尊生 – Chinese philosophy and culture

zūnshēng 尊生

Respect Life

尊重自己的生命,也尊重他人的生命。也说“重(zhònɡ)生”。生命属于每个人只有一次,任何人都不可轻易放弃生命,更不允许随意剥夺他人的生命。对于执政者而言,则要求以民众生命为重,尽可能满足民众正当的生存需求,不得做任何危害民众生命健康的事情。当然,不合道义的苟且偷生也是不被认可的。

This means respecting and valuing one’s own life as well as that of others. Since each person has only one life to live, he does not easily give up his life and will not take away other people’s lives. He who is in power should respect people’s lives and do his utmost to uphold the people’s legitimate right to life. He must not do anything harmful to people’s life and health. On the other hand, he should not just allow his life to drift along without moral purpose.

引例 Citations:

◎“且吾闻之,不以所用养害所养。”……夫大(tài)王亶(dǎn)父可谓能尊生矣!能尊生者,虽贵富,不以养伤身;虽贫贱,不以利累形。(《庄子·让王》)

(“而且我听说,不能为了争夺养育人的东西而去伤害要养育的人。”……像太王亶父这样真可说是能尊重生命的了!能尊重生命的人,即便富贵,也不会因为贪图享受而伤害身体;即便贫贱,也不会为了追求利禄而劳苦形体。)

“I have noticed that people often say that one must not hurt the nurtured in order to take the stuff used to nurture them.” …People like Danfu, grandfather of King Wen of Zhou, truly respect life. He who respects life, though wealthy, does not harm his health because of enjoying luxury; he who respects life, though poor, does not exhaust his body in the seek of wealth and position. (Zhuangzi)

◎圣人深虑天下,莫贵于生。……天下,重物也,而不以害其生,又况于他物乎?惟不以天下害其生者也,可以托天下。(《吕氏春秋·贵生》)

(圣人深入思虑天下的事,认为没有什么东西比生命更宝贵。……天下是最重要的东西,可圣人不会因为它而危害自己的生命,又何况是其他东西呢?只有不会为了得到天下而危害自己生命的人,才可以把天下托付给他。)

The sage considered carefully about the things under heaven and thought that there was nothing more precious than life… State power was regarded as the most important, but the sage would not risk his life to secure it, let alone other things. State power should be entrusted to those who do not try to secure the power by endangering their own lives. (Master Lü’s Spring and Autumn Annals)

◎故所谓尊生者,全生之谓;所谓全生者,六欲皆得其宜也。(《吕氏春秋·贵生》)

(所以,所谓尊重生命,说的就是保全生命;所谓保全生命,说的就是让人的各种基本欲望都能得到适当的满足。)

Therefore, what is meant by respecting life is preserving life, which, in turn, means satisfying people’s justified desires. (Master Lü’s Spring and Autumn Annals)

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