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Tao Te Ching Chapter 53 | Lao-Tzu | Comparative Translations

The Way of Virtue





If I were suddenly to become known, and (put into a position to) conduct (a government) according to the Great Tao, what I should be most afraid of would be a boastful display.


The great Tao (or way) is very level and easy; but people love the by-ways.


Their court(-yards and buildings) shall be well kept, but their fields shall be ill-cultivated, and their granaries very empty. They shall wear elegant and ornamented robes, carry a sharp sword at their

girdle, pamper themselves in eating and drinking, and have a superabundance of property and wealth;--such (princes) may be called robbers and boasters. This is contrary to the Tao surely!

The great Way is easy,

yet people prefer the side paths.

Be aware when things are out of balance.

Stay centered within the Tao.


When rich speculators prosper

While farmers lose their land;

when government officials spend money

on weapons instead of cures;

when the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible

while the poor have nowhere to turn-

all this is robbery and chaos.

It is not in keeping with the Tao.




Translated by J. Legge





Translated by Stephen Mitchell















 

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