Chapter 46 How to moderate desires.
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(Version and commentary of He Shanggong in English)


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46. 1  
When there is Tao within the empire,

This means when the prince possesses Tao.

then the racing horses are used for manuring.

To manure means to manure the fields. When arms are not used, then the racing horses are used for to work in the fields. By practising asceticism one uses the Yang breath for manuring the body.

If there is no Tao within the empire,

This means, if the prince possesses no Tao.

war horses are reared in the suburbs.

When war is not stopped, war horses are bred within the boundaries of the suburbs and do not return for a long time.

Of sins there is none greater than to be able to desire.

To love sensuality.

Of misfortunes there is none greater than to know no contentedness.

Wealth and honour cannot be spontaneously forbidden.

Of defects none is greater than striving for gain.

If one wants to obtain men or things, reason becomes avidity.

Therefore, if one knows the contentedness of contentedness,

If one preserves one’s root,

this is eternal contentedness.

A heart without desires.

- Chinese :

《道德經》: 天下有道,卻走馬以糞。天下無道,戎馬生於郊。禍莫大於不知足;咎莫大於欲得。故知足之足,常足矣

《老子河上公章句·儉欲》: 天下有道,卻走馬以糞,天下無道,戎馬生於郊。罪莫大於可欲。禍莫大於不知足,咎莫大於欲得。故知足之足,常足。

《郭店·老子甲》: 罪莫厚於甚欲,咎莫僉於欲得,禍莫大乎不知足。知足之為足,此恒足矣

《馬王堆·老子甲德經》: 天下有道,□走馬以糞。天下無道,戎馬生於郊。罪莫大於可欲;禍莫大於不知足。咎莫憯於欲得。□□□□□恆足矣

《馬王堆·老子乙德經》: □□□道,卻走馬□糞。無道,戎馬生於郊。罪莫大可欲禍□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□足矣。
(⁎)
- He Shanggong (Chinese) :

天下有道,謂人主有道也。卻走馬以糞,糞者,糞田也。 兵甲不用,卻走馬治農田,治身者卻陽精以糞其身。天下無道,謂人主無道也。戎馬生於郊。戰伐不止,戎馬生於郊境之上,久不還也。罪莫大於可欲。好淫色也。禍莫大於不知足,富貴不能自禁止也。咎莫大於欲得。欲得人物,利且貪也。故知足之足,守真根也。常足。無欲心也。
(Ⅱ)
- Wing-Tsit Chan (1963) :

When Tao prevails in the world, galloping horses are turned back to fertilize (the fields with the dung). When Tao does not prevail in the world, war horses thrive in the suburbs.
There is no calamity greater than lavish desires. There is no greater guilt than discontentment. And there is no greater disaster than greed.
He who is contented with contentment is always contented.
(Ⅲ)
- Ellen Marie Chen (1989) :

When the world practices Tao,
Fast horses are used for their dung.
When the world does not practice Tao,
War horses give birth at the borders.
Among offenses (tsui), none is greater than having what is desirable.
Among calamities (huo), none is greater than not knowing contentment.
Among blames (chiu), none is greater than the desire for gain.
Therefore the contentment that comes from knowing contentment
Is a long lasting contentment.
(Ⅳ)
- Ch'u Ta-Kao (1904) :

Swift horses are curbed for hauling dung-carts (in the field).
When Tao does not reign in the world,
War horses are bred on the commons (outside the cities)
There is no greater crime than seeking what men desire;
There is no greater misery than knowing no content;
There is no greater calamity than indulging in greed.
Therefore the contentment of knowing content will ever be contented.
(Ⅴ)
- World by world translation :

