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S003: Their natures are much the same; their habits become widely different.

4. 性相近

Hsing4 hsiang 1 chin4 

Nature mutual near 

Their natures are much the same; 

Hsing see line 2. 

Hsiang is composed of 目 mu eye (line 262) as radical and 木 mu tree (line 66), and originally meant to peer, to scrutinise. It is explained in the Canon of Changes (line 135) as inability to see through trees, hence to look at; which may be compared with the derivation of lucus a non lucendo. In this sense it is now read hsiang4. Read hsiang 1 , it means mutual, reciprocal; but it is often a complementary particle of very elusive value, signifying direction towards anybody or anything. 

Chin is composed of 斤 chin an axe-head, a Chinese pound weight (= ½ lb. av., probably adopted from the weight of the axe-head) as phonetic, and the contraction of an obsolete word 辵 cho ( 辶 in composition) meaning to go on and stop as radical. The latter is commonly seen in characters dealing with movement, and is popularly known as the walking radical. 

5. 習相遠

Hsi 2 hsiang 1 yüan 2

Practice mutual far 

their habits become widely different. 

Hsi is composed of 羽 yu feathers as radical and 白 pai white, and seems to have been associated with young birds practising flight. 

Hsiang see line 3. 

Yuan is composed of the walking radical and a common phonetic. It is not an authorised rhyme to shan in line 2, but is sufficient to produce the jingle which is such an important aid to memory. [Lines 3 and 4 are the ipsissima verba of Confucius, and form the chief dogma in Confucian ethics. It was vigorously upheld by Mencius (line 9), and opposed by Hsün K'uang (line 172) of the 3rd cent. B.C. who held that the nature of man is radically evil, and also by Yang Hsiung (line 172) who taught that it is neither one nor the other but a mixture of the two.]