank. He held a high position equal to that of a modern deputy mayor. He had a good title and was a person of knowledge. How important knowledge is! The more knowledge we have, the more energy we have. If we can use knowledge more wisely and reasonably, that’s wisdom and energy. Do all of you feel the energy that I’ve described? (Yes.)
Maybe you are not sure since you don’t feel energy in your scalp. Your strong capability is energy. Compare the energy that a president’s knowledge emits to that of a village leader’s. Whose energy is greater? The president’s. Knowledge can make a village leader a president. Knowledge is power. This is a basic concept that we must understand: Knowledge equals energy; energy equals knowledge and skill. Therefore, we must acquire knowledge. If you don’t, you won’t have a decent life. Exactly as your parents fear, you may not be able to make a living; you may be laid off at any time. If you have knowledge, you can lay off your boss. Take my words as a joke!
Remember: If you have capability, you can quit on your boss, but I don’t suggest you do that. It’s not easy to be a boss. What I mean is that capability can help you avoid the bitter feeling of being laid off. At least, you won’t worry about providing meals for your parents and kids. You’re full of confidence and energy. Your abundant energy can create value. You can support not only your family, but a whole bunch of others. With greater energy, you can feed everyone in the world. The degree of your energy equals the degree of your wisdom.
Three States of Life Achievements
The Capable: Capable, Skilled People
Knowledge is energy; knowledge is wisdom. I now discuss the three types of people, starting from the third one. This type is called “the capable”; the people who have capabilities. A disciple of mine, a restaurant owner, was looking for a chef. Though it was a small restaurant, he offered reasonable pay. However, he couldn’t find a qualified chef among more than 10 candidates. He was worried and told me that he was having a hard time. I said, “Maybe you’re too picky. I know you’re careful.” He replied, “Master, you don’t know the real situation. Many people deserve poverty because they’re so lazy.” He gave me some examples. When a chef was asked to stew cabbage and tofu (a Northern Chinese dish), he said he couldn’t because his specialty was Szechuan cuisine.
When a chef specializing in Beijing cuisine was asked to cook noodles, he responded that he only knew how to stir-fry. So my disciple said, “I’ll pay you more to do it.”
The answer was still “No.”
“You’ll learn by observing others,” my disciple replied.
The chef said, “I said no, didn’t I?” He really had an obstinate character. In addition, he was dumb. To be honest, in order to support his wife and children or his beloved, he needs to learn a new skill even though he’s not keen on doing so. Such people don’t have true love for others.
In any neighborhood, the people who are most popular are those who can repair their neighbors’ broken pipes, their punctured bike tires, or fix whatever is broken. Such people have many friends and are always welcome. One of the reasons is that they are multi-talented and can do everything. They are everyone’s handyman. They are treasures. If they were things, they would be bought. In terms of one’s value, if one can do anything, he has strong energy. If he’s specialized in one area, his energy is even stronger. It’s called “having one specialty with many skills.” In the past, elderly people stressed this.
You specialize in one area, but you also manage to know many other fields. I mentioned that the Szechuan chef refused to cook other cuisine. A little less peppercorn or hot pepper would turn Szechuan cuisine into Northern cuisine. That chef didn’t use his brain. Perhaps he hadn’t mastered Szechuan cuisine either. An expert chef understands the very essence of cooking and can cook any dish.
The Wise: Knowledgeable, Intelligent People
The capable are competent, skilled people. The capable are the third type of people. The second is the wise: even more knowledgeable, skillful, and wise. The third type has only capability or skills, and the second type has knowledge as well. Roughly speaking, that’s the difference. People of the third type have skills only, whereas those of the second type have great knowledge as well; this allows them to realize high achievement and create value. Do you remember the story “Borrowing Arrows” in The Three Kingdoms? Who asked whom to bring arrows? (Zhou Yu asked Zhuge Liang.)
