Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching Chapter 74

Translations at a glance

J Legge    J H McDonald   Lin Yutang

Tao Te Ching Chapter 74

J Legge

The people do not fear death; to what purpose is it to (try to) frighten them with death? If the people were always in awe of death, and I could always seize those who do wrong, and put them to death, who would dare to do wrong?

There is always One who presides over the infliction death. He who would inflict death in the room of him who so presides over it may be described as hewing wood instead of a great carpenter. Seldom is it that he who undertakes the hewing, instead of the great carpenter, does not cut his own hands!

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 Tao Te Ching Chapter 74

J H McDonald

If you do not fear death,
then how can it intimidate you?
If you aren’t afraid of dying,
there is nothing you cannot do.

Those who harm others
are like inexperienced boys
trying to take the place of a great lumberjack.
Trying to fill his shoes will only get them seriously hurt.

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 Tao Te Ching Chapter 74

Lin Yutang

The people are not afraid of death;
Why threaten them with death?
Supposing that the people are afraid of death,
And we can seize and kill the unruly,
Who would dare to do so?
Often it happens that the executioner is killed.
And to take the place of the executioner
Is like handling the hatchet for the master carpenter.
He who handles the hatchet for the master carpenter
seldom escapes injury to his hands.

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