Skip to content

Tao Te Ching #44: “Extreme fondness means great expense, and abundant possessions mean much loss”

Which is closer, your name or your body?
Which is more, your body or your possessions?
Which is more destructive, gain or loss?
Extreme fondness means great expense,
and abundant possessions mean much loss.
If you know when you have enough,
you will not be disgraced.
If you know when to stop,
you will not be endangered.
It is possible thereby to live long.

– Thomas Cleary


Which is more vital
fame or health
which is more precious
health or wealth
which is more harmful
loss or gain
the deeper the love
the higher the cost
the bigger the treasure
the greater the loss
who knows contentment
thus suffers no shame
and who knows restraint
encounters no trouble
while enjoying a long life

– Red Pine


Is the name or the man the more precious?
Does the man or his goods count for more?
Does the gain or the loss bring more pain?
Extreme economies entail great waste,
And excess holdings heavy losses;
But a humbling is spared by few wants,
A miscarriage by knowing the limits;
Thus one can abide and endure.

– Moss Roberts