Chapter 47 How to mirror the distant.
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(Version and commentary of He Shanggong in English)


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47. 1  
Without passing through the door one knows the empire.

A saint knows the empire without passing through his door. By means of his own personality he knows the personalities of other men. By means of his own family he knows the families of other men. Thereby he surveys the empire.

Without looking through the window one sees the way of heaven.

The way of heaven is identical with the way of man. Heaven and man permeate each other; their essences penetrate each other. If the prince is pure and quiet, then the atmosphere of heaven is spontaneously right. If the prince has many desires, then the heavenly atmosphere is dim. Luck and misfortune, advantage and disadvantage, everything arises from the self. The first eight characters are missing in one edition, so that the text commences: By permeating each other the essences penetrate each other.

The farther the going, the less the knowledge.

This means: If one leaves his family in order to look at the families of other men,if one leaves his personality in order to look at the personalities of other men: the farther away that is what one inspects, the less will be what one gets to know.

Therefore the saint does not go about and still knows.

The saint, without rising to heaven, without diving into the abyss, is able to know heaven and earth. He knows them by means of his mind. Without seeing he names. If the prince loves Tao, the subjects love Te. If the prince loves war, the subjects love force. The saint proceeds from the small in order to know the great. He looks at the interior to know the exterior.

He does nothing and nevertheless completes.

If the prince does nothing, the subjects are without activity. If the family has enough and the individual sufficient, everything improves of itself.

- Chinese :

《道德經》: 不出戶知天下;不闚牖見天道。其出彌遠,其知彌少。是以聖人不行而知,不見而名,不為而成

《老子河上公章句·鑒遠》: 不出戶知天下,不窺牖見天道,其出彌遠,其知彌少。是以聖人不行而知,不見而名,不為而成

《馬王堆·老子甲德經》: 不出於戶以知天下,不規於牖,以知天道。其出也彌遠,其□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□弗為而□

《馬王堆·老子乙德經》: 不出於戶以知天下;不窺於□□知天道。其出彌遠者,其知彌□□□□□□□□□□□而名,弗為而成。
(⁎)
- He Shanggong (Chinese) :

不出戶知天下,聖人不出戶以知天下者,以己身知人身,以己家知人家,所以見天下也。不窺牖見天道,天道與人道同,天人相通,精氣相貫。人君清淨,天氣自正,人君多欲,天氣煩濁。吉兇利害,皆由於己。其出彌遠,其知彌少。謂去其家觀人家,去其身觀人身,所觀益遠,所見益少也。是以聖人不行而知,聖人不上天,不入淵,能知天下者,以心知之也。不見而名,上好道,下好德;上好武,下好力。聖人原小知大,察內知外。不為而成。上無所為,則下無事,家給人足,萬物自化就也。
(Ⅱ)
- Wing-Tsit Chan (1963) :

One may know the world without going out of doors. One may see the Way of Heaven without looking through the windows. The further one goes, the less one knows.
Therefore the sage knows without going about, Understands without seeing, And accomplishes without any action.
(Ⅲ)
- Ellen Marie Chen (1989) :

Without stepping (ts'u) out the door,
Know (chih) the world.
Without looking out the window,
See (chien) the Tao of Heaven.
The farther one comes out,
The less one knows.
Therefore the sage knows (chih) without travelling,
Names (ming) things without seeing (chien) them,
Accomplishes (cheng) without work (wei).
(Ⅳ)
- Ch'u Ta-Kao (1904) :

Without going out of the door
One can know the whole world;
Without peeping out of the window
One can see the Tao of heaven.
The further one travels
The less one knows.
Therefore the Sage knows everything without travelling;
He names everything without seeing it;
He accomplishes everything without doing it.
(Ⅴ)
- World by world translation :

