Chapter 48 How to forget knowledge.
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(Version and commentary of He Shanggong in English)


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48. 1  
Who acts in learnedness, daily increases.

Learnedness means to be learned in the doctrine of government, in pedagogics, ritual and music. If one daily augments the striving for culture, one largely increases day for day.

Who acts in Tao, daily decreases.

Tao the Tao of spontaneity is called. To decrease daily means that the desire for culture is daily reduced.

By decreasing it decreases again.

The decrease is the decrease of desire. The repeated decrease is that by which it slowly vanishes.

Thereby one reaches non-action.

One is to remain quiet like a little child. Thereby nothing is not a6ted.

By doing nothing nothing remains undone.

If desire is cut off, Te unites with Tao. Then everything spreads and is done.

Who governs the Empire ought always to be without activity.

取 (lit. to take) = 治 to govern. Who governs the empire ought always to be without activity and must not give trouble.

But who has activity is not sufficient to govern the empire.

But who likes to be active, that one governs, teaches and harasses the people, so that they enjoy no peace. Therefore he is insufficient to govern the empire.

- Chinese :

《道德經》: 為學日益,為道日損。損之又損,以至於無為。無為而無不為。取天下常以無事,及其有事,不足以取天下

《老子河上公章句·忘知》: 為學日益,為道日損。損之又損,以至於無為,無為而無不為。取天下常以無事,及其有事,不足以取天下

《郭店·老子乙》: 學者日益,為道者日損。損之或損,以至亡為也,亡為而亡不為

《馬王堆·老子甲德經》: 為□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□。取天下也恆□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□

《馬王堆·老子乙德經》: 為學者日益,聞道者日云。云之有云,以至於無□□□□□□□□□□。取天下恆無事,及其有事也,□□足以取天□□。
(⁎)
- He Shanggong (Chinese) :

為學日益,學謂政教禮樂之學也。 日益者,情欲文飾日以益多。為道日損。道謂之自然之道也。 日損者,情欲文飾日以消損。損之又損,損情欲也。又損之,所以漸去。以至於無為,當恬淡如嬰兒,無所造為也。無為而無不為。情欲斷絕,德於道合,則無所不施,無所不為也。取天下常以無事,取,治也。治天下當以無事,不當以勞煩也。及其有事,不足以取天下。及其好有事,則政教煩,民不安,故不足以治天下也。
(Ⅱ)
- Wing-Tsit Chan (1963) :

The pursuit of learning is to increase day after day. The pursuit of Tao is to decrease day after day.
It is to decrease and further decrease until one reaches the point of taking no action. No action is undertaken, And yet nothing is left undone. An empire is often brought to order by having no activity.
If one (likes to) undertake activity, he is not qualified to govern the empire.
(Ⅲ)
- Ellen Marie Chen (1989) :

To pursue (wei) learning one increases daily.
To pursue (wei) Tao one decreases daily.
To decrease and again to decrease,
Until one arrives at not doing (wu-wei).
Not doing (wu-wei) and yet nothing is not done.
Always take the empire when there are no businesses.
If there are businesses,
It is not worthwhile to take the empire.
(Ⅳ)
- Ch'u Ta-Kao (1904) :

He who pursues learning will increase every day;
He who pursues Tao will decrease every day.
He will decrease and continue to decrease,
Till he comes to non-action;
By non-action everything can be done.
(Ⅴ)
- World by world translation :

