平等 – Chinese philosophy and culture

píngděng 平等

Equality

相同,没有差别。本是梵语sama的译词。作为佛教的基本观念,它最初是指各种姓之间没有差别,后来大乘佛教及中国化的佛教——禅宗等佛教派别认为一切法、一切众生之间在佛性与终极意义上没有差别。佛教的平等观有多种,其中影响最为普及深远的是“众生平等”(一切有情有识的生物无差别),一般被理解为人人平等。近代以降,它用以翻译西方的equality,主要指每个人作为社会主体在社会关系和社会生活中具有同等的地位、机会和权利。

As the Chinese translation of the Sanskrit word “sama,” pingdeng (平等) means the same level with no difference. As a fundamental concept of Buddhism, it originally meant that there was no difference between the various castes. Later on, in Mahayana Buddhism and Buddhism adapted to the Chinese conditions, such as Zen Buddhism, it was believed that there was no difference between dharmas and between all sentient beings in terms of Buddhahood and ultimate meaning. Buddhism stresses the value of equality in several respects, of which the most important one is equality for all sentient beings (there is no difference between living things). This is generally considered to mean equality for everyone. In modern times, the Western concept of equality was translated as pingdeng, in the sense that as a member of society, everyone enjoys the same status, opportunities and rights in social relations and social activities.

引例 Citations:

◎自性平等,众生是佛。(《六祖坛经·付嘱》)

(就其本体、本质来说,一切有情有识的生物是没有差别的,都是佛。)

As far as their essence is concerned, there is no difference between all sentient beings. They are all buddhas. (Teachings of Shakyamuni Master Huineng, the Sixth Patriarch of Zen Buddhism)

◎当愿众生:怨亲平等,永离贪著。(《华严经·净行品》)

(但愿众生:无论恩怨亲疏,均无差别,永远脱离贪欲与执著。)

This is my wish for all you sentient beings. There should be no difference between you, whether you are close to each other or not. You should always be free from greed and obstinacy. (Flower Garland Sutra)

◎泛爱亲疏平等,任吟古律不拘。(刘克庄《七十八咏六言十首》其十)

(广泛的爱不分亲疏,没有差别;自由吟诵古人的音律,不拘一格。)

I have universal love and equal respect for all, and I sing classical songs without constraint. (Liu Kezhuang: Ten Six-character-per-line Poems at the Age of Seventy-eight)

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