Key Chinese Concepts



/zìqiáng-bùxī /


Striving Continuously to Strengthen Oneself






The term means that one should strive continuously to strengthen himself. Ancient Chinese believed that heavenly bodies move in accordance with their particular nature in a vigorous and forever forward-going cycle. A man of virtue, who follows the law of heaven, should be fully motivated and work diligently to strengthen himself. This is the Chinese view on governance and self-development, established with reference to the movement of heavenly bodies. Together with the notion that a true gentleman has ample virtue and accommodates all things, it constitutes the fundamental trait of the Chinese nation.


引例 Citations:






Just as heaven keeps moving forward vigorously, a man of virtue should strive continuously to strengthen himself. (The Book of Changes)






Neither monarchs, ministers, nor commoners have ever achieved great accomplishments in the world without first striving to strengthen themselves. (Huainanzi)






Facing hostile countries, we must first of all strive to become strong. If we have strengthened ourselves, enemy states will fear us and we will not fear them. (The History of the Song Dynasty)






Have Ample Virtue and Carry All Things





This term means that one should be broad-minded and care for all things and people. Ancient Chinese believed that with its topography and other natural features being generous and peaceful, the earth sustained all things in the world, allowing them to grow and develop in keeping with their own nature. Men of virtue model themselves on the earth, and just like the earth, care for all things and fellow human beings with open heart and virtue. This embodies the pursuit of moral cultivation and harmony among people and between people and nature. It represents the Chinese views and ideals on governance and human relationship, which were inspired by the formation and features of mountains and rivers in China. Together with the notion of constantly exerting oneself for self-improvement, it forms the fundamental character of the Chinese nation.


引例 Citations:






Just like the earth, which is generous and peaceful, a man of virtue should have ample virtue and accommodate all things. (The Book of Changes)






The peaceful nature of the earth is due to its virtue of generosity. Thus, it can accommodate and provide for all things. By modeling himself on the earth, a man of virtue should care for all people and all things. (Chen Menglei: A Simple Account of The Book of Changes)


Selected from Key Concepts in Chinese Thought and Culture published by Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.