The Sage Always Excels in Saving People

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Cheon Seong Gyeong 2203

    Historically, although there have been many patriots, filial children, and virtuous women centered on the king, no one centered truly on God’s will. Yet we of today are different. People of the past devoted themselves to freedom and liberation based upon earthly standards. They might have become the object partner of God’s concern, but they were not able to give Him comfort and joy. As yet there has been no loyal subject, filial child, or virtuous woman of whom God could be proud.
    Becoming God’s patriots, filial children, and virtuous women is the right path for all people to follow; yet such people have never existed. Although people may have lived in this way for their king or their parents, none has done so for God. As God looked upon these people, how much He must have longed for them to become His patriots, filial children, and virtuous women! (11-77, 1961.1.29)

Cheon Seong Gyeong 1708

    I grappled for nine years with the question as to the origin of the universe, and finally found the answer. It proved to be a very simple principle. Then I said, “Wow, I didn’t know this simple truth. I held the answers within myself but didn’t realize it.” Isn’t that so? An old man who dug for wild ginseng went into the deepest parts of jagged mountains like that of Mt. Taebaek to search for the plants, only to discover in the morning that the place where he had rested and urinated was a patch of wild ginseng. He hadn’t been aware of it. On his way back, he decided to go back to where he rested and had a smoke when he first set out, He found the cigarette butt he had thrown away and smoked it., Lo and behold, the cigarette butt was in a patch of wild ginseng. This actually took place. At such a moment, going back for that cigarette butt and smoking it was great fortune for him. This could really happen. (196-130, 1989.12.31)


The Teacher

2. Teachers that Value Their Students

Confucius said, “From the very poorest upwards—beginning even with the man who could bring no better present than a bundle of dried flesh—none has ever come to me without receiving instruction.”
    Analects 7.7 (Confucianism)

I teach young children, and I treat the children of the poor exactly the same as the children of the rich. Those that cannot afford to pay, I teach without charge. Since I am also a fisherman, to encourage those who do not wish to come and learn I give them each a fish to take home.
    Talmud, Taanit 24a (Judaism)

And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
    Luke 13.6-9

The sage always excels in saving people, and so abandons no one;
Always excels in saving things, and so abandons nothing.
This is called following one’s discernment.
Hence the good man is the teacher the bad learns from;
And the bad man is the material the good works on.
Not to value the teacher
Nor to love the material
Though it seems clever, betrays great bewilderment.
    Tao Te Ching 27 (Taoism)

There are four types of men:
The man who has knowledge and is aware of it is a scholar—follow him.
The man who has a great deal of knowledge
but is not aware of what he has is asleep—wake him up.
The man who knows nothing and is aware that he knows nothing is ignorant—teach him.
The man who knows nothing but is not aware that he knows nothing is a devil—avoid him.
    Al-Ghazzali, Ihia’ Ulum el-Din 59.1 (Islam)

The Master said, “Only one who bursts with eagerness do I instruct; only one who bubbles with enthusiasm do I enlighten. If I hold up one corner and a man cannot come back to me with the other three, I do not continue the lesson.”
    Analects 7.8 (Confucianism)

Socrates to Ischomachus: “Does teaching consist in putting questions?”
    [Ischomachus replies]: “Indeed, the secret of your system has just this instant dawned upon me. I seem to see the principle in which you put your questions. You lead me through the field of my own knowledge, and then by pointing out analogies to what I know, persuade me that I really know some things which hitherto, as I believed, I had no knowledge of.”
    Socrates, in Xenophon, Oeconomicus (Hellenism)

Much Torah have I learned from my teachers, more from my colleagues, but from my students most of all.
    Talmud, Taanit 7a (Judaism)

Even when walking in a party of no more than three I can always be certain of learning from those I am with. There will be good qualities that I can select for imitation and bad ones that will teach me what requires correction in myself.
    Analects 7.21 (Confucianism)

That which gives a sage his sageliness is fondness for learning and inquiry from inferiors. Take Shun: From the time when he plowed and sowed, exercised the potter’s art, and was a fisherman, until he became emperor, there was no time when he was not learning from others how to practice goodness.
    Chu Hsi (Confucianism)

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