求放心 – Chinese philosophy and culture

qiú fànɡxīn 求放心

Search for the Lost Heart

寻求、找回丧失的本心。“求放心”是孟子所提出的一种道德修养方法。孟子认为,每个人天生都具有善心,也即是“四端”,它是每个人都有的天赋德性,是人之为善的根源。但在人的成长过程中,受到外在事物与环境的影响,固有的善心可能会被削弱和遮蔽,从而出现违背道德的言行。因此在个人的道德修养中,需要努力发现并找回自己所固有的善心。

To search for and retrieve one’s lost heart is a way to cultivate one’s morality propounded by Mencius. In his view everyone was born with a benevolent heart, which meant the “four beginnings” of benevolence, righteousness, rites and social norms, and wisdom. These are virtues conferred by Heaven and the sources of human kindness. However, people may be influenced by external factors or the environment when growing up. In that case, their innate goodness may be weakened or obscured and hence they may act or speak in contrary to moral principles. Therefore, when cultivating one’s moral character, one must find and recover one’s innate good heart.

引例 Citation:

◎人有鸡犬放,则知求之;有放心,而不知求。学问之道无他,求其放心而已矣。(《孟子·告子上》)

(人丢失了所养的鸡、犬,则知道去寻找;丢失了本心,却不知道寻找。学问之道没有别的,就是要寻求、找回丢失的本心而已。)

One surely knows to look for the chicken or dog and bring them back when he loses them. However, one may not know to look for his heart when he loses it. The way of learning is no other than searching for one’s lost heart. (Mencius)

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