圣人 – Chinese philosophy and culture

shèngrén 圣人

Sage

具有圣德之人。“圣人”是古人所推崇的最高人格。“圣人”基于对天道、人心的把握,可以制定、规范人伦生活的秩序与法则,其所言所行成为人伦世界的至高典范。不过,不同学派对于“圣人”之德的具体内涵会有不同的理解。儒家所言“圣人”,能够完美地践行仁义等道德并对世人施以道德教化。而道家所言“圣人”,则要求以“无为”的方式,顺应百姓自然的状态,激发百姓的自主性。

It refers to a person of consummate virtue. Sages were regarded by the ancient Chinese as having the highest level of character and integrity. They knew the Way of Heaven and the hearts of people, and could thus make rules and regulate human ethics. With their exemplary statements and behavior, they were paragons of virtue. But scholars have different interpretations as to what sagely virtues mean. According to Confucian scholars, sages are those who practice virtues such as benevolence and righteousness in a perfect way and foster moral virtues in others. In the Daoist view, however, sages should adopt a “non-action” approach to life, accept people for what they are, and let them do as they please.

引例 Citations:

◎孟子曰:“规矩,方员之至也;圣人,人伦之至也。”(《孟子·离娄上》)

(孟子说:“圆规和曲尺,是方形和圆形的标准;圣人,是人伦生活中言行的典范。”)

Mencius said, “Just as compass and ruler are instruments for squares and circles, sages are models for ethical behavior.” (Mencius)

◎是以圣人处无为之事,行不言之教,万物作焉而不辞,生而不有,为而不恃,功成而弗居。夫唯弗居,是以不去。(《老子·二章》)

(所以圣人以无为的方式处理世事,以不言的方式教导百姓,万物兴起而不加干涉,生养万物而不据为己有,辅助万物而不自负,成就万物而不居功。正因为圣人不居功,其功绩所以不会泯没。)

Therefore, sages deal with the world’s affairs by way of non-action, teach people without uttering a word, and let things develop without intervention. Sages produce and grow things but do not take ownership of them, nurture things but do not claim credit for them, and accomplish things but do not brag about them. It is precisely because they seek no recognition for accomplishments made that they are never forgotten. (Laozi)

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