Culture

The Three Character Classic(三字经): Education in Ancient China

The Three Character Classic, or San Zi Jing, is the best known classic Chinese text for children. Written by Wang Yinglin (1223–1296 A.D.) during the Song Dynasty, it has been memorized by generations of Chinese, both young and old. 养不教,父之过。教不严,师之惰。子不学,非所宜。 幼不学,老何为。玉不琢,不成器。人不学,不知义。 However, after the Cultural Revolution in China, the Three Character Classic was banned and

Marriage or Chastity?

In ancient China, widows who decided not to remarry were considered models of loyalty and chastity. At the same time, when it came to major life-changing events, the Chinese believed that it was heaven, not mortals, who had the final say over one’s destiny. This principle is embodied in the folktale behind the proverb “Just

Simplified Beyond Sense: The Travesty of Modern Chinese Writing

Heartless love, depopulated villages. Flying with one wing, falling into a well—we are told this is “progress.” The above may sound like opening lines to stories about calamities or Kafkaesque dystopias, but they are in fact all valid and perhaps unavoidable interpretations of modern Chinese writing. Chinese script denotes meaning rather than sound, setting it

The Three Character Classic(三字经):Ancient Parenting Lessons for Modern Times

The Three Character Classic(三字经), or San Zi Jing, is the best known classic Chinese text for children. Written by Wang Yinglin (1223–1296) during the Song Dynasty, it has been memorised by generations of Chinese, both young and old. However, after the Cultural Revolution in China, the Three Character Classic was banned and eventually fell into

zhansuntaihouzan-曹醉梦

The Chinese Empresses Whose Wisdom Enriched Dynastic Rule

Throughout China’s long history, many dynasties were established by men of strength and ambition. Yet the wise and virtuous women who stood alongside them were no less instrumental in shaping the character and heritage of Chinese civilisation. Classical Chinese culture values women who apply their intellect and wisdom to assist fathers, husbands, and sons in

When Society Was Regulated With Music and Ritual

One of the very first pieces of recorded Chinese literature is the “Classic of Poetry”, a collection of 3,000-year-old lyrics and verses of the early Zhou Dynasty. Compiled by Confucius, it is considered one of the five great Chinese scholarly works. The first poem, “Cry of the Ospreys,” describes the marriage of King Wen, the

Dizi Gui (弟子规) : Lessons That Will Serve You for a Lifetime

Dizi Gui (弟子规) (Standards for Being a Good Student and Child) is an ancient Chinese text for children that teaches moral values and proper etiquette. It was written during the Qing Dynasty during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (康熙帝) (1661-1722) by Li Yuxiu. Beneath the conservative, “old-school” verbose of this ancient classic, one can still

Good Vs. Evil in a Chinese Folktale

Good vs. evil in Chinese Folktal : Bringing Down a Demon Tyrant

Righteousness, or “yì”, is second of five cardinal Chinese virtues—the others being benevolence, courtesy, wisdom, and faith—first taught by Confucius and passed down in the centuries since. Incorporating such concepts as justice and loyalty, “yì” builds upon its preceding virtue, that of “rén,” or benevolence. While “rén” can be used to describe the most pure

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A Tale of Two Brides

For thousands of years, the Five Cardinal Virtues—benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, and faith—have guided the Chinese people in governance, family, and individual conduct. First taught by the sage Confucius, they form the cornerstone of traditional Chinese morality. First in the virtues is benevolence, from the Chinese character “ren”. Consisting of a radical meaning “human” together

Sun Bin(孙膑), descended from Sun Wu,author of the “Art of War”

The Search for the ‘Art of War’

Sun Zi’s (孙子)timeless primer on strategy, “The Art of War”, has informed the thoughts of many a calculating mind, from generals to CEOs—and it also saved Sun’s own descendant in China, Sun Bin (孙膑), from the jaws of peril and treachery. But it was the book’s teachings of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness that

Sima Guang took such good care of his library collection that, even after decades of use, his books remained as good as new.

