1. He who knows other men is discerning; he who knows himself is intelligent. He who overcomes others is strong; he who overcomes himself is mighty. He who is satisfied with his lot is rich; he who goes on acting with energy has a (firm) will.
2. He who does not fail in the requirements of his position, continues long; he who dies and yet does not perish, has longevity.
辯德, 'Discriminating between (different) Attributes.' The teaching of the chapter is that the possession of the Tâo confers the various attributes which are here most distinguished. It has been objected to it that elsewhere the Tâo is represented as associated with dulness and not intelligence, and with weakness and not with strength. But these seem to be qualities viewed from without, and acting on what is beyond itself. Inwardly, its qualities are the very opposite, and its action has the effect of enlightening what is dark, and overcoming what is strong.
More interesting are the predicates in par. 2. Ziâo Hung gives the comment on it of the Indian monk, Kumâragîva, 'one of the four suns of Buddhism, and who went to China in A.D. 401: 'To be alive and yet not alive may well be called long; to die and yet not be dead may well be called longevity.' He also gives the views of Lû Näng-shih (A.D. 1042-1102) that the freedom from change of Lieh-dze, from death of Kwang-dze, and from extinction of the Buddhists, have all the same meaning as the concluding saying of Lâo-dze here; that the human body is like the covering of the caterpillar or the skin of the snake; that we occupy it but for a passing sojourn. No doubt, Lâo-dze believed in another life for the individual after the present. Many passages in Kwang-dze indicate the same faith.