道德经第六章

谷神不死,是谓玄牝。
The Valleys and Deities do not die, hence the Mysterious womb spoke of.

玄牝之门,是谓天地根。
The door of the Mysterious womb, the roots of Heaven and Earth spoke of.

绵绵若存,用之不勤。
Velvetly exists, being used but without labour.

道德经第五章

天地不仁,以万物为刍狗。
Heaven and Earth do not disciminate for Benevolence,
taking the Ten Thousand Objects as though straw-made dogs.

圣人不仁,以百姓为刍狗。
Sages to do discriminate with ideas of “Benevolent”,
treating common people with the same equanimity.

天地之间,其犹橐钥乎。
Between Heaven and Earth,
just like a flying paper lantern.

虚而不屈,动而愈出。
Empty, but does not collapse,
the more you tug it the further away it flies.

多言数穷,不如守中。
The more is spoken, the poorer the numbers,
incomparable with just watching the middle.

道德经第四章

道盅,而用之或不盈。
The Way is like a vessel, but its uses cannot brim it.

渊兮,似万物之宗。
Broad it is, as though the ancestor to Ten Thousand Things.

挫其锐,解其纷,和其光,同其尘。
Frustrates the sharp, solves the splits, harmonizes with the light, as common as the dust.

湛兮,似或存。
Deep it is, as though Existence.

吾不知谁之子,象帝之先。
I know not whose son it is. Precedes Emperors it does.

道德经第三章

不尚贤,使民不争
Not glorifying virtue, causes the commoners not to cause strife.
 
不贵难得之货,使民不为盗﹔
Not valuing rare goods, causes the commoners not to resort to robbery.
 
不见可欲,使民心不乱。
Not seeing desirable things, and the commoners’ hearts will not be in a flurry.
 
是以圣人之治,虚其心,实其腹,弱其志,强其骨。
With using the adminstration of Sages, the hearts are humbled, the bellies are firmed up, ambitions are weakened while bones are strengthened.
 
常使民无知无欲。
Always causing the commoners to be without discriminating knowledge and without desires.
 
使夫智者不敢为也。
Hence causing those knowledgeable and intellectual not daring to act.
 
为无为,则无不治。
Acting in non-action, and nothing will be un-manageable.
 
(Fourth to sixth lines sure sounds like the strategy of the Singapore government.)

道德经第二章

天下皆知美之为美,斯恶已。
As the World recognises beauty and defines the Beautiful, hence consequently there will be the Ugly.
 
皆知善之为善,斯不善已。
Recognise and define Goodness, and consequently there will be the Non-Goodness.
 
故有无相生,难易相成,长短相形,高下相倾,音声相和,前后相随。
Therefore Presence and Absence are forms of Becoming, Difficult and Easy are forms of Accomplishment, Long and Short are forms of Shape, High and Low are forms of Tendencies, Music and Noise are forms of Harmony, Front and Back are forms of Sequences.
 
是以圣人处无为之事,行不言之教﹔万物作焉而不辞。
With thus Sages abide in matters with Non-action, and practise Teachings without sermons. Ten thousand Objects function without given terminologies.
 
生而不有,为而不恃 (shi4),功成而费居。
Becomes but does not Belong, Acts but does not Depend upon, Work Accomplished but not Linger.
 
夫唯弗居,是以不去。
One does not Cling, and hence never suffers a Loss.

道德经第一章

道可道,非常道。
The Way can be spoken of, but would hence not be the Eternal Way,
 
名可名,非常名。
Just as names can be named, but would not be Eternal Names.
 
无,名天地之始﹔
“Nothing” is the name for the Beginning before Heaven and Earth,
 
有,名万物之母。
“Something” is the name for the Mother of Ten Thousand Objects.
 
故常无,欲以观其妙﹔
Hence “Eternal Nothing”, to use to meditate into the Marvels amongst,
 
常有,欲以观其徼 (jiao4)。
“Eternal Something”, to use to meditate into the Interactions within.
 
此两者,同出而异名,同谓之玄。
Both these arise from the same but are named different, together termed the Mysterious.
 
玄之又玄,众妙之门。
Mysterious, and mysterious yet again, the Gate for all Marvels.

老子与百姓生活(二)

上善若水
水善利万物而不争
 
天之道利而不害
圣人之道为而不争
 
The Greatest Good is like water
Water benefits all but contends not
 
The Way of Heaven benefits but harms not
The Way of Sages acts but contends not
 
无执
故无失
 
不争
而善胜
 
Without clinging
There is no losing
 
Contending not
Thus winning with ease

老子与百姓生活(一)

知人者智
Those who understand others are wise.
 
自知者明
Those who understand themselves have clarity.
 
君子远使之
而观其忠
The gentleman sends afar
To observe one’s loyalty
 
近使之
而观其敬
Places in proximity
To observe one’s mannerisms
 
烦使之
而观其能
Harries the elbows
To observe one’s ability
 
卒然问焉
而观其知
Suddenly fires a question
To test one’s understanding
 
急与之期
而观其信
Imposes an urgent deadline
To observe one’s reliability
 
委之以财
而观其仁
Entrusts with wealth
To observe one’s benevolence
 
告之以危
而观其节
Tells of great dangers
To observe one’s prudence
 
醉之以酒
而观其则
Makes drunk with wine
To observe one’s scruples
 
杂之以处
而观其色
Messes up the place
To observe one’s composure
 
九征至
不肖人得矣
Nine means of testing
Can know a man inside out