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弟子规浅释 Standards for Students 第八章﹕余力学文 Chapter Eight ﹕ON LEARNING - 4
孙果秀注释 Explained by Jennifer Lin
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第八章﹕余力学文
Chapter Eight ﹕ON LEARNING

不力行,但学文,长浮华,成何人。
但力行,不学文,任己见,昧理真。
读书法,有三到,心眼口,信皆要。
方读此,勿慕彼,此未终,彼勿起。
宽为限,紧用功,工夫到,滞塞通。
心有疑,随札记,就人问,求确义。
房室清,墙壁净,几案洁,笔砚正。
墨磨偏,心不端,字不敬,心先病。
列典籍,有定处,读看毕,还原处。
虽有急,卷束齐,有缺坏,就补之。
非圣书,屏不视,蔽聪明,坏心志。
勿自暴,勿自弃,圣与贤,可驯致。

fang

shi

qing

 

qiang

bi

jing

房间

保持清爽

 

墙壁

擦干净

room

to keep neat

wall

to cleanse

房间应保持清爽;墙壁要收拾干净。
Our room should be kept neat and tidy with the walls uncluttered and clean.

ji

an

jie

 

bi

yan

zheng

桌子

弄整洁

 

毛笔

砚台

放端正

table, desk

to tidy up

pen

ink slab

well arranged

书桌应清理整洁;文具要摆放端正。
Our desk should be kept in good order, pens and papers well arranged.

mo

mo

pian

 

xin

bu

duan

墨条

研细、摩擦

歪斜的

 

端正的

ink stick

to grind

slanted

mind

not

upright

墨磨得歪斜了,这就表示心不端正。
If our ink stick is ground at an angle, it’s likely our minds are not upright.

zi

bu

jing

 

xin

xian

bing

工整的

 

首先地

有毛病

writing

not

neat

mind

first

to have problem

字写得潦草,那是因为心不在焉。
If our writing is sloppy and careless, it is because we are absent-minded.

练习书法的人都知道「心正笔正」的道理,所以古代的中国人把练习书法列为「六艺」(即六种必修的技艺课程)之一。另外的五种技艺课程是礼仪、音乐、射箭、驾御马车、工艺(有人把第六种的「数」,解读做「数学」,愚意以为解做「工艺」比较恰当。一则因为纯数学是书本知识,不算是「技艺」,应用数学则已包括在工艺里头;二来从先秦诸子百家的言论,可以发现很多用造车轮、舟船、油漆或木工来做的比喻,足见当时的读书人对工艺的了解,也不逊于诗书之类的书本知识,由此可证,他们一定学过工艺。)只可惜后来的读书人变成了「纯读书」,只重视「六经」,不重视「六艺」,到后来只剩了礼仪、音乐、书法三种比较静态的艺,还有人注重,其余三种讲求手脑并用的技艺,就被轻视为「形而下」之事;以至于造成后世的读书人只知为读书而读书,不知运动,更不懂得生活,予人以「手无缚鸡之力」、「百无一用是书生」的文弱印象。

People who practice calligraphy know that, "If their minds are straight, their characters will be upright." Thus, in ancient China calligraphy was considered one of the Six Arts (the six skills an educated person was required to learn). The other five Arts were rites, music, archery, chariot driving, and applied arts. (Some have interpreted this sixth art as mathematics, but I think "applied arts" is more apt. First of all, pure mathematics is academic knowledge and cannot be considered a skill. Applied mathematics is included in applied arts. Secondly, since the pre- Qin period, philosophers have drawn analogies such as making carriage wheels, boats, and ships; painting; and carpentry, indicating that scholars in those days understood applied arts as well as academics. Thus, they must have studied applied arts.) It is a pity that later scholars began to focus purely on academics, valuing the Six Classics but not the Six Arts. Now, only rites, music, and calligraphy--the three less active Arts, are still valued. The other three, which require hand-and-brain coordination, have been scorned as physical activities. As a result, modern-day scholars do nothing but study, get very little exercise, and have no idea of how to live a balanced life. They are pictured as effete intellectuals, "weaklings who can’t truss a chicken," and "useless scholars." On the other hand, since calligraphy has been regarded as a tool for cultivating one’s moral character and spirituality , and as art also involves a certain beauty, it has had the fortune of surviving until the present.

话说回来,就因为将练习书法当做「修心养性」的工具,而书法本身又是一种具有「美感」的艺术,因此才幸运地被流传到现在。既然把练习书法当做修心养性的工具,这从陈列桌椅、摆置纸笔砚墨,到磨墨、持笔、写字,就处处都有其讲究了。

As a tool for spiritual cultivation, the art of calligraphy involves arranging the desk and chair; setting out the paper, brush, ink slab, and ink; holding the brush; and writing the characters. These guidelines are described in the present verses.

怎样呢?就是本章所说的:房间应保持清爽,墙壁要收拾干净;书桌应清理整洁,文具要摆置端正。环境预备好了,心就能清静,这是基础;然后要注意写字的姿势:磨墨应端端正正,握笔要不松不紧。这样写出来的字,即使不够美,却是方正有力;至于美,那是艺术,就要再加上不断的练习和揣摩,是属于技巧的讲求。

The room must be kept neat and tidy, the walls uncluttered and clean, the desk in good order, and the writing utensils well arranged. When the environment is well-prepared, the mind will be calm. With this foundation in place, one then attends to posture: grinding the ink stick evenly, holding the brush neither too tightly nor too loosely. In this way, one’s characters will be even and firm at the least, if not beautiful. For calligraphy to be beautiful as art, one must develop one’s technique through continuous practice and adjustment.

