Dao de Jing: The Book of the Way

By Laozi; Moss Roberts | Go to book overview

STANZA 37
1. The Dao in constant circum-motion,
2. Pursuing no end leaves nothing not done—
3. Let lords and kings to this conform
4. And all shall turn to them in trust.
5. Should then desires assert themselves,
6. We shall humble them with stark no-naming—
7. Yes, humble them with the starkness of no-naming,
8. And thus there shall be no desire;
9. And out of the repose of no-desire,
10. The world on its own will come to order.

COMMENT This stanza ends part 1, the Dao section, of the poem. For the Mawangdui editor, and possibly for Han Feizi and Wang Bi as well, this was the final stanza of the entire poem, and thus a kind of summing up. The closing vision of universal order suggests the stanza's importance. The Mawangdui text differs from the Guodian text. Because of this stanza's importance, translations of the Mawangdui and Guodian versions appear for comparison in note 4.

This stanza explicitly addresses those who hold power and urges them to take a course of inaction and restraint or, in the Mawangdui version, a course of rejecting fame. Even if this course leads to success and they win the trust of many, desire—for rulers and ruled both—must be guarded against and kept at the level of stark simplicity. This is the yumin policy advocated in stanza 65: keep the folk unaware.

To political rulers who conform to the Dao by preserving simplicity (no names, no culture, no law) the ten thousand things will offer their tribute or allegiance freely (zi, of themselves), without

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Dao de Jing: The Book of the Way
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Dedication and Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Dao De Jing 25
  • Stanza 1 27
  • Stanza 2 30
  • Stanza 3 33
  • Stanza 4 36
  • Stanza 5 38
  • Stanza 6 41
  • Stanza 7 43
  • Stanza 8 45
  • Stanza 9 47
  • Stanza 10 48
  • Stanza 11 51
  • Stanza 12 53
  • Stanza 13 55
  • Stanza 14 59
  • Stanza 15 62
  • Stanza 16 64
  • Stanza 17 66
  • Stanza 18 68
  • Stanza 19 70
  • Stanza 20 72
  • Stanza 21 74
  • Stanza 22 76
  • Stanza 23 78
  • Stanza 24 80
  • Stanza 25 82
  • Stanza 26 84
  • Stanza 27 86
  • Stanza 28 88
  • Stanza 29 90
  • Stanza 30 91
  • Stanza 31 93
  • Stanza 32 95
  • Stanza 33 97
  • Stanza 34 98
  • Stanza 35 100
  • Stanza 36 101
  • Stanza 37 103
  • Stanza 38 106
  • Stanza 39 109
  • Stanza 40 112
  • Stanza 41 114
  • Stanza 42 116
  • Stanza 43 118
  • Stanza 44 121
  • Stanza 45 123
  • Stanza 46 125
  • Stanza 47 126
  • Stanza 48 128
  • Stanza 49 130
  • Stanza 50 132
  • Stanza 51 134
  • Stanza 52 136
  • Stanza 53 138
  • Stanza 54 139
  • Stanza 55 141
  • Stanza 56 143
  • Stanza 57 145
  • Stanza 58 147
  • Stanza 59 149
  • Stanza 60 151
  • Stanza 61 153
  • Stanza 62 155
  • Stanza 63 156
  • Stanza 64 158
  • Stanza 65 161
  • Stanza 66 163
  • Stanza 67 165
  • Stanza 68 168
  • Stanza 69 169
  • Stanza 70 171
  • Stanza 71 172
  • Stanza 72 174
  • Stanza 73 176
  • Stanza 74 177
  • Stanza 75 179
  • Stanza 76 180
  • Stanza 77 181
  • Stanza 78 183
  • Stanza 79 184
  • Stanza 80 186
  • Stanza 81 188
  • Notes 189
  • Selected Bibliography 223
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