Zhou Yu asked Zhuge Liang. They were from two groups, like two mafia organizations. When they met, Zhou Yu only thought about how to eliminate the other party. However, they became allies; they needed to cooperate, just as allies did in recent history, to beat Cao Cao. Wu Kingdom provided most of the troops and weapons. The general of Wu Kingdom was Zhou Yu. Shu Kingdom (of which Liu Bei was the king) had Zhuge Liang as its general. Zhou Yu contributed military forces and weapons, but Zhuge Liang only offered ideas. Since he couldn’t contribute military forces or soldiers, he was asked to contribute 100,000 arrows. It’s impossible to make that many arrows in a few days. How many days was he given? Three days. He was set up to fail.
How can people finish peeling the bamboo and making arrowheads in such a short time? They didn’t even have enough time to buy the metal. So the task seemed impossible, but Zhuge Liang accepted the challenge. Did he hire people to make the arrows? No. He used his brain. He applied his accumulated knowledge. First, he knew how weather changed in the course of a year. He knew the 24 traditional solar terms. What the weather was in each term, and how it would change was foremost in his mind. He was even more knowledgeable about that than farmers. That’s why he dared to sign the life-or-death contract. He just used weather, hay, a few worn-out drums and gongs, and a few borrowed boats to receive all those arrows.
What is more miraculous is that he had measured and made a line on the boat that indicated that 100,000 arrows had already been obtained once this line was submerged in water. He applied his knowledge of mathematics. How intelligent and wise he was! His wisdom came from his knowledge; it’s as simple as that. If you have knowledge, you can achieve something great. How important knowledge is! When you’re a student, you don’t apply your knowledge, so you can’t feel its power. To make 100,000 arrows takes a long time.
Leaving iron work aside, try making 10 play-dough arrows at home and see how much time it takes. Hammering metal yourself would be much harder. So, the combination of your skills and extensive knowledge makes you a wise person. The third type of capable people are manual laborers. The second type are those who use their immense knowledge to make a living and create a wonderful life. They make much more than those manual laborers.
In Taiwan, there is a family with a shaved-ice business. The ice is finely shaved with a special tool, then mixed with different fruit. This old couple had done the business for 30 years at a stall in a market. They couldn’t afford a house, only a stall. Their son, having graduated from a university abroad, was good at learning new things. The couple mixed different ingredients randomly, so the taste varied from day to day. Their creations tasted very good. They had been doing this for a long time, so they were adept; however they made it, it was always delicious. So, their business was good. They could make a couple thousand Taiwanese yuan daily, which made them very content. “My grandfather couldn’t earn a hundred, while we can make one or two thousand,” the husband said. They were very happy with that.
After his son graduated and returned home, he observed his parents’ skill. They allowed him to try his hand at the business. The son was obedient and liked to use his brain. Being wise, he didn’t refuse anything. Instead, he liked to accept new stuff. So he helped his parents. A university graduate who returned from abroad helped his parents sell shaved ice in a stall, which many think a disgrace. But he didn’t think so; he wanted to do it. By doing it, he experienced every aspect of the business: ingredients, recipes, and public response.
After a year, he wrote down the most popular recipes without his parents’ knowledge. He recorded the required weight of each ingredient in grams and also took note of the size. Then, he started to attract investors. He did a calculation. He thought: “Leaving aside the rest of the island, in Taipei alone, there are over 10 million people. So if one stall can earn two thousand a day, how much can I earn if there are a hundred stalls? He told people: If you are a hard worker, you can invest in this business; I will provide the ingredients and the technology.
With his cooperative approach, he soon opened dozens of stores in Taipei. On every street I have been to in Taipei, I have seen that business. A small shaved-ice business expanded hugely. Before the expansion, the old couple were very happy when counting their daily earned and thought they were making a big profit. Now they don’t work anymore, but I guess their daily income is over 200,000. Their monthly income is more than the total revenue of their lifetime. Isn’t knowledge power? Having heard my story, you can also achieve this. We have a variety of cuisines in China. Which one has been sold all over the world? None.
Use your brain. Ordinary capability can only allow you to make a living. But if it’s combined with knowledge, you will become a person of wisdom. Your original capability will be magnified many times over. For a successful person, skill comprises only 10% of their success at the most; I’m not saying it’s not important, but wisdom is much more important. The second type of person is the wise person, who I very much admire. With extensive knowledge, comprehensive skills, and good personal qualities like a strong work ethic, strength, calmness, diligence, and dependability, and other such beautiful qualities, one will become an amazing, outstanding person for sure. Just like in The Three Kingdoms, Zhuge Liang was a wise person.
