天人感应 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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tiān rén gǎn yīng 天人感应

Nature and Humans Respond to Each Other.

天与人之间相互感应。“天人感应”之说是董仲舒(前179—前104)明确提出的。他继承了前人的思想,认为同类事物之间可以相互感应。而人作为天的副本,彼此之间也存在着感应。天的变化会影响人和人事,而人的言行、人事的治乱也会在天象上有所反映。统治者如果有悖乱的言行,就会引发灾异。董仲舒试图在“天人感应”的基础上,利用灾异现象规劝统治者施行德治。

Humans and Nature respond to each other. This theory was put forward by Dong Zhongshu (179-104 BC), who had inherited his predecessors’ thinking and believed that things of similar nature could respond to each other. According to him, humans are a duplication of Nature, therefore they respond to each other. Changes of Nature will affect human beings and their activities. Human actions and words, as well as the order or disorder of human society are reflected in Nature by astronomical signs. If the ruler of a state has said or done something treacherous, calamity or unnatural phenomenon may occur to reflect this. Dong Zhongshu, with this theory as his basis, tried to persuade the ruler to govern virtuously by citing historical calamities or unnatural phenomena.

引例 Citations:

◎天有阴阳,人亦有阴阳。天地之阴气起,而人之阴气应之而起。人之阴气起,天地之阴气亦宜应之而起,其道一也。(董仲舒《春秋繁露·同类相动》)

(天有阴阳,人也有阴阳。天地之间的阴气兴起,则人的身上的阴气也会感应而兴起。人的身上的阴气兴起,则天地之间的阴气也会感应而起,其中的道理是一样的。)

There are cloudy days, there are sunny days. Similarly, a person can be in high spirit or become crest fallen. When a miasma arises in Nature, people, influenced by such an unhealthy air, will also have sadness growing inside him. For the same reason, when people are overcome by grief, a miasma, triggered by such grief, will rise in Nature. (Dong Zhongshu: Luxuriant Gems of The Spring and Autumn Annals)

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