Lao Tzu, Chapter 12

Tao Te Ching —
The Classic about Ways And Instances

Lao Tzu

(Translated, with comments, by William P. Coleman)

Chapter 12

The five colors make one’s eyes blind.
The five tones make one’s ears deaf.
The five flavors make one’s palate dull.
Racing around hunting in a field makes one’s heart wild.
Goods that are hard to get impede one’s actions.

Therefore, the sage tends the stomach and not the eye;
therefore, he leaves the one and holds to the other.

<– Chapter 11

Table of Contents

Chapter 13 –>


my comments:(Darned if I know.)


For comparison, I’m including the translation by Lin Yutang, which I always love and respect, even when I disagree:

12. The Senses

The five colors blind the eyes of man;
The five musical notes deafen the ears of man;
The five flavors dull the taste of man;
Horse-racing, hunting and chasing madden the minds of man;
Rare, valuable goods keep their owners awake at night.

Therefore the Sage:
Provides for the belly and not the eye.
Hence, he rejects the one and accepts the other.

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