Chapter 19 How to return to purity.
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(Version and commentary of He Shanggong in English)


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(Ⅷ)


19. 1  
Cut off the saints!

By cutting off the government of the saints, one restores the return to the beginning and keeps to the origin. The five emperors suspended the constellations; Ts'ang Chie invented writing. They were not equal to the three August Ones who used knotted cords and did without written characters.

Throw away wisdom!

Throw away wisdom and sagacity and return to non-action.

The people will be benefited a hundredfold.

Agricultural questions ought to be publicly and not privately settled.

Cut off humanity and throw away justice!

Who cuts off humanity, is looking towards benevolence and kindness. Who throws away justice, esteems beautiful words.

The people return to piety and clemency.

Te changes into simplicity.

Cut off the clever men and throw away the beneficent ones!

Cut off the clever men; they are deceitful and create disorder among the sincere ones. Throw away the beneficent ones, so that the ways of greed may be blocked up and the gate to power barred.

There will be no more thieves and robbers.

If the prince reforms the government, the subjects will be without egoism and depravity.

As to these three,

This means the three things mentioned above which ought to be thrown away and cut off.

to have knowledge of them is not sufficient.

To have knowledge of them means that knowledge is not sufficient for instructing the people.

Therefore let there be something on which one may rely.

This corresponds to the following sentence.

Look at simplicity and hold fast to naturalness.

To look at simplicity corresponds to holding fast to simplicity and keeping to truth as well as to not looking at externals. To hold fast to naturalness corresponds to looking at real naturalness in order to show it to the subjects. Thereby one may become a model.

Diminish egoism.

To diminish egoism means to justify altruism.

Leave the desires alone.

To leave the desires alone corresponds to the knowledge of having enough.

- Chinese :

《道德經》: 絕聖棄智,民利百倍;絕仁棄義,民復孝慈;絕巧棄利,盜賊無有。此三者以為文不足。故令有所屬:見素抱樸,少私寡欲。

《老子河上公章句·還淳》: 絕聖棄智,民利百倍。絕仁棄義,民復孝慈。絕巧棄利,盜賊無有。此三者,以為文不足,故令有所屬。見素抱樸,少私寡欲。

《郭店·老子甲》: 絕智棄辯,民利百倍。絕巧棄利,盜賊亡有。絕偽棄慮,民復季子。三言以為文不足,或令之或乎屬。視素保樸,少私寡欲。

《馬王堆·老子甲道經》: 絕聲棄知,民利百負;絕仁棄義,民復畜茲;絕巧棄利,盜賊無有。此三言也,以為文未足。故令之有所屬:見素抱□□□□□。

《馬王堆·老子乙道經》: 絕聖棄知,而民利百倍;絕仁棄義,而民復孝茲;絕巧棄利,盜賊無有。此三言也,以為文未足。故令之有所屬:見素抱樸,少□而寡欲。
(⁎)
- He Shanggong (Chinese) :

絕聖絕聖制作,反初守元。五帝垂象,倉頡作書,不如三皇結繩無文。棄智,棄智慧,反無為。民利百倍。農事修,公無私。絕仁棄義,絕仁之見恩惠,棄義之尚華言。民復孝慈。德化淳也。絕巧棄利,絕巧者,詐偽亂真也。棄利者,塞貪路閉權門也。盜賊無有。上化公正,下無邪私。此三者,謂上三事所棄絕也。以為文不足,以為文不足者,文不足以教民。故令有所屬。當如下句。見素抱樸,見素者,當抱素守真,不尚文飾也。 抱朴者,當見其篤朴1,以示下,故可法則。少私寡欲。少私者,正無私也。寡欲者,當知足也。
(Ⅱ)
- Wing-Tsit Chan (1963) :

Abandon sageliness and discard wisdom; Then the people will benefit a hundredfold.
Abandon humanity and discard righteousness; Then the people will return to filial piety and deep love.
Abandon skill and discard profit; Then there will be no thieves or robbers.
However, these three things are ornaments (wen) and are not adequate.
Therefore let people hold on to these: Manifest plainness, Embrace simplicity, Reduce selfishness, Have few desires.
(Ⅲ)
- Ellen Marie Chen (1989) :

Eliminate sagacity (sheng), discard knowledge (chih),
People will be profited (li) a hundredfold.
Eliminate humanity (jen), discard righteousness (i),
People will again practice filial piety and parental love.
Abolish artistry (ch'iao), discard profit-seeking (li),
Robbers and thieves shall disappear.
These three pairs adorn (wen) what is deficient (pu tsu).
Therefore, let there be the advice:
Look to the undyed silk, hold on to the uncarved wood (p'u),
Reduce your sense of self (szu) and lessen your desires (yü).
(Ⅳ)
- Ch'u Ta-Kao (1904) :

