Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching Chapter 5

Translations at a glance

J Legge    J H McDonald   Lin Yutang

Tao Te Ching Chapter 5

J Legge

Heaven and earth do not act from (the impulse of) any wish to be benevolent; they deal with all things as the dogs of grass are dealt with. The sages do not act from (any wish to be) benevolent; they deal with the people as the dogs of grass are dealt with.

May not the space between heaven and earth be compared to a bellows?

‘Tis emptied, yet it loses not its power;
‘Tis moved again, and sends forth air the more.
Much speech to swift exhaustion lead we see;
Your inner being guard, and keep it free.

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 Tao Te Ching Chapter 5

J H McDonald

Heaven and Earth are impartial;
they treat all of creation as straw dogs.
The Master doesn’t take sides;
she treats everyone like a straw dog.

The space between Heaven and Earth is like a bellows;
it is empty, yet has not lost its power.
The more it is used, the more it produces;
the more you talk of it, the less you comprehend.

It is better not to speak of things you do not understand.

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 Tao Te Ching Chapter 5

Lin Yutang

Nature is unkind:
It treats the creation like sacrificial straw-dogs.
The Sage is unkind:
He treats the people like sacrificial straw-dogs.

How the universe is like a bellows!
Empty, yet it gives a supply that never fails;
The more it is worked, the more it brings forth.

By many words is wit exhausted.
Rather, therefore, hold to the core.

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