Traditional // simplified // pinyin // definition // dictionary
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
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
卻 // 却 // què // ① mais ② cependant // Chinese-French
卻 // 却 // què // ① but ② yet ③ however ④ while ⑤ to go back ⑥ to decline ⑦ to retreat ⑧ nevertheless ⑨ even though // CC-CEDICT
走馬 // 走马 // zǒu mǎ // ① monter (un cheval) ② aller à cheval // Chinese-French
走馬 // 走马 // zǒu mǎ // ① to ride (a horse) ② to go on horseback // 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
糞 // 粪 // fèn // ① matières fécales ② excréments // Chinese-French
糞 // 粪 // fèn // ① manure ② dung // 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
無道 // 无道 // wú dào // ① tyrannique ② sévère (régime) // Chinese-French
無道 // 无道 // wú dào // ① tyrannical ② brutal (regime) // CC-CEDICT
戎馬 // 戎马 // róng mǎ // ① cheval de guerre // Chinese-French
戎馬 // 戎马 // róng mǎ // ① military horse ② by extension, military matters // 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
於 // 于 // yú // ① dans ② à ③ de ④ par ⑤ que // Chinese-French
於 // 于 // yú // ① in ② at ③ to ④ from ⑤ by ⑥ than ⑦ out of // CC-CEDICT
於 // 於 // wū // ① en ② dans ③ pour ④ par // Chinese-French
於 // 於 // wū // ① (literary) Oh! ② Ah! // CC-CEDICT
於 // 於 // yū // ① surname Yu ② Taiwan pr. [Yu2] // CC-CEDICT
郊 // 郊 // jiāo // ① banlieue ② faubourg // Chinese-French
郊 // 郊 // jiāo // ① surname Jiao // CC-CEDICT
郊 // 郊 // jiāo // ① suburbs ② outskirts // CC-CEDICT
禍 // 祸 // huò // ① causer du malheur à ② malheur ③ désastre // Chinese-French
禍 // 祸 // huò // ① disaster ② misfortune ③ calamity // CC-CEDICT
莫大 // 莫大 // mò dà // ① greatest ② most important // CC-CEDICT
於 // 于 // yú // ① dans ② à ③ de ④ par ⑤ que // Chinese-French
於 // 于 // yú // ① in ② at ③ to ④ from ⑤ by ⑥ than ⑦ out of // CC-CEDICT
於 // 於 // wū // ① en ② dans ③ pour ④ par // Chinese-French
於 // 於 // wū // ① (literary) Oh! ② Ah! // CC-CEDICT
於 // 於 // yū // ① surname Yu ② Taiwan pr. [Yu2] // CC-CEDICT
不知 // 不知 // bù zhī // ① ne pas savoir ② ne pas comprendre // Chinese-French
不知 // 不知 // bù zhī // ① not to know ② unaware ③ unknowingly ④ fig. not to admit (defeat, hardships, tiredness etc) // CC-CEDICT
足 // 足 // zú // ① pied ② au moins ③ suffisant // Chinese-French
足 // 足 // zú // ① foot ② to be sufficient ③ ample // CC-CEDICT
足 // 足 // jù // ① excessive // CC-CEDICT
咎 // 咎 // jiù // ① donner tort à ② inculper ③ incriminer ④ faute ⑤ défaut // Chinese-French
咎 // 咎 // jiù // ① fault ② to blame ③ to punish ④ calamity ⑤ misfortune // CC-CEDICT
莫大 // 莫大 // mò dà // ① greatest ② most important // CC-CEDICT
於 // 于 // yú // ① dans ② à ③ de ④ par ⑤ que // Chinese-French
於 // 于 // yú // ① in ② at ③ to ④ from ⑤ by ⑥ than ⑦ out of // CC-CEDICT
於 // 於 // wū // ① en ② dans ③ pour ④ par // Chinese-French
於 // 於 // wū // ① (literary) Oh! ② Ah! // CC-CEDICT
於 // 於 // yū // ① surname Yu ② Taiwan pr. [Yu2] // 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
得 // 得 // de // ① (exprime un résultat, une possibilité, un degré ou un aboutissement) // Chinese-French
得 // 得 // de // ① structural particle: used after a verb (or adjective as main verb), linking it to following phrase indicating effect, degree, possibility etc // CC-CEDICT
得 // 得 // dé // ① acquérir ② gagner ③ être prêt // Chinese-French
得 // 得 // dé // ① to obtain ② to get ③ to gain ④ to catch (a disease) ⑤ proper ⑥ suitable ⑦ proud ⑧ contented ⑨ to allow ⑩ to permit ⑪ ready ⑫ finished // CC-CEDICT
得 // 得 // děi // ① avoir besoin ② nécessiter ③ devoir ④ falloir ⑤ être sûr de // Chinese-French
得 // 得 // děi // ① to have to ② must ③ ought to ④ to need to // CC-CEDICT
故知 // 故知 // gù zhī // ① a close friend over many years // CC-CEDICT
足 // 足 // zú // ① pied ② au moins ③ suffisant // Chinese-French
足 // 足 // zú // ① foot ② to be sufficient ③ ample // CC-CEDICT
足 // 足 // jù // ① excessive // 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
足 // 足 // zú // ① pied ② au moins ③ suffisant // Chinese-French
足 // 足 // zú // ① foot ② to be sufficient ③ ample // CC-CEDICT
足 // 足 // jù // ① excessive // CC-CEDICT
常 // 常 // cháng // ① souvent ② fréquemment ③ ordinaire ④ commun ⑤ constant ⑥ invariable // Chinese-French
常 // 常 // cháng // ① surname Chang // CC-CEDICT
常 // 常 // cháng // ① always ② ever ③ often ④ frequently ⑤ common ⑥ general ⑦ constant // CC-CEDICT
足 // 足 // zú // ① pied ② au moins ③ suffisant // Chinese-French
足 // 足 // zú // ① foot ② to be sufficient ③ ample // CC-CEDICT
足 // 足 // jù // ① excessive // CC-CEDICT
矣 // 矣 // yǐ // ① (finale) : c'est tout // Chinese-French
矣 // 矣 // yǐ // ① classical final particle, similar to modern 了[le5] // CC-CEDICT
(Ⅵ)
- Yi Wu (1989) :

With the Way, horses are used for farming.
With the Way lost, horses give births in battlefields.
No disaster is worse than greed.
No fault is worse than desire.
Therefore, one who can be easily satisfied
Will be always satisfied.
(Ⅶ)
- Lynn (2004) :

When the Dao prevails among all under Heaven, one relegates coursers to producing manure.
When the Dao does not prevail among all under Heaven, war horses are born in the fields outside towns.
Nothing causes greater disaster than not being content, and nothing brings about greater blame than craving something.
When contentment fills one perfectly, this is indeed constant contentment!
(Ⅷ)


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