The Story of China Studies(3)

Z言ng Gu車f芋n, the Most Cursed and the Widely Admired Master(3)

Letter 18:

#J足z谷 (槨屙son of Z谷ng Gu車f芋n) should be diligent and speedy when reading ※The History of H角n§ and should read at least twenty pages everyday. He should not be puzzled by the concept of ※profoundness over quantity§. If one reads half a page today, a few pages tomorrow, stops reading the day after, and he may never finishes reading one book. This is like cooking rice, rice would be cold if the fire is distinguished, small fire would give much heat, one got to use a big fire to have rice cooked. Has Ji見w迅 (樅拻son of Gu車h谷ng) finished reading the classics? He should speed up in reading and underlining, and not to seek thorough understanding with every sentence. If one does not follow this rule, he may not be able to finish reading all the classics in his lifetime. There are so many children like that in our hometown. We must take that as a lesson. Nephews who haven*t finished all the classics must make it up and finish them soon. Please do take this point seriously.

(Quoted from the letter to his brother Gu車h谷ng on December 26, 1856/lunar calendar November 29, the 6th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 19:

#In the ancient times, for anyone who made great accomplishment, a broad mind and meticulous working style are indispensible#it is easy for one to become a person who does things without order and only pursues a big goal. What worth is there if one only has high aspirations and be muddle-headed when attending to specific matters? One would go very far if he does things neatly and orderly. Only so, a high aspiration wouldn*t be accompanied by drawbacks #

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on November 19, 1857/lunar calendar October 4, the 7th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 20ㄩ

#you said in your letter that you can not summon up yourself because you have no interest in what you are doing. This is not right. Whatever we do, we have to be fully concentrating and steadfast to the end and never relax. We should not be inconsistent, looking at another thing when tending to one thing, and think that the other mountain is higher than the one we are on. We would accomplish nothing if we have no perseverance. I suffered a lot for lacking of perseverance. For instance, when I was at the Imperial Academy, I should have devoted more attention to poetry and writings, yet I was interested in other books and I was distracted. While I was reading philosophical works, I also read poetry and writings, directed my attention to something else. When I was working in the ministries, I didn*t dedicate all my efforts to public affairs; when I was commanding troops I could not concentrate, and was perplexed by reading of poetry and writings. That*s why until today I haven*t really accomplished anything and now I am so old. Take the formation of the navy, it is like digging a well, if one stops after having dug nine meters down, then all the efforts were spent for nothing. So, you should take me as a lesson. Now you are commanding some troops, you got to study how to command. Please not to divert your attention to anything else, but on commanding only, day and night. Please don*t be distracted by your desire of reading books, ranking high in the imperial examinations or assuming a position at a county magistrate office. It might be too late for you to regret if you repeat my mistakes and accomplish nothing in the future.

#you are not in a good health, but you don*t have to think of it too much. The more you used your energy the more you would have it. The more you cheer up yourself the higher your spirit is. The more you do during the daytime, the faster you get into your sleep at night. It would be difficult for you to accomplish anything if you are reluctant in sharing your efforts or having no vigor at all, or being at a stalemate without any advances or retreats#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on January 28, 1858/lunar calendar December 14, the 7th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 21:
#My dear brother, you think you belong to the honest and simple kind of men. I do also about myself. Only because I have experienced so many vicissitudes and gone through so much twists and turns, I occasionally also resorted to tact and astute tricks, and learned something bad. In fact, I was far from being at home with tact and astute means as others, only leaving a laughing stock for others, and they would bear a grudge against me. What good is there to do so? It suddenly dawned to me these days that I should try to be simple, plain and solid, and return to my original honest and simple nature as earlier as possible, and never to be on the road of dupery, the longer we are on that road the more inferior we shall be. Even if others play dupery on me, I still treat them with a sincere, simple and honest attitude; and as time passes, their enmity would be diluted. If we put all our efforts in intrigue against them and never make any concessions, and play a tooth for a tooth with them, there would be no ending. However, we should have resolve and determination, which are different from being headstrong. Ancient people used to say he who can triumph over himself is strong; he who can force himself to correct mistakes is strong; he who can force himself to pardon others is strong and he who can force himself to give charity is strong. The process of forcing oneself to do things is one of overcoming oneself. For instance, if one does not get up earlier, he can force himself to get up before daybreak; if one does not look serious, he can force himself to sit or stand with full attention; if one seldom does manual labor, and he can force himself to join the soldiers in drilling and force himself to be diligent. This is a way to be powerful. If one is not accustomed to be concentrated, he should force himself to be persevere and resolute. This is a way to be stout-hearted. If you don*t do so, instead, you force yourself upon others by the higher position you have, this would be headstrong. Being strong and being headstrong may look similar, yet, they are totally different in the long run. So, we have to make distinctions between them and be cautious#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on February 7, 1858/lunar calendar January 4, the 8th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 22:

#You wouldn*t move others if you have no sincerity when dealing with them; however, if there is sincerity alone, if there are no ceremony and observance to carry it, the sincerity can not be expressed. This is what meant by ※nothing goes without formality§ as said in ※On Rite§ . I never attached importance to ceremony all my life, and now I found so many inconveniences in relations with others. It is only recently that I came to realize this and I am now trying to improve. You are now working away from home by yourself, please do consider this point at all times#
(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on February 27, 1858/lunar calendar January 14, the 8th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 23:

#bad behavior that cause failures has been induced by our ancestors to two kinds: inordinately proud and speaking too much. What was wrong with Zh迆d芋n was his unduly self-conceitedness and his crafty nature and his fondness of litigation, which in some sense is speaking too much. If we look at dynasties, we would find what caused those famous dukes and important ministers to ruin their families and lose their lives were that they were inordinately proud of their own abilities and they spoke too much. I have been opinionated all my life, which is one kind of arrogance; but I don*t talk much, yet I am somewhat dextrous and crafty in my pen. When I examine my wrongs secretly and quietly, I found why others blamed me here and there were also because of these two bad behaviors. Gu車hu芍*s dispositions are similar to mine, only more acerbic in words. Haughty airs are not always exhibited by words, sometimes by the way you look at people or by your facial expressions#One should not always remember what he is good at, he would surely show it on his face if he always remembers his advantages. In terms of my family, as I am loosing my fame so sharply, I fear that may affect my brothers and children; as far as personal ability is concerned, there have now been so many gifted people in the army, and we don*t possess anything that is better than them. There is nothing we can rely on, only be diligent, and not to assume unduly airs on us, be honest and serious in everything we do, could we make up mistakes we made before, and bring about some new atmosphere. Otherwise, others may loath us and look down upon us#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on April 17, 1858/lunar calendar March 6, the 8th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 24:

#the rise and fall of dukes and ministers in dynasties, and the fortunes and misfortunes in the official circles all relate to whether or not one was unduly proud or one spoke too much. Together with you, we should take this as a lesson. Even if we have gotten rid of these two mal-practices, we could still not make our family prosperous if we are not diligent and accomplish something. I should therefore cheer up myself and be persevere in my job, getting rid of my wrong doings so that some foundation could be laid for our family#
(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on May 7, 1858/lunar calendar March 24, the 8th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 25:

#he who feels depressed, worried, be indignant and pent-up, sometimes resents about one*s poor luck, in other times blames wrongs onto others would not learn anything from experiences, not able to cultivate himself or keep a good health. When one gets into the adult age, depressed feelings would affect liver and kidney#I therefore hope, my two younger brothers, could ask each other to be ※peaceful and harmonious§, and please don*t discard what I said in the foregoing as an old talking stock#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on May 13, 1858/lunar calendar March 30, the 8th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 26:

#I am pleased about your capability in being an official, not about your promotion. You are more capable in the civil affairs than being a general in the army. You would add glory to our family and increase my pleasure if you could be a law-abiding official and complete a few things that would really benefit the common people#
(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on June 6, 1858/lunar calendar May 6, the 8th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 27:

#it is rare in our life time to have a time that is to our hearts* desire. Now, both your seniors and juniors are applauding you, both soldiers and civilians respect you, this could be considered as an ideal time, which should be grasped firmly and exert yourself to bring about a scene of greatness#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on June 26, 1858/lunar calendar May 16, the 8th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 28:

#Much has been said about how to be a gentleman by our ancient saints, which can be nailed down to two words: respectfulness and forbearance.

