三不朽 – Chinese philosophy and culture

sānbùxiŭ 三不朽

Set Moral Examples, Perform Great Deeds, and Spread Noble Ideas

世间三种永不磨灭或永远受人怀念、称颂的业绩,即“立德”“立功”“立言”,也称“三立”。最高的是“立德”,确立典范的道德,垂范后世;其次是“立功”,建立伟大的功业,为国家百姓兴利除害;最后是“立言”,提出包含真知灼见的言论,以启迪后人,或撰文著述,成一家之言。据《左传》记载,“三不朽”由鲁国叔孙豹提出。在叔孙豹看来,个人或家族的私利,无论是财富还是官爵、地位,总会随时间的推移而逐渐消失。只有真正利于国家百姓的“德”“功”“言”,才能长期流传而不朽。“三不朽”后来成为古代士人及每一位有抱负的人的毕生追求。

This term refers to three great accomplishments that are forever remembered and eulogized by the people. The first and foremost is to set a high moral standard for people of later generations to follow. The second is to perform meritorious deeds, bringing good to the country and the people and rooting out evils. The third is to put forth noble ideas or establish them as a way of thinking through writing them down. According to Zuo’s Commentary on The Spring and Autumn Annals, these great accomplishments were proposed by Shusun Bao from the State of Lu. In Shusun’s opinion, private benefits that individuals or families have, such as wealth, official ranking, and social status, will disappear with the passage of time. Only the great accomplishments that benefit the country and the people, including setting out high moral standards, performing great deeds, and inseminating noble ideas, can be passed on for eternity. These three great accomplishments have been the lifelong pursuit of ancient Chinese literati and people of noble aspirations.

引例 Citation:

◎豹闻之,大上有立德,其次有立功,其次有立言。虽久不废,此之谓不朽。(《左传·襄公二十四年》)

(我听说,最高的境界是确立典范的道德,其次是建立伟大的功业,再次是倡立正确的言论。三者即使经过漫长的岁月也不会废弃,这就是所谓的“不朽”。)

I hear that the noblest pursuit is to set a moral example; the second is to perform great deeds; and the third is to advocate noble ideas. These great accomplishments will last and never be abandoned by people despite the passage of time. (Zuo’s Commentary on The Spring and Autumn Annals)

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