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Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]

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Chapter 59

Guarding the Dao

Hold Fast to Reason / To Keep Dao

  Original Legge's Translation Susuki's Translation Goddard's Translation
1 For regulating the human (in our constitution) and rendering
the (proper) service to the heavenly, there is nothing like moderation.
To govern the people is the affair of heaven and there is nothing like thrift. Now consider that thrift is said to come from early practice.

In governing the people and in worshipping heaven nothing surpasses moderation. To value moderation, one must form the habit early.


It is only by this moderation that there is effected an early return (to man's normal state). That early return is what I call the repeated accumulation of the attributes (of the Dao).

By early practice it is said that we can accumulate an abundance of virtue. If one accumulates an abundance of virtue then there is nothing that can not be overcome.

Its early acquisition will result in storing and accumulating vitality. By storing and accumulating vitality nothing is impossible.


With that repeated accumulation of those attributes, there comes the subjugation (of every obstacle to such return). Of this subjugation we know not what shall be the limit; and when one knows not what the limit shall be, he may be the ruler of a state.

When nothing can not be overcome then no one knows his limit. When no one knows his limit one can have possession of the commonwealth.

If nothing is impossible then one is ignorant of his limits. If one does not know his limitations, one may possess the state.


He who possesses the mother of the state may continue long.

Who has possession of the commonwealth's mother [thrift] may last and abide.

He who possesses moderation is thereby lasting and enduring.

5 His case is like that (of the plant) of which we say that its roots are
deep and its flower stalks firm:--this is the way to secure that its enduring life shall long be seen.
This is called the possession of deep roots and of a staunch stem. To life, to everlastingness, to comprehension, this is the way. It is like having deep roots and a strong stem. This is of long life and enduring insight the Dao (way).
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