民惟邦本 – Chinese philosophy and culture

mín wéi bāng běn 民惟邦本

People Being the Foundation of the State

指民众是国家的根本或基础。只有百姓安居乐业、生活稳定,国家才能安定。最早见于伪《古文尚书》所载大禹的训示。这与战国时代孟子提出的“民为贵,社稷次之,君为轻”,荀子提出的“水能载舟,亦能覆舟”的思想一脉相承,并由此形成儒家所推崇的“民本”思想。

This term means that the people are the essence of the state or the foundation upon which it stands. Only when people live and work in peace and contentment can the state be peaceful and stable. This saying, which first appeared in a pseudo-version of The Classical Book of History as an instruction by Yu the Great, can be traced to Mencius’ statement: “The essence of a state is the people, next come the god of land and the god of grain (which stand for state power), and the last the ruler,” and Xunzi’s statement, “Just as water can float a boat, so can water overturn it.” This idea gave rise to the “people first” thought advocated by Confucianism.

引例 Citation:

◎皇祖有训:民可近,不可下。民惟邦本,本固邦宁。(《尚书·五子之歌》)

(我们的祖先大禹曾经告诫说:民众只可以亲近,不能认为他们卑微。民众是国家的根本,根本稳固了国家才能安宁。)

Our ancestor Yu the Great warned: (a ruler) must maintain a close relationship with the people; he must not regard them as insignificant. They are the foundation of a state, and a state can enjoy peace only when its foundation is firm. (The Book of History)

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