DI ZI GUI And The Analects of Confucius


The Analects (论语) of Confucius (孔子), is a compilation of his teachings by his disciples.

Confucius was born more than 2000 years ago in Country LU (鲁国) in Ancient China during the Spring and Autumn Period 春秋时代, a period in Chinese History where Zhou Dynasty (周朝) rules.

Confucius is regarded by the Chinese as The Great Teacher (万世师表), a Teacher whom to learn upon for eternity. Confucius was an Educator, A Great Thinker, having 3000 students of whom 72 were Saint and Sages.

Confucius vows to return his country from a chaotic society to one which is harmonious and prosperous. He dedicated his whole life to education and preaching the True way of Humanity in which he believes stem from one’s internal cultivation. He strongly advocated that Humanity is the most fundamental attribute towards a Harmonious Society.

The very first chapter in the Analects of Confucius talks about learning to be a True Gentleman (君子)

(论语) 子曰:「学而时习之,不亦说乎?有朋自远方来,不亦乐乎?人不知而不愠,不亦君子乎?」论语‧.学而第一
Confucius said, the right attitude of learning is when a person acquires knowledge by continuous revising and re-learning all the time, isn’t it Joyous? When friends sharing the same interest and same passion get together from far distances, isn’t it Happiness? When a person has achievements, but still unknown and not recognised by others, and yet not Indignant, isn’t he a Gentleman?

In the Analects, his disciples and many others asked him about managing a person’s life, work and family as well as governing a country.


DI ZI GUI is a Chinese Classic written in the form of three-worded verses containing sets of instructions for the purpose of instilling good moral values to our young.

DI ZI GUI 《弟子规》 stands for Standards for being a Good Pupil and Child. In Chinese, a DI ZI 弟子 means either a student or a child. In general, DI ZI refers to all human beings since we take on both the roles of a student or child in our life. 规 refers to the code of conduct or guiding principles.

The original name of DI ZI GUI was XUN MENG WEN《训蒙文》by a Scholar named LI YuXiu 李毓秀 in the Qing Dynasty during the reign of the Kangxi 康熙 Emperor (r. 1661-1722). It was believed that XUN MENG WEN was written based upon another book TONG MENG XU ZHI《童蒙須知》which stands for “What Every Child Should Know” written by ZHU XI 朱熹 during the Song 宋 Dynasty.

XUN MENG WEN was later amended and compiled by JIA CUNREN 贾存仁 in the Qing Dynasty during the reign of the QianLong 乾隆Emperor (r. 1736 to 1795). XUN MENG WEN was then renamed to DI ZI GUI during this time.

The source for the main introductory preface 总序 of it is extracted from The Analects 论语 of Confucius 孔子. In Chapter XUE ER Section 6 of the Analects, 论语《学而篇》第六

The Master said, “A child should be dutiful to his parents, and respectful to his elders. He should be prudent and be trustworthiness. He should show boundless love to all, and be close to people of virtue. After which, he should work hard to learn new skills.”


DI ZI GUI has been the most widely used Chinese Classics for cultivating the most important values taught in the homes of the Chinese. Besides the introductory preface, several other verses found in DI ZI GUI have their origin which can be traced from the Analects.


Below are some verses extract from DI ZI GUI with the synonymous quotes found in the Analects.

亲有疾 药先尝 昼夜侍 不离床Traditional chinese medicine are to be brewed for several hours before it is served to the sick. A child has to test the temperature of the medicine before bringing to their sick parents for consumption. He has to stand by the parents’ bedside, care for them diligently and gratuitously staying late into the night or early hours of the morning.

丧三年 常悲咽 居处变 酒肉绝

When the parents pass away, one has to mourn the loss for three years. During this period, to feel especially sorrowful; abstain from leading a luxury lifestyle and eating good, expensive food and liquor.

丧尽礼 祭尽诚 事死者 如事生

Commemorate the passing of a beloved family member with utmost respect. honor the death of a loved one with undiminished sincerity; living and remembering them as if they were still alive.

