Guide to Conduct and...

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Guide to Conduct and Ceremony

Part 1. General Propriety

Chapter 1. Introduction

Since people live among one another in the world, they must certainly observe propriety, because if they do not know good manners and make all of their behavior appropriate to every situation, others will then criticize them, and the world will become disorderly. Thus, in all places and under all circumstances, the necessity for propriety cannot be ignored, even for a moment.
From ancient times, all sages have made clear the proper rules of behavior for people to follow in their actions. Thus it is said: do not look unless it is accordance with propriety; do not listen unless it is in accordance with propriety; do not speak it is in accordance with propriety; do not move unless it is in accordance with propriety.
In accordance with the changes of the times, a portion of the method can have changed, but the fundamental spirit of acting with good manners has always been the same, whether in the past or in the present. Thus, those who study propriety should first of all establish this spirit and, according to circumstances, observe the instructions of the sages and not deviate from the general propriety of the time.
The meaning and procedures for all items of general propriety are quite plain, so that anyone in daily life can follow this path. In the midst of the ordinary, there is truth and a rifht measure. If we do not practice propriety with sincere devotion, it will be difficult to adapt adequately to reality. We must be thoroughly aware of this point.