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Freedom Founts

Source Materials About Freedom


1. When the Dao prevails in the world, they send back their swift horses to (draw) the dung-carts. When the Dao is disregarded in the world, the war-horses breed in the border lands.


2. There is no guilt greater than to sanction ambition; no calamity greater than to be discontented with one's lot; no fault greater than the wish to be getting. Therefore the sufficiency of contentment is an enduring and unchanging sufficiency.

Legge's Comments

儉欲, 'The Moderating of Desire or Ambition.' The chapter shows how the practice of the Dao must conduce to contentment and happiness. In translating par. 1 I have, after Wu Cheng, admitted a after the , his chief authority for doing so being that it is so found in a poetical piece by Zhang Heng (A. D. 78–139). Zhu Xi also adopted this reading (朱子大全, XVIII, 7 a). In par. 2, Han Ying has a tempting variation of 多欲 for 欲, but I have not adopted it because the same phrase occurs elsewhere.