Do away with sageness and eject wisdom, and the people will be more benefited a hundred times.
Do away with learning, and grief will not be known. Do away with benevolence and eject righteousness, and the people will return to filial duty and parental love.
Do away with artifice and eject gains, and there will be no robbers and thieves.
These four, if we consider them as culture, are not sufficient.
Therefore let there be what the people can resort to: Appear in plainness and hold to simplicity; Restrain selfishness and curtail desires.
(Ⅴ)
- World by world translation :

Traditional // simplified // pinyin // definition // dictionary
絕 // 绝 // jué // ① couper ② rompre ③ épuisé ④ unique ⑤ absolument // Chinese-French
絕 // 绝 // jué // ① to cut short ② extinct ③ to disappear ④ to vanish ⑤ absolutely ⑥ by no means // CC-CEDICT
聖 // 圣 // shèng // ① sacré ② saint ③ sage ④ saint // Chinese-French
聖 // 圣 // shèng // ① holy ② sacred ③ saint ④ sage // CC-CEDICT
棄 // 弃 // qì // ① abandonner ② rejeter // Chinese-French
棄 // 弃 // qì // ① to abandon ② to relinquish ③ to discard ④ to throw away // CC-CEDICT
智 // 智 // zhì // ① sagesse // Chinese-French
智 // 智 // zhì // ① wisdom ② knowledge // CC-CEDICT
民 // 民 // mín // ① peuple ② gens du commun // Chinese-French
民 // 民 // mín // ① surname Min // CC-CEDICT
民 // 民 // mín // ① the people ② nationality ③ citizen // CC-CEDICT
利 // 利 // lì // ① profit ② intérêt ③ tranchant ④ favorable // Chinese-French
利 // 利 // lì // ① surname Li // CC-CEDICT
利 // 利 // lì // ① sharp ② favorable ③ advantage ④ benefit ⑤ profit ⑥ interest ⑦ to do good to ⑧ to benefit // CC-CEDICT
百倍 // 百倍 // bǎi bèi // ① centuple ② cent fois // Chinese-French
百倍 // 百倍 // bǎi bèi // ① a hundredfold ② a hundred times // CC-CEDICT
絕 // 绝 // jué // ① couper ② rompre ③ épuisé ④ unique ⑤ absolument // Chinese-French
絕 // 绝 // jué // ① to cut short ② extinct ③ to disappear ④ to vanish ⑤ absolutely ⑥ by no means // CC-CEDICT
仁 // 仁 // rén // ① humanité ② bienveillance ③ amande ④ pépin ⑤ bon ⑥ bienveillant // Chinese-French
仁 // 仁 // rén // ① humane ② kernel // CC-CEDICT
棄 // 弃 // qì // ① abandonner ② rejeter // Chinese-French
棄 // 弃 // qì // ① to abandon ② to relinquish ③ to discard ④ to throw away // CC-CEDICT
義 // 义 // yì // ① justice ② sens ③ juste ④ équitable ⑤ adoptif // Chinese-French
義 // 义 // yì // ① surname Yi ② (Tw) abbr. for 義大利|义大利[Yi4 da4 li4], Italy // CC-CEDICT
義 // 义 // yì // ① justice ② righteousness ③ meaning ④ foster (father etc) ⑤ adopted ⑥ artificial (tooth, limb etc) ⑦ relationship ⑧ friendship // CC-CEDICT
民 // 民 // mín // ① peuple ② gens du commun // Chinese-French
民 // 民 // mín // ① surname Min // CC-CEDICT
民 // 民 // mín // ① the people ② nationality ③ citizen // CC-CEDICT
復 // 复 // fù // ① to go and return ② to return ③ to resume ④ to return to a normal or original state ⑤ to repeat ⑥ again ⑦ to recover ⑧ to restore ⑨ to turn over ⑩ to reply ⑪ to answer ⑫ to reply to a letter ⑬ to retaliate ⑭ to carry out // CC-CEDICT
孝 // 孝 // xiào // ① piété filiable ② deuil // Chinese-French
孝 // 孝 // xiào // ① filial piety or obedience ② mourning apparel // CC-CEDICT
慈 // 慈 // cí // ① bon ② tendre // Chinese-French
慈 // 慈 // cí // ① compassionate ② gentle ③ merciful ④ kind ⑤ humane // CC-CEDICT
絕 // 绝 // jué // ① couper ② rompre ③ épuisé ④ unique ⑤ absolument // Chinese-French
