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Freedom Founts

Source Materials About Freedom


1. Gravity is the root of lightness; stillness, the ruler of movement.


2. Therefore a wise prince, marching the whole day, does not go far from his baggage waggons. Although he may have brilliant prospects to look at, he quietly remains (in his proper place), indifferent to them. How should the lord of a myriad chariots carry himself lightly before the kingdom? If he do act lightly, he has lost his root (of gravity); if he proceed to active movement, he will lose his throne.

Legge's Comments

重德, 'The Quality of Gravity.' Gravity and stillness are both attributes of the Dào; and he who cultivates it must not give way to lightness of mind, or hasty action.

The rule for a leader not to separate from his baggage waggons is simply the necessity of adhering to gravity. I have adopted from Hán Fēi the reading of 'the wise prince' for 'the sage,' which is found in Héshàng Gōng; and later on the reading of 'has lost his root' for his 'loses his ministers,' though the latter is found also in Hán Fēi.