Liao Fan

Liao Fan

Liao Fan — The Four Les­sons of Life

In 1603, Chi­ne­se offi­ci­al and scho­l­ar Liao-Fan Yuan wro­te a small book for his son. The explana­ti­ons should gui­de him on the right path and make him as suc­cess­ful a man as his father.
Howe­ver, due to the rela­ti­ve fame of the aut­hor, the con­tent of the book did not remain wit­hin the fami­ly, but was par­ti­cu­lar­ly well recei­ved by Chi­ne­se Bud­dhists. Even today, the plant in Chi­na and Tai­wan is a high­ly up-to-date gui­de for a self-deter­mi­ned life for many peop­le.
The first les­son deals with the rea­li­za­ti­on that human desti­ny and life are by no means pre­de­ter­mi­ned. Only “com­mon peop­le” are devo­ted to fate and fol­low it. The one who works on hims­elf, no mat­ter which edu­ca­ti­on he has enjoy­ed or to which sta­te he belongs, can actively influ­ence his life.

The second les­son tea­ches the reader how important it is to always reflect on your own beha­vi­or and think about what you can do to impro­ve it. Becau­se only the con­ti­nuous deve­lop­ment of one’s own per­so­na­li­ty can bring a ful­fil­led life.

The third les­son is very in-dep­th and exp­lains by means of nume­rous examp­les how it is pos­si­ble to impro­ve one’s own beha­vi­or and how the right beha­vi­or dif­fers from the wrong one.

The Fourth Les­son once again high­lights the vir­tu­es of modes­ty and pres­ents them with nume­rous examp­les.
In addi­ti­on to the pure trans­la­ti­on of the work of Liao Fan Yuan, the edi­tor Ute Eng­ler also pro­vi­des some fur­t­her infor­ma­ti­on about the time the book was writ­ten. She pres­ents the system of civil ser­vice exami­na­ti­ons as well as the gene­ral cir­cum­stan­ces of life, the poli­ti­cal system, as well as the reli­gio-phi­lo­so­phi­cal cur­r­ents of Tao­ism, Con­fu­cia­nism and Bud­dhism.
By the way, the reader learns a lot more about the cir­cum­stan­ces sur­roun­ding the crea­ti­on of the manu­script.

The real­ly important and also cap­ti­vating aspect of the book is the time­li­ness of the con­tent. Becau­se even in today’s “modern” life, the author’s state­ments have uncon­di­tio­nal vali­di­ty. Alt­hough the examp­les of cour­se ori­gi­na­te from Chi­na around the year 1600, which cer­tain­ly has a cer­tain appeal.

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