Three Fearlessnesses

from New Method of Self Cultivation, Chap 3

一、 無艮喫苦。
二、 無艮喫虧。
三、 無畏厲害

Sān wúwèi
Yī, wú gěn chī kǔ.
Èr, wú gěn chī kuī.
Sān, wúwèi lìhài.

Three Without Fears:
First, without fear of eating bitter
Second, without fear of eating loss
Third, without fear of ferocity.

Character by Character

無畏: Without Fear

Literally fearless, without fear, without dread.

Fearlessness is one of the attributes of the Buddha. Interesting in light of Professor saying he didn’t strive to be a living buddha, rather a complete human being. With the following instruction on how to attain the buddha attribute of fearlessness...

無艮喫苦: Without Fear of Eating Bitter

chi is simply eating. ku is bitter (as a taste), hard times, hardship, and painstaking.
I appreciate the notion of nourishing oneself from the bitter work of training.

無艮喫虧: Without Fear of Eating Loss

chi  is again eating. kui is loss, failure, deficient. It’s often used in a financial context: losing money in a business, owing something, running a deficit. As a compound, chikui means suffer loses, come to grief, get the worst of something, and be at a disadvantage. This is the phrase of Professor’s that is sometimes translated as “invest in loss”.

無畏厲害: Without Fear of Ferocity

li is a whetstone, grinding, severe, harsh. hai is evil, harm, misfortune, injury. As a compound, they mean fierce or terrible (especially describing a wild animal or one’s temper), strict, harsh, and (of weather or illness) intense or severe.


Translation Copyright (c) 2013 by Lee Fife
Creative Commons License
Zheng-zi 13 Chapters, Translation by Lee Fife is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at