Chapter 12

Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing)
Classic of the Way and Virtue

By Lao Tzu (Laozi)

Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo, Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California

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Chapter 12

Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) by Lao Tzu


Colors or Views or Sights (s), Sounds, Activities or Actions (hsing), Tastes, Reduce Desires, Attend to the Inner Not the Outer, Deaf (lung), Insatiable Longing of the Eyes, Eye (mu), Sage, Dull or Ruined or Jaded (shuang), Values, Holy Man, Eating, Inner, Man or Person or One's (jn), Horse Racing, Hinder or Impede or Limit (fang), Hunting, Music, Heart or Mind (hsin), Greed, Cause or Make (ling), Craving, Excess (ch'ng), Sensuality, Attending or Caring or Concerned (wei), Notes or Tones or Sounds (yin), Simplicity, Madness or Wild or Crazed (k'uang), True Self, Calmness, Blind or Dark (mang), Striving, Flavors or Tastes (wei), Mouth (k'ou), Chasing, Treasures, Goods or Products (huo), Obtain (t), Sage or Holy Man (shng jn), Stomach or Belly or Feeling (fu), Excesses Offend the Senses, Accepts or Prefers or Chooses (ch'), Discards or Rejects (ch'), Hunting (lieh), Chasing or Racing (ch'ih), Five (wu),  檢欲  



"The five colors combined the human eye will blind;
The five notes in one sound the human ear confound;
The five tastes when they blend the human mouth offend.
Racing and hunting will human hearts turn mad,
Treasures high-prized make human conduct bad.
The holy man attends to the inner and not to the outer.
He abandons the latter and chooses the former."
-  Translated by D. T. Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 12  



"Color's five hues from the eyes their sight will take;
Music's five notes the ears as deaf can make;
The flavors five deprive the mouth of taste;
The chariot course, and the wild hunting waste
Make mad the mind;
And objects rare and strange,
Sought for,
Men's conduct will to evil change.
Therefore the sage seeks to satisfy the craving of the belly,
and not the insatiable longing of the eyes.
He puts from him the latter, and prefers to seek the former."
-   Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 12  




Revealing the Tao Te Ching: In-Depth Commentaries on an Ancient Classic  By Hu Xuzehi
Tao Te Ching  Annotated translation by Victor Mair  
Reading Lao Tzu: A Companion to the Tao Te Ching with a New Translation  By Ha Poong Kim
The Philosophy of the Daodejing  By Hans-Georg Moeller  

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices   By Mike Garofalo

Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation  By Roger T. Ames and David T. Hall
Tao Te Ching on The Art of Harmony   By Chad Hansen. 
The Way and Its Power: Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching and Its Place in Chinese Thought   By Arthur Waley






"The five colours blind the eyes of man.
The five musical notes deafen the ears of man.
The five flavours dull the taste of man.
Violent running and hunting disturb the emotions of man.
Greed for rare objects is hurtful to the actions of man.
That is why the self-controlled man occupies himself with the unseen, he does not occupy himself with the things visible, he puts away the latter and seeks the former."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 12



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"Interest in the varieties of colour diverts the eye from regarding the thing which is coloured.
Attention to the differences between sounds distracts the ear from consideration for the source of the sounds.
Desire for enjoyment of the various flavours misdirects the appetite from seeking foods which are truly nourishing.
Excessive devotion to chasing about and pursuing things agitates the mind with insane excitement.
Greed for riches ensnares one's efforts to pursue his healthier motives.
The intelligent man is concerned about his genuine needs and avoids being confused by dazzling appearances.
He wisely distinguishes one from the other."
-  Translated by Archie J. Bahm, 1958, Chapter 12  



The Complete Works of Lao Tzu: Tao Teh Ching & Hua Hu Ching   Translation and elucidation by Hua Ching Ni
The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu   Translated by Brian Walker
Tao Te Ching  Translated by Arthur Waley
Tao - The Way   Translated by Lionel and and Herbert Giles
Taoism: An Essential Guide   By Eva Wong






"The five colors make a man's eyes blind;
Horseracing and hunting make a man's mind go mad;
Goods that are hard to obtain make a man's progress falter;
The five flavors make a man's palate dull;
The five tones make a man's ears deaf.
For these reasons, In ruling, the sage attends to the stomach, not to the eye.
Therefore, He rejects the one and adopts the other."
-  Translated by Victor H. Mair, 1990, Chapter 12