You ability in comprehension is alright. You may find it easy to apply ※forbearance§˙you should work harder on being respectful. Do take these two words seriously; they are the basis for your moral integrity#

(Quoted from the letter to J足z谷 on August 29, 1858/lunar calendar July 21, the 8th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 29:

##Gu車hu芍 had a haughty bearing when he was young, and was not mild or gentle; that*s why the adult name I gave him meant ※mildness§. When I met him at Ru足zh車u in 1856, I was extremely happy about his change of disposition, he was so caring, affectionate, cheerful and easy. Last year, while I was at our hometown, there was among our brothers some estrangement caused by something trifle; I, as the eldest, was to be blamed for my mind was not broad enough and my words were not gentle. There isn*t much I can say except of feeling regretful.

Last year there was discord among our brothers, this year we had the disaster of losing Gu車hu芍. The saying ※kindness would bring peace while indecentness would bring inauspiciousness§ comes true with us. From now on our brothers should take what happened last year as a lesson. The children of our Z谷ng family are becoming more and more extravagant; it is too earlier for them to have so much comfort, which would probably not last to their old age. From now on, boys should sweep and clean the rooms, and not to take a carriage when going out; girls should learn washing clothes, cooking meals and dishes and boil tea. It is quite alright for one to have ease at an old age but toil in their young age; it would be difficult for one to have some ease in the young age and hardships in the old age#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng, Gu車qu芍n and Gu車b見o on December 16, 1858/lunar calendar November 12, the 8th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 30:

#Since you are the oldest in our next generation, you should take it as a pleasure to train your younger brothers. The nicest virtue of a gentleman is to be kind to others, you should be even more so with your brothers. L赤ns芋n and K迂nb芋 are your cousins, you should encourage each other with them. You may often tell them what you have comprehended, and in doing so you may make progress together#

(Quoted from the letter to J足z谷 on December 29, 1858/lunar calendar October 25, the 8th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 31:

#Misfortune and fortune are decided by the Heaven. But good or evil are decided by man. For matters decided by the Heaven, man can not help or do anything; yet for matters decided by man, if we exert a bit of effort, it would count; if we exert efforts for a day, that day would count. We brothers must make a thorough change of ourselves and do our best to change the fate of our family as well. Firstly, we brothers must get along well; secondly, we must reflect deeply why we should be filial to our parents; thirdly, we must be ※diligent and frugal§. Diligence will bring vigor to our family; frugality will help keep our resolve. I can not see why our family can not thrive if we are diligent and frugal#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng, Gu車qu芍n and Gu車b見o on December 27, 1858/lunar calendar November 23, the 8th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 32:

#I have signed off the plan of the house drew by Gu車qu芍n. The new building can be spacious if it is used as the memorial hall for the last three generations; if the memorial hall is to be built at L谷iji芋w芍n, the new building is to be used as our residence, it shouldn*t be too big and luxuriant. The generals from our county seldom bought land to build houses; and one built by Li迆 Sh足h谷ng is of countryside structure. If our residence was too plushy, Gu車qu芍n would be cursed by others. It is really not proper to live in a house big and beautiful at a time of such social disorder#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n, Gu車qu芍n and Gu車b見o on February 3, 1859/lunar calendar January 1, the 9th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 33:

#Despite your poor health, if you could stand storm, temper yourself and do things in a painstaking way in this disaster-ridden times, you would get stronger not only in health but also in knowledge. A proof of this point is your Uncle Gu車qu芍n who was so weak in health yet got stronger after he joined the army not long ago#

(Quoted from the letter to J足z谷 on April 5, 1859/lunar calendar March 3, the 9th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 34:

#All emperors of this dynasty have kept the habit of getting up at five in the morning and it has lasted for two hundred years without change. In our Z言ng family, starting from my great grandfather to my father, the habit of getting up earlier has been kept. I saw my great grandfather and grandfather getting up earlier with my eyes; and if it was in deep winter it would be bright one hour after they got up. My father also was used to getting up at daybreak, and he got up earlier when necessary. He also woke up once or twice to look around in the night. You saw all these yourself. I began not long ago to rise at dawn and hoping I could keep the family tradition. You are almost twenty and have married and have a family of your own. You should regard early rising in the morning as the most important matter to do, not only you but also your wife should get up early. I have accomplished nothing in my life simply because of lack of persistence. It has been an insult to me being morally low and career wise poor. At the time when I began to command the troops, I was determined to get rid of this shortcoming; I did manage some change for a sometime. I hate myself so much for lacking of persistence that I took it as an insult. So, if you want to accomplish something, you got to start with having persistence.

I saw my grandfather*s bearings, which is matchless. The difference was the ※weight§ he carried. When I walk, I carry myself in a sturdy manner. I might have picked it up from my grandfather. Your carriage seems a bit ethereal, and I think this is a big drawback. Please from now on pay enough attention to be sedate and sturdy in either walking or sitting. For you the most important thing to do is to rise up early, to have persistence and to be sedate and sturdy. To get up early is our family tradition carried over from our ancestors; to have persistence is something I lacked and took as an insult for the lacking; not sedate and sturdy enough is your shortcoming. I now especially point these out to admonish you in real earnest#

(Quoted from the letter to J足z谷 on November 8, 1859/lunar calendar October 14, the 9th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 35:

#Gu車qu芍n, being too tired would reduce your vitality, your fondness of blowing ※Suona§ horn is harmful to your heart, and being too addicted to liquor is hurting your stomach and spleen. Please get rid of these three bad habits and take a few tonics, your health would recover day by day. None of our later generation is in a strong health. Blowing horn and drinking liquor should be stopped as earlier as possible; they should not become a common practice at home. Rather, hunting and archery are good to keep health. To rise earlier is in fact a valuable prescription and a magic drug to prolong life#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng and Gu車qu芍n on April 14, 1860/lunar calendar March 24, the 10th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 36:

#I got on the first of this month your letter of the 16th of last month, and know that Uncle Gu車h谷ng has moved to his new residence, you are therefore the master of the Old Golden House. In the past, my grandfather was very strict with family rules: the first was to get up early; the second was to clean the house; the third was to offer with sincerity sacrifices to our ancestors; and the fourth was to get along well with relatives and neighbors. We treated with respect relatives or neighbors who came into our house. We gave them a helping hand if they were in difficulties; we tried to settle their disputed; we went to express congratulations for their happy events and went to see them if they fell ill; we showed our condolence at the loss of their dear ones. Aside from the above four rules, we got to be careful with reading books and growing vegetables, raising fish and pigs, which were also family rules. Even though you are now busy with your studies, and can not attend to the eight things in person, you must come to understand the meaning of the rules. Mr. Zh迆 Y迄ns足 could look after specific things for you. But, do remember none of the eight is indispensable#

(Quoted from the letter to J足z谷 on April 24, 1859/lunar calendar leap-month March 4, the 10th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 37:

