Sacred Texts  Taoism  Index  Previous  Next 


Lao-tze here as in many other places quotes a sentiment from the sages of yore.

p. 158

These beautiful lines remind us of several Biblical sayings, such as "The crooked shall be made straight" (Is. xl. 4) and "The bruised reed shall he not break" (Matt. xii. 20). Compare also the beatitude that those who mourn shall be comforted (Matt. v. 4).

It is strange, however, that though Christ's Gospel agrees in spirit so well with Lao-tze's philosophy he states the very opposite to the sentiment of the last two lines, saying: "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath" (Matt. xiii. 12).

The Chinese words ch‘ü and ch‘üen here translated "crooked" and "crushed" may be taken in the physical sense as "the distorted ones" and also figuratively, denoting those morally awry or wrong-doers.

The character hwo shows "a heart" and "doubt," the latter being the phonetic (hwo). It means "to delude, to blind, to embarrass, to bewilder, to unsettle,"

p. 159

and we have translated it by "grieve."

The last two lines of the quotation might also be interpreted to mean, "What is too little shall receive more; what is too much shall be in a state of perplexity." See also Chapter 77, 1-3.

Compare the second section of this chapter with Chapter 24.

Next: Chapter 24