《双语园地》The Traditional Chinese View on Male-Female Relationships 中国传统的男女关系观

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The Traditional Chinese View on Male-Female Relationships

Like all ancient civilizations, traditional Chinese philosophies had a very non-modernist take on genders, with defining characteristics for both men and women. However, such a view did not emerge with an intent to discriminate, but from a wisdom that realized that men and women are essentially different and must be assigned unique roles, fitting in with their attributes, for the benefit of society.

与所有古代文明一样,中国传统哲学对性别具有非现代主义色彩,对男性和女性都具有明确的特征。然而,这种观点并不是出于歧视的意图,而是出于一种智慧,即认识到男人和女人本质上是不同的,必须被赋予独特的角色,符合他们的属性,为了社会的利益。

Family structure

Traditional Chinese thought viewed male and female through the Taoist concept of Yin and Yang. Qualities like dominance, power, and firmness were considered to be Yang and were associated with the male. In contrast, submissiveness, and gentleness were Yin and were associated with women.

Chinese philosophers described a dominant male and a submissive female as the foundation of a society. The husband was to be Yang in the relationship who worked and supported his family while the woman provided the love and care necessary for the upbringing and keeping of the family.

The Record of Rituals, a collection of ancient Chinese texts, states that China’s ruling monarchs used to give immense respect to their wives. In exchange, the wife was said to maintain an attitude of deference in the household. In the Biographies of Exemplary Women, written in 18 B.C., the writer argues that the relationship between a husband and wife was the foundation of a stable society. Scholar Liu Xiang, born in 77 B.C., noted that morality starts with a strong family, which then reflects in the society.

家庭结构

中国传统思想通过道家阴阳观念看男性和女性。优势,权力和坚定等品质被认为是阳,并与男性有关。相比之下,顺从和温柔是阴,并与女性有关。

中国哲学家将一个占统治地位的男性和一个顺从的女性描述为一个社会的基础。丈夫是阳,在关系中工作和支持他的家庭,而女人提供了抚养和养家的必要的爱和关怀。

中国古代文献集”中的“仪式记录”指出,中国执政的君主过去常常对他们的妻子给予极大的尊重。作为交换,据说妻子保持对家庭的尊重态度。在公元前18年写的“示范女性传记”中,作者认为丈夫和妻子之间的关系是稳定社会的基础。学者刘翔出生于公元前77年,他指出,道德始于一个强大的家庭,然后在社会中反映出来。

The Record of Rituals,’ a collection of ancient Chinese texts, states that China’s ruling monarchs used to give immense respect to their wives. (Image: Kelidimari via wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

Violation of the Yin and Yang relationship between men and women was said to result in major social disorders. Considering the high number of divorces, fatherless children, and crime rates plaguing modern societies, the traditional Chinese recommendation of ensuring a strong family system with a male head and female caretaker seems to be the most stable path to maintain a society.

据说,违反男女阴阳关系会导致严重的社会紊乱。考虑到离婚人数众多,失去父亲的孩子以及困扰现代社会的犯罪率,中国传统是确保拥有男性为主和女性为辅助的强大家庭制度,这似乎是最能维持稳定社会的道路。

Empress Zhangsun: A role model for traditional women
Empress Zhangsun, who lived in the 7th century B.C., is an excellent example of a traditional Chinese woman. She married Emperor Taizong at the age of just 13 years old and acted as an excellent wife and queen. Zhangsun was said to be compassionate, wise, and lived humbly, staying away from a luxurious lifestyle.

Her wisdom and character can be understood by looking at the circumstances surrounding her death. In 635, she fell terribly ill. Emperor Taizong was advised to grant amnesty to a few prisoners and send them to a temple so as to gain the blessings of Heaven. However, Zhangsun told her husband not to follow through with the advice since she did not want country rules to be violated for her benefit.

“Life and death are a matter of destiny, and wealth and honor are the wills of Heaven. If doing good deeds can indeed extend one’s life, then I have never done bad deeds in my life. If doing good deeds does not affect one’s lifespan, then what’s the good of seeking fortune? Giving amnesty to prisoners is a national affair and the Taoist temples are quiet places. There is no need to interfere with these places because of me. Why violate the rules and principles of this country because of a woman?” she said.

长孙皇后:传统女性的榜样

生活在公元前7世纪的长孙皇后,是中国传统女性的典范。她在13岁时与唐太宗结婚,并且是一位出色的妻子和皇后。据说长孙皇后是富有同情心,有智慧,谦卑地生活,远离奢侈的生活方式。

她的智慧和品格充分体现在她面对死亡的态度胸怀,在635年,她病倒了。太子承乾请求以大赦囚徒并将他们送入道观来为母后祈福袪疾,群臣感念皇后盛德都随声附和,就连耿直的魏徵也没有提出异议,但长孙皇后自己坚决反对。她说:“死生有命,富贵在天,非人力所能左右。若修福可以延寿,吾向来不做恶事;若行善无效,那么求福何用?赦免囚徒是国家大事,道观也是清静之地,不必因为我而搅扰,何必因我一妇人,而乱天下之法度!”她深明大义,终生不为自己而影响国事,众人听了都落下了眼泪。唐太宗也只好依照她的意思而作罢。

Empress Zhangsun, who lived in the 7th century B.C., is an excellent example of a traditional Chinese woman. (Image: Taste of Life)

Empress Zhangsun succumbed to her death in 636 B.C. and still remains a role model of how a traditional woman should be — a strong support for her husband. Many modernists will take offense to the idea that females were meant to support.

Strength of Yin

When you take in the concept of leadership, the leaders in the highest rungs understand that to lead means to serve. It is not easy nor is it possible for everyone to serve properly. To do this, one must carry the qualities of kindness, empathy, tolerance, and wisdom.

The strengths of women are unique and not to be found in men. Their attributes complement each other like the sky and the earth to enable the flourishing of life in-between. When roles are defined, the order is established and there is no longer chaos in society.

Ancient Chinese women were devoted and nurturing of their families and efficient in managing households. When men went to work, the women, educated in the classical arts, maintained the foundations of their house in order, which enabled peace and prosperity.

In Chinese philosophy, too much of something, i.e. Yin or Yang, disrupts the balance. When men acquire feminine characteristics or women, manly attributes, the balance has completely gone off-track and will result in a society filled with misery and internal afflictions that will not survive for long.

阴的力量

女性的优势是独一无二的,而男人没有具有的特性。要做到这一点,必须具备仁慈,同理心,宽容和智慧的品质。阴和阳的两种属性相互补充,如天空和地球,使中间的生命繁荣。当角色被定义时,秩序就会建立起来,社会就不再混乱。

中国古代妇女致力于有效的管理家庭。当男人为了养家糊口去工作时,受过传统教育的女人们按顺序维护了自己家的基础,从而实现了家庭的和平与繁荣。

在中国哲学中,阴阳反背,会破坏平衡。当男人女性化或女性男性化时,平衡完全偏离轨道,将导致一个充满内心痛苦,道德离乱的社会,人们的幸福感将无法长久存在。

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