"Give up learning, and put an end to your troubles.
Is there a difference between yes and no?
Is there a difference between good and evil?
Must I fear what others fear? What nonsense!
Other people are contented, enjoying the sacrificial feast of the ox.
In spring some go to the park, and climb the terrace,
But I alone am drifting, not knowing where I am.
Like a newborn babe before it learns to smile,
I am alone, without a place to go.
Others have more than they need, but I alone have nothing.
I am a fool. Oh, yes! I am confused.
Others are clear and bright,
But I alone am dim and weak.
Others are sharp and clever,
But I alone am dull and stupid.
Oh, I drift like the waves of the sea,
Without direction, like the restless wind.
Everyone else is busy,
But I alone am aimless and depressed.
I am different.
I am nourished by the great mother."
- Translated by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English, 1989, Chapter 20
"Renounce learning, it brings loss to the Inner Life.
How slight the difference between Yes and Yea!
How great the difference between Good and Evil!
That which men fear is indeed to be feared.
When men give themselves up to disorder it never stops.
Many men rejoice and rejoice over a supply of good food, over being in a high and exalted position.
I am calm, I do not feel the slightest emotion, like a new-born child which cannot yet smile at its mother, without attachment to anything, returning always to the Inner Life.
Many men have superfluous possessions.
I have nothing that I value; I desire that my heart be completely subdued, emptied to emptiness.
Men of wealth are in the daylight of prosperity.
I am in the dark.
Men of wealth are endowed with penetration.
I appear confused and ignorant.
Suddenly I am, as it were, on a vast sea, floating on the sea of Inner Life which is boundless.
Many men are full of ability.
I appear to be stupid and rustic.
Thus I am different from other men.
But I revere the Mother, Sustainer of all beings."
- Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 20
"When we renounce learning we have no troubles.
The (ready) 'yes,' and (flattering) 'yea;'
Small is the difference they display.
But mark their issues, good and ill;
What space the gulf between shall fill?
What all men fear is indeed to be feared;
But how wide and without end is the range of questions asking to be discussed!
The multitude of men look satisfied and pleased; as if enjoying a full banquet, as if mounted on a tower in spring.
I alone seem listless and still, my desires having as yet given no indication of their presence.
I am like an infant which has not yet smiled.
I look dejected and forlorn, as if I had no home to go to.
The multitude of men all have enough and to spare.
I alone seem to have lost everything.
My mind is that of a stupid man;
I am in a state of chaos.
Ordinary men look bright and intelligent, while I alone seem to be benighted.
They look full of discrimination, while I alone am dull and confused.
I seem to be carried about as on the sea, drifting as if I had nowhere to rest.
All men have their spheres of action, while I alone seem dull and incapable, like a rude borderer.
Thus I alone am different from other men, but I value the nursing-mother Dao."
- Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 20
"Leave off fine learning! End the nuisance
Of saying yes to this and perhaps to that,
Distinctions with how little difference!
Categorical this, categorical that,
What slightest use are they!
If one man leads, another must follow,
How silly that is and how false!
Yet conventional men lead an easy life
With all their days feast days,
A constant spring visit to the Tall Tower,
While I am a simpleton, a do-nothing,
Not big enough yet to raise a hand,
Not grown enough to smile,
A homeless, worthless waif.
Men of the world have a surplus of goods,
While I am left out, owning nothing.
What a booby I must be
Not to know my way round,
What a fool!
The average man is so crisp and so confident
That I ought to be miserable
Going on and on like the sea,
All these people are making their mark in the world,
While I, pig-headed, awkward,
Different from the rest,
Am only a glorious infant still nursing at the breast."
- Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 20