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《敎育專欄》

 

FOCUS ON EDUCATION

慈祥代天宣化 忠孝為國敎民

On behalf of Heaven,proclaim and transform with kindness. For the country,teach the people to be loyal and filial.

弟子規淺釋
AN EXPLANATION OF THE RULES FOR BEING A STUDENT

孫秀美 文 By Jennifer Li

使

qin

you

 guo

 

jyan

shi

geng

父母親

 

過失

 

勸告

使令

改正

parents

have

faults

 

to exhort

to cause

to change

父母若有過失,要勸告父母改正。

If we recognize faults in our parents , We should exhort them to change for the better.

 色

 聲   

yi

 wu

 se 

 

rou   

 wu 

       sheng

使歡愉

我的

臉色

 

使柔和

我的

聲調

to please

my

appearance

 

to soften

my

tone

勸的時候,臉色要歡愉,聲音要柔和。

While speaking to them,we should be gentle in appearance, and soften our tone.


諫是勸告他人,使其改過向善;特別地用在晚餐對長輩,或是地位低者對地位高的人。如兒女諫正父母,臣子諫正君主。更讀平聲,作動詞用,改變的意思;也就是說把不好的思想、習慣或行為都改變成好的。這就是說怎麼樣正確地來面對父母的過失和罪業;在現代的社會裡,這尤其是種很不容易處理的事情。為什麼呢?因為現代人很尊重人性的自我發展,也很重視自由和平等,因此孩子變得很獨立,不在唯父母之命是從了!古代中國人慣有的觀念「天下無不是的父母」,以及古希伯來民族和羅馬人的君父至上觀念,早已銷聲匿跡;即或五○年代以前,美國孩子對父母那麼畢恭畢敬,口口聲聲“Yes,Sir.”(是,大人!)的場面,也不復可見了!這究竟是好,還是壞呢?教育專家公說公有理,婆說婆有理,總也鬧不清楚,豈不是一大難題?這暫且不提,現在先就這段文字,來看看古代中國孩子的作法。

當孩子發現父母的過錯時,該替父母覆藏起來?或是勸阻父母?又或者大公無私地予以舉罪?這真是見仁見智,不可一蓋而論的問題。原則上,當然要規勸父母改正,阻止其再繼續犯錯。因為真正的孝順便是不使父母的人格蒙受污點,而非求父母一時的歡心。假使因為規勸父母,而導致父母生氣,怎麼辦才好呢?於理,我們站得住腳,當然要繼續勸導;在事上,就有不同的狀況要應變化了!若父母的過失小時,一定要堅持勸到底;即使父母怒不可遏,責罵甚至於打我們,也不要放棄。若父母的過失很大,到了傷身害命,甚至毀家賣國的程度,勸也勸不了時,怎麼辦?古中國人的作法是「退而自傷」;也就是說不再規勸,退開一邊,默默的哀傷。其實,最好的辦法就是:自己多作一些善功德,把父母的過惡所帶給人的不便和不幸,盡量瀰補過來,再把這些功德回向給父母,好讓父母早日醒悟、回頭。

中國明朝末年,在滿清佔有大部分領土之際,鄭成功的父親貪生怕死,打算投降滿清,賣國求榮;鄭成功屢勸諫父親,這是不忠不義的行為,父親還反過來責備他年輕不懂事。他的母親深明大義,不滿丈夫的不忠,以死來教育鄭成功,務必移孝作忠;於是鄭成功帶了一些忠貞的部屬,逃離父親的營區,繼續抵抗滿清。雖然鄭成功的父親因被滿清的人殺害,明朝也終究是亡了;可是,鄭成功忠軍愛國的事跡,與建設臺灣的功勞,卻永垂青史,活在每一個人心中,也讓他的父親免去了被後人唾罵。鄭成功的移孝作忠,其實不正是大孝的表現?至於如何勸父母,也得要有技巧;否則勸壞了,自己受害不說,父母也失去了改過自新的機會,勸父母的方式,要與勸朋友或晚輩不同。勸晚輩可以嚴厲指正,也可以溫和誘導;勸朋友,則要「忠告而善道之,不可則止,毋自辱焉。」這意思是說,勸朋友時,態度要嚴肅正直,否則他們會因為平日的狹暱,而輕忽我們的勸告;但是雖然態度要嚴肅正直,言詞卻必須委婉有技巧,知道怎樣去誘導對方,讓對方容易接受。若朋友固執不聽時,卻還不知停止,對方或者惱羞成怒,就會侮辱或加害我們了!君子決不會拿自己的生命來作無謂的冒險。那麼勸父母呢?第一要緊的是:決不可使用嚴肅的態度和聲調。所謂「父子之間不責義」,就是怕彼此扯破臉,而傷了父慈子孝的天性。所以勸父母時,臉色要和悅,言詞要婉轉;總之我們的態度要柔順,要讓父母感受到我們的恭敬和盼望。被恭敬,父母內心會感覺安慰,容易接受勸告;被盼望,父母內中要感覺慚愧,而願意努力去改過。所以說,勸父母改小過時,必須堅持不宜,就像橡皮糖一樣;雖然又黏又軟,但是甜,讓人難以拒絕。

以前中國東北,有一位常仁大師,未出家前,人家都尊稱他「王孝子」。他怎樣得的孝名?王孝子的父親愛吸鴉片,他每日工作所得的錢,都供給父親買鴉片,絲毫也無吝惜和怨言。不但如此,王孝子的父親吸了鴉片就昏睡,或久或暫,王孝子都躬身伺候一邊,毫不倦怠,直伺候到父親醒來,才敢離開,自己去睡覺。一日,他父親醒來,自己生了大慚傀心;為不教兒子辛苦工作之餘,又如此侍奉自己,就下定決心,從此把煙戒除了。詩經裡也有一首凱風歌,敘述一個有七個兒女的母親想再嫁,孩子們不但沒有怨尤,反而自責沒有盡到人子的責任,才讓母親得不到安慰。這樣委曲求全的孝心,和勸而不勸的勸導,難道不是值得讚歎和學習的?

