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San Zi Jing

The Three Character Classic, Trimetric Classic or Sanzijing is one of the Chinese classic texts. It was probably written in the 13th century and attributed to Wang Yinglin during the Song dynasty. It is also attributed to Ou Shizi (1234–1324). The work is not one of the traditional six Confucian classics, but rather the embodiment of Confucianism suitable for teaching young children.[1] Until the latter part of the 1800s, it served as a child's first formal education at home. The text is written in triplets of characters for easy memorization. With illiteracy common for most people at the time, the oral tradition of reciting the classic ensured its popularity and survival through the centuries.[citation needed] With the short and simple text arranged in three-character verses, children learned many common characters, grammar structures, elements of Chinese history and the basis of Confucian morality, especially filial piety and respect for elders (the Five Relationships in Chinese society). 人之初 (rén zhī chū) People at birth, 性本善 (xìng běn shàn) Are naturally good (kind-hearted). 性相近 (xìng xiāng jìn) Their natures are similar, 習相遠 (xí xiāng yuǎn) (But) their habits make them different (from each other).

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