Dao De Jing Introduction Table of content – The Way and Its Power

The naturalist, individualist and politic doctrine of Lao-tse exhibited in 81 poetic and obscure texts. Tr. Waley (en), Lau (en), Julien (fr) and Wilhelm (de).

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Daodejing I. 12.

Section Dao – Chapter XII

The fives colours confuse the eye,
The fives sounds dull the ear,
The five tastes spoil the palate.
Excess of hunting and chasing
Makes minds go mad.
Products that are hard to get
Impede their owner's movements.
Therefore the Sage
Considers the belly not the eye.
Truly, “he rejects that but takes this”.

Waley 12

人的需要有限, 而人的欲望无限。
过多的追求色彩的享受, 必然导致视力的迟钝。
过分的追求声音的享受, 必然导致听觉的不灵。
过分的追求味道的享受, 必然导致味觉的丧失。
过分的纵情的玩弄涉猎, 必然弄得心神不宁, 神不守舍。
过分的追求金钱、珠宝, 必然导致行伤德坏, 身败名裂。
故圣人只求温饱, 而不求感官的享受; 宁取质朴宁静, 不求奢侈浮华。


The five colors make man's eyes blind;
The five notes make his ears deaf;
The five tastes injure his palate;
Riding and hunting
Make his mind go wild with excitement;
Goods hard to come by
Serve to hinder his progress.

Hence the sage is
For the belly
Not for the eye.

Therefore he discards the one and takes the other.

Lau 12

Les cinq couleurs émoussent la vue de l'homme.
Les cinq notes (de musique) émoussent l'ouïe de l'homme.
Les cinq saveurs émoussent le goût de l'homme.
Les courses violentes, l'exercice de la chasse égarent le cœur de l'homme.
Les biens d'une acquisition difficile poussent l'homme à des actes qui lui nuisent.
De là vient que le saint homme s'occupe de son intérieur et ne s'occupe pas de ses yeux.
C'est pourquoi il renonce à ceci et adopte cela.

Julien 12

Die fünferlei Farben machen der Menschen Augen blind.
Die fünferlei Töne machen der Menschen Ohren taub.
Die fünferlei Würzen machen der Menschen Gaumen schal
Rennen und Jagen machen der Menschen Herzen toll.
Seltene Güter machen der Menschen Wandel wirr.
Darum wirkt der Berufene für den Leib und nicht fürs Auge.
Er entfernt das andere und nimmt dieses.

Wilhelm 12

To me, this chapter seems to refer to "Senses", the relationship man tends to have with them and what stimulates them. I think there is in this chapter a word of warning in regards to what it means for man's soul to indulge. He seems to suggest that the wise approach would be to privilege what would satisfy his real (basic and simple) needs, I suppose both in terms of physical and spiritual needs.
In my opinion, there is a strong message inviting the reader to prudence and simplicity while leading his life.
EnoMetis – 2006/11/01
Dao De Jing I. 12. (12) IntroductionTable of content
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Alias Daode Jing, Dao De Jing, Tao Te Ching, Tao Teh Ching, le Tao-tö-king, Lao-Tzu Te-Tao Ching, the Laozi, Lao Zi, the Lao Tze, le Lao-tseu, The Book of the Way and its Virtue, the Way and its Power.

The Book of Odes, The Analects, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean, Three-characters book, The Book of Changes, The Way and its Power, 300 Tang Poems, The Art of War, Thirty-Six Strategies
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