Chapter 22 How to increase humility.
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(Version and commentary of He Shanggong in English)


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22. 1  
If twisted, then one becomes perfect.

Who twists himself, follows the multitude and acts not on his own responsibility. Thereby he completes his personality.

If crooked, then one becomes straight.

Who makes himself crooked but straightens others, in the long run acquires straightness himself.

If hollow, then it becomes filled.

If the earth is low, the waters flow thither. If a man is humble, Te comes to him.

If worn out, then one is newly mended.

Who regards himself as worn out and poor, will afterwards precede others. The world will honour him. In the long run he himself will become renewed.

If one has little, then one will receive.

Who himself takes little, will receive much. It is the way of heaven to protect the humble ones. The spirits rely on emptiness.

If having much, one will be disappointed.

Who has abundance of riches, has his doubts how to protect them. Who has abundance of learning, has his doubts to whom he should listen.

Therefore the saint holds fast to unity and becomes the empire’s model.

He holds fast to the model. If the saint preserves unity, then he knows about all affairs. Therefore he is able to become the empire’s model.

He does not regard himself. Therefore he is enlightened.

The saint by means of his eyes does not look beyond a thousand miles. Thus he relies on the eyes of the empire for looking out. Therefore he is able to be enlightened and penetrating.

Through not existing for himself he is eminent.

The saint does not exist himself through action but he ignores men. Therefore he can become apparent to the world.

He does not take anything for himself. Therefore there is merit.

fa 伐 = 取 to take. The Te of the saint effects changes and spreads. He does not claim its beauty for himself. Therefore he has merit within the empire.

He does not himself boast. Therefore he endures.

矜 ching =

Now as he does not contend, therefore nobody within the empire is able to contend with him.

This means:Within the empire, neither worthy nor unworthy persons are able to contend with somebody who does not contend.

What was said in ancient times: ‘If twisted , then one becomes perfect’ is this perhaps an empty saying?

The word transmitted from antiquity: “Who is twisted and follows, thereby completing his personality” is a correct saying and no empty nonsense.

Truly he is perfect and returns.

誠 = 實truly. Who is able to act the “twisted following”, realizes his body and returns to his parents. Nothing will hurt him.

- Chinese :

《道德經》: 企者不立;跨者不行;自見者不明;自是者不彰;自伐者無功;自矜者不長。其在道也,曰:餘食贅行。物或惡之,故有道者不處。

《老子河上公章句·苦恩》: 企者不立,跨者不行,自見者不明,自是者不彰,自伐者無功,自矜者不長。其在道也,曰:餘食贅行。物或惡之。故有道者不處。

《馬王堆·老子甲道經》: 炊者不立;自視不章;□見者不明;自伐者無功;自矜者不長。其在道曰:𥺌食贅行。物或惡之。故有欲者□居。

《馬王堆·老子乙道經》: 炊者不立;自視者不章;自見者不明;自伐者無功;自矜者不長。其在道也,曰:𥺌食贅行。物或亞之,故有欲者弗居。
(⁎)
- He Shanggong (Chinese) :

曲則全,曲己從眾,不自專,則全其身也。枉則直,枉,屈己而伸人,久久自得直也。窪則盈,地窪下,水流之;人謙下,德歸之。敝則新,自受弊薄,後己先人,天下敬之,久久自新也。少則得,自受取少則得多也,天道祐謙,神明託虛。多則惑。財多者,惑於所守,學多者,惑於所聞。是以聖人抱一為天下式。抱,守也。式,法也。 聖人守一,乃知萬事,故能為天下法式也。不自見故明,聖人不以其目視千里之外也,乃因天下之目以視,故能明達也。不自是故彰,聖人不自以為是而非人,故能彰顯於世。不自伐故有功,伐,取也。 聖人德化流行,不自取其美,故有功於天下。不自矜故長。矜,大也。 聖人不自貴大,故能久不危。夫惟不爭,故天下莫能與之爭。此言天下賢與不肖,無能與不爭者爭也。古之所謂曲則全者,豈虛言哉。傳古言,曲從則全身,此言非虛妄也。誠全而歸之。誠,實也。 能行曲從者,實其肌體,歸之於父母,無有傷害也。
(Ⅱ)
- Wing-Tsit Chan (1963) :

To yield is to be preserved whole. To be bent is to become straight. To be empty is to be full. To be worn out is to be renewed. To have little is to possess. To have plenty is to be perplexed.
Therefore the sage embraces the One And becomes the model of the world.
He does not justify himself; therefore he becomes prominent. He does not boast of himself; therefore he is given credit. He does not brag; therefore he can endure for long.
It is precisely because he does not compete that the world cannot compete with him.
Is the ancient saying, "To yield is to be preserved whole," empty words? Truly he will be preserved and (prominence and credit) will come to him.
(Ⅲ)
- Ellen Marie Chen (1989) :

Bent, thus (tse) preserved whole,
Unjustly accused, thus exonerated (chih),
Hollow, thus filled (ying),
Battered (pi), thus renewed,
Scanty, thus receiving (te),
Much, thus perplexed.
Therefore the sage embraces the One (pao i).
He becomes the model (shih) of the world.
Not self-seeing, hence he is enlightened (ming).
Not self-justifying, hence he is outstanding.
Not showing off (fa) his deeds, hence he is meritorious.
Not boasting (ching) of himself, hence he leads (chang).
Because he is not contentious (pu cheng),
Hence no one under heaven can contend with him.
What the ancients say: "Bent, thus preserved whole,"
Are these empty words?
Be preserved whole and return (kuei).
(Ⅳ)
- Ch'u Ta-Kao (1904) :

'Be humble, and you will remain entire.' Be bent, and you will remain straight. Be vacant, and you will remain full. Be worn, and you will remain new. He who has little will receive. He who has much will be embarrassed.
Therefore the Sage keeps to One and becomes the standard for the world.
He does not display himself; therefore he shines. He does not approve himself; therefore he is noted. He does not praise himself; therefore he has merit. He does not glory in himself; therefore he excels.
And because he does not compete; therefore no one in the world can compete with him.
The ancient saying 'Be humble and you will remain entire'- Can this be regarded as mere empty words? Indeed he shall return home entire.
(Ⅴ)
- World by world translation :