#When I discussed with Gu車qu芍n about how to run our family I stressed our grandfather*s principles to him, which are summarized in eight characters. We talked about four of them last year, they are: books, vegetables, fish and pig (pork); the other four are: earlier, sweep, sacrifice and friendship. The word ※earlier§ means to get up at dawn; the word ※sweep§ means to sweep rooms and the courtyard; the word ※sacrifice§ means to offer sacrifice to ancestors and to respect our father, grandfather and great grandfather. Of course, such respect includes that to our mother; the word ※friendship§ means to keep constant contacts with relatives, clan members and neighbors, express congratulations on their happy events and condolence on their sad occasions, visit them if they fall into illness and assist them when they are in difficulties. Our grandfather once said harmony among people is an invaluable asset. He was extremely conscious of these principles. Even though the eight characters may not seem very serious, I still wish to write them down on a screen and give the screen to you for congratulating your and your wife*s birthdays, so that our later generations could come to know our family motto and what we brothers are interested in#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng on April 19, 1860/lunar calendar March 29, the 10th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 38:

#Dear Gu車h谷ng, I wish you could do your best to look after family affairs. Yet, we can never be more and more luxurious and extravagant. Our children should not talk like those from other big families, think others are vulgar and shabby and laugh at them. It is dangerous if they don*t even realize they are more and more arrogant and spoiled#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng on June 13, 1860/lunar calendar April 24, the 10th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 39:

#among the literati many give too high an assessment of themselves, many use too high assumptions in their writings, this are a common symptom. I was referring to this malady when I said in criticism that they are only strong on lips and with their pen. However, some highly gifted people may embark on a right course if they were well guided by using an opportune situation. Persons like Lu車 Z谷n芋n, W芍ng X赤n and L走 X迄y赤 were extremely arrogant in their earlier years and became gradually peaceful and solid later. I myself was arrogant as well, it was only recently I became plain, unadorned and solid#I suppose, there are no talents who are entirely the same in the world, there is no friendship that is flawless. It would be alright as long as the bigger aspects are corrected, the smaller aspects could be forgiven#

(Quoted from the letter to the Gu車qu芍n on September 26, 1860/lunar calendar August 12, the 10th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 40:

#I don*t know if the commanders in your troops have put on overbearing airs, and if you have found in your daily self-examination your haughtiness has been decreasing. Laziness was the cause of failure in the past and present for people with mediocre ability. Arrogance was the cause of failure in the past and today for people who are gifted. I induced these conclusions from military context; they can be applied to everything else. I wish to share this point with all my brothers#We don*t have to mind how others are treating us, we should spend more efforts in getting rid the two shortcomings: arrogance and laziness#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on November 5, 1860/lunar calendar September 23, the 10th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 41:

#I went to Beijing on November 2 in the 19th year of the reign of Emperor D角ogu芋ng. On the morning of October 28, while I was tending to our Grandfather, I said, ※For this journey to Beijing, could you please give me some advice?§ He said, ※You have a broad prospect in being an official, you have outstanding abilities. But don*t be conceited. Arrogance will incur losses; modesty brings benefits. You would be better off if you are not self-conceited.§ His words still ring in my ears today. I now write them down to share with you. The first thing to do is to rid ourselves of arrogance#causes for battle failure was either arrogance or laziness; the fall of some big families was caused by either arrogance or laziness, by one of the two#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n and Gu車b見o on November 6, 1860/lunar calendar September 24, the 10th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 42ㄩ

#Even though you are gaining more and more experience, yet I can smell bit arrogance in your letter. Modesty is the only way to carry happiness, arrogance brings conceit, and conceit brings failure. Why in either speech or writing you loath the habits of others, dislike the roughness of others, discuss shortcoming of others or expose others* secret, it was arrogance that was making the trouble. It makes no difference if what you stated were true, or every single point was a fact, the Heaven does not allow such a behavior. The sons and brothers of our family are so arrogant that they often talks about the drawbacks and laugh at the roughness of others. This is not a nice thing to do. If you wish to get rid of the arrogance from our sons and nephews, brother, you yourself should overcome the bad habits of talking others* shortcoming and expose others* privacy first, then you can teach later generations what is right. In getting rid of maladies, the first thing to do is not to say anything bad about others, and not to laugh at others; in getting rid of laziness, the first thing to do is to get up earlier. Brother, if you could follow strictly the ※eight words§ of our Grandfather, and his ※three not to believe§ , plus remembering what I say about getting rid of arrogance and laziness, the children of our family would gradually become cautious and respectful without our notice#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng on February 13, 1861/lunar calendar January 4, the 11th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 43:

#It is not entirely right for you to say in your letter that among our sons and nephews none is arrogant. I must say you are arrogant yourself. A modest man respects others; never say anything bad about them. He who likes to laugh at others and talk about their shortcomings must be an arrogant man. In your letters, you laughed at and talked about the shortcoming of Zu辛 Z身ngt芍ng, L走 Yu芍nd迄, Ch谷n D走ng, F谷ng Zhu身hu芍i and others in the troops, and for some of them you did so more than twice and even three times. You talk about and laugh at these people in the troops whom you are not really familiar with, let alone those whom you know really well at our hometown. Since you act like this, I could imagine the sons and nephews must be contempt of everything and blurt out anything that comes to their minds. A saying goesㄛ ※most sons and brothers in rich families are extravagant; most sons and nephews of high officials are arrogant.§ Delectable dishes and elegant dress are not the only way to be extravagant and arrogant. Being conceit at a small success, act without any restraint and talk about others without thinking are extreme arrogance#
(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng on March 14, 1861/lunar calendar February 4, the 11th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 44:

#All our brothers and children should remember the eight characters put forward by our grandfather, and his ※three not to believe§ as well. In my diary, I also kept the words about ※eight basics§, they are: ※in reading books, the basic is to master the true meaning of the texts; in composing poetry, the basic is to grasp tones and rhyme; in looking after parents, the basic is to make them happy; in self-cultivation, the basic is not to get vexed; in establishing oneself in the society, the basic is not to lie; in looking after a family, the basic is not to get up late; in being an official, the basic to not to accept bribe with money; in leading an army to fight, the basic is not to disturb the common masses.§ These eight principles are something I personally experienced, which should be firmly remembered by our children. It would not be difficult to keep our family at an upper status if we stick to our grandfather*s eight characters and the eight principles of mine no matter the society was in order or not and no matter if our family is poor or rich#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng on April 3, 1861/lunar calendar February 24, the 11th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 45:

#From last winter till now, every day I have been in danger and riding on surging waves. What I want to demolish brothers and our children are only the eight characters of our grandfather, his ※three not to believe§ and my eight principles; I wish now to add ※three reaches to peace§, which are ※filial piety reaches to family peace, diligence reaches to family peace and tolerance reaches to family peace.§ Given the critical military situation and I may encounter danger at any moment, I therefore reiterate to every brother the above. Every one in the family, old and young, man and woman, must foster the habit of hardworking, this is of the first and foremost importance; the second important thing to do is to be modest and cautious. To work hard you would not seek ease and leisure; to be modest and cautious you would not be arrogant and conceit, other advantages would then follow#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng, Gu車qu芍n and Gu車b見o on April 13, 1861/lunar calendar March 4, the 11th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 46:

#Dear Gu車h谷ng, at the death of our aunt, my son J足z谷 went to pay his last respect. Did you go yourself? In handling things like this, it would be nice if one of our brothers could go to pay the last respect personally. In the past, our grandfather didn*t give hefty gifts to the uncle*s family, yet he showed his deep affection by going to them personally. We brothers should also do so. Nowadays, what is popular with rich families is to present big gifts with thin feelings by sending people over instead of going over themselves. It would do a lot good to us if we brothers often remind each other about things like this#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng on July 21, 1861/lunar calendar June 14, the 11th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 47:
#In keeping a family only frugality could last long. It is of the first importance to get rid of extravagance at a time of social disorder, that is to say not to make too many clothes, not to inlaid the edges of our clothes with colorful and bright material. Please do speak to your younger sisters about this, ask them to listen to what their father said, and in doing so their good days can be lengthened#

(Quoted from the letter to J足z谷 on September 28, 1861/lunar calendar August 24, the 11th year during the reign of Emperor Xianfeng)

Letter 48:

#What I wish to do my best in demolishing you is not to misuse of people and not to squander money#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n and Gu車b見o on February 12, 1862/lunar calendar January 14, the 1st year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 49:

# The actual actions of cleanness are: not to accept a cent that is questionable of sources; not to remit money home; and not to give more to relatives and clan members.

