16 Precepts

You have asked me how to pursue learning. I pass this along in response —

  1. Move from the easier to the difficult
  2. Be cautious of speech
  3. Be slower still in frequenting places of talk
  4. Embrace purity of conscience
  5. Pray without ceasing
  6. Love your home and to be there often
  7. Show geniality to all 
  8. Pay no heed to others’ affairs
  9. Be not over-familiar with anyone; it breeds contempt and gives occasion to distraction
  10. Never get enmeshed with the sayings and doings of those in the outside world
  11. Most of all avoid vain visits and idle conversation
  12. Never mind who says what or from whom the lesson drops
  13. Remember any true and useful advice uttered; fill your cup
  14. Give an account to yourself of your every thought, word, and action
  15. See that you understand what you hear and don’t leave doubts be
  16. Remember. Walk always in the footsteps of good and holy men

— If you do this all your wildest dreams will come true.

*

The original is known as “16 Precepts for Acquiring the Treasure of Knowledge” and was written (in Latin of course) ostensibly by Saint Thomas Aquinas and to “Brother John” … neither is likely, but the material is sound and for a thought on that see No. 12. This post is edited from the two versions here and here.

 

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