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UN chief seeks wisdom, guidance from Confucius
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Photo taken on June 26, 2008 shows the manuscript of famous lines of Confucianism, written down by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during an interview with Xinhua reporters at the UN headquarters in New York. (Xinhua Photo)

When it comes to spiritual and philosophical guidance, it is not just the Chinese who turn to Confucius. For the great sage's teachings have also been a source of sustenance for United Nations (UN) chief Ban Ki-moon, particularly in his "agonizing" mission to bring harmony to the world body.

During a recent interview with Xinhua ahead of his visit to China early next month, the veteran Korean diplomat spoke of his appreciation for Confucius and how the scholar's wisdom helped him in both his public and private lives.

"During my lifetime, I have been influenced and ... taught many of the good teachings of Confucius and Mencius," he said. "There are many great scholars and philosophers from China."

"I have really been trying to learn the wisdom lessons from the Analects of Confucius," he said. "These kinds of teachings have been a great source of wisdom and experience, and have been a guiding force in my public service as well as private life."

"I am still guided by many of the good teachings of Confucius," he said.

Ban then picked up a piece of paper and started writing in Chinese a couple of famous lines from "Advice against the Ousting of Outside Consultants," authored by Li Si during the Qin Dynasty in 221 B.C.

"Mount Tai rises from heaps of earth; small streams converge into a mighty river," the secretary-general wrote in Chinese, revealing that he owned a large calligraphy work on the subject.

"That means you should embrace everybody," no matter how different their thinking, ideology or behavior might be, Ban said. "This has been the guideline of my life," he said.

"I don't claim that I have practiced exactly the same as what Confucius said, but I have been trying my best," he said.

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