Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching Chapter 29

Translations at a glance

J Legge    J H McDonald   Lin Yutang

Tao Te Ching Chapter 29

J Legge

If any one should wish to get the kingdom for himself, and to effect this by what he does, I see that he will not succeed. The kingdom is a spirit-like thing, and cannot be got by active doing. He who would so win it destroys it; he who would hold it in his grasp loses it.

The course and nature of things is such that What was in front is now behind;
What warmed anon we freezing find.
Strength is of weakness oft the spoil;
The store in ruins mocks our toil.

Hence the sage puts away excessive effort, extravagance, and easy indulgence.

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 Tao Te Ching Chapter 29

J H McDonald

Do you want to rule the world and control it?
I don’t think it can ever be done.

The world is sacred vessel
and it cannot be controlled.
You will only it make it worse if you try.
It may slip through your fingers and disappear.

Some are meant to lead,
and others are meant to follow;
Some must always strain,
and others have an easy time;
Some are naturally big and strong,
and others will always be small;
Some will be protected and nurtured,
and others will meet with destruction.

The Master accepts things as they are,
and out of compassion avoids extravagance, excess and the extremes.

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 Tao Te Ching Chapter 29

Lin Yutang

There are those who will conquer the world
And make of it (what they conceive or desire).
I see that they will not succeed.
(For) the world is God’s own Vessel
It cannot be made (by human interference).
He who makes it spoils it.
He who holds it loses it.
For: Some things go forward,
Some things follow behind;
some blow hot,
And some blow cold;
Some are strong,
And some are weak;
Some may break,
And some may fall.
Hence the Sage eschews excess, eschews extravagance,
Eschews pride.

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