王 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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wáng 王

King

本为夏、商、周三代天子的称号,春秋以后周天子一统天下的局面遭到破坏,至战国时期列国君主皆可称王。秦汉以后,“王”一般是皇帝对自己直系男性亲属的最高封爵。在儒家特别是孔孟的政治哲学论述中,“王”一方面代表上天的旨意,具有至高无上的权力;另一方面又被赋予了极强的道德特质和政治理想。儒家认为,用仁义治理或统一天下、以道德手段使天下人都来归顺叫做“王(wànɡ)”,依靠仁义道德形成天下一统的政治局面叫做“王道”。

King was originally the title for the “Son of Heaven,” namely, the country’s supreme ruler in the Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties. From the Spring and Autumn Period onward, the power of the Zhou court gradually weakened and the kingdom disintegrated. By the time of the Warring States Period, any monarch could call himself a king. Up to the Qin and Han dynasties, king became the highest title granted by the emperor to a male member of the imperial family. In the political philosophical discourse of Confucianism, especially in the works of Confucius and Mencius, a king represents heaven’s will and therefore ought to have supreme, unchallengeable power; at the same time, he is imbued with a high moral attribute and political ideals. According to Confucianism, to be a king is to unify or govern the country with benevolence and righteousness, or to win over people by morally justified means. Likewise, the pursuit of the kingly way means using benevolent and righteous means to unify and govern the country.

引例 Citation:

◎天下归之之谓王,天下去之之谓亡。(《荀子·正论》)

(天下人归顺他,就可以称王;天下人抛弃他,就只会灭亡。)

He to whom the people swear allegiance can rule as a king; he perishes when the people desert him. (Xunzi)

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