《双语园地》Respecting Teachers and Cherishing Virtue 尊师重道

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Respecting teachers and cherishing virtue are part of the traditional ethics practiced by the Chinese people. Teachers, who impart morality, knowledge, and values, teach people the proper ways to interact with each other and with society at large. They exemplify virtue.

It was stated in the chapter “Record on Education” in The Classic of Rites: “Upon securing the proper reverence for the master, the virtue he embodies is regarded as honored. When that is done, the people know how to respect learning.” To maintain respect for the teacher and revere virtue, the student must not only show respect and courtesy but also hold respect in his heart and faithfully follow the teachings imparted to him. Let’s take a look at a few examples of how ancient people showed respect for their teachers and for virtues.

尊师重道 (上)

尊师重道是我们中华民族的传统美德,老师是伦理道德、知识、价值观念的传授者,教人为人处世的行为规范,是道德的表率。《礼记﹒学记》中说:“师严,然后道尊;道尊,然后民知敬学”,维护师道尊严,不仅要求学生的言行举止体现出对老师的尊敬和礼貌,更要从内心里敬重老师,并严格按照老师说的要求去做。古人尊师敬师的例子很多,以下为其中几例。

Yin Xi Performs the Ritual of Honoring Laozi as Master

Yin Xi was a scholar in the Western Zhou Dynasty (1100 – 711 BC). He became fond of ancient books at an early age. He had expertise in astronomy and was accomplished in watching the stars to predict the future. One day, he observed the heavenly climate and saw a purple mist on the eastern horizon that didn’t dissipate. He figured that a sage was to come from that direction and go through the Hangu Pass. Because he was in charge of allowing people to go through the pass on their way to the west, he ordered the guards to inform him immediately if they saw anyone with an uncommon appearance in the next few days. He also sent people to clean the roads and burn incense in preparation for greeting the sage.

A few days later, he received reports that an elderly man with white hair and a divine physique was riding in an ox-drawn cart toward the pass heading west. He immediately went to greet the elderly sage. He knelt down a dozen yards from the cart and said, “Yin Xi, the chief officer at Hangu Pass, greets the sage!” The elderly man replied, “I’m simply an average citizen. Can you tell me why you are performing this extraordinary ritual?” Yin Xi explained, “I have been waiting for days for your arrival after I saw indications that a divine being would soon arrive. It is my sincere hope that your holiness will enlighten me.”

The elderly man asked, “What were the indicators you saw?” Yin Xi answered, “I often watch the stars and know the basics of their changes. In the tenth month of last year, the Sage star moved across the western sky in wintertime. Early this month, a tender breeze passed by while a bloom of purple mist rose on the eastern horizon. Thus I knew that a sage would pass here heading west. The purple mist was so vast that it spanned 10,000 miles, which told me that this was no ordinary sage. The purple mist was led by the Ox star, which told me that the sage was to arrive in an ox-drawn cart. Today, upon seeing your holiness with this extraordinary, transcending countenance, I would be unable to express my gratitude if you would advise me on my cultivation practice.” The elderly man was pleased to see Yin’s sincerity as well as his kind heart and courteous demeanor. He smiled, “You recognized me, the old man. I, too, was aware of you. I am to offer you salvation.” Yin was glad and kowtowed to the sage.

尹喜拜师

尹喜是西周时的一位贤大夫,自幼喜好古籍,精通历法,善观天文,能知前古而见未来。一天,他仰观乾象,见东方有紫气相连,知有圣人当度关而西,于是请任函谷关令。在关上他叮嘱守关士卒:“数日之内将有大圣人路经此关,汝等见有形貌脱俗之人要立即禀报。”同时派人洒扫道路,夹道焚香,以迎圣人。几天后,尹喜闻报有位白发老翁道骨仙貌,驾青牛之车欲出关,立即赶来迎接,在牛车数丈前跪拜道:“关令尹喜叩见圣人!”老翁说:“吾乃一介布衣,如此非常之礼,不知有何见教?”尹喜道:“吾早得神明示像,已在此恭候多日,诚望圣人赐教。”老翁道:“汝何以知之?”尹喜道:“吾好观天文,略知变化。去冬十月,天圣星西行过昴;今月之初,和风立至,见紫气东来,知有圣人西行;紫气浩荡,长达三万里,知来者至圣至尊绝非一般之神;紫气之前有青牛星相牵,圣人必乘青牛之车来也。今观圣人神姿迥绝,望指点修行之道。尹喜感恩不尽。”老翁见其求道至诚,心慈人善,笑答道:“汝知老夫,老夫亦知汝,当得度汝也。”尹喜非常高兴,叩头问道:“敢问大圣人姓名?”老翁道:“吾姓字渺渺,非可尽说,今姓李,字伯阳,号老聃。”尹喜听说是老子,焚香叩头,恭敬地拜其为师。

When he asked the elderly sage’s name, the sage said, “My name is vast. At the moment, my surname is Li, my given name Boyang. People call me Lao Dan.” Yin burned incense, kowtowed, and completed the ritual of honoring Laozi as his teacher. Zi is a courteous title used in place of one’s name.

Laozi stayed briefly at Hangu Pass, only long enough to record something that is hard to define or describe, which he termed Tao. In it, he imparted his views about the universe, man, and society. He gave Yin Xi a 5,000-word manuscript called Tao Te Ching. Yin Xi followed Laozi’s instructions to cultivate his mind and body, promoted the teachings of the Tao school in managing the country and benefiting the world, and succeeded in his cultivation. He was honored by later generations as Yin, the True Man.

老子把自己关于道德以及对宇宙、人生、社会等方面的见解,写了一部五千言的《道德经》授与尹喜。尹喜按照老子的教导虔心修行,弘扬道家学说经国济世,后来修成大道,被称为尹真人。

 

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