DIZIGUI – “The Rules for Students”
1. “The Rules for Students” are the Sage’s teachings.
First be good to parents and respect elders; next be reverent and trustworthy.
Love everyone and become close with the kind-hearted.
If there’s energy left over, then study books.
At Home, Be Dutiful to Parents
2. When parents call, don’t be slow to answer.
When parents give an order, act, don’t be lazy.
When parents teach, one must listen respectfully.
When parents reprimand, one must accept.
3. In winter be warm; in summer be cool.
In the morning think over your conduct; in the evening settle down.
When leaving one must tell one’s parents; upon returning one must see one’s parents face-to face.
There should be regularity in one’s daily life, and no change in one’s career.
4. Though a matter may be small, don’t act arbitrarily.
If one acts arbitrarily, the code that a son ought to follow gets damaged.
Though a thing may be small, don’t selfishly hoard it.
If one selfishly hoards, the parents’ hearts will be hurt.
5. What parents like, make an effort to possesss.
What parents despise, carefully get rid of.
Injury to one’s body brings parents worry.
Injury to one’s character brings parents shame.
6. When parents love me, it is easy to be good to parents.
When parents detest me, then it’s truly virtuous to be good to parents.
When parents are doing something that’s wrong, counsel them to make them change.
Make my expression pleasant, and soften my voice.
If the counsel is not accepted, wait until parents are happy then counsel them again.
Weeping and wailing should follow, and beatings are borne without complaint.
7. When parents fall ill, one tastes the medicine first (to see if it’s been brewed to the proper degree),
And attend day and night, not leaving the bed.
One mourns for thee years, often sobbing sadly.
The place of living should change, and one should abstain from wine and sex.
At the funeral there should be the utmost decorum; at memorial services there should be the utmost sincerity.
Serve the dead like serving the living.
Standards for Younger Brothers (and Juniors) when Away from Home
8. The proper way for the older brother is friendliness; the way for the younger brother is respect.
When brothers are harmonious, that is in itself being good to parents.
When money and material things are taken lightly, how can resentment arise?
When words are tolerated, anger naturally dissipates.
9. 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.
10. When addressing a respected elder, don’t 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.
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.
11. 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,
But if it’s too low to be heard, then that’s not suitable.
Going into an elder one must hurry; leaving an elder one must be slow.
When asked a question one rises and answers, without moving one’s gaze.
12. Serve the elders of your father’s generation like serving your father.
Serve the elders of your big brother’s generation like serving your big brother.
Be Cautious (or Reverent) in My Daily Life
13. In the morning rise early; at night go to sleep late.
Old age arrives readily; value this time.
In the morning one must wash the hands, plus rinse the mouth.
After returning from urination and defecation, always clean the hands.
14. The hat must be on straight; the buttons must be done up.
The socks and shoes should all be on snugly.
For putting hats and clothes, there should be set places.
Don’t set them down in a disorderly manner, making a sweaty mess.
15. In clothes value cleanliness, not fanciness.
First, follow one’s station in life; second, suit the family’s financial situation.
With food and drink don’t be picky.
Eat just enough; don’t eat excessively.
While still young, don’t drink alcohol.
Being drunk is most ugly.
16. Walk relaxed; stand straight.
Bow deep and round; when kneeling to pay homage do so reverently.
Don’t step on the threshold; don’t stand leaning on one leg.
Don’t sit with legs straight and apart; don’t wave the bottom.
17. Open curtains slowly, without noise.
Turn turns widely, without hitting the corners.
Hold empty vessels like holding full ones.
Enter empty rooms as if someone is there.
Don’t hurry when doing things, or there will be many mistakes.
Don’t fear difficulties; don’t look down upon asking questions.
Scenes of fighting and disturbances, do not ever go near.
Evil deviant things, don’t ever say.
18. When about to enter through a door, ask who is there.
When about to enter a hall, one must call out one’s arrival.
