The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dao De Jing #46: One Will Always Have Enough

The Dao De Jing is not only one of the world's literary treasures, it's one of the foundations of philosophical Daoism. An online translation by the renown DC Lau may be found here. In the meantime, below is verse #46:

46
When the way prevails in the empire, fleet-footed horses are relegated to ploughing in the fields; 


When the way does not prevail in the empire, war-horses breed on the border.

There is no crime greater than having too many desires;
There is no disaster greater than not being content;
There is no misfortune greater than being covetous. 

Hence in being content, one will always have enough. 

4 comments:

Zacky Chan said...

But I need stuff! In order to get that stuff I need to want it, and do whatever is necessary to acquire it! Then I will have enough!

hehe, great stuff. trying to get my young mind thoroughly inside of this. Contentment ....

Rick said...

If more is better, than too much is just enough.

Paul said...

I can appreciate Zacky's comment. Actually Laozi gave a vivid example of sufferings caused by raising war (with the ultimate reason of being not satisfied with what we have). It has unfortunately been lost in the above translation. This is my translation of the first part:

If society is run according to Tao,

Horses will have nothing to do but eat and defecate.

If society is not run according to Tao,

Pregnant war horses will have to give birth in the field.

PS: of course, we can still argue that just "eat and defecate" will sound too boring for the modern horse (or modern man)...:):)

Rick said...

Paul, thank you for providing your own translation.

When I was working for Japanese cpanies and learning the language, it was my hope to someday be able to read Japanese versions of the Chonese classics which would have been as close to the original as I could practically get.

Since I don't work for a Japanese cpany anymore, the study has gone to the back burner as I no longer have an immediate need for learning the language.

Maybe in retirement.