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Tao Te Ching Chapter 19 | Lao-Tzu | Comparative Translations

The Way of Virtue





If we could renounce our sageness and discard our wisdom, it would be better for the people a hundredfold. If we could renounce our benevolence and discard our righteousness, the people would again

become filial and kindly. If we could renounce our artful contrivances and discard our (scheming for) gain, there would be no thieves nor robbers.


Those three methods (of government)

Thought olden ways in elegance did fail

And made these names their want of worth to veil;

But simple views, and courses plain and true

Would selfish ends and many lusts eschew.

Throw away holiness and wisdom,

and people will be a hundred times happier.

Throw away morality and justice,

and people will do the right thing.

Throw away industry and profit,

and there won't be any thieves.


If these three aren't enough,

just stay at the center of the circle

and let all things take their course.




Translated by J. Legge





Translated by Stephen Mitchell













 

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