Chapter 53 How to complete the evidence.
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(Version and commentary of He Shanggong in English)


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(Ⅳ)
(Ⅴ)
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(Ⅶ)
(Ⅷ)


53. 1  
If I with so much knowledge walk within the great Tao,

介 = 大great. Lao-tse thought the princes of his time to be sick, as they did not cross the great pass. Therefore he spoke thus: However much knowledge of government affairs I may have, I walk within the great Tao and shall deal with them through the effects of non-action.

only display is to be feared.

唯 = 獨 alone. I am afraid of having alone what I display. I am afraid to lose the meaning of Tao. I want to esteem goodness. I am afraid of simulating a good life. I wish for sincerity and loyalty. I am afraid of false loyalty arising.

Great Tao is very smooth.

夷 = 平易smooth.

But the people love bypaths.

Bypaths are bad and not smooth and straight. Tao is quite smooth, but the people like to follow the bypaths which are bad and neither smooth nor straight.

When the palace is very secluded,

When high terraces are erected and pavilions and houses set up.

when the fields are very weedy,

When agricultural business is neglected and the time of ploughing missed,

when the granaries are entirely empty,

When to the detriment of the country the grain is not stored,

when one wears ornamented silk gowns,

When one loves deceit and fraud and esteems externals.

when one wears sharp swords at the belt,

When one puts stress on strength and war and is prodigal besides,

when one commits excesses in eating and drinking,

When one wants much and there is never a time when one has enough,

when one has superfluous riches - this is the boasting of a robber.

When the people have not enough and the prince has too much, that is the result of robbery. By wearing ornaments, by having intercourse with prodigal men, by ignorance of death the family is destroyed, and the relatives will follow it.

This is really not Tao.

If a prince behaves thus, this is certainly not Tao. The following words 也哉 ye-tsai are an expression of woe.

- Chinese :

《道德經》: 使我介然有知,行於大道,唯施是畏。大道甚夷,而民好徑。朝甚除,田甚蕪,倉甚虛;服文綵,帶利劍,厭飲食,財貨有餘;是謂盜夸。非道也哉!

《老子河上公章句·益證》: 使我介然有知,行於大道。唯施是畏。大道甚夷,而民好徑。朝甚除,田甚蕪,倉甚虛,服文綵,帶利劍,厭飲食,財貨有餘,是謂盜誇。非道哉。

《馬王堆·老子甲德經》: 使我潔有知也,□□大道,唯□□□□□葚夷,民甚好解。朝甚除,田甚蕪,倉甚虛;服文采,帶利□,□食貨□□□□□□□□□□□□。

《馬王堆·老子乙德經》: 使我介有知,行於大道,唯他是畏。大道甚夷,民甚好徑。朝甚除,田甚蕪,倉甚虛;服文采,帶利劍,厭食而齎財□□□□盜□□□非□也。
(⁎)
- He Shanggong (Chinese) :

使我介然有知,行於大道。介,大也。老子疾時王不行大道,故設此言。 使我介然有知於政事,我則行於大道,躬行無為之化。唯施是畏。唯,獨也。獨畏有所施為,恐失道意。 欲賞善,恐偽善生;欲信忠恐詐忠起。大道甚夷,而民好徑。夷,平易也。徑,邪、不平正也。大道甚平易,而民好從邪徑也。朝甚除,高台榭,宮室修。田甚蕪,農事廢,不耕治。倉甚虛,五穀傷害,國無儲也。服文綵,好飾偽,貴外華。帶利劍,尚剛強,武且奢。厭飲食,財貨有餘,多嗜欲,無足時。是謂盜誇。百姓而君有餘者,是由劫盜以為服飾,持行誇人,不知身死家破,親戚並隨也。非道哉。人君所行如是,此非道也。復言也哉者,痛傷之辭。
(Ⅱ)
- Wing-Tsit Chan (1963) :

If I had but little knowledge I should, in walking on a broad way, Fear getting off the road.
Broad ways are extremely even, But people are fond of bypaths.
The courts are exceedingly splendid, While the fields are exceedingly weedy, And the granaries are exceedingly empty.
Elegant clothes are worn, Sharp weapons are carried, Food and drinks are enjoyed beyond limit, And wealth and treasures are accumulated in excess. This is robbery and extravagance. This is indeed not Tao (the Way).
(Ⅲ)
- Ellen Marie Chen (1989) :

