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Lao Tzu for Everyone

Students, Scholars

& Seekers

Peter Gilboy, Ph.D.

             第 二十

Line 1 重 為 輕 根 靜 為 趮 君

Line 2 是以君子眾行日



Line 3 唯有環官燕處則昭若





Line 4  若何萬乘之王



Line 5 輕則失本趮則失君  





Advice to




     Here Lao Tzu addresses a ruler's focus and composure. If a ruler appears to be anxious, indecisive, or irresolute, he or she is no longer a model to the people, and will lose all authority.  It is a practical matter really, for this would not bode well for the people or the realm.

​     Lao Tzu is practical. He is not a utopian. He knows how violent and cruel the world can be. If it is too much to ask that a ruler also be a sage, then at least the ruler should express an outward composure, even  a pretended one, and thereby serve as a model to "all under heaven."

​. . . . . .


Click on each line number

 for Chinese-English interlinear

& commentary


The heavy is the

root of the light.

Tranquility is the lord

of restlessness.











For this reason, though

a ruler may travel all day,

he or she does not

not lose their composure




Only when safely

among his or her own,

may the ruler display

a more relaxed disposition.










How could

a powerful ruler

slacken his or

her demeanor

to the world?












Slacken, and you'll

lose your footing.

Be rash, and you'll

 lose all authority.


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​. . . . . . .





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