September 27th, 2012

Chapter 57

Govern a country with upright integrity
Deploy the military with surprise tactics
Take the world with non-interference
How do I know this is so?
With the following:

When there are many restrictions in the world
The people become more impoverished
When people have many sharp weapons
The country becomes more chaotic
When people have many clever tricks
More strange things occur
The more laws are posted
The more robbers and thieves there are

Therefore the sage says:
I take unattached action, and the people transform themselves
I prefer quiet, and the people right themselves
I do not interfere, and the people enrich themselves
I have no desires, and the people simplify themselves

       Translated by Derek Lin
Accurate Translation of the Tao Te Ching
goban
  • trevoke

57

Rule a nation with justice.
Wage war with surprise moves.
Become master of the universe without striving.
How do I know that this is so?
Because of this!

The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become.
The sharper men's weapons,
The more trouble in the land.
The more ingenious and clever men are,
The more strange things happen.
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.

Therefore the sage says:
I take no action and people are reformed.
I enjoy peace and people become honest.
I do nothing and people become rich.
I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.
-
-
You can run a country
by sticking to principles,
and you can win a war
with strategy and tactics.
But you can gain the entire world
by doing nothing at all.

How do I know this?
I've seen it happen:
The more restrictions
a nation imposes,
the poorer its people become.
When a nation hoards weapons,
troubles arise from within
and from without.
When its leaders try
to be cunning and clever,
the situation spins
further out of control.
When they try to fix things
by passing more laws,
they only increase the number of outlaws.

A wise leader says to himself:
"I do nothing,
and people transform themselves.
I keep silent,
and they do the right thing
on their own.
I stay out of the way,
and they prosper.
I want for nothing,
and they lead simple lives."
-

The first version is from the Fortune files. The second version is the Beatrice Tao.