Developing a Personality of High Quality

From Principles of Chinese Painting (1947), by George Rowley.

Shen Tsung-chien listed four ways of developing a personality of high quality, namely: “To purify your heart in order to eliminate vulgar worries, to read books widely in order to understand the realm of the principles (li), to renounce early reputation in order to become far-reaching, to associate with cultivated people in order to rectify your style.”

The first and third ways are Taoist and the second and fourth are Confucian. Another writer, in discussing cultivation or elegance, which was the supreme Confucian quality in both the painter and his painting, enumerated four Taoist virtues as the roads to elegance, namely: to be “cranky”–going against the world, “foolish”–forgetting about the world, “poor”–being contrary to the world, and “remote”–being far from the ways of the world and thus able to preserve elegance.