明德 – Chinese philosophy and culture

mínɡdé 明德

Illustrious Virtue

彰显美德或纯明的德行。“明德”最初是对为政者的一种要求。“德”特指为政者在照顾百姓、任用官吏、施加赏罚等方面的良好品行。“明德”即是在施政中遵循并彰显这些德行。后世用“明德”指称为政者应该具备的显明的品德。而在儒家看来,为政之德是人的内在德性的扩充,因此为政者的“明德”即体现着至高的道德。

This term means to manifest rectitude or upright conduct. The term was originally used to describe qualities expected of the sovereign. De (德) specifically meant fairness and decency towards the populace, in the appointment of officials, and the bestowing of rewards and punishments. Mingde (明德) as a verb was to govern in such a way. Later, the term as a noun referred to the required moral qualities of those in power. Confucianism holds that governing in a moral way is an extension of a person’s internal rectitude, hence mingde is an expression of the highest degree of morality manifested by a ruler.

引例 Citations:

◎惟乃丕显考文王,克明德慎罚,不敢侮鳏寡,庸庸,祗祗,威威,显民。(《尚书·康诰》)

(你显赫的父亲周文王,能彰显美德,慎用刑罚,不敢侮慢鳏寡之人,任用可用之人,敬重可敬之人,威慑需要被威慑之人,向民众显示这些美德。)

Your illustrious father King Wen of Zhou displayed virtue to his people. He punished sparingly, did not disrespect the bereaved, appointed those with ability, recognized those with good qualities, and intimidated those who needed to be deterred. (The Book of History)

◎大学之道,在明明德,在亲民,在止于至善。(《礼记·大学》)

(成人之学的教育宗旨,在于彰显纯明的德行,在于亲爱民众,在于符合至善的原则。)

The way of great learning is to illustrate high morals and proper conduct, show compassion to the people, and follow the principles of benevolence and virtue.(The Book of Rites)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.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