The Great Learning 大學
A. Charles Muller
A. The Text
The way of great learning consists in manifesting one's bright virtue, consists in loving the people, consists in stopping in perfect goodness.
When you know where to stop, you have stability.
When you have stability, you can be tranquil.
When you are tranquil, you can be at ease.
When you are at ease, you can deliberate.
When you can deliberate you can attain your aims.
Things have their roots and branches, affairs have their end and beginning. When you know what comes first and what comes last, then you are near the Way.
The ancients who wanted to manifest their bright virtue to all in the world first governed well their own states.
Wanting to govern well their states, they first harmonized their own clans.
Wanting to harmonize their own clan, they first cultivated themselves.
Wanting to cultivate themselves, they first corrected their minds.
Wanting to correct their minds, they first made their wills sincere.
Wanting to make their wills sincere, they first extended their knowledge.
Extension of knowledge consists of the investigation of things.
When things are investigated, knowledge is extended.
When knowledge is extended, the will becomes sincere.
When the will is sincere, the mind is correct.
When the mind is correct, the self is cultivated.
When the self is cultivated, the clan is harmonized.
When the clan is harmonized, the country is well governed.
When the country is well governed, there will be peace throughout the land.
From the king down to the common people, all must regard the cultivation of the self as the most essential thing.
It is impossible to have a situation wherein the essentials are in disorder, and the externals are well-managed. You simply cannot take the essential things as superficial, and the superficial things as essential. This is called, “Knowing the root.” This is called “The extension of knowledge.”