天子 – Chinese philosophy and culture

0
124
Listen to this article

tiānzǐ 天子

Son of Heaven

“天”之子,指帝王、君主,即帝国或王朝的最高统治者。古人认为,帝王、君主秉上天旨意统治天下,其权力乃天所授,故称帝王、君主为天子。这个名称肯定了帝王、君主的权力来自上天所赐的正当性和神圣性,同时也对之构成一定的约束。这和西方的“君权神授”的观念相似,但有根本不同:中国的“天”不同于西方的“神”,而且蕴含着“天人感应”的思想,即“天”的旨意与人心、民意相贯通。

The Son of Heaven refers to the emperor or monarch, the supreme ruler of an empire or dynasty. People in ancient times believed that a monarch ruled the world by Heaven’s decree and with its mandate, hence he was called the Son of Heaven. This term asserted that a ruler’s authority was legitimate and sacred, as it was bestowed by Heaven, but to some extent, it also restricted the exercise of this power. This has some similarity to the Western concept of the divine right of kings by the grace of God, but there are fundamental differences. Tian (天), the Chinese word for Heaven, is not the same as the Western term “God.” Rather, the Chinese term also implies the idea of interaction between Heaven and man, which means that the decree of Heaven also embodies popular will and popular support.

引例 Citations:

◎明明天子,令闻不已。(《诗经·大雅·江汉》)

(勤勤勉勉的周天子,美好的声誉流传不息。)

So diligent is the Son of Heaven! His fame will forever be remembered. (The Book of Songs)

◎故德侔天地者称皇帝,天祐而子之,号称天子。(董仲舒《春秋繁露·三代改制质文》)

(所以道德可与天地齐等的人做皇帝,上天保佑他,以他为子,所以号称“天子”。)

Therefore a man whose virtue is equal to that of heaven and earth can be an emperor. Heaven blesses him and takes him as his son, so he is called the Son of Heaven. (Dong Zhongshu: Luxuriant Gems of The Spring and Autumn Annals)

Rate this post

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here