What did Zhuge Liang’s boss use to do? His boss was Liu Bei, who sold either straw sandals or straw hats. He could only weave those things. He would count as the capable if he were among us. He had some practical skills. People needed to wear straw sandals anyway. He was only a straw sandal vendor. Your store may not sell shoes alone. Right? Eventually, Liu Bei became a king. What about Zhang Fei? He was just a butcher. What did Guan Yu do? (He used a long knife as a weapon.)
Before he followed his boss Liu, what did he do? He was almost a manual laborer. Anyway, he was not a wise intellectual. Throughout history, because of his courage and loyalty, all the kings of different dynasties gave him titles, finally turning him into a god. In South China, people worship him. People built temples for him. People in Northeast China have also worshiped him. That’s why there are people relatively loyal to friends. Because of his brotherhood loyalty, Guan Yu was given the highest title in the Qing Dynasty. The three brothers and Zhuge Liang were not born great. Zhuge Liang was not a vegetable grower, a farmer, a merchant, nor a top scholar, but he was a Jack-of-all-trades; he was erudite. The reason he didn’t have a specific title: He was everything. I guess he wasn’t good at farming because he wasn’t physically strong.
However, he liked to study. Learning methods vary from person to person, and he had his own way of learning. These four people fought together to seize state power. As a result, they created the power of the Shu Kingdom. Among them, Zhuge Liang was a wise person. The wise are people of knowledge and wisdom. The wise and the capable are the second and third type.
The Virtuous: Moral, Compassionate People
Who are the first type? The virtuous. They’re people of virtue and morality. The virtuous rule the world. Not all the ancient kings who were successful conquerors were virtuous. The virtuous are people of compassion. People who treat their subjects as their own children. A great king loves his people and cares about them. If taxes are too high, he will reduce them; if there are too many corrupt officials, he will arrest them and hire honest, upright ones.
Wherever there are natural disasters, he will be present. Such kings are good kings. However big the world is, it belongs to the person who is the noblest. Such virtuous people have one more quality than the wise. Of course, they have the ability to make a living, and they are creative and very knowledgeable. But, what other quality do they have? Compassion. For example, the king lives in Beijing; there is a huge flood in Henan province, which is not his home province. The fact that tens of thousands of people are dead has nothing to do with him personally. An indifferent king is not a good king. If a good king hears of such a tragedy, he is heartbroken. He would immediately request help from several provinces, call on people to donate money, cut expenses, and raise money in the royal palace for a relief fund. He’s truly worried about the suffering of the common people, and he’s compassionate.
Whether his compassion is innate or acquired, what does this type of person have? Charm. They like to care about other people. People of this type have a few qualities: The first one is sympathy, a willingness to help others. This willingness is shown through action, not words; they like to help others, and offer wisdom. They are not only wise but also very knowledgeable, expressive, and great organizers. In The Three Kingdoms, there is a story about Liu Bei: During a battle, Zhao Yun, one of his five great generals almost got killed by Cao’s soldiers while trying to save the son of his boss, Liu Bei. Liu Bei wanted to smash his own son on the ground for risking the life of his general. I believe that Liu Bei cherished his son, but he also cherished each of his generals a great deal.
Though Cao Cao was suspicious and killed many of his generals, he also had the most generals among the three kingdoms. He used many generals; many who were disparaged by others or surrendered to him were given a position or a title by Cao Cao. Thus, a good commander-in-chief likes to discover the strong points in others, i.e., their special skills, their outstanding qualities. Also, a virtuous person, a great commander-in chief, has some other qualities, such as being a good observer, and thinking and planning with the big picture in mind. He cares about the greater good, not petty benefits. Many who seemed smart were killed in battle because they fixated on petty benefits. How could Liu Bei go from straw sandal vendor to king? He became a king because he was nice to ordinary people.