馳騁田獵, 令人心發狂.
難得之貨, 令人行妨.
-  Chinese characters, Chapter 12, Tao Te Ching



wu s ling jn mu mang.
wu yin ling jn erh lung.
wu wei ling jn k'ou shuang.
ch'ih ch'ng t'ien lieh, ling jn hsin fa k'uang.
nan t chih huo, ling jn hsing fang.
shih yi shng jn wei fu pu wei mu.
ku ch' pi ch' tz'u.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Chapter 12, Tao Te Ching


Audio Version in Chinese of Chapter 12 of the Tao Te Ching


wu se ling ren mu mang.
wu yin ling ren er long.
wu we ling ren kou shuang.
chi cheng tian lie, ling ren xin fa kuang.
nan de zhi huo, ling ren xing fang.
shi yi sheng ren wei fu bu wei mu.
gu qu bi qu ci.
-  Pinyin Romanization, Chapter 12, Daodejing

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters and English (includes a word by word key) from YellowBridge

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Pinyin Romanization (romanization), English and German by Dr. Hilmar Alquiros  

Laozi Daodejing: Chapters with Chinese characters, seal script, detailed word by word concordance, Pinyin, German, French and English   

Chinese and English Dictionary, MDGB

Chinese Character Dictionary

Dao De Jing Wade-Giles Concordance by Nina, Dao is Open

Dao De Jing English and Wade-Giles Concordance by Mike Garofalo

Tao Te Ching in Pinyin Romanization with Chinese characters, WuWei Foundation

Tao Te Ching in Pinyin Romanization

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters and English

Tao Te Ching: English translation, Word by Word Chinese and English, and Commentary from Center Tao by Carl Abbott

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, English, Word by word analysis, Zhongwen

Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition  Chinese characters, Wade-Giles Romanization, and a list of meanings for each character by Jonathan Star

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters: Big 5 Traditional and GB Simplified

Convert from Pinyin to Wade Giles to Yale Romanizations of Words and Terms: A Translation Tool from Qi Journal

Chinese Characters, Wade-Giles and Pinyin Romanizations, and 16 English Translations for Each Chapter of the Daodejing by Mike Garofalo  

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Pinyin and Wade Giles Romanization spellings, English; a word for word translation of the Guodian Laozi Version    

Lao Zi's Dao De Jing: A Matrix Translation with Chinese Text by Bradford Hatcher    



"The five colours will blind a man's sight.
The five sounds will deaden a man's hearing.
The five tastes will spoil a man's palate.
Chasing and hunting will drive a man wild.
Things hard to get will do harm to a man's conduct.
Therefore the sage makes provision for the stomach and not for the eye.
He rejects the latter and chooses the former."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 12

Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance   By Alexander Simkins
The Tao of Daily Life: The Mysteries of the Orient Revealed   By Derek Lin
Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony    By Ming-Dao Deng. 
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices
The Tao of Pooh   By Benjamin Hoff. 
Scholar Warrior: An Introduction to the Tao in Everyday Life   By Ming-Dao Deng
Vitality, Energy, Spirit: A Taoist Sourcebook   Translated by Thomas Cleary






"The fives colours confuse the eye,
The fives sounds dull the ear,
The five tastes spoil the palate.
Excess of hunting and chasing
Makes minds go mad.
Products that are hard to get
Impede their owner's movements.
Therefore the Sage
Considers the belly not the eye.
Truly, he rejects that but takes this."
-  Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 12



"The five colors can blind,
The five tones deafen,
The five tastes cloy.
The race, the hunt, can drive men mad
And their booty leave them no peace.
Therefore a sensible man
Prefers the inner to the outer eye:
He has his yes, --he has his no."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 12




Lieh-Tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living  Translated by Eva Wong
The Daodejing of Laozi   Translated by Philip Ivahoe 
Daoism: A Beginner's Guide   By James Miller
Early Daoist Scriptures  Translated by Stephen Bokencamp
Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons
Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance  By Alexander and Annellen Simpkins
Practical Taoism  Translated by Thomas Cleary
Daoism and Chinese Culture  By Livia Kohn






"An excess of light blinds the human eye; an excess of noise ruins the ear; an excess of condiments deadens the taste.
The effect of too much horse racing and hunting is bad, and the lure of hidden treasure tempts one to do evil.
Therefore the wise man attends to the inner significance of things and does not concern himself with outward appearances.
Therefore he ignores matter and seeks the spirit."
-  Translated by Dwight Goddard and Henri Borel, 1919, Chapter 12



"The flash of commingled colors will blind the eyes,

The jangle of musical sounds will deafen the ear,

By the jumbling of tastes change in the mouth will arise,

And with all of each five, sight, hearing and taste disappear.

