Saturdao 30

Dao De Jing, verse 19a

16 translations.

1. James Legge:
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.
2. Archie Bahm:
Therefore – If we ignore intricate learning and knowledge of petty distinctions, we shall be many times better off.
If we neglect to insist upon the formal proprieties of etiquette, our intuitive sympathies will return.
If we abolish opportunities for profiteering “within the law,” incentive for political corruption will disappear.
3. Frank MacHovec: “On Real Education”
Do away with learning, the same with wisdom; the people will gain a hundredfold. Do away with “humanity” and the same with “justice”; the people will rediscover love and duty. Do away with expensive arts, the same with profits; there will be no thieves, no robbers.
4. D.C. Lau:
Exterminate learning and there will no longer be worries.
Exterminate the sage, discard the wise,
And the people will benefit a hundredfold;
Exterminate benevolence, discard rectitude,
And the people will again be filial;
Exterminate ingenuity, discard profit,
And there will be no more thieves and bandits.
5. Gia-Fu Feng:
Give up sainthood, renounce wisdom,
And it will be a hundred times better for everyone.
Give up kindness, renounce morality,
And men will rediscover filial piety and love.
Give up ingenuity, renounce profit,
And bandits and thieves will disappear.
6. Stan Rosenthal: “Returning to Naturalness”
It is better merely to live one's life, realizing one's potential,
rather than wishing for sanctification.
He who lives in filial piety and love has no need of ethical teaching.
When cunning and profit are renounced,
stealing and fraud will disappear.
7. Jacob Trapp: “Return to Simplicity”
Get rid of cleverness and craftiness,
and the people will be better off.
Get rid of preaching and moralizing,
and the people will be more neighborly.
Get rid of competition for profit,
and there will be fewer thieves.
8. Stephen Mitchell:
Throw away holiness and wisdom,
and people will be a hundred times happier.
Throw away morality and justice,
and people will do the right thing.
Throw away industry and profit,
and there won't be any thieves.
9. Victor Mair:
“Abolish sagehood and abandon cunning,
the people will benefit a hundredfold;
Abolish humaneness and abandon righteousness,
the people will once again be filial and kind;
Abolish cleverness and abandon profit,
bandits and thieves will be no more.”
10. Michael LaFargue:
Discard “Wisdom,” throw away “Knowledge” –
the people will benefit a hundredfold.
Discard “Goodness,” throw away “Morality” –
the people will turn back to respect and caring.
Discard “Skill,” throw away “Profit” –
robbers and thieves will disappear.
11. Peter Merel: “Simplify”
If we could discard knowledge and wisdom
Then people would profit a hundredfold;
If we could discard duty and justice
Then harmonious relationships would form;
If we could discard artifice and profit
Then waste and theft would disappear.
12. Ursula LeGuin: “Raw silk and uncut wood”
Stop being holy, forget being prudent,
it'll be a hundred times better for everyone.
Stop being altruistic, forget being righteous,
people will remember what family feeling is.
Stop planning, forget making a profit,
there won’t be any thieves and robbers.
13. Wang Keping:
Only when sageness is eliminated and craftiness discarded,
Will people benefit a hundredfold.
Only when humanity is eradicated and righteousness abandoned,
Will people return to filial piety and parental affection.
Only when skill is thrown away and profit ignored,
Will there be no more robbers or thieves.
14. Ames and Hall:
Cut off sagacity (sheng) and get rid of wisdom (zhi)
And the benefit to the common people will be a hundredfold.
Cut off authoritative conduct (ren) and get rid of appropriateness (yi)
And the common people will return to filiality (xiao) and parental affection (ci).
Cut off cleverness and get rid of personal profit
And there will be no more brigands and thieves.
15. Yasuhiko Genku Kimura:
Abandon the relative notions of holiness and wisdom, and people will benefit a hundred-fold.
Abandon the outer codes of benevolence and rectitude, and people will return to natural filiality and kindness;
Abandon the unbalanced acts of cleverness and profiteering, and there will be no robbers or thieves.
16. Addiss and Lombardo:
Banish learning, discard knowledge:
People will gain a hundredfold.
Banish benevolence, discard righteousness:
People will return to duty and compassion.
Banish skill, discard profit:
There will be no more thieves.
* * *
"By getting rid of a reliance upon an unnatural moral catechism, we can restore our pristine ethical sensibilities." (Ames and Hall)
So learn that ren,
know all about yi,
become adept at sheng, and
a master of zhi,
You can't abandon what you don't have.
* * *
Next: Saturdao 31.
Previous: Saturdao 29.
Beginning: Saturdao 1.