Friday, January 19, 2018

Dao De Jing by Laozi, Chapter 12

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Chapter 12

"The five colors combined
the human eye will blind;
The five notes in one sound
the human ear confound;
The five tastes when they blend
the human mouth offend.

Racing and hunting will human hearts turn mad,
Treasures high-prized make human conduct bad.

The sage attends to the inner and not to the outer.
He abandons the latter and chooses the former."
- Translated by Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 12 

"The meaning of the verses quoted in Chapter 12 carries out the principle enunciated in Chapter 11. The utility of things, as well as the worth of life, is attained not by having everything in completion and in fullness, but by selecting some parts and omitting others, by moderation and by discrete elimination. Together, all the colors blind you, while a discrete selection will make a picture. Together, all the notes just make noise, while a few of them in proper succession make a melody. Together, all the tastes mixed together are offensive, but a choice of them is pleasant. Such is Lao-Tzu's method of teaching that the form of things is more important that the substance. The phrase 'he attends to the inner and not to the outer: reads in a literal translation 'acts on the stomach, not acts on the eye'. The outer and the inner are called in Chapter 38 the flower and the fruit, the former being more show, while the latter is the true import of life."
- Paul Carus, 1913

The Teachings of Lao-Tzu: The Tao Te Ching. Translation, commentary, and notes by Paul Carus, 1913. New York, St. Martin's Press, 2000. ISBN: 0312261098.  D.T. Suzuki worked and studied with Paul Carus around 1905 in Illinois, and translated together the Tao Te Ching.   

"The five colors cause man's eyes to be blinded.
The five tones cause man's ears to be deafened.
The five flavors cause man's palate to be cloyed.
Racing about on horseback and hunting cause man's mind to be maddened.
Hard to obtain merchandise cause mankind to do wrong,
So the Sage concerns himself with the abdomen and not the eyes.
Therefore, he rejects the one and chooses the other."
- Cheng Man-ch'ing, 1981, Chapter 12

"Color's five hues from the eyes their sight will take;
Music's five notes the ears as deaf can make;
The flavors five deprive the mouth of taste;
The chariot course, and the wild hunting waste
Make mad the mind;
And objects rare and strange,
Sought for,
Men's conduct will to evil change.
Therefore the sage seeks to satisfy the craving of the belly,
and not the insatiable longing of the eyes.
He puts from him the latter, and prefers to seek the former."
-   Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 12  

"The five colors
blind our eyes.
The five notes
deafen our ears.
The five flavors
dull our taste.

Racing, chasing, hunting,
drives people crazy.
Trying to get rich
ties people in knots.

So the wise soul
watches with the inner
not with the outward eye,
letting that go,
keeping this."
-  Translation by Ursula K. Le Guin, 2009, Chapter 12  

"An excess of light blinds the human eye; an excess of noise ruins the ear; an excess of condiments deadens the taste.
The effect of too much horse racing and hunting is bad, and the lure of hidden treasure tempts one to do evil.
Therefore the wise man attends to the inner significance of things and does not concern himself with outward appearances.
Therefore he ignores matter and seeks the spirit."
-  Translated by Dwight Goddard and Henri Borel, 1919, Chapter 12 

"The fives colours confuse the eye,
The fives sounds dull the ear,
The five tastes spoil the palate.
Excess of hunting and chasing
Makes minds go mad.
Products that are hard to get
Impede their owner's movements.
Therefore the Sage
Considers the belly not the eye.
Truly, “he rejects that but takes this”."
-  Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 12 

"Five excessive colors make people blind;
five excessive sounds make people deaf;
five excessive flavors rob people's taste;
racing and hunting make people mad;
and rare goods make people steal.
Thus a Sage ruler took care of people's basic-needs (stomachs),
not their excessive-desires (luxuries).
Thus he eliminated desires and supplied needs."
-  Translated by Tang Zi-Chang, Chapter 12 

"Los cinco colores ciegan el ojo.
Las cinco notas ensordecen el oído.
Los cinco sabores empalagan el paladar.
La carrera y la caza enloquecen la mente.
Los objetos preciosos tientan al hombre a hacer el mal.
Por eso, el Sabio cuida del vientre, y no del ojo.
Prefiere lo que está dentro a lo que está afuera."
-  Translated into Spanish by Alfonso Colodrón from the English translation by
    John C. H. Wu, 1993, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 12  

"wu se ling ren mu mang.
wu yin ling ren er long.
wu we ling ren kou shuang.
chi cheng tian lie, ling ren xin fa kuang.
nan de zhi huo, ling ren xing fang.
shi yi sheng ren wei fu bu wei mu.
gu qu bi qu ci."
-  Hanyu Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 12

  "Iridescent colours cause blindness.
 Beautiful music causes deafness.
 Delicious food causes loss of taste.
 Racing and hunting cause madness.
 Rare goods tempt people to rob and steal.
 Therefore the sage only wants to feed the people rather than to dazzle them.
 That's why he goes for the former and turns down the latter."
 -  Translated by Jiyu Ren, 1985, Chapter 12 

"The five colours blind the eyes of men.
The five tones deafen their ears.
The five flavours vitiate their palates.
Galloping and hunting induce derangement of the mind.
Objects that are difficult of attainment lead them to incur obstacles or injury.
Thus the Sage cares for his inner self, and not for that which his eye can see;
for which reason he discards the latter and preserves the former."
- Translated by Frederic Henry Balfour, 1884, Chapter 12

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. 


Chapter 12, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.  Complied 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     

A Daoist Druid's Final Journey  

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