※Modesty§ is not discernable inside one*s mind, it could, however, exhibit itself outside one*s mind in four ways: facial looks, ways of talking, ways of writing letters and ways subordinates behave#in your letters to ask for medicine, there are always satirizing and resentful words. Your letters to me are like this, let alone the letters to others. Your servants, Gu車qu芍n, are quite boastful in their talking. I can not say anything about their facial looks or the ways they interact with others when they express gratitude, because I haven*t seen how they behave; you should know L走 Sh豆nf迂 once told me the way you spoke to him in the years he was with you and he still grumbles. These four aspects are the actual actions of being modest; you should work hard on them.

Everyday before you go to asleep, you should count how many things you worked with your mind and how many with your hands, and you would find out there isn*t much in what you did is a direct dedication to the imperial court, and you have to exert more efforts for the dedication to the imperial court.

Because of the big name I have and the high position I take, I always fear that I myself may have used up all the happiness left over by our ancestors, so I always use the three words: hardworking, modesty and cleanness to alert myself and be most conscious; I also hope you two can be alerted and conscious as well#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n and Gu車b見o on June 11, 1862/lunar calendar May 15, the 1st year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 50:

#Children in conspicuous families of officials in all generations would become men of value if the way they lived was as that of the poor. It would be difficult for them to accomplish anything if they took on some habits of the rich. Being a general and the minister in the first rank, the worth of all my clothing put together is less than 300 tales of silver. I hope you can also observe such a style of simplicity, which, I think, is a way to treasure happiness#

(Quoted from the letter to J足z谷 on June 23, 1862/lunar calendar May 27, the 1st year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 51:

#In the past and today a bad name often incurs punishment; therefore, we should cautiously cultivate ourselves and stay away from sins. To those who are talented yet have no moral integrity, we should give room to their talents, but not to get too close with them#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n and Gu車b見o on July 6, 1862/lunar calendar June 10, the 1st year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 52:

#I have heard some criticism on the errors and mistakes of the brothers of our family, which I should certainly tell you one by one for purpose of correction or persuasion. You should correct yourselves if what they said is right, or guard against it or alert yourselves even though what they said is not right. I can never keep these criticisms to myself and not to let you know#
(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on July 16, 1862/lunar calendar June 20, the 1st year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 53:

#I always fear that one day I might fall from this high position and the big name of which I am not really qualified to. The persons in ancient times and now, I read about, who possessed the power like mine rarely came to a good ending. I feel frightened at the thought that I was not able to protect you while I am at the height of my power or get all of you in trouble when I am falling down. Therefore, when we are not so busy, we should alert ourselves and admonish each other, in doing so we may be able to avoid a blunder#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on July 16, 1862/lunar calendar June 20, the 1st year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 54:

#The way to defeat the enemy relies on the people, not on weaponry#A true beauty would not scramble for pearl with others; a true calligrapher would not scramble for brush pens and ink with others, would those who are truly good at fighting scramble for foreign guns and powder?...

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on November 2, 1862/lunar calendar September 11, the 1st year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 55:

#At critical times, we must rely on ourselves; it doesn*t work to rely on others. If we rely on others in defensive, they may break into confusion in face of danger; if we rely on them in attack, they may forge ahead with all their strength and then retreat all of a sudden#I am pleased about your vision and guts when you refused to accept the troops of Ch谷n D角f迄 and Ch谷ng D角j赤 last spring#
(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on November 4, 1862/lunar calendar September 13, the 1st year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 56:

#You are certainly correct for not to fight blindly. In commanding troops, we must ensure we have endless peppiness, and there is always forces being reserved. The consumed and exhausted forces described in ※Zu辛 Qi迂m赤ng*s Annotation of the Spring and Autumn Annals§ will lead to defeat. You are reserving extra forces by not to fight battles blindly even though the morale in your troops is high#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on November 21, 1862/lunar calendar September 30, the 1st year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 57:

#One should be unyielding, which is crucial to your cause and to writing of articles; if one is too soft nothing can be accomplished. ※Being firm§ as said by Mencious and ※constantly keeping to the right path§ as said by Confucius depend on whether or not one is unyielding. Our brothers are so lucky in inheriting this character from our mother. If we don*t resent about anything and contain our desires in order to keep ourselves in good health, and be unyielding to consolidate our will, we would make endless progress everyday#
(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on March 9, 1863/lunar calendar January 20, the 2nd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 58:

#Ever since the ancient times, all saints, heroes, persons of great capability have all been open-minded, above-board in their broadness even though their will and causes differed. Taking composing poems, tranquility, leisure, and indifference to fame and wealth and other purport rest on whether one is open-minded and above board#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on May 11, 1863/lunar calendar March 24, the 2nd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 59:

...One has to be resourceful and strong when doing something big#You, brother, have been unyielding, and you don*t have to change it because of your high position. In whatever you do, you got to finish it in one breath (fling); and you got to be strong in reaching success. Even in self-cultivation and bringing harmony to our family, we also have to be resourceful and strong#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on June 13, 1863/lunar calendar April 27, the 2nd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 60:

#※Strength§ originally is part of the fine virtues of man. In my previous letters I said that ※strength should not be separated from resourcefulness§, ※strength should be combined with resourcefulness§ and ※strength that is based on resourcefulness§ would enable one never to retreat or yield. If you don*t understand this point, and treat others with only a peremptory style; you would become feeble after they frustrate you, bent you with reasons and force a result upon you with a bossy manner, and you would then admit defeat after being outrageous at the start. If you act like this, you would be what people in Beijing call ※the messing around guys§. Even though I am not those who don*t want to outdo others, I am slow in sight and hearing, and can not discern things thoroughly, I therefore do not easily give my opinions. Because of our high positions and name, people find it difficult to get in touch with us, for those we entrusted to do things for us act aggressively and speak with no restrains. If we only believe in strength and act without restrains, those we entrusted to do things aught to make a big trouble or blunder#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on August 24, 1863/lunar calendar July 11, the 2nd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 61:

#To accomplish something big, vision and ideas are of the first importance and skills come second; to accomplish something big, man*s scheming is fifty percent decisive and providence plays the other fifty percent.
What able persons are better than others is only their modesty. You should not only ponder my words, you should also examine dispassionately unpleasant words about you, which you would hear anytime and anywhere#It is therefore rare for those ancient people who were in high positions not being arrogant#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on September 3, 1863/lunar calendar July 21, the 2nd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 62:

