Di Zi Gui

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Di Zi Gui (simplified Chinese: 弟子规; traditional Chinese: 弟子規; pinyin: Dì Zǐ Guī; Wade–Giles: Ti Tzu Kui, Standards for being a Good Pupil and Child) was written in the Qing Dynasty during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor (r. 1661-1722) by Li Yuxiu. The book is based on the ancient teaching of the Chinese philosopher Confucius that emphasises the basic requisites for being a good person and guidelines for living in harmony with others.[1] Like the San Zi Jing (another classic Chinese children's text), it is written in three-character verses. The source for the main outline of it is from Analects of Confucius,[2] Book 1, Chapter 6, where Confucius said:

A young man should be a good son at home and an obedient young man abroad, sparing of speech but trustworthy in what he says, and should love the multitude at large but cultivate the friendship of his fellow men. If he has any energy to spare from such action, let him devote it to making himself cultivated.

And here's a translation more faithful to the original Chinese text than James Legge's 19th century version above

A student should show filial piety at home and respect people outside, behave prudently and trustfully, love all universally, and draw close to sages. While he has energy to spare, he should study edification by the sage.

There are altogether seven chapters in Ti Tzu Kui,[3] with each chapter listing one duty that a good person should follow in life.

Chapter 1 - At Home, Be Dutiful to My Parents(入则孝)[edit]

父母呼,应勿缓。父母命,行勿懒。父母教,须敬听。父母责,须顺承。冬则温,夏则凊。晨则省,昏则定。出必告,反必面。居有常,业无变。事虽小,勿擅为。苟擅为,子道亏。物虽小,勿私藏。苟私藏,亲心伤。亲所好,力为具。亲所恶,谨为去。身有伤,贻亲忧。德有伤,贻亲羞。亲爱我,孝何难。亲憎我,孝方贤。亲有过,谏使更。怡吾色,柔吾声。谏不入,悦复谏。号泣随,挞无怨。亲有疾,药先尝。昼夜侍,不离床。丧三年,常悲咽。居处变,酒肉绝。丧尽礼,祭尽诚。事死者,如事生。

When my parents call me, I must answer right away. When they ask me to do something, I must not be lazy to do. When my parents instruct me, I will listen respectfully. When my parents scold me, I must accept and obey them. I will try to ensure my parents are always warm and comfortable. In the morning I will greet my parents and at night I will wish them a good night. Before going out or after returning home, I will tell my parents. I will maintain a disciplined life and strive for good results in all my studies. I must not do as I please, even though it may be just a small matter. If I do so, then I will not have been a dutiful child. I must not keep anything from my parents, even though it is small. If I do so, I may hurt their feelings. I will try my best to please my parents. I will try not to do anything that offends them. If I behave badly, my parents will feel ashamed. With loving parents, it is not difficult to be dutiful to them. Even if my parents sometimes treat me badly, I must still be dutiful to them. If I feel my parents are wrong, I may advise them to change. I must do this politely. If my parents pass away, I will mourn them. I will not decorate my home and I will avoid any festivities. I will serve my parents' funerals with deepest sorrow and as if they were still alive.

Chapter 2 - Standards for Younger Brothers (and Juniors[4]) when Away from Home(出则弟)[edit]

兄道友,弟道恭;兄弟睦,孝在中。财物轻,怨何生。言语忍,忿自泯。或饮食,或坐走。长者先,幼者后。长呼人,即代叫。人不在,己即到。称尊长,勿呼名。对尊长,勿见能 。路遇长,疾趋揖。长无言,退恭立。骑下马,乘下车。过犹待,百步余。长者立,幼勿坐;长者坐,命乃坐 。尊长前,声要低。低不闻,却非宜。近必趋,退必迟。问起对,视勿移。事诸父,如事父;事诸兄,如事兄。

If I am the older sibling, I will befriend the younger ones. If I am the younger sibling, I will respect and love the older ones and most certainly never forget their birthdays for all time. The punishment for not respecting the older sibling is to wear all black for three years as penance. Only when I can maintain harmonious relationships with my siblings am I being dutiful to my parents. (See [5] for the following.) When brothers take money and objects lightly, resentment won't arise among us. When we tolerate each other's words, anger naturally dissipates. In eating and drinking, and in walking and sitting down, the elder person goes first, the junior person goes after. When an elder is calling someone, immediately call that person for the elder. If that person is not there, go to the elder yourself first. When addressing a respected elder, do not call him by name. In front of a respected elder, don't show off. When meeting an elder on the road, quickly go up and bow with hands together. If the elder has nothing to say, retreat and stand respectfully. Get off if riding a horse, get out if in a car. Wait even after the elder passes for a hundred steps or more. When the elder person stands, the junior person stands. When the elder person sits, only upon being ordered does the junior person sit. In front of a respected elder, one's voice has to be low. If it is too low to be heard, however, then that's inappropriate. When going in to see an elder, one must hurry; when leaving an elder, one must be slow. When asked a question, one rises and answer without moving one's gaze. Serve the many fathers (elders) like serving (your own) Father. Serve the many older brothers like serving (your own) Older Brother.

