March 4th, 2013



If I have even just a little sense,
I will walk on the main road and my only fear
will be of straying from it.
Keeping to the main road is easy,
But people love to be sidetracked.

When the court is arrayed in splendor,
The fields are full of weeds,
And the granaries are bare.
Some wear gorgeous clothes,
Carry sharp swords,
And indulge themselves with food and drink;
They have more possessions than they can use.
They are robber barons.
This is certainly not the way of Tao.
If I had any sense,
I'd be trying to get right with Tao,
and the only thing I'd worry about
would be messing up.
It's not that hard to get right with Tao,
but people are easily distracted.

"When the king's palace is full of treasure,"
Lao Tzu said,
"ordinary people's fields
are smothered with weeds,
and the food supplies run out."

Today, you see sharply dressed people
carrying flashy weapons
and living the high life.

They own more
than they could ever use,
let alone need.

They're nothing
but gangsters and crooks.
That's not what Tao's about.

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

Chapter 53

53.1 Causing one flashes of knowledge to travel the Great Way,
       only its application demands care.
53.2 The Great Way is quite even,
       yet people prefer byways.
53.3 When courts are extremely fastidious,
       the fields are seriously neglected,
       and the granaries are very empty;
53.4 They wear colorful clothing and carry sharp swords,
       eat and drink their fill and possess more than enough.
       This is called the vanity of thieves;
       it is not the Way.

Tao Teh Ching - Cleary Translation