玄德 – Chinese philosophy and culture

xuándé 玄德

Inconspicuous Virtue

隐晦而不彰显的德行。道家将“玄德”作为统治者的至高品德。道家认为,“道”作为万物的本原,其基本内容是以“无为”的方式顺应并发挥万物的本性。而“玄德”即是统治者效法于“道”的具体表现。“玄德”要求统治者在为政中节制自己所掌握的权力,避免对百姓的干预,顺应、保全百姓的自然状态。

This term refers to moral conduct that is discreet and unobtrusive. The Daoists believe this is the highest manifestation of morality in a ruler. Dao is the source of all beings and things, and is manifested through wuwei (无为) or non-action. By being discreet and unobtrusive in his moral conduct, the ruler thus emulates Dao. Xuande (玄德) requires the ruler to exercise restraint in his use of authority to avoid interfering with the natural state of his people, which he should comply with and maintain.

引例 Citation:

◎道生之,德畜之,物形之,势成之。是以万物莫不尊道而贵德。道之尊,德之贵,夫莫之命而常自然。故道生之,德畜之,长之育之,成之熟之,养之覆之。生而不有,为而不恃,长而不宰。是谓玄德。(《老子·五十一章》)

(道生成万物,德蓄养万物,万物呈现各自的形态,环境使万物成长。所以万物没有不尊崇道而珍贵德的。道之所以受尊崇,德之所以被珍贵,就在于它不施加命令而常顺应万物的自然状态。因此道创生万物,德蓄养万物,长养培育万物,成就万物,养护万物。创生万物而不据为己有,影响万物而不自恃己能,养育万物而不为主宰,这就是玄德。)

Dao is the origin of all things; virtue nurtures all things, which thus assume their different forms, and grow in different environments. That is why all things and beings revere Dao and cherish virtue. This reverence and cherishing arise because there are no demands imposed on the natural state of things and beings. Instead this state is respected. Thus Dao creates all things, virtue nurtures them, and the environment makes them grow and mature. Create without possessing, influence without showing off one’s ability, and cultivate without controlling. Such is the quality of inconspicuous virtue. (Laozi)

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