Tag Archives: Laozi

Daodejing Chapter 13: caring about disaster

「寵辱若驚,貴大患若身。何謂寵辱若驚?寵為下,得之若驚,失之若驚,是謂寵辱若驚。何謂貴大患若身?吾所以有大患者,為吾有身。及吾無身,吾有何患?故貴以身為天下,若可寄天下;愛以身為天下,若可託天下。」
Favor and disgrace are equally stressful.
High rank is a source of great trouble just like your body.
What does it mean that favor and disgrace are equally stressful?
Favor can lead to your downfall;
Gaining it is as stressful as losing it;
That is why favor and disgrace are equally stressful.
What does it mean that high rank is a source of great trouble like your body?
The reason I have great trouble is that I have a body.
If I didn’t have a body, what trouble would I have?
That’s why:
If you value the world as much as you value your body,
You can be trusted to govern it.
If you love the world as much as you love your body,
You can be trusted to take care of it.
Continue reading Daodejing Chapter 13: caring about disaster

Daodejing Chapter 12: sensory overload

「五色令人目盲,五音令人耳聾,五味令人口爽,馳騁田獵,令人心發狂;難得之貨,令人行妨;是以聖人為腹不為目;故去彼取此。」
The five colors blind your eyes;
The five sounds deafen your ears;
The five flavors dull your taste buds.
Chasing and hunting make you lose your mind.
Pursuing rare objects leads you astray.
That is why the sage heeds his stomach and not his eyes,
Thus, he rejects the latter and adopts the former.
Continue reading Daodejing Chapter 12: sensory overload

Daodejing chapter 11: the power of emptiness

「三十輻,共一轂,當其無,有車之用。埏埴以為器,當其無,有器之用。鑿互牖以為室,當其無,有室之用。故有之以為利,無之以為用。」
Thirty spokes share a wheel hub;
But it’s the empty space at the center of it that makes the cart useful.
Clay is shaped into a pot;
But it’s the empty space inside it that makes the pot useful.
Doorways and window bays are cut for a room;
But it’s the empty space in these openings that makes the room useful.
To enjoy the full benefit of something,
Harness the usefulness of nothing.
Continue reading Daodejing chapter 11: the power of emptiness

Daodejing Chapter 10: Laozi throws down the gauntlet

「載營魄抱一,能無離乎?專氣致柔,能嬰兒乎?滌除玄覽,能無疵乎?愛國治民,能無為乎?天門開闔,能為雌乎?明白四達,能無知乎?生之蓄之,生而不有,為而不恃,長而不宰,是謂玄德。
Can you nurture your spirit and embrace oneness,
Without letting it go?
Can you concentrate your vital energy and reach a state of suppleness,
Like a new-born baby?
Can you polish and clean your mystery mirror,
So that you leave it untainted?
Can you love your country and care for your people,
With effortless action?
Can you play the role of the female,
Opening and closing the gates of Heaven?
Can you understand everything instinctively,
Without employing knowledge?
Bearing and nurturing;
Bearing without possessing;
Acting without taking credit;
Leading without dominating.
This is called mysterious virtue.
Continue reading Daodejing Chapter 10: Laozi throws down the gauntlet

Daodejing Chapter 9: reaching your natural limit

「持而盈之,不如其已;揣而銳之,不可長保;金玉滿堂,莫之能守;富貴而驕,自遺其咎。功成身退,天之道」
Holding a cup until it is filled to the brim,
Is not as good as stopping in time;
Hammering a blade until it is sharp,
Will not preserve its edge for long.
When your hall is stuffed with gold and jade,
Nobody will be able to protect it.
When riches and honors lead to arrogance;
Disaster will inevitably follow.
When you retire accomplishing your goal;
This is the Dao of Heaven.
Continue reading Daodejing Chapter 9: reaching your natural limit

Daodejing Chapter 8: like water

Daodejing water 

「上善若水,水善利萬物而不爭,處眾人之所惡,故幾於道。居善地,心善淵、與善仁、言善信、正善治、事善能、動善時。夫唯不爭,故無尤」
The highest good is like water;
Water brings good to all things without contending with them;
It settles in places that people disdain;
Thus, it’s close to the Dao.
In choosing your home, it’s the location that counts;
In cultivating your mind, it’s depth that counts;
In dealing with others, it’s goodness that counts;
In speaking, it’s good faith that counts;
In governing, it’s order that counts;
In handling affairs, it’s ability that counts;
In action, it’s timing that counts.
By not contending with others,
You won’t be singled out for reproach.
Continue reading Daodejing Chapter 8: like water

Daodejing Chapter 7: selfishness and selflessness

「天長地久,天地所以長且久者,以其不自生,故能長生。是以聖人後其身而身先,外其身而身存。非以其無私耶!故能成其私。」
Heaven is infinite and Earth is eternal;
The reason why they last so long,
Is because they do not exist for themselves;
Thus, they can continue to endure.
That is why the sage:
Places himself at the back,
But finds himself at the front;
Has no consideration for himself,
But stays safe and secure.
Because he is selfless;
He is perfectly fulfilled.
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Daodejing Chapter 6: the mysterious female

「谷神不死,是謂玄牝;玄牝之門,是謂天地根;綿綿若存,用之不勤。」
The spirit of the valley never dies;
It is called the mysterious female.
The gateway of the mysterious female,
Is called the root of Heaven and Earth.
Like a fine slender thread,
It appears to go on forever;
No matter how much it’s used,
It’s never exhausted.
Continue reading Daodejing Chapter 6: the mysterious female