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Tao Te Ching Chapter 57 | Lao-Tzu | Comparative Translations

The Way of Virtue





A state may be ruled by (measures of) correction; weapons of war may be used with crafty dexterity; (but) the kingdom is made one's own (only) by freedom from action and purpose.


How do I know that it is so? By these facts:--In the kingdom the multiplication of prohibitive enactments increases the poverty of the people; the more implements to add to their profit that the people

have, the greater disorder is there in the state and clan; the more acts of crafty dexterity that men possess, the more do strange contrivances appear; the more display there is of legislation, the more thieves and robbers there are.


Therefore a sage has said, 'I will do nothing (of purpose), and the people will be transformed of themselves; I will be fond of keeping still, and the people will of themselves become correct. I will take no trouble about it, and the people will of themselves become rich; I will manifest no ambition, and the people will of themselves attain to

the primitive simplicity.'

If you want to be a great leader,

you must learn to follow the Tao.

Stop trying to control.

Let go of fixed plans and concepts,

and the world will govern itself.


The more prohibitions you have,

the less virtuous people will be.

The more weapons you have,

the less secure people will be.

The more subsidies you have,

the less self-reliant people will be.


Therefore the Master says:

I let go of the law,

and people become honest.

I let go of economics,

and people become prosperous.

I let go of religion,

and people become serene.

I let go of all desire for the common good,

and the good becomes common as grass.




Translated by J. Legge





Translated by Stephen Mitchell

















 

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