Chinese Idiom: Keep up the Same Effort at Dawn and at Dusk


PureInsight | May 10, 2004

[] The Three Character Classic is a children's reader written by Wang Yinglin in the 13th
century. Every line of the book is composed of three characters, and
every four sentences form a group. Children love to read its rhymed
verses. The book also is very interesting to read and very educational.
It has remained a popular teaching text over the past hundreds of
years, and has been revised and improved upon many times since it was
first published. The current version of the Three Character Classic
has a total of only 1,500 characters. But it covers a variety of
subjects including ethics, astronomy, geography, history and education.

For example, the Three Character Classic
tells children to study diligently. It says, "The dog can stand watch
at night and guard the door, the rooster can herald the break of day in
the morning, and domestic animals all cleave to their duty. If we fail
to study diligently and make progress, but instead, only get by
carelessly, what qualifications would we have to be a human being?" As
to how to study, it says, "It is important to read with the mouth but
think with the heart. One must study in early morning, and also in the
evening. One should persevere in doing this." It also says, "Zhao Pu, a
prime minister in Song dynasty, still diligently read 'Confucian
Analects' every day even when he was very old. He didn't neglect
studying even though he was already an important official."

"Keep up the same effort at dawn and at dusk" is used to describe how people should study diligently with perseverance.

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