#My birthday is approaching. Please make sure not to throw out parties for congratulations. I have declined gifts at my end here; you should also decline or refuse taking gifts in the army. Given the big name of our family, if we do worry about whether we could have a good ending each and everyday, we might be able to stand on the safe side; for otherwise, the speed of toppling down would be much quicker than expected#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on September 17, 1863/lunar calendar August 5, the 2nd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 63:

#Having gone through the tempering in the 8th year of the reign of Emperor Xi芍nf谷ng (1858 when he lost his younger brother Gu車hu芍), I came to know that we should be in awe of the Providence, the words of others and the teachings of the monarch and father, and that my ability is extremely ordinary#it was only recently that I realized I should nurture my resolve from awesomeness and cautiousness, the pity is I haven*t done so when I was at work or not working. Having gone through this tempering, you, brother, should think more about awesomeness and cautiousness. To be in awe of the Providence right now is not to make a slightest decision for the Throne on the matter of taking N芍nj貝ng or not; we should be aware at anytime that the little talent and virtue of our brothers are far from enough to match the tremendous meritorious deeds of taking N芍nj貝ng; to be in awe of the words of others is not to go against the public opinions at the slightest degree; to be awe of the teachings of the monarch and father is to regard the slight punishment on us by the monarch and father as a basis of acquiring higher moral#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on October 23, 1863/lunar calendar September 11, the 2nd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 64:

#I really don*t like the extravagance in the families of our brothers. Take the carriage to be carried by four persons, too many people in our family are using it. I heard my son J足z谷 also takes it, this is absolutely wrong. Why didn*t you rebuke him? It would be alright for you to take it occasionally, and you should not take it often yourself. The bamboo made carriage can go far; the one carried by four persons can not. The one that uses woolen curtain and carried by four persons should not get into the county town, not the town of H谷ngzh身u, and in particular, not to the provincial capital#In whatever we do, we must have a sense of prudence and frugality.

Why I don*t send much money or things home is because I fear our family has been accustomed to extravagance and having too much comfort#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qh谷ng on November 24, 1863/lunar calendar October 14, the 2nd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 65:

#For generations our family has been filial to parents, respectful to brothers, diligent and frugal. I couldn*t have a chance to see how my great great grandfather behaved; I did see how my great grandfather and grandfather got up early and kept themselves busy during the day. My great grandfather went to school in January one year in his childhood at the Memorial Temple of the Chen family, his father gave him 100 cents for his pocket money; however, when he returned home in May that year, he gave back to his father 99 cents and he only spent 1 cent. How frugal he was! My grandfather still grew vegetables and collected manure after his grandson entered into the Imperial Academy in the capital. As far as how frugal and diligent my father was, you have seen with your own eyes.

Even though our family conditions are getting better and better, my nephews and your brothers should never forget how hard it was with your ancestors. You should not use up all your happiness and your family strength. In being diligent, you should get up early in the morning and secondly keep doing so always; in being frugal, the first thing to do is not to wear fineries; secondly not to use too many servants. Nobody is born a general, a prime minister or a saint, and if one is determined to become such persons, it is possible#

(Quoted from the letter to J足ru足 on January 22, 1864/lunar calendar December 14, the 2nd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 66:

#It is a biggest consolation that there is an instant hope of taking N芍nj貝ng at a long last. This is due to the fortune of the imperial court, and is in no way caused by the abilities of us officials. People like me who have not been to the battle front shouldn*t the slightest conceited, even for people like you who have tasted so much hardship at battles should know that ※Man proposes and God disposes§, and that merits belong to other officials and benefits belong to the state#It is highly and extremely important for you to keep this understanding in mind, and when one day you were fortunate enough to take N芍nj貝ng, the brilliance brought by being self-effacing would shine not only on your face, but your back and your whole body as well#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on March 1, 1864/lunar calendar January 23, the 3rd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 67:

#Wealth and honor are after all a vanity. The real advantage and benefit are to be broad-minded. I wish to share with you the point that I have been working hard to be broad-minded#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on March 4, 1864/lunar calendar January 26, the 3rd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 68:

#At this disaster-ridden time, the relationship among our brothers is that to stand the storms and adversity. We should admonish, encourage and respect each other#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng on May 8, 1864/lunar calendar April 3, the 3rd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 69:

#Gu車qu芍n and I have been mingled with the troops for a long time, and now people are suspicious of us and there are slandering words about us. We should therefore be alert and watch out for troubles. You should think twice for making a public appearance, and in particular go to the provincial capital only when it is really necessary#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng on May 9, 1864/lunar calendar April 4, the 3rd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 70:

#You said in your letter that your liver trouble is quite serious, and it has become a difficult chronic disease; and that you are so easy to lose your temper and become worried at whatever you come into contact with. Reading these words I am racked with anxiety. Hepatitis can not be cured by medicine, generally speaking. You got to see through everything, not to be annoyed or irritated if you wish to alleviate it gradually. When a viper bites a hero*s hand, he would cut his hand off to save his life. We brothers should treat annoyance and irritation as a viper. To save our lives, we got to be brave and get rid of it. Please do take my words seriously#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on May 18, 1864/lunar calendar April 13, the 3rd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 71:

#Our grandfather didn*t really believe in monks, Taoists, sorcerer doctors, Fengshui masters or genethlialogiests. So people didn*t dare saying anything that was not reasonable to him. We brothers and our children should also respect his rules and principles#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng on May 19, 1864/lunar calendar April 14, the 3rd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 72:

#Merits should not be accomplished all by ourselves; reputation should not be made all by ourselves. What is important is to keep a good health and stay away from liver trouble. Only when one is in a good health, can he express his loyalty to the imperial court and filial piety to his parents and also be able to treat his brothers with care#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on May 21, 1864/lunar calendar April 16, the 3rd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 73:

... We don*t have to regret for being lagged behind, and we don*t have to blame others. At a time like this, we got to be aware the Providence and what our fate is.

We should not blame ourselves for not having the fortune and blame others, we should only be aware of the Providence and what our fate is. This is vital for keeping a good health and rid ourselves of illness, for keeping our cause and maintaining tranquility and safety#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on May 25, 1864/lunar calendar April 20, the 3rd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 74:

#For heart and liver diseases, medicine could not help much; we got to rely on ourselves in recuperation and curing#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on June 13, 1864/lunar calendar May 10, the 3rd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 75:

#The basic thing to do in keeping a good health is not to be annoyed or irritated; the basic thing to do to look after our parents is to make them happy. Dear brother, you have worn out your health, you should do your outmost to reduce annoyance and irritation#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on June 28, 1864/lunar calendar May 25, the 3rd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 76:

#Thanks to our ancestors* protection, I have the honor to be in such a high position. There is one sentence brothers, sons and nephews and I will have to abide by strictly: ※exhaust neither our happiness nor power.§ Not to exhaust our happiness mainly relies on being frugal, that is to say we shall not employ more servants, spend more money, and in doing so we shall treasure our happiness. Not to exhaust our power is not to meddle into other*s business, not to judge who is right and wrong, and in so doing we shall not have anyone who hates us or anyone we are afraid of. And tranquility in life can thus be prolonged#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng on July 7, 1864/lunar calendar June 4, the 3rd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 77:

#You always persuaded me with good words when I flew into a fury in recent years; and when you yourself were in anger or excitement, you knew when to release and when to stop.
Later, when our brothers are angry, we should admonish each other. We would be better off if we could try to keep the unyielding side in our characters, and get rid of our short temper#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on July 14, 1864/lunar calendar June 11, the 3rd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 78:

#You are now away from home, you should pay more attention to being ※modest and prudent§. Everybody*s eye is fixed on the families of officials because of their high status. You must have remembered the first and the third things I asked you not to do before your departure, I also asked you to get rid of ※arrogance and laziness§. Make sure not to contact prefecture and county officials before the official examination, never hand in to them a slip of paper to ask for favors. You got to respect yourself at the start of your career of public service#

