English Translation by Pure Land Learning College Assoc., Inc. Toowoomba, Queensland.
弟子规， 圣人训。 首孝弟， 次谨信。 泛爱众， 而亲仁。 有余力， 则学文。
Rules for apostles, from teachings of Sages and Saints. First of filial piety and fraternal love, then prudence and sincerity. Love multitude at large and close to the benevolent, Has energy to spare, then learn literature and be cultivated.
“Standards for Being a Good Student and Child” was taught by Chinese saints and sages of the ancient past. First, it teaches you how to be dutiful to your parents, and how to be respectful and loving to your siblings. Then it teaches you how to be cautious with all people, matters, and things in your daily life, and how to be a trustworthy person, and to believe in the teachings of the ancient saints and sages. Furthermore, it teaches you to love all equally, and to be close to and learn from people of virtue and compassion. When you have accomplished all the above duties, you can study further and learn literature and art to improve the quality of your cultural and spiritual life. h
At Home, Be Dutiful to Your Parents
父母呼， 应勿缓， 父母命， 行勿懒， 父母教， 须敬听， 父母责， 须顺承。冬则温，夏则凊，晨则省，昏则定。出必告，反必面，居有常，业无变。事虽小，勿擅为，苟擅为，子道亏。物虽小，勿私藏，苟私藏，亲心伤。亲所好，力为具，亲所恶，谨为去。身有伤，贻亲忧，德有伤，贻亲羞。亲爱我，孝何难，亲憎我，孝方贤。亲有过，谏使更，怡吾色，柔吾声。谏不入，悦复谏，号泣随，挞无怨。亲有疾，药先尝，昼夜侍，不离床。丧三年，常悲咽，居处变，酒肉绝，丧尽礼，祭尽诚，事死者，如事生。
When your parents call you, answer them right away. When they command you to do something, do it quickly. When your parents instruct you, listen respectfully. When your parents reproach you, obey and accept their scolding; try hard to change and improve yourself and start anew. In the winter, keep your parents warm; in the summer, keep your parents cool. Greet them in the morning to show them that you care. At night be sure that they rest well. Before going out, tell your parents where you are going, for parents are always concerned about their children. After returning home, go and see your parents to let them know you are back, so they do not worry about you. Have a permanent place to stay and lead a routine life. Persist in whatever you do and do not change your aspirations at will. Although a matter may be considered trivial, but if it is wrong to do it or unfair to the other person, do not do it thinking it will bear little or no consequence. If you do, you are not being a dutiful child because parents do not want to see their child doing things that are irrational or illegal. Even though an object may be small, do not hoard it. If you do, your parents will be heartbroken. If whatever pleases your parents is fair and reasonable, try your best to get it for them. Should something displease your parents, if within reason, cautiously keep it away from them. When your body is hurt, your parents will be worried. If your virtues are compromised, your parents will feel ashamed. When you have loving parents, it is not difficult to be a dutiful child. But if you are still dutiful to parents who hate you, only then will it meet the standards of the saints and sages for being a dutiful child. When your parents do wrong, urge them to change. Do it with a kind facial expression and a warm gentle voice. If they do not accept your advice, wait until they are in a happier mood before you dissuade them again, followed by crying to make them understand why. If they end up whipping you do not hold a grudge against them. When your parents are ill, taste the medicine first before giving it to them. Take care of them night and day; do not leave their bedside. During the first three years of mourning after they passed away, remember them with gratitude and feel sad often for not being able to repay them for their kindness in raising you. During this period you should arrange your home to reflect your grief and sorrow. Avoid festivities and indulgence in food and alcoholic drinks. Observe the proper etiquette in arranging their funerals. Hold the memorial ceremony and commemorate their anniversaries with your utmost sincerity. Serve your departed parents as if they were still alive.
