Jan 01 2010

三人行必有我师焉 – san ren xing bi you wo shi yan

三人行必有我师焉 – san1 ren2 xing2 bi4 you3 wo3 shi1 yan1

Literal translation :

3 – people – walking – must – have – me – teacher – thus

If 3 people are walking together at least one of them is good enough to be my teacher (in some subject)

I like this Proverb because it basically says that nobody has the monopoly on knowledge.  This is one of those Ancient Chinese Proverbs that is supposed to keep you humble I guess.

I often use it in my English class to remind the students to be quiet when other students are speaking.  Chinese students seem to have a problem of being quiet when other students are talking/practicing English in class.  For us westerners it’s incredibly rude, but for them it’s completely normal.  I guess when they are speaking and no one else is listening they don’t care ?  Anyways I use this Ancient Chinese Proverb in an effort to get them to listen to their fellow students speaking English because they can always learn from fellow students.  It isn’t only me that can help them with their English but they can also help each other.

Any situation where people can all learn from one another and help each other increase in knowledge in some way this Proverb can be used.

I believe it was said by Confucious, or Kongzi, but I can’t be certain.  Feel free to correct me with a comment below.

3 Responses to “三人行必有我师焉 – san ren xing bi you wo shi yan”

  1. Catherine says:

    Yes, that was Kongzi. I first read it in the Analects when I took wenyan in university. 🙂

  2. Jing says:

    Confucius and KongZi are the same person. Confucius is his English name 🙂

  3. says:

    Yes I knew that, I just wrote both names in case people didn’t recognize one of them. But I guess that wasn’t clear so thanks for your comment.

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