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Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]

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Chapter 74

Restraining Delusion

Overcome Delusion / Overcoming Delusions

  Original Legge's Translation Susuki's Translation Goddard's Translation
1 The people do not fear death; to what purpose is it to (try to) frighten them with death? If the people were always in awe of death, and I could always seize those who do wrong, and put them to death, who would dare to do wrong? If the people do not fear death, how can they be frightened by death? If we make people fear death, and supposing some would [still] venture to rebel, if we seize them for capital punishment, who will dare? If the people do not fear death, how can one frighten them with death? If we teach people to fear death, then when one rebels he can be seized and executed; after that who will dare to rebel?
2 There is always One who presides over the infliction death. He who would inflict death in the room of him who so presides over it may be described as hewing wood instead of a great carpenter. Seldom is it that he who undertakes the hewing, instead of the great carpenter, does not cut his own hands! There is always an executioner who kills. Now to take the place of the executioner who kills is taking the place of the great carpenter who hews. If a man takes the place of the great carpenter who hews, he will rarely, indeed, fail to injure his hand.
There is always an officer to execute a murderer, but if one takes the place of the executioner, it is like taking the place of a skilled carpenter at his hewing. If one takes the place of the skilled carpenter he is liable to cut himself. (Therefore do not interfere with Dao.)
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