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Tao Te Ching Chapter 13 | Lao-Tzu | Comparative Translations

The Way of Virtue





Favour and disgrace would seem equally to be feared; honour and great calamity, to be regarded as personal conditions (of the same kind).


What is meant by speaking thus of favour and disgrace? Disgrace is being in a low position (after the enjoyment of favour). The getting that (favour) leads to the apprehension (of losing it), and the losing it leads to the fear of (still greater calamity):--this is what is meant by saying that favour and disgrace would seem equally to be feared.


And what is meant by saying that honour and great calamity are to be (similarly) regarded as personal conditions? What makes me liable to great calamity is my having the body (which I call myself); if I had not the body, what great calamity could come to me?


Therefore he who would administer the kingdom, honouring it as he honours his own person, may be employed to govern it, and he who would administer it with the love which he bears to his own person may be

entrusted with it.

Success is as dangerous as failure.

Hope is as hollow as fear.


What does it mean that success is a dangerous as failure?

Whether you go up the ladder or down it,

you position is shaky.

When you stand with your two feet on the ground,

you will always keep your balance.


What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?

Hope and fear are both phantoms

that arise from thinking of the self.

When we don't see the self as self,

what do we have to fear?


See the world as your self.

Have faith in the way things are.

Love the world as your self;

then you can care for all things.




Translated by J. Legge





Translated by Stephen Mitchell















 

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