浑沌 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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hùndùn 浑沌

Chaos

“浑沌”又作“混沌”,有两种不同含义:其一,指天地分化形成以前宇宙浑然一体的状态。常以未分化之“气”言之。天地万物皆由“浑沌”分化演变而成。其二,特指《庄子》一则寓言中的中央之帝。中央之帝浑沌无七窍,被南海之帝儵(shū)和北海之帝忽凿开七窍而亡。庄子以此形象寓指人无知无识、无善恶彼我之分,与整个世界浑然一体的状态。

The term has two meanings. First, it refers to the state of one whole mass that existed before the universe took shape, often said to exist before qi (vital force) emerged. The multitude of organisms on earth all emanated from this state. Second, it refers to Chaos, king of the Central Region in a fable in Zhuangzi. According to the fable, Chaos had no eyes, nose, mouth or ears. Shu, king of the South Sea, and Hu, king of the North Sea, drilled seven apertures into Chaos and killed him. Zhuangzi used this story to show the state of chaos of the world in which there is neither knowledge or wisdom, nor distinction between good and evil.

引例 Citations:

◎说《易》者曰:“元气未分,浑沌为一。”(王充《论衡·谈天》)

(论说《周易》的人言道:“元气没有分化之时,浑然一体。”)

Those who commented on The Book of Changes said, “Before qi (vital force) appeared, the world was in a state of formless chaos.” (Wang Chong: A Comparative Study of Different Schools of Learning)

◎南海之帝为儵,北海之帝为忽,中央之帝为浑沌。儵与忽时相与遇于浑沌之地,浑沌待之甚善。儵与忽谋报浑沌之德,曰:人皆有七窍以视听食息,此独无有,尝试凿之。日凿一窍,七日而浑沌死。(《庄子·应帝王》)

(南海之帝是儵,北海之帝是忽,中央之帝是浑沌。儵与忽时常相会于浑沌之地,浑沌待他们很好。儵与忽商量报答浑沌,说:人都有七窍用以视听、饮食、呼吸,唯独浑沌没有,尝试为它开凿出来。于是每天为浑沌开凿一窍,七天之后浑沌死了。)

The king of the South Sea was called Shu, the king of the North Sea was called Hu, and the king of the Central Region was called Chaos. Shu and Hu often met in the territory of Chaos, who treated them very well. They wanted to repay his kindness, and said, “Every man has seven apertures with which to hear, to see, to eat and drink, and to breathe, but Chaos alone has none of them. Let’s try and bore some for him.” They bored one aperture on Chaos each day, and on the seventh day Chaos died. (Zhuangzi)

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