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Chinese Text of the
Peach Garden Oath

The following is the text of the famous "Oath in the Peach Garden" used in the establishment of sworn sibling relationships. The version given here, used in this form, is from the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sānguó Yǎnyì 三国演义). For more on this important work, click here. For my article on sworn brotherhood traditions in China, click here. For a quick overview of the period, click here. On this page traditional characters are in blue and simplified characters in red.

The next day in the peach garden, they prepared a black ox, white horse, and other sacrifices. 次日于桃园中备下乌牛、白马、祭礼等项。
Cìrì yú táoyuán zhōng bèi xià wūniú, báimǎ, jìlǐ děng xiàng.
次日於桃園中備下烏牛、白馬、祭禮等項。
The three men burned incense, worshipped again, and took their oath, saying: 三人焚香再拜而说誓曰:
Sān rén fén xiāng, zài bài, ér shuō shì, yuē:
三人焚香再拜而說誓曰:
"We, LIÚ Bèi, GUĀN Yǔ, and ZHĀNG Fēi, although of different surnames, now bind ourselves as brothers, 今刘备、关羽、张飞虽然异姓,既结为兄弟,
Jīn LIÚ Bèi, GUĀN Yǔ, ZHĀNG Fēi, suīrán yìxìng, jì jiéwéi xiōngdì,
今劉備、關羽、張飛雖然異姓,既結為兄弟,
that we may with one heart and united strength, resolve [each other's] difficulties, support [each other] in danger, protect the state above and defend the common people below; 则同心协力救困扶危,上报国家下安黎庶;
zé tóngxīn xiélì jiùkùn fúwēi, shàng bào guójiā xià ān líshù;
則同心協力救困扶危,上報國家下安黎庶;
we ask not the same year, month and day of birth, but wish to die on the same year, month, and day. 不求同年同月同日生,但愿同年同月同日死。
bù qiú tóngnián, tóngyuè, tóngrì shēng, dàn yuàn tóngnián, tóngyuè, tóngrì sǐ.
不求同年同月同日生,但願同年同月同日死。
May the Heavenly Emperor and the Earthly Consort inspect our hearts; and 隍天后地实鋻此心﹔
Huángtiān Hòudì shíjiàn cǐ xīn;
隍天后地實鋻此心﹔
if we ignore righteousness or forget kindness, may Heaven and man both strike us down." 背义忘恩,天人共戮。
bèi yì wàng ēn, Tiān-rén gòng lù.
背義忘恩,天人共戮。

 

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