Traditional // simplified // pinyin // definition // dictionary
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
出 // 出 // chū // ① sortir ② dépasser ③ délivrer ④ produire ⑤ fabriquer ⑥ paraître ⑦ surgir // Chinese-French
出 // 出 // chū // ① to go out ② to come out ③ to occur ④ to produce ⑤ to go beyond ⑥ to rise ⑦ to put forth ⑧ to happen ⑨ classifier for dramas, plays, operas etc // CC-CEDICT
齣 // 出 // chū // ① variant of 出[chu1] (classifier for plays or chapters of classical novels) // CC-CEDICT
戶 // 户 // hù // ① foyer ② famille ③ compte // Chinese-French
戶 // 户 // hù // ① a household ② door ③ family // CC-CEDICT
戶 // 戶 // hù // ① Famille // Chinese-French
知 // 知 // zhī // ① savoir ② connaître ③ connaissances // Chinese-French
知 // 知 // zhī // ① to know ② to be aware // 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
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
闚 // 窥 // kuī // ① variant of 窺|窥[kui1] // CC-CEDICT
牖 // 牖 // yǒu // ① fenêtre ② diriger // Chinese-French
牖 // 牖 // yǒu // ① to enlighten ② lattice window // CC-CEDICT
見天 // 见天 // jiàn tiān // ① (coll.) every day // 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
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
出 // 出 // chū // ① sortir ② dépasser ③ délivrer ④ produire ⑤ fabriquer ⑥ paraître ⑦ surgir // Chinese-French
出 // 出 // chū // ① to go out ② to come out ③ to occur ④ to produce ⑤ to go beyond ⑥ to rise ⑦ to put forth ⑧ to happen ⑨ classifier for dramas, plays, operas etc // CC-CEDICT
齣 // 出 // chū // ① variant of 出[chu1] (classifier for plays or chapters of classical novels) // CC-CEDICT
彌 // 弥 // mí // ① full ② to fill ③ completely ④ more // CC-CEDICT
遠 // 远 // yuǎn // ① éloigné ② loin // Chinese-French
遠 // 远 // yuǎn // ① far ② distant ③ remote ④ (intensifier in a comparison) by far ⑤ much (lower etc) // CC-CEDICT
遠 // 远 // yuàn // ① to distance oneself from (classical) // 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
知 // 知 // zhī // ① savoir ② connaître ③ connaissances // Chinese-French
知 // 知 // zhī // ① to know ② to be aware // CC-CEDICT
彌 // 弥 // mí // ① full ② to fill ③ completely ④ more // 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
是以 // 是以 // shì yǐ // ① par conséquent ② donc // Chinese-French
是以 // 是以 // shì yǐ // ① therefore ② thus ③ so // CC-CEDICT
聖人 // 圣人 // shèng rén // ① saint // Chinese-French
聖人 // 圣人 // shèng rén // ① saint ② sage ③ refers to Confucius 孔子[Kong3 zi3] ④ the current reigning Emperor // 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
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
知 // 知 // zhī // ① savoir ② connaître ③ connaissances // Chinese-French
知 // 知 // zhī // ① to know ② to be aware // CC-CEDICT
不見 // 不见 // bù jiàn // ① disparaître // Chinese-French
不見 // 不见 // bù jiàn // ① not to see ② not to meet ③ to have disappeared ④ to be missing // 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
名 // 名 // míng // ① nom ② nomination ③ place ④ réputé ⑤ célèbre // Chinese-French
名 // 名 // míng // ① name ② noun (part of speech) ③ place (e.g. among winners) ④ famous ⑤ classifier for people // 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
為 // 为 // wèi // ① because of ② for ③ to // CC-CEDICT
為 // 为 // wéi // ① as (in the capacity of) ② to take sth as ③ to act as ④ to serve as ⑤ to behave as ⑥ to become ⑦ to be ⑧ to do ⑨ by (in the passive voice) // 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
成 // 成 // chéng // ① réussir ② devenir ③ résultat ④ fruit (d'un travail) ⑤ très bien ⑥ d'accord ⑦ capable // Chinese-French
成 // 成 // chéng // ① surname Cheng // CC-CEDICT
成 // 成 // chéng // ① to succeed ② to finish ③ to complete ④ to accomplish ⑤ to become ⑥ to turn into ⑦ to be all right ⑧ OK! ⑨ one tenth // CC-CEDICT
(Ⅵ)
- Yi Wu (1989) :

Without going out of the door,
One can feel the world.
Without looking out of the window,
One can feel the universe.
The farther one goes,
The less one knows.
Therefore,
The wise person arrives without traveling,
Knows without seeing,
And achieves without willful actions.
(Ⅶ)
- Lynn (2004) :

Know all under Heaven without even leaving your gate;
see the Dao of Heaven without even peering out your window.
The farther one goes out, the less he will know.
Thus it is that the sage knows without making a move and names without seeing.
He brings about the completion of things without taking action.
(Ⅷ)


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