dawei

[DDJ Meaning] Chapter 38

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Derek Lin 1994

38
High virtue is not virtuous
Therefore it has virtue
Low virtue never loses virtue
Therefore it has no virtue
High virtue takes no contrived action
And acts without agenda
Low virtue takes contrived action
And acts with agenda
High benevolence takes contrived action
And acts without agenda
High righteousness takes contrived action
And acts with agenda
High etiquette takes contrived action
And upon encountering no response
Uses arms to pull others
Therefore, the Tao is lost, and then virtue
Virtue is lost, and then benevolence
Benevolence is lost, and then righteousness
Righteousness is lost, and then etiquette
Those who have etiquette
Are a thin shell of loyalty and sincerity
And the beginning of chaos
Those with foreknowledge
Are the flowers of the Tao
And the beginning of ignorance
Therefore the great person:
Abides in substance, and does not dwell on the thin shell
Abides in the real, and does not dwell on the flower
Thus they discard that and take this

 


Ellen Marie Chen 1989

38
A person of high te is not te,
Therefore such a person has te;
A person of low te does not lose (shih) te,
Therefore such a person has no te.
A person of high te does not act (wei),
For such a person has no cause for action;
A person of low te acts,
For such a person has cause for action.
A person of high jen (humanity) acts,
Yet such a person has no cause for action;
A person of high i (righteousness) acts,
For such a person has cause for action.
A person of high li (propriety) acts,
Yet finding no response,
Proceeds to bare the arms and throw a rope.
Therefore when Tao is lost (shih), then there is te.
When te is lost, then there is jen (humanity).
When jen is lost, then there is i (righteousness).
When i is lost, then there is li (propriety).
As to li, it is the thin edge of loyalty and faithfullness,
And the beginning of disorder;
As to foreknowledge (ch'ien shih), it is the flowering of Tao,
And the beginning of stupidity (y√ľ).
Thus a great person, abiding in the thick,
Does not dwell in the thin;
Abiding in the kernel,
Does not dwell in the flower.
Therefore such a person leaves that and takes this.

 

 

Ni 1979

38
One of subtle universal virtue is not conscious of being virtuous,
therefore, he is truly virtuous.
One of partial virtue attempts to live up to an external standard of virtue,
therefore, he is not truly virtuous.
One of whole virtue does not need to do anything in order to be virtuous,
because virtue is the very essence of one's true nature.
But, one of partial virtue believes that something must be done in order to prove that he is virtuous.
Thus, partial virtue becomes prevalent when people fail to follow their own true nature.
Benevolence becomes prevalent when people fail to be naturally kind.
Etiquette becomes prevalent when people fail to be righteous and considerate.
When people find no response with etiquette,
they roll up their sleeves and force others to respond to them.
When people stray from the subtle way of universal nature,
they can no longer perceive their own true nature.
Thus, they emphasize relative virtue.
When natural virtue is lost,
society depends on the doctrine of humanism.
When humanity becomes corrupted,
social and religious teachings appear and become powerful forces.
When social and religious teachings become corrupted,
what is left behind is the empty shell of superficial ceremonies and artificial etiquette.
When etiquette is emphasized,
it is because people lack the simple qualities of fairness and kindness.
This is the starting point of people of confusion.
All of these man-made, partial virtues are merely superficial flowers, a false nature.
When people begin to move away from their own true nature,
it is the beginning of hypocrisy.
Therefore, one who integrates his own individual being with the deep nature of the universe sets his heart upon the root of reality rather than the husk, and upon the nourishment of the fruit rather than the fleeting beauty of the flowers.
Truly, he cherishes what is deep within rather than what is shallow without.
Knowing this, he knows what to accept and what to reject.

 

 

J. McDonald 1996

38
The highest good is not to seek to do good, 
but to allow yourself to become it. 
The ordinary person seeks to do good things, 
and finds that they can not do them continually.

The Master does not force virtue on others, 
thus she is able to accomplish her task. 
The ordinary person who uses force, 
will find that they accomplish nothing.

The kind person acts from the heart, 
and accomplishes a multitude of things. 
The righteous person acts out of pity, 
yet leaves many things undone. 
The moral person will act out of duty, 
and when no one will respond 
will roll up his sleeves and uses force.

When the Tao is forgotten, there is righteousness. 
When righteousness is forgotten, there is morality. 
When morality is forgotten, there is the law. 
The law is the husk of faith, 
and trust is the beginning of chaos.

Our basic understandings are not from the Tao 
because they come from the depths of our misunderstanding. 
The master abides in the fruit and not in the husk. 
She dwells in the Tao, 
and not with the things that hide it. 
This is how she increases in wisdom.

 


Tao-Ku 1904

38
The superior virtue is not conscious of itself as virtue; Therefore it has virtue. 
The inferior virtue never lets off virtue; Therefore it has no virtue.
The superior virtue seems inactive, and yet there is nothing that it does not do. 
The inferior virtue acts and yet in the end leaves things undone.
The superior benevolence acts without a motive. 
The superior righteousness acts with a motive. 
The superior ritual acts, but at first no one responds to it; Gradually people raise their arms and follow it.
Therefore when Tao is lost, virtue follows. 
When virtue is lost, benevolence follows. 
When benevolence is lost, righteousness follows. 
When righteousness is lost, ritual follows.
Ritual, therefore, is the attenuation of loyalty and faith and the outset of confusion. 
Fore-knowledge is the flower of Tao and the beginning of folly.
Therefore the truly great man keeps to the solid and not to the tenuous; Keeps to the fruit and not to the flower. 
Thus he rejects the latter and takes the former.

 

 

Flowing Hands 1987

38
A truly good man is not aware of his goodness.
And therefore his goodness shines forth.
When a foolish man does good,
things are overdone and out of balance.
A truly good man does nothing
and yet nothing is left undone.
A foolish man's goodness leaves much to be desired, and a great deal is left to be finished.
When a man of Dao does something, he leaves nothing undone.
When a dictator does something and uses force, people rebel in their hearts and bitterness
arises.
Therefore when the Dao is lost, goodness and kindness arise.
When goodness and kindness are lost, dictatorship arises.
These things are the beginning of confusion.
Confusion always arises when the Dao is lost, people then must find something to replace it.
Therefore the man of Dao dwells on what is real and not what is superficial.
Great goodness and kindness are sometimes not in
keeping with the Dao. So remain at one and all will be well.

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Gia Fu Feng 

 

38
A truly good man is not aware of his goodness,
And is therefore good.
A foolish man tries to be good,
And is therefore not good.


A truly good man does nothing,
Yet leaves nothing undone.
A foolish man is always doing,
Yet much remains to be done.

 

When a truly kind man does 
something, he leaves nothing undone.
When a just man does something, he 
leaves a great deal to be done.
When a disciplinarian does something 
and no one responds,
He rolls up his sleeves in an attempt to 
enforce order.


Therefore when Tao is lost, there is goodness.
When goodness is lost, there is kindness.
When kindness is lost, there is justice.
When justice is lost, there ritual.
Now ritual is the husk of faith and 
loyalty, the beginning of confusion.
Knowledge of the future is only a 
flowery trapping of Tao.
It is the beginning of folly.


Therefore the truly great man dwells 
on what is real and not what is on the surface,
On the fruit and not the flower.
Therefore accept the one and reject the other.

 

 

 

> I don't like any of your translations, they are either abstract or preachy or overly elaborate.

Derek Lin : too abstract (impersonal)
Ellen Marie Chen : too clever (defensive)
Nights who say Ni : preachy, too complex
J McDonald : good but slightly preachy
Tao-Ku : preachy and a little kuku
Flowing hands : preachy and boasty


 

 

 

Edited by rideforever
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In some matters you are just very hard to please.

 

But I agree with your perspective.  If it's not speaking to us then we generally miss the concept being presented.

 

 

 

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I expect this chapter is hard to translate. I don't read or speak Chinese so I don't know for sure. But the first handful of lines often do not read well in English without resorting to a more elaborate sentence stucture. For this reason I think the Chinese text must be relying on some manner of speech that is not being captured in English.

 

Ni's, I think captures the idea well, but is too wordy. I take no offence at the preachy-ness of his rendering since I think it is inherent in this passage.

 

Dealing with such a difficult passage and concept is where skill as a writer comes in ... how to convey precisely and concisely requires great facility with both languages and a sense of the poetic.

 

I, as usual, return to Lin Yutang's translation.

 

The man of superior character is not (conscious of his) character, Hence he has character.
The man of inferior character (is intent on) not losing character, Hence he is devoid of character.
The man of superior character never acts,

Nor ever (does so) with an ulterior motive.
The man of inferior character acts,

And (does so) with an ulterior motive.
The man of superior kindness acts,

But (does so) without an ulterior motive.
The man of superior justice acts,

And (does so) with an ulterior motive.
(But when) the man of superior li acts and finds no response,

He rolls up his sleeves to force it on others.


Therefore:
After Tao is lost, then (arises the doctrine of) humanity,

After humanity is lost, then (arises the doctrine of) justice.
After justice is lost, then (arises the doctrine of) Ii.
Now Ii is the thinning out of loyalty and honesty of heart.
And the beginning of chaos.
The prophets are the flowering of Tao

And the origin of folly.

 

I think Lin, in as few words possible, expresses the notion of the breakdown of Dao and virtue. Use of the phrase ulterior motive underscores the role of intent in the breakdown.

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IMO, Sifu Flowing Hands said it right from the start... "NOT AWARE" .  Ni said, not conscious is true but less elegant.  The rest are too transliterate. 

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Isn't this just an incredibly powerful chapter? The beginning of Book 2, hammering it home!

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