Be Content with a Simple but Virtuous Life
When leading a poor life, one should still stick to moral principles. Confucius and Confucian scholars believe that it is not for fame and wealth that one should observe moral principles. Rather, such observance comes from one’s heart and represents his lifetime pursuit. So those who are guided by high moral standards will never seek wealth and fame at the expense of justice, and they can live up to such standards even when they live in poverty.
Confucius said: “Virtuous indeed is Yanhui! He has simple meals, just drinks cold water, and lives in a humble alley. While others would find such living unbearable, Yanhui remains cheerful. What a virtuous man!” (The Analects)
Zigong said: “One does not fawn on others when being poor; one is not arrogant when being rich. How do you find such quality?” Confucius said: “Good! But it is even better to be poor and upright and to be rich and courteous.” (The Analects)