(Quoted from the letter to J足h車ng on August 10, 1864/lunar calendar July 9, the 3rd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 79:

#I have pondered again and again on your memorial to the throne about your request of returning home and giving up your position; my conclusion is that if you were not discharged of your duties because of minor mistakes, you would be able to do so#When success is secured one must leave, and the faster the better#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on October 3, 1864/lunar calendar September 3, the 3rd year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 80:

...I haven*t had any meat for dinner lately, been using only one or two kinds of vegetables and had them stewed in meat soup so thorough that they seem like a jam, and the taste is fantastic; they could provide all needed nourishment to man (vegetables don*t have to be expensive, as long as they suit our taste, they could be nourishing). Why don*t you try it out for your mother? (My grandfather used to pick fresh vegetables at dusk and use them for dinner. I tried it out when I was waiting on him for dinner. And we now add meat soup in it, the taste is poorer.) One way of keeping health and practicing economy for later generation is to have only vegetables, not even cooked in meat soup for dinner. ※Family Motto for the Y芍n Family§ was written by Y芍n Zh貝tu赤 at a time of social unrest and ※Family Talk in Intelligence§ (▲棲捄晛逄C身ng X迄n Zh芋i Y迅◎) was written by Zh芋ng Y貝ng at a time of peace are good books for family education. Your bothers should each have a set of the books and consult them often, and thus you will make some progress everyday#

ㄗQuoted from a letter to J足z谷 on July 16, 1865/lunar calendar in the leap-month May 19, the 4th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 81:

#My attitude towards everything is: ※I decide if I should go all out, the Providence decides the outcome.§ The same can be applied to keeping of our health. For a strong person, it is like what may happen to a rich man who would be wealthier if he casted away extravagance; for a weaker man, it is like what may happen to a poor man who would be safe and sound if he is frugal and does not waste anything. Frugality should not be confined to food and sex; it can also be applied to studies where efforts can also be saved. In the wooden inscription I wrote about the ※eight basics§, one of them is the basic for keeping health, which is not to be annoyed and irritated. I also told you once that you should not feel depressed; instead you should be cheerful, lively and delightful. You should, after adjusting yourself, have vigor and vitality. This is one way to reduce annoyance and irritation.

We would master all the principles of keeping health if we understand frugality and get rid of annoyance and irritation. We don*t have to give much thought to whether we can live long or whether we shall have illness or not; we have to leave these to the Providence. It is of no use at all if we take too much medicine or asking deities for help or pray for a good luck. In matters of medicine and praying, we should remember the teachings of my grandfather, which after slight modifications, should be used to enlighten later generations, and you should talk to people in the family about it#

ㄗQuoted from a letter to J足z谷 on October 20, 1865/lunar calendar September 1, the 4th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 82:

#From now on, whenever you are home, you should grow flowers and bamboo; if you are out, you should satisfy your eyes with mountains and waters; you can travel around N芍nj貝ng in a diameter of fifty kilometers. Please do not read any more books of astronomy and mathematics; your reading of other books should be limited to half a day, after three in the afternoon, you should all have a rest or go out to travel. Ancient people take ※punishing irritation and checking desire§ as a principle of health keeping. The so called ※punishing irritation§ is what I said about reduction of annoyance and irritation; ※checking desire§ is what I said to be frugal. If one uses too much thought for purpose of vanity or outdoing others, that could also be classified as a kind of ※desire§. Medicine works, but it has side-effect and it shouldn*t be taken at will. Please do remember this point#

ㄗQuoted from a letter to J足z谷 and J足hong on November 17, 1865/lunar calendar September 29, the 4th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 83:

#It is only in my old age I started to realize how true it was in Confucius* answer to M豕ng W迅b車 about filial piety. Even though you are weak, the only correct thing to do is for you to nurse yourself in tranquility, not to be engaged in any aggressive treatment. When Zhu芍ng Z走 was expounding his theory of ※being free and generous§, he said ※we only heard about going along with the world, not about governing the world.§ S迆 D車ngp車 applied these words in health keeping. You are very familiar with language and characters, if we ponder deeply on ※being free and generous§, we can see both Zhu芍ng Z走 and S迆 D車ngp車 meant that they wished ※nature could take its course.§ It is true with health keeping and it is also true with administering a government. If one changes prescriptions a few times in a single day. Or result to tonics all year round; taking dramatic measures for small illness, that would lead to an outcome similar to the end of Sh芍ng Y芍ng*s Reform in the Q赤n Dynasty or the W芍ng Ansh赤*s Reform in the Song Dynasty, in which the wonder of letting nature take its own course was lost. This is just like what Li迅 Z車ngyu芋n had said ※love in name yet in reality it is harm§; or what L迄 Y車u said, ※much ado about nothing.§ In his poem ※Touring Mount Lu車f迆§, S迆 D車ngp車 said his son cherished high aspirations even when he was very small, for he sat up late at night to try to feel what was in his mind, heart and spleen in order to learn the ways Taoist kept their health. The word ※feel§ fits into ※being free and generous§ in Zhu芍ng Z走*s saying. S迆 and his brothers and their father were very particular in health keeping, he was indicating the unprofessed meaning of Taoist masters when he was praising his son for having high aspirations. Clever as you are, how come you cannot comprehend this point? I asked you to care more about your food and sleep, these two aspects may seem shallow, yet they go along with the nature. Please don*t take drugs without much thinking; I am sure you will get stronger naturally day by day#

ㄗQuoted from a letter to J足z谷 and J足hong on April 10, 1866/lunar calendar February 25, the 5th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 84:

#Keeping of a good health, by and large, involves five aspects: the first is to be disciplined in sleeping and meals; secondly is to refrain from annoyance and anger; thirdly is to check our desires; the fourth thing to do is to wash feet every night before sleeping; and finally is to walk three thousand steps after two main meals everyday. To refrain from annoyance and anger is what I put on the framed inscription: the basic thing to do in keeping a good health is not to be annoyed and irritated; our grandfather had persisted for forty years in the disciplines of sleeping and meals and washing his feet every night. I have been doing so for seven years now; I recently started to walk three thousand steps after meals. You worked too hard, and you*re almost fifty. I therefore wish you could make up your mind to do the five things, and please ask Gu車qu芍n and our children to so do as well#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng on July 15, 1866/lunar calendar June 5, the 5th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 85:

#By looking at diligence or laziness, we can foretell if a family or a person would rise or fall. My son J足z谷 has been diligent and persistent, so his seven or eight younger brothers can take him as an example#
(Quoted from his letter to J足z谷 and J足h車ng on August 29, 1866/lunar calendar July 20, the 5th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 86:

#A strong and powerful state must have appointed more sagacious ministers and officials; a strong family must have reared up more discreet children. Of course, the fate of a state or a family is decided by the Providence, not by man*s scheming. As far as a strong person is concerned, there might be three types: the type of B豆ig車ng Y辰u , the type of M豕ng Sh貝sh豆 and the type of Z言ng Z走 .What Mencius meant by ※feeling satisfied by accumulating good deeds§ is that Z言ng Z走 retreated from strife after he examined his own mind. Z言ng Z走, Mencius and Confucius all talked about the strength of Zh身ng Y車u , because the strength of Zh身ng Y車u was the only one that could be maintained for a long time. Except the above, there is also strength obtained by battle of wits or battle of physical power. There have been people who rose because of their better intelligence and manpower; there have also been people who fall because of the same reason. Since the ancient times, people like L走 S貝 , C芍o C芍o , D辛ng Zhu身 and Y芍ng S迄 all had supreme intelligence, yet their troubles and failures were more severe than that of ordinary people; L迄, H谷, S迄 and Ch谷n in recent times all had a miserable ending of their lives even though they were far more wiser than ordinary people. It is recommendable if the superiority we have comes from our self-cultivation, and it is not recommendable if we want to outdo others with what we are good at#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on October 20, 1866/lunar calendar September 12, the 5th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 87ㄩ

