Daodejing #9: Letting go

Holding, grasping till
it’s overflowing:

持而
盈之
Better
to stop and finish.
不如
其已
Handling the sword,
sharpening it:

揣而
銳之
It cannot
protect for long.

不可
長保
If gold and jade
fill up the house

金玉
滿堂
No one
can guard it.

莫之
能守
Riches and honors
lead to pride:

富貴
而驕
The losing is self-inflicted
and leads to calamity.

自遺
其咎
Your deeds accomplished,
you should then withdraw:

功遂
身退
This is also
the Path of Heaven.
天之
道也
Original Chinese
Traditional
Simplified
Pronunciation
持而盈之,
持而盈之,
Chí ér yíng zhī,
不如其已;
不如其已;
Bù rú qí yǐ;
揣而銳之,
揣而锐之,
Chuāi ér ruì zhī,
不可長保。
不可长保。
Bù kě cháng bǎo.
金玉滿堂,
金玉满堂,
Jīn yù mǎn táng,
莫之能守;
莫之能守;
Mò zhī néng shǒu;
富貴而驕,
富贵而骄,
Fù guì ér jiāo,
自遺其咎。
自遗其咎。
Zì yí qí jiù.
功遂身退,
功遂身退,
Gōng suì shēn tuì,
天之道也。
天之道也。
Tiān zhī dào yě.
Literal Translation
持而盈之,
Hold/grasp/maintain/control and[-so/-as-well] full/filled/overflowing/surplus it/’s
不如其已;
Not as/like/if/supposing it stop/finish
[not as = not as good, would be better to, inferior to]
揣而銳之,
Put-into/under-clothes and sharp/pointed it
不可長保。
Not able long-time/always/forever/constantly maintain/protect/defend/safeguard
金玉滿堂,
Gold jade full/filled main-hall
莫之能守;
There-is-none-who/do-not/cannot it able-to guard/protect/safeguard/guard/conserve/keep/insure
富貴而驕,
Rich/abundant honors/noble/valuable/costly and-then pride/proud/arrogant/haughty
自遺其咎。
Self/from/since leave-behind/lose/involuntarily-discharge its/his/her blame/fault/error/mistake/calamity/misfortune
功遂身退,
Service/accomplishment/achievement/merit/good-result/deed complete/succeed/finish/accomplish/thereupon body/self move-back/withdraw/retreat
天之道也。
Sky/Heaven its/’s principle/truth/path also/[affirmation]
The notes, character table, and literal translation were prepared with the assistance of Liane Rui of Shanghai, China.

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