自强不息 – Chinese philosophy and culture

zìqiánɡ-bùxī 自强不息

Striving Continuously to Strengthen Oneself

自己努力向上,强大自己,永不懈怠停息。古人认为,天体出于自身的本性而运行,刚健有力,周而复始,一往无前永不停息。君子取法于“天”,也应发挥自己的能动性、主动性,勤勉不懈,奋发进取。这是中国人参照天体运行状态树立的执政理念和自身理想。它和“厚德载物”一起构成了中华民族精神的基本品格。

The term means that one should strive continuously to strengthen himself. Ancient Chinese believed that heavenly bodies move in accordance with their own nature in a vigorous and forever forward-going cycle. A man of virtue, who follows the law of heaven, should be fully motivated and work diligently to strengthen himself. This is the Chinese view on governance and self development, established with reference to the movement of heavenly bodies. Together with the notion that a true gentleman has ample virtue and carries all things, it constitutes the fundamental trait of the Chinese nation.

引例 Citations:

◎天行健,君子以自强不息。(《周易·彖上》)

(天的运行刚健有力,一往无前,君子的处世,应像天一样,自己努力向上,永不停息。)

Just as heaven keeps moving forward vigorously, a man of virtue should strive continuously to strengthen himself. (The Book of Changes)

◎自人君公卿至于庶人,不自强而功成者,天下未之有也。(《淮南子·修务训》)

(自帝王公卿到普通百姓,不奋发进取就能建立功业的,普天之下没有这样的事情。)

Neither monarchs, ministers, nor commoners have ever achieved great accomplishments in the world without first striving to strengthen themselves. (Huainanzi)

◎外有敌国,则其计先自强。自强者人畏我,我不畏人。(《宋史·董槐传》)

(外有敌对的国家,那我们首先要谋求使自己强大。如果自己强大了,敌国就会畏惧我们,我们就不会畏惧他们。)

Facing hostile countries, we must first of all strive to become strong. If we have strengthened ourselves, enemy states will fear us and we will not fear them. (The History of the Song Dynasty)

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