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FOCUS ON EDUCATION

弟子規淺釋
An Explanation of the Rules for Being A Student

孫秀美 文 By Jennifer Li

qin

suo

hao

 

 

 

li

wei

ju

父母親

的事物 喜好 
盡力地

準備周全 

parents

that which

like 

do one's best, use effort

for

have everything completely 

父母親喜好的事物,要盡力地替父母親準備周 全。
Whatever your parents like best, you should earnestly try to provide for them.


為 

 去

qin

suo

wu

 

 

 

jin

wei

qu

父母親

的事物

厭惡

謹慎地


去除

parents

that which

dislike

carefully,attentively

for

get rid of

父母親所厭惡的事物,要謹慎地為父母親去除淨 盡。
Whatever your parents dislike, you should carefully try to remove for them.


「所」在中國文言文裏,如放在動詞前,是一個指示代名詞,相當於白話「的人、事或物」;通常居於賓位(做其後 邊動詞之受詞)。因此在翻譯成白話時,得先翻後面的動詞。如「所好」是喜愛的人、事或物;「所惡」是憎惡的人、事或物。好、惡,都是破音字,當動詞用時讀 如「浩」、「物」。「為」亦是個破音字,讀如「未」,當「替」講。具,作動詞用時,解釋為「準備」;但它又帶有「周到的、完全的」意思在內。這是說:父母 喜歡什麼、想要什麼,都能不管怎樣困難、不怕怎樣麻煩,替他們設想得又周到、準備得又完全。這也是對父母的一種歡喜施,令父母得到安慰和快樂。在這種孝心 推動下,仁慈、耐心、毅力和勇氣等美德,也就自然而然滋長了!

你或者曾在夜晚欣賞美麗的星空,注意到有七顆星組成的星座,形狀像個大杓子似的,那就是大熊星座 裡的北斗七星。關於常見的星星,東西各國都有許多動人的傳說和神話,這個大杓子星群亦不例外。在西方,很多孩子都聽過這個孝順女孩的故事。

在不知多久以前,有一個小女孩和她的媽媽,住在靠近黑森林的一間小木屋裡頭。某個夏天的晚上,小女孩的媽媽覺 得很不舒服,怎麼也睡不著,只覺口乾舌燥,好想有杯清涼的水喝。小女孩顧不得睏,馬上跳下床,穿好衣,拿了一把長柄的杓子就去井邊取水。當她把汲桶拉上來 時,發現竟然一滴水也沒有,原來井已乾枯了。怎麼辦好呢?小女孩想了又想,森林深處有清泉,可是不但距離很遠,還得穿過那黑漆漆的森林;再想到渴望有冷水 喝的媽媽,小女孩勇敢地走進了森林的小徑。小女孩在黑夜的森林小徑摸索前進,貓頭鷹桀桀怪笑著,蝙蝠不時自山洞中飛出;小女孩又害怕又著急,但一想到媽媽 在等水喝,她就堅持地往前進。終於聽到淙淙的流水聲了,小女孩舀了泉水,就匆匆往回走。可是在回程中,小女孩先後遇到一隻口渴的狗和一個疲倦的老人,小女 孩仁慈地都給了他們一些水。每布施一次,小女孩手中的長柄杓子就變一次;由原先的鐵杓子,變成銀的,再變成金的,照亮了漆暗的小路。等到小女孩給媽媽喝下 水,讓媽媽舒服地躺下來時,那柄杓子已經變成閃爍晶亮的鑽石,而且一直向著窗外漆黑的的夜空飛去,終於高高地掛在天上,正對大家愉快地瞬著眼睛哩!今天我 們看到那七顆杓子星時,是否也會想起曾有過這麼一位孝順、仁慈而勇敢小女孩呢?

那麼對父母憎惡的人、事、物,我們要用怎樣的態度來處理?原則上當然是幫父母去除之;但是要很謹慎,不要反因 此驚嚇到父母,甚而傷身敗德。譬如說冒冒失失想去趕走一條蛇,反把蛇驚動了,不僅是父母被蛇咬,就是自己也被蛇傷。又譬如父母恨不得某人死,難道我們為他 們去殺人嗎?所以如何運用智慧去判斷該如何著手,這就是謹。想要行無畏施,去除別人的恐懼和厭惡感,並非有匹夫之勇就可以的;要有大智慧做前鋒,言語舉止 自然合宜,那才能真正做到「謹為去」。

遍觀天下,什麼是人最恐懼和厭惡的?莫若是種種的生之苦(老、病、求不得、愛別離、厭憎會、變遷),以及死亡 的恐懼了!那什麼又是最可安慰和快樂的呢?情嗎?財富嗎?還是地位吧?那都是生不帶來、死不帶去的,不真實、不久長的;莫若是脫離生死輪迴之苦,而證得不 生不滅之樂了!我們唯有精勤修行,了自己的生死,才能救度他人;否則也只是個過江的泥菩薩,還保不住自己呢!

