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Chinese Idioms - 邯郸学步

Posted by vann0000 February 11, 2009 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: idiom, , , , , success, imitation, ability

Imitating Another without Success and Losing What Used to Be One's Own Ability (邯郸学步 han dan xue bu)


邯郸学步Imitating Another without Success and Losing What Used to Be One's Own Ability

Tradition has it that more than 2,ooo years ago, there lived a young man in the Shouling area of the State of Yan.  As his name is not known , we just call him Shouling young man for convenience's sake.

He was extremely low in the self confidence. He was at a loss as to how to behave all the time.

His family members advised him to overcome this shortcoming, but he thought they were fond of poking their noses into his business and were unwilling to provide him with tuition fee.  His relatives and neighbours sneered at him,  saying that he would never be able to learn anything.  As the days went by, he even began to doubt whether he should walk the way he did, for he felt more and more that his walking gestures were too clumsy and awkward.

One day,he met some people on the road who were chatting and laughing.  One of themsaid that people in Handan walked most gracefully.  And thatwas just what he was most concerned about, so he hurried towards the man and wanted to make further inquiries.  To his surprise,when these people saw him,  they stalked off laughing.

He could not picture to himself in what way their walking gestures were graceful,  no matter how hard he racked his parents one day.  He went to Handan which was far away to learn how to walk.

As soon as he arrived in Handan, he was dazzled to find that everything was novel.  He learned from the children there how to walk,  because he thought that the children's walking gestures were lively and pleasing to the eye.  He learnd from the old people there how to walk,  because he thought the old people's walking gestures were steady .  He learnd from the women there how to walk,  because he thought the women' swaying walking gestures were beautiful.  That being the case with him ,in less than half a month he even forgot how to walk.  As he had already used up his traveling expenses,he had to crawl back home.

This story come from the article "Autumn Water"in The Works of Xhuang Zi (Zhuang Zi was a famous ancient Chinese philosopher of about 300B.c.).  Later the set phrase "initating another without success and losing what used to be one's own ability" is used to refer to acts of copying others mechanically in disregard of specififc conditions.

Han2     dan1     xue2     bu4
邯     郸     学     步

 

相传在两千年前,燕国寿陵地方有一位少年,不知道姓啥叫啥,就叫他寿陵少年吧!

这位寿陵少年不愁吃不愁穿,论长相也算得上中等人材,可他就是缺乏自信心,经常无缘无故地感到事事不如人,低人一等--衣服是人家的好,饭菜是人家的香,站相坐相也是人家高雅.他见什么学什么,学一样丢一样,虽然花样翻新,却始终不能做好一件事,不知道自己该是什么模样.

家里的人劝他改一改这个毛病,他以为是家里人管得太多.亲戚、邻居们,说他是狗熊掰棒子,他也根本听不进去.日久天长,他竟怀疑自己该不该这样走路,越看越觉得自己走路的姿势太笨,太丑了.

有一天,他在路上碰到几个人说说笑笑,只听得有人说邯郸人走路姿势那叫美.他一听,对上了心病,急忙走上前去,想打听个明白.不料想,那几个人看见他,一阵大笑之后扬长而去.

邯郸人走路的姿势究竟怎样美呢?他怎么也想象不出来.这成了他的心病.终于有一天,他瞒着家人,跑到遥远的邯郸学走路去了.

一到邯郸,他感到处处新鲜,简直令人眼花缭乱.看到小孩走路,他觉得活泼、美,学;看见老人走路,他觉得稳重,学;看到妇女走路,摇摆多姿,学.就这样,不过半月光景,他连走路也不会了,路费也花光了,只好爬着回去了.

故事出自《庄子·秋水》.成语"邯郸学步",比喻生搬硬套,机械地模仿别人,不但学不到别人的长处,反而会把自己的优点和本领也丢掉.

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