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Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by sanawak, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. sanawak Senior Member


    I would like to translate it 以虚无为本,以因循为用. Is this Laozi ? Thanks

    Here there is the whole sentence : 这一学派标榜“以虚无为本,以因循为用”(《史记·太史公自序》,恰与当时百废待兴、需要休养生息的形势合拍。

    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
  2. 枫十二 Senior Member

    Here is my understanding. I just want to help, maybe it’s wrong. I think someone who loves the philosophy of [FONT=宋体]老子([/FONT]laozi[FONT=宋体])[/FONT] will help, but I read little about [FONT=宋体]老子[/FONT].

    [FONT=宋体]虚[/FONT]and [FONT=宋体]无:[/FONT]They both have the meaning as nothing. But if it’s nothing, it is also formless and shapeless. If it is formless and shapeless , it is actually everything. So [FONT=宋体]以虚无为本[/FONT] means [FONT=宋体]‘[/FONT]nothing[FONT=宋体]’[/FONT].

    [FONT=宋体]因:因果[/FONT] the law of universe [FONT=宋体]循:遵循[/FONT] follow
    [FONT=宋体]以因循为用[/FONT] follow the law of universe/nature

    [FONT=宋体]以虚无为本,以因循为用[/FONT]= [FONT=宋体]无为[/FONT]
    [FONT=宋体]无为[/FONT] is the core concept of [FONT=宋体]道家[/FONT] whose founder is [FONT=宋体]老子[/FONT].
    Do nothing, follow the law of universe, Everything will go well.
    My tempt to translate [FONT=宋体]“以虚无为本,以因循为用”[/FONT] is:
    Nothing means everything, just follow the law.
  3. sanawak Senior Member

    A friend told me that 本 is like root and [FONT=宋体]虚无 is a word[/FONT]
    so, I think : Nothing is the root of Tao, just follow the law of Nature as you said. Thanks


    If I want to translate I have to use two sentences, isn't it ? as follow :

    This school says "
    Nothing means everything, just follow the law." Govern with ...无为而治....

    Thanks for your help
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
  4. 枫十二 Senior Member

    无为 means do nothing, just like the free market theory you have: Government should do nothing in the market, it will be self-improvement.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
  5. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    [FONT=&quot]以[/FONT] = use; = as; [FONT=&quot]以[/FONT]......= use/take...as...
    [FONT=&quot]虚无[/FONT] = void, sky. 道体虚无,故能包容 万物;性合于道,故有而若无,实而若虚 (http://www.zdic.net/c/a/13c/302439.htm) ==> Dao in its tangible form resembles the vast void of the universe, able to accommodate everything. It holds myriad concrete matters and yet behaves as if it were empty. A space already full cannot take in additional things, while an empty space can accommodate many. So one should hold no preconceived notion, keep an open mind, start with a clean slate (i.e., zero, nothingness, emptiness)....
    [FONT=&quot]本[/FONT] = root, principal, base
    [FONT=&quot]因循[/FONT] = to follow or go with the flow of nature 顺应自然 or of the existing customs [FONT=&quot]沿[/FONT][FONT=&quot]成規[/FONT].
    [FONT=&quot]用[/FONT] = pragmatic application, practical use.
    [FONT=&quot]以虚无[/FONT]为本 ==> literally "Take void as the root"
    以因循为用 ==> literally "Take conformity to the flow as the pragmatic approach"
    [FONT=&quot]以虚无[/FONT]为本, 以因循为用 = Model the vast void of the universe and, for practical and pragmatic considerations, go with the flow.
  6. Dolokhov Junior Member






    所以接近原意的翻译应该是 consider emptiness to be the essence (of the world), and causality (or movement of everything inside the world along causal chains) to be phenomenon.
  7. 枫十二 Senior Member

    Thanks! Finally I got what's the original meaning of it.
  8. Testing1234567 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese is already difficult for a foreigner, and you're digging into Classical Chinese. Je vous souhaite une bonne chance!

    Elaborating Skatinginbc's definition for each word:
    虛 translates to "virtual, intangible" as opposed to 实 "real, tangible".
    无 translates to "non-existence" as opposed to 有 "existence", and in Classical Chinese 无 translates to "do not have"; "do not possess". Mandarin used "沒有" to replace it, while Cantonese still keeps this word in daily usage.
    因 means "because" and 循 means "according to", 因循 is a verb meaning "follow" (archaic or poetic), but in this context it is used as a noun "the act of following", that means not doing anything at all. Just follow the trend.

    以虚无为本,以因循为用 = To base on emptiness and to depend on nature = Ne fais rien.

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