总之,不要小看了事前的准备工夫,以为若要字美,只需勤练就可。须知练出来的字,若无先前这番日用的准备工夫,就缺少一种磅礡的气势,显得华而不实,在艺术价值上都减了几分,更何况于身心无补呢!

In general, the preparatory work should not be taken lightly. Don’t think that diligent practice suffices to produce beautiful characters. If you neglect the daily preliminary work, your characters will be frivolous rather than magnanimous. Their artistic quality will be diminished, and you will suffer an irreparable physical and psychological loss.

现代的父母们,很多犯了好高骛远的毛病,以为孩子能把书念好又多才多艺,已很杰出;孩子不会去吸毒耽玩,已很乖了。因此宁可自己做一家之「煮」和老妈子,不教孩子帮忙家务,以免影响孩子功课;甚至孩子自己的房间,还得帮他整理,要不就视而不见,任其满室零乱。结果造就出一大批不知天高地厚的青少年,不是生活无法独立自主,就是感情经不起挫折;遇事既不知慎谋能断在先,又不能缜密快速处理于中,最后又无法坚忍持续到底。

Modern parents make the mistake of having lofty expectations that overlook the basics. They consider children who do well in school and are talented to be outstanding. They consider children who don’t do drugs or party a lot to be well-behaved. Thus, they slave away doing all the household chores and cooking, but dare not ask their children to help, lest it adversely affect their homework. They even tidy their children’s rooms or pre- tend not to notice the mess. As a result, we have a bunch of un- grateful, frivolous young people. They cannot survive on their own or weather emotional crises. Unused to planning ahead and making decisions, they are neither efficient nor careful in their work. Consequently, they cannot persevere to the end.

古人说得好﹕「一室之不治,何以天下国家为?」整理房间虽然是私事、小事,似乎和办公事、大事无关;但是如果连私事都无法掌控得好,又哪有余力去顾及公事?如果连小事都无法管理得当,又哪有能力去处理大事?每日做家事,可以培养韧性、毅力和责任感;而把家事在最短的时间中料理得最好,则可以训练管理头脑和组织能力。以这样的韧性、毅力、头脑、能力和责任感,若为生活而谋差使,都是游刃而有余;若一朝风云际会,更能运筹天下于帷幄间而无碍。谁能说整理房间只是一己的私事,或不重要的小事?

As an old proverb says, "If you cannot keep a room in order, how can you maintain order in the nation?" Keeping one’s room tidy may seem a trivial, personal affair unrelated to important, public matters. Yet, if one cannot even keep one’s personal affairs in order, what energy could one have to take care of public affairs? If one handles small matters poorly, how can one handle large matters capably? Doing daily household chores nurtures one’s tenacity, perseverance, and sense of responsibility .Efficient performance of household chores fosters management acumen and organizational skills. With such tenacity, perseverance, acumen, skills, and responsibility, one will quite easily find a job to support oneself. When the opportunity arises, one will be able to calmly plan strategies to skillfully tackle national and international issues. How can anyone say that tidying the room is a personal, trivial matter?

《中庸》说﹕「君子动而世为天下道,行而世为天下法,言而世为天下则。」这种君子,并非「十载寒窗苦读」所能成就的;他们的心性、品格和能力,都是自小在洒扫应对的家务小事中,长期培养锻炼出来的。人之所以贫穷,在于不懂教育及生活,和天资高低,祖产多寡无关。一个人自小就能条理井然地处理自己的居住环境,长大了也就能条理井然地处理一切事情;那么任何事务也难不倒他,任何情况也困扰不了他。

The Doctrine of the Mean says, "The actions of the cultivated person serve as a path for the world; his practices serve as laws for the world; his words serve as regulations for the world." Such a cultivated person is not one who merely "studies for ten years by the window in the cold." His temperament, character, abilities were forged through a long period of doing routine household chores from childhood onwards. A person who does not understand how to learn and live is truly poor; poverty has nothing to do with one’s natural talent or wealth. A person who learns how to keep his own living space and belongings in order at a young age will be capable of handling all matters in an organized fashion as an adult. He will be able to surmount any difficulty and rise above any situation.

粗茶淡饭,一家怡然,何贫穷之有?真正的贫穷是心灵枯寂零乱,遇事慌张失措或处事首尾失据的人。有「西方孔子」之美誉的古希腊哲学大师苏格拉底,就强调说﹕「条理井然的心灵,是唯一真正快乐,也是唯一有资格过美好的生活。」既然「每个人是自己的支配者」,那么我们何不及早训练孩子在「整洁有序」上下工夫,让孩子支配自己的人生,成为一个心灵条理井然的人呢?

As long as a family is happy, though they subsist on plain fare, how can they be considered poor? Genuine poverty is experienced by those who are psychologically starved or confused, who err out of nervousness, and who cannot handle anything well. Socrates, the great Greek philosopher hailed as the Confucius of the West, insisted, "The ordered soul is the only truly happy one, the only one capable of living the good life." Since "Every man is his own ruler," why not teach our children to be neat and organized, so they can take charge of their own lives and be ordered souls?


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