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Do not do to others what you don’t want to be done to you

ji3 suo3 bu2 yu4,wu4 shi1 yu2 ren2


Confucius held that if there was one word that could serve as a guide throughout one’s life, it should be “forgiveness.” He said: “Do not do to others what you don’t want to be done to you.” The “forgiveness” he referred to, means putting oneself in the position of others, and refraining from forcing others to do what one does not want to do. This is a basic principle for conducting oneself in life and dealing with affairs. Confucius held the view that a person should help others to attain the goals they are starving toward; if he does not want others to treat him in a certain way, he himself should be the first not to treat others that way. In short, you try to understand and treat others by putting yourself in their shoes. Before doing anything, you should think about how you would do it if you were in the same position as others. This way of thinking will most likely result in a fairly correct solution to any problem. However, it is quite hard to practice this belief, even for adults. So that is why it becomes one of the most well-known saying for a Chinese teacher to teach the students, also in other ways of persuasion and education.

If you are interested in learning Chinese in China, you are welcome to check out Keats School’s Chinese language courses.

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