#I have experienced much in the matter of taking medicine. Mistakes are easy to occur in taking ordinary drug for slight diseases; I would say it is fifty to fifty in terms of whether there is effect in taking ordinary drugs. It seldom has any effects to take ginseng, deer*s antlers as drugs to cure a fundamental disease. It didn*t really help H迆 L赤ny足 and L走 X迄y赤 who took ginseng, deer*s antlers and bird nest as their pot luck. My way of adjusting myself is to use quality rice for meals, to boil vegetables with meat soup, and to stew chicken, duck, fish, lamb and beef really thoroughly; I also take soy sourced and pickled vegetables. I personally think they are the best things under heaven, and nothing is more nourishing than them. You wouldn*t find anything more from ※Mencius§ or ※The Record of Rites§ about ways to feed the aged and parents. Were our ancient saints foolish, and can only become clever after taking, like what their descendants are doing, ginseng, deer*s antlers, bird nest, shark*s fin and sea cucumbers? There is much to be observed in our grandfather*s home rules. He didn*t believe in sorcerer doctors, Fengshui masters and monks. We brothers should do our best to follow his practice#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng on November 12, 1866/lunar calendar October 6, the 5th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 88:

#Without kind and virtuous children a family can never flourish. Everything would be in vain if the children are not kind, virtuous or able even if the family has saved much money, grain, properties, clothing and books. The Providence decides sixty percent of whether or not the children are kind and virtuous, the rest forty percent is family education. In our family, in every previous generation there was always one who passed their intelligent instructions, merits and virtues down to us. We should be particularly strict in following the teachings of our grandfather. I have summed up our grandfather*s family rules into eight words: ※books, vegetables, fish, pork, earlier, sweep, sacrifice and friendship.§ We should talk about them often and put them into practice. These aspects are on the pleasing side; there are also things annoying〞Fengshui masters, fortune tellers, doctors, monks, sorcerers and long staying guests. Our grandfather was extremely annoyed when the first five kinds of people came into the house and guests staying too long at our house. The eight pleasing things and the six annoying things should always be our family motto and abide by by generations to come. In doing so, even if our later generation may be slow-witted, they wouldn*t look too bad#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng on January 11, 1867/lunar calendar December 6, the 5th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 89:

#You seem to be more worried and anxious than the days before the tenth of the month. Yet you should be aware that a moment of bewilderment and loss of thought is a high time to temper a hero and would do good to your future success. L走 Sh言nf迂 once remarked that when I was sulking, I would not even say a word, but to put up with it, and I would try to emerge stronger myself; for this behavior of mine, he used a proverb to describe: ※to swallow the ripped off teeth together with blood§, which I believe has been the secret of my success, that is to grit my teeth and become more determined after each setback. It is a surprise to me that L走 saw through it. In 1850 and 1851 I was discarded and scolded by the bigwigs in Beijing, in 1853 and 1854 I was disdained by the Manchu generals and soldiers in Ch芍ngsh芋; in 1855 and 1856 the Governor of Ji芍ngx貝 abused me, I suffered defeats at Yu豕zh身u, J足ngji芍ng and H迆k辛u, these were all times when my teeth were ripped out, and each time I swallowed teeth together with blood. This time for you, the defeat of General Gu身*s troops and the loss of three counties are almost a scene of ripping out your teeth. You don*t sound like a hero when you resent about your poor luck in your letter. The right thing to do at a time like this is not to say a word, but grit your teeth and try to emerge stronger slowly by yourself#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on January 23, 1867/lunar calendar December 18, the 5th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 90:

#I came to realize in recent years the reason for my success was being ※penitent§. In the past I thought I had great capabilities, was able to stand injustice and at the same time to uphold justice and I could detest drawbacks of others. Ever since I repented and became more sensible in 1857 and 1858 I realized that I am not that capable, and have been able to find strong points on others. In the nine years since 1858, I was totally different from the years before I was forty. I now follow the principle of being able to stand up and reach out in my work and the principle of not to complain and resent in my behavior. To stand up is to be more determined to become stronger and be able to stand in the society; to reach out is to do things in a perfect way and to get around with ease. In the nine years I got rid of, with great resolve, my shortcoming, that was lack of persistence; and since then I have never stopped reading and writing, I have also given careful thought to selection of commanders and drilling of soldiers, which I believe are the actions required of being able to stand up. I have pondering on diction when writing memorials and official documents, and every sentence I put down conforms to facts and there have not been a single word to brag about myself, these I believe are the actions required of being able to reach out. I have never dared resent the Providence, even though I occasionally criticized others. I have been forcing myself to overcome this shortcoming. You, brother, if you want to demonish yourself and make progress, you may wish to learn how I repented in 1857 and 1858. You would certainly make head ways if you are determined to bench mark your behavior. ..If one always remembers the word ※repenting§, then nothing is beyond recall#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on February 6, 1867/lunar calendar January 2, the 6th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 91:

#You have recovered two provinces, and this meritorious deed is indelible, and the roots of your cause are deep and solid. What to be worried now is that we are not so accommodating; unable to attain achievement is no longer our worry; what to be worried is to have propriety and solidness and to excel over others is no longer our worry. From now on we should base ourselves on tranquility, not to think of how to shake the world. In doing so, we don*t mean to loose our vigor and strength. It is simply because it would be too dangerous if we don*t lay low, because our position is too high and our name is too big#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on February 26, 1867/lunar calendar January 22, the 6th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 92:

#How come you have spent 7,000 strings of coins for the renovation of F迄h辰u Hall? Such an amount of money is enough for building a new hall. All in my life I have treated it as a sin to squander money on buying land and building houses by a family of big officials. It never occurred to me it would be you who did just that in our family. What your uncle Gu車h谷ng did was to my liking, only in matters of spending money we are widely apart. It is not necessary for an official to have a reputation of being clean. If the person is only clean in name not in reality, the Heaven would be angry with him.

You are quite talented in planning and conducting things outside home and you are quite shrewd. For home matters why didn*t you ask the opinions of your mother and Uncle Gu車h谷ng. Please give me a list of necessary expenditures in a year, and tell me, aside from income of rent and sale of grain, how much more do you need for the year. I shall allot an amount to you after my review#I shall not leave behind any saved money to my sons and grandsons; however, I can leave books to you and I shall buy some more#

(Quoted from the letter to J足z谷 on March 28, 1867/lunar calendar February 23, the 6th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 93:

#At a time like this, you should shelf the case of impeachment, and forget how highly you were regarded by the emperor and the blocking of the channel to report wrong doings of other officials; and do just like what Yu芍n Li見of芍n said: whatever happened yesterday was dead yesterday and whatever will happen in the future is happening today. We should turn a page and blaze a new trail. These two defeats might be the intentions of the Providence to temper you so that you could make bigger progress. As a proverb goes, ※a fall in the pit, a gain in your wit.§ The times I made a big progress were that when I was frustrated and insulted. You, brother, do grit your teeth, build up your determination and store up your talents and wisdom now, and not to loose up and not to give up#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on April 3, 1867/lunar calendar February 29, the 6th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 94:

#You must be feeling worse for discord with a best friend of yours at a time when you encountering problems. The only thing we can do is to roll over the punches. In being penitent, we got to sense more and become tough.

