Di Zi Gui, translated as The Rules for Students or Standards for Being a Good Pupil was written during the Qing dynasty and emphasizes the basic requirements for being a good pupil and getting along with others. Although the book is directed at students and children, it applies to all people. It is written in three-character verses and contains the below seven sections.
Below are the first four lessons in a classical Chinese course on Dizigui. I will be releasing more lessons over the next few months covering all seven chapters of Dizigui.
Below is the text from the Outline and Chapter 1 with pinyin and English translation.
Dìzǐ guī, shèngrén xùn.
The Rules for Students are the Sage’s teachings.
Shǒu xiào tì, cì jǐn xìn.
First, be good to parents and loving to siblings. Next, be cautious and trustworthy.
Fàn ài zhòng, ér qīn rén.
Love everyone and become close to the compassionate.
Yǒu yú lì, zé xué wén.
If there’s energy left over, then study books.
Rù zé xiào
At Home, Be Good to Parents
Fùmǔ hū, yìng wù huǎn.
When parents call, don’t be slow to answer.
Fùmǔ mìng, xíng wù lǎn.
When parents give an order, act, don’t be lazy.
Fùmǔ jiào, xū jìng tīng.
When parents teach, one must listen respectfully.
Fùmǔ zé, xū shùn chéng.
When parents reprimand, one must accept.
Dōng zé wēn, xià zé qīng.
In winter, keep parents warm; in summer, keep parents cool.
Chén zé xǐng, hūn zé dìng.
In the morning, greet parents; in the evening, make sure parents are settled in.
Chū bì gù, fǎn bì miàn.
When leaving one must tell one’s parents; when returning home, one must see one’s parents face to face.
Jū yǒu cháng, yè wú biàn.
Lead a routine life; do not change careers.
Shì suī xiǎo, wù shàn wéi.
Though a matter may be small, don’t act arbitrarily.
Gǒu shàn wéi, zǐ dào kuī.
If one acts arbitrarily, the code that a son ought to follow gets damaged.
Wù suī xiǎo, wù sī cáng.
Though an object may be small, don’t selfishly hide it.
Gǒu sī cáng, qīn xīn shāng.
If one selfishly hides it, parents’ hearts will be hurt.
Qīn sǔo hào, lì wèi jù.
What parents like, make an effort to possess.
Qīn sǔo wù, jǐn wèi qù.
What parents despise, carefully get rid of.
Shēn yǒu shāng, yí qīn yōu.
Injury to one’s body brings parents worry.
Dé yǒu shāng, yí qīn xiū.
Injury to one’s character brings parents shame.
Qīn ài wǒ, xiào hé nán.
When parents love me, it is easy to be good to parents.
Qīn zēng wǒ, xiào fāng xián.
When parents detest me, then it’s truly virtuous to be good to parents.
Qīn yǒu gùo, jiàn shǐ gēng.
When parents do wrong, urge them to change.
Yí wú sè, róu wú shēng.
Make my expression pleasant, and soften my voice.
Jiàn bú rù, yuè fù jiàn.
If the counsel is not accepted, wait until they are happy then urge them again.
Háo qì suí, tà wú yuàn.
If still not accepted, wailing and weeping should follow; if they beat me, I won’t complain.
Qīn yǒu jí, yào xiān cháng.
When parents fall ill, taste the medicine first.
Zhòu yè shì, bù lí chuáng.
Attend to them day and night, not leaving the bedside.
Sāng sān nián, cháng bēi yè.
Mourn for three years after parents have passed away, often sobbing sadly.
Jū chù biàn, jiǔ ròu jué.
The place of living should change, and alcohol and meat should be avoided.
Sāng jìn lǐ, jì jìn chéng.
At the funeral there should be the utmost decorum; at the memorial services there should be the utmost sincerity.
Shì sǐ zhe, rú shì shēng.
Serve the dead like serving the living.