Chapter 69 How to use the dark one.
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(Version and commentary of He Shanggong in English)


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(Ⅱ)
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(Ⅳ)
(Ⅴ)
(Ⅵ)
(Ⅶ)
(Ⅷ)


69. 1  
For the use of weapons there is a saying:

This represents the principle of the use of arms. Lao-tse loathed the militarism of his time. Therefore he himself relies on its ideas.

I dare not play the host

The host goes ahead. He dares not take up arms first.

but I play the guest.

The guest adapts himself and does not take the lead. The warrior must conform to heaven and [only] move afterwards.

I dare not advance an inch but I retire a foot.

He encroaches upon the positions of others, he uses the riches of others, he advances and closes the gates, he holds the city and retires.

This is called to go without going,

Such following without stopping makes him the empire’s thief. Though it is possible to punish him, it is impossible to seize him.

to stretch without arms,

Though he wants to stretch his arms, he is as angry as if he had no arms to stretch.

to seize without arms,

Though he would like to seize something, it is as if he were handling and using a weapon without a blade. How could he hurt them and enmesh the people into sin before heaven? If this happens to a prince who has no Tao, he will not bear to lose it.

to attract without an enemy.

Though he would like to go and attract the hearts, it is as if he could attract them without having an enemy.

No misfortune is greater than making light of the enemy.

Now no unfortunate confusion is greater than a deceptive underestimation of the enemy. By incessantly grasping for an underrated enemy one will lose.

If one makes light of the enemy, one is near losing the jewel of the ego.

幾 = 近 near. The jewel is the body. By deceptive underrating of the enemy one comes near to the loss of the body.

Therefore when opposed warriors measure their strength,

Two enemies at war.

then the compassionate one will be victorious.

The compassionate one is the benign and humane warrior. He does not come near to death.

- Chinese :

《道德經》: 用兵有言:吾不敢為主,而為客;不敢進寸,而退尺。是謂行無行;攘無臂;扔無敵;執無兵。禍莫大於輕敵,輕敵幾喪吾寶。故抗兵相加,哀者勝矣。

《老子河上公章句·玄用》: 用兵有言:吾不敢為主而為客,不敢進寸而退尺。是謂行無行,攘無臂,扔無敵,執無兵。禍莫大於輕敵。輕敵,幾喪吾寶。故抗兵相加,哀者勝矣。

《馬王堆·老子甲德經》: 用兵有言曰:吾不敢為主,而為客;吾不進寸,而芮尺。是胃行無行;襄無臂;執無兵;乃無敵矣。禍莫於於無適,無適斤亡吾吾葆矣。故稱兵相若,則哀者勝矣。

《馬王堆·老子乙德經》: 用兵又言曰:吾不敢為主,而為客;不敢進寸,而退尺。是胃行無行;攘無臂;執無兵;乃無敵。禍莫大於無敵,無敵近○亡吾𤥯矣。故抗兵相若,而依者朕□。
(⁎)
- He Shanggong (Chinese) :

用兵有言:陳用兵之道。老子疾時用兵,故託己設其義也。吾不敢為主而為客,主,先也。不敢先舉兵。客者,和而不倡。用兵當承天而後動。不敢進寸而退尺。侵人境界,利人財寶,為進;閉門守城,為退。是謂行無行,彼遂不止,為天下賊,雖行誅之,不成行列也。攘無臂,雖欲大怒,若無臂可攘也。扔無敵,雖欲仍引之,若無敵可仍也。執無兵。雖欲執持之,若無兵刃可持用也。何者?傷彼之民罹罪於天,遭不道之君,愍忍喪之痛也。禍莫大於輕敵。夫禍亂之害,莫大於欺輕敵家,侵取不休,輕戰貪財也。輕敵,幾喪吾寶。幾,近也。寶,身也。欺輕敵者,近喪身也。故抗兵相加,兩敵戰也。哀者勝矣。哀者慈仁,士卒不遠於死。
(Ⅱ)
- Wing-Tsit Chan (1963) :

The strategists say: "I dare not take the offensive but I take the defensive; I dare not advance an inch but I retreat a foot."
This means: To march without formation, To stretch one's arm without showing it, To confront enemies without seeming to meet them, To hold weapons without seeming to have them.
There is no greater disaster than to make light the enemy.
Therefore when armies are mobilized and issues joined, The man who is sorry over the fact will win.
(Ⅲ)
- Ellen Marie Chen (1989) :

In engaging in warfare it is said:
I dare not be the host but be the guest,
I dare not advance an inch but retreat a foot.
This is called to march without advancing,
To roll up one's sleeves without baring one's arms,
To throw a rope without an enemy,
To carry without a weapon.
Of all calamities (huo),
None is greater than underestimating one's enemy.
In underestimating my enemy,
I risk losing my treasure (pao).
Therefore when opposing armies are engaged in battle,
The sorrowful party will win.
(Ⅳ)
- Ch'u Ta-Kao (1904) :

