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Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]

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Chapter 75

How Greediness Injures

Harmed Through Greed / Loss By Greediness

  Original Legge's Translation Susuki's Translation Goddard's Translation
1 The people suffer from famine because of the multitude of taxes consumed by their superiors. It is through this that they suffer famine. The people are difficult to govern because of the (excessive) agency of their superiors (in governing them). It is through this that they are difficult to govern.The people make light of dying because of the greatness of their labours in seeking for the means of living. It is this which makes them think light of dying. The people hunger because their superiors consume too many taxes; therefore they hunger. The people are difficult to govern because their superiors are too meddlesome; therefore they are difficult to govern. The people make light of death on account of the intensity of their clinging to life; therefore they make light of death.

Starvation of a people comes when an official appropriates to himself too much of the taxes. The reason a people are difficult to govern is because the officials are too meddlesome; the people make light of death because they are so absorbed in life's interests.

2 Thus it is that to leave the subject of living altogether out of view is better than to set a high value on it. He who is not bent on life is worthier than he who esteems life. The one who is not absorbed in life is more moral than he who esteems life.
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