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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

或 

飲  

huo
yin
shi
huo
zuo
zou
或者 喝飲料 吃東西
或者 坐著的時候 走路的時候
whether drinking eating
whether 
sitting   
walking
無論吃喝,或是行走坐臥;
While eating or drinking, or when walking or sitting,

zhang
zhe
xian
you
zhe
hou
輩分長 的人 在前面 輩分輕 的人 在後面
elder one at first younger one in back
總要禮讓長輩在先,晚輩居後;
Let those who are older go first, the younger ones should follow behind.

道德風氣的形成,不是一蹴可幾的,必須集許多有德之個人來帶動;個人的道德,也不是一朝一夕可以建立的,必須自小由家庭生活培養起。中國是個講究禮讓的古國,以禮讓聞名的聖哲君子,不可勝數;以禮讓治國的例子,更不在少數。禮不離讓,讓必合乎禮;二者相輔相成,相得益彰。假如是不合乎禮法的事,根本就不應該去做,更毋須論什麼讓與不讓了!兄弟之間,講究的是兄友弟恭,因為友愛,做兄姐的總想把好處留給弟妹;因為恭敬,做弟妹的也總想把好處讓給兄姐;如此一來,不就「家和萬事興」了嗎?

周武王是周朝開國之君,他的的曾祖古公亶父,有泰伯、仲雍、季歷三個兒子。古公亶父很喜歡季歷的兒子,認為這小孩將來必可昌盛姬氏所建立的周國;因此將這小孩取名為昌,希望讓昌來做周的領導人。可是要由姬昌做領導人,除非昌的父親季歷先繼承王位;因此做長兄的泰伯,便偕二弟仲雍逃到南蠻,以便讓季歷繼承王位。可是在父親去世前後,季歷亦三次禮讓兩位兄長,不肯繼承王位;於是乎泰伯、仲雍就學當地的土著,把頭髮剪短披散,又在身上圖上花紋,以表示不再回國的決心,好讓季歷安心繼位。後來季歷的兒子姬昌果然成為一個聰慧過人,又能以德服人的領導者;四方各小國紛紛背叛暴君商紂王,自動來歸順,竟至三分天下有其二。周武王興師伐紂,統一天下,建立周的皇朝後,便追尊其父姬昌為周文王。周文王不但是個聖明的君王,他的禮教、典章、制度,和所演算出來的易經八卦,對中國的歷史、文化,都有深遠的影響。

而逃到南蠻的泰伯、仲雍兄弟,也由於道德才能,被當地的土著推為君長;以後他們建立了虞國。後來虞國的子孫又搬到揚子江下游,建立了吳國,並接受周的招撫,成為一個諸侯。春秋中期,吳國日益強大,到了壽夢王時,已有大國的規模了。壽夢王有四個兒子,其中以最小的季札最有才德。壽夢王認為只有讓季札為王,吳國才能興盛;可是季札無論如何不肯越過三個兄長來做太子。壽夢王臨終時,吩咐四個兒子:王位不再父子相傳,必須「兄終弟及」,直到傳給最小的季札為止。壽夢王去世後,長兄再度讓位季札沒成功,只好先繼位;可是他打起仗來,總是奮不顧身,沒多久就在戰事中被射死了。二哥繼位後,經常對天禱告,希望自己快點死。為什麼呢?因為他認為吳國有今日的強盛,是他的祖先太王(即古公亶父)立賢不立長的結果;況且吳國根本就是在泰伯兄弟相讓之下而產生的。兄弟禮讓,既是家風,他也願效法先人美德;所以希望自己快點死,好讓季札有機會早點成為吳王。不多久,二哥也在戰事中死了。三哥繼位後,請季札做宰相,幫忙治理吳國;季札認為戰爭太多,百姓生活不能安定,於是以和平大使的身分,到各國去友好訪問。他高尚的道德和過人的才智,在諸侯間備受敬重,使吳國安享了數年的太平。可是他的三哥也只做了四年的吳王就死了,臨終要把王位傳給季札;季札還是不接受,就跑到延陵一地住下。季札一走,吳國的朝臣們一時都慌了,匆忙中,就立了他三哥的兒子公子僚為吳王。這下子,他長兄的兒子公子光就不高興了,他認為季札不做吳王,那麼王位就該傳回給他;而且吳王僚連讓都沒讓,令他心裡更加不滿。後來,公子光趁著季札去訪問晉國時,派人刺殺了吳王僚。等季札回來,公子光就表示要把王位讓給他,說是尊重祖父、父親和兩位叔叔的意思。季札對公子光說:「你一心想做吳王,現在你的目的已達到了,你還讓什麼呢?做君王的,只要能善待百姓,我就會擁護他。」於是公子光就做了吳王,並改名闔閭。季札對公子光與吳王僚搶奪王位的事情,感到非常羞恥,因此就一直住在延陵,不再過問吳國的事,直到老死;歷史上尊稱他為「延陵公子」。而吳王闔閭後來死於對越國的戰爭中,到他兒子夫差時,吳國就被越國滅亡了。

