Learning, Being Different from Ordinary People,
Isolation of the Sage, Mother, Doubt,
Doubts of the Hermit, Homeless, Solitary Life, Rustic Living, Stupidity, Lonliness,
Uselessness of the Wise Man, 異俗
"Give up learning, and put an end to your
Is there a difference between yes and no?
Is there a difference between good and evil?
Must I fear what others fear? What nonsense!
Other people are contented, enjoying the sacrificial feast of the ox.
In spring some go to the park, and climb the terrace,
But I alone am drifting, not knowing where I am.
Like a newborn babe before it learns to smile,
I am alone, without a place to go.
Others have more than they need, but I alone have nothing.
I am a fool. Oh, yes! I am confused.
Others are clear and bright,
But I alone am dim and weak.
Others are sharp and clever,
But I alone am dull and stupid.
Oh, I drift like the waves of the sea,
Without direction, like the restless wind.
Everyone else is busy,
But I alone am aimless and depressed.
I am different.
I am nourished by the great mother."
- Translated by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English, 1989, Chapter 20
"Abandon learnedness, and you have no
The "yes" compared with the "yea," how little do they differ!
But the good compared with the bad, how much do they differ!
If what the people dread cannot be made dreadless, there will be desolation;
Alas! and verily, there will be no end of it.
The multitudes of men are happy, so happy, as though celebrating a great feast.
They are as though in springtime ascending a tower.
I alone remain quiet;
Alas! like one that has not yet received an omen.
I am like unto a babe that does not yet smile.
Forlorn am I, O so forlorn!
It appears that I have no place whither I may return home.
The multitude of men all have plenty and I alone appear empty.
Alas! I am a man whose heart is foolish.
Ignorant am I, O, so ignorant!
Common people are bright, so bright, I alone am dull.
Common people are smart, so smart, I alone am confused, so confused.
Desolate am I, alas! like the sea.
Adrift, alas! like one who has no place where to stay.
The multitude of men all possess usefulness. I alone am awkward and a rustic too.
I alone differ from others, but I prize seeking sustenance from our mother."
- Translated by D. T. Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 20
Tao Te Ching Translated by Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo
Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching Translated by John C. WuLao-Tzu and the Tao-Te-Ching Translated by Livia Kohn
Dao De Jing: The Book of the Way Translated by Moss Roberts
"Renounce learning, it brings loss to the Inner Life.
How slight the difference between Yes and Yea!
How great the difference between Good and Evil!
That which men fear is indeed to be feared.
When men give themselves up to disorder it never stops.
Many men rejoice and rejoice over a supply of good food, over being in a high and exalted position.
I am calm, I do not feel the slightest emotion, like a new-born child which cannot yet smile at its mother, without attachment to anything, returning always to the Inner Life.
Many men have superfluous possessions.
I have nothing that I value; I desire that my heart be completely subdued, emptied to emptiness.
Men of wealth are in the daylight of prosperity.
I am in the dark.
Men of wealth are endowed with penetration.
I appear confused and ignorant.
Suddenly I am, as it were, on a vast sea, floating on the sea of Inner Life which is boundless.
Many men are full of ability.
I appear to be stupid and rustic.
Thus I am different from other men.
But I revere the Mother, Sustainer of all beings."
- Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 20
"When we renounce learning we have no
The (ready) 'yes,' and (flattering) 'yea;'
Small is the difference they display.
But mark their issues, good and ill;
What space the gulf between shall fill?
What all men fear is indeed to be feared;
But how wide and without end is the range of questions asking to be discussed!
The multitude of men look satisfied and pleased; as if enjoying a full banquet, as if mounted on a tower in spring.
I alone seem listless and still, my desires having as yet given no indication of their presence.
I am like an infant which has not yet smiled.
I look dejected and forlorn, as if I had no home to go to.
The multitude of men all have enough and to spare.
I alone seem to have lost everything.
My mind is that of a stupid man;
I am in a state of chaos.
Ordinary men look bright and intelligent, while I alone seem to be benighted.
They look full of discrimination, while I alone am dull and confused.
I seem to be carried about as on the sea, drifting as if I had nowhere to rest.
All men have their spheres of action, while I alone seem dull and incapable, like a rude borderer.
Thus I alone am different from other men, but I value the nursing-mother Dao."
- Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 20
"Leave off fine
learning! End the nuisance
Of saying yes to this and perhaps to that,
Distinctions with how little difference!
Categorical this, categorical that,
What slightest use are they!
If one man leads, another must follow,
How silly that is and how false!
Yet conventional men lead an easy life
With all their days feast days,
A constant spring visit to the Tall Tower,
While I am a simpleton, a do-nothing,
Not big enough yet to raise a hand,
Not grown enough to smile,
A homeless, worthless waif.