When people ask who is there, answer with your name.
“Me” and “I” don’t make anything clear.
When using other people’s things, one must clearly ask.
If one doesn’t ask, then it is stealing.
When borrowing other people’s things, return them on time.
When other people borrow things from you, if you have them don’t be stingy.
19. Whenever one speaks, trustworthiness comes first.
Lying and absurd wild talk, how can one engage in such things?
Talking a lot is not as good as talking less.
Say only what is true, don’t be glib or tricky.
Cutting and disdainful words, dirty and filthy words,
Such vulgar airs, definitely get rid of them.
20. When still unsure of what you are seeing, do not lightly speak on it.
When still unsure of what you know, don’t lightly spread it.
If conditions aren’t favorable, don’t lightly promise.
If one lightly promises, then both going forward to do it and backing off from doing it are wrong.
Whenever you say something, say it with weight and relaxation,
Not hurriedly or quickly, nor blurred and unintelligibly.
This one gossips about this; that one gossips about that;
If it doesn’t concern yourself, don’t participate.
21. On seeing others being good, think of equaling them.
Even if far below them, you can gradually improve.
On seeing others being bad, inspect yourself.
If like them then correct it; if not then be vigilant.
22. Only in virtue and learning, and in ability and skill,
If not as good as others, then one should spur oneself on.
If it’s in clothing and attire, or housing and food,
That one is not as good as others, don’t be sad.
23. Becoming angry upon hearing faults and happy upon hearing praise,
Will cause harmful friends to come, and beneficial friends to leave.
Becoming fearful upon hearing praise and happy upon hearing faults,
Will cause straight and honest gentlemen to gradually draw close.
24. 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 trespass.
Love All Equally
25. All who are human, one must love.
Heaven covers us equally; Earth bears us equally.
26. 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.
27. If one has ability, one shouldn’t be selfish.
If other people have ability, one shouldn’t denigrate them.
Don’t fawn on 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 matters.
If people are not at peace, don’t bother them with words.
28. When people have shortcomings, definitely don’t publicize them.
When people have secrets, definitely don’t say 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 disaster arises.
Admonishing each other to do good builds up everyone’s virtue.
Not dissuading another from doing wrong damages both parties’ character.
29. When taking and giving, making everything clear is what’s important.
It’s better to give much and take little.
When about to do unto others, first ask yourself;
If you don’t want it, then stop immediately.
One wants to repay kindness and forget grudges.
Repaying grudges is short; repaying kindness is long.
30. 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.
Using reason to make people submit, only then are there no words (of discontent).
Be Close to and Learn from People of Virtue and Compassion
31. 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.
To be able to become close with the kind-hearted is infinitely good.
One’s virtue will daily advance; one’s errors will daily lessen.
Not becoming close with the kind-hearted is infinitely harmful;
Lowly people will come and everything will turn bad.
If there’s energy left over then use it to study books.
32. If one doesn’t work hard at conduct, but only studies books,
Then one attains superficial finery—what kind of person is that?
If one only works hard at conduct, but does not study books,
Then one relies only on one’s own views, and remain ignorant of true reason.
33. The way to study requires three things coming together:
Heart, eyes and mouth, are all necessary.
When you’ve just begun reading one book, don’t yearn for another;
When the first book hasn’t been finished, don’t start another one.
Set wide limits; apply tight efforts.
With proper effort, obstacles will be overcome.
When there is doubt, note it down right away,
So as to ask people and get the true meaning.
34. The room should be clean; the walls, 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 first fallen ill.
Books should be set out in a regular place.
After reading, return them to their original place.
Though there may be an urgent matter, roll and tie them properly,
And if there’s damage, repair it immediately.
Books not of the sages, reject them; don’t look.
They cloud the intellect and corrupt one’s heart and aspiration.
Don’t abuse yourself; don’t give up on yourself.
What is saintly and virtuous, can be gradually attained.