81 Chapter Translations & Interpretations

Chapter 12 – The five colors blind the eye

The five colors blind the eye. The five tones deafen the ear. The five flavors dull the taste. Racing and hunting madden the mind. Precious things lead one astray. Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees. He lets go of... Read More

Chapter 13 – Accept disgrace willingly

Accept disgrace willingly. Accept misfortune as the human condition. What do you mean by “Accept disgrace willingly”? Accept being unimportant. Do not be concerned with loss or gain. This is called “accepting disgrace... Read More

Chapter 14 – That which we look at and cannot see is called plainness.

That which we look at and cannot see is called plainness. That which we listen to and cannot hear is called rareness. That which we grope for and cannot get is called minuteness. These three cannot be closely examined; So they blend into... Read More

Chapter 15 – The ancient Masters were profound and subtle.

The ancient Masters were profound and subtle. Their wisdom was unfathomable. There is no way to describe it; all we can describe is their appearance. They were careful as someone crossing an iced-over stream. Alert as a warrior in enemy... Read More

Chapter 16 – Attain the climax of emptiness, preserve the utmost quiet

Attain the climax of emptiness, preserve the utmost quiet: as myriad things act in concert, I thereby observe the return. Things flourish, then each returns to its root. Returning to the root is called stillness; stillness is called return to Life,... Read More

Chapter 17 – Preeminent is one whose subjects barely know he exists

Preeminent is one whose subjects barely know he exists; The next is one to whom they feel close and praise; The next is one whom they fear; The lowest is one whom they despise. When the ruler’s trust is wanting, there will be no trust in... Read More

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