民以食为天 – Chinese philosophy and culture

0
135
Listen to this article

mín yǐ shí wéi tiān 民以食为天

Food Is of Primary Importance to the People.

民众将粮食看作天大的事情。“食”即粮食,泛指人类生存不可或缺的基本资源或物质条件;“天”比喻最重要的事物或主宰一切的根本因素。古人认为,治国者不仅要知道百姓是君主的“天”、国家的“本”,而且要知道百姓的“天”是什么;粮食既是百姓糊口养家、安居乐业不可或缺的基本物质条件,当然也是任何领导集团招抚民众,保障民生不可或缺的基本资源。确保百姓能吃上饭、吃饱饭,确保基本生存资源的供应,是治国安民的一条底线。这是一个非常务实的政治理念。

The people consider food to be of the utmost importance. Shi (食 food) is a general term for the basic resources or material conditions essential to human life; tian (天 heaven) refers to the most important things or the basic elements which determine everything. Ancient Chinese believed that rulers not only had to understand that the ordinary people were the ruler’s “heaven” and the “foundation” of the state, they also had to understand what the ordinary people’s “heaven” was. Food is an indispensable basic material condition for the people to feed themselves, support their families, live peacefully, and fulfill stable jobs; of course it is also an indispensable basic material condition for a ruling group to mollify the people and ensure their livelihood. The bottom line for governing a country and helping its people is to guarantee the people food to eat and enough of it, and to guarantee the supply of basic resources needed for survival. This is an extremely pragmatic political concept.

引例 Citations:

◎[郦]食其(yìjī)因曰:“臣闻之:‘知天之天者,王事可成;不知天之天者,王事不可成。’王者以民为天,而民以食为天。”(《汉书·郦食其传》)

(郦食其于是说:“我听说‘知道天所以为天的人可成就帝王之业,不知道天所以为天的人不能成就帝王之业。’崇尚王道的帝王以百姓为天,而百姓以粮食为天。”)

Li Yiji then said, “I hear that those who understand the ways of heaven can accomplish the job of kings, while those who do not understand the ways of heaven cannot. Rulers who honor the kingly way regard the people as heaven, and the people regard food as heaven.” (The History of the Han Dynasty)

◎国以民为本,民以食为天,衣其次也。(《三国志·吴书·陆凯传》)

(国家以百姓为根本,百姓以粮食为天,穿衣问题次之。)

The people are the foundation of a state, food is heaven to the people, and clothing is the next most important thing. (The History of the Three Kingdoms)

Rate this post

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here