和为贵 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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héwéiguì 和为贵

Harmony Is Most Precious.

以和谐为贵。“和”,和谐、恰当,是在尊重事物差异性、多样性基础上的和谐共存。本指“礼”的作用就是使不同等级的人既保持一定差别又彼此和谐共存,各得其所,各安其位,相得益彰,从而实现全社会的“和而不同”,为儒家处理人际关系的重要伦理原则。后泛指人与人之间、团体与团体之间、国家与国家之间和谐、和睦、和平、融洽的关系状态。它体现了中华民族反对暴力冲突、崇尚和平与和谐的“文”的精神。

Make harmony a top priority. He (和) indicates congruity and appropriateness. It is a state of congenial co-existence on the basis of due respect for differences and diversity. At first, this phrase referred to the role of li (礼rites / social norms) which is to keep citizens of distinct social status co-existing in a harmonious way, with everybody having his or her own place and staying there contentedly for mutual benefits, resulting in a “harmonious yet diverse” society. It is an important moral concept of the Confucian school in managing inter-personal relations. The term later evolved to refer in general to harmonious, congenial, peaceful, and agreeable relationships among people, groups, and states. It epitomizes the “civil” nature of the Chinese people, who oppose violent conflicts and aspire for peace and harmony.

引例 Citation:

◎有子曰:“礼之用,和为贵。先王之道,斯为美,小大由之。有所不行,知和而和,不以礼节之,亦不可行也。”(《论语·学而》)

(有子说:“礼的应用,以和谐为贵。古代君主的治国方法,可宝贵的地方就在这里,不论大事小事都依照“和”的原则去做。也有行不通的时候,如果仍一味为了和谐而和谐,而不用礼来加以节制,也是不可行的。”)

Youzi said, “Make harmony a top priority in the application of rites. That is a key feature that characterizes governance by sovereign rulers in ancient past. Always act upon the rule of harmony, no matter whether the issue at hand is minor or major. Sometimes, however, this rule may fail to work. If one insists on seeking harmony just for the sake of harmony instead of qualifying it with rites, then there will be no hope to succeed.” (The Analects)

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