Five Classic Sayings of Guiguzi That Help Discern a Person’s Character

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Guiguzi (Wikimedia)

In China’s history, there have emerged many legendary figures. Yet it’s hard to find one that compares with Guiguzi—a famous Taoist, thinker, strategist, diplomat, inventor, medical scientist, and a great educator—in terms of accomplishments.

There are five classic sayings of Guiguzi that can help you to understand another person’s character, and it works universally, for people of all nationalities and backgrounds.

  1. Look at How a Person Behaves With Money

A person’s values can be seen very clearly by looking at how they manage their money. There are many wealthy people worldwide, but not many are good at handling their money well. Money is something that you can’t bring with you at birth, nor take away with you at death; its transitory nature can test one’s heart. You can’t live without money, but you can’t live your life for it—it’s a delicate balance that involves morality.

2. Look at How a Person Behaves When in Hardship

It’s easy to drop your morals through desperation, when faced with hardship or overwhelming life circumstances. If, despite life’s hardships, people would all stay steadfast to virtue and good principles, there would likely be less corruption and crime in the world. It’s important to spend time with people who have strength in their character and are able to face the world and all of its problems, while remaining positive and steadfast in their beliefs.

3. Look at a Person’s Relatives

The environment we grow up in and the people we associate with can have a huge impact on a person. There is a legend about a Chinese philosopher called Mencius, who lived around 300 BC and is often described as second only to Confucius. The famous saying, 「Mencius’ mother moves three times」 (孟母三遷), refers to the story of Mencius’ mother moving house, until she felt that she had found a location that was supportive of her child’s development. As an expression, the idiom refers to the significance of finding a decent environment for raising children.

4. Look at How a Person Behaves When in Power

A person’s heart can show after a promotion or a raise in responsibility. Is the person able to remain fair and truthful, and grounded? Is talent and good work appreciated or has power and ego caused the person to recommend irresponsible people, secretly hold alternative intentions or focus on self-interest?

5. Look at Whether a Person Values Filial Piety

In ancient China, filial piety—the virtue of respect for one’s parents, elders, and ancestors—was very highly valued. Especially when a person obtains wealth, observing their value of filial piety can be a good indicator of character.

Translator: Yi Ming
Edited by Emiko Kingswell

鬼谷子經典五句話 教你識遍天下人

在我國歷史上有一位傳奇人物,獨具通天之智。他是著名的道家、思想家、謀略家、外交家、發明家、醫學家,更是偉大的教育家培育很多優秀的人才,這樣的稱號在所有的歷史人物中是很難找到第二個人。

今天就來說說鬼谷子的五句話,學會這五句話,教會你識遍天下人。

第一句:富看其所為
天下有錢的人很多,但是善於用錢的人卻很少,一個人有錢的時候就要看看他的行為,對財富的處理可以看出他的價值觀。畢竟錢財乃身外之物,生不帶來死不帶去,對待錢財要有正確的價值觀。人一生不能沒有錢,但是卻不能僅僅為了錢。

第二句:窘看其所不為
有很多人在窘迫的時候都會忘記自己的原則,如果這些人能夠堅守自己的原則,那麼也不會有這麼多貪官,會有這麼多偷盜搶劫。另外,如果身邊的一些朋友去做違法犯罪的事情,經常忘記自己的原則,就要減少交往。

第三句:居看其所親
環境對一個人的影響非常大。好的環境會讓人向好的一方面發展,而不好的環境會讓人一步步墮落下去,在我國古代最有名的環境影響人的事情就是「孟母三遷」。孟母在當時多看重環境對一個人的影響。所以看到一個人的時候就要看看他和甚麼人住在一起,和甚麼樣的人經常來往。

第四句:貴看其所舉
當一個人當了大官,有了權力的時候,就要看他推舉的是甚麼人,如果他推舉的都是非常有才能的,那麼這個人就是公平公正的,如果一個人推舉的人都是不務正業遊手好閒的,說明這個人不行。

第五句:富看其所孝
在我國古代非常看重孝,一個人在富有的時候看看他孝順不孝順,如果一個人在非常富有的時候不孝順,那麼這樣的人不能深交。

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