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Lao Tzu for Everyone

Students, Scholars

& Seekers

Peter Gilboy, Ph.D.



the Way

            第 四 十 四 章

Line 1  名與身孰親

Line 2  身與貨孰多

Line 3  得與亡孰病



Line 4  甚 愛 必 大 費 多 藏 必 厚 亡


Line 5  故 知 足 不 辱 

          知 止 不 殆

Line 6  可 以 長 久

likely scribal error, loan character or corrupted character




3 More Questions

from Lao Tzu

      This is a simple lesson, but a demanding one.  Lao Tzu reminds us that we have been handed the treasure of a personal embodiment, as one of the 10,000 things.

     And yet it seems not to be enough. We feel we must take it further, fill it with praise, comfort, and even riches. We forget that, in the final analysis, what is dearest to us is that we have come into being. And, that this gift is a temporary one. 

     Note the character 身shēn in this lesson. It has the meanings of  “body,” “person,” “life,” and “trunk.” There is nothing mysterious about 身shēn. It refers to our physical being, our individual existence—the shape we see in the mirror each morning.


Click on each line number

 for Chinese-English interlinear

& commentary


Your name or your body--

which one is

closest to you?










Your body or riches--

which one do you

prize the most?






Getting or losing--

which do you think 

is worse?




Strong cravings will

surely cost you.


Stockpile many things

and you will surely 

suffer a great loss.


Therefore, knowing

what is enough

saves you from humiliation

And knowing

when to stop

saves you from danger.




This is how

you stay the course

to the end.


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