If I have a little (chieh-jan) knowledge (chih),
To walk the great path (Tao),
I shall fear this:
The great path (Tao) is very flat and easy,
Yet others (jen) are fond of bypaths.
The courts are very neat,
The fields are very weedy,
The granaries are very empty.
Wearing embroidered clothes,
Carrying sharp swords,
Being surfeited with foods and drinks.
To accumulate wealth and treasures in excess,
This is called robbery and crime.
This is not to follow Tao.
(Ⅳ)
- Ch'u Ta-Kao (1904) :

Let me have sound knowledge and walk on the great way (Tao);
Only I am in fear of deviating.
The great way is very plain and easy,
But the people prefer by-paths.
While the royal palaces are very well kept,
The fields are left weedy
And the granaries empty.
To wear embroidered clothes,
To carry sharp swords,
To be satiated in drink and food,
To be posessed of redundant riches -
This is called encouragement to robbery.
Is it not deviating from Tao?
(Ⅴ)
- World by world translation :

Traditional // simplified // pinyin // definition // dictionary
使 // 使 // shǐ // ① envoyé ② utiliser ③ employer ④ faire faire ⑤ envoyer // Chinese-French
使 // 使 // shǐ // ① to make ② to cause ③ to enable ④ to use ⑤ to employ ⑥ to send ⑦ to instruct sb to do sth ⑧ envoy ⑨ messenger // CC-CEDICT
我 // 我 // wǒ // ① je ② moi // Chinese-French
我 // 我 // wǒ // ① I ② me ③ my // CC-CEDICT
介 // 介 // jiè // ① entre ② introduire // Chinese-French
介 // 介 // jiè // ① to introduce ② to lie between ③ between ④ shell ⑤ armor // CC-CEDICT
然 // 然 // rán // ① mais ② cependant ③ juste ④ correct // Chinese-French
然 // 然 // rán // ① correct ② right ③ so ④ thus ⑤ like this ⑥ -ly // 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
知 // 知 // zhī // ① savoir ② connaître ③ connaissances // Chinese-French
知 // 知 // zhī // ① to know ② to be aware // 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
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
大道 // 大道 // dà dào // ① grande route ② route à grande circulation ③ la voie qui mène à un avenir radieux // Chinese-French
大道 // 大道 // dà dào // ① main street ② avenue // CC-CEDICT
唯 // 唯 // wéi // ① seulement // Chinese-French
唯 // 唯 // wéi // ① -ism ② only ③ alone // CC-CEDICT
唯 // 唯 // wěi // ① consentir // Chinese-French
唯 // 唯 // wěi // ① yes // CC-CEDICT
施 // 施 // shī // ① mettre en pratique ② pratiquer ③ exercer ④ accorder ⑤ octroyer ⑥ exercer ⑦ employer ⑧ imposer ⑨ user de ⑩ répandre // Chinese-French
施 // 施 // shī // ① surname Shi // CC-CEDICT
施 // 施 // shī // ① to grant ② to give ③ to bestow ④ to act ⑤ to carry out // 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
畏 // 畏 // wèi // ① craindre // Chinese-French
畏 // 畏 // wèi // ① to fear // CC-CEDICT
大道 // 大道 // dà dào // ① grande route ② route à grande circulation ③ la voie qui mène à un avenir radieux // Chinese-French
大道 // 大道 // dà dào // ① main street ② avenue // CC-CEDICT
甚 // 什 // shén // ① que ② quoi ③ tout ④ n'importe quel ⑤ quelconque // Chinese-French
甚 // 甚 // shèn // ① très ② extrêmement ③ plus que // Chinese-French
甚 // 甚 // shèn // ① what ② very ③ extremely ④ any // CC-CEDICT
甚 // 甚 // shén // ① variant of 什[shen2] // CC-CEDICT
夷 // 夷 // yí // ① raser ② exterminer ③ sauf ④ étranger // Chinese-French