Standard for Siblings
兄道友，弟道恭，兄弟睦，孝在中。 财物轻，怨何生，言语忍， 忿自泯。或饮食，或坐走，长者先，幼者后。长呼人，即代叫，人不在，己即到。称尊长，勿呼名，对尊长，勿见能。路遇长，疾趋揖，长无言，退恭立。骑下马，乘下车，过犹待，百步余。长者立，幼勿坐，长者坐，命乃坐。 尊长前，声要低，低不闻，却非宜。 进必趋，退必迟，问起对，视勿移。事诸父，如事父，事诸兄，如事兄。
Older siblings should befriend the younger ones, younger siblings should respect and love the older ones. Siblings who keep harmonious relationships among themselves are being dutiful to their parents. When siblings value their ties more than property and belongings, no resentment will grow among them. When siblings are careful with words and hold back hurtful comments, feelings of anger naturally die out. Whether you are drinking, eating, walking, or sitting, let the elders go first; younger ones should follow. When an elder is asking for someone, get that person for him right away. If you cannot find that person, immediately report back, and put yourself at the elder’s service instead. When you address an elder, do not call him by his given name. This is in accord with ancient Chinese etiquette. In front of an elder, do not show off. If you meet an elder you know on the street, promptly clasp your hands and greet him with a bow. If he does not speak to you, step back and respectfully stand aside. Should you be riding on a horse and you spot an elder you know walking, you should dismount and pay respect to the elder. If you are riding in a carriage , you should stop, get out of the carriage, and ask if you can give him a ride. If you meet an elder passing by, you should stand aside and wait respectfully; do not leave until you can no longer see him. When an elder is standing, do not sit. After an elder sits down, sit only when you are told to do so. Before an elder, speak softly. But if your voice is too low and hard to hear, it is not appropriate. When meeting an elder, walk briskly towards him; when leaving, do not exit in haste. When answering a question, Look at the person who is asking you the question. Serve your uncles as if you are serving your parents; Treat your cousins as if they are your own siblings.
Be Cautious in Your Daily Life
朝起早，夜眠迟，老易至，惜此时。 晨必盥，兼漱口，便溺回，辄净手。冠必正，纽必结，袜与履，俱紧切。置冠服，有定位，勿乱顿，致污秽。衣贵洁，不贵华，上循分，下称家。对饮食，勿拣择，食适可，勿过则。年方少，勿饮酒，饮酒醉，最为丑。步从容，立端正，揖深圆，拜恭敬。 勿践阈，勿跛倚，勿箕踞，勿摇髀。缓揭帘，勿有声，宽转弯，勿触棱。执虚器，如执盈，入虚室，如有人。事勿忙，忙多错，勿畏难，勿轻略。斗闹场，绝勿近，邪僻事，绝勿问。将入门，问孰存，将上堂，声必扬。人问谁，对以名，吾与我，不分明。用人物，须明求，倘不问，即为偷。 借人物，及时还，后有急，借不难。
Get up in the morning before your parents; at night, go to bed only after they have gone to sleep. When you realize that time is passing you by and cannot be turned back, and that you are getting older year by year, you will especially treasure the present moment. When you get up in the morning, wash your face and brush your teeth. After using the toilet, always wash your hands. You must wear your hat straight, and make sure the hooks of your clothes are tied. Make sure socks and shoes are worn neatly and correctly. Place your hat and clothes away in their proper places. Do not carelessly throw your clothes around, for that will get them dirty. It is more important that your clothes are clean, rather than how extravagant they are. When with an elder or people of importance, wear what is suitable for your station. At home, wear clothes according to your family traditions and customs. When it comes to eating and drinking, do not pick and choose your food. Eat only the right amount; do not over eat. You are still too young, do not drink alcohol. When you are drunk, your behavior will turn ugly. Walk composed, with light and even steps. Stand up straight and tall. Your bows should be deep, with hands held in front and arms rounded. Always pay your respect with reverence. Do not step on doorsills. Do not stand leaning on one leg. Do not sit with your legs apart or sprawled out. Do not rock the lower part of your body while sitting down. Lift the curtain slowly, do not make a sound. Leave yourself room when you turn to make sure you do not bump into a corner. Hold carefully empty containers as if they were full. Enter empty rooms as if they were occupied. Avoid doing things in a hurry, as doing things in haste will lead to many mistakes. Do not be afraid of difficult tasks, but do not become careless when a job is too easy. Keep away from rowdy places, and do not ask about things that are abnormal or unusual. When you are about to enter a main entrance, ask if someone is inside. Before entering a room, make yourself heard, so that those inside know someone is approaching. If someone asks who you are, give your name. To answer “It is me” or “Me” is not clear. Before borrowing things from others, you must ask for permission. If you do not ask, it is stealing. When borrowing things from others, return them promptly. Later on, when you have an urgent need, you will not have a problem borrowing from them again.
