THE FEMININE TAO 
CHAPTER NINE
----------------
Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) (Intro) : 32 Nature Mystic Chapters :
gender-inclusive translations, calligraphy, commentary, seal scripts :

01, 04, 06, 07, 08    09, 10, 11, 15, 21, 22, 23    26, 28, 29, 32, 35,
40, 43, 45, 47    48, 49, 51, 52, 56, 63, 67    70, 73, 77, 79.
----------------
Hymning the Tao Te Ching
(Literal 81 Chapter Chinese-English Study Version)
----------------
Hyperlinked Bibliography: Women Authors on the Tao Te Ching
The Woman Crookback (Chuang-Tzu) | Picturing Tao: Watering Can (above)
Women's Prehistoric Jomon Pottery

search tips advanced search
FEMININE TAO site search by freefind

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 9
translated by Chao-Hsiu Chen (2004)

To stop in time is better than to hold a full bowl with fear of spilling.

A knife cannot be kept constantly sharp, therefore it is wise not to flaunt the blade.

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT LINES
(1) to hold (2) and (3) fill to brim (4) the same
(5) is not (6) as good as (7) what was (8) already enough

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT LINES
(1) temper (2) and (3) keep sharpening (4) the same
(5) cannot (6) possibly (7) continue (8) to be preserved

Amass a hoard of gold and jade and it cannot be possessed for ever.

Those who vaunt their position and worth risk attracting blame.

To retire when the goal is reached: this is the Tao of Heaven.

---


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 9
translated by Stephen Mitchell (1988)

Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.[*]
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner,

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.

---
[*] TS'AO TAO-CH'UNG [Cao Daochong, Taoist nun] says:
"The wealth from giving generously is inexhaustible.
The power from not accumulating is boundless."


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 9
translated by J. H. McDonald (1996)

It is easier to carry an empty cup
than one that is filled to the brim.

The sharper the knife
the easier it is to dull.
The more wealth you possess
the harder it is to protect.
Pride brings its own trouble.

When you have accomplished your goal
simply walk away.
This is the pathway to Heaven.

---

Chinese Character Hall, Tang
HALL / pictograph = roof held
high above ground (堂 = Tang)

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 9
translated by John Chalmers (1868)

It is better to desist than to go on grasping at fullness.
Handling and sharpening cannot last long.

When gold and gems fill the hall nothing can protect them.

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT LINES
(1) gold (2) and jade (3) piling up in (4) a hall
(5) no one (6) the same (7) could possibly (8) guard them

Wealth and honor with pride bring their own punishment.

When a work of merit is done and reputation is coming,
to get out of the way is the Tao of Heaven.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 9
translated by Wing-Tsit Chan (1963)

To hold and fill a cup to overflowing
Is not as good as to stop in time.
Sharpen a sword edge to its very sharpest,
And the (edge) will not last long.
When gold and jade fill your hall,
You will not be able to keep them.
To be proud with honour and wealth
Is to cause one's own downfall.
Withdraw as soon as your work is done.
Such is Heaven's Way.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 9
translated by Arthur Waley (1934)

Stretch a bow to the very full,
And you will wish you had stopped in time;
Temper a sword-edge to its very sharpest,
And you will find it soon grows dull.
When bronze and jade fill your hall
It can no longer be guarded.
Wealth and place breed insolence
That brings ruin in its train.
When your work is done, then withdraw!
Such is Heaven's Way.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 9
translated by Walter Gorn-Old (1904)

It is advisable to refrain from continual reaching after wealth.
Continual handling and sharpening wears away the most durable thing.
If the house be full of jewels, who shall protect it?

Wealth and glory bring care along with pride.

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT LINES
(1) wealth (2) esteem (3) and (4) arrogance
(5) of itself (6) bequeath's (7) its [own] (8) reproach

To stop when good work is done and honour advancing, is the way of Heaven.

---
[*] WALTER GORN OLD says:
"Would it not be easier for us all to take the counsel of Laotze, the advice of Democritus,
and make our wealth to consist in the reducing of our wants?"
 

