恃德者昌,恃力者亡 – Chinese philosophy and culture

shì dé zhě chāng,shì lì zhě wáng 恃德者昌,恃力者亡

Those Who Rely on Virtue Will Thrive; Those Who Rely on Force Will Perish.

依靠道义的就会兴旺,依靠暴力的就会消亡。见于《史记·商君列传》引《尚书》。“德”即道义、恩德、德行,“力”即强力、暴力、武力。受儒家政治伦理思想影响,中国人自古提倡“王道”(以德服人),反对“霸道”(以力压人)。认为以德服人才能使人心悦诚服,从而形成合力,使事业兴旺发达;而以力压人只能使人被迫屈从,不能达成真实持久的和谐与团结。管理一单位如此,治理一国家如此,处理国与国之间的关系亦如此。作为处理国与国之间关系的原则,其含义可以诠释为:穷兵黩武、弱肉强食有违文明发展,只有坚守道义、互信互谅才能造就世界的持久和平与安全。

Relying on moral strength will bring prosperity, whereas relying on violence will bring doom. The saying is described in Records of the Historian as coming from The Book of History. De (德) refers to morals, grace, and integrity. Li (力) refers to coercion, violence, and military power. Under the influence of the political and ethical principles of the Confucian school, since ancient times the Chinese people have been advocating that a ruler should rule by virtue (winning over people with benevolence) as opposed to rule by force(wielding power over people), believing that only by relying on benevolence can the ruler hope to win people’s hearts and minds, resulting therefore in a positive synergy that brings about prosperity. Rule by force, on the other hand, can merely coerce people into submission, but cannot achieve genuine and lasting harmony and unity. This is true not only in managing an entity or governing a country, but also in handling relationships among countries. As a principle for managing international relations, the term suggests that wanton engagement in military action or attempting to completely dominate others are incompatible with the development of civilization. Only by observing moral principles and trusting one another can sustainable peace and security be achieved in the world.

引例 Citations:

◎德,国家之基也,有基无坏。(《左传·襄公二十四年》)

(德行,是国和家存在的根基,根基有了,国和家才不会被毁坏。)

Virtue is the foundation that supports a state and a family. Only upon this foundation can a state and a family stay invincible. (Zuo’s Commentary on The Spring and Autumn Annals)

◎孟子曰:“以力假仁者霸,霸必有大国;以德行仁者王,王不待大。……以力服人者,非心服也,力不赡也;以德服人者,中心悦而诚服也。”(《孟子·公孙丑上》)

(孟子说:“依靠武力而假借仁义之名的人可以称霸诸侯,但称霸必须是大国;而依靠道德来实行仁义使天下归顺的人,不用依靠国家实力强大。……依靠武力使人服从的,人们并不是真心服从他,只是没有力量反抗罢了;依靠道德使人归服的,人们是真的心悦诚服啊。”)

Mencius said, “Those who use military force in the name of benevolence can lord over kingdoms of dukes and princes, but to achieve this, they must rely on strong military power; whereas those who rely on moral strength and practice benevolence can win over all people independent of its military power. …Forcing people to observe moral principles will not make them follow a ruler from the bottom of their hearts. Rather, they obey simply because they are powerless to resist. Only those who rely on moral strength to rule can enjoy people’s sincere and whole-hearted support.” (Mencius)

◎为天下及国,莫如以德,莫如行义。以德以义,不赏而民劝,不罚而邪止。(《吕氏春秋·上德》)

(治理天下和国家,没有什么比得上德政,也没有什么比得上道义。采用德政和道义,不需赏赐民众就得到劝勉,不需惩罚邪恶就得到制止。)

Nothing is more important than benevolence and moral integrity in ruling a country and its people. When benevolence and morality are practiced, people will behave without any need for financial or material incentives. Evils will be inhibited without any need for punishment. (Master Lü’s Spring and Autumn Annals)

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