The Wisdom of Dao De Jing (Facebook)

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Edward C. Chang (Facebook)

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英譯老子道德經      張暢繁

Dao De Jing (Translated by E. C. Chang)



老子 道德經

第一章

道可道,非常道。名可名,非常名。
無名天地之始;有名萬物之母。
故常無欲以觀其妙;常有欲以觀其徼。
此兩者,同出而異名,同謂之玄。玄之又玄,眾妙之門。


Dao De Jing

by Laozi
tr. E. C. Chang


Chapter One

The Dao that can be expressed in words is not the original Dao (1)
The name that can be assigned as a label is not the original name.

Through wu, (2) the universe begins.
Through you (3) identification of all things begins.

Thus, with wu, one can sense Dao’s subtleties.
With you, one can only observe its external attributes.

These two are from the same source with two different names.

Wu and you are the profoundest of all profundities. They are the gateway to all subtleties. Both are referred to as profundity.

__________

1 The fact that Dao (道) has been translated into so many different terms (such as Way, Directions, Providence, Reason, Absolute Tao Tao-Path, God, Road, etc.) with different meanings seems to have validated the first sentence that Dao (whatever it is) is indescribable.

2 Wu (无) refers to those intrinsic qualities that may be expressed as: nothingness, emptiness, non-being, nameless, hollowness, non-existence, invisibility, and imperceptibility.

3 you (有) refers to those extrinsic attributes that can be observed or measured. It includes such concepts as: being, existing, presence, manifestation, existence, fullness, and visibility.






老子 道德經


第二章

天下皆知美之為美,斯惡已;皆知善之為善,斯不善已。

故有無相生,難易相成,長短相形,高下相傾,音聲相和,前後相隨。

是以聖人處無為之事,行不言之教,萬物作焉而不辭,生而不有,為而不恃,功成而弗居。夫唯弗

居,是以不去。


Dao De Jing

by Laozi
tr. E. C. Chang

Chapter Two

If the whole world all agree that the same thing is beautiful, it is no longer beautiful; if the whole world all agree that the same behavior is virtuous, it is no longer virtuous.

The following concepts are contrary but complementary to each other. Without one, the other cannot exist. For example, the following antonyms are used to indicate the degree of continuity, difficulty, lengthiness, tallness, harmony, and sequence.

Being and non-being;
Hard and easy;
Long and short;
High and low;
Voice and sound;
After and before.


Therefore, the sage practice “wuwei” () by letting things take their own course. He does not teach by verbal instruction.

He let myriad things follow their own course, but does not give up on them.
He lets all things initiate their own action, but does not take possession of them.
He provides guidance, but does not try to influence them.

He does not take credit for his success.
By not taking credit for his success, his accomplishments will prevail.

__________

Wuwei, literally means non-action, refers to the philosophy of letting things follow a natural course with minimum guidance and interference.





第三章

不尚賢,使民不爭;不貴難得之貨,使民不為盜;不見可欲,使民心不亂。
是以聖人之治,虛其心,實其腹;弱其志,強其骨。常使民無知無欲,使夫智不敢為也。為無為,則無不治。


Chapter Three

By not glorifying the clever individuals, people will not fight for recognition.
By not overvaluing rare goods, people will not be tempted to steal.
By not displaying treasured items, people will not have covetous thoughts.

Therefore, the sage governs by
emptying people’s minds,
filling their bellies,
weakening their (selfish) ambitions,
and strengthening their bones.


People will not seek knowledge in order to outsmart others, nor will they be preoccupied with personal needs.
Clever people will not dare to disrupt the society.
By applying the principle of wuwei,* social order can thus be maintained.

__________

*wuwei also refers to the behaviors or attitudes that follow a natural course that includes: noninterference, nonresistance, non-compulsory, acceptance, and selflessness.


第四章

道沖而用之,或不盈。
淵兮,似萬物之宗。湛兮,似或存。
吾不知誰之子,象帝之先。

Chapter Four

The Dao is like a shapeless hollow, it can never be filled up.

It is bottomless, looking like the origin of all things.

It is fathomless, yet appearing real.

I don’t know its creator, but I think it exists before all of our ancestors.


第五章

天地不仁,以萬物為芻狗;聖人不仁,以百姓為芻狗。
天地之間,其猶橐龠!虛而不屈,動而愈出。
多言數窮,不如守中。


Chapter Five

To be impartial, the universe treats all things like straw dogs.

To be impartial, the sage treats all people like straw dogs.

The universe is like a vacuum tube: empty but can never be exhausted

When it is acted upon with force, air comes out.

Verbosity leads to rejection. Finding a point of balance is preferred.


第六章

谷神不死,是謂玄牝。
玄牝之門,是謂天地根。
綿綿若存,用之不勤。


Chapter Six

The spirit of hollowness will never die.
It is called the profound “Maternal nature.”
The gate of the profound maternal nature is the root of the universe.
It lasts forever and its use is inexhaustible.


第七章

天長地久,天地所以能長且久者,以其不自生,故能長生。
是以聖人後其身而身先,外其身而身存。非以其無私邪?故能成其私。


Chapter Seven

Heaven and earth are everlasting.
The reason that it lasts forever is that it does not perpetuate for its own sake.
By not engaging in self-perpetuation, it thus becomes long lasting.

Thus, the sage ends up the leader because he stands behind his followers.

By being unconcerned for his own interest, he thus prevails.

Isn’t it true that his unselfishness is the reason for his success?



第八章

上善若水,水善利萬物而不爭。處眾人之所惡,故幾於道。
居善地,心善淵,與善仁,言善信,正善治,事善能,動善時。
夫唯不爭,故無尤。


Chapter Eight

Most benevolent actions resemble water in character.
Water benefits all things but does not compete with them.
It puts itself in (low) places where most people don’t like.
As such, it comes close to the nature of Dao.

The sages model water in that they will
Find the most suitable place to live;
Empty and deepen their minds;
Offer beneficial help;
Let their words be trustworthy;
Manage social affairs efficiently;
Handle matters competently;
Do the right thing at the right time.

Because the sages do not fight for recognition, so there will be little animosity.


第九章

持而盈之,不如其已;揣而銳之,不可長保。
金玉滿堂,莫之能守。富貴而驕,自遺其咎。
功遂身退,天之道也!


Chapter Nine

Filling a bowl to its brim is not as good as leaving some space unfilled.

Sharpen something beyond necessity cannot be long lasted.

Having a house full of gold and jade cannot be safeguarded.

Being wealthy and arrogant will lead to self- destruction.

Retiring after achieving success is consistent with the nature of Dao.


第十章

載營魄抱一,能無離乎?
專氣致柔,能嬰兒乎?
修除玄覽,能無疵乎?
愛民治國,能無智乎?
天門開闔,能為雌乎?
明白四達,能無知乎?
(生之畜之,生而不有,為而不恃,長而不宰。是為玄德。)


Chapter Ten

Can the body and mind be united without being separated?
Can the breadth through passive concentration be as tender as that of an infant?
Can the mental images be cleaned without leaving blemishes?
Can the people-loving ruler govern without using schemes?
Can the gate to external stimuli be open and closed with tenderness?
Can full comprehension be attained without knowledge?


Rear and raise it; grow it but don’t lay claim to it;
Be helpful to it but do not control it;
Be the leader but do not invade them.

This is called profound virtue.



All rights reserved (E. C. Chang)