"If anyone wants to take the world and directs it at his will, I do not see how he can succeed.
The world is a sacred vessel, which cannot be directed at one's will.
To direct it is to fail.
To grasp it is to lose it.
Some things go ahead, some follow, some breathe slowly, some breathe fast,
some are strong, some are weak, some grow in strength, some decay.
Therefore, the sage avoids "very", "too" and "extreme". :
- Translated by Tien Cong Tran, Chapter 29
"If you try to grab hold of the world and do what you want with it, you won't succeed.
The world is a vessel for spirit, and it wasn't made to be manipulated.
Tamper with it and you'll spoil it.
Hold it, and you'll lose it.
With Tao, sometimes you move ahead and sometimes you stay back;
Sometimes you work hard and sometimes you rest;
Sometimes you're strong and sometimes you're weak;
Sometimes you're up; sometimes you're down.
The sage remains sensitive, avoiding extremes, avoiding extravagance, avoiding excess."
- Translated by Brian Browne Walker, 1996, Chapter 29
"Those who seek to conquer the world and shape it as they see fit never succeed.
The world is a sacred vessel and cannot be improved.
Whoever tries to alter it, spoils it; whoever tries to direct it, misleads it.
So, some things advance, others lag; some proceed in silence, others make sound;
some are strong, others weak; some are forward, others retiring.
Therefore the truly wise avoid extremes, extravagance, and foolish pride."
- Translated by Frank J. MacHovec, 1962, Chapter 29
"Do you want to rule the world and control it?
I don't think it can ever be done.
The world is a sacred vessel
and it can not be controlled.
You will only make it worse if you try.
It may slip through your fingers and disappear.
Some are meant to lead,
and others are meant to follow;
Some must always strain,
and others have an easy time;
Some are naturally big and strong,
and others will always be small;
Some will be protected and nurtured,
and others will meet with destruction.
The Master accepts things as they are,
and out of compassion avoids extravagance,
excess and the extremes."
- Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 29
- Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 29
chiang yü ch'ü t'ien hsia erh wei chih.
wu chien ch'i pu tê yi.
t'ien hsia shên ch'i, pu k'o wei yeh.
wei chê pai chih.
chih chê shih chih ku wu huo hsing huo sui.
huo hsü huo ch'ui.
huo ch'iang huo lei.
huo ts'o huo hui.
shih yi shêng jên ch'ü shên ch'ü shê ch'ü t'ai.
- Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 29
"Those who would take over the earth
And shape it to their will
Never, I notice, succeed.
The earth is like a vessel so sacred
That at the mere approach of the profane
It is marred
And when they reach out their fingers it is gone.
For a time in the world some force themselves ahead
And some are left behind,
For a time in the world some make a great noise
And some are held silent,
For a time in the world some are puffed fat
And some are kept hungry,
For a time in the world some push aboard
And some are tipped out:
At no time in the world will a man who is sane
- Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 29
"He who wants to gain the kingship by force
Can never be successful, I think.
The kingship is so sacred
That cannot be obtained through force.
Those who try to obtain it by force will ruin it;
Those who keep it by force will lose it.
Because things are different:
Some go ahead or follow;
Some breathe gently or hard;
Some are strong or weak;
Some are in safety or in danger.
Hence the sage does away with extremity, extravagance and excess."
- Translated by Gu Zhengkun, Chapter 29
"Quien pretenda conseguir el mundo y trabajarlo,
veo yo que no lo logrará.
es un recipiente espiritual,
que no se puede trabajar.
Quien lo trabaja lo destroza,
quien lo sujeta lo pierde.
Las cosas unas veces marchan delante y otras, detrás;
a veces soplan suavemente, otras veces con violencia;
a veces son fuertes, a veces débiles;
a veces se reproducen vigorosas, otras veces decaen.
Por eso el sabio renuncia a lo mucho,
rechaza lo grande,
rechaza el exceso."
- Translated by Juan Ignacio Preciado, 1978, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 29
"One who desires to take and remake the Empire will fail.
The Empire is a divine thing that cannot be remade.
He who attempts it will only mar it.
He who seeks to grasp it, will lose it.
People differ, some lead, others follow; some are ardent, others are formal;
some are strong, others weak; some succeed, others fail.
Therefore the wise man practices moderation; he abandons pleasure, extravagance and indulgence."
- Translated by Dwight Goddard, Chapter 29
"If one wants to possess the world and act upon it,
I know that he cannot get it.
The world is a sacred vessel;
It cannot be acted upon.
To act upon it is to destroy it.
To grasp it is to lose it.
Therefore, in all things,
Some lead, some follow,
Some blow warm, some blow cool,
Some are strong, some are weak,
Some destroy, some are destroyed.
Therefore, the sage avoids the extreme,
The extravagant, and the excessive."
- Translated by Yi Wu, Chapter 29
A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses, Sections) of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes over 25 different English language translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 5 Spanish language translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin transliterations (Romanization) of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter, and 2 German and 1 French translation of that Chapter. Each webpage for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching includes extensive indexing by key words, phrases, and terms for that Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization. Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, a Google Translate drop down menu, and other resources for that Chapter.
Chapter 29, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
English Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index
Spanish Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices
Taoism: A Selected Reading List
One Old Daoist Druid's Final Journey