Men of the world have a surplus of goods,
While I am left out, owning nothing.
What a booby I must be
Not to know my way round,
What a fool!
The average man is so crisp and so confident
That I ought to be miserable
Going on and on like the sea,
All these people are making their mark in the world,
While I, pig-headed, awkward,
Different from the rest,
Am only a glorious infant still nursing at the breast."
- Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 20
"Eliminate (chüeh) learning so as to have no worries,
Yes and no, how far apart are they?
Good and evil, how far apart are they?
What the sages (jen) fear,
I must not not fear.
I am the wilderness (huang) before the dawn (wei yang).
The multitude (chung jen) are busy and active,
Like partaking of the sacrificial feast,
Like ascending the platform in spring;
I alone (tu) am bland (p'o),
As if I have not yet emerged (chao) into form.
Like an infant who has not yet smiled (hai),
Lost, like one who has nowhere to return (wu so kuei).
The multitudes (chung jen) all have too much (yu yü);
I alone (tu) am deficient (i).
My mind (hsin) is that of a fool (yü),
Worldly people (su jen) are luminous (chao);
I alone (tu) am dark (hun).
Worldly people are clear-sighted (ch'a);
I alone (tu) am dull (men),
I am calm like the sea,
Like the high winds I never stop (chih).
The multitudes (chung jen) all have their use (i);
I alone (tu) am untamable like lowly material.
I alone (tu) am different from others.
For I treasure feeding on the Mother (mu)."
- Translated by Ellen Marie Chen, 2000, Chapter 20
"On the Solitary Nature ...
Be done with rote learning
And its attendant vexations;
For is there distinction
Of a "yes" from a "yea"
Comparable now to the gulf
Between evil and good?
"What all men fear, I too must fear"-
How barren and pointless a thought!
The reveling of multitudes
At the feast of Great Sacrifice,
Or up on the terrace
At carnival in spring,
Leave me, alas, unmoved, alone,
Like a child that has never smiled.
Lazily, I drift
As though I had no home.
All others have enough to spare;
I am the one left out.
I have the mind of a fool,
Muddled and confused!
When common people scintillate
I alone make shadows.
Vulgar folks are sharp and knowing:
Only I am melancholy.
Restless like the ocean,
Blown about, I cannot stop.
Other men can find employment,
But I am stubborn; I am mean.
Alone I am and different,
Because I prize and seek
My sustenance from the Mother!"
- Translated by Raymond Blackney, 1955, Chapter 20
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
"By looking always on the reality of things, and
preserving the simple truth, the people will become less selfish and have fewer
desires; and by pursuing their researches into the Doctrine to the utmost limit,
they may avoid sorrow.
How small is the distance dividing a prompt affirmative from a sycophantic acquiescence; yet how great is that between virtue and immorality!
I cannot but fear that which is feared by others.
Their scholarship, how neglected is it!
It is still night with them.
The world is joyful and merry as on a day of sacrifice, or as those who mount a belvedere in spring-time.
I alone prefer solitude and quiet, and seek not to pry into futurity.
I am like an infant ere it has grown to be a child; listlessly I roam hither and thither, as though I had no home to go to.
The multitude have abundance and to spare; I alone am like one who has relinquished everything. Have I, therefore, the heart of a fool?
Confused and dim, while the vulgar are apparently] enlightened; I alone am in the dark.
Tossed to and fro, like the sea; roving without cessation.
The multitude have whereupon to employ their energies; I alone am doltish as a clown.
But I alone differ from all others in that I reverence my Nursing Mother."
- Translated by Frederic Henry Balfour, 1884, Chapter 20
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Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching
Tao Te Ching
Commentary, Interpretations, Research Tools, Resources
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!
Yellow Bridge Dao De Jing Comparison Table, Chapter 20 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 commentary on each Chapter.
The Complete Works of Lao Tzu: Tao Teh Ching & Hua Hu Ching Translation and elucidation by Hua Ching Ni.
Tao Te Ching Commentaries - Google Search
Translators' Index, Tao Te Ching Translators Sorted Alphabetically by Translator, Links to Books and Online Versions
Tao Te Ching: A Bibliography and Index of Translations on the Web
Chapter 20 in the Rambling Taoist Commentaries by Trey Smith. The Rambling Taoists are Trey Smith and Scott Bradley.
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 on 4/25/2012.
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 20, Line by Line Comparisons of 27 Translations of the Tao Te Ching Compiled by the St. Xenophon Wayist Seminary
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices
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.
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. 274 pages.
The Tao and Method: A Reasoned Approach to the Tao Te Ching. By Michael Lafargue. New York, SUNY Press, 1994. 660 pages.
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.
Gushen Grove Notebooks for the Tao Te Ching
Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Grove, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California
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