Chapter 19

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 19

Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) by Lao Tzu



Return to Simplicity, Benevolence or Humane or Kindly (jn), Renounce Scheming and Contriving, Holy or Sage (shng), Lessen Desires, Duties, Decorations or Adornments or Ornaments (wn), Rely or Depend (shu), Benefit or Profit (li), Morality, Sorrow or Anxiety (yu), Formalism, Purity or Natural or Unspoiled or Uncarved Wood (p'u), Recover or Return (fu), Learning or Academic Knowledge (hseh), Naturalness, Kindly, Humility, Simplicity, Everyone or People (min), Cleverness or Craftiness (ch'iao), Conventionality, Filial Piety or Devotion (hsiao), Contrivances, Greed, Theives or Robbers (ts), Selfish, Purity, Clever or Erudite (chih), Reduce or Lessen (shao), Hundred Times (pai pei), Equanimity, Non-Differentiation, Morality or Duty or Righteous (yi), Holier Than Thou, Superiority, Selfishness or Self-Interest (ssu), Enough or Adequate or Sufficient (tsu), Etiquette or Propriety (li), Be Plain and True, Three Lessons (san ch), Simplicity or Genuine or Plain (su), Desires or Wants (y), Abandon or Eliminate (cheh), Diminish or Curb (kua),  還淳




"If we could renounce our sageness and discard our wisdom, it would be better for the people a hundredfold.
If we could renounce our benevolence and discard our righteousness, the people would again become filial and kindly.
If we could renounce our artful contrivances and discard our scheming for gain, there would be no thieves nor robbers.
Those three methods of government
Thought olden ways in elegance did fail
And made these names their want of worth to veil;
But simple views,
And courses plain and true
Would selfish ends and many lusts eschew." 
-   Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 19 



"Do away with learning, and grief will not be known.
Do away with sageness and eject wisdom, and the people will be more benefited a hundred times.
Do away with benevolence and eject righteousness, and the people will return to filial duty and parental love.
Do away with artifice and eject gains and there will be no robbers and theives.
These four, if we consider them as a culture, are not sufficient.
Therefore let there be what the people can resort to:
Appear in plainness and hold to simplicity;
Restrain selfishness and curtail desires."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 19




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  





"Abandon your saintliness; put away your prudence; and the people will gain a hundredfold!
Abandon your benevolence; put away your justice; and the people will return to filial piety and paternal devotion.
Abandon smartness; give up greed; and thieves and robbers will no longer exist.
These are three things for which culture is insufficient.
Therefore it is said:
'Hold fast to that which will endure,
Show thyself simple,
Preserve thee pure,
And lessen self with desires fewer."
-  Translated by D. T. Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 19   



Cloud Hands Blog



"If the people renounce self-control and reject wisdom,
Let them gain simplicity and purity
If the people renounce duty to man and reject right conduct,
Let them return to filial piety deep, deep in the heart.
If they renounce skill and leave off search for profit,
Let them rob and by violence take possession of spiritual life.
These three things do not help our progress.
Therefore now let us seek
To perceive simplicity,
To conserve beauty in the heart,
To curb selfishness and to have few desires."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 19




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






"When Sages are rejected as rulers, and the services of the wise are discarded, the people's wealth will increase a hundredfold; for their hearts will all be set on covetousness.
When benevolence and rectitude in government are abjured, such will be the height of disorder that the people will revert to their natural qualities of filial piety and compassion by sheer force of reaction.
When ingenuities of luxury and eagerness for gain are renounced, there will be no more robbers for there will be no accumulations of wealth to be worth stealing.
These three propositions show that mere externals are insufficient for good government, and therefore each man should be ordered to confine himself to performing his own special work in life."
-  Translated by Frederic Henry Balfour, 1884, Chapter 19




絕聖棄智, 民利百倍.
絕仁棄義, 民復孝慈.
絕巧棄利, 民有無賊.
絕巧棄利, 盜無 ?者
此三者以為文不足, 故令有所屬.
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 19



cheh shng ch'i chih, min li pai pei.
cheh jn ch'i yi, min fu hsiao tz'u.
cheh hseh ch'i li, min yu wu yu.
cheh ch'iao ch'i li, tao ts wu yu. 
tz'u san ch yi wei wn pu tsu, ku ling yu so shu.
chien su pao p'u.
shao ssu kua y.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 19 



