Chapter 9 How to let ease circulate.
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(Version and commentary of He Shanggong in English)


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9. 1  
To hold and to fill is not as if it were something that might be stopped.

盈 = 滿 to fill. 已 = 止 to stop. If something is held and filled, one is sure to spill. This is not like stopping (i. e. then it is better to stop).

To handle and to fill cannot be safe for long.

揣 = 治 to handle. First one handles something, and then one throws it away.

If gold and jade fill the hall, nobody is able to guard it.

Desire hurts the spirits. Fulness of riches impedes the body. The spirits are again the spirits of the five viscera.

To be rich, honoured, and then haughty, leads of itself to misfortune.

Now a rich man ought to be benevolent against the poor, a man of high standing ought to pity those in lower positions. But on the other hand, haughtiness and intemperance are sure to meet with misfortune.

Merit is achieved, glory follows, the personality recedes. This is the way of heaven.

This means: Whatever a man may do to achieve merit and to do business, to have his name discovered so that glory may follow, to have his personality not put behind and a place of honour not avoided, this leads into misfortune. This is then the eternal way of heaven, as for example the sun sinks down when in the zenith, the moon wanes when full, plants fade when in full bloom, music becomes moanful when in full swing.

- Chinese :

《道德經》: 持而盈之,不如其已;揣而銳之,不可長保。金玉滿堂,莫之能守;富貴而驕,自遺其咎。功遂身退天之道

《老子河上公章句·運夷》: 持而盈之,不如其已。揣而梲之,不可長保。金玉滿堂,莫之能守。富貴而驕,自遺其咎。功成、名遂、身退,天之道。

《郭店·老子甲》: 持而浧之,不不若已。揣而銳之,不可長保也。金玉浧室,莫能守也。貴福驕,自遺咎也。功遂身退,天之道也

《馬王堆·老子甲道經》: 植而盈之,不□□□□□□之□之,□可長葆之。金玉盈室,莫之守也;貴富而驕,自遺咎也。功遂身芮天□□□

《馬王堆·老子乙道經》: 植而盈之,不若其已;鍛而允之,不可長葆也。金玉盈室,莫之能守也;貴富而驕,自遺咎也。功遂身退,天之道也。
(⁎)
- He Shanggong (Chinese) :

持而盈之,不如其已。盈,滿也。已,止也。 持滿必傾,不如止也。揣而梲之,不可長保。揣,治也。 先揣之,後必棄捐。金玉滿堂,莫之能守。嗜欲傷神,財多累身。富貴而驕,自遺其咎。夫富當賑貧,貴當憐賤,而反驕恣,必被禍患也。功成、名遂、身退,天之道。言人所為,功成事立,名跡稱遂,不退身避位,則遇於害,此乃天之常道也。譬如日中則移,月滿則虧,物盛則衰,樂極則哀。
(Ⅱ)
- Wing-Tsit Chan (1963) :

To hold and fill a cup to overflowing Is not as good as to stop in time.
Sharpen a sword edge to its very sharpest, And the (edge) will not last long.
When gold and jade fill your hall, You will not be able to keep them.
To be proud with honour and wealth Is to cause one's own downfall.
withdraw as soon as your work is done. Such is Heaven's Way.
(Ⅲ)
- Ellen Marie Chen (1989) :

To hold and fill (a vessel) to the full (ying),
It had better not be done.
To temper and sharpen a sword,
Its edge could not be kept (pao) long.
To fill the hall with gold and jade,
There is no way to guard (shou) them.
To be rich, exalted, and proud,
This is to invite blame (chiu) upon oneself.
When work is done (sui), the person (sheng) retires,
Such is the Tao of heaven.
(Ⅳ)
- Ch'u Ta-Kao (1904) :

Holding and keeping a thing to the very full - it is better to leave it alone;
Handling and sharpening a blade - it cannot be long sustained;
When gold and jade fill the hall, no one can protect them;
Wealth and honour with pride bring with them destruction;
To have accomplished merit and acquired fame, then to retire - This is the Tao of heaven.
(Ⅴ)
- World by world translation :