Chapter 3 - Be Cautious (or Reverent[6][7]) in My Daily Life(谨)[edit]

朝起早,夜眠迟。老易至,惜此时。晨必盥,兼漱口。便溺回,辄净手。冠必正,纽必结。袜与履,俱紧切。置冠服,有定位。勿乱顿,致污秽。衣贵洁,不贵华。上循分,下称家。对饮食,勿拣择。食适可,勿过则。年方少,勿饮酒。饮酒醉,最为丑。步从容,立端正。揖深圆,拜恭敬。勿践阈,勿跛倚。勿箕踞,勿摇髀。缓揭帘,勿有声。宽转弯,勿触棱。执虚器,如执盈。入虚室,如有人。事勿忙,忙多错。勿畏难,勿轻略。斗闹场,绝勿近。邪僻事,绝勿问。将入门,问孰存。将上堂,声必扬。人问谁,对以名。吾与我,不分明。用人物,须明求。倘不问,即为偷。借人物,及时还。后有急,借不难。

I will get up each morning before my parents; at night, I will go to bed only after my parents have gone to sleep. (Or just: "In the morning I will get up early; at night I will sleep late." See.[8]) When I realize that time is passing me by and cannot be turned back, and that I am getting older year by year, I will especially treasure the present moment. (See [9] for the following.) In the morning one must wash the hands plus rinse the mouth. After returning from urinating and defecation, one always cleans the hands. The hat must be on straight; the buttons must be done up. The socks and shoes should all be on snugly. For putting away hats and clothes, use set places. Don't set them down just anywhere, making a sweaty mess. In clothes value cleanliness not fanciness. First follow one's station in life; second suit the family's financial situation. With food and drink do not be picky. Eat just enough, not excessively. While still young, don't drink alcohol; being drunk is a most ugly sight. Walk relaxed and stand straight; bow deep and round, and salute reverently. Don't stand on thresholds; don't lean on one leg. Don't sit with legs apart and straight; don't wave the bottom. Open curtains slowly, without noise. Make turns widely, without hitting the corners. Hold empty vessels like holding full ones. Enter empty rooms as if someone is there. Do not be too busy, or there will be many mistakes. Don't fear difficulties; don't look down upon asking questions. Where there is fighting and disturbance, do not ever go near. Evil deviant things, don't ever say. When about to enter through a door, ask who is there. When about to enter a hall, one must call out. When people ask who it is, answer with your name. "Me" and "I" don't make anything clear.

Chapter 4 - Be Trustworthy(信)[edit]

凡出言,信为先。诈与妄,奚可焉。话说多,不如少。惟其是,勿佞巧。奸巧语,秽污词。市井气,切戒之。见未真,勿轻言。知未的,勿轻传。事非宜,勿轻诺。苟轻诺,进退错。凡道字,重且舒。勿急疾,勿模糊。彼说长,此说短。不关己,莫闲管。见人善,即思齐。纵去远,以渐跻。见人恶,即内省。有则改,无加警。唯德学,唯才艺。不如人,当自砺。若衣服,若饮食。不如人,勿生戚。闻过怒,闻誉乐。损友来,益友却。闻誉恐,闻过欣。直谅士,渐相亲。无心非,名为错。有心非,名为恶。过能改,归于无。倘掩饰,增一辜。

When using other people's things, one must clearly ask. If one doesn't ask, then it is stealing. When other people borrow things from you, if you have them don't be stingy. When I speak, honesty is important. Deceitful words and lies must not be tolerated. When still unsure of what you saw, do not say it. When still unsure of what you know, don't spread it. If conditions aren't favorable, don't lightly make promises. If lightly make promises, then both going forward and backing off are wrong. Whenever words are said, say them with weight and relaxation, not hurriedly or quickly, nor in a blurred and unintelligible way. Upon seeing others being good, think of becoming equally good. Even when far below them, gradually get better. Upon seeing others being bad, inspect yourself. If you are like them then correct it; if not then be vigilant. In virtue and learning, in ability and skill, if not as good as others, then spur yourself to catch up. If it's in clothing and attire, or housing and food, that you are not as good as others, then don't be affected. Doing wrong unintentionally is called making a mistake. Doing wrong intentionally is called committing an evil. If one corrects what one has done wrong, then it's as if it hasn't happened. If one covers up, then one adds to one's guilt.