絕 // 绝 // jué // ① to cut short ② extinct ③ to disappear ④ to vanish ⑤ absolutely ⑥ by no means // CC-CEDICT
巧 // 巧 // qiǎo // ① habile ② par hasard // Chinese-French
巧 // 巧 // qiǎo // ① opportunely ② coincidentally ③ as it happens ④ skillful ⑤ timely // CC-CEDICT
棄 // 弃 // qì // ① abandonner ② rejeter // Chinese-French
棄 // 弃 // qì // ① to abandon ② to relinquish ③ to discard ④ to throw away // CC-CEDICT
利 // 利 // lì // ① profit ② intérêt ③ tranchant ④ favorable // Chinese-French
利 // 利 // lì // ① surname Li // CC-CEDICT
利 // 利 // lì // ① sharp ② favorable ③ advantage ④ benefit ⑤ profit ⑥ interest ⑦ to do good to ⑧ to benefit // CC-CEDICT
盜賊 // 盗贼 // dào zéi // ① bandit ② brigand // Chinese-French
盜賊 // 盗贼 // dào zéi // ① robber // CC-CEDICT
無 // 无 // wú // ① non ② 71e radical // Chinese-French
無 // 无 // wú // ① not to have ② no ③ none ④ not ⑤ to lack ⑥ un- ⑦ -less // CC-CEDICT
有 // 有 // yǒu // ① avoir ② posséder ③ il y a ④ exister // Chinese-French
有 // 有 // yǒu // ① to have ② there is ③ there are ④ to exist ⑤ to be // CC-CEDICT
此 // 此 // cǐ // ① ce ② ici // Chinese-French
此 // 此 // cǐ // ① this ② these // CC-CEDICT
三 // 三 // sān // ① trois // Chinese-French
三 // 三 // sān // ① surname San // CC-CEDICT
三 // 三 // sān // ① three ② 3 // CC-CEDICT
者 // 者 // zhě // ① (placé après un adjectif ou un verbe est utilisé comme substantif pour désigner une personne ou une chose) // Chinese-French
者 // 者 // zhě // ① (after a verb or adjective) one who (is) ... ② (after a noun) person involved in ... ③ -er ④ -ist ⑤ (used after a number or 後|后[hou4] or 前[qian2] to refer to sth mentioned previously) ⑥ (used after a term, to mark a pause before defining the term) ⑦ (old) (used at the end of a command) ⑧ (old) this // CC-CEDICT
以為 // 以为 // yǐ wéi // ① croire ② penser ③ s'imaginer // Chinese-French
以為 // 以为 // yǐ wéi // ① to believe ② to think ③ to consider ④ to be under the impression // CC-CEDICT
文 // 文 // wén // ① caractère ② écriture ③ texte ④ écrit ⑤ langue ⑥ culture ⑦ civil ⑧ (nom de famille) // Chinese-French
文 // 文 // wén // ① surname Wen // CC-CEDICT
文 // 文 // wén // ① language ② culture ③ writing ④ formal ⑤ literary ⑥ gentle ⑦ (old) classifier for coins ⑧ Kangxi radical 67 // CC-CEDICT
不足 // 不足 // bù zú // ① ne pas valoir ② insuffisant ③ pas assez // Chinese-French
不足 // 不足 // bù zú // ① insufficient ② lacking ③ deficiency ④ not enough ⑤ inadequate ⑥ not worth ⑦ cannot ⑧ should not // CC-CEDICT
故 // 故 // gù // ① incident ② cause ③ à dessein ④ exprès ⑤ raison ⑥ ancien ⑦ mourir // Chinese-French
故 // 故 // gù // ① happening ② instance ③ reason ④ cause ⑤ intentional ⑥ former ⑦ old ⑧ friend ⑨ therefore ⑩ hence ⑪ (of people) to die, dead // CC-CEDICT
令 // 令 // lìng // ① causer ② commande ③ ordonner ④ rame de papier ⑤ provoquer ⑥ décret ⑦ loi ⑧ honorable // Chinese-French
令 // 令 // lìng // ① to order ② to command ③ an order ④ warrant ⑤ writ ⑥ to cause ⑦ to make sth happen ⑧ virtuous ⑨ honorific title ⑩ season ⑪ government position (old) // CC-CEDICT
令 // 令 // líng // ① see 令狐[Ling2 hu2] // CC-CEDICT
令 // 令 // líng // ① see 脊令[ji2 ling2] // CC-CEDICT
令 // 令 // lǐng // ① classificateur pour une rame de papier // Chinese-French
令 // 令 // lǐng // ① classifier for a ream of paper // CC-CEDICT