An ancient tactician has said:
'I dare not act as a host, but would rather act as a guest;
I dare not advance an inch, but would rather retreat a foot.'
This implies that he does not marshal the ranks as if there were no ranks;
He does not roll up his sleeves as if he had no arms;
He does not seize as if he had no weapons;
He does not fight as if there were no enemies.
No calamity is greater than under-estimating the enemy.
To under-estimate the enemy is to be on the point of losing our treasure (love).
Threfore when opposing armies meet in the field the ruthful will win.
(Ⅴ)
- World by world translation :

Traditional // simplified // pinyin // definition // dictionary
用 // 用 // yòng // ① utiliser ② employer ③ avoir à faire ceci ou cela ④ manger ou boire ⑤ frais ou dépenses ⑥ utilité ⑦ c'est pourquoi ⑧ donc ⑨ par conséquent // Chinese-French
用 // 用 // yòng // ① to use ② to employ ③ to have to ④ to eat or drink ⑤ expense or outlay ⑥ usefulness ⑦ hence ⑧ therefore // 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
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
言 // 言 // yán // ① dire ② mot ③ parole ④ opinion ⑤ propos // Chinese-French
言 // 言 // yán // ① words ② speech ③ to say ④ to talk // CC-CEDICT
吾 // 吾 // wú // ① je ② mon // Chinese-French
吾 // 吾 // wú // ① surname Wu // CC-CEDICT
吾 // 吾 // wú // ① I ② my (old) // CC-CEDICT
不敢 // 不敢 // bù gǎn // ① ne pas oser // Chinese-French
為主 // 为主 // wéi zhǔ // ① to rely mainly on ② to attach most importance to // 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
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
客 // 客 // kè // ① invité ② hôte // Chinese-French
客 // 客 // kè // ① customer ② visitor ③ guest // CC-CEDICT
不敢 // 不敢 // bù gǎn // ① ne pas oser // Chinese-French
進 // 进 // jìn // ① entrer ② progresser ③ présenter ④ recommander // Chinese-French
進 // 进 // jìn // ① to go forward ② to advance ③ to go in ④ to enter ⑤ to put in ⑥ to submit ⑦ to take in ⑧ to admit ⑨ (math.) base of a number system ⑩ classifier for sections in a building or residential compound // CC-CEDICT
寸 // 寸 // cùn // ① unité de longueur qui équivaut à 3,33 cm ② pouce ③ très peu ④ très court // Chinese-French
寸 // 寸 // cùn // ① a unit of length ② inch ③ thumb // 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
退 // 退 // tuì // ① reculer ② faire reculer ③ baisser ④ descendre ⑤ rembourser ⑥ rendre // Chinese-French
退 // 退 // tuì // ① to retreat ② to decline ③ to move back ④ to withdraw // CC-CEDICT
尺 // 尺 // chǐ // ① pied ② 0,3561 m ③ règle ④ missive sur tablette d'un pied: lettre // Chinese-French
尺 // 尺 // chǐ // ① a Chinese foot ② one-third of a meter ③ a ruler ④ a tape-measure ⑤ one of the three acupoints for measuring pulse in Chinese medicine ⑥ CL:支[zhi1],把[ba3] // CC-CEDICT
尺 // 尺 // chě // ① one of the characters used to represent a musical note in gongche notation, 工尺譜|工尺谱[gong1 che3 pu3] // 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
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
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
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
攘 // 攘 // rǎng // ① repousser // Chinese-French
攘 // 攘 // rǎng // ① to push up one's sleeves ② to reject or resist ③ to seize ④ to perturb ⑤ to steal // 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
臂 // 臂 // bì // ① bras // Chinese-French
臂 // 臂 // bì // ① arm // CC-CEDICT
扔 // 扔 // rēng // ① lancer ② jeter ③ abandonner // Chinese-French
扔 // 扔 // rēng // ① to throw ② to throw away // CC-CEDICT
無敵 // 无敌 // wú dí // ① invincible ② sans rival // Chinese-French
無敵 // 无敌 // wú dí // ① unequalled ② without rival ③ a paragon // CC-CEDICT
執 // 执 // zhí // ① tenir ② persister ③ appliquer ④ exécuter // Chinese-French
執 // 执 // zhí // ① to execute (a plan) ② to grasp // 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
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
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
輕敵 // 轻敌 // qīng dí // ① to underestimate the enemy // CC-CEDICT
輕敵 // 轻敌 // qīng dí // ① to underestimate the enemy // CC-CEDICT
幾 // 几 // jǐ // ① combien ② quelques ③ un peu // Chinese-French
幾 // 几 // jǐ // ① how much ② how many ③ several ④ a few // CC-CEDICT