夷 // 夷 // yí // ① non-Han people, esp. to the East of China ② barbarians ③ to wipe out ④ to exterminate ⑤ to tear down ⑥ to raze // 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
民 // 民 // mín // ① peuple ② gens du commun // Chinese-French
民 // 民 // mín // ① surname Min // CC-CEDICT
民 // 民 // mín // ① the people ② nationality ③ citizen // 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
徑 // 径 // jìng // ① directement ② tout droit ③ sentier ④ piste ⑤ diamètre // Chinese-French
徑 // 径 // jìng // ① footpath ② track ③ diameter ④ straight ⑤ directly // CC-CEDICT
朝 // 朝 // cháo // ① cour impériale ② dynastie // Chinese-French
朝 // 朝 // cháo // ① abbr. for 朝鮮|朝鲜[Chao2 xian3] Korea // CC-CEDICT
朝 // 朝 // cháo // ① imperial or royal court ② government ③ dynasty ④ reign of a sovereign or emperor ⑤ court or assembly held by a sovereign or emperor ⑥ to make a pilgrimage to ⑦ facing ⑧ towards // CC-CEDICT
朝 // 朝 // zhāo // ① petit matin ② matin ③ jour // Chinese-French
朝 // 朝 // zhāo // ① morning // CC-CEDICT
甚 // 什 // shén // ① que ② quoi ③ tout ④ n'importe quel ⑤ quelconque // Chinese-French
甚 // 甚 // shèn // ① très ② extrêmement ③ plus que // Chinese-French
甚 // 甚 // shèn // ① what ② very ③ extremely ④ any // CC-CEDICT
甚 // 甚 // shén // ① variant of 什[shen2] // CC-CEDICT
除 // 除 // chú // ① excepté ② à part ③ en plus de ④ outre ⑤ supprimer ⑥ éliminer ⑦ diviser // Chinese-French
除 // 除 // chú // ① to get rid of ② to remove ③ to exclude ④ to eliminate ⑤ to wipe out ⑥ to divide ⑦ except ⑧ not including // CC-CEDICT
田 // 田 // tián // ① champ // Chinese-French
田 // 田 // tián // ① surname Tian // CC-CEDICT
田 // 田 // tián // ① field ② farm ③ CL:片[pian4] // CC-CEDICT
甚 // 什 // shén // ① que ② quoi ③ tout ④ n'importe quel ⑤ quelconque // Chinese-French
甚 // 甚 // shèn // ① très ② extrêmement ③ plus que // Chinese-French
甚 // 甚 // shèn // ① what ② very ③ extremely ④ any // CC-CEDICT
甚 // 甚 // shén // ① variant of 什[shen2] // CC-CEDICT
蕪 // 芜 // wú // ① confus ② embrouillé // Chinese-French
蕪 // 芜 // wú // ① overgrown with weeds // CC-CEDICT
倉 // 仓 // cāng // ① dépôt ② magasin ③ grenier ④ grange ⑤ soute // Chinese-French
倉 // 仓 // cāng // ① barn ② granary ③ storehouse ④ cabin ⑤ hold (in ship) // CC-CEDICT
甚 // 什 // shén // ① que ② quoi ③ tout ④ n'importe quel ⑤ quelconque // Chinese-French
甚 // 甚 // shèn // ① très ② extrêmement ③ plus que // Chinese-French
甚 // 甚 // shèn // ① what ② very ③ extremely ④ any // CC-CEDICT
甚 // 甚 // shén // ① variant of 什[shen2] // CC-CEDICT
虛 // 虚 // xū // ① vide ② inoccupé ③ vacant ④ faux ⑤ faible ⑥ fragile ⑦ en vain // Chinese-French
虛 // 虚 // xū // ① emptiness ② void ③ abstract theory or guiding principles ④ empty or unoccupied ⑤ diffident or timid ⑥ false ⑦ humble or modest ⑧ (of health) weak ⑨ virtual ⑩ in vain // CC-CEDICT
服 // 服 // fú // ① servir ② habits ③ vêtement ④ deuil ⑤ obéir // Chinese-French
服 // 服 // fú // ① clothes ② dress ③ garment ④ to serve (in the military, a prison sentence etc) ⑤ to obey ⑥ to convince ⑦ to admire ⑧ to acclimatize ⑨ to take (medicine) ⑩ mourning clothes ⑪ to wear mourning clothes // CC-CEDICT
服 // 服 // fù // ① dose (médecine) // Chinese-French
服 // 服 // fù // ① dose (measure word for medicine) ② Taiwan pr. [fu2] // CC-CEDICT
文 // 文 // wén // ① caractère ② écriture ③ texte ④ écrit ⑤ langue ⑥ culture ⑦ civil ⑧ (nom de famille) // Chinese-French
