Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sanzi Jing

Sanzi Jing is the three-Character Classic. Although this classic was used many years ago for all Chinese children. Due to rapid social development in recent years, people had neglected the text for about 50 years.
Now, there are many social problems because children were not instilled the good traditional values. This is the good sign that some wise people start to teach Chinese children this classic.
Frankly speaking, I had no chance to learn this classic during my childhood. I only know about this classic recently.
Let's learn this useful classic today.
Part one- the basic belief in the inherent goodness of mankind, the importance of education, filial piety, and family and social relationships.
人之初 性本善 性相近 習相遠
People at birth, are naturally good.Their natures are similar; their habits become different. (Note the fundamental difference between Confucian and Western Christian thought. Confucianists believe that people are born pure while Western Christians believe that people are born sinners.)
Coolingstar9: My friends, we just look at the babies, they are so innocent. But how come when they grow older, just say 16 years old, they are all different. Some behave very good, some behave like the hooligans. Although they are the same, I mean innocence as babies but what they learn from year one decide their behaviour. Their habits good or bad all because of " learning". What is your view about this?
苟不教 性乃遷 教之道 貴以專
If, negligently, not taught, their nature deteriorate. The right way to teach, is with absolute concentration.
昔孟母 擇鄰處 子不學 斷機杼-Great mother taught her son Mencius the right value.
Formerly, the mother of Mencius chose a neighborhood. When her child would not learn,
she broke the shuttle from the loom. Mencius' mother moved her residence three times to avoid bad influence for her son. She remonstrated to her son by ruining a piece a cloth she was weaving to dramatize the effect of lack of diligence on studies.
竇燕山 有義方 教五子 名俱揚-Father Mr.Dou raised his five sons properly.
Dou Yanshan, had the right method. He taught five sons, each of whom raised the family reputation. In the tenth century, Dou (Yujun), raised five sons, all of whom passed the Imperial Examination.
養不教 父之過 教不嚴 師之惰-Great responsibilities as the teachers and parents.
To feed without teaching, is the father's fault. To teach without severity, is the teacher's laziness.
子不學 非所宜 幼不學 老何為-Kids must study well when they are young.
If a child does not study, it is improper. If he does not study while young,
how will he act when old?
玉不琢 不成器 人不學 不知義-Through studies, kids know what are right and wrong.
Jade that has not been polished cannot be used. Person that has not studied cannot know righteousness. This couplet also stands alone as a Chinese proverb.
為人子 方少時 親師友 習禮儀-Kids must learn proper manner when they are young.
Being a human child, there is little time. He should engage teachers and friends;
and practice etiquette.
香九齡 能溫席 孝於親 所當執-Kids must take care parents.
Xiang, at nine, could warm (his parent's) bed. Filial piety towards parents,should be carried out. Huang Xiang, one of the 24 classic examples of the filial piety, would cool down his parents' bed in the summer and warm in the winter. He became a prime minister.
融四歲 能讓梨 弟於長 宜先知-Kids must learn how to respect eiders.
Rong, at four, could yield the (bigger) pears. To behave as a younger brother towards elders, is one of the first things to know. Kong Rong, a descendant of Confucius, would yield the bigger pears to his elder brother.
首孝弟 次見聞 知某數 識某文-Learn how to love parents first.
Begin with filial piety and fraternal love, then see and hear. Learn to count,learn to read.
一而十 十而百 百而千 千而萬-Kids must learn mathematics.
One to ten, ten to a hundred, a hundred to a thousand, a thousand to ten thousand.
三才者 天地人 三光者 日月星-Kids must absorb knowledge.
The three forces: heaven, earth and man. The three lights: sun, moon and stars.
三綱者 君臣義 父子親 夫婦順-Kids must learn human relationship.
The three principles: duty between sovereign and subject, love between father and child, harmony between husband and wife.
曰春夏 曰秋冬 此四時 運不窮-Kids must learn the environment.
We speak of spring and summer, we speak of fall and winter, These four seasons revolve without end.
曰南北 曰西東 此四方 應乎中-Kids must learn the nature.
We speak of north and south, we speak of east and west, These four directions depend on the center.
曰火水 木金土 此五行 本乎數-Kids must learn about the universe.
We speak of water, fire, wood, metal and earth. These five elements have their origin in the numbers. These are the five basic elements in traditional Chinese alchemy. The second sentence probably refers to the association of the basic elements with ying and yang interactions, which are usually represented by numbered trigrams.
曰仁義 禮智信 此五常 不容紊-Kids must have all the good values.
We speak of benevolence, duty, propriety, wisdom, and truth. These five virtues must not be compromised.
稻粱菽 麥黍稷 此六穀 人所食-Kids must learn about foods.
Rice, fine millet, beans, wheat, glutinous millet, and common millet. These six grains are those which people eat.
馬牛羊 雞犬豕 此六畜 人所飼-Kids must learn about human life.
Horse, ox, sheep, chicken, dog, pig. These six animals are those which people raise.
曰喜怒 曰哀懼 愛惡欲 七情具-Kids must know the human emotion.
We speak of joy, anger, we speak of grief, fear, love, hate, desire. These are the seven emotions.
匏土革 木石金 與絲竹 乃八音-Kids must have the knowledge about music.
Gourd, earthenware, skin, wood, stone, metal,silk, bamboo, yield the eight musical sounds.These are the materials used to make musical instruments.
高曾祖 父而身 身而子 子而孫-Kids must know the development of the generation.
Great great grandfather, great grandfather, grandfather, father and self, self and child, child and grandchild,
自子孫 至玄曾 乃九族 人之倫-Kids must know about the family.
from child and grandchild, on to great grandchild and great great grandchild.
These nine generations that make up your family.
父子恩 夫婦從 兄則友 弟則恭-Kids must know how to have harmony in the family.
Kindness between father and child, harmony between husband and wife, friendliness from elder brothers, respect from younger brothers.
長幼序 友與朋 君則敬 臣則忠-Kids must know how to get along with people.
Precedence between elders and youngers, support between friends, Respect from the sovereigns,loyalty from the subjects.
此十義 人所同-Kids must know all obligations.
These ten obligations, are the same for all.
---------------------------End of part one-------------------------------------------
All readers, I find this classic is still very useful nowadays. Especially in this ever confusing age, we ready need to let children have the foundation of how to be the human.
How is your view about this Sanzi Jing part one?


Anonymous said...

Wow, pretty nice post. How will I get your RSS?

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Janene Murphy said...

I agree. Great post. Not just sage teachings, but a wonderful look into Chinese culture. In America, I think we are soft on teaching kids manners and responsibilities these days. So much of what you touched on is still so important for today. Thank you for sharing!

nothingprofound said...

These are excellent rules and standards, but I doubt whether in our day and age it's still possible to exercise this kind of control over young people.