幾 // 几 // jī // ① presque // Chinese-French
幾 // 几 // jī // ① almost // CC-CEDICT
喪 // 丧 // sàng // ① perdre // Chinese-French
喪 // 丧 // sàng // ① to lose sth abstract but important (courage, authority, one's life etc) ② to be bereaved of (one's spouse etc) ③ to die ④ disappointed ⑤ discouraged // CC-CEDICT
喪 // 丧 // sāng // ① deuil ② funérailles // Chinese-French
喪 // 丧 // sāng // ① mourning ② funeral ③ (old) corpse // CC-CEDICT
吾 // 吾 // wú // ① je ② mon // Chinese-French
吾 // 吾 // wú // ① surname Wu // CC-CEDICT
吾 // 吾 // wú // ① I ② my (old) // CC-CEDICT
寶 // 宝 // bǎo // ① bijou ② trésor ③ précieux // Chinese-French
寶 // 宝 // bǎo // ① jewel ② gem ③ treasure ④ precious // CC-CEDICT
故 // 故 // gù // ① incident ② cause ③ à dessein ④ exprès ⑤ raison ⑥ ancien ⑦ mourir // Chinese-French
故 // 故 // gù // ① happening ② instance ③ reason ④ cause ⑤ intentional ⑥ former ⑦ old ⑧ friend ⑨ therefore ⑩ hence ⑪ (of people) to die, dead // CC-CEDICT
抗 // 抗 // kàng // ① résister à ② lutter contre ③ refuser // Chinese-French
抗 // 抗 // kàng // ① to resist ② to fight ③ to defy ④ anti- // 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
相 // 相 // xiāng // ① mutuellement ② l'un l'autre ③ examiner ④ évaluer // Chinese-French
相 // 相 // xiāng // ① surname Xiang // CC-CEDICT
相 // 相 // xiāng // ① each other ② one another ③ mutually // CC-CEDICT
相 // 相 // xiàng // ① apparence ② air ③ photo // Chinese-French
相 // 相 // xiàng // ① appearance ② portrait ③ picture ④ government minister ⑤ (physics) phase ⑥ (literary) to appraise (esp. by scrutinizing physical features) ⑦ to read sb's fortune (by physiognomy, palmistry etc) // CC-CEDICT
加 // 加 // jiā // ① additionner ② augmenter ③ ajouter ④ insérer ⑤ plus // Chinese-French
加 // 加 // jiā // ① abbr. for Canada 加拿大[Jia1 na2 da4] ② surname Jia // CC-CEDICT
加 // 加 // jiā // ① to add ② plus ③ (used after an adverb such as 不, 大, 稍 etc, and before a disyllabic verb, to indicate that the action of the verb is applied to sth or sb previously mentioned) ④ to apply (restrictions etc) to (sb) ⑤ to give (support, consideration etc) to (sth) // CC-CEDICT
哀 // 哀 // āi // ① douleur ② être affligé ③ lamentation ④ pitié // Chinese-French
哀 // 哀 // āi // ① Ai (c. 2000 BC), sixth of legendary Flame Emperors 炎帝[Yan2 di4] descended from Shennong 神農|神农[Shen2 nong2] Farmer God, also known as Li 釐|厘[Li2] // CC-CEDICT
哀 // 哀 // āi // ① sorrow ② grief ③ pity ④ to grieve for ⑤ to pity ⑥ to lament ⑦ to condole // 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
勝 // 胜 // shèng // ① remarquable ② excellent ③ supérieur ④ être égal à ⑤ être à la hauteur de ⑥ pouvoir supporter ⑦ victoire ⑧ succès ⑨ vaincre ⑩ remporter la victoire sur ⑪ surpasser ⑫ dépasser // Chinese-French
勝 // 胜 // shèng // ① victory ② success ③ to beat ④ to defeat ⑤ to surpass ⑥ victorious ⑦ superior to ⑧ to get the better of ⑨ better than ⑩ surpassing ⑪ superb (of vista) ⑫ beautiful (scenery) ⑬ wonderful (view) ⑭ (Taiwan pr. [sheng1]) able to bear ⑮ equal to (a task) // 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) :

Fight only when forced to.
A foot back instead of an inch forward."
Such military creeds all boil down to this:
Advance invisible ranks;
Raise invisible arms;
Poise invisible armies;
Fight as if one is not fighting with enemies.
The biggest military disaster is this:
To attack an enemy thoughtlessly
With threats, menaces and challenges.
For such an attack means the loss of all advantages.
When two armies battle, one against the other,
The army that fights out of love and sadness wins.
(Ⅶ)
- Lynn (2004) :

Military specialists have a saying:
"I dare not play the host but instead play the guest.
I dare not advance an inch but instead retreat a foot."
In other words,
campaign in such a way that there is no campaign;
push up your sleeve so that no arm is exposed;
wield weapons in such a way that no weapons are involved;
and lead in such a way that you face no opponent.
There is no greater disaster than having no viable opponent.
If one has no viable opponent, he will soon lose my [the Laozi's] treasures.
Thus, when they raise armies that are equally matched, he who feels pity will be the victor.
(Ⅷ)


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