Chapter 5 - Love All Equally(泛爱众)[edit]

凡是人,皆须爱。天同覆,地同载。行高者,名自高。人所重,非貌高。才大者,望自大。人所服,非言大。己有能,勿自私。人所能,勿轻訾。勿谄富,勿骄贫。勿厌故,勿喜新。人不闲,勿事搅。人不安,勿话扰。人有短,切莫揭。人有私,切莫说。道人善,即是善。人知之,愈思勉。扬人恶,既是恶。疾之甚,祸且作。善相劝,德皆建。过不规,道两亏。凡取与,贵分晓。与宜多,取宜少。将加人,先问己。己不欲,即速已。恩欲报,怨欲忘。报怨短,报恩长。待婢仆,身贵端。虽贵端,慈而宽。势服人,心不然。理服人,方无言。

Human beings, regardless of nationality, race, or religion - everyone - should be loved equally. We are all sheltered by the same sky and we all live on the same planet Earth. (See [10] for the following.) People with high conduct naturally have high reputations; what people value is not high looks. People with great ability naturally have great fame; what people respect is not great words. If you have an ability, don't be selfish with it. If other people have an ability, don't lightly denigrate them. Don't toady to the rich; don't be arrogant to the poor. Don't despise the old; don't favor the new. If people don't have time, don't bother them with things. If people are not at peace, don't bother them with words. When people have shortcomings, definitely don't publicize them. When people have secrets, definitely don't tell them. Speaking of others' good deeds is in itself a good deed. When others learn of it, they become more encouraged. Publicizing other people's shortcomings is in itself evil. People hate it very much, and troubles arise. Admonishing each other to do good builds up both parties' virtue. Not dissuading the other person from doing wrong damages both parties' character. When taking and giving, making the terms clear is most important. Better to give more and take less. When about to do unto others, first ask yourself; if you don't want it yourself, then stop immediately. One wants to repay kindness and forget grudges. Repaying grudges is short; repaying kindness is long. In dealing with maids and servants, one is of high station. Though of high station, one must be kind and forgiving. Using force to make people submit doesn't make their hearts submit. Only using reason to make people submit will cause there to be no mutterings.

Chapter 6 - Be Close to and Learn from People of Virtue and Compassion(亲仁)[edit]

同是人,类不齐。流俗众,仁者希。果仁者,人多畏。言不讳,色不媚。能亲仁,无限好。德日进,过日少。不亲仁,无限害。小人进,百事坏。

All are human, but their types differ. Most belong to the unrefined; the truly kind-hearted are rare. A truly kind-hearted person is feared by most people. He is not afraid of his words causing offense; his expression is not fawning. (See [11] for the foregoing.) If I can be close to and learn from people of great virtue and compassion, I will benefit immensely. My virtues will grow daily and my wrongdoings will lessen day by day. (See [12] for the following.) Not becoming close with the kind-hearted is infinitely harmful. Lowly people will enter, and everything will turn bad.

Chapter 7 - After All the Above are Accomplished, I Should Study Further and Learn Literature and Art to Improve My Cultural and Spiritual Life (余力学文)(or "If I Have Energy Left Over, I Should Study Writings"[13])[edit]

不力行,但学文。长浮华,成何人。但力行,不学文。任己见,昧理真。读书法,有三到。心眼口,信皆要。方读此,勿慕彼。此未终,彼勿起。宽为限,紧用功。工夫到,滞塞通。心有疑,随札记。就人问,求确义。房室清,墙壁净。几案洁,笔砚正。墨磨偏,心不端。字不敬,心先病。列典籍,有定处。读看毕,还原处。虽有急,卷束齐。有缺坏,就补之。非圣书,屏勿视。敝聪明,坏心志。勿自暴,勿自弃。圣与贤,可驯致。

If I do not actively practice what I have learned, but continue to study on the surface, even though my knowledge is increasing, it is only superficial. What kind of person will I be? (See [14] for the following.) If one only works hard at conduct but does not study writings, then one relies only on his own views, and remains ignorant of true reason. The way to study requires three things coming together: heart, eyes, and mouth are all necessary. When you've just started reading one book, don't yearn for another. When the first book hasn't been finished, don't start another. Widely set limits; tightly apply efforts. With proper effort, obstacles will be overcome. When there is doubt, jot it down right away; that way you can ask people and get the true meaning. The room should be clean; the wall, clear; the desk, spotless; the pen and inkwell, straight. If the ink is ground unevenly, the heart is not upright. If the words are not respectful, the heart has fallen ill first. Books should be set in a regular place. After reading, return them to their original place. Though there may be something urgent, still roll and tie the books up properly first. If there is damage, repair it immediately. Books not of the sages, reject them; don't look. Such books cloud the intellect and corrupt one's heart and aspirations. Don't abuse yourself; don't give up on yourself. What is saintly and virtuous can be smoothly arrived at.


Confucius emphasised that the basic moral values and virtues should be first taught to a child since young; those values are to respect elders, respect brothers and sisters, respect wife and husband, respect the society and lastly respect the country as a whole. He believed without those values all other learning would amount to nothing. The teachings in Ti Tzu Kui has been the standard teaching for the young of China for thousands of years.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]