木讷 – Chinese philosophy and culture

mù nè 木讷

Simple and Sparing of Words

质朴而少言。“木”指为人质朴,“讷”指言语少而迟缓。人们对于道义的持守应发自内心的认同与追求,而不是为了以外在的表现去获取名声与利益。“木讷”即强调舍弃对名利的追求,避免浮华不实的行为与言语,专注于自身的德行修养。儒家认为,“木讷”作为一种重要的美德,接近于“仁”的要求。在这个意义上,“木讷”并不同于日常语用中的呆板迟钝之义。

The first of these two Chinese characters means simple and honest. The second one means sparing of words. People should embrace moral standards with all their hearts rather than cultivate an ostentatious appearance in an attempt to seek fame and gain. To be simple and sparing of words underscores a determination to reject vanity, avoid pretentious behavior and rhetoric, and to concentrate on cultivating one’s moral character. Confucian scholars regard being simple and honest and sparing of words as an important virtue, close to what is required for being benevolent. In this particular context, being “simple and sparing of words” has no connotation of dull-mindedness or being reticent.

引例 Citations:

◎子曰:“刚、毅、木、讷,近仁。”(《论语·子路》)

(孔子说:“刚强、果毅、质朴、少言的品德,接近于仁德的要求。”)

Confucius said, “Being firm, resolute, simple and sparing of words comes close to being benevolent.” (The Analects)

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