Traditional // simplified // pinyin // definition // dictionary
持 // 持 // chí // ① tenir ② saisir ③ soutenir (une opinion) ④ maintenir ⑤ diriger ⑥ résister // Chinese-French
持 // 持 // chí // ① to hold ② to grasp ③ to support ④ to maintain ⑤ to persevere ⑥ to manage ⑦ to run (i.e. administer) ⑧ to control // 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
盈 // 盈 // yíng // ① plein ② abondant ③ être plein (rempli, comble) de ④ dépasser ⑤ excéder ⑥ avoir un surplus de ⑦ avoir en excédent // Chinese-French
盈 // 盈 // yíng // ① full ② filled ③ surplus // 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
不如 // 不如 // bù rú // ① ne pas égaler ② ne pas être aussi bon que ③ être inférieur à // Chinese-French
不如 // 不如 // bù rú // ① not equal to ② not as good as ③ inferior to ④ it would be better to // 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
已 // 已 // yǐ // ① cesser ② finir ③ déjà // Chinese-French
已 // 已 // yǐ // ① already ② to stop ③ then ④ afterwards // CC-CEDICT
揣 // 揣 // chuāi // ① tenir qch dans ses vêtements ② supputer ③ estimer ④ conjecturer // Chinese-French
揣 // 揣 // chuāi // ① to put into (one's pockets, clothes) ② Taiwan pr. [chuai3] // CC-CEDICT
揣 // 揣 // chuǎi // ① chercher à tâtons ② estimer, conjecturer // Chinese-French
揣 // 揣 // chuǎi // ① to estimate ② to guess ③ to figure ④ to surmise // 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
銳 // 锐 // ruì // ① pointu ② acéré // Chinese-French
銳 // 锐 // ruì // ① acute // 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
不可 // 不可 // bù kě // ① ne pas devoir ② ne pas pouvoir ③ pas // Chinese-French
不可 // 不可 // bù kě // ① cannot ② should not ③ must not // 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
保 // 保 // bǎo // ① défendre ② protéger ③ entretenir ④ conserver ⑤ garantir ⑥ maintenir ⑦ garder ⑧ assurer // Chinese-French
保 // 保 // bǎo // ① Bulgaria ② Bulgarian ③ abbr. for 保加利亞|保加利亚[Bao3 jia1 li4 ya4] // CC-CEDICT
保 // 保 // bǎo // ① to defend ② to protect ③ to keep ④ to guarantee ⑤ to ensure // CC-CEDICT
金玉滿堂 // 金玉满堂 // jīn yù mǎn táng // ① lit. gold and jade fill the hall (idiom) ② fig. abundant wealth ③ abundance of knowledge // 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
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
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
守 // 守 // shǒu // ① garder ② défendre ③ monter la garde ④ respecter (une règle) ⑤ être proche de // Chinese-French
守 // 守 // shǒu // ① to guard ② to defend ③ to keep watch ④ to abide by the law ⑤ to observe (rules or ritual) ⑥ nearby ⑦ adjoining // CC-CEDICT
富貴 // 富贵 // fù guì // ① richesse et noblesse // Chinese-French
富貴 // 富贵 // fù guì // ① riches and honor // 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
驕 // 骄 // jiāo // ① fier ② orgueilleux // Chinese-French
驕 // 骄 // jiāo // ① proud ② arrogant // 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
遺 // 遗 // yí // ① perdre ② abandonner ③ laisser ④ léguer ⑤ transmettre ⑥ omettre // Chinese-French
遺 // 遗 // yí // ① to lose ② to leave behind ③ to omit ④ to bequeath ⑤ sth lost ⑥ involuntary discharge (of urine etc) // 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
咎 // 咎 // jiù // ① donner tort à ② inculper ③ incriminer ④ faute ⑤ défaut // Chinese-French
咎 // 咎 // jiù // ① fault ② to blame ③ to punish ④ calamity ⑤ misfortune // CC-CEDICT
功 // 功 // gōng // ① mérite, services ② effort, travail // Chinese-French
功 // 功 // gōng // ① meritorious deed or service ② achievement ③ result ④ service ⑤ accomplishment ⑥ work (physics) // CC-CEDICT
遂 // 遂 // suì // ① alors ② satisfaire ③ exaucer ④ réussir // Chinese-French
遂 // 遂 // suì // ① to satisfy ② to succeed ③ then ④ thereupon ⑤ finally ⑥ unexpectedly ⑦ to proceed ⑧ to reach // 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
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
天 // 天 // tiān // ① ciel ② jour ③ journée ④ temps ⑤ saison ⑥ nature ⑦ univers // Chinese-French
天 // 天 // tiān // ① day ② sky ③ heaven // 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
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
(Ⅵ)
- Yi Wu (1989) :

Rather than possessing more and more wealth,
One would do better to give it all up.
Rather than forging sharper and sharper weapons,
One would get better protection by throwing them away.
One who gets a whole house of gold can not keep it.
One who is proud of wealth and status will suffer for it.
It is in agreement with the spirit of the Way
That one duly withdraws with his successes achieved.
(Ⅶ)
- Lynn (2004) :

With it firmly in hand, he goes on to fill it up, but it would be better to quit.
If, having forged it, one goes on to sharpen it, it could not last long.
Gold and jade fill the hall, but none can keep them safe.
If one is arrogant because of wealth and rank, he will give himself a blameworthy fate.
Once achievement has occurred, one retires, for such is the Dao of Heaven.
(Ⅷ)


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