大道至简 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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dàdào-zhìjiǎn 大道至简

Great Truth in Simple Words

越普遍、越根本的道理、原则或方法其实越是浅易简便。“大道”指的是自然、社会的普遍法则以及人们对待自然、治理社会的根本原则,“简”即浅易、简明、简便。它用于治国理政及社会管理等方面,主要有两层含义:其一,越普遍、越根本的道理就应该越简明浅易,便于人们掌握并付诸实施;其二,“大道”并不是远离人世的某种高高在上的原理,它的道理、功用就蕴含在人们的伦常日用之中。只要透过纷繁的表层现象,寻流讨源,就可以抓住事物的本质和规律,以简驭繁。

The most popular and most fundamental truths, principles, and methodologies tend to be expressed in simple words and are easy to understand. Dadao (大道) means great truth, or universally applicable laws governing nature and society, or the fundamental principles for people to follow in treating nature and governing society. The Chinese character jian (简) means simple, concise, and easy. The term is often used to describe the governance of a state and management of society. It has two primary meanings. First, it means that the most popular and fundamental truths should be expressed in simple words so that ordinary people can easily understand and put them into practice. Second, dadao is not something separate and far away from reality. Rather, it is a practical ethical principle which is easy for people to follow in their daily lives. As long as one sees through the seemingly complicated superficialities and traces the source of things, one will be able to grasp the fundamental truths, discover the basic rules, and comprehend them in spite of the complexity.

引例 Citations:

◎博文约礼,由至著入至简,故可使不得叛而去。(张载《正蒙·中正》)

(博通文献知识,用礼约束自己,由最显明之处入手而达到最简单易行的境地,就可使自己不背离中正之道。)

He is able to keep himself to the right path if he has an excellent command of extensive literary knowledge, constrains himself with ritual propriety, and starts from the most obvious point to arrive at the most convenient situation. (Zhang Zai: Enlightenment Through Confucian Teachings)

◎盖道至易至简、至近至平常……故夫日用庸平,人皆不知其为道。(杨简《慈湖诗传》卷六)

(大抵道最浅易也最简便、最切近也最平常……就体现在人们每天的寻常生活之中,但人们都不知道这就是道。)

All great truths are most plain and easy to understand and most common in people’s everyday life… as such, people do not think them as truths. (Yang Jian: Cihu’s Commentary on The Book of Songs)

◎《易》之所以广大者,以其能变通也;所以变通者,阴阳二物而已;所以为阴阳者,至易而不难知,至简而不难能也。(项安世《周易玩辞》卷十三)

(《周易》之所以广大无边,是因为它的变化无穷;《周易》之所以变化无穷,是因为有阴阳二气罢了;之所以归为阴阳二气,是因为阴阳最浅易而不难知晓,最简便而不难做到。)

The Book of Changes is boundless and limitless, through the ever changing nature it offers. The reason why The Book of Changes offers infinite changes is attributable to the two kinds of qi: yin and yang. The reason why everything can be traced to the two kinds of qi, yin and yang, is that the theory of yin and yang is easy to understand and implement. (Xiang Anshi: Expounding the Theories of The Book of Changes)

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