Chapter 8 How to change nature.
>  
1 Verses | Page 1 / 1
(Version and commentary of He Shanggong in English)


Show / Hide
(⁎)
(Ⅱ)
(Ⅲ)
(Ⅳ)
(Ⅴ)
(Ⅵ)
(Ⅶ)
(Ⅷ)


8. 1  
The most good one is like water.

The man of highest goodness has the nature of water.

Water is good and beneficent towards all beings.

Water in the sky produces mist and dew, on the earth it produces sources and lakes.

But it does not contend. It stays in places odious to man.

All men loathe low and damp or dusty and dirty places. Water alone runs quietly on and stays there.

Therefore it is akin to Tao.

The nature of water is somewhat akin to that of Tao.

For its place it chooses earth.

The nature of water is to benefit the plants on earth. If water comes down from high, it resembles a female creature that moves in submitting to the male.

For its heart it chooses the lake.

Water is deep and empty; the lake is deep and clear.

For giving it chooses humanity.

All things receive water for to live. It adds to emptiness, it does not add to fulness.

For speech it chooses sincerity.

Within the water there are the shadows and reflexes of the light, [but by them] it does not lose its nature.

For justice it chooses sincerity.

There is nothing that is not purified and pacified.

For action it chooses ability.

It is able to be square as well as round. If bent or straightened, it accommodates itself to the form.

For motion it chooses time.

In summer it dissolves, in winter it freezes, it keeps to the terms and changes [according to them]. It never neglects its time.

Now because it does not contend,

If damned in, it stays. If let off, it flows. It follows man.

therefore it is not blamed.

Such is the nature of water. Therefore there is nobody in the world who would blame water.

- Chinese :

《道德經》: 上善若水。水善利萬物而不爭,處衆人之所惡,故幾於道。居善地,心善淵,與善仁,言善信,正善治,事善能,動善時。夫唯不爭,故無尤。

《老子河上公章句·易性》: 上善若水。水善利萬物而不爭,處眾人之所惡,故幾於道。居善地,心善淵,與善仁,言善信,正善治,事善能,動善時。夫唯不爭,故無尤。

《馬王堆·老子甲道經》: 上善治水。水善利萬物而有靜,居眾之所惡,故幾於道矣。居善地,心善瀟,予善信,正善治,事善能,動善時。夫唯不靜,故無尤。

《馬王堆·老子乙道經》: 上善如水。水善利萬物而有爭,居眾人之所亞,故幾於道矣。居善地,心善淵,予善天,言善信,正善治,事善能,動善時。夫唯不爭,故無尤。
(⁎)
- He Shanggong (Chinese) :

上善若水。上善之人,如水之性。水善利萬物而不爭,水在天為霧露,在地為源泉也。處眾人之所惡,眾人惡卑濕垢濁,水獨靜流居之也。故幾於道。水性幾於道同。居善地,水性善喜於地,草木之上即流而下,有似於牝動而下人也。心善淵,水深空虛,淵深清明。與善仁,萬物得水以生。 與,虛不與盈也。言善信,水內影照形,不失其情也。正善治,無有不洗,清且平也。事善能,能方能圓,曲直隨形。動善時。夏散冬凝,應期而動,不失天時。夫唯不爭,壅之則止,決之則流,聽從人也。故無尤。水性如是,故天下無有怨尤水者也。
(Ⅱ)
- Wing-Tsit Chan (1963) :

The best (man) is like water. Water is good; it benefits all things and does not compete with them. It dwells in (lowly) places that all disdain. This is why it is so near to Tao.
(The best man) in his dwelling loves the earth. In his heart, he loves what is profound. In his associations, he loves humanity. In his words, he loves faithfulness.
In government, he loves order. In handling affairs, he loves competence. In his activities, he loves timeliness.
It is because he does not compete that he is without reproach.
(Ⅲ)
- Ellen Marie Chen (1989) :