When you speak, honesty is important. Deceitful words and lies are not allowed. Rather than talking too much, it is better to speak less. Speak the truth, do not twist the facts. Cunning words, foul language, and bad habits must be avoided at all costs. What you have not seen with your own eyes, do not readily tell to others. What you do not know for sure, do not readily pass on to others. When asked to do something that is inappropriate or bad, do not promise lightly. If you do, you will be wrong either way. When speaking, make the words clear and to the point. Do not talk too fast or mumble. Some like to talk about the good points of others, while some like to talk about the faults of others. If it is none of your business, do not get involved. When you see others do good deeds, think about following their example. Even though your own achievements are still far behind those of others, you are getting closer. When you see others do wrong, immediately reflect upon yourself. If you have made the same mistake, correct it. If not, be extra cautious not to make the same mistake. When your morals, conduct, knowledge, and skills are not as good as others, you should encourage yourself to be better. If the clothes you wear, and the food you eat and drink are not as good as others, do not be ashamed. If criticism makes you angry and compliments make you happy, bad company will come your way and good friends will shy away. If you are uneasy about compliments and appreciative of criticism, sincere and understanding virtuous people will gradually be close to you. If your mistake is not done on purpose, it is only an error. If it is done on purpose, it is evil. If you correct your mistake and do not repeat it, you no longer have the mistake. If you try to cover it up, you will be doubly wrong.
Love All Equally
Human beings, regardless of nationality, race, or religion - everyone - should be loved equally. We are all sheltered by the same sky and we all live on the same planet Earth. A person of high ideals and morals is highly respected. What people value is not based on outside appearance. A person’s outstanding ability will naturally honor him with a good reputation. Admiration from others does not come from boasting or praising oneself. If you are a very capable person, use your abilities for the benefit of others. Other people’s competence should not be slandered. Do not flatter the rich, or despise the poor. Do not ignore old friends, and take delight in new ones. When a person is busy, do not bother him with matters. When a person’s mind is not at peace, do not bother him with words. If a person has a shortcoming, do not expose it. If a person has a secret, do not tell others. Praising the goodness of others is a good deed in itself. When people approve of and praise you, you should feel encouraged and try even harder. Spreading rumors about the wrongdoings of others is a wrongdoing in itself. When the harm done has reached the extreme, misfortunes will surely follow. When encouraging each other to do good, the virtues of both are built up. If you do not tell others of their faults, you will both be wrong. Whether you take or give, you need to know the difference between the two. It is better to give more and take less. What you ask others to do, first ask yourself if you will do it. If it is not something you will do, ask not others to do it. You must repay the kindness of others and let go of your resentments. Spend less time holding grudges and more time paying back the kindness of others. When you are directing maids and servants, you should be respectable and dignified. Even though you are respectable and dignified, treat them kindly and generously. If you use your influence to make them submissive, their hearts will never be with you. If you can convince them with sound reasoning, they will then have nothing more to say.
Be Close to and Learn from People of Virtue and Compassion
We are all human, but we are not the same. Most of us are ordinary; only a very few have great virtues and high moral principles. A truly virtuous person is greatly respected by others. He will not be afraid to speak the truth and he will not fawn on others. If you are close to and learn from people of great virtue and compassion, you will benefit immensely. Your virtues will grow daily and your wrongdoings will lessen day by day. If you are not close to and learn from people of great virtue, you will suffer a great loss. People without virtue will get close to you and nothing you do will succeed.
After All the Above Are Accomplished, Study Further and Learn Literature
If you do not actively make use of what you have learned, but continue to study on the surface, your knowledge is increasing but it is only superficial. What kind of person will you be? If you do apply your knowledge diligently, but stop studying, you will only do things based on your own opinion, thinking it is correct. In fact, what you know is not the truth. There are methods to study correctly. They involve concentration in three areas: your mind, your eyes, and your mouth. To believe in what you read is equally important. When you begin to read a book, do not think about another. If you have not completed the book, do not start another. Give yourself lots of time to study, and study hard. 26 Given time and effort, you will thoroughly understand. If you have a question, make a note of it. Ask the person who has the knowledge for the right answer. Keep your room neat, your walls uncluttered and clean, your desk tidy and your brush and inkstone properly placed. If your ink block is ground unevenly, it shows you have a poor state of mind. When words are written carelessly, showing no respect, it shows your state of mind has not been well. The books should be classified, placed on the book shelves, and in their proper places. After you finish reading a book, put it back in its right place. Even though you are in a hurry, neatly roll up and bind the open bamboo scroll you were reading. Any missing or damaged pages are to be repaired. If it is not a book on the teachings of the saints and sages, it should be discarded and not even be looked at. These other books can block your intelligence and wisdom, and will undermine your aspirations and sense of direction.
勿自暴 勿自弃 圣与贤 可驯致
Neither be harsh on yourself, nor give up on yourself. To be a person of high ideals, moral standards and virtue is something we can all attain in time.
 Analects of Confucius, Book I, Chapter 6. A young man should be a good son at home and an obedient abroad, sparing of speech but trustworthy in what he says, and should love the multitude at large but cultivate the friendship of his fellow men. If he has any energy to spare from such action, let him devote it to making himself cultivated.