Sunday, June 09, 2013

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 19

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 19

"If we could renounce our sageness and discard our wisdom, it would be better for the people a hundredfold.
If we could renounce our benevolence and discard our righteousness, the people would again become filial and kindly.
If we could renounce our artful contrivances and discard our scheming for gain, there would be no thieves nor robbers.
Those three methods of government
Thought olden ways in elegance did fail
And made these names their want of worth to veil;
But simple views,
And courses plain and true
Would selfish ends and many lusts eschew." 
-   Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 19 

"Abandon your saintliness; put away your prudence; and the people will gain a hundredfold!
Abandon your benevolence; put away your justice; and the people will return to filial piety and paternal devotion.
Abandon smartness; give up greed; and thieves and robbers will no longer exist.
These are three things for which culture is insufficient.
Therefore it is said:
'Hold fast to that which will endure,
Show thyself simple,
Preserve thee pure,
And lessen self with desires fewer."
-  Translated by D. T. Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 19   

"If the people renounce self-control and reject wisdom,
Let them gain simplicity and purity
If the people renounce duty to man and reject right conduct,
Let them return to filial piety deep, deep in the heart.
If they renounce skill and leave off search for profit,
Let them rob and by violence take possession of spiritual life.
These three things do not help our progress.
Therefore now let us seek
To perceive simplicity,
To conserve beauty in the heart,
To curb selfishness and to have few desires."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 19 

"When Sages are rejected as rulers, and the services of the wise are discarded, the people's wealth will increase a hundredfold; for their hearts will all be set on covetousness.
When benevolence and rectitude in government are abjured, such will be the height of disorder that the people will revert to their natural qualities of filial piety and compassion by sheer force of reaction.
When ingenuities of luxury and eagerness for gain are renounced, there will be no more robbers— for there will be no accumulations of wealth to be worth stealing.
These three propositions show that mere externals are insufficient for good government, and therefore each man should be ordered to confine himself to performing his own special work in life."
-  Translated by Frederic Henry Balfour, 1884, Chapter 19

"Rid of formalized wisdom and learning
People would be a hundredfold happier,
Rid of conventionalized duty and honor
People would find their families dear,
Rid of legalized profiteering
People would have no thieves to fear.
These methods of life have failed, all three,
Here is the way, it seems to me:
Set people free,
As deep in their hearts they would like to be,
From private greeds
And wanton needs."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 19  


Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching

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