Many of Confucius'1 numerous students came from a few hundred miles away to Kingdom Lu to become his students. Mr. Chen Kang was one of them.
Chen Kang was from Kingdom Chen. Because he was young and was a newcomer, he hadn't had the chance to listen to Confucius' teachings one on one.
As Chen Kang was oversensitive by nature, he always thought that Confucius did not pay attention to him because he was not a native resident of Kingdom Lu. Although Confucius seemed to treat all students the same during his lectures, Chen Kang still thought that Confucius did not care about him.
One day, Chen Kang asked Confucius' son, Bo Yu, "Did your father give you any special teachings?"
Bo Yu thought a moment, and said, "No. If you really want me to say something about it, there were two times. Once, my father stood alone in the living room. When I walked quickly past the courtyard, Father asked me, 'Have you learnt the poems?' I replied, 'No, I haven't yet.' Father said, "How would you be able to respond and reply to things properly if you haven't learnt the poems?' So I went back to study the poems. Another time, Father was again standing by himself in the courtyard. I passed by him, and Father asked me, 'Have you learnt propriety?' I replied, "I haven't yet.' Father said, 'How would you be able to independently deal with things if you haven't studied propriety well?' So I went back to study propriety. These are the two times that I learnt his teachings one on one."
On hearing this Chen Kang happily said to himself, "I really have gained a lot today. I only asked him one thing, but I learnt three things from him: the teachings on studying poems and propriety, and also the righteousness and selflessness of a person with integrity and noble character. He is unbiased even towards his own son."
From Lun Yu2
(1). Confucius (551 -- 479 BC) was a famous Chinese spiritual Master. His teachings about morality have deeply influenced East Asian life and thought for two thousand years.
(2). Lun Yu, or Analects of Confucius are a record of the words and acts of the Chinese Sage and Saint Confucius and his disciples, as well as the discussions they held. The Chinese title of Lun Yu literally means "Sayings of Confucius."
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