A person with superior goodness (shan) is like water,
Water is good in benefiting (li) all beings,
Without contending (cheng) with any.
Situated in places shunned (o) by many others,
Thereby it is near (chi) Tao.
(Such a person's) dwelling is the good earth,
(His/her) mind (hsin) is the good deep water (yuan),
(His/her) associates are good kind people (jen),
(His/her) speech shows good trust (hsin),
(His/her) governing is the good order,
(His/her) projects (shih) are carried out by good talents (neng),
(His/her) activities (tung) are good in timing.
Because he does not contend (pu cheng) with any,
He commits no wrong.
(Ⅳ)
- Ch'u Ta-Kao (1904) :

The highest goodness is like water. Water is beneficent to all things but does not contend. It stays in places which others despise. Therefore it is near Tao.
In dwelling, think it a good place to live; In feeling, make the heart deep; In friendship, keep on good terms with men; In words, have confidence;
In ruling, abide by good order; In business, take things easy; In motion, make use of the opportunity.
Since there is no contention, there is no blame.
(Ⅴ)
- World by world translation :

Traditional // simplified // pinyin // definition // dictionary
上 // 上 // shàng // ① monter ② grimper ③ partir pour ④ mettre ⑤ fixer ⑥ appliquer (un remède) ⑦ supérieur ⑧ haut ⑨ premier ⑩ précédent // Chinese-French
上 // 上 // shàng // ① on top ② upon ③ above ④ upper ⑤ previous ⑥ first (of multiple parts) ⑦ to climb ⑧ to get onto ⑨ to go up ⑩ to attend (class or university) // CC-CEDICT
上 // 上 // shǎng // ① see 上聲|上声[shang3 sheng1] // CC-CEDICT
善 // 善 // shàn // ① bon ② bienveillant ③ habile // Chinese-French
善 // 善 // shàn // ① good (virtuous) ② benevolent ③ well-disposed ④ good at sth ⑤ to improve or perfect // CC-CEDICT
若 // 若 // ruò // ① si ② comme // Chinese-French
若 // 若 // ruò // ① to seem ② like ③ as ④ if // CC-CEDICT
水 // 水 // shuǐ // ① eau ② liquide ③ 85e radical // Chinese-French
水 // 水 // shuǐ // ① surname Shui // CC-CEDICT
水 // 水 // shuǐ // ① water ② river ③ liquid ④ beverage ⑤ additional charges or income ⑥ (of clothes) classifier for number of washes // CC-CEDICT
水 // 水 // shuǐ // ① eau ② liquide ③ 85e radical // Chinese-French
水 // 水 // shuǐ // ① surname Shui // CC-CEDICT
水 // 水 // shuǐ // ① water ② river ③ liquid ④ beverage ⑤ additional charges or income ⑥ (of clothes) classifier for number of washes // CC-CEDICT
善 // 善 // shàn // ① bon ② bienveillant ③ habile // Chinese-French
善 // 善 // shàn // ① good (virtuous) ② benevolent ③ well-disposed ④ good at sth ⑤ to improve or perfect // CC-CEDICT
利 // 利 // lì // ① profit ② intérêt ③ tranchant ④ favorable // Chinese-French
利 // 利 // lì // ① surname Li // CC-CEDICT
利 // 利 // lì // ① sharp ② favorable ③ advantage ④ benefit ⑤ profit ⑥ interest ⑦ to do good to ⑧ to benefit // CC-CEDICT
萬物 // 万物 // wàn wù // ① tous les êtres vivants // Chinese-French
萬物 // 万物 // wàn wù // ① all living things // 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
不爭 // 不争 // bù zhēng // ① widely known ② incontestable ③ undeniable ④ to not strive for ⑤ to not contend for // CC-CEDICT
處 // 处 // chù // ① lieu ② endroit ③ département ④ service // Chinese-French
處 // 处 // chù // ① place ② location ③ spot ④ point ⑤ office ⑥ department ⑦ bureau ⑧ respect ⑨ classifier for locations or items of damage: spot, point // CC-CEDICT
處 // 处 // chǔ // ① s'entendre (bien ou mal) ② se trouver ③ punir ④ habiter // Chinese-French