"To exhort people to change for the better" refers especially to exhorting those of an older generation or in a higher position, for instance, a child exhorting his parents or a minister exhorting the king to change. One exhorts them to change, that is, to correct their bad habits, thoughts, and conduct. This verse describes the proper manner for dealing with the faults and offenses of one's parents. This is a difficult situation to handle in modern society, because people put too much emphasis on individual development, freedom, and equality. Today's children are exceedingly independent and are not so willing to obey their parents. In ancient China, there was a common idea that one's parents are faultless. The ancient Hebrews and Romans also believed that their kings and fathers deserved the highest respect. Before the 1950's, American children still addressed their parents with the utmost respect, always answering, "Yes, sir." But all of these customs have gone with the wind. Is this good or bad? This is quite a controversy among educational experts, who cannot seem to come to a consensus. Let us set it aside for now, and take a look at how traditional Chinese children treated their parents.

When children see that their parents are at fault, should they try to cover for their parents, or should they try to give their parents some advice? Or should they explode at their parents and demand justice? This is actually a very complicated and delicate question. In general, we should definitely exhort them to not repeat the mistake, and to change for the better. True filial piety is not just making our parents happy in the short term, but protecting them from a bad reputation. What if our parents get angry at us when we urge them to change? In principle, we have the right to calmly continue to advise them. However, in order to handle such matters appropriately, we need to look carefully at the conditions. If our parents' mistakes or faults are minor ones, we should continue to exhort them to change, not giving up even if they get so mad that they scold or hit us. If our parents' faults are so serious that they might bring harm to other people, the family, or the country, and they refuse to listen to our advice, what should we do? The traditional Chinese solution would be to withdraw and dwell in sadness. However, the best solution would be to keep performing virtuous deeds to make up for our parents' bad deeds, and to dedicate the merit to our parents in hopes that they will wake up and reform.

In the last years of the Ming dynasty, the Manchurians occupied most of China. Zheng Chenggong's father, a general who owned a great deal of land and had a vast army of soldiers, decided to surrender to the Manchurians in order to save his own life and to gain prosperity. Again and again, Zheng Chenggong pleaded with his father not to surrender, as it was both a disloyal and a dishonorable action, but his father brushed him off as young and inexperienced. His mother, an upright and virtuous woman, disagreed with her husband's disloyal action and committed suicide in order to teach her son that he should be loyal to the country rather than follow his father in name of a filial son. Consequently, Zheng Chenggong fled from his father's camp with a group of loyal soldiers, and continued to fight against the Manchurians. Although his father was slain by the Manchurians and the Ming Dynasty perished in the end, Zheng Chenggong's loyal actions and his merit in developing Taiwan are very important events in Chinese history and in the minds of all the Chinese. By his actions, Zheng Chenggong saved his father from being despised and slandered by later generations. Don't you agree, then, that his loyalty to the country actually was a form of filiality to his parents? When we remonstrate with our parents, if we are not tactful, not only will we harm ourselves, but our parents will lose the opportunity to reform. We should not remonstrate with our parents in the same manner that we remonstrate with our friends and juniors. In admonishing our juniors, we may be either stern or gentle. In remonstrating with friends, we should speak to them seriously, because they are used to joking around with us and may not take us seriously otherwise. Yet we must also choose our words carefully, so that they find our advice easy to accept. If they ignore our advice, we should not argue with them, or else they might get angry and harm someone. A wise person will not risk his life for a useless affair.

How then should we remonstrate with our parents. First of all, we should never use a harsh tone of voice. It is said that parents and children should not request each other to uphold righteousness, for that would break the natural affection between them. Therefore, we should use gentle expressions and a soft tone of voice, and let our parents know that we respect them and hold them in high regard. Our parents will then be comforted and willing to accept our advice. Feeling obliged to fulfill our expectations, they will feel shame and try their best to reform. In exhorting our parents to correct their faults, we should be gentle and persistent, like a piece of soft, sticky, and sweet candy, which is impossible to refuse.

Chang-Ren was known as Filial Son Wang in Manchuria before he left home. How did he earn this name? His father was an opium addict, and Filial Son Wang used all his wages from his hard work to provide his father with opium. His father would always doze off after smoking opium, but no matter how long his father slept, he would faithfully wait by the bedside until his father woke up before he went off to rest. One day his father woke up and felt very ashamed. He decided to quit smoking opium, because he didn't want to see his son working so hard during the day and then attending upon him like that after work.

In the Book of Songs, there's a song called the Soft South-wind describing a widow with seven children who wished to marry again. Her children did not hate her at all, but instead blamed themselves for not fulfilling their duties in comforting their mother. We should learn these kinds of filial thoughts and the gentle ways of advising parents that the ancients used.

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