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Let the ears not listen at random

“Listening is to convey wisdom, to foster action, and to bring achievement and honor, If it is not sincere, it is not clear, not deep, not effective, so the highlest learning involves listening with the spirit, middling learning involves listening with the mind, lower learning involves listening with the ear.

The learning of those who listen with their ears is in the surface of their skin. The learning of those who listen with their minds is in their flesh and muscles. The learning of those who listen with their spirits is in their bones and marrow.

So when you do not listen deeply to something, you do not know it clearly; when you do not know it clearly, then you cannot plumb its essence, and when you cannot plumb its essence you cannon perfect its practice.

The general principles for listening are to empty the mind so that it is clear and calm: discount moods and don’t be full of them, have no thoughts and no rumination. Let the eyes not look at random, let the ears not listen at random. Concentrate the vitality of the mind so that it builds up and the inner attention is fully consolidated. Once you have attained this, you must stabilize and preserve it, and must extend and perpetuate it.”

Wen-Tzu: Understanding the Mysteries, Further Teachings of Lao-Tzu

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