處 // 处 // chǔ // ① to reside ② to live ③ to dwell ④ to be in ⑤ to be situated at ⑥ to stay ⑦ to get along with ⑧ to be in a position of ⑨ to deal with ⑩ to discipline ⑪ to punish // CC-CEDICT
衆 // 众 // zhòng // ① nombreux ② foule // Chinese-French
衆 // 众 // zhòng // ① variant of 眾|众[zhong4] // CC-CEDICT
人 // 人 // rén // ① une personne ② être humain ③ homo sapiens // Chinese-French
人 // 人 // rén // ① man ② person ③ people ④ CL:個|个[ge4],位[wei4] // 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
所 // 所 // suǒ // ① place ② endroit ③ institut ④ office // Chinese-French
所 // 所 // suǒ // ① actually ② place ③ classifier for houses, small buildings, institutions etc ④ that which ⑤ particle introducing a relative clause or passive ⑥ CL:個|个[ge4] // CC-CEDICT
惡 // 恶 // è // ① mauvais ② méchant ③ vicieux // Chinese-French
惡 // 恶 // è // ① evil ② fierce ③ vicious ④ ugly ⑤ coarse ⑥ to harm // CC-CEDICT
惡 // 恶 // ě // ① mal // Chinese-French
惡 // 恶 // ě // ① see 惡心|恶心[e3 xin1] // CC-CEDICT
惡 // 恶 // wù // ① haïr ② détestable // Chinese-French
惡 // 恶 // wù // ① to hate ② to loathe ③ ashamed ④ to fear ⑤ to slander // 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
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
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
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
居 // 居 // jū // ① résidence ② habitation ③ résider ④ habiter ⑤ se trouver // Chinese-French
居 // 居 // jū // ① surname Ju // CC-CEDICT
居 // 居 // jū // ① to reside ② to be (in a certain position) ③ to store up ④ to be at a standstill ⑤ residence ⑥ house ⑦ restaurant ⑧ classifier for bedrooms // CC-CEDICT
居 // 居 // jī // ① (archaic) sentence-final particle expressing a doubting attitude // CC-CEDICT
善 // 善 // shàn // ① bon ② bienveillant ③ habile // Chinese-French
善 // 善 // shàn // ① good (virtuous) ② benevolent ③ well-disposed ④ good at sth ⑤ to improve or perfect // CC-CEDICT
地 // 地 // de // ① (particule placée devant le verbe qui transforme un adjectif en adverbe) ② -ment // Chinese-French
地 // 地 // de // ① -ly ② structural particle: used before a verb or adjective, linking it to preceding modifying adverbial adjunct // CC-CEDICT
地 // 地 // dì // ① masse ② terre ③ terrain ④ lieu // Chinese-French
地 // 地 // dì // ① earth ② ground ③ field ④ place ⑤ land ⑥ CL:片[pian4] // CC-CEDICT
心 // 心 // xīn // ① coeur ② pensée ③ esprit ④ intention // Chinese-French
心 // 心 // xīn // ① heart ② mind ③ intention ④ center ⑤ core ⑥ CL:顆|颗[ke1],個|个[ge4] // CC-CEDICT
善 // 善 // shàn // ① bon ② bienveillant ③ habile // Chinese-French
善 // 善 // shàn // ① good (virtuous) ② benevolent ③ well-disposed ④ good at sth ⑤ to improve or perfect // CC-CEDICT
淵 // 渊 // yuān // ① profond ② gouffre ③ eau profonde // Chinese-French
淵 // 渊 // yuān // ① deep pool ② deep ③ profound // CC-CEDICT
與 // 与 // yú // ① (particule exprimant le doute) // Chinese-French
與 // 与 // yú // ① variant of 歟|欤[yu2] // CC-CEDICT
與 // 与 // yǔ // ① et ② s'allier ③ offrir ④ donner // Chinese-French
與 // 与 // yǔ // ① and ② to give ③ together with // CC-CEDICT
與 // 与 // yù // ① prendre part à // Chinese-French
與 // 与 // yù // ① to take part in // CC-CEDICT
善 // 善 // shàn // ① bon ② bienveillant ③ habile // Chinese-French
善 // 善 // shàn // ① good (virtuous) ② benevolent ③ well-disposed ④ good at sth ⑤ to improve or perfect // CC-CEDICT
仁 // 仁 // rén // ① humanité ② bienveillance ③ amande ④ pépin ⑤ bon ⑥ bienveillant // Chinese-French
