Guide To A Happy Life (弟子規)




    Guide To A Happy Life (Di Zi Gui)
    with Chinese and English Translation
    Han Yu Pin Yin

    The Chinese culture has been deeply influenced by Confucius, a great Chinese teacher and educator. His influence extends throughout the world even today. Confucius believed that moral principles, virtues and discipline should be the very first lessons taught to a child, and that children need to practice them daily.

    Unlike modern-day parents who disapprove of physical punishment, ancient Chinese parents actually encouraged and thanked the teacher when their children were punished for misbehaving. It was most important to the ancient Chinese parents that their children learned moral principles and virtues first – before any other subjects, because without these as a foundation, the learning of all other subjects would be futile. In ancient China, the purpose of going to school and studying was to prepare for becoming saints and sages, not to pave the way for fame or making a profit.

    Di Zi Gui 《弟子規》 is the ultimate guide to a happy life. For thousand of years, this book contained the recommended standards for students. Even though they seem stringent by today’s standards, it is apparent that the people of that time felt it was important that the child should be well-disciplined and taught moral principles and virtues when still very young. They felt that without strict discipline and moral standards, a child would amount to nothing. Not knowing what it meant to be dutiful to parents and respectful to teachers, a child would grow up not listening to or respecting anyone.

    Ironically today, many parents listen to the child instead of the other way around. Additionally, teachers are afraid to teach and discipline children because they are fearful of violating the children’s legal rights and being sued by the parents.

    Currently, we live in a tumultuous world where the relationships among people, between people and their environment, parents and children, husbands and wives, and employers and employees are disintegrating. Parents do not act like parents. Children do not act like children. Our minds are polluted and our family system is disintegrating, as evidenced by an ever-increasing divorce rate. Soon the planet Earth will no longer be fit for us to live on. We are fearful for our futures and the futures of our children.

    In reintroducing this book, we hope it will serve as reference material and provide guidance for parents and children. Thus, future generations will benefit from it and society and our world will be at peace.

    All the footnotes have been added by our translators to help readers more easily understand the text. Chinese characters have extensive and profound meanings. If readers feel we have not yet fully explained the text, we take this opportunity to apologize in advance.

    It is also important to note that these standards were used in ancient China, at a time when society was centered on the male and only the male child was allowed to enter school. Therefore, all the pronouns used in the translation are of the male gender. For today’s society, the standards apply equally to all children, male and female.


    幸福人生指歸 (弟子規)

    弟子規 聖人訓
    首孝弟 次謹信
    汎愛眾 而親仁
    有餘力 則學文

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