Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching Chapter 9

Translations at a glance

J Legge    J H McDonald   Lin Yutang

Tao Te Ching Chapter 9

J Legge

It is better to leave a vessel unfilled, than to attempt to carry it when it is full. If you keep feeling a point that has been sharpened, the point cannot long preserve its sharpness.

When gold and jade fill the hall, their possessor cannot keep them safe. When wealth and honours lead to arrogancy, this brings its evil on itself. When the work is done, and one’s name is becoming distinguished, to withdraw into obscurity is the way of Heaven.

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 Tao Te Ching Chapter 9

J H McDonald

It is easier to carry an empty cup
than one that is filled to the brim.

The sharper the knife
the easier it is to dull.
The more wealth you possess
the harder it is to protect.
Pride brings it’s own trouble.

When you have accomplished your goal
simply walk away.
This is the pathway to Heaven.

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 Tao Te Ching Chapter 9

Lin Yutang

Stretch (a bow) to the very full,
And you will wish you had stopped in time.
Temper a (sword-edge) to its very sharpest,
And the edge will not last long.
When gold and jade fill your hall,
You will not be able to keep them safe.
To be proud with wealth and honor
Is to sow seeds of one’s own downfall.
Retire when your work is done,
Such is Heaven’s way.

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