Audio Version in Chinese of Chapter 19 of the Tao Te Ching



jue sheng qi zhi, min li bai bei.
jue ren qi yi, min fu xiao ci.
jue ren qi yi, jue xue wu you.
jue qiao qi li, dao zei wu you.
ci san zhe yi wei wen bu zu, gu ling you suo zhu.
jian su bao pu,
shao si gua yu.
-  Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 19 


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 (tone#), 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, 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 Dao De Jing Version. 

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



"Forget about knowledge and wisdom,
and people will be a hundred times better off.
Throw away charity and righteousness,
and people will return to brotherly love.
Throw away profit and greed,
and there won't be any thieves.

These three are superficial and aren't enough
to keep us at the center of the circle, so we must also:

Embrace simplicity.
Put others first.
Desire little."
-  Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 19 




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. 






"Rid of formalized wisdom and learning
People would be a hundredfold happier,
Rid of conventionalized duty and honor
People would find their families dear,
Rid of legalized profiteering
People would have no thieves to fear.
These methods of life have failed, all three,
Here is the way, it seems to me:
Set people free,
As deep in their hearts they would like to be,
From private greeds
And wanton needs."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 19 



"Abandon knowledge, discard wisdom.
The people will gain a hundred fold.
Abandon the humanities, discard righteousness.
The people will return to filial love.
Abandon cleverness, discard gain.
Robbers and thieves will be no more.
These three, being considered not sufficiently aesthetic, therefore many other devices were added.
Better observe simplicity, encourage primitiveness, lessen the number of private projects, and moderate desire."
-  Translated by C. Spurgeon Medhurst, 1905, Chapter 19 




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






"By giving up their self-righteousness and abandoning their wisdom the people would be immensely improved.
Forsaking Charity and Duty to the neighbours, they might revert to their natural relations.
Abandoning excellence and foregoing gain, the people would have no more thieves.
The cultivation of these things has been a failure, therefore they should go back whence they came.
And for you, do come forth in your natural simplicity, lay hold on verities, restrain selfishness, and rid yourself of ambition."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 19 



"Exterminate learning and there will no longer be worries.
Exterminate the sage, discard the wise,
And the people will benefit a hundredfold;
Exterminate benevolence, discard rectitude,
And the people will again be filial;
Exterminate ingenuity, discard profit,
And there will be no more thieves and bandits.
These three, being false adornments, are not enough
And the people must have something to which they can attach themselves:
Exhibit the unadorned and embrace the uncarved block,
Have little thought of self and as few desires as possible."
-  Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 19  




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






"Banish wisdom, discard knowledge,
And the people will be benefited a hundredfold.
Banish human kindness, discard morality,
And the people will be dutiful and compassionate.
Banish skill, discard profit,
And thieves and robbers will disappear.
If when these three things are done they find life too plain and unadorned,
Then let them have accessories;
Give them Simplicity to look at, the Uncarved Black to hold,
Give them selflessness and fewness of desires.
Banish learning, and there will be no more grieving."
-  Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 19



"It is better merely to live one's life,
realizing one's potential,
rather than wishing 
for sanctification.
He who lives in filial piety and love 
has no need of ethical teaching. 
When cunning and profit are renounced, 
stealing and fraud will disappear. 
But ethics and kindness, and even wisdom, 
are insufficient in themselves. 
Better by far to see the simplicity
of raw silk's beauty
and the uncarved block;
to be one with oneself, 
and with one's brother.
It is better by far 
to be one with the Tao,
developing selflessness,
tempering desire,
removing the wish,
but being compassionate."
-  Translated by Stan Rosenthal, 1984, Chapter 19 




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






"Abolish saintliness and reject knowledge: the people will benefit a hundredfold.
Abolish humanity and reject justice: The people will return to filial piety and maternal affection.
Abolish skill and reject profit: thieves and robbers will disappear.
Lest these three be considered as mere words which are inadequate, let there be something to hold on to.
Display natural simplicity and cling to artlessness: decrease selfishness and diminish desires."
-  Translated by Jan J. L. Duyvendak, 1954, Chapter 19



