Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Judge Someone By His Appearance--Yi Mao Qu Ren

In Spring and Autumn Period, there lived a young man named Zi Yu 字羽.

Although he was grotesque and appalling in appearance, Zi Yu wanted to be a scholar. So he went to Confucius and asked to be his student.

Scared by Zi Yu's ugly look somewhat,Confucius was quite reluctant at first, but Zi Yu entreated Confucius to accept him and eventually Confucius consented.

Zi Yu wanted to overcome Confucius' initial bias, so he was a model student. He did more than was required of him to in his studies. At the end of three years, because of his diligence, he exceeded his classmates in his moral and academic accomplishments.

Zi Yu moved to the State of Wu after completing his studies and founded an academy based upon Confucian principles. The school flourished and its influence was felt far and wide.

Naturally, Confucius was now euphoric about the student of whom he initially judged by appearance. Confucius admitted that his first assessment of Zi Yu was flawed. “Selecting talents only by their appearance, I have done injustice to Zi Yu.”

Today in China, people cite Confucius' words Yi Mao Qu Ren(以貌取人) to underscore that one is in error if they judge talents on the basis of one’s physical appearance. It is basically equal to the English proverb"judge a book by its cover".

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