Daily Chinese Proverb: Selfish

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Friday, 28 August 2009
This proverbial saying is used to describe someone who is selfish and greedy. This idiom originates from Mencius, and is used in stark contrast to the philosophies of Yáng Zhū (杨朱) which according to Mencius is very much ‘Each for himself’.

yī máo bù bá

楊子為我, 拔一毛而利天下, 不為也.
Yáng Zǐ wéi wǒ, bá yī máo ér​ lì tiānxià, bù wèi yě .

Yang Zhu teaches to do things purely for the benefit of oneself. If plucking, bá (拔) ,a single feather, yī máo (一毛), would benefit the world, he would not, bù (不), do it.

- He is a stingy person. Don’t even think about asking him to lend money to help someone.

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