Tao Te Ching – Verse 17 – When the Master governs, the people are hardly aware that he exists. Next best is a leader who is loved. Next, one who is feared. The worst is one who is despised.

17
When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
Next best is a leader who is loved.
Next, one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.

If you don’t trust the people,
you make them untrustworthy.

The Master doesn’t talk, he acts.
When his work is done,
the people say, “Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!”

(translation by Stephen Mitchell, 1995)
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The highest rulers, people do not know they have them
The next level, people love them and praise them
The next level, people fear them
The next level, people despise them
If the rulers’ trust is insufficient
Have no trust in them

Proceeding calmly, valuing their words
Task accomplished, matter settled
The people all say, “We did it naturally!”

(translation by Derek Lin, 2006)
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Is there the highest?
If so, it is worthy of praise and derision.
There is no highest.
There is no fault, simply by not believing these dreamers.
In so, the sage has saved them from a path of lies.
Sages are Silent.
The seasons come and go as the sage merges with each.
Knowing each is Nothingness.

(translation by Jeremy M. Miller, 2013)
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from I Ching Online

 

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