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Selections from Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu. 
Translation 1891 by James Legge

 


"When we renounce learning we have no troubles."

Tao Te Ching, Chapter Nineteen

If we could renounce our sageness and discard our wisdom, it would be better for the people a hundredfold. If we could renounce our benevolence and discard our righteousness, the people would again become filial and kindly. If we could renounce our artful contrivances and discard our (scheming for) gain, there would be no thieves nor robbers. 

Those three methods (of government) 
Thought olden ways in elegance did fail 
And made these names their want of worth to veil; 
But simple views, and courses plain and true 
Would selfish ends and many lusts eschew. 

 

Tao Te Ching, Chapter Twenty

When we renounce learning we have no troubles. 
The (ready) 'yes,' and (flattering) 'yea;'-- 
Small is the difference they display. 
But mark their issues, good and ill;-- 
What space the gulf between shall fill? What all men fear is indeed to be feared; but how wide and without end is
the range of questions (asking to be discussed)! 

The multitude of men look satisfied and pleased; as if enjoying a full banquet, as if mounted on a tower in spring. I alone seem listless and still, my desires having as yet given no indication of their presence. I am like an infant which has not yet smiled. I look dejected and forlorn, as if I had no home to go to. The multitude of men all have enough and to spare. I alone seem to have lost everything. My mind is that of a stupid man; I am in a state of chaos. Ordinary men look bright and intelligent, while I alone seem to be benighted. They look full of discrimination, while I alone am dull and confused. I seem to be carried about as on the sea, drifting as if I had nowhere to rest. All men have their spheres of action, while I alone seem dull and incapable, like a rude borderer. (Thus) I alone am different from other men, but I value the nursing-mother (the Tao).  

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