[DDJ Meaning] Chapter 33

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Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904


He who knows others is wise; He who knows himself is enlightened.
He who conquers others is strong; He who conquers himself is mighty.
He who knows contentment is rich. He who keeps on his course with energy has will.
He who does not deviate from his proper place will long endure. He who may die but not perish has longevity.


Derek Lin 1994



Those who understand others are intelligent

Those who understand themselves are enlightened

Those who overcome others have strength

Those who overcome themselves are powerful

Those who know contentment are wealthy

Those who proceed vigorously have willpower

Those who do not lose their base endure

Those who die but do not perish have longevity


The one who understands other people is merely knowledgeable or intelligent; the one who understands oneself is truly wise and enlightened. Wisdom is above intelligence, just as knowledge is above ignorance.

The one who overcomes other people has external strength; the one who can overcome oneself possesses authentic inner power. External strength never lasts. True strength resides within and lasts forever.

The few who know the meaning of contentment and feel satisfied with what they have are truly wealthy. Wealth is not measured by dollar amounts. One can possess millions and still be tormented by feelings of inadequacy.

Tao cultivators go forth in life with vigor and energy. They understand that vitality is the fuel for excellence and achievements, so they never overlook the importance of the body. By practicing physical disciplines with willpower and determination, they develop their vigor and energy in a natural and healthy way.

The one who does not lose sight of spiritual basis can really withstand the test of time. As we progress in the path of cultivation, it is a certainty that we will be tested. Those who lack a strong foundation will not be able to handle the challenge.

The one who passes away, but does not fade from memory, is the one who possesses true longevity. A noble goal for Tao cultivators is to live a life that is rich with meaning and full of the joy of helping others. Such a life lives on forever in the hearts of people, fondly remembered and sorely missed.



David Hinton

To know people is wisdom,
but to know yourself is enlightenment.
To master people takes force,
but to master yourself takes strength.
To know contentment is wealth, and to live with strength resolve.
To never leave whatever you are is to abide,
and to die without getting lost - that is to live on and on.



Ellen Marie Chen 1989



One who knows (chih) others is knowledgeable (chih);
One who knows (chih) the self is enlightened (ming).
One who overcomes others has physical might;
One who overcomes the self (tzu sheng) is strong (ch'iang).
One who knows contentment (chih tsu) is rich;
One who acts strongly (ch'iang) has will power (chih).
One who does not lose where one belongs lasts long;
One who dies without perishing (wang) has longevity.



Witter Bynner



Knowledge studies others,

Wisdom is self-known;

Muscle masters brothers,

Self-mastery is bone;

Content need never borrow,

Ambition wanders blind:

Vitality cleaves to the marrow

Leaving death behind.


John McDonald



Those who know others are intelligent;

those who know themselves are truly wise.

Those who master others are strong;

those who master themselves have true power.


Those who know they have enough are truly wealthy.


Those who persist will reach their goal.


Those who keep their course have a strong will.

Those who embrace death will not perish,

but have life everlasting.



Flowing Hands



Knowing others is wisdom in itself.

Knowing yourself is on the way to enlightenment.

In knowing yourself, you need strength.

By having strength you can master others.

The Sage knows himself and others,

therefore he cares for all men and abandons none.

He takes care of all things and leaves nothing.

He who knows he has enough is full.

In fullness he knows simplicity and it fills his heart.

When there is no fullness, men surround themselves

in riches and material possessions.

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This statement to me is very defining...


The Sage knows himself and others,

therefore he cares for all men and abandons none.


That single line differentiates the teachings in the TTC from the views of many other traditions...

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Yeah, I'm still working on that one too.  In this case, not very much effort is being applied though.


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  • Verse Thirty Three


The person who is wise about people

Knows who to select for each purpose.


To win victories, you look to strong people.


Since victors are strong,

They will tend to be wealthy, and to expect pay

Commensurate to their abilities and risks.


People who conduct their lives in terms of this kind of strength

Have their own way of thinking, and of doing things.


While one conducts their own affairs, 

one will see that some of them live, some die.


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