养气 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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yǎngqì 养气

Cultivating Qi

涵养道德精神、调养身心健康以达到良好的文艺创作心态,从而创作出优秀的文艺作品。这一术语具有多重蕴涵:其一,先秦孟子强调君子应善于培养道德精神的“浩然之气”。其二,东汉王充在《论衡》中有《养气篇》,专门从养生角度提倡“养气”。其三,南朝刘勰《文心雕龙·养气》,汲取上述思想,主张在从事文艺创作的初始阶段,要保持良好的身体状态和从容自由的心态,不应过度消耗精神。后来“养气”成为文艺心理学的重要术语。

This term suggests cultivating one’s moral spirit and improving one’s physical and mental well-being to achieve the best state of mind during literary creation in order to write excellent works. “Cultivating qi (气)” has three implications: 1) in the pre-Qin period Mencius emphasized that the virtuous and the capable should foster a “righteous qi” conducive to moral cultivation; 2) A Comparative Study of Different Schools of Learning by Wang Chong of the Eastern Han Dynasty has a chapter entitled “Treatise on Cultivating Qi,” which emphasizes qi cultivation primarily in regards to maintaining good health; 3) Liu Xie of the Southern Dynasties, in The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons, drew upon the foregoing ideas and suggested maintaining good physical condition and a free, composed mental state in the initial phase of literary creation, while opposing excessive mental exertion. “Cultivating qi” subsequently became an important term in the lexicon of literary psychology.

引例 Citations:

◎我知言,我善养吾浩然之气。(《孟子·公孙丑上》)

(我能够识别各种言论中的思想感情倾向,这是因为我懂得如何培养自己正大刚强的“气”。)

I am capable of differentiating between the thoughts and sentiments people convey in their words because I know how to cultivate my qi, and keep it strong. (Mencius)

◎是以吐纳文艺,务在节宣,清和其心,调畅其气;烦而即舍,勿使壅滞。(刘勰《文心雕龙·养气》)

(因此从事写作必须学会节制和疏导,让内心纯净平和,将气调理顺畅,内心烦乱时就应停止,不要让思路滞涩。)

Hence, when engaging in writing one must learn how to constrain and regulate oneself, keep one’s mind pure and peaceful, and modulate one’s mental vitality and activities. One should stop writing when upset so as not to disrupt one’s train of thinking. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)

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