天人之分 – Chinese philosophy and culture

tiānrénzhīfēn 天人之分

Distinction Between Man and Heaven

一种认为天与人相分别的世界观和思维方式。此说最初由荀子所提出,他反对将人世的道德、秩序的来源或依据寄托于天。荀子认为,天与人各有其职分,不应混淆。天地日月的运行、寒暑水旱的出现,都属于天职的领域,有其常道,与人事无关,也非人力所及。而人的道德、人世的治乱则属于人职的范围,人应对道德的养成及社会的治理负责。只有明确了“天人之分”,人才能在天所赋予和确立的基础之上发挥人的能力而不是僭越到人无法用力的领域。

This term refers to a world outlook and a way of thinking which hold that heaven and man are different. This explanation was first put forward by Xunzi, who did not believe that human morality and the order of human society emanated from heaven. He argued that heaven and man each had a different role and that they should not be mixed. Temporal changes of heaven and earth as well as the occurrence of seasonal changes in temperature and rainfall all belonged to the domain of heaven. They had their normal path, unrelated to human affairs, and were beyond the reach of human power. On the other hand, man’s morality and order in the world belonged to the realm of man. People should be responsible for moral development and social order. Only by making a clear distinction between heaven and man could one develop his abilities on the basis established by heaven, without overstepping into a domain where man was unable to exert his power.

引例 Citation:

◎天行有常,不为尧存,不为桀亡。……强本而节用,则天不能贫;养备而动时,则天不能病;修道而不贰,则天不能祸。……故明于天人之分,则可谓至人矣。(《荀子·天论》)

(天的运行有其常道,不因为尧在位而存在,不因为桀在位而消失。……加强农事而节省用度,则天不能使之贫乏;供养充足而活动适时,则天不能使之疾病;循行正道而坚定不移,则天不能加以灾祸。……因此能够明晓天与人的区分,就可以称之为最高明的人了。)

Nature’s ways are constant. They did not exist because Yao was on the throne or disappear because Jie was the ruler… When you work diligently in agriculture and are frugal in expenditures, nature cannot impoverish you. When you are well provided for with what you need and work at the proper time, nature cannot make you sick. When you firmly follow the right path, nature cannot bring you disaster… Therefore, he who understands the distinction between nature and man may be called the wisest man. (Xunzi)

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