绝地天通 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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jué dì tiān tōng 绝地天通

Keep Earthly and Heavenly Affairs Separate

断绝地上之事与上天之事的相互干犯与无序沟通。见于《尚书》与《国语》。“绝地天通”是针对民神杂糅所导致的混乱状态,对神人关系做出的一次重新规范。古人认为,神灵祭祀之事属天,民众治理之事属地。天地两个领域的事务应由专人分别管理,以避免人们任意、无序地与神灵沟通,从而维护神灵的权威及其统摄之下的人世秩序。

The need to keep earthly affairs from heavenly affairs separate was first mentioned in The Book of History and the Discourses on Governance of the States. This was aimed at countering disorderly interaction between the people and the gods and redefining the relationship between them. The ancient Chinese viewed sacrifices to the gods and spirits as belonging to the heavenly realm while governance of the people was an earthly matter. Heavenly and earthly affairs ought to be managed separately by designated people so as to avoid communication with the gods in an arbitrary and disorderly manner. This would maintain the authority of the gods and the order of the human world under the gods.

引例 Citation:

◎颛顼(zhuānxū)受之,乃命南正重(chóng)司天以属神,命火正黎司地以属民,使复旧常,无相侵渎,是谓绝地天通。(《国语·楚语下》)

(颛顼接受帝位,于是命令南正重掌管上天之事以负责侍奉神灵,命令火正黎掌管地上之事以负责管理民众,使回复旧日的常法,不再相互干犯,这就是所谓的“绝地天通”。)

After ascending the throne, Zhuanxu ordered Chong, the Regulator of the South, to oversee heavenly affairs and care for the gods, and Li, the Regulator of Fire, was ordered to oversee earthly affairs and care for the people, so as to return to old practices and not have heavenly and earthly affairs intrude on each other. This is called keeping earthly and heavenly affairs separate. (Discourses on Governance of the States)

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