Of old, the mother of Mencius chose a neighbourhood. — "Three Character Classic" 昔孟母,擇鄰處。──《三字經》 | jy.catholic.org.hk

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Of old, the mother of Mencius chose a neighbourhood. — "Three Character Classic" 昔孟母,擇鄰處。──《三字經》

刊登日期: 2013.05.12
作者: Grace Tse  

 

 Of old, the mother of Mencius chose a neighbourhood. — "Three Character Classic" 

昔孟母,擇鄰處。──《三字經》

In ancient China, when formal school education was not common, children were taught to learn Chinese characters and social values by reciting the “Three Characters Classic” at home. As one of the important Chinese classic texts, it was probably written during the Song Dynasty (宋朝) in the 13th century. Even nowadays in Hong Kong, a lot of young people are very familiar with the first two verses. What are they? They are: 

人之初,性本善。

People at birth are naturally good. 

This Chinese classic text, which was arranged in three-character verses, also consists of some stories about Confucian morality. One of the famous stories is about the three times Mencius’ mother moved house (孟母三遷). Do you know why Mencius’ mother changed her house three times? Legend says that she was looking for a location that was suitable to bring up her son, Mencius. 

When Mencius was small, his father died and his mother brought him up. At first they lived near a cemetery and the young Mencius enjoyed imitating the mourners in funeral processions. Then the mother moved to a house near a market. There Mencius enjoyed acting as a hawker asking people to buy his goods. Finally, she found a house near a school. Mencius enjoyed imitating the good manners of the teachers and students and began to study. 

Mencius’ mother is considered a role model for many great mothers in Chinese history. It is believed that owing to her influence and training, Mencius became a great philosopher and sage. 

Chinese characters: 漢字

Social values: 社會價值觀

Classic texts: 典籍

Confucian morality: 儒家倫理

Funeral processions: 送葬行列

Good manners: 謙恭舉止

Role model: 典範

Sage: 聖賢

 

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