Cultural China: Deep respect for teachers

Sep 10, 2023

Cultural China: Deep respect for teachers


Honoring teachers and their intelligence has always been a tradition in China. Since ancient times, teachers have been respected by people as messengers of wisdom.

The famous Chinese idiom, "Cheng Men Li Xue," which literally means "standing in the snow at the gate of Cheng's home," is a wonderful example. "Cheng" refers to Cheng Yi, one of the leading philosophers of Neo-Confucianism in the Song Dynasty (960-1276). Attracted by Cheng's theory, Yang Shi, a talented, hardworking young man who loved reading and studying, worshipped Cheng as his mentor.

One day, Yang and his friend You Zuo had different opinions on one question. In order to get a proper answer, they went to Cheng's home for advice.

It was in the middle of winter. Feeling frozen by the wind and snow, the two men wrapped themselves tightly in their clothes and hurried on. When they arrived at Cheng's place, the gatekeeper said the master was taking a nap.

The two students did not complain. Instead, they chose not to disturb the teacher and waited outside the door, standing in heavy snowfall.

After quite some time, Cheng upon waking up became aware that his students had been standing still in the snow for a while and immediately invited them to come in. By this time, the snowfall was already one foot thick.

Deeply moved by Yang's patience, Cheng gave detailed answers to the students' questions. After years of study, Yang finally achieved his life goal as a great scholar.

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