Sunday, January 6, 2013

Inspired by Tao Te Ching - chapter 3



My translation of Tao Te Ching Chapter three:

Don't show yourself as a virtuous person, otherwise people will be envious to take your place
Don't expose your precious goods, otherwise people will be tempted to steal them from you
Don't show people what they desire, otherwise their hearts will get too excited.
The wisdom of the sage is therefore
Don't excite their hearts
but feed them well
Don't arouse their ambitions
but keep their bodies fit.
Keep them not excited and with no desire unfufilled
Knowledgeable people do not show their superiority
Lead as if there is no leader
Human relations will be in harmony.

Paul's inspiration:

Tao Te Ching can be classified as an open text, like literature or religious revelations, full of interpretative possibilities. Scientific or legal texts on the other hand are closed texts. If a piece of written law can be subjected of multiple and equally valid interpretations, it is not a piece of good law.

Every translation of Tao Te Ching is therefore a challenge, and rests on the perception and perspective of the translator. In this reading of chapter three of Tao Te Ching, I tried to interpreted it from the perspective for practical guidance for an average person in his daily encounters within his own social groups (like family, work etc), instead of the classical perspective of the emperor in ruling his countries. It makes better sense to the modern man, and are sound advice. When Laozi wrote Tao Te Ching, he meant it to be a living philosophy , didn't he?

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