Those dwelling in the house of virtue may be lonely at times,
But those who prosper by the fawning upon the powerful,
Are forlornly lonely for ten thousand ages.
The Master looks to matters beyond matters,
Muses on the body that is beyond the body
It is better to be lonely at times than to face ten thousand ages of forlornness
The essence of this passage talks about Integrity though implicit concept of karma (doing) and vipaka (effect). To spend our time, "fawning (doing)", chasing, seeking attention or favor from the wealthy or powerful leads to eons of forlornness (effect). How is this so? The negative karma created in these actions can build up quickly. In daily context he is emphasizing to us not to forsake our virtues for the pursuit of the "mundane", whether it be wealth, status, fame, power. "Mundane matters never ends" instead the Master liken to a sage, or person of virtue sees beyond the mundane goals of life and dwells on the body that is beyond mundane body and life. His is only interested is seeking the bright true self. He says it is better we hold on our virtues even though others may distance from us, even though we may not be liked. People may resent us, or think we are abnormal, tease us, and then do away with us because we may not follow the normal, because we refer to hold on to our morals, but this type of loneliness (at times) is nothing compared to the future longer lasting forsaken state of loneliness and misery found in the karma of "fawning". Do not doubt that even the tiniest action is recorded and is not forgotten, whether righteous or unrighteous, that is why it is paramount to hold on to our integrity. (Hem, 2010)
Fawning is "To seek favor or attention by flattery and obsequious behavior."
Forlorn is "1. desolate or dreary; unhappy or miserable, as in feeling, condition, or appearance, 2. lonely and sad; forsaken."
Muses is "to meditate, or absorb in ones thought of"
If you enjoy these excerpt, buy the book Hong, Zicheng; Aitken, Robert (2006), Vegetable Roots Discourse: Wisdom from Ming China on Life and Living, Avalon Publishing Group.