The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life

The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life

Michael Puett, Christine Gross-Loh

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 1476777837

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


For the first time an award-winning Harvard professor shares his wildly popular course on classical Chinese philosophy, showing you how these ancient ideas can guide you on the path to a good life today.

Why is a course on ancient Chinese philosophers one of the most popular at Harvard?

It’s because the course challenges all our modern assumptions about what it takes to flourish. This is why Professor Michael Puett says to his students, “The encounter with these ideas will change your life.” As one of them told his collaborator, author Christine Gross-Loh, “You can open yourself up to possibilities you never imagined were even possible.”

These astonishing teachings emerged two thousand years ago through the work of a succession of Chinese scholars exploring how humans can improve themselves and their society. And what are these counterintuitive ideas? Good relationships come not from being sincere and authentic, but from the rituals we perform within them. Influence comes not from wielding power but from holding back. Excellence comes from what we choose to do, not our natural abilities. A good life emerges not from planning it out, but through training ourselves to respond well to small moments. Transformation comes not from looking within for a true self, but from creating conditions that produce new possibilities.

In other words, The Path upends everything we are told about how to lead a good life. Above all, unlike most books on the subject, its most radical idea is that there is no path to follow in the first place—just a journey we create anew at every moment by seeing and doing things differently.

Sometimes voices from the past can offer possibilities for thinking afresh about the future.

A note from the publisher:
To read relevant passages from the original works of Chinese philosophy, see our free ebook Confucius, Mencius, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Xunzi: Selected Passages, available on Kindle, Nook, and the iBook Store and at Books.SimonandSchuster.com.

Collection of OuYang Xiu (Chinese classical literature series) (中国古典文学基本丛书:欧阳修全集)

The Way of the Panda: The Curious History of China's Political Animal

Playing Our Game: Why China's Rise Doesn't Threaten the West

The First Excellence: Fa-ling's Map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

so compelling: it conveys a sense of what it means to be a fallible human being, in all its complexity. Mencius is no serene Buddha, no selfless Jesus. Far from being a placid and benign wise man, he comes across as a brilliant, mercurial, strong-willed, arrogant, and complicated figure—a man who struggled to achieve goodness and at times failed to live up to his own philosophy. Given this view of the world as continually knitted together by human actions, Mencius found Mozi’s ideas particularly

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herself. She is cultivating energy; she is cultivating qi. She is charismatic and full of life because the highly refined qi within her is identical to the highly refined qi that exists around her. It’s by being so resonant with that qi that she becomes able to alter things. We too can form webs of connection and relationships with people around us by cultivating spirit. People around us can become drawn toward us and enriched by us because of how we energize them. As we become known for being

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surroundings differently; new dimensions become visible to you. We focus on things based on habitual patterns of attention. On our morning commute, we might pay attention to little more than the radio, the exit signs, and the entrance to our parking lot, missing out on other things, such as the majestic sight of a flock of geese heading south. On a walk to the gym a few blocks away, we might be preoccupied by what we want to accomplish during our hour there and not even notice the delicious

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