Zh迆 X走 once said, ※repentance§ is just like Spring, in which everything sprouts after accumulated strength; ※auspiciousness§ is just like Summer, in which everything is growing with vitality and will thrive; ※miserliness§ is just like Autumn, in which everything begins falling; ※maliciousness§ is just like Winter, in which everything begins to wither. He also used the word ※prime§ to describe spring, the word ※smooth§ for summer, the word ※benefit§ for autumn and the word ※integrity§ for winter. So far as I understand ※integrity§ here means to be firm. You, brother, you may be able to retrieve one thing or two if you are ※firm§ and do like things in the winter to store up, or ※penitent§ and do like things in the spring to sprout out#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車qu芍n on April 6, 1867/lunar calendar March 2, the 6th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 95:

#Your mother was quite impatient and sensitive of being decent, therefore, when she lost her eye-sight, it would be difficult for her to live on. I once said if one enjoys too big a name, there must be defects and pities to round it up. This would apply to me. If one is too clever, happiness and benefits wouldn*t be affluent, this seems to be happening to you; if life has been too comfortable and too long, there must be twists and turns, and this can be applied to your mother. I have deep anxieties over these three aspects. There is a slightest chance to overturn such a result if we do our best to be filial to parents, friendly to brothers, work harder and enjoy less our happiness. I have deep worry for the women in our family who only know how to enjoy without working hard to keep the family#

(Quoted from the letter to J足z谷 on January 28, 1869/lunar calendar December 17, the 7th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 96:

#All through my life the things I am most afraid to do is to get along with people in snobbishness or resort to double-dealing. I therefore made up my mind not to be an official in the capital, and I don*t want to be the Governor of Zh赤l足 (today*s Hebei Province) for long. I would resign after being there for almost one year at the excuse of poor health. If my actions are restrained by others when I get there, I shall resign sooner.

The terrible thing to do in giving others money is to leave your name with them. The correct thing to do is not to reveal your name. (Unexpected trouble would crop up if you left your name with people. Money can be given out in the name of pension for solders and civilians for giving them consolation; or in the name of reimbursement; and never in the name of charity.) I wish to draw your special attention to this point. A big name would cause anxiety within me all my life; one*s life would be deducted if he deliberately wishes to win a name of being a clean official#

(Quoted from the letter to J足z谷 on March 4, 1869/lunar calendar January 22, the 8th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 97:

#Diligence and frugality would lead to rise of a family and even a state at all times. The decline of a family or a state is caused by the lack of them. All my life I have been asking myself to be diligent, and actually I have not been diligent enough, that*s why I don*t have books I copied with my hand; I don*t have any documents that is worth saving in the aspect of work. Similarly, I always lecture others about being frugal, to examine myself, I have not really been frugal enough. Today, inside and outside my residence, there are so many servants, and what has been prepared in the kitchen are quite luxurious#It is easier than going into the water if you change from frugality to extravagance and it is even more difficult for one to fly up to the sky if one tries to return to frugality from extravagance#

(Quoted from the letter to J足z谷 and J足h車ng on July 2, 1870/lunar calendar June 4, the 9th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 98:

#Every one in the family is safe and sound. The only problem is that we are using too many bodyguards, servants and maids. People we have to feed are too many, and that is causing a big expenditure. On top of that, the medical fees and much was paid for being extravagant. All these added up outdoes our income. Being a governor of two provinces, my annual income can not cover our annual expenditure. In the past I used to blame Gu車h谷ng for the big expenditure without thrift and for owing others some debts. Now that my expenditure was also too much, and I shall owe others debts as well, that is really something surprising#I have asked J足z谷 to exercise economy with my residence and the kitchen, so that there wouldn*t be a deficit in the future. I know Gu車h谷ng is already over-loaded; and Gu車qu芍n doesn*t have a source of income. Our three families will have to practice economy. I pledged not to leave some extra wealth to my children, and neither should I leave many debts to them#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng and Gu車qu芍n on May 25, 1871/lunar calendar April 7, the 10th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 99:

#I have found that the children of our family are all in poor health, and they haven*t made much progress in their studies. I once encouraged them to do six things: walk one thousand steps after meals; wash feet before going to bed; not to have annoyance and anger; to sit down quietly often; to do hunting and archery (good for fostering solemn appearance and strengthen health, so our children should practice more); to eat a bowl of white rice without any vegetables at dawn. All these are learned from and tried many times by our ancestors, having no defects. I hope now our children could also try them out. As far as studies are concerned, I also tried to encourage our children to do four things: be quick in reading a new book, our knowledge would be lean if we don*t read more books; be familiar with books read and try to recite things important, otherwise one would forget; be persistent in practicing calligraphy, if you are not good at it, you would seem naked without clothing or like a barren hill without trees; to ponder when writing a composition, if you are not good at it, you would seem like a muted person, unable to speak or a cripple horse, unable to walk. We got to do all the four well. This is something I learned with my life and something I always regret. I now hope all the children of the family could do the four well. Keeping a good health and build up our strength should go hand in hand and both should be done well. It would be a sign of family prosperity if our children are firm in their determination and strong in their health#

(Quoted from the letter to Gu車h谷ng and Gu車qu芍n on December 5, 1871/lunar calendar October 23, the 10th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)

Letter 100:

#One would feel at ease if he conducts himself even when he is alone. To have a healthy heart is the most difficult point in self-cultivation#if a person is still prudent and dignified when he was all by himself, his heart would ache when he examines himself; he who could face up with the heaven and the earth without any guilty, could face both the ghost and deity with sincerity; he would not come across with a time of feeling inane for unsatisfied conduct. One would have a peaceful mind and feel at ease if he is not guilty for anything. To feel at ease is the first method to be on one*s own, the first way to find pleasure and to keep oneself clean.

Secondly, a respectful person is strong. ※Respect§ was something the disciples of Confucius taught others, the ※literati§ in the Spring and Autumn period often talked about, and Ch谷ng Y赤 and Zh迂 X走 elaborated on. To be concentrated and peaceful in the heart; orderly and solemnly in the appearance are what meant by ※respectfulness§, which is to behave like treating an important guest when one is away from home; dealing with common people is like providing service to a big sacrifice, and that would be a respectful atmosphere; the effect of being ※respectful§ would be to pacify common people with self-cultivation and bringing peace to the country with sincerity.

Thirdly, people would be delighted if you are kind to them. After a person is born, the culture between the heaven and the earth would shape his character; and the workings between the heaven and the earth would produce his body form. Man and everything else have the same source#In their preaching by the disciples of Confucius to be kind was the main content, and the most important of all was such words: if one wishes to be on his own, he has to enable others to rely on themselves first; if one wishes to stand in sense, he has to make others stand in sense first.

Fourthly, deities would admire those who work hard. To be fond of leisure and disgust labor are human nature, it is the same with anybody, old and young, wise and foolish, distinguished and humble. Such a human nature has not been changed since the remotest times. People would nod at those who consumes more or less what he produces, and for that both the ghost and deity would allow, because they are self-reliance. If, while a former or a weaving lady has accumulated much food and clothing, the rich families do not engage in any business yet enjoy ease and pleasure with exquisite food and clothing and shout at their team of servants, this would be the most unfair thing in the world, none of the ghost or deity would allow it, and could such families last long?...

(Quoted from the letter to J足z谷 and J足h車ng on December 2, 1872/lunar calendar November 2, the 11th year during the reign of Emperor T車ngzh足)