從以上兩個故事看,禮讓帶來吉慶,可使一國興盛永久;爭奪導致戾氣,不祥莫大焉。一國如此,一家何嘗不是如此?所以俗話說:「兄弟和而家不分。」要想兄弟和,就要教子弟們自小明白長幼有序的道理,從日常生活的飲食起居做起,凡事知禮興讓。

The tradition of virtue cannot be established all at once. It requires the accumulated efforts of a great many virtuous individuals. An individual's virtuous character is not developed overnight either; it must be nurtured from childhood by his family. China is an ancient country which values propriety and the ability to yield; it has produced countless sages and great men who were renowned for their propriety and ability to yield. There are many examples in which the country was governed by means of propriety and yielding. Propriety is not apart from yielding; yielding must accord with propriety. The two complement and benefit one another. If something is not in accord with the rules of propriety, it should basically not be done at all; how much the less should one consider whether or not to yield. Between siblings, the elder sibling should be kind, and the younger one should be respectful. Elder brothers and sisters should want to let their younger siblings enjoy the advantages, and younger siblings should want to yield the advantages to their older siblings. In that way, how can the family not be harmonious and how can there not be prosperity?

King Wu of Zhou was the founder of the Zhou dynasty. His great grandfather, the Ancient Lord of Tan, had three sons: Taibo, Zhongyong, and Jili. The Ancient Lord of Tan favored the son of Jili and thought this son could certainly cause the Zhou dynasty, founded by the Ji clan, to flourish. That's why he named this boy Chang ("flourishing") and wanted him to become the ruler of the Zhou dynasty. However, the only way this could happen would be for the boy's father Jili to inherit the throne. Therefore the two elder brothers, Taibo and Zhongyong, retreated to Nanman [region inhabited by barbarous tribes in the south of China] so that the throne would pass to their younger brother Jili. However, before and after the death of their father, Jili three times tried to yield the throne to his two older brothers and refused to assume the throne himself.

Taibo and Zhongyong resorted to adopting the manner of the local tribes, cutting their hair short and wearing it loose, and making tattoos on their body. They did this to show that they were resolved not to return to their state, so that Jili could assume the throne without worry. Later, Jili's son Jichang indeed became a leader of exceptional wisdom who won people over by means of his virtue. The various small states from all around turned away from the tyrant Emperor Zhou of Shang and allied themselves under him, so that he gained the support of two-thirds of the country. After King Wu of Zhou attacked Emperor Zhou and united the whole country under the new dynasty of Zhou, he bestowed the title "King Wen of Zhou" upon his father, Jichang. King Wen was a ruler of sagely wisdom. His teachings of propriety, his laws, his system of government, and the eight trigrams of the Book of Change which he calculated have had a profound and far-reaching influence on Chinese history and culture.

