September 28th, 2012

Chapter 58

When governing is lackluster
The people are simple and honest
When governing is scrutinizing
The people are shrewd and crafty

Misfortune is what fortune depends upon
Fortune is where misfortune hides beneath
Who knows their ultimate end?
They have no determined outcome
Rightness reverts to become strange
Goodness reverts to become wicked
The confusion of people
has lasted many long days

Therefore the sages are:
Righteous without being scathing
Incorruptible without being piercing
Straightforward without being ruthless
Illuminated without being flashy

      Translated by Derek Lin


Accurate Translation of the Tao Te Ching
goban
  • trevoke

58

When the country is ruled with a light hand
The people are simple.
When the country is ruled with severity,
The people are cunning.

Happiness is rooted in misery.
Misery lurks beneath happiness.
Who knows what the future holds?
There is no honesty.
Honesty becomes dishonest.
Goodness becomes witchcraft.
Man's bewitchment lasts for a long time.

Therefore the sage is sharp but not cutting,
Pointed but not piercing,
Straightforward but not unrestrained,
Brilliant but not blinding.
-
-
When a nation is ruled
with a light touch,
people lead simple lives.
When a government
is harsh and demanding,
people will spend their time
trying to outsmart it.

Happiness is rooted in misery,
and misery lurks beneath all joy.
Who knows what could happen tomorrow?

Everything is relative;
what's considered proper today
may become improper.
Correct appearances
may hide dishonesty and sinfulness.

No wonder so many people get confused.

The Masters have sharp minds,
not sharp tongues.
They are austere,
but never judgmental.
They are straightforward,
but not provocative.
They are brilliant,
but not flashy.
-

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