Translation: Tao Te King – Chapter 19. Returning to nature

19. Returning to nature

By leaving their self-righteousness and abandoning their own wisdom people would be greatly improved.

Tao Te Ching, Wang Bi edition, Japan 1770.
Tao Te Ching, Wang Bi edition, Japan 1770. Photo by Miuki and is under Public Domain tagged with {{PD-old}} (copyright holder lifetime + 70 years)

By declining charity and “duty towards kin” they could return to their natural relations.

If skillfulness is abandoned and profit is given up there will be no thieves amongst the people.

Cultivating these three things* has come to nothing and that is why they ought to go back to where they came from.

And you then, dwell in your natural simpleness, hold on to the truth, oppose selfishness and free yourselves of ambition.


*Mr. Pekka Ervast clarifies ‘self-righeousness, “charity” and superiority’

Own translation from 1925 Finnish translation by Pekka Ervast (ISBN 951-8995-01-X) with kind permission of Ruusu-Ristin Kirjallisuusseura ry.

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