道法自然 – Chinese philosophy and culture

dào fǎ zìrán 道法自然

Dao Operates Naturally.

“道”效法、顺应万物的自然状态。这一命题出自《老子》。“自然”指事物自主、自在的状态。“道”创造、生养万物,但“道”不会对万物发号施令,而是效法、顺应万物之“自然”。“道”与万物的关系,在政治哲学中表现为统治者与百姓的关系。统治者应遵循“道”的要求,节制自己的权力,以无为的方式效法、顺应百姓的自然状态。

Dao operates in accordance with natural conditions of all things. This idea first appeared in the book Laozi, according to which “natural” means the natural state of things. Dao creates and nurtures everything, yet it does not command anything. In political philosophy, the relationship between Dao and natural things implies that between the ruler and the people. The rulers should follow the natural requirements of Dao, which places limits on their power, and govern by means of non-interference to allow the people and affairs to take their own natural course.

引例 Citation:

◎人法地,地法天,天法道,道法自然。(《老子·二十五章》)

(人效法地,地效法天,天效法道,道效法万物之自然。)

Man patterns himself on the operation of the earth; the earth patterns itself on the operation of heaven; heaven patterns itself on the operation of Dao; Dao patterns itself on what is natural. (Laozi)

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