- An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art
About [Location: HOME > Literature > Confucian Classics > Elementary learning > Dizigui]

Chinese Literature
Dizigui 弟子規

The Four Categories of Literature
The Dizigui 弟子規 "Rules for young boys" is a textbook of elementary learning written by the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) writer Li Yuxiu 李毓秀. The original title was Xunmengwen 訓蒙文 "Elementary text on compliancy". It was compiled according to the essay Tongmeng xu zhi 童蒙须知 "What small kids have to know" by the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) Neo-Confucian philosopher Zhu Xi 朱熹. In four chapters, Li explains the comportment of a Confucian scholar in his closest social network, as it is described in the Classic Lunyu 論語 "Confucian Analects": Filial piety at home, respectful to his elders outside, earnest and truthful, overflowing in love to all, and cultivating the friendship for the good. "When he has time and opportunity, after the performance of these things, he should employ them in polite studies." (transl. Legge). The first part of the book gives a general outline of behaviour, the second concentrates on comportment towards parents, older brothers and senior persons, the third part describes behaviour in daily life, the fourth part explains moral virtues like benevolence, kindheatedness, filial piety and modesty, and the last part concentrates on the way to study the Confucian writings and to implement their ideas in practice.
After revision revision by Jia Youren 賈有仁, the book was renamed Dizigui. It is 360 sentences long, with 1080 characters. The text imitates the textbook Sanzijing 三字經 and is written in three-word verses and thus easily to memorize. In his book Tongmeng jisong bian 童蒙記誦編, the scholar Zhou Baozhang 周保璋 even explained that the Sanzijing can be neglected since the Dizigui had been published.
The Dizigui is included in the collectanea Qinglu congshu 清麓叢書, Yangmengshu shizhong 養蒙書十種, Fuxingzhai congshu 復性齋叢書 and Tongmeng bi du shu 童蒙必讀書. At the end of the 19th century, the Dizigui became a textbook in elementary schools and was widely read.

Sources: Jiaoyu da cidian bianzuan weiyuanhui 教育大辭典編纂委員會 (ed. 1991), Jiaoyu da cidian 教育大辭典, Vol. 8, Zhongguo gudai jiaoyu shi 中國古代教育史 (Shanghai: Shanghai jiaoyu chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 215. ● Li Zhitian 李稚田 (1993). "Dizigui 弟子規", in: Zhongguo xiaoxue jiaoxue baike quanshu 中國小學教學百科全書, Yuwen 語文 (Shenyang: Shenyang chubanshe), p. 90. ● Zhou Faceng 周發增, Chen Longtao 陳隆濤, Qi Jixiang 齊吉祥 (ed. 1998), Zhongguo gudai zhengzhi zhidu cidian 中國古代政治制度史辭典 (Beijing: Shoudu shifan daxue chubanshe), p. 443.

January 3, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
Chinese Literature over time