Chapter 7 On the dawning splendour.
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(Version and commentary of He Shanggong in English)


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7. 1  
Heaven and earth are enduring and lasting.

This wants to say that heaven and earth are of long existence and permanent living, whereby they teach man.

Whereby heaven and earth are able to endure and besides this to last, is through their not living for themselves.

Whereby heaven and earth alone endure and last, is their quietness. In giving they do not expect recompense, unlike man who strives in haste to enrich himself. They use man in order to help him.

Thereby they are able to live long.

Because they do not strive for life, they are able to live long and never to end.

Therefore the saint puts his person behind,

He allows others to go ahead and puts himself last,

and his person comes to the front.

In the world he is honoured. He goes ahead and thereby becomes superior.

He puts his person aside,

He thinks little of himself and loves others,

and his person remains.

All the people love him like their father and mother. The spirits protect him like a little child. Therefore his person continues to remain.

Is this not because he has no egoism?

The saint is loved by men and protected by the spirits. Is this not because he reigns with justice and unselfishness?

Thereby he is able to fulfil his egoism.

Men by being egoistic want to achieve fulness. The saint is no egoist but achieves fulness spontaneously. Therefore he is able to fulfil his egoism.

- Chinese :

《道德經》: 天長地久。天地所以能長且久者,以其不自生,故能長生。是以聖人後其身而身先;外其身而身存。非以其無私耶?故能成其私。

《老子河上公章句·韜光》: 天長地久,天地所以能長且久者,以其不自生,故能長生。是以聖人後其身,而身先,外其身,而身存。非以其無私邪。故能成其私。

《馬王堆·老子甲道經》: 天長地久。天地之所以能□且久者,以其不自生也,故能長生。是以聲人芮其身而身先;外其身而身存。不以其無□輿?故能成其私。

《馬王堆·老子乙道經》: 天長地久。天地之所以能長且久者,以其不自生也,故能長生。是以聖人退其身而身先,外其身而身先,外其身而身存,不以其無私輿,故能成其私。
(⁎)
- He Shanggong (Chinese) :

天長地久,說天地長生久壽,以喻教人也。 天地所以能長且久者,以其不自生,天地所以獨長且久者,以其安靜,施不求報,不如人居處,汲汲求自饒之利,奪人以自與也。故能長生。以其不求生,故能長生不終也。是以聖人後其身,先人而後己也。而身先,天下敬之,先以為長。外其身,薄己而厚人也。而身存。百姓愛之如父母,神明祐之若赤子,故身常存。非以其無私邪。聖人為人所愛,神明所祐,非以其公正無私所致乎。故能成其私。人以為私者,欲以厚己也。聖人無私而己自厚,故能成其私也。
(Ⅱ)
- Wing-Tsit Chan (1963) :

Heaven is eternal and Earth everlasting.
They can be eternal and everlasting because they do not exist for themselves, And for this reason can exist forever.
Therefore the sage places himself in the background but finds himself in the foreground.
He puts himself away, and yet he always remains.
Is it not because he has no personal interests? This is the reason why his personal interests are fulfilled.
(Ⅲ)
- Ellen Marie Chen (1989) :

Heaven and earth are long lasting (chiu).
The reason why heaven and earth are long lasting:
Because they do not live for self (pu tzu sheng).
Therefore they last long.
Thus the sage puts his body (shen) behind,
Yet his body is in front.
He regards his body as external,
Yet his body remains in existence (ts'un).
Is it not because he is selfless (wu szu),
That he can fulfill himself (ch'eng ch'i szu).
(Ⅳ)
- Ch'u Ta-Kao (1904) :

Heaven is lasting and earth enduring.
The reason why they are lasting and enduring is that they do not live for themselves; Therefore they live long.
In the same way the Sage keeps himself behind and he is in the front;
He forgets himself and he is preserved.
Is it not because he is not self-interested That his self-interest is established?
(Ⅴ)
- World by world translation :

