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Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]

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Chapter 53

Increase of Evidence

Gaining Insight / Gain By Insight

  Original Legge's Translation Susuki's Translation Goddard's Translation
1 If I were suddenly to become known, and (put into a position to) conduct (a government) according to the Great Dao, what I should be most afraid of would be a boastful display.

If I have ever so little knowledge, I shall walk in the great Reason. It is but expansion that I must fear.

Even if one has but a little knowledge he can walk in the ways of the great Dao; it is only self-assertion that one need fear.

2

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

The great Reason is very plain, but people are fond of by-paths.

The great Dao (Way) is very plain, but people prefer the bypaths.

3 Their court(-yards and buildings) shall be well kept, but their fields shall be ill-cultivated, and their granaries very empty.

When the palace is very splendid, the fields are very weedy and granaries very empty.

When the palace is very splendid, the fields are likely to be very weedy, and the granaries empty.

4 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.

To wear ornaments and gay clothes, to carry sharp swords, to be excessive in drinking and eating, to have a redundance of costly articles, this is the pride of robbers.

To wear ornaments and gay colors, to carry sharp swords, to be excessive in eating and drinking, and to have wealth and treasure in abundance is to know the pride of robbers.
5 This is contrary to the Dao surely! Surely, this is un-Reason. This is contrary to Dao.
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