Chapter 7: After All the Above Are Accomplished, Study Further and Learn Literature and Art to Improve Your Cultural and Spiritual Life

If you so not actively make use of what you have learned, but continue to study on the surface, your knowledge is increasing but it is only superficial. What kind of person will you be? If you do apply your knowledge diligently, but stop studying, you will only do things based on your own opinion, thinking it is correct. In fact, what you know is not the truth.

There are methods to study correctly. They involve concentration in three areas: your mind, your eyes, and your mouth. To believe in what you read is equally important. When you begin to read a book, do not think about another. If you have not completed the book, do not start another. Give yourself lots of time to study, and study hard. Given time and effort,[26] you will thoroughly understand. If you have a question, make a note of it. Ask the person who has the knowledge for the right answer.

Keep your room neat, your walls uncluttered and clean, your desk tidy and your brush[27] and inkstone[28] properly placed. If your ink block[29] is ground unevenly, it shows you have a poor state of mind.

When words are written carelessly, showing no respect, it shows your state of mind has not been well. The books[30] should be classified, placed on the book shelves, and in their proper places. After you finish reading a book, put it back in its right place. Even though you are in a hurry neatly roll up and bind the open bamboo scroll you were reading. Any missing or damaged pages are to be repaired. If it is not a book on the teachings of the saints and sages, it should be discarded and not even be looked at. These other books can block your intelligence and wisdom, and will undermine your aspiration and sense of direction.

Neither be harsh on yourself, nor give up on yourself.

To be a person of high ideals, moral standards and virtue is something we can all attain in time.