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[DDJ Meaning] Chapter 78

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David Hinton 2002
78

Nothing in all beneath heaven is so soft and weak as water.
And yet, for conquering the hard and strong, nothing succeeds like water.
And nothing can change it:
weak overcoming strong,
soft overcoming hard.
Everything throughout all beneath heaven knows this,
and yet nothing puts it into practice.
That's why the sage said:
Whoever assumes a nation's disgrace is called the sacred leader of a country,
and whoever assumes a nation's misfortune is called the emperor of all beneath heaven.
Words of clarity sound confused.

 


Dwight Goddard 1919

78

In the world nothing is more fragile than water, and yet of all the agencies that attack hard substances nothing can surpass it.
Of all things there is nothing that can take the place of Tao. By it the weak are conquerors of the strong, the pliable are conquerors of the rigid. In the world every one knows this, but none practice it.
Therefore the wise man declares: he who is guilty of the country's sin may be the priest at the altar. He who is to blame for the country's misfortunes, is often the Empire's Sovereign. True words are often paradoxical.

 


Bradford Hatcher 2005

78

(In all) the world there is nothing
as adaptable & soft as water
Yet of that which attacks the hard & inflexible
Nothing can surpass it
Because there is no way easier than this
The gentle finally overcomes the firm
The adaptable finally overcomes the persistent
There is no one under heaven
who cannot comprehend (this)
(But) no one can practice (it)
So it is that wise ones maintain:
To accept the country’s soil
May in truth be called mastering the altars of place & grain
To accept the realm’s misfortunes
Is in truth to serve as sovereign to the world
Straightforward words may seem turned around

 


Wing-Tsit Chan 1963

78 

There is nothing softer and weaker than water, And yet there is nothing better for attacking hard and strong things. For this reason there is no substitute for it. 
All the world knows that the weak overcomes the strong and the soft overcomes the hard. But none can practice it. 
Therefore the sage says: He who suffers disgrace for his country Is called the lord of the land. He who takes upon himself the country's misfortunes Becomes the king of the empire. Straight words seem to be their opposite. 

 


Gu Zhengku 1993

78

Nothing in the world is more supple than water,
Yet nothing is more powerful than water in attacking the hard and strong.
Why?
Because nothing can take its place.
Everyone in the world knows
That the weak is more powerful than the strong,
That the supple is more rigid than the hard,
Yet no one so far can put the knowledge into practice.
That is why the sage says,
Only he who can bear the humiliation on behalf of the state
Can be called the great priest of the state;
Only he who dare shoulder the responsibility for the calamity of the state
Can be called the king of the state.
Factual words seem ironical.

 

 

Ch'u Ta-Kao 1904

78

The weakest things in the world can overmatch the strongest things in the world.
Nothing in the world can be compared to water for its weak and yielding nature; yet in attacking the hard and the strong, nothing proves better than it. For there is no other alternative to it.
The weak can overcome the strong and the yielding can overcome the hard: This all the world knows but does not practise.
Therefore the Sage says:
He who sustains all the reproaches of the country can be master of the land;
He who sustains all the calamities of the country can be king of the world.
These are words of truth,
Though they seem paradoxical.

 


Flowing Hands 1987

78
Under Heaven there is nothing more soft and yielding than water.
By following its example, there is no better way of attacking the solid and strong.
The weak can overcome the strong.
The supple can overcome the stiff.
By being both weak and supple, one can overcome both.
By observing the natural forces everyone can know this,
yet no one ever bothers.
By being soft and yielding, the Sage can take
upon himself the troubles of the people.
By doing this, he can become ruler of the Universe.
This seems paradoxical, but its true. 

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Chapter 77 was telling one that a Sage should help others.

 

This chapter seems like a progression.

 

The more that flows through (being) the more you can help. Eventually one can help all beings and in doing so becomes a ruler of the universe.

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There is so much wisdom in the chapter, and SFH’s versions says it best. Worth repeating again...

 

Flowing Hands 1987

78
Under Heaven there is nothing more soft and yielding than water.
By following its example, there is no better way of attacking the solid and strong.
The weak can overcome the strong.
The supple can overcome the stiff.
By being both weak and supple, one can overcome both.
By observing the natural forces everyone can know this,
yet no one ever bothers.
By being soft and yielding, the Sage can take
upon himself the troubles of the people.
By doing this, he can become ruler of the Universe.
This seems paradoxical, but its true. 

  • Like 3

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