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Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]

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Chapter 79

Adherence to Bond or Covenant

Keep Your Obligations / Enforcing Contracts

  Original Legge's Translation Susuki's Translation Goddard's Translation
1 When a reconciliation is effected (between two parties) after a great animosity, there is sure to be a grudge remaining (in the mind of the one who was wrong). And how can this be beneficial (to the other)? When a great hatred is reconciled, naturally some hatred will remain. How can this be made good? When reconciling great hatred there will some remain. How can it be made good?

Therefore (to guard against this), the sage keeps the left-hand portion of the record of the engagement, and does not insist on the (speedy) fulfilment of it by the other party. (So), he who has the attributes (of the Dao) regards (only) the conditions of the engagement, while he who has not those attributes regards only the conditions favourable to himself.

Therefore the sage keeps the obligations of his contract and exacts not from others. Those who have virtue attend to their obligations; those who have no virtue attend to their claims.

Therefore the wise man accepts the debit side of the account and does not have to enforce payment from others. They who have virtue (de [teh]) keep their obligations, they who have no virtue insist on their rights.

3 In the Way of Heaven, there is no partiality of love; it is always on the side of the good man. Heaven's Reason shows no preference but always assists the good man. Tao of heaven has no favorites but always helps the good man.
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