三才 – Chinese philosophy and culture

sāncái 三才

The Three Elements

“三才”指天、地、人。《易传》在解释《周易》卦象时提出了“三才”之说。在由“—”(阳爻)、“- -”(阴爻)六画所组成的一卦中,处于下位的初爻(一爻)、二爻象征地,中间的三爻、四爻象征生活在天地之间的人,上位的五爻、六爻象征天。六画统一于一卦之中,也即象征着天、地、人是一个整体。三者遵循着共通的法则,但在各自的领域中法则的具体表现有所不同。

The Three Elements refer to heaven, earth, and man. When explaining the trigrams, Commentary on The Book of Changes proposes the idea of “the Three Elements.” In a trigram which consists of six undivided and divided lines, the first and second lines at the bottom represent earth, the third and fourth lines in the center represent man who lives between earth and heaven, and the fifth and sixth lines at the upper part represent heaven. Collectively, the six lines united in one diagram signify the whole of heaven, earth, and man. The three elements share the same rules but have different manifestations of rules in their each field.

引例 Citations:

◎是以立天之道曰阴与阳,立地之道曰柔与刚,立人之道曰仁与义。兼三才而两之,故《易》六画而成卦。(《周易·说卦》)

(所以确立天的法则为阴与阳,确立地的法则为柔与刚,确立人世的法则为仁与义。兼有象征天地人的卦画而两画一组,因此《周易》是六画构成一卦。)

So the law of heaven is governed by yin and yang; the law of earth is governed by softness and hardness; and the law of man is governed by benevolence and righteousness. Each trigram, described in The Book of Changes, consists of six lines with each two being a unit representing heaven, earth and man. (The Book of Changes)

◎《易》一物而三才备:阴阳气也,而谓之天;刚柔质也,而谓之地;仁义德也,而谓之人。(张载《横渠易说》卷三)

(《周易》一卦而具备三才:阴阳之气而为天,刚柔的质地而为地,仁义的品德而为人。)

Each trigram in The Book of Changes consists of three elements: the qi of yin and yang representing heaven, the quality of softness and hardness representing earth, and the virtue of benevolence and righteousness representing man. (Zhang Zai: Zhang Zai’s Explanation of The Book of Changes)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *