大丈夫 – Chinese philosophy and culture

dàzhàngfu 大丈夫

Great Man

一种对理想人格的称谓。是否能成为“大丈夫”,并不是由个人的功业大小所决定的。评判“大丈夫”的根本标准,在于其对“道”的认知与坚守。不过由于各家对“道”的理解不同,因此对“大丈夫”的具体要求也有所差别。孟子强调“大丈夫”应有行道于天下的远大志向,并始终坚守道义,立身端正,不受外在事物的影响。老子则认为“大丈夫”应舍弃浮华的礼仪规范,以无为的方式回归朴实的自然状态。

This is a term used to describe someone of ideal moral quality. How much one achieves does not determine whether he can be called a great man. The criterion is whether or not a person can know and hold fast to Dao. Given that there are different interpretations of Dao, the specific requirements for a great man are also different. Mencius stresses that a great man should have high aspirations to carry out Dao, adhere to moral integrity, stay upright, and his observation of Dao should not be influenced by external matters (as opposed to his inner world). Yet, another ancient Chinese philosopher Laozi believes that a great man should abandon ostentatious rites and norms, and return to the natural state through non-action.

引例 Citations:

◎居天下之广居,立天下之正位,行天下之大道;得志,与民由之;不得志,独行其道。富贵不能淫,贫贱不能移,威武不能屈,此之谓大丈夫。(《孟子·滕文公下》)

(居处在天下最广阔的住所,立身于天下最恰当的位置,遵行天下的大道。得志的时候,与民众一起遵行大道;不得志的时候,独自遵行其道。富贵不能使其行止失度,贫贱不能使其改变遵行的原则,权势不能使其屈服。这就是所谓的“大丈夫”。)

Living in the broad residence under heaven, staying in the proper place under heaven, one should observe the essential Dao under heaven. When having achieved one’s ambitions, one should practice Dao along with the people; when failing to succeed in one’s ambitions, one should observe Dao alone. Neither riches nor honors can corrupt him; neither poverty nor humbleness can make him swerve from his principles; neither threat nor force can subdue him. Such a person can be called a great man. (Mencius)

◎夫礼者,忠信之薄而乱之首。前识者,道之华而愚之始。是以大丈夫处其厚,不居其薄;处其实,不居其华。故去彼取此。(《老子·三十八章》)

(礼,标志着忠信的不足,是祸乱的端始。预设的种种规范,是道的浮华,是愚昧的端始。因此大丈夫处事敦厚,不为浇薄;处事朴实,不为浮华。所以舍弃浇薄浮华,而采取敦厚朴实的方式。)

Rites indicate a lack of loyalty and sincerity, and portend disorder. Preset norms are ostentatious representations of Dao and usher in stupidity. So a great man should be earnest rather than superficial, be simple rather than ostentatious. Such a person abandons everything superficial or ostentatious, and leads a simple and honest life. (Laozi)

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