Saturdao 21

Dao De Jing, verse 13b

16 translations.

1. James Legge:
And what is meant by saying that honour and great calamity are to be (similarly) regarded as personal conditions?
What makes me liable to great calamity is my having the body (which I call myself); if I had not the body, what great calamity could come to me?
Therefore he who would administer the kingdom, honouring it as he honours his own person, may be employed to govern it, and he who would administer it with the love which he bears to his own person may be entrusted with it.
2. Archie Bahm:
Why should our inner peace and distress be our primary concerns?
The inner self is our true self; so in order to realize our true self, we must be willing to live without being dependent upon the opinions of others. When we are completely self-sufficient, then we can have no fear of disesteem.
He who wisely devotes himself to being self-sufficient, and therefore does not depend for his happiness upon external ratings by others, is the one best able to set an example for, and to teach and govern, others.
3. Frank MacHovec:
What is meant by “The creative and the destructive exist equally in the mind”? Tension exists because we have a mind, a self, with dual purposes. If we can be selfless, indifferent to the mind, how then can tension exist?
Thus, one who views the world as he views himself is best suited to govern the world; one who loves humanity as he loves himself can be entrusted with the world.
4. D.C. Lau
What is meant by saying that high rank is, like one's body, a source of great trouble?
The reason I have great trouble is that I have a body.
When I no longer have a body, what trouble have I?
Hence he who values his body more than dominion over the empire can be entrusted with the empire.
He who loves his body more than dominion over the empire can be given the custody of the empire.
5. Gia-Fu Feng
What do you mean by “Accept misfortune as the human condition”?
Misfortune comes from having a body.
Without a body, how could there be misfortune?
Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things.
Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.
6. Stan Rosenthal
“Unmoved and Unmoving”
The ordinary man seeks to make himself the centre of his universe; the universe of the sage is at his centre.
He loves the world, and thus remains unmoved by things with which others are concerned.
He acts with humility, is neither moved nor moving, and can therefore be trusted in caring for all things.
7. Jacob Trapp:
"Without Fear or Favor"
The good ruler never bestows
Rank or favor as a bribe,
Nor makes the fear of losing them a spur.
The man to be entrusted with a kingdom
Respects the people under him
As though they were his own body.
8. Stephen Mitchell:
What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don't see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?
See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things.
9. Victor Mair:
What is the meaning of “Being honored is an affliction as great as one’s body”?
The reason I suffer great affliction is that I have a body;
If I had no body, what affliction could I suffer?
When a man puts more emphasis on caring for his body than on caring for all under heaven, then all under heaven can be entrusted to him.
When a man is sparing of his body in caring for all under heaven,
Then all under heaven can be delivered to him.
10. Michael LaFargue:
What does it mean,
“High rank does great damage to your self”?
What is the source of the great damage done me?
It is because I have a self.
If I had no self, what damage could be done me is what it means,

“high rank does great damage to your self.”
A valuing of one’s self that regards the self the same as the world –
This means one can be entrusted with the world.
A loving of one’s self that regards the self the same as the world –
This means one can be given the world.
11. Peter Merel:
The object of hope and fear is the self -
For, without self, to whom may fortune and disaster occur?
Who distinguishes himself from the world may be given the world,
But who regards himself as the world may accept the world.
12. Ursula Le Guin:
What does that mean,
To take the body seriously
Is to admit one can suffer?
I suffer because I’m a body;
If I weren’t a body,
How could I suffer?
So people who set their bodily good
Before the public good
Could be entrusted with the commonwealth,
And people who treated the body politic
As gently as their own body
Would be worthy to govern the commonwealth.
13. Ron Hogan:
What does
"confidence can mess you up
just as much as fear" mean?
Fear can keep you
from getting the job done,
but confidence
can get you in over your head.
Walk tall, but don't get cocky.
Know your limits,
and nothing can ever hold you back.
Deal with what you can.
The rest will follow.
14. Ames and Hall:
What does it mean in saying “Value your gravest anxieties as you do your own person?” The reason we have grave anxieties is that we are embodied persons. If we were not such persons, what anxieties would we have? Thus those who value the care of their own persons more than running the world can be entrusted with the world. And those who begrudge their persons as though they were the world can be put in charge of the world.
15. Yasuhiko Genku Kimura:
Undue significance is attached to such tribulations
As though they were matters of life and death,
for people think the physical self is real.
If people realize the unreality of the physical self,
how can they attach significance to such tribulations as honor or disgrace?
Therefore, only one who values the world as oneself is fit to tend the world;
Only one who loves the world as oneself can be entrusted with the care of the world.
16. Addiss and Lombardo:
The self embodies distress.
No self,
No distress.
Respect the world as your self:
The world can be your lodging.
Love the world as your self:
The world can be your trust.
* * *
Lines from a TV show years ago,
From Claire Danes in "My So-Called Life"
She's a teenager negotiating her emerging sexuality, brooding,
"I couldn't stop thinking about it -- the like, fact of it. That people have sex. That they just have it. That sex was this thing people have. Like a rash, or a Rottweiler."
This thing people have.
Just say "have" out loud until it sounds funny.
Then say: Things I have -- am susceptible to having:
Sex. A rash. A Rottweiler. A pension plan. Too much wine. A vote. A circadian rhythm. An idea. Bills to pay. A dark past. Habits.
Which is to say:
A self, a body. That is, an embodied personhood.
And therefore this:
Go with that.
Trouble. More trouble. Vexing, bothersome trouble, and a lot of it.
In fact, you have
All the trouble in the world.
When you have "all the trouble in the world," every bit of it,
Then you're free.
That manacle is a bracelet.
Just there.
No self, and no more of this silly having.
No separate, definite body-self.
This is the path.
From "you, at the center of the world" to "the world, at the center of you."
Troubles lose their troublesomeness
if you only don't have them
Like a rash. Or a Rottweiler.

Later that episode, our heroine gets it:
"People always say how you should be yourself. Like yourself is this definite thing, like a toaster or something. Like you know what it is, even. But every so often, I'll have, like, a moment when just being myself, and my life, like, right where I am, is, like, enough."
* * *
See: Saturdao Index