|1.||Maintain all semblance of the Way supreme|
|2.||And all the world will follow your royal lead|
|3.||And do so without harm to each other,|
|4.||Thus sharing in peace and calm and plenty.|
|5.||The sounds of music and the banquet scene|
|6.||May tempt the passing traveler to pause;|
|7.||The truths we utter here are bland and plain:|
|8.||Look, but there is nothing for the eye;|
|9.||Listen, there is nothing for the ear;|
|10.||But use them and they never fail to serve.|
COMMENT This stanza has the status of an independent verse, but it can be read as a continuation of stanza 34, with its closing exhortation to achieve supremacy (da, greatness) by not pursuing it. In line 1 the leader is advised to image or represent (xiang) Dao, and that is the key to his success. The graph for “supreme” is embedded in the graph for “royal” (wang).
Lines 5 and 6 pick up the theme of the perils of luxury and the subversion of the senses from stanza 12, as Jiang Xichang suggests. In contrast, Dao exists beyond the reach of the senses, a theme from stanza 14.
This stanza appears virtually intact in the Guodian manuscript. It alludes briefly to a utopian world without conflict guided by the Way, an idea treated more fully in stanza 80. It seems to interrupt the sequence of statecraft stanzas in 33, 34, and 36.