81 Chapter Translations & Interpretations

Chapter 38 – The person of superior integrity does not insist upon his integrity

The person of superior integrity
does not insist upon his integrity;
For this reason, he has integrity.
The person of inferior integrity
never loses sight of his integrity;
For this reason, he lacks integrity.

The person of superior integrity takes no action,
nor has he a purpose for acting.
The person of superior humaneness takes action,
but has no purpose for acting.
The person of superior righteousness takes action,
and has a purpose for acting.
The person of superior etiquette takes action,
but others do not respond to him;
Whereupon he rolls up his sleeves and coerces them.

Therefore,
When the Way is lost,
afterward comes integrity.
When integrity is lost,
afterward comes humaneness.
When humaneness is lost,
afterward comes righteousness.
When righteousness is lost,
afterward comes etiquette.

Now,
Etiquette is the attenuation of trustworthiness, and the source of disorder.
Foreknowledge is but the blossomy ornament of the Way, and the source of ignorance.

For this reason,
The great man resides in substance, not in attenuation.
He resides in fruitful reality, not in blossomy ornament.
Therefore,
He rejects the one and adopts the other.


Support Author: Victor H. Mair
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Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu

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