崇本举末 – Chinese philosophy and culture

chóngběn-jǔmò 崇本举末

Revere the Fundamental and Keep the Specific Unchanged

尊崇“本”以成就、保全“末”,是对待“本”“末”关系的一种方式。王弼在解释老子思想时提出了“崇本举末”的思想,与“崇本息末”相对。这里的“本”指无形、无名者,即“道”;“末”指自然之形、名。“崇本举末”即是要充分发挥“道”或“无”的作用,以使万物自然生成并得以保全。在政治领域,“崇本”特指君主以“道”为依据,施行无为之治。君主通过“崇本”,使百姓依自然本性而生活。

This concept, as opposed to “revere the fundamental and dismiss the specific,” originates in Wang Bi’s interpretation of Laozi. The fundamental, namely, Dao, is shapeless and nameless, while the specific refers to natural shapes and names. The term “revere the fundamental and keep the specific unchanged” means giving full rein to Dao and void so that the nature emerges and stays active. Politically, this term means a sovereign should govern on the basis of Dao and do nothing that goes against nature. He should revere the fundamental to ensure that the people can lead their lives as dictated by their inherent nature.

引例 Citation:

◎守母以存其子,崇本以举其末,则形名俱有而邪不生,大美配天而华不作。(王弼《老子注》)

(持守“道”以存养万物,尊崇“本”以成就、保全“末”,则各种有形事物及其名称都能得以成就、保全而邪枉之事就不会产生,至美的事物与天匹配而浮华之事就不会兴起。)

Dao is adhered to in order to preserve all things. If the fundamental is revered and the specific is kept unchanged, then all tangible things will thrive and their names will remain, evil and wrong will not occur, great beauty will match the heaven, and vanity will not arise. (Wang Bi: Annotations on Laozi)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *