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[DDJ Meaning] Chapter 74

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David Hinton 2002

74

In their misery, the people no longer fear death, so how can you threaten them even with death?
Let the people fear death always,
then if we seize those who follow sinister ways
and put them to death,
no one will dare live such lives.
The Executioner's killing is perennial, it's true.
But to undertake the killing yourself -
that's like trying to carve lumber for a master carpenter.
Try to carve lumber for a master carpenter
and you'll soon have blood on your hands.


Dwight Goddard 1919
74

OVERCOMING DELUSIONS

If the people do not fear death, how can one frighten them with death? 
If we teach people to fear death, then when one rebels he can be seized and executed; after that who will dare to rebel?
There is always an officer to execute a murderer, but if one takes the place of the executioner, it is like taking the place of a skilled carpenter at his hewing. 
If one takes the place of the skilled carpenter he is liable to cut himself. 
(Therefore do not interfere with Tao.)

 

Bradford Hatcher 2005
74

(If) the people do not fear death
Then why use death to intimidate them?
Suppose it were so that the people always feared death
And still they behaved perversely
(When) we seized, detained and executed them
Who would be bold?
There will always be a master executioner to do the killing
Now to take the place of the master executioner & do the killing
May be likened to taking the place of the master carpenter in hewing
Now (of) those who take the place of the master carpenter in hewing
Few indeed will not harm their own hands!


 

Wing-Tsit Chan 1963

74 

The people are not afraid of death. Why, then, threaten them with death? 
Suppose the people are always afraid of death and we can seize those who are vicious and kill them, Who would dare to do so? 
There is always the master executioner (Heaven) who kills. 
To undertake executions for the master executioner is like hewing wood for the master carpenter. 
Whoever undertakes hewing wood for the master carpenter rarely escapes injuring his own hands. 

 

Gu Zhengku 1993

74

When the people are not afraid of death,
What is the point of threatening them with death?
Should the people really fear death,
Who dare go against laws
If we put to death those who do evils?
It is the duty of a regular executioner to kill,
If one wants to kill on behalf of the executioner,
It is like chopping wood on behalf of the master carpenter.
There are few who can escape cutting their own hands
When they chop wood on behalf of the master carpenter.


Ch'u Ta-Kao 1904

74

When the people are not afraid of death, what use is it to frighten them with the punishment of death? 
If the people were constantly afraid of death and we could arrest and kill those who commit treacheries, who then would commit such? 
Only the Supreme Executioner kills. 
To kill in place of the Supreme Executioner is to hack instead of a great carpenter. 
Now if one hacks in place of a great carpenter one can scarcely avoid cutting one's own hand.

 

Flowing Hands 1987
74
In nature everything has its own unwritten laws and bars.
But these are simple, and everyone knows their part.
Man has lost his link with nature, he has made too many laws,
too many advancements, so his movements are restricted.
It is natural for men to kill one another,
just the same as it is in every other species.
But in his natural order, he would rarely take the life of his own kind.
Because greed, envy, lust, jealousy, cunning and intelligence have entered into his heart, he
kills unnaturally, without any balance.
Man in his natural state has a form of justice
For if a man commits a crime against another,
the victim will go and do battle with this man
and even get killed in the process.
By facing the possibility of death from another,
who would dare perpetrate a crime?
By complicating life and producing too man y laws and procedures,
justice never seems to be done.
If the sentence of death is there, who would dare perpetrate a crime?
Make life simple, go back to simplicity;
if a man commits a crime against you, you have a natural right to try and punish him
yourself.
By watching nature you can see her laws in practice.
By having no laws, people have more trust and honour.
When people are simple and honest, is there any need for many laws?
 

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