那麼這種歡喜施,用之於父母曰「孝」,施之於眾人曰「仁」,推及於一切有情曰「慈」;無畏施用之於父母曰 「順」,施之於眾人曰「義」,推及於一切有情曰「悲」。孝順的道理,可以自愛敬至親的人開始,推廣到其他的人或生物、非生物,即所謂「親親而仁民,仁民而 愛物」的大慈悲境界。


The first line says that whatever our parents are fond of and would like to have, we should go out of our way to provide it fully to them, no matter how much difficulty or trouble we have to go through. We should happily practice giving to our parents, in order to comfort them and make them happy. With this single sincere thought of filial piety, one will naturally grow in the virtues of kindness, patience, perseverance, and courage.

If you have ever gazed at the stars, you may have noticed a group of seven stars shaped like a big soup ladle—this is the Big Dipper in the Ursa Major constellation. Many touching stories and legends are associated with the well-known constellations in both Eastern and Western cultures. The following story, which many Westerners may know, is about a little girl who was very filial.

Once upon a time, a little girl lived with her mother in a small log cabin near the Black Forest. One summer night, her mother tossed and turned restlessly, unable to fall asleep. She felt very thirsty and wanted to drink a cup of cool water. The little girl, despite her sleepiness, immediately got out of bed, dressed, and took a ladle with a long handle to get water from the well. Pulling the bucket up out of the well, she found that there was not even a drop of water in it, for the well had run completely dry. “What should I do?” wondered the little girl. “There is a spring deep inside the forest, but it’s very far from here and I have to walk through the dark forest to get there.” But thinking of her mother longing for a cup of cool water, she bravely set out on the path into the forest, groping her way in the dark. The owls hooted eerily, and occasionally bats flew from the caves. The little girl became afraid and worried. But once again, thinking of her mother waiting for the water, she resolutely went forward. Finally, she heard the sound of flowing water. She took some water from the spring and quickly headed back. On the way, she met a thirsty dog and a weary old man. She kindly gave them some water. Every time she gave, the long ladle in her hand changed. The ladle, originally made of cast iron, first turned to silver, and then to shining gold, which illuminated the dark path and helped the girl find her way home. After the mother drank the water and lay down comfortably, the ladle turned into brilliant diamond and flew out the window to hang high up into the night sky, twinkling happily for everyone to see. Now when you see the seven stars of the Big Dipper, won’t it remind you of this filial, kind, and brave little girl?   

How should we deal with people, things, and matters that our parents dislike? Basically, of course, we should get rid of them, but in doing so we must be very cautious not to frighten our parents or hurt anyone in the process, as that would go against virtue. For example, if we see a snake and rashly try to chase it away, we may make our parents afraid or even get bitten by the snake ourselves. And if our parents hate someone very much, does that mean we should kill the person? We must be cautious; we must make wise judgments. If we want to quell people’s fear and hatred, bold courage alone is not enough. We must have great wisdom to guide us to act in the most suitable and correct manner. Only then will we be able to skillfully remove the things that our parents dislike.

In this world, the sufferings that birth entails (old age, sickness, not obtaining what we seek, being apart from those we love, being together with those we hate, constant change) and the fear of death are what people hate and loathe the most. Freedom from the sufferings of birth and death and realization of the eternal bliss of nonproduction and nondestruction are the greatest source of comfort and joy. Emotional love, wealth, and high position are neither real nor lasting; we did not bring them with us at birth, nor can we take them along when we die. Only if we practice diligently and end our own birth and death will we be able to save others. Otherwise, we’ll be like a clay Bodhisattva, who cannot even save himself as he crosses the river.

When we give joyfully to our parents, we are being filial. When we practice joyful giving to all people, that is called humaneness. If we extend it to all sentient beings, then it is known as kindness. If we give fearlessness to (relieve the fears of) our parents, we are being obedient. To relieve the fears of all people is righteousness. When we expand this to cover all living beings, it is compassion.

Thus we can see that the principle of filiality starts with being kind and respectful towards our dearest ones and then extending this behavior to other people and sentient and insentient beings. This is called the greatly compassionate stage of “loving our own parents in all people and beings.”

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