学而時習之

My posting has been sporadic lately. It’s that I’ve started school again, so my free time is now much more limited.

So I figured in the spirit of school starting back up again, I would post the first part of 孔子’s 論語. 論語 is a compilation of 孔子’s exchanges with his peers and followers. It is a call to arms to live a certain way of life, which, coincidentally, is how 孔子 lived his life.

子曰、学而時習之、不亦説乎、有朋自遠方来、不亦楽乎、人不知而不慍、不亦君子乎、

子曰く、「学びて時にこれを習う、また説(よろこば)しからずや。朋(とも)有り、遠方より来(きた)る、また楽しからずや。人知らずして慍(いきどほ)らず、また君子ならずや」と。

子 し: Up until now, we have seen 子 used as a second-person pronoun, 「あなた」. However, 子 is also a respectful title for a man, like 孔子, whose real name was 丘(きゅう) and 字(あざな) was 仲尼(ちゅうじ).
学而時習之: While this seems to be saying the same thing twice in a row, 学 means to learn something new, 習 means to review something you’ve already learned. So, 新しいことを学んでたまにこれを復習すること.
説: Many times in 漢文, a character is used that means something entirely different from what the translation says it does. Earlier, I covered 汝 and its variants. Likewise, the 音 of 説 is similar to 悦(えつ), the meaning here.
不亦: This is a construction that tells us it is both 反語形 and 詠嘆形. In other words, 不亦説乎 means 「なんとうれしいことではないか」
人不知而不慍: 自分の学問は世間に認められなくても怒らない//恨まない。 不慍 can also be read うらみず.
君子: There are two meanings to 君子, though it usually is used in one sense, and that is “a great man of learning and virtue.” It also means a king, 君主. According to 孔子, a 君主 must be a 君子, though a 君子 may not ever become a 君主.

One more time, 子曰、学而時習之、不亦説乎、有朋自遠方来、不亦楽乎、人不知而不慍、不亦君子乎、

The joy of learning something new and, through review, understanding it. The fun of gathering with friends to learn together. And, though your work might not be recognized by the world at large, not holding a grudge, is that which makes a man great.

孔子, himself, though he had many followers and was a great philosopher and educator, was not accepted by the kings he philosophized to. Despite this, he did not get angry, because learning is not for fame and profit, but for the enrichment of one’s character.

The title of this blog is, in fact, taken from this part, because it’s true. Even with translations and the 書き下し文 all written out for me,  understanding 漢文 is hard. But, through review and careful consideration, it actually does begin to make sense. And that’s a good feeling. Likewise, studying with friends is fun and, more importantly, deepens relationships. 孔子’s words are true and timeless.

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