|1.||Those who know it do not say it;|
|2.||Those who say it do not know it.|
|3.||Those who know bar interaction,|
|4.||Shut and seal the gates and doors;|
|5.||They dull their keen edge and|
|6.||Resolve their differences,|
|7.||Reconcile the points of view|
|8.||And blend with the lowly dust.|
|9.||This we call sublime at-oneness.|
|10.||Favor affects them not,|
|16.||Thus those who know are honored in the world.|
COMMENT The word yan, “say, ” in line 1 is mainly used to refer to organized speech, the statement of a position. The sage avoids exposing his advocacy; he takes no side and thus does not become one of a pair of opposites. Lines 3–7 describe the ways of interdicting conflict and disputation so that the ruler can keep his subjects free of knowledge and desire, hence free of conflicts. 1
Gu Li thinks this stanza is addressed to a weakening nobility. “From the beginning of the Spring and Autumnera, conflicts among the slave-holding nobles… have led to many a bloody incident. … Laozi was particularly concerned by this, and his goal was to mod
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Publication information: Book title: Dao de Jing: The Book of the Way. Contributors: Laozi - Author, Moss Roberts - Translator. Publisher: University of California Press. Place of publication: Berkeley, CA. Publication year: 2001. Page number: 143.
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