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Wen-tzu | Understanding the Mysteries | 144


Lao-tzu said:

The way of developed people is to cultivate the body by calmness and nurture life by frugality. When there is calm, those below are not agitated, when those below are not agitated, then the people are not resentful.

When those below are agitated, the government is disorderly, when the people are resentful, then virtue is slight. When government is disorderly, then the wise do not do the planning for it, when virtue is slight, the brave do not fight for it.

Arbitrary rulers are not like developed people, when they come to posses the wealth of a land and occupy the position of rulership, they exhaust the energy of the common people to pander to their own sensual desires. Their minds are preoccupied with palaces, chambers, terraces, ponds, gardens, beasts, rarities, and curios. The poor people starve, while tigers and wolves have their fill of the food. The farmers freeze in the cold, while inhabitants of the palaces wear decorated silks.

So when rulers accumulate these useless things, the lives of everyone in the world are insecure.

Translated by Thomas Cleary

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