The maddening rush of the race, the wild hunting waste,

And treasures hard to obtain, but hinder the mind;

So the sage only acts for his own inner self, and the taste

Far unsatisfied seeing and longing is left behind."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 12




Tao Te Ching  Translated by Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo  

Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching  Translated by John C. Wu

Lao-Tzu and the Tao-Te-Ching  Translated by Livia Kohn

Dao De Jing: The Book of the Way Translated by Moss Roberts






"Light will blind a man, sound will make him deaf, taste will ruin his palate, the chase will make him wild, and precious things will tempt him.
Therefore the wise man provides for the soul and not for the senses.
He ignores the one and takes the other with both hands."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 12



"The five colours blind the eyes of men.
The five tones deafen their ears.
The five flavours vitiate their palates.
Galloping and hunting induce derangement of the mind.
Objects that are difficult of attainment lead them to incur obstacles or injury.
Thus the Sage cares for his inner self, and not for that which his eye can see; for which reason he discards the latter and preserves the former."
-  Translated by Frederic Henry Balfour, 1884, Chapter 12




Walking the Way: 81 Zen Encounters with the Tao Te Ching by Robert Meikyo Rosenbaum

The Tao of Zen by Ray Grigg

Tao Te Ching: Zen Teachings on the Taoist Classic by Takuan Soho 

Buddhism and Taoism Face to Face: Scripture, Ritual, and Iconographic Exchange in Medieval China by Christine Mollier  






"The five colors
blind our eyes.
The five notes
deafen our ears.
The five flavors
dull our taste.

Racing, chasing, hunting,
drives people crazy.
Trying to get rich
ties people in knots.

So the wise soul
watches with the inner
not with the outward eye,
letting that go,
keeping this."
-  Translation by Ursula K. Le Guin, 2009, Chapter 12 



"The five colours blind man's eye.
The five notes deafen man's ear.
The five tastes jade man's palate.
Galloping and hunting madden man's heart.
Goods that are difficult to obtain entangle man's conduct.
That is why the Saint cares for the belly and not for the eye.
For indeed, he rejects the one and chooses the other."
-  Translated by Jan J. L. Duyvendak, 1954, Chapter 12 




Further Teachings of Lao-Tzu: Understanding the Mysteries (Wen Tzu)   Translated by Thomas Cleary

The Lunar Tao: Meditations in Harmony with the Seasons   By Deng Ming-Dao

Awakening to the Tao   By Lui I-Ming (1780) and translated by Thomas Cleary

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices   By Mike Garofalo

Zhuangzi: The Essential Writings with Selections from Traditional Commentaries   Translation and commentary by Brook Ziporyn

The Inner Chapters of Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi)   Translated by A. C. Graham






"The five colors blind the eyes;
the five musical tones deafen the ears;
the five flavors dull the taste.
Racing and hunting madden the mind.
Precious goods keep their owners on guard.
Therefore the wise satisfy the inner self
rather than external senses.
They accept the one and reject the other."
-  Translated by Sanderson Beck, 1996, Chapter 12 



"The five colors make man's eyes blind;
The five notes make his ears deaf;
The five tastes injure his palate;
Riding and hunting
Make his mind go wild with excitement;
Goods hard to come by
Serve to hinder his progress.
Hence the sage is
For the belly
Not for the eye.
Therefore he discards the one and takes the other."
-  Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 12 




Tao Te Ching   Translated by David Hinton

The Book of Tao: Tao Te Ching - The Tao and Its Characteristics   Translated by James Legge

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: Growth of a Religion   By Isabelle Robinet

Zhuangzi (Chuang Tsu), Daoist Scripture: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations, Notes

Zhuangzi: Basic Writings   Translated by Burton Watson

Zhuangzi Speaks: The Music of Nature   An illustrated comic by Chih-chung Ts'ai

Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons






"The five colours cause one's eyes to be blinded.
The five tones cause one's ears to be deafened.
The five flavours cause one's palette to be cloyed.
Racing about on horseback and hunting cause one's mind to be maddened.
Hard to obtain merchandise causes mankind to do wrong,
So the Sage concerns himself with the abdomen and not the eyes.
Therefore, he rejects the one and chooses the other."
-  Translated by Tam C. Gibbs, 1981, Chapter 12



"The five colors can make us blind.
The five sounds can make us deaf.
The five flavors can deaden our taste.
Racing, chasing, and hunting can drive us mad.
The pursuit of treasure knocks us off the path.
Therefore, the TaoMaster follows his inner vision
rather than his outer vision.
He chooses this but not that."
-  Translated by George Cronk, 1999, Chapter 12 





Lao Tzu, Laozi



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Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching 






Tao Te Ching
Commentary, Interpretations, Research Tools, Resources
Chapter 12


Daodejing by Laozi : Chapters with Chinese characters, seal script, detailed word by word concordance, Pinyin, German, French and English.  This is an outstanding resource for serious students of the Tao Te Ching

Yellow Bridge Dao De Jing Comparison Table, Chapter 12   Provides side by side comparisons of translations of the Tao Te Ching by James Legge, D. T. Suzuki, and Dwight Goddard.  Chinese characters for each paragraph in the Chapter are on the left; place your cursor over the Chinese characters to see the Pinyin romanization of the Chinese character and a list of meanings. 

