Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 69

Dao De Jing by Laozi
Chapter 69 

"The strategists' saying:
"I dare not play the host but play the guest,
I dare not advance an inch but retreat a foot."
This is called marching no-marching,
Stretching no-arms,
Arming with no-weapons,
Charging at no-enemy.
No disaster is greater than making light of the enemy.
When I make light of the enemy, I may lose my treasure.
Therefore, when two sides confront each other with arms,
The one who grieves wins."
-   Translated by Ha Poong Kim, Chapter 69 

"The handbook of the strategist has said:
'Do not invite the fight, accept it instead,'
'Better a foot behind than an inch too far ahead,'
Which means:
Look a man straight in the face and make no move,
Roll up your sleeve and clench no fist,
Open your hand and show no weapon,
Bare your breast and find no foe.
But as long as there be a foe, value him,
Respect him, measure him, be humble toward him;
Let him not strip from you, however strong he be,
Compassion, the one wealth which can afford him."
-   Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 69  

Military tacticians have a saying:
"I dare not be the aggressor, but rather the defender.
I dare not advance an inch, but would rather retreat a foot."
This is to move without moving,
To raise one's fists without showing them,
To lead the enemy on but against no adversary,
To wield a weapon but not clash with the enemy's.
No disaster is greater than taking the enemy lightly.
If I take the enemy lightly, I am on the verge of losing my treasures.
Hence, when opposing troops resist each other, the one stung by grief will be the victor.
-   Translated by Tam Gibbs, 1981, Chapter 69

"There is a saying on using military force:
I dare not be the host, but rather a guest.
I dare not advance an inch, but rather retreat a foot.
This is called performing without performing, rolling up one's sleeves without showing the arms.
By not holding on to an enemy, there is no enemy.
There is no disaster greater than having no enemy.
Having no enemy almost destroys my treasure.
When opposing armies clash, those who cry win!"
-   Translated by Tao Huang, Chapter 69  

"The generals have a saying:
"Rather than make the first move
it is better to wait and see.
Rather than advance an inch
it is better to retreat a yard."
This is called
going forward without advancing,
pushing back without using weapons.
There is no greater misfortune
than underestimating your enemy.
Underestimating your enemy
means thinking that he is evil.
Thus you destroy your three treasures
and become an enemy yourself.
When two great forces oppose each other,
the victory will go
to the one that knows how to yield."
-   Translated by Stephen Mitchell, 1988, Chapter 69

The strategists have a saying,
I dare not play the host but play the guest,
I dare not advance an inch but retreat a foot instead.
This is known as marching forward when there is no road,
Rolling up one's sleeves when there is no arm,
Dragging one's adversary by force when there is no adversary,
And taking up arms when there are no arms.
There is no disaster greater than taking on an enemy too easily.
So doing nearly cost me my treasure.
Thus of two sides raising arms against each other,
It is the one that is sorrow-stricken that wins.
-   Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 69


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