仁 // 仁 // rén // ① humane ② kernel // 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
善 // 善 // shàn // ① bon ② bienveillant ③ habile // Chinese-French
善 // 善 // shàn // ① good (virtuous) ② benevolent ③ well-disposed ④ good at sth ⑤ to improve or perfect // CC-CEDICT
信 // 信 // xìn // ① avoir confiance ② croire ③ lettre // Chinese-French
信 // 信 // xìn // ① letter ② mail ③ CL:封[feng1] ④ to trust ⑤ to believe ⑥ to profess faith in ⑦ truthful ⑧ confidence ⑨ trust ⑩ at will ⑪ at random // CC-CEDICT
正 // 正 // zhèng // ① droit ② positif ③ correct ④ justement ⑤ précisément // Chinese-French
正 // 正 // zhèng // ① straight ② upright ③ proper ④ main ⑤ principal ⑥ to correct ⑦ to rectify ⑧ exactly ⑨ just (at that time) ⑩ right (in that place) ⑪ (math.) positive // CC-CEDICT
正 // 正 // zhēng // ① (calendrier) nouveau // Chinese-French
正 // 正 // zhēng // ① first month of the lunar year // CC-CEDICT
善治 // 善治 // shàn zhì // ① bonne gouvernance // Chinese-French
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
善能 // 善能 // shàn néng // ① être bon en // Chinese-French
善能 // 善能 // shàn néng // ① to be good at // CC-CEDICT
動 // 动 // dòng // ① bouger ② se mouvoir ③ toucher à ④ déplacer ⑤ agir ⑥ se mettre en action // Chinese-French
動 // 动 // dòng // ① (of sth) to move ② to set in movement ③ to displace ④ to touch ⑤ to make use of ⑥ to stir (emotions) ⑦ to alter ⑧ abbr. for 動詞|动词[dong4 ci2], verb // CC-CEDICT
善 // 善 // shàn // ① bon ② bienveillant ③ habile // Chinese-French
善 // 善 // shàn // ① good (virtuous) ② benevolent ③ well-disposed ④ good at sth ⑤ to improve or perfect // CC-CEDICT
時 // 时 // shí // ① temps ② heure ③ souvent ④ actuel ⑤ courant ⑥ occasion // Chinese-French
時 // 时 // shí // ① surname Shi // CC-CEDICT
時 // 时 // shí // ① o'clock ② time ③ when ④ hour ⑤ season ⑥ period // 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
不爭 // 不争 // bù zhēng // ① widely known ② incontestable ③ undeniable ④ to not strive for ⑤ to not contend for // 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
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
尤 // 尤 // yóu // ① surtout ② en particulier // Chinese-French
尤 // 尤 // yóu // ① surname You // CC-CEDICT
尤 // 尤 // yóu // ① outstanding ② particularly, especially ③ a fault ④ to express discontentment against // CC-CEDICT
(Ⅵ)
- Yi Wu (1989) :

The perfect goodness is like the water.
Water benefits everything without caring for its own profit,
And lives in places that none would like.
As a good instance of the able Way,
Water is best at choosing places for its existence,
Freeing its mind for working up new wonders
Matching the heaven in generous grace
Speaking with the most persuasive power,
Governing supremely without verbalized policies
Crowning everything it does with success
And taking its actions at the best times.
For one who struggles for nothing
Will find no difficulty in everything.
(Ⅶ)
- Lynn (2004) :

The highest good is like water.
The goodness of water lies in benefiting the myriad things without contention, while locating itself in places that common people scorn.
Therefore it is almost exactly like the Dao.
Goodness in position depends on location;
goodness in heart/mind depends on profundity;
goodness in association depends on benevolence;
goodness in words depends on sincerity;
goodness in government depends on order;
goodness in affairs depends on ability;
goodness in action depends on timeliness.
And it is only by avoiding contention that no blame occurs.
(Ⅷ)


Page: 1

8 







Home