Faults to Avoid
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In the Footsteps of the Sages

 

The Author    Three       Four         Eleven

11

 

Faults to Avoid

 

Greed

 

If you want your conduct to be good,

Deliver yourself from all evil.

Fight greed in your heart on all occasions.

Greed is the serious illness of the incurable.

Curing it is impossible.

Greed spreads unhappiness among mothers and fathers,

And among the brothers of the mother.

It divides husband and wife.

Greed is a reunion for all sorts of evil,

It is like a sack that contains everything that is hateful.

Ptah-Hotep

 

The greedy man fails.

What he meets is checkmate.

There is no yesterday for the lazy,

No friends for those deaf to righteousness,

No feast days for the rapacious.

Stories of the Oases

 

Acquiring things with greed is an evil that has no end.

Ankh-Sheshonk

 

Desiring the goods of another is a form of madness.

 Merikare

 

Do not fill your heart with desire for the goods of others

but rather concern yourself with what you have built up yourself.

Ani

 

It is greed that leads to quarrels and fighting in a house­hold and brings unhappiness to families.

                                                            Ankh-Sheshonk

 

Do not be rapacious even when you have to act against someone who is himself rapacious.

Stories of the Oases

 

The rewards of greed are as ash blown on the wind.

                                                                        Ankh-Sheshonk

 

Do not hold back a part of what should go to the temple,

Do not be greedy,

Do not turn a servant away from God.

Kha-Keper-Re-Seneb

 

Vanity

            The vain man is lost by his own heart,

            Like a tree that grows too tall is pruned.

Insinger Papyrus

 

He who spits at Heaven,

            His spit will fall back down on him.

                                                Ankh-Sheshonk

Pettiness

 

 

The mean-spirited person will never get anywhere.

                                                                The Loyalist Teaching

 

Malice

 

 

The goods of a wise man are lost if he gives way to spite.

                                                                                Insinger Papyrus

 

Keep your distance from those with hate in their hearts.

                                                                                 Ankh-Sheshonk

 

Do not associate with wicked people because of their reputation.

                                                                                        Insinger Papyrus

 

The death of an evil man is a cause for celebration for those he leaves behind.

                                                    Ankh-Sheshonk

 

Violence and Excess

 

 

            The man of excess does not practice righteousness.

The man whose heart gets carried away

Is not the man who is looked for when action is needed.

Stories of the Oases

 

 

A storm that rages like a fire in straw:

That is what the angry man is like.

Keep away from him, leave him alone.

God knows how to deal with him.

Amenemope

 

 

Do not protest to those who provoke you,

Do not reply to them.

He who does evil, The land will reject him,

And the flood will carry him away.

Amenemope

 

Physical violence calls for retaliation,

Everything it accomplishes will be caught up in this.

Merikare

 

Do not steal from the unfortunate,

Do not be violent towards the weak.

Do not stretch out your hand to threaten the old,

And do not speak impolitely to them.

Amenemope

 

The hard man causes his own destruction,

No descendant will honour him.

The Loyalist Teaching

 

Let the quiet man become violent

Only if the altars of the Gods are desecrated,

Then God will act against those who rebel against the temple.

Merikare

 

Theft

 

Do not steal, you will profit from this

                                                                        Amenemope

 

Do not move the boundary markers at the edge of a field,

Do not change the position of the measuring line.

Identify he who acts like this on the earth,

Since he is an oppressor of the weak

And an enemy dedicated to your destruction.

                Amenemope

 

 

Ignorance

 

As for the ignorant man who does not listen,

He will accomplish nothing...

He is like a dead man walking through daily life.

Ptah-Hotep

 

Everyone can find the path to God,

But the ignorant cannot.

Ankh-Sheshonk

 

For the ignorant, the work of God is nothing but a joke.

                                                                                Ankh-Sheshonk

  

Stupidity

 

Advice given to the stupid weighs as little as the wind.

                    Ankh-Sheshonk

 

The fool who lights a fire gets too close and burns him self.

                       Ankh-Sheshonk

 

Keeping company with the stupid brings misfortune.

                        Insinger Papyrus

 

It is better to have a serpent hanging around the house than a fool.

                        Ankh-Sheshonk

The wicked acts of an imbecile harm those closest to him.

                    Ankh-Sheshonk

You exhaust a donkey by loading it with bricks.             

                                                                                       Ankh-Sheshonk

 

Credulity

Credulity leads to unhappiness.

Merikare

 

 

Negligence

If you neglect a problem it will bring a double load of difficulties.

Stories of the Oases

 

Lies

 

When a lie emerges,

It wanders and cannot cross in the ferry,

It does not travel well.

Those who become rich thanks to lies

Will leave no descendants or heirs on this earth.

Those who sail with a lie will find no berth,

And their boat will not tie up in port.

Stories of the Oases

 

Ingratitude

 

 

I have been generous to the poor,

I have looked after the orphan,

I have acted in a way which has brought riches t

o those who possessed nothing as well as to those who were already rich,

And it is he who has shared my food who has raised an army against me,

And it is those to whom I have offered my hand who have brought terror.

 

Amenemhat I

Chatter

 

Do not pour out your feelings to just anyone:

You will lose all respect this way.

Amenemope

 

A gossip is a disturbance in the community.

Merikare

 

The man who knows how to respect will prosper,

The humble man is worthy of praise. The tent is open to the silent.

The seat of the calm man is spacious.

Do not chatter, the knives are being sharpened for the unrighteous

                                                                                                                Kagemni

 

Slander

 

Do not speak against anyone, great or small:

it's an insult to the soul (Ka).

                                                                        Ptah-Hotep

 

Do not repeat a slanderous rumour,

Do not listen to it.

It is a way of expressing oneself used by the intemperate.

Let a slanderous rumour be thrown on the dust-heap.

Do not speak about it.

                                                                        Ptah-Hotep

 

Materialism

 

The heart of he who listens to his stomach is weakened.

He will provoke disdain rather than love.

He who has a great heart has a gift from God,

He who obeys his stomach obeys the enemy.

Ptah-Hotep

 

 

Pampering Oneself

 

Do not pamper yourself when you are young.

Otherwise when you are old you will be weak.

Ankh-Sheshonk

 

 

Gluttony

 

Gluttony is contemptible, you should show it the door.

A glass of water is enough to quench your thirst,

A mouthful of vegetables will strengthen your heart.

Unfortunate is he who still wants more when the meal is over.

                            Kagemni

 

 

If your friends drink too much,

tell them: No alcohol for me!

If not, you will be found sprawled out on the ground as if you were a helpless child.

                                                Ani

 

 

 

 

 

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