Three Character Classic

13th century Chinese literary work

The Three Character Classic, Trimetric Classic or Sanzijing is one of the Chinese classic texts. It was probably written in the 13th century and attributed to Wang Yinglin (王應麟, 1223–1296) during the Song dynasty. It is also attributed to Ou Shizi (1234–1324).

Quotes edit


人之初   性本善   性相近   习相遠

[People at birth
Are naturally good.
Their natures are similar,
But their habits make them different from each other.]
  • 人之初,性本善。性相近,習相遠。
    • Men at their birth
      are naturally good.
      Their natures are much the same;
      their habits become widely different.
    • Verse 1 (trans. Herbert Giles)
  • 子不學,非所宜。幼不學,老何為。
    • If the child does not learn,
      this is not as it should be.
      If he does not learn while young,
      what will he be when old?
    • Verse 6 (trans. Herbert Giles)
  • 首孝弟,次見聞。知某數,識某文。
    • Begin with filial piety and fraternal love,
      and then see and hear.
      Learn to count,
      and learn to read.
    • Verse 11 (trans. Herbert Giles)
  • 揚名聲,顯父母。
    • Make a name for yourselves,
      and glorify your father and mother.
    • Verse 84 (trans. Herbert Giles)

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