Chapter 70 How to know difficulties.
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(Version and commentary of He Shanggong in English)


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70. 1  
The words of the ego are very easy to know and very easy to follow.

Lao-tse knows that what the ego says is little and easy to know, simple and easy to follow.

Within the empire nobody is able to know them, and nobody is able to follow them.

Men loathe what is tender and weak and like what is hard and strong.

Words have an ancestor. Deeds have a master.

What the ego says, has an ancestor and a master. Among deeds there are princes and subjects, superiors and inferiors, Then men of the world do not know this. This is not because the ego had no Te but because the mind is opposed to the ego.

Now because this is unknown, therefore the ego is unknown.

That the men of the world do not know this is because of the obscurity and external invisibility of the Tao and Te of the ego, the mystery of its extreme infinity and subtility. Therefore they do not know this.

Those who know the ego are few. Therefore the ego is of value.

希 = 少 few. Only he who penetrates Tao may recognize the ego. Therefore it is of value.

Therefore the saint dresses in haircloth and hides the gem within his bosom.

Who dresses in haircloth is outwardly simple. Who hides a gem within his bosom has inward fulness. Hide your treasures, conceal your Te and do not show it to others.

- Chinese :

《道德經》: 吾言甚易知,甚易行。天下莫能知,莫能行。言有宗,事有君。夫唯無知,是以不我知。知我者希,則我者貴。是以聖人被褐懷玉。

《老子河上公章句·知難》: 章吾言甚易知,甚易行。天下莫能知,莫能行。言有宗,事有君。夫唯無知,是以不我知。知我者希,則我者貴。是以聖人被褐懷玉。

《馬王堆·老子甲德經》: 吾言甚易知也,甚易行也,而人莫之能知也,而莫之能行也。言有君,事有宗。夫唯無知也,是以不□□□□□□□我貴矣。是以聖人被褐而褱玉。

《馬王堆·老子乙德經》: 吾言易知也,易行也,而天下莫之能知也,莫之能行也。夫言又宗,事又君。夫唯無知也,是以不我知。知者希,則我貴矣。是以聖人被褐而褱玉。
(⁎)
- He Shanggong (Chinese) :

章吾言甚易知,甚易行。老子言:吾所言省而易知,約而易行。天下莫能知,莫能行。人惡柔弱,好剛強也。言有宗,事有君。我所言有宗祖根本,事有君臣上下,世人不知者,非我之無德,心與我之反也。夫唯無知,是以不我知。夫唯世人之無知者,是我德之暗,不見於外,窮微極妙,故無知也。知我者希,則我者貴。希,少也。唯達道者乃能知我,故為貴也。是以聖人被褐懷玉。被褐者薄外,懷玉者厚內,匿寶藏德,不以示人也。
(Ⅱ)
- Wing-Tsit Chan (1963) :

My doctrines are easy to understand and very easy to practice, But none in the world can understand or practice them.
My doctrines have a source (Nature); my deeds have a master (Tao). It is because people do not understand this that they do not understand me. Few people know me, and therefore I am highly valued.
Therefore the sage wears a coarse cloth on top and carries jade within his bosom.
(Ⅲ)
- Ellen Marie Chen (1989) :

My words (yen) are very easy to understand (i-chih),
Very easy to put into practice (i-hsing).
But no one under heaven can understand (chih) them,
No one can put them into practice.
Words (yen) have their ruler (chün);
Events (shih) have their progenitor (tsung).
Because people do not understand (chih) this,
Therefore they do not understand me.
Those who understand me are rare,
Those who follow (tsê) my teaching are (preciously) few (kuei).
Therefore the sage wears hair-cloth,
While carrying jade in his breast.
(Ⅳ)
- Ch'u Ta-Kao (1904) :

Words have an ancestor; deeds have a governor.
My words are very easy to know, and very easy to practise,
Yet all men in the world do not know them nor practise them.
It is because they have knowledge that they do not know me.
When those who know me are few, eventually I am beyond all praise.
Therefore the Sage wears clothes of coarse cloth but carries jewels in his bosom;
He knows himself but does not display himself;
He loves himself but does not hold himself in high esteem.
Thus he rejects the latter and takes the former.
(Ⅴ)
- World by world translation :

