Translation of “大同” in English – Universal Harmony

dàtóng

关键词

By “key concepts in Chinese thought and culture” we mean concepts and keywords or phrases the Chinese people have created or come to use that are fundamentally pertinent to Chinese philosophy, humanistic spirit, way of thinking, and values.

dàtóng 大同

Universal Harmony

儒家理想中的天下一家、人人平等、友爱互助的太平盛世(与“小康”相对)。儒家认为它是人类社会发展的最高阶段,类似于西方的乌托邦。其主要特征是:权力和财富归社会公有;社会平等,安居乐业;人人能得到社会的关爱;货尽其用,人尽其力。清末民初,“大同”又被用来指称西方传来的社会主义、共产主义、世界主义等概念。

This term refers to the time of peace and prosperity envisioned by Confucian scholars when all the people under heaven are one family, equal, friendly, and helpful to each other (as opposed to xiaokang [小康] – minor or moderate prosperity). Confucianism takes universal harmony as the supreme stage of the development of the human society, somewhat similar to the idea of utopia in the West. Its main features are: All power and wealth belong to the whole of society; all people are equal and live and work in peace and contentment; everyone is cared for by society; everything is used to its fullest and everyone works to his maximum potential. In the late Qing Dynasty and the early Republic of China, the term referred to the concepts of socialism, communism, or cosmopolitanism that had been introduced to China from the West.

引例 Citation:

◎大道之行也,天下为公,选贤与能,讲信修睦。故人不独亲其亲,不独子其子,使老有所终,壮有所用,幼有所长,矜寡孤独废疾者,皆有所养……是谓大同。(《礼记·礼运》)

(大道实行的时代,天下为百姓所共有,品德高尚、才能突出的人被选拔出来管理社会,人与人之间讲究诚实与和睦。所以人们不仅仅爱自己的双亲,不仅仅抚养自己的子女,而是使老年人都能终其天年,壮年人都有用武之地,幼童都能得到抚育,无妻或丧妻的年老男子、无夫或丧夫的年老女子、丧父的儿童、无子女的老人以及残障者都能得到照顾和供养……这就叫做大同社会。)

When great Dao prevails, the whole world is owned by all the people. Those who are virtuous and competent are selected as administrators. People treat each other with sincerity and live in harmony. People not only love their parents, bring up their children, but also take care of the aged. The middle-aged are able to put their talents and abilities to best use, children are well nurtured, and old widows and widowers, unmarried old people, orphans, childless old people, and the disabled are all provided for … This is universal harmony. (The Book of Rites)

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