言必信,行必果 – Chinese philosophy and culture

yán bì xìn, xíng bì guǒ 言必信,行必果

Promises Must Be Kept; Actions Must Be Resolute.

说话一定要有诚信,做事一定要果断。语出《墨子》与《论语》。墨家与儒家都赞成一个人说话应讲诚信,做事应当果敢,言行必须一致。但是孔子(前551—前479)与孟子(前372?—前289)对“言必信,行必果”提出了更高的要求,即统治者需要言而有信、取信于民,才能得到百姓拥戴,百姓才敢于说出真话。但在现实中不可以一味固守“言必信,行必果”,而应当遵从道义的需要,在符合道义的前提下权衡利弊,根据具体情况而作适当变通。后世在运用这一术语时,多强调一个人应当讲诚信,做事果断,能兑现承诺并且言行一致。

The expression comes from Mozi and The Analects. Followers of Mozi and Confucian ethics admired those who could keep their promises and whose actions were resolute. They believed speech and action should match. However, Confucius (551-479BC) and Mencius (372?-289BC) took this further to apply to rulers who, only by being as good as their words and trustworthy in their speech, could earn the confidence and support of their subjects who, in turn, would be truthful with them. For Confucius, this principle, rather than be followed too rigidly, should in practice be applied on the basis of what is ethical under specific conditions and after careful weighing the pros and cons. Later, the expression came to refer to honest speech and firm action, keeping one’s word, and also “suit action to word.”

引例 Citations:

◎言必信,行必果,使言行之合,犹合符节也,无言而不行也。(《墨子·兼爱下》)

(说出的话一定要守信用,做事一定要果断,使说的和做的能够像符节一样吻合,说出的话没有一句不去落实的。)

Promises must be kept; actions must be resolute. They should fit together like the two parts of a tally stick: everything said must be put into practice. (Mozi)

◎言必信,行必果,硁(kēnɡ)硁然小人哉!抑亦可以为次矣。(《论语·子路》)

(说话一定守信,行动一定果断,这是固执而不知变通的一般人!但也可以算得上次一等的士了。)

Always keeping one’s word without forethought is the sign of an obstinate and stubborn person, but he can still be considered a gentleman of a second degree. (The Analects)

◎大人者,言不必信,行不必果,惟义所在。(《孟子·离娄下》)

(德行出众的人,说话不一定句句守信,做事不一定事事落实,只看是否符合道义。)

For a person of exceptional virtue, not every word has to be credible nor every action firm as long as standards of righteousness are followed. (Mencius)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *