Chapter 29 How to do nothing.
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(Version and commentary of He Shanggong in English)


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29. 1  
Who is going to want to take the empire,

Who wants to become lord of the empire,

and to manage it,

Who wants to govern the empire by activity.

I see that he does not get it.

I see that he does not get the Tao of heaven to enlighten the mind of man. The Tao of heaven hates confusion and impurity. The mind of man hates the many desires.

The empire is a spiritual tool. One cannot work with it.

A tool is a thing. Thus men are the spiritual things within the empire. Spiritual things like peace and rest. They cannot be governed by activity.

Who meddles with it spoils it.

By governing it by activity one spoils its true nature.

Who grasps it loses it.

If one forcibly grasps it, one loses its essence and produces hypocrisy.

Therefore of the beings, if one goes, the others follow.

Where the prince goes, his subjects will certainly follow.

Some are warm, others are cold.

Hsu 歔 = 溫warm, ch'ui 吹 = 寒 is cold. If there are such as are warm, there are bound to be such as are cold.

Some are strong, others are weak.

If there are such as are strong and big, there must be others that are tender and weak.

Some bear, others destroy.

The bearers are peaceful, the destroyers are dangerous. If there are peaceful ones, there are bound to be dangerous ones. This explains why a prince cannot at the same time govern a country and practise asceticism.

Therefore the saint flees from extremes, extravagances and excesses.

Extremes are called yearning and lasciviousness, music and beauties. Extravagances are called garments and ornaments, food and drink. Excesses are called palaces and apartments, terraces and pavilions. By fleeing from these three things, by harmoniously walking within emptiness and by being without activity, the empire will change spontaneously.

- Chinese :

《道德經》: 以道佐人主者,不以兵強天下。其事好還。師之所處,荊棘生焉。大軍之後,必有凶年。善有果而已,不敢以取強。果而勿矜,果而勿伐,果而勿驕。果而不得已,果而勿強。物壯則老,是謂不道,不道早已。

《老子河上公章句·儉武》: 以道佐人主者,不以兵強天下。其事好還。師之所處,荊棘生焉。大軍之後,必有凶年。善有果而已,不敢以取強。果而勿矜果而勿伐,果而勿驕,果而不得已,果而勿強物壯則老,是謂不道。不道早已。

《郭店·老子甲》: 以道佐人主者,不欲以兵強於天下。善者果而已,不以取強。果而弗伐,果而弗驕,果而弗矜,是謂果而不強。其事好長。

《馬王堆·老子甲道經》: 以道佐人主,不以兵強□天下。□□□□□□所居,楚朸生之。善者果而已矣,毌矣取強焉。果而毌驕,果而勿矜,果而□□,果而毌得已居,是胃□而不強。物壯而老,是胃之不道。不道蚤已。

《馬王堆·老子乙道經》: 以道佐人主,不以兵強於天下。其□□□□□□□□棘生之。善者果而已矣,毌以取強焉。果而毌驕,果而勿矜,果□□傷,果而毌得已居。是胃果而強。物壯而老,胃之不道。不道蚤已。
(⁎)
- He Shanggong (Chinese) :

將欲取天下欲為天下主也。而為之,欲以有為治民。吾見其不得已。我見其不得天道人心已明矣,天道惡煩濁,人心惡多欲。天下神器,不可為也。器,物也。人乃天下之神物也,神物好安靜,不可以有為治。為者敗之,以有為治之,則敗其質性。執者失之。強執教之,則失其情實,生於詐偽也。故物或行或隨,上所行,下必隨之也。或歔或吹,歔,溫也。吹,寒也。有所溫必有所寒也。或強或羸,有所強大,必有所贏弱也。或挫或隳。載,安也。隳,危也。 有所安必有所危,明人君不可以有為治國與治身也。是以聖人去甚,去奢,去泰。甚謂貪淫聲色。奢謂服飾飲食。泰謂宮室臺榭。 去此三者,處中和,行無為,則天下自化。
(Ⅱ)
- Wing-Tsit Chan (1963) :

When one desires to take over the empire and act on it (interfere with it), I see that he will not succeed.
The empire is a spiritual thing, and should not be acted on. He who acts on it harms it. He who holds on to it loses it.
Among creatures some lead and some follow. Some blow hot and some blow cold. Some are strong and some are weak. Some may break and some may fall.
Therefore the sage discards the extremes, the extravagant, and the excessive.
(Ⅲ)
- Ellen Marie Chen (1989) :

One who desires to take the world and act (wei) upon it,
I see that it cannot be done.
The world (t'ien hsia) is a spirit vessel (shen ch'i),
Which cannot be acted (wei) upon.
One who acts (wei) on it fails,
One who holds on to it loses (shih).
Therefore things either move forward or follow behind;
They blow hot or blow cold;
They are strong (ch'iang) or weak;
They get on or they get off.
Therefore the sage gets rid of over-doing,
Gets rid of extravagances,
Gets rid of excesses.
(Ⅳ)
- Ch'u Ta-Kao (1904) :

When a man is to take the world over and shape it, I see that he must be obliged to do it.
For the world is a divine vessel: It cannot be shaped; Nor can it be insisted upon. He who shapes it damages it; He who insists upon it loses it.
Therefore the Sage does not shape it, so he does not damage it; 'He does not insist upon it, so be does not lose it. 'For, among all things, some go ahead, while others lag behind; Some keep their mouth shut, while others give forth puffs; Some are strong, while others are weak; Some are on the cart, while others fall off.
Therefore the Sage avoids excess, extravagance and indulgence.
(Ⅴ)
- World by world translation :

Traditional simplified pinyin definition dictionary
以 以 yǐ ① prendre ② utiliser ③ selon ④ à cause de ⑤ pour Chinese-French
以 以 yǐ ① abbr. for Israel 以色列[Yi3 se4 lie4] CC-CEDICT
以 以 yǐ ① to use ② by means of ③ according to ④ in order to ⑤ because of ⑥ at (a certain date or place) CC-CEDICT
㕥 以 yǐ ① old variant of 以[yi3] CC-CEDICT
㠯 以 yǐ ① old variant of 以[yi3] 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
佐 佐 zuǒ ① aider ② seconder Chinese-French
佐 佐 zuǒ ① to assist ② assistant ③ aide ④ to accompany CC-CEDICT
人 人 rén ① une personne ② être humain ③ homo sapiens Chinese-French
人 人 rén ① man ② person ③ people ④ CL:個|个[ge4],位[wei4] CC-CEDICT
主 主 zhǔ ① hôte ② propriétaire ③ patron ④ dieu ⑤ seigneur ⑥ diriger ⑦ présider ⑧ être pour ⑨ principal ⑩ essentiel Chinese-French
主 主 zhǔ ① owner ② master ③ host ④ individual or party concerned ⑤ God ⑥ Lord ⑦ main ⑧ to indicate or signify ⑨ trump card (in card games) 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
以 以 yǐ ① prendre ② utiliser ③ selon ④ à cause de ⑤ pour Chinese-French
以 以 yǐ ① abbr. for Israel 以色列[Yi3 se4 lie4] CC-CEDICT
以 以 yǐ ① to use ② by means of ③ according to ④ in order to ⑤ because of ⑥ at (a certain date or place) CC-CEDICT
㕥 以 yǐ ① old variant of 以[yi3] CC-CEDICT
㠯 以 yǐ ① old variant of 以[yi3] CC-CEDICT
兵 兵 bīng ① soldat ② arme ③ armée ④ militaire ⑤ guerre ⑥ stratégie Chinese-French
兵 兵 bīng ① soldiers ② a force ③ an army ④ weapons ⑤ arms ⑥ military ⑦ warlike ⑧ CL:個|个[ge4] CC-CEDICT
強 强 qiáng ① fort ② puissant ③ de force Chinese-French
強 强 qiáng ① surname Qiang CC-CEDICT
強 强 qiáng ① strong ② powerful ③ better ④ slightly more than ⑤ vigorous ⑥ violent ⑦ best in their category, e.g. see 百強|百强[bai3 qiang2] CC-CEDICT
強 强 qiǎng ① faire un effort ② forcer Chinese-French
強 强 qiǎng ① to force ② to compel ③ to strive ④ to make an effort CC-CEDICT
強 强 jiàng ① obstiné ② têtu ③ inflexible Chinese-French
強 强 jiàng ① stubborn ② unyielding CC-CEDICT
天下 天下 tiān xià ① empire céleste Chinese-French
天下 天下 tiān xià ① land under heaven ② the whole world ③ the whole of China ④ realm ⑤ rule 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
事 事 shì ① être occupé ② être engagé dans ③ affaire ④ chose ⑤ accident ⑥ trouble ⑦ travail ⑧ responsabilité ⑨ implication ⑩ empêtrement Chinese-French
事 事 shì ① matter ② thing ③ item ④ work ⑤ affair ⑥ CL:件[jian4],樁|桩[zhuang1],回[hui2] CC-CEDICT
好 好 hǎo ① se porter bien ② aller bien ③ être guéri Chinese-French
好 好 hǎo ① good ② well ③ proper ④ good to ⑤ easy to ⑥ very ⑦ so ⑧ (suffix indicating completion or readiness) ⑨ (of two people) close ⑩ on intimate terms CC-CEDICT
好 好 hào ① avoir une inclination pour Chinese-French
好 好 hào ① to be fond of ② to have a tendency to ③ to be prone to CC-CEDICT
還 还 hái ① encore ② encore plus ③ plutôt ④ de plus Chinese-French
還 还 hái ① still ② still in progress ③ still more ④ yet ⑤ even more ⑥ in addition ⑦ fairly ⑧ passably (good) ⑨ as early as ⑩ even ⑪ also ⑫ else CC-CEDICT
還 还 huán ① retourner ② regagner ③ rétablir ④ rendre ⑤ rembourser Chinese-French
還 还 huán ① surname Huan CC-CEDICT
還 还 huán ① to pay back ② to return CC-CEDICT
師 师 shī ① maître ② chef ③ armée, multitude ④ capitale Chinese-French
師 师 shī ① surname Shi CC-CEDICT
師 师 shī ① teacher ② master ③ expert ④ model ⑤ army division ⑥ (old) troops ⑦ to dispatch troops 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
所 所 suǒ ① place ② endroit ③ institut ④ office Chinese-French
所 所 suǒ ① actually ② place ③ classifier for houses, small buildings, institutions etc ④ that which ⑤ particle introducing a relative clause or passive ⑥ CL:個|个[ge4] 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
荊棘 荆棘 jīng jí ① broussailles ② épices Chinese-French
荊棘 荆棘 jīng jí ① thistles and thorns ② brambles ③ thorny undergrowth CC-CEDICT
生 生 shēng ① vie ② existence ③ élève ④ cru ⑤ inconnu ⑥ étranger ⑦ accoucher ⑧ naître ⑨ pousser ⑩ vivre Chinese-French
生 生 shēng ① to be born ② to give birth ③ life ④ to grow ⑤ raw ⑥ uncooked ⑦ student CC-CEDICT
焉 焉 yān ① (employé à la fin d'une phrase) ② comment ③ seulement ④ ici ⑤ cela Chinese-French
焉 焉 yān ① where ② how CC-CEDICT
大軍 大军 dà jūn ① army ② main forces CC-CEDICT
之後 之后 zhī hòu ① après ② plus tard ③ après Chinese-French
之後 之后 zhī hòu ① afterwards ② following ③ later ④ after CC-CEDICT
必 必 bì ① nécessairement ② certainement ③ falloir ④ devoir Chinese-French
必 必 bì ① certainly ② must ③ will ④ necessarily 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
兇年 凶年 xiōng nián ① année de famine Chinese-French
兇年 凶年 xiōng nián ① year of famine CC-CEDICT
善 善 shàn ① bon ② bienveillant ③ habile Chinese-French
善 善 shàn ① good (virtuous) ② benevolent ③ well-disposed ④ good at sth ⑤ to improve or perfect 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
果 果 guǒ ① fruit ② résultat ③ résolu Chinese-French
果 果 guǒ ① fruit ② result ③ resolute ④ indeed ⑤ if really CC-CEDICT
菓 果 guǒ ① variant of 果[guo3] ② fruit CC-CEDICT
而已 而已 ér yǐ ① seulement ② simplement Chinese-French
而已 而已 ér yǐ ① that's all ② nothing more CC-CEDICT
不敢 不敢 bù gǎn ① ne pas oser Chinese-French
以 以 yǐ ① prendre ② utiliser ③ selon ④ à cause de ⑤ pour Chinese-French
以 以 yǐ ① abbr. for Israel 以色列[Yi3 se4 lie4] CC-CEDICT
以 以 yǐ ① to use ② by means of ③ according to ④ in order to ⑤ because of ⑥ at (a certain date or place) CC-CEDICT
㕥 以 yǐ ① old variant of 以[yi3] CC-CEDICT
㠯 以 yǐ ① old variant of 以[yi3] CC-CEDICT
取 取 qǔ ① prendre ② reprendre ③ obtenir ④ adopter ⑤ choisir Chinese-French
取 取 qǔ ① to take ② to get ③ to choose ④ to fetch CC-CEDICT
強 强 qiáng ① fort ② puissant ③ de force Chinese-French
強 强 qiáng ① surname Qiang CC-CEDICT
強 强 qiáng ① strong ② powerful ③ better ④ slightly more than ⑤ vigorous ⑥ violent ⑦ best in their category, e.g. see 百強|百强[bai3 qiang2] CC-CEDICT
強 强 qiǎng ① faire un effort ② forcer Chinese-French
強 强 qiǎng ① to force ② to compel ③ to strive ④ to make an effort CC-CEDICT
強 强 jiàng ① obstiné ② têtu ③ inflexible Chinese-French
強 强 jiàng ① stubborn ② unyielding CC-CEDICT
果 果 guǒ ① fruit ② résultat ③ résolu Chinese-French
果 果 guǒ ① fruit ② result ③ resolute ④ indeed ⑤ if really CC-CEDICT
菓 果 guǒ ① variant of 果[guo3] ② fruit CC-CEDICT
而 而 ér ① et ② mais ③ tandis que ④ alors que Chinese-French
而 而 ér ① and ② as well as ③ and so ④ but (not) ⑤ yet (not) ⑥ (indicates causal relation) ⑦ (indicates change of state) ⑧ (indicates contrast) CC-CEDICT
勿 勿 wù ① ne ....pas Chinese-French
勿 勿 wù ① do not CC-CEDICT
矜 矜 jīn ① avoir pitié ② épargner ③ se vanter ④ ferme, vigoureux Chinese-French
矜 矜 jīn ① to boast ② to esteem ③ to sympathize CC-CEDICT
果 果 guǒ ① fruit ② résultat ③ résolu Chinese-French
果 果 guǒ ① fruit ② result ③ resolute ④ indeed ⑤ if really CC-CEDICT
菓 果 guǒ ① variant of 果[guo3] ② fruit CC-CEDICT
而 而 ér ① et ② mais ③ tandis que ④ alors que Chinese-French
而 而 ér ① and ② as well as ③ and so ④ but (not) ⑤ yet (not) ⑥ (indicates causal relation) ⑦ (indicates change of state) ⑧ (indicates contrast) CC-CEDICT
勿 勿 wù ① ne ....pas Chinese-French
勿 勿 wù ① do not 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
果 果 guǒ ① fruit ② résultat ③ résolu Chinese-French
果 果 guǒ ① fruit ② result ③ resolute ④ indeed ⑤ if really CC-CEDICT
菓 果 guǒ ① variant of 果[guo3] ② fruit CC-CEDICT
而 而 ér ① et ② mais ③ tandis que ④ alors que Chinese-French
而 而 ér ① and ② as well as ③ and so ④ but (not) ⑤ yet (not) ⑥ (indicates causal relation) ⑦ (indicates change of state) ⑧ (indicates contrast) CC-CEDICT
勿 勿 wù ① ne ....pas Chinese-French
勿 勿 wù ① do not CC-CEDICT
驕 骄 jiāo ① fier ② orgueilleux Chinese-French
驕 骄 jiāo ① proud ② arrogant CC-CEDICT
果 果 guǒ ① fruit ② résultat ③ résolu Chinese-French
果 果 guǒ ① fruit ② result ③ resolute ④ indeed ⑤ if really CC-CEDICT
菓 果 guǒ ① variant of 果[guo3] ② fruit CC-CEDICT
而 而 ér ① et ② mais ③ tandis que ④ alors que Chinese-French
而 而 ér ① and ② as well as ③ and so ④ but (not) ⑤ yet (not) ⑥ (indicates causal relation) ⑦ (indicates change of state) ⑧ (indicates contrast) CC-CEDICT
不得已 不得已 bù dé yǐ ① à contrecoeur Chinese-French
不得已 不得已 bù dé yǐ ① to act against one's will ② to have no alternative but to ③ to have to ④ to have no choice ⑤ must CC-CEDICT
果 果 guǒ ① fruit ② résultat ③ résolu Chinese-French
果 果 guǒ ① fruit ② result ③ resolute ④ indeed ⑤ if really CC-CEDICT
菓 果 guǒ ① variant of 果[guo3] ② fruit CC-CEDICT
而 而 ér ① et ② mais ③ tandis que ④ alors que Chinese-French
而 而 ér ① and ② as well as ③ and so ④ but (not) ⑤ yet (not) ⑥ (indicates causal relation) ⑦ (indicates change of state) ⑧ (indicates contrast) CC-CEDICT
勿 勿 wù ① ne ....pas Chinese-French
勿 勿 wù ① do not CC-CEDICT
強 强 qiáng ① fort ② puissant ③ de force Chinese-French
強 强 qiáng ① surname Qiang CC-CEDICT
強 强 qiáng ① strong ② powerful ③ better ④ slightly more than ⑤ vigorous ⑥ violent ⑦ best in their category, e.g. see 百強|百强[bai3 qiang2] CC-CEDICT
強 强 qiǎng ① faire un effort ② forcer Chinese-French
強 强 qiǎng ① to force ② to compel ③ to strive ④ to make an effort CC-CEDICT
強 强 jiàng ① obstiné ② têtu ③ inflexible Chinese-French
強 强 jiàng ① stubborn ② unyielding CC-CEDICT
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
壯 壮 zhuàng ① robuste ② vigoureux ③ renforcer ④ fortifier Chinese-French
壯 壮 zhuàng ① Zhuang ethnic group of Guangxi, the PRC's second most numerous ethnic group ② Zhuang: Bouxcuengh CC-CEDICT
壯 壮 zhuàng ① to strengthen ② strong ③ robust CC-CEDICT
則 则 zé ① règle ② règlement ③ alors ④ donc Chinese-French
則 则 zé ① (conjunction used to express contrast with a previous clause) but ② then ③ standard ④ norm ⑤ principle ⑥ to imitate ⑦ to follow ⑧ classifier for written items CC-CEDICT
老 老 lǎo ① vieux ② âgé ③ ancien ④ démodé ⑤ toujours ⑥ dur Chinese-French
老 老 lǎo ① prefix used before the surname of a person or a numeral indicating the order of birth of the children in a family or to indicate affection or familiarity ② old (of people) ③ venerable (person) ④ experienced ⑤ of long standing ⑥ always ⑦ all the time ⑧ of the past ⑨ very ⑩ outdated ⑪ (of meat etc) tough 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
謂 谓 wèi ① dire ② adresser la parole ③ être appelé ④ penser Chinese-French
謂 谓 wèi ① surname Wei CC-CEDICT
謂 谓 wèi ① to speak ② to say ③ to name ④ to designate ⑤ meaning ⑥ sense 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
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
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
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
早已 早已 zǎo yǐ ① depuis longtemps Chinese-French
早已 早已 zǎo yǐ ① long ago ② for a long time CC-CEDICT
(Ⅵ)
- Yi Wu (1989) :

A willful doer cannot, as I see it, win the world,
The world cannot be willfully manipulated or controlled.
One who tries to manipulate it will destroy it.
One who tries to control it will lose it.
The wise does nothing to manipulate or control
And will, therefore, neither destroy nor lose.
For there are forever subtle changes in the world.
People walk either in front or behind.
They are either inhaling or exhaling,
Either strengthening or weakening,
And doing either good or harm.
That is why the wise will never desire too much.
(Ⅶ)
- Lynn (2004) :

As for those who would like to take all under Heaven and act on it, the way I see it, such action would never end, because all under Heaven is the numinous vessel,
Which cannot be acted on.
One who acts on it will destroy it;
one who tries to grasp it will lose it.
Thus some people tend to lead and some follow;
some breathe in through the nose and some blow out through the mouth;
some are strong and some weak;
and some are energetic and some lazy.
As this is so, the sage rids them of extremism, extravagance, and complaisance.
(Ⅷ)


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