My master, the philosopher Ch’ang says: - “The Great Learning is a book transmitted by the Confucian school, and forms the gate by which first learners enter into his virtue. That we can now perceive the order in which the ancients pursued their learning is solely owing to the preservation of this work, the Analects, and Mencius coming after it. Learners must commence their course with this, and then it may be hoped they will be kept forever from error. 

Two sections, the first containing three paragraphs, occupied with the heads of The Great Learning, or 


1. What the Great Learning teaches, is – to illustrate illustrious virtue; to renovate the people; and to rest in the highest excellence.
1. The great learning [adult study, grinding the corn in the head’s mortar to fit it for use] takes root in clarifying the way wherein the intelligence increases through the process of looking straight into one’s own heart and acting on the results; it is rooted in watching with affection the way people grow; it is rooted in coming to rest, being at ease in perfect equity.
2. The point where to rest being known, the object of pursuit is then determined; and, that being determined, a calm unperturbedness may be attained to. To that calmness there will succeed a tranquil repose. In that repose there may be careful deliberation, and that deliberation will be followed by the attainment of the desired end.
2. Know the point of rest and then have an orderly mode of procedure; having this orderly procedure one can “grasp the azure” that is, take hold of a clear concept; holding a clear concept one can be at peace [internally], being thus calm one can keep one’s head in moments of danger; he who can keep his head in the presence of a tiger is qualified to come to his deed in due hour.
3. Things have their root and their branches. Affairs have their end and their beginning. To know what is first and what is last will lead near to what is taught in The Great Learning.
3. Things have their roots and branches; affairs have their scopes and beginnings. To know what proceeds and follows, is nearly as good as having a head and feet.
4. They wishing a tranquil and happy kingdom, first ordered well their own States. Wishing to order well then their States, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things.Things being investigated, knowledge became complete. Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere. Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated. Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their States were rightly governed. Their States being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy.
4. They wanted equilibrium in the empire, that light which comes from looking straight into her and acting, first set up good government in their own states.Wanting good government in their states, they first established order in their own families; wanting order in the home, they first disciplined themselves; desiring self-discipline, they rectified their own hearts; and wanting to rectify their hearts, they sought verbal definitions of their inarticulate thoughts [the tones given off by the heart]; wishing to obtain precise verbal definitions, they set to extend their knowledge to the utmost. This completion of knowledge is rooted in sorting things into organic categories. When things have been classified in organic categories, knowledge moved toward fulfillment; given the extreme knowable points, the inarticulate thoughts were defined with precision [the sun’s lance coming to rest on the precise spot verbally]. Having obtained this precise verbal definition [aliter, this sincerity], they then stabilized their hearts, they disciplined themselves; having obtained self-discipline, they set their own houses in order; having order in their own homes, theybrought good government to their own states; and when their states were well governed, the empire was brought into equilibrium.
5. From the Son of Heaven down to the mass of the people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything besides.
5. From the Emperor, Son of Heaven, down to the common man, singly and all together, this self-discipline is the root.
6. It cannot be, when the root is neglected, that what should spring from it will be well ordered.
6. If the root be in confusion, nothing will be well governed. The solid cannot be swept away as trivial, nor can trash be established as solid. It just doesn’t happen.
7. It never has been the case that what was of great importance has been slightly cared for, and, at the same time, that what was of slight importance has been greatly cared for.
7. Take not the cliff for morass and treacherous bramble.