有所 // 有所 // yǒu suǒ // ① assez ② quelque peu ③ en quelque sorte // Chinese-French
有所 // 有所 // yǒu suǒ // ① somewhat ② to some extent // CC-CEDICT
屬 // 属 // shǔ // ① genre ② catégorie ③ membres d'une famille ④ appartenir à ⑤ relever de // Chinese-French
屬 // 属 // shǔ // ① category ② genus (taxonomy) ③ family members ④ dependents ⑤ to belong to ⑥ subordinate to ⑦ affiliated with ⑧ be born in the year of (one of the 12 animals) ⑨ to be ⑩ to prove to be ⑪ to constitute // CC-CEDICT
屬 // 属 // zhǔ // ① fixer son attention // Chinese-French
屬 // 属 // zhǔ // ① to join together ② to fix one's attention on ③ to concentrate on // CC-CEDICT
見 // 见 // jiàn // ① voir ② apercevoir ③ rencontrer ④ être au contact de ⑤ être exposé à ⑥ se référer à // Chinese-French
見 // 见 // jiàn // ① to see ② to meet ③ to appear (to be sth) ④ to interview // CC-CEDICT
見 // 见 // xiàn // ① apparaître ② se montrer // Chinese-French
見 // 见 // xiàn // ① to appear ② also written 現|现[xian4] // CC-CEDICT
素 // 素 // sù // ① jamais ② toujours ③ blanc ④ simple ⑤ végétarien ⑥ maigre // Chinese-French
素 // 素 // sù // ① raw silk ② white ③ plain, unadorned ④ vegetarian (food) ⑤ essence ⑥ nature ⑦ element ⑧ constituent ⑨ usually ⑩ always ⑪ ever // CC-CEDICT
抱 // 抱 // bào // ① tenir ② étreindre ③ serrer dans ses bras ④ enlacer ⑤ chérir ⑥ entourer // Chinese-French
抱 // 抱 // bào // ① to hold ② to carry (in one's arms) ③ to hug ④ to embrace ⑤ to surround ⑥ to cherish // CC-CEDICT
樸 // 朴 // pǔ // ① simple // Chinese-French
樸 // 朴 // pǔ // ① plain and simple ② Taiwan pr. [pu2] // CC-CEDICT
少 // 少 // shǎo // ① peu ② manquer ③ perdre // Chinese-French
少 // 少 // shǎo // ① few ② less ③ to lack ④ to be missing ⑤ to stop (doing sth) ⑥ seldom // CC-CEDICT
少 // 少 // shào // ① jeune // Chinese-French
少 // 少 // shào // ① young // CC-CEDICT
私 // 私 // sī // ① privé ② personnel ③ égoïste ④ secret ⑤ confidentiel ⑥ clandestin ⑦ illégal // Chinese-French
私 // 私 // sī // ① personal ② private ③ selfish // CC-CEDICT
寡 // 寡 // guǎ // ① peu ② fade ③ monotone ④ veuve // Chinese-French
寡 // 寡 // guǎ // ① few ② scant ③ widowed // CC-CEDICT
欲 // 欲 // yù // ① envie ② désir ③ désirer ④ vouloir // Chinese-French
欲 // 欲 // yù // ① to wish for ② to desire ③ variant of 慾|欲[yu4] // CC-CEDICT
慾 // 欲 // yù // ① desire ② appetite ③ passion ④ lust ⑤ greed // CC-CEDICT
(Ⅵ)
- Yi Wu (1989) :

Advocate no sage knowledge,
And people can benefit one hundred times as much.
Advocate no public welfare,
And people will turn to good and kindly feelings again.
Advocate no art and profit,
And people will not commit theft.
Those three are just roughly relegated
And cannot be fully clarified through words:
The best policy is to strive for simplicity,
To reduce selfish desires,
And to apply no confusing knowledge.
(Ⅶ)
- Lynn (2004) :

Repudiate sagehood and discard wisdom, and the people would benefit a hundredfold.
Repudiate benevolence and discard righteousness, and the people would again be obedient and kind to each other.
Repudiate cleverness and discard sharpness, and thieves and robbers would not exist.
As for these three pairs of terms,
Because they serve as mere decoration,
Give people the chance to identify with something else:
Exemplify simplicity, embrace the uncarved block
Curtail self-interest, and have few desires.
(Ⅷ)


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