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Freedom Founts

Source Materials About Freedom


He who stands on his tiptoes does not stand firm; he who stretches his legs does not walk (easily). (So), he who displays himself does not shine; he who asserts his own views is not distinguished; he who vaunts himself does not find his merit acknowledged; he who is self-conceited has no superiority allowed to him. Such conditions, viewed from the standpoint of the Dào, are like remnants of food, or a tumour on the body, which all dislike. Hence those who pursue (the course) of the Dào do not adopt and allow them.

Legge's Comments

苦恩, 'Painful Graciousness.' The chapter should be so designated. This concludes the subject of the two previous chapters,—pursuing the course, the course of the unemotional Dào without vain effort or display.

The remnants of food were not used as sacrificial offerings;—see the Lǐjì (vol. xxvii, p. 82). In what I have rendered by 'a tumour attached to the body,' the is probably, by a mistake, for ;—see a quotation by Wú Chéng from Sīmǎ Qiān. 'Which all dislike' is, literally, 'Things are likely to dislike them,' the 'things' being 'spirits and men,' as Wú explains the term.