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If I were possessed of Austere Knowledge,

Walking on the Main Path (Tao),

I would avoid the by-paths.

the Main path is easy to walk on,

Yet people love the small by-paths.

The (official) courts are spic and span,

(While) the fields go untilled,

And the (people's) granaries are very low.

(Yet) clad in embroidered gowns,

And carrying find swords,

Surfeited with good food and drinks,

(They are) splitting with wealth and possessions.

- This is to lead the world toward brigandage.

Is this not corruption of Tao?

使我介然有知,行于大道,唯施是畏。大道甚夷,而民好径。朝甚除,田甚芜,仓甚虚,服文采,带利剑,厌饮食,财货有馀,是为盗竽。非道也哉!

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