A historical record says: In Henan province, when Liu Bei was engaged in a battle, hundreds of thousands of civilians followed him. They drove herds of sheep, pigs and cows, and took their family members along; 30,000 soldiers were followed by civilians. Cao Cao’s army was chasing them; they couldn’t move fast. Liu Bei had no way out. He shouted at the crowd: “You don’t have to follow me. Please stay. Run for your lives. This situation is terrible. You’ll be safe if you stop following me. Cao’s army doesn’t kill civilians. You don’t have to follow me.” But nobody wanted to leave him, despite facing death. He was really kind to civilians, so it was hard for him to fight with his enemy. All of his civilians, who left home and career behind, were willing to follow him wherever he went. His protection of civilians moved his generals and his enemy’s generals, who heard the story. He was a king who always kept his subjects in his heart; he had such compassion.
A person of immense virtue has many wonderful qualities such as benevolence, compassion, knowledge, and skills. My young friends and students, all of you of different ages and levels, what type of person do you want to be? What is the first type? (The virtuous.)
The virtuous (Dezhe); we use this word for simplicity. How about the second? (The wise.) And the third? (The capable.)
What type of person do you want to be? (The virtuous.)
You choose yourself, and you don’t need to tell me. None of these three types of people are lazy or unreliable; they don’t muddle along, and they don’t steal. Even if one doesn’t have the highest aspirations, he still has to be a capable person. Such a person has more than one skill, perhaps three or four. Thus, once we have capability, we have charm. If one has virtue, capability, and wisdom, one is almost perfect. Is there such a person? Yes. Each of our disciples is such a person. (Got it.)
First, you all have a compassionate heart. Second, all of you are eager to learn, after reading my books and following me. Those not eager to learn have dismissed themselves. My disciples must be eager to learn. Just as for your beloved, you should acquire more skills and knowledge. If you love the whole world, then you have to grasp even more knowledge. Someone says: “I’m a Ph.D. and I don’t know how to make noodles.” In this world, no matter what degree you hold, no matter what title you have, you have to eat. Right? Some people forget the basics, they forget common sense. With more skills, you’ll have limitless ease, and increase the radiance of your power; your life will become splendid. The virtuous are people of morality and compassion. I hope you can be one of the three types; even the third one, the capable, is very good.
All behaviors require knowledge. All we see is knowledge; all we hear is knowledge. I hope that our young friends will be compassionate, sympathetic, and caring towards others. Don’t care about yourselves too much. In the process of learning, remember to be observant. In Buddhist practice, there is a higher state called “wondrous observation”. In this context, “wondrous” means “deeply”. Observe deeply and think comprehensively. Please attain the state of “wondrous observation”. Listen more, read more, and think more. Also, do more; that is, speak less, do more. So, there are three important things: Listen more, read more, and think more. Can you remember this? (Yes.)
Repeat it. (Listen more, read more, and think more.)
If you listen and read, but don’t think it over, it’s like wind blowing past, leaving no trace; it’s like a boat passing over water, leaving no trace. Only after thinking deeply can you retain the essence. Thus, think more. This “think” can also be called “contemplate” or “imagine”. May I ask everyone, “Is imagination important?” (Yes.)
Just a reminder: Imagination is very important. In fact, I don’t like people to say: “Don’t think nonsense or indulge in fantasy.” Still, some disparage us, the people of imagination, by saying that we are day-dreaming. “Indulging in fantasy”, means you’re full of imagination. I want to tell you: All the highest states of life are born of imagination. First, we think of a picture; then we pursue that vision and materialize it. For instance, regarding a future career, some of the young ladies want to be flight attendants. But you don’t say “flight attendant”. Instead, you have an image of “flight attendant”, right? Some boys say they want to climb Mt. Everest. What you visualize is not a mound of graves, but the most splendid, highest mountain. If you want to be rich, you might see a powerfully built man who seems to have a lot of money.
All these are just vague images and feelings, right? To be a professor in the future, you don’t think about the word “professor”, you have an image in your mind. It’s a misty image of yourself looking like a professor. To be a singer, you pull from memory an image of a singer performing in a stadium full of 100,000 people. Imagination can also be called ideals. Once ideals are set, strive to embody them, and then you can realize them. Have you decided what type of person you want to be?