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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.||
Cìrì yú táoyuán zhōng bèi xià wūniú, báimǎ, jìlǐ děng xiàng.
|The three men burned incense, worshipped again, and took their oath, saying:||
Sān rén fén xiāng, zài bài, ér shuō shì, yuē:
|"We, LIÚ Bèi, GUĀN Yǔ, and ZHĀNG Fēi, although of different surnames, now bind ourselves as brothers,||
Jīn LIÚ Bèi, GUĀN Yǔ, ZHĀNG Fēi, suīrán yìxìng, jì jiéwéi xiōngdì,
|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;||
zé tóngxīn xiélì jiùkùn fúwēi, shàng bào guójiā xià ān líshù;
|we ask not the same year, month and day of birth, but wish to die on the same year, month, and day.||
bù qiú tóngnián, tóngyuè, tóngrì shēng, dàn yuàn tóngnián, tóngyuè, tóngrì sǐ.
|May the Heavenly Emperor and the Earthly Consort inspect our hearts; and||
Huángtiān Hòudì shíjiàn cǐ xīn;
|if we ignore righteousness or forget kindness, may Heaven and man both strike us down."||
bèi yì wàng ēn, Tiān-rén gòng lù.
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