一 – Chinese philosophy and culture

yī 一

The One

“一”有三种不同含义:其一,指万物的本体或本原,即“道”的别称,或称“太一”。其二,指天地未分之时的混沌状态。“一”分化形成天地,天地万物都产生于这样一个混沌的统一体。其三,指事物的统一性,与“多”“两”相对,意在强调有差异或对立的事物之间的统一性。

The term has three meanings. First, it indicates the original essence of all things. It is another name for dao (way). It is also referred to as taiyi (the supreme one). Second, it refers to the state of chaos before the separation of heaven and earth. The one was divided and transformed into heaven and earth. All things in heaven and on earth were produced from this Chaotic entity. Third, it indicates the unity of things, as opposed to “many” or “two.” The idea is to emphasize the unity among things which are different or opposite.

引例 Citations:

◎一者,万物之所从始也。(董仲舒《举贤良对策》)

(“一”是万物产生的端始。)

The one is the origin of everything. (Dong Zhongshu: Replies to the Emperor’s Questions After Being Recommended)

◎两不立则一不可见,一不可见则两之用息。(张载《正蒙·太和》)

(没有相反两方的对立则统一体不可得见,统一体不可得见则相反两方的对立也就消失了。)

Unity cannot be seen without the contradiction between two opposite sides, while the two opposite sides cannot exist without unity. (Zhang Zai: Enlightenment Through Confucian Teachings)

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