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Daily Mandarin - Confucius AMA

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不恥下問 - bùchǐxiàwèn - Idiom. to not feel ashamed of asking questions and learning from one's subordinates

If you want to learn, you must not beasking questions.
你如果想學就要不恥下問.
nǐ rúguǒ xiǎng xué jiù yào bùchǐxiàwèn.



The most influential and well known of Chinese philosophers, Confucius lived during the Spring and Autumn Period (approx. 771 to 476 BC). He had an estimated two thousand disciples and students. He was greatly respected and many consulted him for his knowledge. His famous works, The Analects, were passed down from generation to generation.

An inquisitive man, Confucius was notlearning from those below his social status. One day when Confucius went to the temple to worship his ancestors he began asking other vistors many questions.

"Confucius, since you are such a knowledgable man, why is it that you still ask others so many questions?" someone asked with a laugh. 

"If you have questions about things, then you should ask others" Confucius simply answered. 

And again, when his students asked: "After Kong Yu died, why is it that people honored him with the title of Kong Wenzi (meaning Scholar Kong)?"  He explained that "Only those who are intelligent, studious, and are unashamed to learn from their subordinates are worthy of being called scholars." 

The idiom " 不恥下問"  means that we should be modest and eager to learn from everyone, including those who are beneath us in social status.

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