The Fear of Death, The Executioner, Carpenter, Killing, Worries, Overcoming
Avoid Inappropriate Occupations, Having Relevant Skills at Work, Safety, Criminals,
Capital Punishment, Professions 制惑
"The people do not fear death,
Why threaten them with death?
Suppose the people always fear death,
One who does strange things (ch'i),
I shall seize and kill,
Then who dares [to do strange things]?
Killing is carried out by the executioner.
To replace the executioner and kill,
Is like chopping wood in place of the master carpenter.
To chop wood in place of the master carpenter,
Rarely one does not hurt one's own hand."
- Translation by Ellen M. Chen, Chapter 74
"If people don't love life, they won't fear death, and
threatening them with it won't work.
If people have lives worth living, then the threat of death is meaningful, and they'll do what is right to avoid it.
But killing itself should be the province of the great executioner alone.
Trying to take his place and kill is like cutting wood in the place of the master carpenter:
The odds are you'll hurt your own hand."
- Translation by Brian Walker, Chapter 74
"If people are not afraid of death,
how can they be threatened by it?
But if they always live in fear of death,
and still continue in their lawlessness,
we can arrest and kill them.
Who then would dare?
And yet there is a Lord of Death whose charge it is to kill.
To take his place and kill would be like carving wood in place of the master carpenter.
Few would escape without injuring their hands."
- Translated by Tim Chilcott, 2005, Chapter 74
"If people do not fear death
How can you threaten them with it?
If people live in constant fear of death,
Because those who break the law are seized and killed,
Who would dare to break the law?
There has always been an officia executioner.
If you take the law into your own hands
And try to take his place,
It is like trying to take the place of a
In which case you would probably hurt your hands."
- Translated by John R. Mabry, Chapter 74
"If the people do not stand in awe of death,
What is the point of threatening them with the death penalty?
But even suppose the people were in constant fear of death,
Who would dare to seize the evil-doers and slaughter them?
Leave killing to the Great Slayer.
He who usurps the place of the Great Slayer
Is like one who seeks to assist a master joiner with an axe.
Now he who assists a master joiner with an axe
Rarely fails to injure his own hands."
- Translated by Herman Ould, 1946, Chapter 74
"If you do not fear death,
then how can it intimidate you?
If you aren't afraid of dying,
there is nothing you can not do.
Those who harm others are like inexperienced boys trying to take the place of a great lumberjack.
Trying to fill his shoes will only get them seriously hurt."
- Translated by John H. McDonald, Chapter 74
"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."
- Translated by Dwight Goddard, 1919, Chapter 74
When the people are not afraid of death, why threaten
them with death sentences?
Even supposing the people are constantly afraid of death and we can seize and kill those who are unruly or vicious, who would dare to slay them?
There's always the master executioner.
To kill in his stead is like thrusting oneself into he master-carpenter's place and doing his chipping for him.
"He who tries it is lucky if he doesn't cut his hand," they say.
To undertake executions for the master executioner is like hewing wood for him.
It rarely happens you escape injuring your own hands.
Now, often it happens as well that the executioner is killed.
And to take the place of the executioner is in part like handling the hatchet for the master carpenter.
He who handles the hatchet for the master carpenter seldom escapes injury to his hands.
- Translated by Tormond Byrd, 1997, Chapter 74
"If the people are not afraid to die,
How can you threaten them with death?
If the people are kept in constant fear of death,
And if it were possible to arrest and put to death the law-breakers,
Who would dare do this?
It is the master executioner who does the killing.
To assume the role of the master executioner and do the killing for oneself
Is like carving wood for oneself
Instead of leaving it to the master carpenter.
Those who carve wood for themselves
Instead of leaving it to the master carpenter
Rarely escape without cutting their own hands."
- Translated by Keith H. Seddon, Chapter 74
"If people have no fear of death
It's pointless to threaten them with it.
If people were in constant fear of death,
And if anyone acting deviously
Were to be seized and executed,
Who would dare to do so?
The Master Executioner is always there to kill.
If you attempt to play his role
It is like trying to do the work of a master lumberjack.
The one who has no skill to do this work
Seldom escapes with his hands unhurt."
- Translated by Angieszka Solska, 2005, Chapter 74
If there is someone who doesn't fear death, why threaten
to kill them?
If people did fear death and one were to capture and kill the devious few, who would dare to be devious?:
Iff the people are always at risk of execution, there will never lack an executioner.
Now, to kill like an executioner is like-hacking at wood.
Instead of masterful carpentry, few are there who can escape cutting their own hands!"
- Translated by Jerry C. Welch, 1998, Chapter 74
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"If people are not afraid to die, how death can be used to threaten them?
If we make people afraid of death, and execute a few extreme offenders, who would dare to offend again?
It is normal to have executioners who kill.
Substituting an executioner in killing is like substituting a master lumberjack in chopping trees.
Chopping trees by non-professionals rarely results in no hand injuries."
- Translated by Thomas Z. Zhang, Chapter 74
"If people were content with their own deaths
You could not use force on them; they would be immune
But this is not the way the world is
If you threaten them with death to make them behave
You must assign someone to kill them, or do it yourself
Who, then, kills: you, or the executioner, or the state?
Someone must take the responsibility
Whoever is responsible for death has put his way above the tao
Yet though he can end a life, the tao will by its nature find a way to return
Any sane man would find in that cause for worry."
- Translated by Ted Wrigley, Chapter 74
"When the people are not afraid of death, wherefore
frighten them with death?
Were the people always afraid of death, and were I able to arrest and put to death those who innovate, then who would dare?
There is a regular executioner whose charge it is to kill.
To kill on behalf of the executioner is what is described as chopping wood on behalf of the master carpenter.
In chopping wood on behalf of the master carpenter, there are few who escape hurting their own hands instead."
- Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 74
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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 74 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 74 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.
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 74, 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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