Translations at a glance

J Legge    J H McDonald   Lin Yutang

Tao Te Ching Chapter 26

J Legge

Gravity is the root of lightness; stillness, the ruler of movement.

Therefore a wise prince, marching the whole day, does not go far from his baggage wagons. Although he may have brilliant prospects to look at, he quietly remains (in his proper place), indifferent to them. How should the lord of a myriad chariots carry himself lightly before the kingdom? If he do act lightly, he has lost his root (of gravity); if he proceed to active movement, he will lose his throne.

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Tao Te Ching Chapter 26

J H McDonald

Heaviness is the basis of lightness.
Stillness is the standard of activity.

Thus the Master travels all day
without ever leaving her wagon.
Even though she has much to see,
is she at peace in her indifference.

Why should the lord of a thousand chariots
be amused at the foolishness of the world?
If you abandon yourself to foolishness,
you lose touch with your beginnings.
If you let yourself become distracted,
you will lose the basis of your power.

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Tao Te Ching Chapter 26

Lin Yutang

The Solid is the root of the light;
The Quiescent is the master of the Hasty.

Therefore the Sage travels all day
Yet never leaves his provision-cart.
In the midst of honor and glory,
He lives leisurely, undisturbed.

How can the ruler of a great country
Make light of his body in the empire (by rushing about)?
In light frivolity, the Center is lost;
In hasty action, self-mastery is lost.

They may both be called the Cosmic Mystery:
Reaching from the Mystery into the Deeper Mystery
Is the Gate to the Secret of All Life.

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