Tao Te Ching #65: “The ancient masters of the Way tried not to enlighten but to keep people in the dark”

In ancient times,
good practitioners of the Way
did not use it to enlighten the people,
but to make them unsophisticated.

When people are unruly,
it is because of sophistication.
So to govern a country by cunning
is to rob the country.
Not using cunning to govern a country
is good fortune for the country.
To know these two
is also a model.
Being always aware of the model
is called hidden virtue.

Hidden virtue is deep, far-reaching,
in contrast to ordinary people.
Only when it is thus
does it reach great accord.

– Thomas Cleary


The ancient masters of the Way
tried not to enlighten
but to keep people in the dark
what makes people hard to rule
is their knowledge
who rules the realm of knowledge
is the terror of the realm
who rules without knowledge
is the paragon of the realm
who understands the difference
is one who finds the key
knowing how to find the key
is what we call Dark Virtue
Dark Virtue goes deep
goes far
goes the other way
until it reaches perfect harmony.

– Red Pine


Those of old who pursued the Way
Never meant to make their people see;
Their purpose was to keep them unaware.
The people are harder to manage
For knowing things.
To have the learned govern the kingdom
Is a bane to the kingdom.
Not to have them
Is a boon to the kingdom.
Know always that this double dictum
Defines a guide to judgment
Which when firmly fixed in mind
May be called sublime virtue.
Such virtue, deep and reaching far,
In counter-motion like all things,
Achieves congruence with the Way.

– Moss Roberts