Friday, June 02, 2017

Dao De Jing, Chapter 78

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 78

"Nothing in the world is weaker than water
but against the hard and the strong nothing excels it
for nothing can change it
the soft overcomes the hard
the weak overcomes the strong
this is something everyone knows but no one is able to practice
thus the sage declares who accepts a country's disgrace we call the lord of soil and grain
who accepts a country's misfortune we call king of all under Heaven
upright words sound upside down"
-   Translated by Bill Porter (Red Pine), 1996, Chapter 78 

"Heaven below (the sacred body) is not as soft and yielding as water, yet can take on the rigid and violent.
Without its (the sacred body's) ability to overcome the rigid and the violent, it is nothing.
It replaces violence with gentleness.
It overcomes violence.
Tenderly it overcomes the unyielding.
Without knowing this, no one in Heaven below can progress.
The sages speak of guarding the community:
Dishonor comes from making sacrifices to the gods.
Preserve the community, not its omens.
It is correct to speak of Heaven below as what connects Heaven,
Humanity and Earth.
The words of the person who sacrifices backfire."
-   Translated by Barbara Tovey and Alan Sheets, 2002, Chapter 78   

"In the world nothing is more fragile than water, and yet of all the agencies that attack hard substances nothing can surpass it.
Of all things there is nothing that can take the place of Tao.
By it the weak are conquerors of the strong, the pliable are conquerors of the rigid.
In the world every one knows this, but none practice it.
Therefore the wise man declares: he who is guilty of the country's sin may be the priest at the altar.
He who is to blame for the country's misfortunes, is often the Empire's Sovereign.
True words are often paradoxical."
-   Translated by Dwight Goddard, 1919, Chapter 78

"In the world nothing is supple and weak in relation to water
Yet of those things which attack the firm and unyielding
Nothing is able to do better
In what is absent, this easily happens.
Being supple conquers the unyielding
Being weak conquers the firm
In the world
No one is without knowing it
No one is able to practice it.
Appropriately it happens that sages say
He who accepts the disgrace of a nation
Is appropriately called lord of the grain shrine
He who accepts the misfortune of a nation
Is appropriately acting as the king of the world.
Correct words look like they turn back."
-   Translated by David Lindauer, Chapter 78 

to be at your best
pattern yourself after water
nothing in all the world is softer or more powerful
nothing in all the world can substitute for it
nothing in all the world can stop it

in their hearts
everyone easily knows that
the soft and the weak
will always overcome the hard and strong
but they find it difficult to live this way

the secret is to
move the bodymind like water."
-   Translated by John Bright-Fey, 2006, Chapter 78 

"Nothing in the world is Softer or Weaker than water.
But when it attacks what is hard and strong none of them can win out, because they have no way of affecting it.
Softness overcomes what is hard Weakness overcomes what is unyielding.
Everyone in the world understands it no one can practice it.
And so the Wise Person says: Taking on a state's dirt makes one lord of its earth altars taking on a state's misfortunes makes one King of the world.
Right words seem the opposite."
-   Translated by Michael LaFargue, 1992, Chapter 78

"Water is soft and yielding, but
nothing can more effectively dissolve the hard and inflexible.
Weak defeats strong.
Soft defeats hard.
This is well–known, but not easy to put into practice.
Therefore, the Tao–Master says:
He who takes upon himself the dirt of the nation
becomes the master of its sacred soil;
he who takes upon himself the evils of the land
becomes a true king under Heaven.
Straight words seem crooked."
-   Translated by George Cronk, 1999, Chapter 78 

"Nothing is softer, more flexible, or more giving than
nothing can resist it
nothing can take it away
nothing can endure it
there is no way to hurt it.
The flexible overcomes what resists it,
the giving overcomes what takes it,
the soft overcomes the hard,
but who uses this knowledge?
Only the person who knows the earth
as intimately as the trees and grasses
can rule the earth,
only the person who accepts
the guilt and evil of humanity
can rule the universe.
Straight tongues seem forked.
Straight talk seems crooked."
-   Translated by Tom Kunesh, Chapter 78  

"There is nothing in the world
as soft and weak as water.
But to erode the hard and strong,
nothing can surpass it;
nothing can be a substitute.
The weak can overcome the strong;
the soft can overcome the hard.
There is no-one in the world who does not know this,
but there is no-one who can put it into practice.
Those who are enlightened say:
those who bear a nation's disgrace
will become lords of its shrines to earth and grain; *
those who bear a nation's misfortune
will become kings under heaven.
True words often seem a paradox."
-   Translated by Tim Chilcott, 2005, Chapter 78 

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 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.  These are hypertext documents, and available online under Creative Commons 4.


Chapter 79, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.  Compiled and indexed by Mike Garofalo.  

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

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