Traditional // simplified // pinyin // definition // dictionary
企 // 企 // qǐ // ① planifier un projet ② se tenir debout sur la pointe des pieds ③ entreprise ④ société // Chinese-French
企 // 企 // qǐ // ① to plan a project ② to stand on tiptoe ③ Taiwan pr. [qi4] ④ abbr. for 企業|企业[qi3 ye4] // 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
不 // 不 // bù // ① ne... pas ② non ③ (pour former une question placé à la fin d'une phrase, pour indiquer l'indifférence avec shen me ④ pour indiquer une alternative avec jiu) // Chinese-French
不 // 不 // bù // ① (negative prefix) ② not ③ no // CC-CEDICT
立 // 立 // lì // ① s'efforcer de ② se tenir debout ③ dresser ④ fonder ⑤ vertical ⑥ droit ⑦ tout de suite ⑧ immédiatement // Chinese-French
立 // 立 // lì // ① surname Li // CC-CEDICT
立 // 立 // lì // ① to stand ② to set up ③ to establish ④ to lay down ⑤ to draw up ⑥ at once ⑦ immediately // CC-CEDICT
跨 // 跨 // kuà // ① enjamber ② franchir ③ enfourcher ④ traverser // Chinese-French
跨 // 跨 // kuà // ① to step across ② to stride over ③ to straddle ④ to span // 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
不行 // 不行 // bù xíng // ① incapable ② incompétent ③ ça ne va pas ④ ce n'est pas possible // Chinese-French
不行 // 不行 // bù xíng // ① won't do ② be out of the question ③ be no good ④ not work ⑤ not be capable // CC-CEDICT
自 // 自 // zì // ① depuis ② à partir de ③ soi-même ④ naturellement // Chinese-French
自 // 自 // zì // ① self ② oneself ③ from ④ since ⑤ naturally ⑥ surely // 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
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
不明 // 不明 // bù míng // ① obscurité // Chinese-French
不明 // 不明 // bù míng // ① not clear ② unknown ③ to fail to understand // CC-CEDICT
自 // 自 // zì // ① depuis ② à partir de ③ soi-même ④ naturellement // Chinese-French
自 // 自 // zì // ① self ② oneself ③ from ④ since ⑤ naturally ⑥ surely // CC-CEDICT
是 // 是 // shì // ① être ② oui ③ correct // Chinese-French
是 // 是 // shì // ① is ② are ③ am ④ yes ⑤ to be // CC-CEDICT
昰 // 是 // shì // ① variant of 是[shi4] ② (used in given names) // 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
不 // 不 // bù // ① ne... pas ② non ③ (pour former une question placé à la fin d'une phrase, pour indiquer l'indifférence avec shen me ④ pour indiquer une alternative avec jiu) // Chinese-French
不 // 不 // bù // ① (negative prefix) ② not ③ no // CC-CEDICT
彰 // 彰 // zhāng // ① clair ② évident // Chinese-French
彰 // 彰 // zhāng // ① clear ② conspicuous ③ manifest // CC-CEDICT
自 // 自 // zì // ① depuis ② à partir de ③ soi-même ④ naturellement // Chinese-French
自 // 自 // zì // ① self ② oneself ③ from ④ since ⑤ naturally ⑥ surely // CC-CEDICT
伐 // 伐 // fá // ① couper ② abattre ③ attaquer // Chinese-French
伐 // 伐 // fá // ① to cut down ② to fell ③ to dispatch an expedition against ④ to attack ⑤ to boast ⑥ Taiwan pr. [fa1] // 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
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
功 // 功 // gōng // ① mérite, services ② effort, travail // Chinese-French
功 // 功 // gōng // ① meritorious deed or service ② achievement ③ result ④ service ⑤ accomplishment ⑥ work (physics) // CC-CEDICT
自矜 // 自矜 // zì jīn // ① to boast ② to blow one's own horn // 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
不 // 不 // bù // ① ne... pas ② non ③ (pour former une question placé à la fin d'une phrase, pour indiquer l'indifférence avec shen me ④ pour indiquer une alternative avec jiu) // Chinese-French
不 // 不 // bù // ① (negative prefix) ② not ③ no // CC-CEDICT
長 // 长 // cháng // ① long ② durable // Chinese-French
長 // 长 // cháng // ① length ② long ③ forever ④ always ⑤ constantly // CC-CEDICT
長 // 长 // zhǎng // ① chef ② tête ③ aîné ④ grandir ⑤ développer ⑥ accroître ⑦ renforcer // Chinese-French
長 // 长 // zhǎng // ① chief ② head ③ elder ④ to grow ⑤ to develop ⑥ to increase ⑦ to enhance // CC-CEDICT
其 // 其 // qí // ① son ② sa ③ ses ④ leur ⑤ leurs ⑥ il(s) ⑦ elle(s) ⑧ ceci ⑨ cela // Chinese-French
其 // 其 // qí // ① his ② her ③ its ④ their ⑤ that ⑥ such ⑦ it (refers to sth preceding it) // CC-CEDICT
在 // 在 // zài // ① en train de ② à ③ dans ④ en ⑤ exister ⑥ vivre // Chinese-French
在 // 在 // zài // ① (located) at ② (to be) in ③ to exist ④ in the middle of doing sth ⑤ (indicating an action in progress) // CC-CEDICT
道 // 道 // dào // ① doctrine, raison ② voie ③ dire ④ circuit, intendance // Chinese-French
道 // 道 // dào // ① road ② path ③ CL:條|条[tiao2],股[gu3] ④ principle ⑤ truth ⑥ morality ⑦ reason ⑧ skill ⑨ method ⑩ Dao (of Daoism) ⑪ to say ⑫ to speak ⑬ to talk ⑭ classifier for long thin things (rivers, cracks etc), barriers (walls, doors etc), questions (in an exam etc), commands, courses in a meal, steps in a process ⑮ (old) administrative division (similar to province in Tang times) // CC-CEDICT
也 // 也 // yě // ① également ② aussi ③ à la fois ④ même ⑤ voire // Chinese-French
也 // 也 // yě // ① surname Ye // CC-CEDICT
也 // 也 // yě // ① also ② too ③ (in Classical Chinese) final particle implying affirmation // CC-CEDICT
曰 // 曰 // yuē // ① dire ② appeler // Chinese-French
曰 // 曰 // yuē // ① to speak ② to say // CC-CEDICT
餘 // 余 // yú // ① en surplus ② en trop // Chinese-French
餘 // 余 // yú // ① extra ② surplus ③ remaining ④ remainder after division ⑤ (following numerical value) or more ⑥ in excess of (some number) ⑦ residue (math.) ⑧ after ⑨ I ⑩ me // CC-CEDICT
餘 // 馀 // yú // ① moi ② mon ③ surplus ④ (nom de famille) // Chinese-French
餘 // 馀 // yú // ① surname Yu // CC-CEDICT
餘 // 馀 // yú // ① variant of 餘|余[yu2], remainder // CC-CEDICT
食 // 食 // shí // ① manger ② nourriture ③ aliments pour animaux ④ éclipse // Chinese-French
食 // 食 // shí // ① to eat ② food ③ animal feed ④ eclipse // CC-CEDICT
食 // 食 // sì // ① nourrir // Chinese-French
食 // 食 // sì // ① to feed // CC-CEDICT
贅 // 赘 // zhuì // ① répéter ② joindre ③ excroissance ④ parasite ⑤ superflu // Chinese-French
贅 // 赘 // zhuì // ① superfluous ② redundant ③ cumbersome ④ refers to a son-in-law living with wife's family // CC-CEDICT
行 // 行 // xíng // ① marcher ② agir ③ faire ④ pratiquer ⑤ appliquer ⑥ d'accord ⑦ c'est bon ! ⑧ chacun des éléments : l’eau, le feu, le bois, le métal, la terre ⑨ bagages ⑩ quitter la maison ⑪ se marier (pour une fille) ⑫ ballade // Chinese-French
行 // 行 // xíng // ① to walk ② to go ③ to travel ④ a visit ⑤ temporary ⑥ makeshift ⑦ current ⑧ in circulation ⑨ to do ⑩ to perform ⑪ capable ⑫ competent ⑬ effective ⑭ all right ⑮ OK! ⑯ will do ⑰ behavior ⑱ conduct ⑲ Taiwan pr. [xing4] for the behavior-conduct sense // CC-CEDICT
行 // 行 // háng // ① classe ② sorte ③ rang ④ maison de commerce // Chinese-French
行 // 行 // háng // ① a row ② series ③ age order (of brothers) ④ profession ⑤ professional ⑥ relating to company // CC-CEDICT
行 // 行 // xìng // ① action // Chinese-French
物 // 物 // wù // ① objet ② chose ③ être, matière // Chinese-French
物 // 物 // wù // ① thing ② object ③ matter ④ abbr. for physics 物理 // CC-CEDICT
或 // 或 // huò // ① ou ② soit...soit... ③ probablement ④ peut-être // Chinese-French
或 // 或 // huò // ① maybe ② perhaps ③ might ④ possibly ⑤ or // CC-CEDICT
惡 // 恶 // è // ① mauvais ② méchant ③ vicieux // Chinese-French
惡 // 恶 // è // ① evil ② fierce ③ vicious ④ ugly ⑤ coarse ⑥ to harm // CC-CEDICT
惡 // 恶 // ě // ① mal // Chinese-French
惡 // 恶 // ě // ① see 惡心|恶心[e3 xin1] // CC-CEDICT
惡 // 恶 // wù // ① haïr ② détestable // Chinese-French
惡 // 恶 // wù // ① to hate ② to loathe ③ ashamed ④ to fear ⑤ to slander // CC-CEDICT
之 // 之 // zhī // ① (remplaçant une personne ou une chose comme complément) ② (particule possessive dans différentes expressions) // Chinese-French
之 // 之 // zhī // ① (possessive particle, literary equivalent of 的[de5]) ② him ③ her ④ it // 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
有道 // 有道 // yǒu dào // ① to have attained the Way ② (of a government or a ruler) enlightened ③ wise and just // 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
不 // 不 // bù // ① ne... pas ② non ③ (pour former une question placé à la fin d'une phrase, pour indiquer l'indifférence avec shen me ④ pour indiquer une alternative avec jiu) // Chinese-French
不 // 不 // bù // ① (negative prefix) ② not ③ no // CC-CEDICT
處 // 处 // chù // ① lieu ② endroit ③ département ④ service // Chinese-French
處 // 处 // chù // ① place ② location ③ spot ④ point ⑤ office ⑥ department ⑦ bureau ⑧ respect ⑨ classifier for locations or items of damage: spot, point // CC-CEDICT
處 // 处 // chǔ // ① s'entendre (bien ou mal) ② se trouver ③ punir ④ habiter // Chinese-French
處 // 处 // chǔ // ① to reside ② to live ③ to dwell ④ to be in ⑤ to be situated at ⑥ to stay ⑦ to get along with ⑧ to be in a position of ⑨ to deal with ⑩ to discipline ⑪ to punish // CC-CEDICT
(Ⅵ)
- Yi Wu (1989) :

