05 May 2014

老子 Lao Zi: 道德經 60章 Dao De Jing Chapter 60

Here is yet another chapter of the Dao De Jing by Lao Zi made famous for its first line which should be taken as advice/admonition to the ruler as "Rule a large country as one would cook a small fish!"  It says, "Don't stir and turn the fish ever so often lest it breaks into pieces!"  So is the Way of Dao in line 2 which can be found in lines 1 and 2 of Chapter 63 (posted here last month), viz. "Act not for the sake of being active" and "Pursue not for the sake of pursuits" which simply mean "Don't overdo!  Don't overact!  Don't be vain!  Don't be greedy!"

Here is my rendition of Lao Zi's Chapter 60:-  

Lao Zi (circa 500 BCE): Dao De Jing Chapter 60
(Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching 60)

1       Rule a large country as one would cook a small fish!

2       Rule the world in accordance with the Way of Dao,
3       The evil spirits would lose their potency;
4       Not that they are not at all potent, but that,
5       In their potency, they harm not the people;
6       Not only, in their potency, they harm not the people,
7    The sage ruler, too, would do no harm to the people.
8    It is because the ruler and the people do not harm each other
9    That the Virtue of De. reciprocating, returns and reigns.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)   者: 
16 January 2013
Translated from the original -  老子道德經 60

1       治大國若烹小鮮。
2       以道莅天下,
3       其鬼不神;
4       非其鬼不神,
5       其神不傷人;
6       非其神不傷人,
7       聖人亦不傷人。
8       夫兩不相傷,
9       故德交歸焉。


*    Line 1:  I had considered “Govern” for but have decided for “Rule”.  I have used “as one/you would” to translate instead of formulations such as “like” or  “similar to” or “not different from” so as to bring the message of "Don't stir and turn it ever so often lest it breaks into pieces!" closer to the reader.  I had considered “boil” and “fry” for , but have decided for “cook”.

*    Line 2:  Ma Wang Dui (MWD) 馬王堆 manuscript B has (erect, establish) for and I have accordingly translated (arrive, be present)天下 as “Rule the world in accordance with …”  The word is translated both by its meaning “Way” and its transliteration “Dao” as “the Way of Dao”.

*    Line 3:  On the question of (ghosts) (gods), I have, following Arthur Waley, used “evil spirits” to translate which is echoed in the “evil tendencies” by Archie J. Bahm.  The term “evil spirits” thus covers not just “ghosts” but also the evil tendencies of men, the ruler included.  As for I am indebted to my friend the late 劉殿爵 D.C. Lau for his brilliant interpretation of as “potent/potency” which I have borrowed in my lines 3 to 6.  I hope this has helped to demystify the (ghosts) (gods) in the passage.

*    Lines 3 through 7:  in lines 3 and 4 is translated as in reference to 天下 “the world” mentioned in line 2 while in lines 5 and 6 is translated as in reference to “the evil spirits” mentioned in lines 3 and 4.  is translated as “Not that” in line 4, but as “Not only” in line 6.  Thus, “not only” “the evil spirits” (in lines 3 through 6), even when “potent”, “harm not the people”, “the sage ruler (in line 7) “too, would do no harm to the people” all because the world is ruled “in accordance with the Way of Dao” (line 2).

*    Line 8:  In the line's  (the two) . . .  (one another) formulation, "the two" appears to refer to “the evil spirits” and the “sage ruler”, which does not make good sense.  I have, instead, interpreted "the two" as referring to "the ruler" and "the people" and have nothing to do with "the evil spirits".  I have also used “each other” instead of “one another” which makes the meaning more inclusive (not just between the ruler and the people, but also among the people).

*    Line 9:  is translated as “the Virtue of De” like (in line 2) as “the Way of Dao”.  交歸 is translated as “reciprocating, returns” to which I have added “and reigns” to conclude the chapter.



Johnny Sim said...

Thank you for the very nice translation. Thank you very much.... from Johnny Sim (Singapore)

Anonymous said...

Hello i like your site very much and i wanted to ask you about other poet if you could help
where i could find poems of Su Xiaoxiao? i looking everywhere maybe you know where
thank you

Andrew W.F. Wong 黃宏發 said...

On the inquiry on Su Xiaoxiao, sorry for the delay as I had been on holiday. If Anonymous knows and reads Chinese, may I suggest he/she google search for "蘇小小 詩".

As far as I know, there had been 2 famous Su Xiaoxiaos, one lived in Southern Qi 齊 dynasty (479-502), the other in the Southern Song 宋 dynasty (960-1279), both were "geishas" in the Chientang 錢塘 area near present day Hangzhou 杭州 famed for their literary prowess in addition to song and dance, and both were probably legendary figures as neither was in history proper.

There is one poem attributed to the Xiaoxiao of Southern Qi entitled 同心歌 "Hearts in Unision" which I am unable to find. Good luck to Anonymous. It is much more credible that this Xiaoxiao existed because she has been referred to in the poems and writings of the literati through the ages, including Tang 唐 dynasty poets such as Bai Juyi 白居易 and Li He 孛賀.

Jen said...

I understgand i can't find poems by Su Xiaoxiao
so please could you recommend me of other geishas or young women that lived in BCE or 300-1200 that wrote many poems and translated into English like Yu Xuanji
thank you very much

Andrew W.F. Wong 黃宏發 said...

"Jen" may wish to look up, through the internet, the famed Song dynasty poetess Li Qingzhao 孛清照 (1084-1151). She was prolific and her poems are a "must" in any respectable Song dynasty "Ci" 詞 anthology. "Jen" may also find the book "Li Ch'ing Zhao: Complete Poems" translated and edited by Kenneth Rexroth (known as 王紅公 in Chinese) and Ling Chung 鍾玲 (New York: New Directions, 1979) of interest.