The two elder brothers, Taibo and Zhongyong, who had retreated to the south of China, were elected as leaders by the local natives because of their outstanding virtue and talent. Later on they founded the state of Yu. The descendants of the state of Yu later moved to the lower reaches of the Yangzi River, where they founded the state of Wu. They accepted the protection offered by Zhou and became a feudal state under the Zhou dynastic rule. During the middle of the Spring and Autumn Period, the state of Wu grew and gained strength until  in the reign of King Shoumeng it became a great state. Of the King's four sons, the youngest one, Jizha, possessed the greatest talent and virtue. King Shoumeng believed that the only way the state of Wu could prosper would be for Jizha to become king. But Jizha adamantly refused to become the crown prince ahead of his three older brothers. Right before he died, King Shoumeng instructed his four sons that the throne was to be passed not from father to son, but from older brothr to younger brother, until it passed to the youngest brother, Jizha.

After the King passed away, the eldest brother tried to yield the throne directly to Jizha, but had no success, so he could only assume the throne himself first. Since he was always going to battle without regard for his own life, it was not long before he was shot to death on the battlefield. After the second brother became king, he constantly prayed to heaven for an early death. Why? Because he felt the state of Wu had reached its prosperity because its founder (the Ancient Lord of Tan) had chosen its ruler on the basis of virtue rather than seniority. What was more, the state of Wu had been founded as a result of the yielding of the two elder brothers Taibo and Zhongyong. Thus yielding among brothers was a family tradition, and he was willing to emulate this virtue of his ancestors. That's why he wanted to die sooner so that Jizha could become the King of Wu earlier. Not long afterwards, he was also killed in battle.

When the third brother became King, he asked Jizha to help rule the state as prime minister. Jizha felt that with so much warfare, there was no way for the people to live in peace and security. Thus he traveled throughout the states making goodwill missions as a "peace ambassador." His lofty virtue and exceptional talent and intelligence won the respect of the other feudal lords, and as a result the state of Wu enjoyed many years of peace. But the third brother died after only four years as king. Right before his death he tried to pass the throne to Jizha, but Jizha still refused and retreated to Yanling to live. With Jizha's abrupt departure, the ministers of Wu panicked and hastily set up the third brother's son, Prince Liao, as king.

At this turn of events, Prince Guang, the son of the eldest brother, was unhappy; he thought that if Jizha didn't want to be the king of Wu, the throne should pass to him. Yet King Liao of Wu didn't show the slightest intention of yielding the throne, which dissatisfied him even more. Later, taking advantage of the fact that Jizha was away visiting the state of Jin, he sent an assassin to kill King Liao. When Jizha returned, Prince Guang made a show of yielding the throne to him, saying that he wished to honor the wishes of his grandfather, father, and two uncles. Jizha said to him, "You were dead set on being the King of Wu. Now you've obtained what you wanted; what are you yielding it up for? Whoever the king is, as long as he treats the people well, I will support him." Thus Prince Guang became the King of Wu and changed his name to Helyu.

Since Jizha felt greatly ashamed at the way Prince Guang had usurped the throne from King Liao, he stayed in Yanling for the rest of his life and did not concern himself with the affairs of the state of Wu anymore. In history he is honorically referred to as the Prince of Yanling. After King Helyu of Wu was killed in battle with the state of Yue and his son Fucai assumed the throne, the state of Wu was conquered by the state of Yue.

From the two stories above, we can see that the auspicious blessings brought by propriety and yielding can enable a country to prosper for a long time. On the other hand, there is no greater misfortune than the violence brought about by strife and contention. If this is the case for a country, would it not be the case for a family? There is a common saying, "When siblings get along, the family will not break up." If we want siblings to get along, we have to teach our children so they can understand the order governing seniors and juniors, and so they will know to practice propriety and yielding in all matters in their daily life.

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