祝盟 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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zhùméng 祝盟

Benediction and Vow of Allegiance

古代文体名称。“祝”指祝辞,是祭祀时对神赞美、向神祷祝并求得神灵福佑的文辞;“盟”指盟辞,是结盟时以神为证所立的誓约。它们的共同点都是以向神祷请的方式表达意愿和承诺。南朝刘勰(465?—520)认为,祷神的祝辞应该诚恳质朴,不能华丽夸饰;“盟”的目的是订立盟誓,使神明知晓自己的意愿和承诺,强调结盟的意义和彼此同进退、共存亡的意愿,因此立辞应当坦诚恳切,以感恩神灵的美好话语加强誓约各方的感情联系。刘勰指出,誓约最终取决于各方的诚信而不是神灵,但美好的祝盟文字有助于培育君子的德行。

Zhu or benediction is a short essay written to pay tribute to gods and seek their blessing. Meng or a vow of allegiance is made by allies to gods. They both express a wish and a commitment to gods. According to Liu Xie (465?-520) of the Southern Dynasties, a zhu should be sincere in tone and plain in wording, without any pomposity or fanfare. A meng, as a vow of allegiance, is intended to let gods know the commitment of rulers to entering into an alliance and sharing weal and woe. Therefore, a meng should be candid and sincere and reinforce solidarity between the allies through a prayer to gods. The success of entering into an alliance, said Liu Xie, depends ultimately on the sincerity of all the parties involved, not on gods. But a beautifully written zhu or meng will help to foster trust in and noble character among the people involved.

引例 Citations:

◎天地定位,祀遍群神。六宗既禋,三望咸秩。甘雨和风,是生黍稷。兆民所仰,美报兴焉。牺盛惟馨,本于明德;祝史陈信,资乎文辞。(刘勰《文心雕龙·祝盟》)

(天地的位置确定以后,人们祭祀各种神祗,对天地四时的祭祀已经完成,对山、河、海的遥祭也次第进行,于是有和风甘雨,帮助谷物生长。万民信仰神力,用上好祭品酬报神灵。供奉的祭品固然要无比馨香,而根本在于彰显神明的功德;主持祭祀的祝史向神灵表达心意,这就需要借助于祝辞。)

After the positions of heaven and earth were determined, people began offering sacrifices to gods. The prayers to heaven, earth and the four seasons were offered, and tributes were being paid to distant mountains, rivers and sea. As a result, mild winds and precious rain helped crops to grow. People all had faith in divine power; they offered their best sacrifices to repay gods for their blessings. The best food would be offered to gods in reverence. The master of sacrificial ceremonies would naturally use zhu (benedictions) to express people’s sincere wish. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)

◎故知信不由衷,盟无益也。(刘勰《文心雕龙·祝盟》)

(由此可见,誓约如果不能出自真心,订立的誓约也毫无意义。)

It can thus be seen that a meng or a vow of allegiance made without sincerity would be meaningless. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)

◎然非辞之难,处辞为难。后之君子,宜在殷鉴,忠信可矣,无恃神焉。

(刘勰《文心雕龙·祝盟》)

(誓约的文辞不难写,难在遵守约定。后世君子应当以背弃誓约的有关史实为鉴戒,恪守忠信的原则才行,不要依赖于神灵。)

It is not difficult to write a vow of allegiance. The hard part is honoring it. People in later generations should learn the past lessons of breaking vows of allegiance. One should remain true to one’s word and not rely on the grace of the gods. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)

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