San Tzu Ching‎ > ‎

S002: Men at their birth are naturally good.


Jern2  chih1 chru1 

Man arrive beginning, 

Men at their birth 

Jen is a picture of the object, — Shakespeare's forked radish. Like all Chinese characters, it is the expression of a root idea, humanity, collectively and individually; and its grammatical functions vary in accordance with its position in a sentence and the exigencies of logic. The context, lines 3 and 4, here calls for a plural. 

Chih originally meant to issue forth as grass from the ground; and by extension, to meet, to arrive at. It has come to be used conventionally as a sign of the possessive case, a particle of subtle influence, and a demonstrative pronoun; also, from its shape, = zigzag. 

Ch'u is composed of 刀 tao knife as radical, and 衣 i clothes (衤 in combination), and is said to derive its meaning from the application of a knife or scissors to a piece of new cloth. 


Hsing4 pen3 shan4 

Nature root good 

are naturally good. 

Hsing is composed of 心 hsin heart as radical (忄 in combination) and 生 sheng (line 297) as phonetic. It means the moral nature, disposition, temperament, with which man is endowed at birth. Heart is used as being the seat of the moral and intellectual faculties. 

Pen is composed of 木 mu a tree (line 66) as radical, and a horizontal line to indicate locality. It is much used in the sense of fundamental, original, native, etc. See line 68. 

Shan was originally composed of 羊 yang sheep (line 77) and 言 yen words (line 118) doubled. The latter portion has been corrupted, and the character is now classed under radical 口 k'ou mouth (line 263). It is noteworthy that sheep enters into several characters referring to excellence, duty, property, etc. See line 14.