Eric Hutton's Introduction to his Xunzi translation says, in part:
"Without a doubt, the Xunzi is one of the most philosophically interesting and sophisticated texts in the Confucian tradition. It covers a wide variety of topics—education, ritual, music, language, psychology, history, religion, ethics, politics, and warfare, to name just a few— and it provides quite thoughtful treatments of all these subjects. Indeed, despite being a very old text, many of its insights still ring true in the present. It is thus a text that amply rewards study, and not only for those seeking to understand ancient Chinese views in particular, but also for anyone reflecting on these important aspects of human life in general. [...] Our received text was first compiled by Liu Xiang (77–6 BCE).
Although the Xunzi is a very rich text, study of the Xunzi was relatively neglected for many centuries in China, due in large part to the greater popularity of another early Confucian text with rival ideas, the Mencius (also called the Mengzi). As a result, the Xunzi was initially also rather neglected by many Western students of Chinese thought. Fortunately, this situation is slowly being rectified, and study of the Xunzi has begun to flourish again both inside and outside China in recent years."
Master Xun lived 2 or 3 hundred years after Confucius.
"A very concise summary of their ideas might be given as follows. These ru [cultivated persons] thinkers
believed that what the ancient sages and sage kings practiced and taught—and hence what
they themselves likewise practiced and taught—was the Way (dao 道), that is, the proper
way to live and to organize society. They believed that knowledge of the Way was
preserved in certain “classic” texts, which they accordingly treated as revered objects of
study. In turn, to live according to this Way required practicing certain rituals (li 禮) and
exercising certain virtues. The most important of these virtues are ren 仁, which includes
caring for others as a central element, and yi 義, which involves a devotion to what is
right. On their view, in embodying the Way to the highest degree, one becomes a
gentleman (junzi 君子) or even a sage. Furthermore, they believed that such cultivated
people possess a kind of moral charisma (de 德, translated in this volume as “virtue”) that
makes others friendly and supportive to them. The combination of these factors, the ru
thought, explained why the ancient sage kings were able to be great leaders who brought
peace and prosperity to the whole world, and hence these thinkers hoped to put an end to
the chaos and suffering of the Warring States era by practicing moral cultivation and by
getting others, especially rulers, to cultivate themselves."
The gentleman says: Learning must never stop. Blue dye derives from the indigo plant, and
yet it is bluer than the plant. Ice comes from water, and yet it is colder than water. Through
steaming and bending, you can make wood as straight as an ink-line1 into a wheel. And
after its curve conforms to the compass, even when parched under the sun it will not
become straight again, because the steaming and bending have made it a certain way.
Likewise, when wood comes under the ink-line, it becomes straight, and when metal is
brought to the whetstone, it becomes sharp. The gentleman learns broadly and examines
himself thrice daily, and then his knowledge is clear and his conduct is without fault."