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The Way Of A Leader
Character Building
- Guard against greed
- Be frugal and diligent
- Refrain from anger
- Emulate good deeds
- Correcting our own mistakes
Be Respectful of Relatives
Be Respectful of Wise and Able Ministers
Be Receptive to Counsels from Ministers
Be Averse to Slanderous and Malevolent Advice
Be Perceptive and Astute
The Art Of A Minister
Uphold Integrity
Serve with Utmost Loyalty
Presenting Counsels
Nominating the Right Administrators
Esteeming Virtues
Be Respectful of the Dao
Filial Piety and Kinship
Benevolence and Righteousness
Be Sincere and Trustworthy
Righting Oneself
Be Discreet
Making Friends
The Art of Learning
On The Subject Of Administration
Engaging the Principles
Good Judge of Character
Appointing Officials
Paramount Impartiality
Teach and Transform
Propriety and Music
Caring about People
The Livelihood of People
Learn from the Past
The Basis of Principles
Reward and Punishment
Law and Statute
Be Careful With Military Actions
Generals and Soldiers
Respectfully Cautious
Taking Precautions
Social Customs
Conquering Chaos
Heedful of Troubling Signs
Making Correct Response
Exercise Caution from the Beginning to the End
Maintaining Good Health
Good or Evil
Human Sentiments
Talents and Virtues
Formation of Cliques
Differences that Matter
Cause and Effect

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The Way Of A Leader > Be frugal and diligent

The ancients said: “If a farmer refuses to work, some people will starve. If a woman refuses to weave, some people will suffer in the cold.” When the growth of all things is limited by seasons but we consume them as if they will be available without limitation, the resources will sooner or later be depleted. The ancients governed and planned meticulously and they would have had the foresight to ensure the treasury had enough reserves to sustain the nation.

Scroll 14: Han Shu, Vol. 2

Thus, to cultivate oneself in order to rule a country, nothing can be more significant than to restrain one’s desires. The book of Li Ji said: “Don’t give in to desires.” We have seen rulers and senior ministers of the past and present had achieved success through hard work and lived frugally, and that those who failed did so were extravagant and wasteful. Frugal people will restrain their desires but spendthrifts will let their desires run free. Self-gratification will endanger one’s life while moderation will keep one safe.

Scroll 47: Zheng Yao Lun


The Governing Principles of Ancient China - Qunshu Zhiyao 360 • e-mail: amtb@amtb.tw