The Book of the Right Way of Laozi – 39

39

 

In former times the people were one.
The celestial beings were one because they were clear.
The earth beings were one because they were peaceful.
The spirit beings were one because they were intelligent.
The empty (valley) was one because it became full.
Everything was one because they grew.
The princes and kings were one because they acted as celestial pure beings.
Is this not true?
I fear that because the celestial beings are not clear, the cosmos will crack.
I fear that because earth is not peaceful, it will be destroyed.
I fear that because spirit is not intelligent, it will become stagnant.

I fear that because the empty (valley) is not full, it will be exhausted.
I fear that because everything ceases to grow, they will die.
I fear that because the princes and kings are not pure, they will err.
Therefore, it is because of the noble that the lowly is its basis.
Because of the high, that which is underneath is its basis.
Truly, because the princes and the kings call themselves “lonely,” “few,” and “needy,”
Because they are not lowly, their basis behaves as though it were wicked.
Is this not true?
The most reputable have the least reputation.
Do not desire wealth for its own sake.
A necklace of jade is just stones.

 

昔之得一者:天得一以清;地得一以寧;神得一以靈;谷得一以盈;萬物得一以生;侯王得一以為天下貞。其致之,天無以清,將恐裂;地無以寧,將恐發;神無以靈,將恐歇;谷無以盈,將恐竭;萬物無以生,將恐滅;侯王無以貴高將恐蹶。故貴以賤為本,高以下為基。是以侯王自稱孤、寡、不穀。此非以賤為本耶?非乎?故致數譽無譽。不欲琭琭如玉,珞珞如石。

 

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