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Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]

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Chapter 12

The Repression of the Desires

Abstaining From Desire / Avoiding Desire

  Original Legge's Translation Susuki's Translation Goddard's Translation
1 Colour's five hues from th' eyes their sight will take; Music's five notes the ears as deaf can make; The flavours 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. "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."
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.
2 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.

"Racing and hunting will human hearts turn mad, Treasures high-prized make human conduct bad." Therefore the holy man attends to the inner and not to the outer. He abandons the latter and chooses the former.

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.
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