论语:生,事之以礼,死,葬之以礼,祭之以礼。When asked by MENG YIZI 孟懿子, Confucius explained that Filial Piety is that parents, when alive, be served according to LI; and that, when dead, they should be buried and honoured according to LI.In Confucianism, LI which when translated into English as rituals or etiquette, also refers to the encyclopedic system of norms in Chinese culture. Hence LI can be meant to refer to the traditional ceremony when interpreted literary, as well as the ethical way of doing things in accordance to the Confucian philosophy.
亲有过 谏使更 怡吾色 柔吾声Admonish your parents about their wrongdoing. in the hope that they will correct their mistakes.  Advise or urge them earnestly in a soft voice with patience. 论语:子夏问孝。子曰:“色难。有事,弟子服其勞,有酒食,先生饌,曾是以為孝乎?When Zi Xia asked about Filial Piety, Confucius replied that to carry out tasks for the elders and to serve them food and drink before oneself, is it considered to be Filial? the difficulty is with the countenance. Hence, to provide for the financial well-being of your elderly parents to make sure they enough to eat, and to provide shelter, clothes, and all the other basic needs of life is not considered to be Filial if there is no show of respect for them.
凡出言 信为先 诈与妄 奚可焉Always speak with honesty. refrain from using sweet words or to mislead and deceive with words. 论语:与朋友交言而有信。信近于义,言可复也。I always speak to build trust and loyalty in my relationship with my friends.
When a promise is made, which is morally right or justifiable, then the promise can be fulfilled
话说多 不如少 惟其是 勿佞巧Talk less. Too chatty may become annoying. Say only what is true; do not be glib or tricky.
奸巧语 秽污词 市井气 切戒之

Refrain from using vulgarity words which are disdainful, wicked and disrespectful

论语·子曰:君子欲讷于言,而敏于行。A True Gentleman, is laconic in his speech but agility in his action
见人善 即思齐 纵去远 以渐跻When others are better than us, think of becoming equally good. Even though we cannot be at par with, but at least there will be progress

见人恶 即内省 有则改 无加警

When others behave badly, reflect upon yourself. Correct if we possess the same, otherwise be prudent.

论语:见贤思齐焉,见不贤而内自省也。When we see an able and virtuous person, we should strive to match; when we see an unethical man, nonconforming character, we should turn introspect.


Whenever I am with another two person, I can learn from them. I will emulate their virtues, but correct myself of any imperfection that I observe from them.

唯德学 唯才艺 不如人 当自砺Practise hard if we are not as good in virtue and learning, in ability and skills.

若衣服 若饮食 不如人 勿生戚

Do not compare one’s clothing and attire, or housing and food.

论语·颜回 居陋巷,一箪食、一瓢饮,人不堪其忧,回也不改其乐。Yan Hui, remains a happy person, although he leads a simple lifestyle of humility
过能改 归于无 倘掩饰 增一辜If one corrects one’s mistake, then it is as if it hasn’t happened. If one tries to hide, then one doubles his mistakes. 子贡曰:“君子之过也,如日月之食焉:过也,人皆见之;更也,人皆仰之。”
The mistakes of a true gentleman can be liken to eclipses of the sun and the moon. Visible by many when made; but looked upon when corrected.
将加人 先问己 己不欲 即速已I ask myself if the task is something that I will do before assigning to others. Otherwise stop immediately. 子曰:己所不欲,勿施于人。What you do not wish for yourself, do not do unto others
不力行 但学文 长浮华 成何人If I do not actively practise what I have learned, but continue to study, even though my knowledge is increasing, it is only skin-deep. what kind of person will I become?

但力行 不学文 任己见 昧理真

If I only work hard at conduct but do not study, then I will rely only on my own views, and remain ignorant of true reason.

子曰:“学而不思则罔,思而不学则殆。”Learning without thinking makes a person indiscriminate; but a thinker who does not learn makes him a dangerous person. In Confucius philosophy, the correct way is to learn and think.


DI ZI GUI is and has been an inspiring teaching material for the moral development of children in China for many years. Organised in a three-worded format and read rhythmically by young children, the book consists of the fundamental Asian moral values and ethical codes, which are extracted from the core principles of the Analects.

The Analects, believed to be written by Confucius disciples, preserves his teachings on the proper behaviour of a True Gentleman as well as his interaction with the society he lives in to achieve harmony.

There is a Chinese saying “半部论语治天下”. It means to say, one is able to govern the world using just “half” the book of the Analects. DI ZI GUI provides a succinct summary and thoroughgoing salient points on how a child should carry out Confucius teachings in his daily life. It is therefore beneficial to start exposing young children to the essence of Analects using DI ZI GUI.




Yong Di ZI Gui Jiao Hao Ni De Hai Zi

Please check out my article published on Lian He Zao Bao 联合早报 today

















弟子規與兒童教育座談會- 主賓丹戎巴葛集選區國會議員馬炎慶先生致詞




Confucius said, the right attitude of learning is when a person acquires knowledge by continuous revising and re-learning all the time, isn’t it Joyous? When friends sharing the same interest and same passion get together from far distances, isn’t it Happiness? When a person has achievements, but still unknown and not recognised by others, and yet not Indignant, isn’t he a Gentleman?

