"It is better to leave a vessel unfilled, than to attempt to carry it when it is full.
If you keep feeling a point that has been sharpened, the point cannot long preserve its sharpness.
When gold and jade fill the hall, their possessor cannot keep them safe.
When wealth and honors lead to arrogance, this brings its evil on itself.
When the work is done, and one's name is becoming distinguished,
To withdraw into obscurity is the way of Heaven."
- Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 9
"It is advisable to refrain from continual reaching after wealth.
Continual handling and sharpening wears away the most durable thing.
If the house be full of jewels, who shall protect it?
Wealth and glory bring care along with pride.
To stop when good work is done and honour advancing is the way of Heaven."
- Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 9
"Continuing to fill a pail after it is full the water will be wasted.
Continuing to grind an axe after it is sharp will soon wear it away.
Who can protect a public hall crowded with gold and jewels?
The pride of wealth and position brings about their own misfortune.
To win true merit, to preserve just fame, the personality must be retiring.
This is the heavenly Dao."
- Translated by Dwight Goddard and Henri Borel, 1919, Chapter 9
"Let Heavenly Love fill you and overflow in you,
Not according to your measure of fullness.
Prove it, probe deeply into it,
It shall not long withstand you.
You may fill a place with gold and precious stones,
You will not be able to guard them.
You may be weighted with honors and become proud.
Misfortune then will come to your Self.
You may accomplish great deeds and acquire fame,
This is Heavenly Tao."
- Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 9
"Stretch a bow to the very full,
And you will wish you had stopped in time;
Temper a sword-edge to its very sharpest,
And you will find it soon grows dull.
When bronze and jade fill your hall.
It can no longer be guarded.
Wealth and place breed insolence.
That brings ruin in its train.
When your work is done, then withdraw!
Such is Heaven's Way."
- Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 9
"Going to extremes is never best.
For if you make a blade too sharp, it will become dull too quickly
And if you hoard all the wealth, you are bound to be attacked.
If you become proud and arrogant regarding your good fortune, you will naturally beget enemies who jealously despise you.
The way to success is this: having achieved your goal, be satisfied not to go further. For this is the way Nature operates."
- Translated by Archie J. Balm, 1958, Chapter 9
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu: Introduction, Bibliography, Commentary, Index
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices
Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching
Dao De Jing Resources and Guides