形具神生 – Chinese philosophy and culture

xínɡ jù shén shēnɡ 形具神生

Physical Form Gives Birth to Spirit.

人的形体具备以后精神活动随之产生。“形”指人的形体,“神”指包括情感、意识在内的各种精神活动。荀子(前313?—前238)提出,人的形体和精神,与万物一样,都是在天道的运行中自然生成的。人的形体先于精神而生成,形体的具备构成了精神产生的条件。人的精神依存于形体之中。

When a person’s physical form has fully developed, he will develop spiritual activity accordingly. Here “form” refers to the physical form of a human being, and “spiritual” refers to various mental activities, including emotions and consciousness. Xunzi (313?-238BC) pointed out that a person’s physical form and spirit, just like everything else, develop naturally in the course of the movement of the way of heaven. Spirit is born in the wake of physical formation of a human being. Full physical form is a prerequisite to the birth of spirit. A person’s spirit exists within his physical form.

引例 Citation:

◎天职既立,天功既成,形具而神生。好恶、喜怒、哀乐藏焉,夫是之谓天情。(《荀子·天论》)

(天的职能已经确立,天的功效已经实现,人的形体具备了,人的精神活动也随之产生。好恶、喜怒、哀乐等情感蕴藏在形体之中,这就叫做天然的情感。)

When the functions of Nature have been established and brought into play, one’s physical form emerges and his spirit is born. Love and hatred, delight and anger as well as grief and joy all develop within one’s physical form; and they are called natural emotions. (Xunzi)

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