Traditional // simplified // pinyin // definition // dictionary
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
學 // 学 // xué // ① étudier ② apprendre ③ science ④ -ologie // Chinese-French
學 // 学 // xué // ① to learn ② to study ③ to imitate ④ science ⑤ -ology // CC-CEDICT
日益 // 日益 // rì yì // ① de jour en jour // Chinese-French
日益 // 日益 // rì yì // ① day by day ② more and more ③ increasingly ④ more and more with each passing day // 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
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
日 // 日 // rì // ① soleil ② jour ③ 72e radical // Chinese-French
日 // 日 // rì // ① abbr. for 日本[Ri4 ben3], Japan // CC-CEDICT
日 // 日 // rì // ① sun ② day ③ date, day of the month // CC-CEDICT
損 // 损 // sǔn // ① perdre ② diminuer ③ réduire ④ nuire à ⑤ endommager // Chinese-French
損 // 损 // sǔn // ① to decrease ② to lose ③ to damage ④ to harm ⑤ (coll.) to speak sarcastically ⑥ to deride ⑦ caustic ⑧ mean ⑨ one of the 64 trigrams of the Book of Changes (old) // CC-CEDICT
損 // 损 // sǔn // ① perdre ② diminuer ③ réduire ④ nuire à ⑤ endommager // Chinese-French
損 // 损 // sǔn // ① to decrease ② to lose ③ to damage ④ to harm ⑤ (coll.) to speak sarcastically ⑥ to deride ⑦ caustic ⑧ mean ⑨ one of the 64 trigrams of the Book of Changes (old) // 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
又 // 又 // yòu // ① encore ② une fois de plus ③ à la fois ④ en outre ⑤ de plus ⑥ mais ⑦ et // Chinese-French
又 // 又 // yòu // ① (once) again ② also ③ both... and... ④ and yet ⑤ (used for emphasis) anyway // CC-CEDICT
損 // 损 // sǔn // ① perdre ② diminuer ③ réduire ④ nuire à ⑤ endommager // Chinese-French
損 // 损 // sǔn // ① to decrease ② to lose ③ to damage ④ to harm ⑤ (coll.) to speak sarcastically ⑥ to deride ⑦ caustic ⑧ mean ⑨ one of the 64 trigrams of the Book of Changes (old) // CC-CEDICT
以至於 // 以至于 // yǐ zhì yú // ① pour ② de manière à // Chinese-French
以至於 // 以至于 // yǐ zhì yú // ① down to ② up to ③ to the extent that... // CC-CEDICT
無為 // 无为 // wú wéi // ① Wuwei county in Chaohu 巢湖[Chao2 hu2], Anhui // CC-CEDICT
無為 // 无为 // wú wéi // ① the Daoist doctrine of inaction ② let things take their own course ③ laissez-faire // CC-CEDICT
無為 // 无为 // wú wéi // ① Wuwei county in Chaohu 巢湖[Chao2 hu2], Anhui // CC-CEDICT
無為 // 无为 // wú wéi // ① the Daoist doctrine of inaction ② let things take their own course ③ laissez-faire // 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
無不 // 无不 // wú bù // ① none lacking ② none missing ③ everything is there ④ everyone without exception // 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
及其 // 及其 // jí qí // ① and ② as well as // CC-CEDICT
有事 // 有事 // yǒu shì // ① avoir une occupation // Chinese-French
有事 // 有事 // yǒu shì // ① to be occupied with sth ② to have sth on one's mind ③ there is something the matter // 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
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
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
(Ⅵ)
- Yi Wu (1989) :

Those who approach being academically
Will become filled in mind day by day.
Those who approach non-being for the Way
Will become freed in mind day by day.
When one is freed of all wanton ideas and desires
One arrives at the state of no willful action.
One who does nothing out of personal will
Can achieve all purposes at the same time.
It is only when no willful actions are needed,
That one can win the world.
When a person must act willfully to achieve a purpose,
That person has not the sufficient conditions to be a leader.
(Ⅶ)
- Lynn (2004) :

The pursuit of learning means having more each day,
But the pursuit of the Dao means having less each day.
Having less upon having less, eventually one reaches the point where one engages in no conscious action, yet nothing remains undone.
One who takes all under Heaven as his charge always tends to matters without deliberate action.
But when it comes to one who does take conscious action,
Such a one is not worthy to take all under Heaven as his charge.
(Ⅷ)


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