文 // 文 // wén // ① surname Wen // CC-CEDICT
文 // 文 // wén // ① language ② culture ③ writing ④ formal ⑤ literary ⑥ gentle ⑦ (old) classifier for coins ⑧ Kangxi radical 67 // CC-CEDICT
綵 // 䌽 // cǎi // ① variant of 彩[cai3] // CC-CEDICT
帶 // 带 // dài // ① ceinture ② bande ③ ruban ④ pneu ⑤ zone ⑥ prendre ⑦ mener ⑧ porter ⑨ conduire ⑩ guider // Chinese-French
帶 // 带 // dài // ① band ② belt ③ girdle ④ ribbon ⑤ tire ⑥ area ⑦ zone ⑧ region ⑨ CL:條|条[tiao2] ⑩ to wear ⑪ to carry ⑫ to take along ⑬ to bear (i.e. to have) ⑭ to lead ⑮ to bring ⑯ to look after ⑰ to raise // CC-CEDICT
利劍 // 利剑 // lì jiàn // ① sharp sword // CC-CEDICT
厭 // 厌 // yàn // ① détester ② en avoir assez de ③ répugner // Chinese-French
厭 // 厌 // yàn // ① to loathe // CC-CEDICT
飲食 // 饮食 // yǐn shí // ① le boire et le manger // Chinese-French
飲食 // 饮食 // yǐn shí // ① food and drink ② diet // CC-CEDICT
財 // 财 // cái // ① richesse ② biens ③ argent ④ trésor ⑤ propriété // Chinese-French
財 // 财 // cái // ① money ② wealth ③ riches ④ property ⑤ valuables // CC-CEDICT
貨 // 货 // huò // ① marchandise // Chinese-French
貨 // 货 // huò // ① goods ② money ③ commodity ④ CL:個|个[ge4] // CC-CEDICT
有餘 // 有余 // yǒu yú // ① avoir assez de ② avoir de l'excédent // Chinese-French
有餘 // 有余 // yǒu yú // ① to have an abundance // 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
盜 // 盗 // dào // ① voleur ② bandit ③ voler ④ dérober // Chinese-French
盜 // 盗 // dào // ① to steal ② to rob ③ to plunder ④ thief ⑤ bandit ⑥ robber // CC-CEDICT
夸 // 夸 // kuā // ① see 夸克[kua1 ke4] // CC-CEDICT
誇 // 夸 // kuā // ① exagérer ② louer // Chinese-French
誇 // 夸 // kuā // ① to boast ② to exaggerate ③ to praise // CC-CEDICT
非 // 非 // fēi // ① ne pas ② faux ③ abréviation d'Afrique ④ 175e radical // Chinese-French
非 // 非 // fēi // ① abbr. for 非洲[Fei1 zhou1], Africa // CC-CEDICT
非 // 非 // fēi // ① to not be ② not ③ wrong ④ incorrect ⑤ non- ⑥ un- ⑦ in- ⑧ to reproach or blame ⑨ (colloquial) to insist on ⑩ simply must // 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
哉 // 哉 // zāi // ① (particule exclamative ou interrogative) // Chinese-French
哉 // 哉 // zāi // ① (exclamatory or interrogative particle) // CC-CEDICT
(Ⅵ)
- Yi Wu (1989) :

Unless an utter fool, a person should know that
It is not wise to wander here and there
While walking on a wide road.
The wide road is the flattest and safest,
But rulers like to stray from this safe road.
Their courts are luxuriously constructed;
And, while the fields are neglected,
The barns are empty.
They fuss about clothes and ornaments,
Carry sharp swords wherever they go,
Gobble down best food to excess,
And care only for goods and money.
They are robbers rather than rulers.
Being robbers, they are doing things against the Way.
(Ⅶ)
- Lynn (2004) :

If, with firm resolve, I had the knowledge to travel on the great Dao [Way], I need only fear that I might try to meddle with it.
The great Dao [Way] might be very smooth, yet the common folk prefer byways.
The court is kept in good order,
But the fields are overgrown with weeds, the granaries empty.
Garbed in patterned and colorful clothes, wearing sharp swords, satiated with food and drink, and overflowing with wealth and goods: all this is stolen extravagance and has nothing to do with the Dao!
(Ⅷ)


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