01:01 子曰:「學而時習之,不亦說乎?有朋自遠方來,不亦樂乎?人不知而不慍,不亦君子乎?」 論語‧學而第一

Introducing Di Zi Gui (弟子規) To Your Children From Young


There have been an increase in children recital programmes (兒童讀經)in many countries besides Singapore as mentioned, eg. Taiwan, China.

In this turbulent Modern World, where everything is so fast paced, high standard of living, it is common to have both parents in the family going to work. They either leave their children with domestic helpers, grandparents or before/after school care centres. Parents thus spend lesser time with their children.

We call children now in the Screen Generation, where they spend most of their time on Computer Screens, Mobile Phone screens, Game Consoles, TVs, and what more. More parents are helpless in handling their own children, and often wonder what went wrong. Haven’t we already given them what they want?

For example, in Singapore, there is an obvious increase in crimes committed by juveniles (see http://app.subcourts.gov.sg/Data/Files/File/Research/RB34.pdf), underage sex issues, abortion, gangs, etc.

No parents in the world want their children to commit crimes. In fact, when things happened, the parents would not believe that their children could be the offenders! Parents give the very best to their children. The most expensive toy, tuition, what have you. Are children lacking the basic but most important thing in life?

Something that they need in order to be a socially responsible person apart from academic and knowledge. Something which they can cultivate to the children of their own. Something which is so close to us, but was forgotten somehow in this modern world.

Our forefathers already knew that It is of the utmost importance for us as parents to instill MORAL VALUES to our children. And what better way than using the tested philosophy of the Great Teacher Confucius to cultivate well-behaved child with good moral values.

弟子規 (Di Zi Gui) by 李毓秀, is based on 論語 Confucian Analects,which are the teachings of 孔子Confucius.


Source: http://zh.wikipedia.org/zh/弟子规



I learnt that the younger a child gets introduced to 讀經, the better it is. The technique is in reciting over and over again, every day. Once you can get hold of a 弟子規book with HANYU PINYIN, it will make your job easier. Also if the child is too young, you don’t have to worry about explaining the meaning of each sentence. The idea is to get the passage into their head at a young age.

If you are just beginning, don’t be too ambitious, and try to read the whole book. Start with 1 or 2 pages and advance with more pages as you see yourself progress. And if spending 5 to 10 minutes with your children every night, reciting 弟子規 can cultivate good behaviour, good moral values in your children, it is very worthwhile, don’t you think so?

讀經is being widely spread in many countries now. Search the Internet and you will see many institutions organizing 讀經for young children.

Analects Steles Garden

Analects Steles Garden (Photo credit: kanegen)

As Confucius said, when you recapitulate your knowledges, you, acquire new ones; and you are fit to be a teacher.

02:11 子曰:「温故而知新,可以為師。」 論語‧ 為政第二。十一

Di Zi Gui in Business


I am very happy to learn that Old Thong Chai Medical Institution is the latest corporation in Singapore to offer Di Zi Gui classes for its employees.

In year 2011, I read about Mr Hu Xiao Lin (胡小林) the owner of a Chinese firm, 北京汇通汇利公司 (http://www.yima-huitong.com/) , who started an initiative for all his staff to learn Di Zi Gui. Within the first year of implementation, his company made a total profit of $6 million RMB. According to Mr Hu, after his staff learn Di Zi Gui, the relationship among the staff has improved. He also refrained from drinking and consuming meat. He runs his business based upon Confucius’ teachings and made amendments to his company’s policies to be in line with Di Zi Gui.

In December 2015, Ms Tjioe Ka In (周家茵), then Executive Director of Singapore’s leading Restaurant group, Tong Lok, started to offer Di Zi Gui classes for staff.

Old Thong Chai Medical Institution is the latest company in Singapore to adopt Di Zi Gui.

I wish that more companies in Singapore and the world will introduce Di Zi Gui as part of staff training.

Di Zi Gui is a well-known secular Chinese Classics based on the ancient teaching of the Chinese philosopher Confucius. For more than 2,000 years, Confucius’ deeds have been admired by both government officials and the general public, and his character constantly emulated. His philosophy has become the mainstream of traditional Chinese culture and the basis of moral norms.

Otherwise known as the Standards for being a Good Pupil and Child, this book is based on the ancient teaching of the Chinese philosopher Confucius that emphasises the basic requisite for being a good person and guidelines for living in harmony with others. It covers core values of Respect, Responsibility, Resilience, Integrity, Care and Harmony.

If you are interested to learn Di Zi Gui, please click below link.