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Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]

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Chapter 24

Painful Graciousness

Trouble From Indulgence / Troubles and Merit

  Original Legge's Translation Susuki's Translation Goddard's Translation
1 He who stands on his tiptoes does not stand firm; he who stretches his legs does not walk (easily). (So), he who displays himself does not shine; he who asserts his own views is not distinguished; he who vaunts himself does not find his merit acknowledged; he who is self- conceited has no superiority allowed to him. One on tiptoe is not steady;
One astride makes no advance.
Seff-displayers are not enlightened,
Self-asserters lack distinction,
Self-approvers have no merit,
And self-seekers stunt their lives.
It is not natural to stand on tiptoe, or being astride one does not walk. One who displays himself is not bright, or one who asserts himself cannot shine. A self-approving man has no merit, nor does one who praises himself grow.
2 Such conditions, viewed from the standpoint of the Dao, are like remnants of food, or a tumour on the body, which all dislike. Hence those who pursue (the course) of the Dao do not adopt and allow them.
Before Reason this is like surfeit of food; it is like a wen on the body with which people are apt to be disgusted. Therefore the man of reason will not indulge in it. The relation of these things (self-display, self-assertion, self-approval) to Dao is the same as offal is to food. They are excrescences from the system; they are detestable; Dao does not dwell in them.
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