Traditional // simplified // pinyin // definition // dictionary
天長地久 // 天长地久 // tiān cháng dì jiǔ // ① (expression idiomatique) durer aussi longtemps que le Ciel et la Terre ② vieux comme le monde // Chinese-French
天長地久 // 天长地久 // tiān cháng dì jiǔ // ① enduring while the world lasts (idiom) ② eternal // CC-CEDICT
天地 // 天地 // tiān dì // ① ciel et terre ② univers ③ monde ④ champ d'action ⑤ champ d'activité // Chinese-French
天地 // 天地 // tiān dì // ① heaven and earth ② world ③ scope ④ field of activity // CC-CEDICT
所以 // 所以 // suǒ yǐ // ① par conséquent ② ainsi ③ (c'est) la raison pour laquelle // Chinese-French
所以 // 所以 // suǒ yǐ // ① therefore ② as a result ③ so ④ the reason why // CC-CEDICT
能 // 能 // néng // ① capacité ② énergie ③ pouvoir ④ être capable de // Chinese-French
能 // 能 // néng // ① surname Neng // CC-CEDICT
能 // 能 // néng // ① can ② to be able to ③ might possibly ④ ability ⑤ (physics) energy // CC-CEDICT
長 // 长 // cháng // ① long ② durable // Chinese-French
長 // 长 // cháng // ① length ② long ③ forever ④ always ⑤ constantly // CC-CEDICT
長 // 长 // zhǎng // ① chef ② tête ③ aîné ④ grandir ⑤ développer ⑥ accroître ⑦ renforcer // Chinese-French
長 // 长 // zhǎng // ① chief ② head ③ elder ④ to grow ⑤ to develop ⑥ to increase ⑦ to enhance // CC-CEDICT
且 // 且 // qiě // ① à la fois ② pour le moment ③ longtemps // Chinese-French
且 // 且 // qiě // ① and ② moreover ③ yet ④ for the time being ⑤ to be about to ⑥ both (... and...) // CC-CEDICT
久 // 久 // jiǔ // ① longtemps ② de longue date // Chinese-French
久 // 久 // jiǔ // ① (long) time ② (long) duration of time // 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
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
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
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
自 // 自 // zì // ① depuis ② à partir de ③ soi-même ④ naturellement // Chinese-French
自 // 自 // zì // ① self ② oneself ③ from ④ since ⑤ naturally ⑥ surely // 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
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
能 // 能 // néng // ① capacité ② énergie ③ pouvoir ④ être capable de // Chinese-French
能 // 能 // néng // ① surname Neng // CC-CEDICT
能 // 能 // néng // ① can ② to be able to ③ might possibly ④ ability ⑤ (physics) energy // CC-CEDICT
長生 // 长生 // cháng shēng // ① immortalité // Chinese-French
長生 // 长生 // cháng shēng // ① long life // 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
後 // 后 // hòu // ① arrière ② descendant ③ reine ④ derrière ⑤ après ⑥ ensuite // Chinese-French
後 // 后 // hòu // ① back ② behind ③ rear ④ afterwards ⑤ after ⑥ later // 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
身 // 身 // shēn // ① corps ② vie ③ soi-même // Chinese-French
身 // 身 // shēn // ① body ② life ③ oneself ④ personally ⑤ one's morality and conduct ⑥ the main part of a structure or body ⑦ pregnant ⑧ classifier for sets of clothes: suit, twinset ⑨ Kangxi radical 158 // 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
身 // 身 // shēn // ① corps ② vie ③ soi-même // Chinese-French
身 // 身 // shēn // ① body ② life ③ oneself ④ personally ⑤ one's morality and conduct ⑥ the main part of a structure or body ⑦ pregnant ⑧ classifier for sets of clothes: suit, twinset ⑨ Kangxi radical 158 // CC-CEDICT
先 // 先 // xiān // ① premier ② d'abord ③ ancêtre ④ prédécesseur ⑤ défunt // Chinese-French
先 // 先 // xiān // ① early ② prior ③ former ④ in advance ⑤ first // CC-CEDICT
外 // 外 // wài // ① extérieur ② étranger // Chinese-French
外 // 外 // wài // ① outside ② in addition ③ foreign ④ external // 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
身 // 身 // shēn // ① corps ② vie ③ soi-même // Chinese-French
身 // 身 // shēn // ① body ② life ③ oneself ④ personally ⑤ one's morality and conduct ⑥ the main part of a structure or body ⑦ pregnant ⑧ classifier for sets of clothes: suit, twinset ⑨ Kangxi radical 158 // 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
身 // 身 // shēn // ① corps ② vie ③ soi-même // Chinese-French
身 // 身 // shēn // ① body ② life ③ oneself ④ personally ⑤ one's morality and conduct ⑥ the main part of a structure or body ⑦ pregnant ⑧ classifier for sets of clothes: suit, twinset ⑨ Kangxi radical 158 // CC-CEDICT
存 // 存 // cún // ① exister ② subsister ③ conserver ④ mettre en réserve ⑤ déposer ⑥ consigner ⑦ nourrir ⑧ avoir // Chinese-French
存 // 存 // cún // ① to exist ② to deposit ③ to store ④ to keep ⑤ to survive // 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
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
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
無私 // 无私 // wú sī // ① désintéressé // Chinese-French
無私 // 无私 // wú sī // ① selfless ② unselfish ③ disinterested ④ altruistic // CC-CEDICT
耶 // 耶 // yē // ① (phonetic ye) // CC-CEDICT
耶 // 耶 // yé // ① interrogative particle (classical) // CC-CEDICT
耶 // 耶 // ye // ① final particle indicating enthusiasm etc // 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
能 // 能 // néng // ① capacité ② énergie ③ pouvoir ④ être capable de // Chinese-French
能 // 能 // néng // ① surname Neng // CC-CEDICT
能 // 能 // néng // ① can ② to be able to ③ might possibly ④ ability ⑤ (physics) energy // 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
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
私 // 私 // sī // ① privé ② personnel ③ égoïste ④ secret ⑤ confidentiel ⑥ clandestin ⑦ illégal // Chinese-French
私 // 私 // sī // ① personal ② private ③ selfish // CC-CEDICT
(Ⅵ)
- Yi Wu (1989) :

The heaven lasts.
The earth lasts.
They last because they do not live to last.
The wise person lags behind in struggles for benefits
And finally benefits more than others;
The wise person does not live for himself,
And is therefore able to enjoy longevity.
Isn't it one's thorough selflessness
That makes one seem to be most successfully selfish?
(Ⅶ)
- Lynn (2004) :

Heaven is everlasting, and Earth endless.
That they can last forever and go on without end is because they do not try to exist for themselves.
Thus they can exist forever.
As such, the sage places himself in the rear yet finds himself in front.
He puts aside his person, yet his person is preserved.
Is this not because he is utterly free of self-interest?
This is how he can achieve self-fulfillment.
(Ⅷ)


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