尽忠报国 – Chinese philosophy and culture

jìnzhōng-bàoguó 尽忠报国

Be as Loyal as One Can Be and Serve One’s Own Country

Yue Fei – 岳飞

竭尽忠诚,报效国家。亦作“精忠报国”。唐初编撰的《周书》《北史》已见“尽忠报国”一语。这一词语还与南宋抗金名将岳飞(1103—1142)相关联。元人所修《宋史》记载了岳飞后背刺有“尽忠报国”四字,但未说明何人所刺,至清代始有岳母刺字的说法,遂演绎为岳飞遵母命而尽忠报国、至死不渝的故事。它蕴含了忠孝合一的儒家理念,至今仍是中国人爱国精神的典型表达。

Yue Fei – 岳飞

Be as loyal as one can be and serve one’s own country. The term “be loyal and serve the country” first appeared in The History of Zhou of the Northern Dynasties and The History of the Northern Dynasties compiled during the early Tang. This phrase is also associated to the famous general in the war of resistance against the northern Jin invasion, Yue Fei (1103-1142) of the Southern Song Dynasty. In The History of the Song Dynasty, compiled during the Yuan Dynasty, there is a mention that Yue Fei had the four characters “jin zhong bao guo” (尽忠报国) tattooed on his back. However, it is not specified as to who tattooed them. Towards the early Qing period, there were talks that it was Yue Fei’s mother who tattooed them, and it is followed by the story of Yue Fei’s commitment and obeisance to his mother’s command to be loyal to his outmost and render service to his own country unto death. It has the connotation of Confucian ideals of loyalty and filial piety integrated into one, and to this day, it is used by the Chinese as a typical expression for patriotism.

引例 Citations:

◎公等备受朝恩,当思尽忠报国,奈何一旦欲以神器假人!(《周书·颜之仪传》)

(你们一直受朝廷重用厚待,就该想着怎么尽忠报国,为什么一天之内就打算将最高权力送给他人!)

You have always been highly placed and treated generously by the royal court, and hence you ought to be thinking ways to be the outmost loyal and render service to the country. Why is it then that you would consider giving away the highest power to others in just one day after you took hold of the power! (The History of Zhou of the Northern Dynasties)

◎飞袒而示之背,背有旧涅“尽忠报国”四大字,深入肤理。(《宋史·何铸传》)

([岳]飞露出后背给何铸看,背上有先前刺的“尽忠报国”四个大字,已深入肌肤纹理中。)

Yue Fei exposed his back to show He Zhu the four characters “jin zhong bao guo” (尽忠报国 be as loyal as one can be and serve one’s own country) which had been tattooed deep into the skin. (The History of the Song Dynasty)

Yue Fei – 岳飞

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