"Stop being learned and your troubles will end.
Give up wisdom, discard cleverness, and the people will benefit a hundredfold.
Give up benevolence, discard moral judgments, and the people will rediscover natural compassion.
Give up shrewdness, discard gain, and thieves and robbers will disappear.  
These three false adornments are not enough to live by.
They must give way to something more solid.
Look for what is simple and hold onto the Uncarved Block.
Diminish thoughts of self and restrain desires."
-  Translated by Tolbert McCarroll, 1982, Chapter 19




Further Teachings of Lao-Tzu: Understanding the Mysteries (Wen Tzu)   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






"Get rid of "holiness" and abandon "wisdom" and the people will benefit a hundredfold.
Get rid of "altruism" and abandon "Justice" and the people will return to filial piety and compassion.
Get rid of cleverness and abandon profit, and thieves and gangsters will not exist.
Since the above three are merely words, they are not sufficient.
Therefore there must be something to include them all. 
See the origin and keep the non-differentiated state.
Lessen selfishness and decrease desire."
-  Translated by Charles Muller, 1891, Chapter 19  



"If we forgot our statesmanship and our wisdom, it would be an hundred times better for the people.
If we forgot our benevolence and our justice, they would become again like sons, folk of good will.
If we forget our machines and our business, there would be no knavery.
These new methods despised the olden Way, inventing fine names to disguise their baneness.
But simplicity in the doing of the will of every man would put an end to vain ambitions and desires."
-  Translated by Aleister Crowley, 1918, Chapter 19




Tao Te Ching: An Illustrated Journey   Translated by Stephen Mitchell

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






"If men would lay aside their holiness

And wisdom, they would gain a hundred-fold,

And, if benevolence and righteousness,

Parental care and filial love would hold;

If they would drop their cleverness and gain,

Robbers would cease to trouble, as of old.   

Here are three things where decorating fails,

Let them again embrace reality,

Let them restore the purity of old,

Let them return to their simplicity,

Curb selfishness, diminish their desires,

And in the genuine find felicity."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 19 



"Let the people be free from discernment and relinquish intellection,
Then they will be many times better off.
Stop the teaching of benevolence and get rid of the claim of justice,
Then the people will love each other once more.
Cease the teaching of cleverness and give up profit,
Then there will be no more stealing and fraud.
Discernment and intellection, benevolence and justice, cleverness and profit are nothing but outward refinements.
Hence we must seek something other than these.
Reveal simplicity,
Hold to one's original nature,
Rid one's self of selfishness,
Cast away covetousness,
Eliminate artificial learning and one will be free from anxieties."
-  Translated by Chang Chung-Yuan, Chapter 19





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 19


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

Yellow Bridge Dao De Jing Comparison Table   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 (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 (Romanization), and a list of meanings for each character.  An excellent print reference tool! 

Chapter 19 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 19, 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.




"No doubt that I find "holier than thou" persons and "true believers" annoying and pretentious.  Encountering fewer of them would be of more benefit to people around the world.
"Abandoning" or "eliminating" wisdom, philanthropy, proper behavior and being clever seems an excessive demand for a Sage.  The route seems very unnatural.  The wise person keeps an over reliance and worship of any "virtue"  under check, restraint, and caution.  Sometimes the anti-Confucian sentiment towards "conventional morality" makes sense, and at other times it seems crude, selfish, anti-social, and destructive.  Overstatement can sometimes be both instructive and constructive, but we should not rely to much on this technique.
Humility and minding your own business do have much merit.  "Do Gooders" often do much that produces distress and conflict."
-  Mike Garofalo, 10/18/2013 













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

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This webpage was first distributed online on February 2, 2011.


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Gushen Grove Notebooks for the Tao Te Ching 



Index to English Language Translators of the Tao Te Ching

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Chapter Index 1-81    

Concordance to the Daodejing

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Tao Te Ching
 Chapter Number Index

Standard Traditional Chapter Arrangement of the Daodejing
Chapter Order in Wang Bi's Daodejing Commentary 246 CE
Chart by Mike Garofalo

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70
71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80