温柔敦厚 – Chinese philosophy and culture

wēnróu-dūnhòu 温柔敦厚

Mild, Gentle, Sincere, and Broadminded

指儒家经典《诗经》所具有的温和宽厚的精神及教化作用。秦汉时期的儒学认为,《诗经》虽然有讽刺、劝谏的内容,但是重在疏导,不直言斥责,大多数诗篇情理中和,在潜移默化中使读者受到感化、养成敦实忠厚的德性,从而达到以诗教化的目的。温柔敦厚的诗教观是儒家中庸之道的体现,以中正、平和为审美标准,这也成为对于文艺创作风格的要求,体现为以含蓄为美、以教化为重。

This term refers to the mild and broadminded manner with which the Confucian classic, The Book of Songs, edifies people. Confucian scholars during the Qin and Han dynasties believed that although some poems of The Book of Songs were satirical and remonstrative in tone, it still focused on persuading people instead of just reproving them. Most of the poems in the book were moderate in tone and meant to encourage the reader to learn to be moderate and honest. Encouraging people to be mild and gentle, sincere and broadminded is a manifestation of Confucian doctrine of the mean, and being fair and gentle is an aesthetic value, which is also a standard for literary and artistic style that stresses the need for being gentle in persuasion and for edification.

引例 Citations:

◎入其国,其教可知也。其为人也,温柔敦厚,《诗》教也。(《礼记·经解》)

(进入一个国家,能看出国民的教养。民众的为人如果温柔敦厚,那就是《诗经》的教化之功。)

When you enter a state, you can find out whether its people are proper in behavior. If they show themselves to be mild and gentle, sincere and broadminded, they must have learned it from The Book of Songs. (The Book of Rites)

◎温柔敦厚,《诗》教之本也。有温柔敦厚之性情,乃有温柔敦厚之诗。(朱庭珍《筱园诗话》)

(温柔敦厚,是《诗经》教化的根本。只有具备温柔敦厚的性情,才能写出温柔敦厚的诗歌。)

Teaching people to be mild and gentle, sincere and broadminded is the basic purpose of The Book of Songs. One can write poetry with such characteristics only if one is endowed with such good qualities. (Zhu Tingzhen: Xiaoyuan’s Comments on Poetry)

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