Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching Chapter 12

Translations at a glance

J Legge    J H McDonald   Lin Yutang

Tao Te Ching Chapter 12

J Legge

Colour’s five hues from th’ eyes their sight will take;
Music’s five notes the ears as deaf can make;
The flavours five deprive the mouth of taste;
The chariot course, and the wild hunting waste
Make mad the mind; and objects rare and strange,
Sought for, men’s conduct will to evil change.

Therefore the sage seeks to satisfy (the craving of) the belly, and not the (insatiable longing of the) eyes. He puts from him the latter, and prefers to seek the former.

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 Tao Te Ching Chapter 12

J H McDonald

Five colors blind the eye.
Five notes deafen the ear.
Five flavors make the palate go stale.
Too much activity deranges the mind.
Too much wealth causes crime.

The Master acts on what she feels and not what she sees.
She shuns the latter, and prefers to seek the former.

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 Tao Te Ching Chapter 12

Lin Yutang

The five colors blind the eyes of man;
The five musical notes deafen the ears of man;
The five flavors dull the taste of man;
Horse-racing, hunting and chasing madden the minds of man;
Rare, valuable goods keep their owners awake at night.

Therefore the Sage:
Provides for the belly and not the eye.
Hence, he rejects the one and accepts the other.

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