Chinese Culture

Understanding the Five Elements—China’s ‘Theory of Everything’—in the ‘Three Character Classic’

The Five Elements of Chinese philosophy and their interactions. (Parnassus/CC BY-SA 3.0)
The Five Elements of Chinese philosophy and their interactions. (Parnassus/CC BY-SA 3.0)

The “Three Character Classic,” or “San Zi Jing,” is the best known classic Chinese text for children. Written by Wang Yinlian (1223–1296) during the Song...




  • Su Shi, also known as Su Dongpo, was a famous poet and gastronome of the Song dynasty, who practiced the philosophy of “eating with moderation”.

    Stories From the Students’ Rules: Simple Diet and Proper Bearing

    The “Standards for Being a Good Student and Child” (Di Zi Gui) is a traditional Chinese textbook for children that teaches children morals and proper... Read more

  • A vendor chops dog meat at the Nanqiao market in Yulin, in China's southern Guangxi region on June 21, 2017.
China's most notorious dog meat festival opened in Yulin on June 21 with butchers hacking slabs of canines and cooks frying the flesh following rumours that authorities would impose a ban this year.(Becky Davis/AFP/Getty Images)

    Dog Meat Festival Opens in China Despite Ban Rumors

    Yulin’s annual dog meat festival kicked off on June 21 with animal rights activists voicing their opposition, and locals and visitors saying celebrations are low-key... Read more

  • Zhang Liang, one of the Three Heroes of the Early Han Dynasty, was known for his tolerance and respect for the elderly. (Catherine Chang/Epoch Times)

    The Virtue of Respecting Elders as Told in the ‘Three Character Classic’

    The Three Character Classic, or San Zi Jing, is the best known classic Chinese text for children. Written by Wang Yinlian (1223–1296) during the Song... Read more

  • The Prime Minister of Lu State, Ji Wenzi, was known for his thriftiness and strict conduct, and was deeply respected by his people.

    Stories From the Students’ Rules: Live Neatly and Treasure Your Time

    The “Standards for Being a Good Student and Child” (Di Zi Gui) is a traditional Chinese textbook for children that teaches children morals and proper... Read more

  • ‘’The Eighteen Scholars’’ by an anonymous Ming Dynasty artist. The painting depicts the eighteen erudite Confucian scholars gathered by Emperor Taizong of Tang, when he established the Institute of Literary Studies. (Public Domain)

    Education in Ancient China From the ‘Three Character Classic’

    The Three Character Classic, or San Zi Jing, is the best known classic Chinese text for children. Written by Wang Yinlian (1223–1296) during the Song... Read more

  • Mo Niang worked selflessly to protect her fellow villagers on the high seas

    Stories From the Students’ Rules: Respect and Care Unto All

    The “Standards for Being a Good Student and Child” (Di Zi Gui) is a traditional Chinese textbook for children that teaches children morals and proper... Read more

  • Image depicting the current-day Chinese saying which describes a united young couple who live happily even in poverty with the term “riding together in a carriage driven by deer”. (Internet photo)

    Bao Xuan’s Magical Encounter

    Bao Xuan came from an impoverished family during the Western Han Dynasty, 2000 years ago. His mentor appreciated his high morals and let his daughter... Read more

  • Kou Zhun lived a frugal life despite being a prime minister. When he once fell into indulgence, he was moved to tears and quickly changed his ways after reading a poem left by his mother before she died. (SM Yang/Epoch Times)

    Rediscovering Our Innate Good Nature in the ‘Three Character Classic’

    The Three Character Classic, or San Zi Jing, is the best known classic Chinese text for children. Written by Wang Yinlian (1223–1296) during the Song... Read more

  • Along with his father Wang Xizhi, Wang Xianzhi was a renowned calligraher of the Chinese Jin Dynasty. (Public Domain)

    Stories From the Students’ Rules: Humility and Duty As a Sibling and Before Elders

    The “Standards for Being a Good Student and Child” (Di Zi Gui) is a traditional Chinese textbook for children that teaches children morals and proper... Read more

  • Cangjie was sent down to China from the heavens to create Chinese writing, he was born with four eyes. This portrait of Cangjie is an 18th century painting held in the National Library of France. (Public domain, combination image compiled by Epoch Times)

    Dust, Earth, and Molecules

    The Chinese character 塵 (chen) refers to dust. It is formed of two parts, each a full character.  The upper one is 鹿, a deer... Read more

  • Min Ziqian of the Spring-Autumn period (770 B.C - 476 B.C) is a moral exemplar of filial piety. (Clearwisdom.net)

    Stories From the Students’ Rules: At Home, Be Dutiful to My Parents

    The “Standards for Being a Good Student and Child” (Di Zi Gui) is a traditional Chinese textbook for children that teaches children morals and proper... Read more

  • Cangjie was sent down to China from the heavens to create Chinese writing, he was born with four eyes. This portrait of Cangjie is an 18th century painting held in the National Library of France. (Public domain, combination image compiled by Epoch Times)

    The Secret Within the Chinese Character for Enemy

    Perhaps you currently have someone who is in conflict with your own interests, and you refer to him or her as your enemy. You may... Read more

  • Great Wall of China at Sunrise. (Fotolia plus composition by Epoch Times)

    Huang Ba Could Die Without Regret

    Huang Ba (130–51 B.C.) lived during the Western Han Dynasty. He learned legalism (understanding and administration of the law) starting at a young age. When... Read more

  • Cangjie was sent down to China from the heavens to create Chinese writing, he was born with four eyes. This portrait of Cangjie is an 18th century painting held in the National Library of France. (Public domain, combination image compiled by Epoch Times)

    Chinese Character ‘Xi’ for Learning: a Little Bird Practicing Flying

    The Chinese character 習 (xi) means learning or practicing. In Oracle bone script, the earliest ancient Chinese writing, it is written like this: There are... Read more

  • Chariot Model (Modern Replica) China, original: Qin dynasty (221–206 B.C.),
bronze with pigments
chariot box, including axles: width 53 1/2 inches, depth 25 inches, weight 220.5 pounds; canopy: height 4 inches, diameter 49 1/2 inches; weight 66 pounds; each horse: height 36 1/2 inches, weight 13 1/2 inches, length 46 1/2 inches, Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum. (Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

    Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties

    NEW YORK—In ancient times, the people of China believed their culture was divinely inspired. The elegant works of art and exquisitely made objects displayed in... Read more

  • "Island Pagoda," from the book, "Foochow and the River Min," circa 1873, by John Thomson. Carbon print. (Courtesy of Stephan Loewentheil Historical Photography of China Collection)

    Glimpses of a Lost World Through Early Chinese Photography

    NEW YORK—Two men clad in leather and fur stand side by side with their legs wide and firmly planted on the ground, next to a... Read more

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