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 9
translated by Ellen Marie Chen (1989)

To hold and fill (a vessel) to the full,
It had better not be done.
To temper and sharpen a sword,
Its edge could not be kept long.
To fill the hall with gold and jade,
There is no way to guard them.
To be rich, exalted, and proud,
This is to invite blame upon oneself.
When work is done, the person retires,
Such is the Tao of heaven. [*]

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT LINES
(1) work (2) complete (3) oneself (4) retreat
(5) Heaven (6) the same's (7) Way

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 9
translated by Isabella Mears (1922)

Let Heavenly Love fill you
      and overflow in you,
Not according to your measure of fulness.

Prove it, probe deeply into it,
It shall not long withstand you.

You may fill a place with gold
      and precious stones,
You will not be able to guard them.

You may be weighted with honours
      and become proud.
Misfortune then will come to your Self.

You may accomplish great deeds
      and acquire fame,
Retire yourself;
This is Heavenly Tao.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 9
translated by P. J. Maclagan (1898-99)

1.
To raise after filling is not so good as to desist.
If we handle after sharpening we cannot long preserve the sharpness.

2.
If gold and jade fill the house no one can protect them.
Rich in honour and proud, this is to bring on one's own punishment.
One's task accomplished, one's name in favour, one's person withdrawn,
this is the Tao of Heaven.

---

Daodejing / Tao Te Ching / Chapter Nine in Seal Script
(Zhuanshu 篆文, with Wang Pi/Wang Bi Version)
Seal Script Tao Te Ching Chapter 9
Chapter 9 Seal Script & Interlinear English
TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT LINES
(1) to hold (2) and (3) fill to brim (4) the same
(5) is not (6) as good as (7) what was (8) already enough

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT LINES
(1) temper (2) and (3) keep sharpening (4) the same
(5) cannot (6) possibly (7) continue (8) to be preserved

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT LINES
(1) gold (2) and jade (3) piling up in (4) a hall
(5) no one (6) the same (7) could possibly (8) guard them

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT LINES
(1) wealth (2) esteem (3) and (4) arrogance
(5) of itself (6) bequeath's (7) its [own] (8) reproach

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT LINES
(1) work (2) complete (3) oneself (4) retreat
(5) Heaven (6) the same's (7) Way
Chinese Character No One, Mo
NOBODY (莫= Mo) / pictograph =
sun disappearing behind bushes

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 9
translated by Eduard Erkes (1945/1949)
(HO-SHANG-KUNG ver.)

To hold and to fill is not as if it were
      something that might be stopped.
To handle and to fill cannot be safe for long.
If gold and jade fill the hall, nobody is
      able to guard it.
To be rich, honored, and then haughty leads
      of itself to misfortune.
Merit is achieved, glory follows,
      the personality recedes,
      This is the way of heaven.

---


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 9
translated by Dwight Goddard (1919)

Continuing to fill a pail after it is full
      the water will be wasted. Continuing
      to grind an axe after it is sharp
      will soon wear it away.

Who can protect a public hall
      crowded with gold and jewels?
      The pride of wealth and position
      brings about their own misfortune. [*]
      To win true merit, to preserve just fame,
      the personality must be retiring.
      This is the heavenly Tao.

---
[*] WANG PI comments:
"The four seasons rotate, each, when its
work is done, moves on."

---
[*] SAPPHO says:
"Wealth without virtue (αρετή)
        is no harmless neighbor."

Chinese Character for Retreat, Tui
RETREAT (退 = Tui) WITHDRAW / RETIRE
Pictograph = walk + grudgingly + sun (and
resembling the character for "turn around")
"to merit honor, and then to retire into oneself —
this is the Way of Heaven"

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 9
translated by Shrine of Wisdom (1924)

      It is better to withhold than to fill to overflowing: it is better to refrain than to push to the extreme.
      Continual excess wears away the keenest instrument.
      You may fill your house with gold and precious stones, but who can guard them with security? Wealth and glory lead to vanity, to cares which spoil your peace.
      To accomplish great deeds, to merit honor, and then to retire into oneself — this is the Way of Heaven.

---

Chapters INDEX (TOP)
Illustration (TOP) and illustration graphics (from Chinese fonts) : earlywomenmasters.net
The Feminine Tao is a nonprofit, educational website