Traditional // simplified // pinyin // definition // dictionary
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
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
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
易 // 易 // yì // ① changer ② échanger ③ facile ④ simple ⑤ changement ⑥ mutation // Chinese-French
易 // 易 // yì // ① surname Yi ② abbr. for 易經|易经[Yi4 jing1], the Book of Changes // CC-CEDICT
易 // 易 // yì // ① easy ② amiable ③ to change ④ to exchange // 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
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
易 // 易 // yì // ① changer ② échanger ③ facile ④ simple ⑤ changement ⑥ mutation // Chinese-French
易 // 易 // yì // ① surname Yi ② abbr. for 易經|易经[Yi4 jing1], the Book of Changes // CC-CEDICT
易 // 易 // yì // ① easy ② amiable ③ to change ④ to exchange // 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
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
莫 // 莫 // mò // ① ne...pas ② sans // Chinese-French
莫 // 莫 // mò // ① surname Mo // CC-CEDICT
莫 // 莫 // mò // ① do not ② there is none who // 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
知 // 知 // zhī // ① savoir ② connaître ③ connaissances // Chinese-French
知 // 知 // zhī // ① to know ② to be aware // CC-CEDICT
莫 // 莫 // mò // ① ne...pas ② sans // Chinese-French
莫 // 莫 // mò // ① surname Mo // CC-CEDICT
莫 // 莫 // mò // ① do not ② there is none who // 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
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
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
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
宗 // 宗 // zōng // ① ancêtres ② aïeux ③ clan ④ ordre ⑤ objectif ⑥ but // Chinese-French
宗 // 宗 // zōng // ① surname Zong // CC-CEDICT
宗 // 宗 // zōng // ① school ② sect ③ purpose ④ model ⑤ ancestor ⑥ clan ⑦ to take as one's model (in academic or artistic work) ⑧ classifier for batches, items, cases (medical or legal), reservoirs // 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
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
君 // 君 // jūn // ① souverain ② monarque ③ monsieur // Chinese-French
君 // 君 // jūn // ① monarch ② lord ③ gentleman ④ ruler // CC-CEDICT
夫 // 夫 // fū // ① mari // Chinese-French
夫 // 夫 // fū // ① husband ② man ③ manual worker ④ conscripted laborer (old) // CC-CEDICT
夫 // 夫 // fú // ① (classical) this, that ② he, she, they ③ (exclamatory final particle) ④ (initial particle, introduces an opinion) // 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
無知 // 无知 // wú zhī // ① ignorant // Chinese-French
無知 // 无知 // wú zhī // ① ignorant ② ignorance // 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
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
我 // 我 // wǒ // ① je ② moi // Chinese-French
我 // 我 // wǒ // ① I ② me ③ my // 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
知 // 知 // zhī // ① savoir ② connaître ③ connaissances // Chinese-French
知 // 知 // zhī // ① to know ② to be aware // CC-CEDICT
我 // 我 // wǒ // ① je ② moi // Chinese-French
我 // 我 // wǒ // ① I ② me ③ my // 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
希 // 希 // xī // ① espérer ② désirer ③ rare // Chinese-French
希 // 希 // xī // ① to hope ② to admire ③ variant of 稀[xi1] // CC-CEDICT
則 // 则 // zé // ① règle ② règlement ③ alors ④ donc // Chinese-French
則 // 则 // zé // ① (conjunction used to express contrast with a previous clause) but ② then ③ standard ④ norm ⑤ principle ⑥ to imitate ⑦ to follow ⑧ classifier for written items // CC-CEDICT
我 // 我 // wǒ // ① je ② moi // Chinese-French
我 // 我 // wǒ // ① I ② me ③ my // 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
貴 // 贵 // guì // ① cher ② coûteux ③ précieux // Chinese-French
貴 // 贵 // guì // ① expensive ② noble ③ precious ④ (honorific) your // 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
被 // 被 // bèi // ① couverture ② couette ③ par ④ (utilisé devant un verbe ou devant un complément d'agent pour exprimer une action passive) // Chinese-French
被 // 被 // bèi // ① quilt ② by ③ (indicates passive-voice clauses) ④ (literary) to cover ⑤ to meet with // CC-CEDICT
褐 // 褐 // hè // ① brun (couleur) // Chinese-French
褐 // 褐 // hè // ① brown ② gray or dark color ③ coarse hemp cloth ④ Taiwan pr. [he2] // CC-CEDICT
懷 // 怀 // huái // ① embrasser ② contenir ③ aimer ④ sein // Chinese-French
懷 // 怀 // huái // ① surname Huai // CC-CEDICT
懷 // 怀 // huái // ① bosom ② heart ③ mind ④ to think of ⑤ to harbor in one's mind ⑥ to conceive (a child) // CC-CEDICT
玉 // 玉 // yù // ① jade ② pierre précieuse ③ beau, précieux ④ votre (Pol.) ⑤ 96e radical // Chinese-French
玉 // 玉 // yù // ① jade // CC-CEDICT
(Ⅵ)
- Yi Wu (1989) :

As it can happen,
What I say is easy to understand and to do,
But none can understand it and do it,
In spite of the fact that what I say has a source
And what I do has a reason.
Since people don't understand what I say and what I do,
They don't know me.
Since people don't know me,
I am special.
That explains why the wise person wears rough clothes
And cherishes a heart of jade.
(Ⅶ)
- Lynn (2004) :

My words are very easy to understand, very easy to practice, yet none among all under Heaven can understand them, and none can practice them.
My words have a progenitor, and my undertakings have a sovereign.
It is just because there is no understanding of this that they do not understand me.
As long as those who understand me are rare, someone like me is precious.
Thus it is that the sage wears coarse woolen cloth but harbors jade in his bosom.
(Ⅷ)


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