If a country is governed with tolerance,
the people are comfortable and honest.
If a country is governed with repression,
the people are depressed and crafty.
When the will to power is in charge,
the higher the ideals, the lower the results.
Try to make people happy,
and you lay the groundwork for misery.
Try to make people moral,
and you lay the groundwork for vice.
Thus the Master is content
to serve as an example
and not to impose her will.
She is pointed, but doesn’t pierce.
Straightforward, but supple.
Radiant, but easy on the eyes.
(translation by Stephen Mitchell, 1995)
When governing is lackluster
The people are simple and honest
When governing is scrutinizing
The people are shrewd and crafty
Misfortune is what fortune depends upon
Fortune is where misfortune hides beneath
Who knows their ultimate end?
They have no determined outcome
Rightness reverts to become strange
Goodness reverts to become wicked
The confusion of people
has lasted many long days
Therefore the sages are:
Righteous without being scathing
Incorruptible without being piercing
Straightforward without being ruthless
Illuminated without being flashy
(translation by Derek Lin, 2006)
Is it I who is writing this verse?
Or, long ago, did the Verse write me?
The baby has Life, before the parents meet.
Equality, being an aspect of Zero,
It is best to follow it, and not be noticed.
It has been said,
He who lives by the sword
Dies by the sword.
So, too, the person of law
Is doomed to imprisonment.
Use care in separating oneself from the masses.
It is the humble who are loved.
It is the one who has given up his pride
Who finds contentment.
(translation by Jeremy M. Miller, 2013)
from I Ching Online