企者不立;跨者不行。自見者不明;自是者不彰;自伐者無功;自矜者不長。其在道也曰,餘食贅形,物或惡之。故有道者不處。

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 Dao, are like remnants of food, or a tumour on the body, which all dislike. Hence those who pursue (the course) of the Dao 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 Dao without vain effort or display.

The remnants of food were not used as sacrificial offerings;—see the Liji (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 Wu Cheng from Sima Qian. 'Which all dislike' is, literally, 'Things are likely to dislike them,' the 'things' being 'spirits and men,' as Wû explains the term.