What is adaptable can remain whole.
What is bendable can be straight.
What is empty can be replenished.
What is used can be renewed.
One is satisfied when one gets barely enough.
One is overburdened when one gets too much.
Therefore,
The wise keeps the humblest life style
As a basic model for the world.
Unoccupied with one's own views, one is objective.
Unoccupied with one's own merits, one is recommended.
Unoccupied with one's own deeds, one is successful.
Unoccupied with one's own superiority, one is obeyed.
One gets the most if one gets nothing for one's self.
The old saying about flexibility holds true.
One sticks to it heart and soul, and it will work.
(Ⅶ)
- Lynn (2004) :

Stepping aside keeps one's wholeness intact.
Bending makes one straight.
Being empty makes one full.
Being worn out keeps one new.
Having little gives one access.
Having much leads one astray.
In this way, the sage embraces the One and becomes a model for all under Heaven.
He does not flaunt himself, thus he shines.
He does not insist that he is right, thus his rightness is manifest.
He does not boast about himself, thus his merit is acknowledged.
He avoids self-importance, thus he long endures.
It is because he does not contend that none among all under Heaven can contend with him.
As the ancient saying has it, "Stepping aside keeps one's wholeness intact."
How could this ever be an empty saying!
Truly, such a one will revert to it [nonexistence] with his wholeness intact.
(Ⅷ)


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