Dizi Gui (弟子规) : Treating Books The Right Way

Dizi Gui (弟子规) (Standards for Being a Good Student and Child) is an ancient Chinese text for children that teaches moral values and proper etiquette. It was written during the Qing Dynasty during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (康熙帝) (1661-1722) by Li Yuxiu. Beneath the conservative, “old-school” verbose of this ancient classic, one can still

A Reflection of One’s Inner Soul

Dizi Gui (弟子规) : Chinese Calligraphy: A Reflection of One’s Inner Soul

Dizi Gui (Standards for Being a Good Student and Child) is an ancient Chinese text for children that teaches moral values and proper etiquette. It was written during the Qing Dynasty during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (1661-1722) by Li Yuxiu.  Beneath the conservative, “old-school” verbose of this ancient classic, one can still find gems

Dizi Gui (弟子规): Persistence and Curiosity Maketh the Renaissance Man

宽为限,紧用功;工夫到,滞塞通。 读书计划可以定得宽松一点,但读书时要加紧用功;下的工夫够了,不懂的地方自然就明白了。 心有疑,随札记;就人问,求确义。 心里有疑问,就立刻做笔记;找人请教,寻求正确的意思。 I will give myself lots of time to study, but I will study hard. If I devote enough time and effort, I will thoroughly understand. When I have questions, I will write them down right away; that way I can ask others and learn the true meaning. Dizi Gui (Standards for

statue of Shang Yang.

The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Chinese Tyrant

While the social and spiritual teachings of Confucius are now synonymous with traditional Chinese society itself, the first imperial dynasty, the powerful Qin state (221 to 206 B.C.), employed the harsh ideology of legalism. According to the proponents of this strict form of governance, a monarch should seek to acquire as much political power as

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Dizi Gui (弟子规): Theory vs. Practice: Getting the Balance Right

Dizi Gui (Standards for Being a Good Student and Child) is an ancient Chinese text for children that teaches moral values and proper etiquette. It was written during the Qing Dynasty during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (1661-1722) by Li Yuxiu.  Beneath the conservative, “old-school” verbose of this ancient classic, one can still find gems

Shape Up Your Posture the Chinese Way

The ancient Chinese, like modern psychologists and physicians, regarded good posture as a key to maintaining physical vigour and spiritual health. According to traditional Chinese medicine and philosophy, your stance and gait play not only a significant physical role, but reflects your inner character as well. Hence the traditional proverb: “Stand like a pine, sit

Sun Jing tying his hair to a beam.

Dizi Gui (弟子规): Ancient Ideas to Stay Focused While Studying (Part 1)

Beneath the conservative, “old-school” verbose of this ancient classic, one can still find gems of wisdom that remain surprisingly relevant to our modern society. A new lesson is covered in each issue. In traditional Chinese culture and thought, education and studying are considered an utmost priority. The ancients further emphasized the need for complete concentration

Zisi (Chinese: 子思; c. 481–402 BCE),

Graciously Listening to Suggestions and Criticism 

Zisi (子思) (481–402 B.C.)was the grandson and disciple of Confucius, who  served as advisor to the King of Wei. During his service, Zisi noticed that whenever the King made less-than-ideal decisions, all his ministers would still condone it. So he remarked to the royal court, “The King of Wei does not conduct himself like a

Bao Zheng was a Song Dynasty magistrate legendary for his filial piety, stern manner, impartial judgments, and intolerance of corruption and injustice. In various forms of popular culture, he is often portrayed with a stern black face and a light crescent-shaped birthmark on his forehead.

Bao Zheng: Symbol of Justice and Fairness

Bao Zheng (A.D. 999–1062) was a well-known official and judge in the Northern Song Dynasty. During his service, he fought vigorously against corruption, solved many complicated cases, and punished corrupt governors, abusive relatives of high-ranking officials, and crafty businessmen. Bao won wide respect and popularity from the people in the regions he served. His uprightness,

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