Lessons From Dizi Gui: Value Sibling Ties Over Material Gain

By Epoch Times Staff

Dizi Gui (Standards for Being a Good Student and Child) is a traditional Chinese textbook for children that teaches children morals and proper etiquette.

According to Dizi Gui, siblings should respect and love each other to maintain harmonious relationships; only then can they be regarded as being dutiful to their parents. When siblings value their ties more than money or objects, resentment will not arise amongst them. When siblings hold back hurtful comments, any feelings of anger will naturally dissipate.


A good sibling should always place his elder and younger siblings before himself. One well-known example is the descendent of Confucius—Kong Rong, who learned to share pears at an early age.


Kong Rong Yields the Larger Pears

Kong Rong (153-208 AD), the 20th generation descendant of Confucius, was a high-ranking official during the reign of Emperor Ling of the Eastern Han Dynasty. As he was once the chancellor of Beihai (present-day Weifang, Shandong), he was also known as Kong Beihai. During his tenure, Kong Rong built cities and schools, and advocated Confucianism. He was also a famed poet and essayist.

Kong Rong was known to be good-tempered and hospitable, and his house was always full of guests. Kong Rong upheld etiquette, and as a child he became a household name for his “pear-choosing” story.

There were seven brothers in Kong’s family and he was the sixth son. When Kong Rong was four years old, being the youngest child then,  he was given first priority in choosing from a basket a pears. However, he chose the smallest pear, leaving the big ones for his elder brothers. Even after his younger brother was born, Kong Rong would give his older and younger brothers the larger pears, leaving the smallest for himself.

At the tender age of four, Kong Rong had already learnt to share the larger pears with his siblings. (http://minghui.org)

When asked why, Kong Rong said, “My elder brothers should have the bigger pears because they’re older, but my younger brother should also have the bigger pear as it’s my responsibility to take care of my younger brother.”


Kong Rong’s response earned the praise of the Kong family and of those who heard it.

This story has been handed down as a much-told story of etiquette and fraternal love, and to this day it remains an essential part of children’s formative education.

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