恍惚 – Chinese philosophy and culture

huǎnghū 恍惚

Intangible Existence

若有若无,难以捉摸。又作“惚恍”。在《老子》书中,“恍惚”被用以描述“道”的状态。老子认为,“道”是无形的,不能用任何有形事物的属性加以描述。同时,“道”又不是完全的虚空,“道”对于万物发挥着实在的影响。“道”所具有的这样一种若有若无的状态即是“恍惚”。

The term refers to a state of existence which is hard to see and ascertain. It is used in Laozi to describe the existential characteristics of Dao. According to Laozi, Dao is shapeless, nebulous, and beyond characterization by anything physical or material. At the same time, it is not completely void, but influences everything in the universe. This intangible nature is typical of Dao.

引例 Citation:

◎孔德之容,惟道是从。道之为物,惟恍惟惚。惚兮恍兮,其中有象;恍兮惚兮,其中有物。窈兮冥兮,其中有精;其精甚真,其中有信。自古及今,其名不去,以阅众甫。吾何以知众甫之状哉?以此。(《老子·二十一章》)

(大德的状态,依从于道。道这个事物,恍恍惚惚。恍惚之中存在着物象,恍惚之中包含着实物。深远暗昧之中包含着精髓,深远暗昧中的精髓极为真实,其中有可信之物。从古到今,道的名字不曾消失,依据道而察知万物的本始。我如何知晓万物本始的状态?依赖于道。)

Great Virtue is derived from Dao, which is intangible. Dao embodies physical objects and beings in its intangible existence and captures their essence truthfully in an insightful, meaningful, and credible way. Dao has been in existence since ancient times. It sheds light on the origin of things. How do I come to know the original state of everything? By studying Dao. (Laozi)

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