他山之石,可以攻玉 – Chinese philosophy and culture

tāshānzhīshí, kěyǐ-gōngyù 他山之石,可以攻玉

Use Stones from Another Mountain to Polish One’s Jade

别的山上的石头,可以用来琢磨玉器。语出《诗经》。本意是向周宣王委婉劝谏,应招致那些隐逸山林的贤才为国所用。后来比喻借他人的批评、帮助来改正自己的过错;借他人、他国的情况、经验、方法等作为自己的鉴戒和参考,更好地提升自我。它体现了中国人的开放心态、学习精神。

This expression, which is from The Book of Songs, was originally a subtle piece of advice to King Xuan of Zhou to recruit talented recluses to work for his country. Later, it became an allegory of using criticism from others to correct one’s own mistakes, and drawing on the experiences and practices of other people or other countries to improve oneself. This phrase expresses the open-mindedness of the Chinese people and their eagerness to benefit from others’ practices.

引例 Citation:

◎乐彼之园,爰有树檀,其下维榖(gŭ)。它山之石,可以攻玉。(《诗经·小雅·鹤鸣》)

(在那园中真快乐,檀树高高枝叶密,下面楮树矮又细。他方山上有佳石,可以用来琢玉器。)

The garden is so lovely, / Where tall sandalwood grows, / Below are short and slender mulberry trees. / There are stones on its rockeries, / Which can be used to polish jade. (The Book of Songs)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.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