Friday, July 11, 2014

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 53

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 53

"Ah, that I were wise enough to follow the great Tao!
Administration is a great undertaking.
The great Tao is extremely simple, but the people prefer the complex ways.
While the palace is extremely well appointed, the fields may be full of tares, and the granaries may be empty.
To dress grandly, to carry sharp swords, to eat and drink excessively, and to amass great wealth,
this I call stylish theft.
That it is not Tao is certain."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 53 

"If I were possessed of the slightest knowledge, traveling on the great Way,
My only fear would be to go astray.
The great Way is quite level,
but the people are much enamored of mountain trails.
The court is thoroughly deserted,
The fields are choked with weeds,
The granaries are altogether empty.
Still there are some who wear clothes with fancy designs and brilliant colors,
sharp swords hanging at their sides,
are sated with food,
overflowing with possessions and wealth.
This is called "the brazenness of a bandit."
The brazenness of a bandit is surely not the Way!"
-  Translated by Victor H. Mair, 1990, Chapter 53   

"If, in some unexpected manner, I
As one endowed with knowledge should appear,
To walk according to the mighty Tao,
T'is only bold display that I should fear;
For plain and simple ways Great Tao suggest,
But people love cross-paths and by-ways best.
The halls and courts are splendid, but the fields
Uncultivated are, the granaries
Empty; to put on ornamented robes,
And keen-edged swords, to gorge with gluttonies,
To pile up wealth; this, robbers' pride I call,
But, of a surety, not Great Tao at all."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 53  

"If I had but little knowledge I should, in walking on a broad way,
Fear getting off the road.
Broad ways are extremely even,
But people are fond of bypaths.
The courts are exceedingly splendid,
While the fields are exceedingly weedy,
And the granaries are exceedingly empty.
Elegant clothes are worn,
Sharp weapons are carried,
Food and drinks are enjoyed beyond limit,
And wealth and treasures are accumulated in excess.
This is robbery and extravagance.
This is indeed not Tao."
-  Translated by Wing-Tsit Chan, 1963, Chapter 53   


-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 53

shih wo chieh jan yu chih.
hsing yü ta tao.
wei shih shih wei.
ta tao shên yi erh min hao ching.
chao shê ch'u. 
t'ien shên wu.
ts'ang shên hsü.
fu wên ts'ai. 
tai li chien.
yen yin shih.
ts'ai huo yu yü. 
shih wei tao k'ua.
fei tao yeh tsai.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 53

"If I had the smallest seed of wisdom,
I would walk the Great Way,
And my only fear
would be to lose my way from it.
The Great Way is very smooth and straight;
And yet the people like better the complicated paths.
The courtyard is very clean and well decorated,
(Their cities appear powerful.)
But the fields are very weedy and wild,
And the grain silo's are very empty!
(But they have lost the skill to feed themselves.)
They wear beautiful clothes,
(They value appearances over substance.)
They carry destructive weapons,
They use the tools of destruction to get their needs.)
They over fill themselves with food and drink,
(They indulge themselves in the fruits of the conquered.)
They own more riches than they can use!
(They are greedy.)
They are the messengers of lawlessness!
As for Tao (the Laws of the Universe),
what do they know about it?"
-  Translated by John Trottier, Chapter 53

"Quisiera poseer la sabiduría
para poder marchar por el Gran Camino
sin temor a desviarme.
El Gran Camino es llano y recto,
pero la gente elige los senderos tortuosos.
Cuando la corte imperial se adorna de esplendor,
los campos se llenan de malas hierbas
y los graneros quedan vacíos.
Los barones y reyes visten ropas lujosas,
Tienen mas posesiones de las que llegan a usar,
se hartan de bebida y de manjares,
Acumulan tesoros y riquezas en exceso.
Son gobernantes-ladrones.
Robar y ostentar no es seguir al Tao."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 53

"If I have a grain of wisdom,
I walk along the great Tao
And fear only to stray.
The great Tao is easy indeed,
But the people choose by-paths.
The court is very resplendent;
Very weedy are the fields,
And the granaries very empty.
They wear gaudy clothes,
Carry sharp swords,
Exceed in eating and drinking,
Have riches more than they can use.
Call them robber-braggarts:
They are anti-Tao indeed!"
-  Translated by Herrymoon Maurer, Chapter 53  

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

Tao Te Ching English Language Corncordance by Gerold Claser.  An excellent English language concordance providing terms, chapter and line references, and the proximal English language text.  No Chinese language characters or Wade-Giles or Pinyin Romanizations.  Based on the translation by John H. McDonald.  

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