Tao Te Ching – Chapter 57

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Paraphrase

Like the wise kings of ancient times, I should rule my life with integrity, accomplish my objective with creativity, and manage my world without interference.

How do I know this is the right way? I know through my observations. When I observe individuals, I see that a limited life is an impoverished life. The restrictions we impose on ourselves squeeze all the richness out of everything. When I observe our society, I see that the more weapons people have, the more they are likely to use them and cause problems. In general, the more complex things are, the more people stray from nature. It’s exactly like that with our lives. Whenever we make things complicated, we rob ourselves of happiness and peace of mind.

Thus the sages have taught us: if we let go of attachments, things change for the better; if we connect with the Tao through silence, everything works out right; if we refrain from interference, we allow prosperity to manifest; if we manage our desires, we simplify our lives naturally.

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Translation Notes

The character 好 usually means “good,” but in 我好靜, it means “prefer,” as in “I prefer quiet.” Some have translated it as “love,” as in “I love quietude.” This is not correct. “Like” would be acceptable, but “love” is much too strong for 好.

Everything is relative, of course so. There is a book on the Tao Te Ching where the line corresponding to 我好靜 is actually “I let go of the law.” Compared to that, even an incorrect translation like “I love quietude” is better.

Derek Lin

Derek Lin is an award-winning, bestselling author in the Tao genre. He was born in Taiwan and grew up with native fluency in both Chinese and English. His background lets him convey Eastern teachings to Western readers in a way that is clear, simple and authentic.

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