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Tsoi Dug Blog 才德博客 » Blog Archive » Xiao is not Just Duty   孝不限于义务

Xiao is not Just Duty   孝不限于义务

People ask me why I translate xiao as being good to parents and not being dutiful to parents or being dutiful as a son or daughter. It’s because xiao is more than just duty; it is a whole way of living one’s life. Xiao Jing, the first and most authoritative Confucian work on xiao, says that the xiao of people occupying various positions in society, such as emperors, ministers, officers, commoners, and so forth, is to be good at their callings. Xiao Jing also says that to be xiao, one must not only serve and provide for one’s parents well, but must also engage in good conduct both inside and outside the family.

有人问我,为什么把孝翻译为“对父母好”而不是“对父母尽义务”或“执行子女的义务”呢?这是因为孝不单是义务,孝是整个生活的方式。《孝经》是孔教解说孝的最早和最具权威性的经典;它说,社会不同地位的人,例如天子、大臣、吏士、庶人等,他们的孝,都是要把自己的职责做好。《孝经》又说,要孝就不光只是供养侍奉父母好,还须要家庭内外的行为都好。

Also, being dutiful often conjures up grim-faced carrying out of some painful task or of some sort of sacrifice, but xiao also includes the normal day-to-day life, the normal day-to-day interactions with parents, some of which may be joyful, like playing and not drudgery. One example is keeping parents up-to-date on one’s activities and situation, which is one of the demands of xiao (see verse 12, p.7 Xiao Jing : often truly xiao offspring have such a good relationship with the parents that updating them means enjoyable and relaxing conversation that all parties look forward to. Another example is respectfully listening when parents teach: offspring should have a relation with parents healthy enough that offspring realize the teaching from parents are greatly beneficial and something to look forward to. Teaching by parents can be fun and enjoyable: I remember well myself looking forward to and greatly enjoying the Sunday afternoon teaching of Chinese classics by my father to my brothers and me as young children.

另外,“尽义务”令人联想起辛苦的事务或某样的牺牲,但孝也包括普通的日常生活,跟父母普通的日常相处。这些都不一定是劳工,亦有愉快、好像是玩游戏的。例如孝要求子女对父母报道活动和情况:很多时候真正孝的子女跟父母关系很好,报道就是个很开心、很轻松、双方都盼望的会话。另一个例子就是孝要求,父母教导时要恭敬会心地听。子女跟父母的健康关系应该达到这个程度:子女们知道父母教导是非常有益的、应该欢迎的,而父母的教导,是可以有乐趣的,令人愉快的。我记得小孩子时,爸爸每星期日教我和我哥哥学古文,我那时觉得这教导多么好玩、多么令人盼望。

Therefore, I feel xiao is better translated as “being good to parents”.

所以,我觉得把孝翻译为“对父母好”比较适合一些。

Feng Xin-ming 冯欣明


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One Response to “Xiao is not Just Duty   孝不限于义务

  1. ying ying Says:

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