Center Tao.  Includes a brief commentary on each Chapter.  A keyword glossary for each chapter is provided. 

Tao Te Ching Commentaries - Google Search 

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Pinyin Romanization (romanization), English and German by Dr. Hilmar Alquiros. 

Translators' Index, Tao Te Ching Translators Sorted Alphabetically by Translator, Links to Books and Online Versions

Taoism and the Tao Te Ching: Bibliography, Resources, Links

Concordance to the Daodejing

Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition  By Jonathan Star.  Translation, commentary and research tools.  New York, Jeremy P. Tarcher, Penguin, 2001.  Concordance, tables, appendices, 349 pages.  A new rendition of the Tao Te Ching is provided, then a verbatim translation with extensive notes.  Detailed tables for each verse provide line number, all the Chinese characters, Wade-Giles romanization, and a list of meanings for each character.  An excellent reference tool! 

Chapter 12 in the Rambling Taoist Commentaries by Trey Smith.  The Rambling Taoists are Trey Smith and Scott Bradley. 

The Philosophy of the Daodejing  By Hans-Georg Moeller.  Columbia University Press, 2006, 176 pages.  

Valley Spirit, Gu Shen, Concept, Chapter 6 

Das Tao Te King von Lao Tse  The largest collection of very nicely formatted complete versions of the Tao Te Ching.  The collection includes 209 complete versions in 27 languages, plus 28 Chinese versions.  There are 112 English language versions of the Tao Te Ching available at this website.  A variety of search methods and comparison methods are provided, as well a a detailed index.  Offline as of 25 May 2013. 

Tao Te Ching English Translations from Terebess Asia Online.  Over 30 translations. 

Lao-tzu's Taoteching
 Translated by Red Pine (Bill Porter).  Includes many brief selected commentaries for each Chapter draw from commentaries in the past 2,000 years.  Provides a verbatim translation and shows the text in Chinese characters.  San Francisco, Mercury House, 1996, Second Edition, 184 pages.  An invaluable resource for commentaries.   

Reading Lao Tzu: A Companion to the Tao Te Ching with a New Translation  By Ha Poong Kim.  Xlibris, 2003, 198 pages. 

Chapter 12, Line by Line Comparisons of 27 Translations of the Tao Te Ching Compiled by the St. Xenophon Wayist Seminary 

Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation  By Roger T. Ames and David T. Hall.  Ballantine, 2003, 256 pages. 

Thematic Index to the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu: Te-Tao Ching - A New Translation Based on the Recently Discovered Ma-wang-tui Texts (Classics of Ancient China) Translated with and introduction and detailed exposition and commentary by Professor Robert G. Henricks.  New York, Ballantine Books, 1992.  Includes Chinese characters for each chapter.  Bibliography, detailed notes, 282 pages. 

Lieh-Tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living.  Translated by Eva Wong.  Lieh-Tzu was writing around 450 BCE.  Boston, Shambhala, 2001.  Introduction, 246 pages. 

Revealing the Tao Te Ching: In-depth Commentaries on an Ancient Classic.  By Hu Huezhi.  Edited by Jesse Lee Parker.  Seven Star Communications, 2006.  240 pages. 

Cloud Hands Blog   Mike Garofalo writes about Taoism, Gardening, Taijiquan, Walking, Mysticism, Qigong, and the Eight Ways.

Tao Te Ching: A New Translation and Commentary.  By Ellen Chen.  Paragon House, 1998.  Detailed glossary, index, bibliography, notes, 274 pages. 

The Tao and Method: A Reasoned Approach to the Tao Te Ching.  By Michael Lafargue.  New York, SUNY Press, 1994.  640 pages.  Detailed index, bibliography, notes, and tables.  An essential research tool. 

The Whole Heart of Tao: The Complete Teachings From the Oral Tradition of Lao Tzu.
By John Bright-Fey.  Crane Hill Publishers, 2006.  376 pages.












Laozi, Dao De Jing


Gushen Grove Notebooks for the Tao Te Ching

Research by
Michael P. Garofalo

Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California

This webpage was last modified or updated on November 22, 2013. 
This webpage was first distributed online on February 7, 2011.


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