反求诸己 – Chinese philosophy and culture

fǎnqiúzhūjǐ 反求诸己

Introspection

反省自己的言行与内心。“反求诸己”是孟子提出的一种道德修养方法。孟子秉承了儒家的主张,认为人的德行与功业的确立,从根本上取决于自身的修养。因此,如果自己的言语行事不能获得认可与赞赏,不应归咎于他人的误解,而应反省自己的言行与内心是否符合道德、礼法的要求。

This term refers to self-examination of one’s own words, deeds, and inner thoughts. Introspection is a way of moral cultivation put forward by Mencius. Mencius inherited the Confucian belief that one’s moral integrity and meritorious deeds are determined by his own ethical cultivation. If his words or deeds fail to gain endorsement or appreciation from others, one should not blame them. On the contrary, one should examine himself to find out if his words and deeds as well as inner thoughts conform to standards of ethics and propriety.

引例 Citations:

◎仁者如射,射者正己而后发,发而不中,不怨胜己者,反求诸己而已矣。(《孟子·公孙丑上》)

(仁者就好比射箭的人一样,射箭的人要首先端正自己的姿势然后发箭,发箭没有射中目标,不埋怨成绩超过自己的人,而是反躬自省而已。)

A benevolent person is like an archer. The archer should first take the correct position before shooting the arrow. If he misses the target, instead of blaming others who have done better, he should conduct self-examination to find out the cause. (Mencius)

◎爱人不亲,反其仁;治人不治,反其智;礼人不敬,反其敬。行有不得者,皆反求诸己,其身正而天下归之。(《孟子·离娄上》)

(我爱别人而别人不亲爱我,则反省自己是否仁爱;我治理别人而没有治理好,则反省自己是否智慧;我以礼待人却不被尊敬,则反省自己是否不恭敬。任何行为如果没有达到预期效果,都要反躬自省,自己立身端正则天下之人都会归附。)

If others do not reciprocate your kindness towards them, you should think about whether your kindness is true or not. If you govern unsuccessfully, think about whether your governance philosophy is sound or not. If others do not reciprocate your courtesy towards them, think about whether your courtesy is sincere or not. Whenever you fail to achieve the desired result, you need to conduct retrospection to find out the cause. If you conduct yourself honorably, all the people will pledge allegiance to your rule. (Mencius)

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