Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Hán Fēi 韓非

280 – 233 BCE

Though something like a Chinese Machiavelli and somewhat biased toward a “Legalist” point of view, Han Fei wrote the first commentary on the Tao Te Ching. His political philosophy helped China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang gain power and although he was killed by Qin political intrigues and vilified after the fall of the Qin Dynasty, he became an immense influence on every Chinese dynasty including the present. A collection of aphorisms and political principles, his philosophy teaches rulers how to avoid corruption and nepotism, improve laws, and beneficially guide public opinion.

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Hanfeitse

Quotes by Hán Fēi (9 quotes)

“Water – If a drowning man drinks it, he dies. If a thirsty man drinks it, he lives.”

Chapters: 8. Like Water

Themes: Water

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“Whoever observes complicated rules of propriety is rotten in his innermost heart.”

Chapters: 20. Unconventional Mind

Themes: Conformity

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“When the court is in good repair, lawsuits abound. When lawsuits abound, fields become overgrown. When fields beome overgrown, granaries beome empty. When granaries become empty, the country becomes poor. When the country becomes poor, customs become decadent, and there is no trick people don’t try.”

Chapters: 53. Shameless Thieves

Themes: Crime

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“Most people use their mind recklessly… The wise use their mind calmly. Calmness means carefulness and carefulness means a gardening of spirit, an art born of an understanding of the Tao.”

Chapters: 59. The Gardening of Spirit

Themes: Art

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“In cooking a small fish, too much turning ruins it. In governing a great state, too much reform embitters the people. Thus a ruler who possesses the Way values inaction over reform.”

Chapters: 60. Less is More

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“If tasks are big and many and are frequently shifted, few of them can be accomplished; if we move a big vessel too often, it will incur many damages; if, when governing a big country, you alter laws and decrees too often, the people will suffer hardships.”

Chapters: 60. Less is More

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“The wise don’t fill their lessons with words or their shelves with books. The world may pass them by, but rulers turn to them when they want to learn what no one else learns.”

Chapters: 64. Ordinary Mind

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“State affairs are often accomplished in secrecy but miscarried if the news leaks out. It's not difficult to know but difficult to know what to do with what you know.”

from Hanfeitse

Themes: Inscrutable

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“The difficulty in speaking to a person is not that of knowing what to say but in knowing the mind of the person spoken to and fitting the best approach to it.”

from Hanfeitse

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Quotes about Hán Fēi (1 quotes)

“Student of the Confucian philosopher Hsun Tzu, Han Fei's collection of rhetoric and anecdotes is noted for its legalistic philosophy. Although Han Fei often misconstrues phrases to support his own ideas, his is the earliest known commentary.”

Red Pine 1943 CE –
( Bill Porter)
Exceptional translator, cultural diplomat
from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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