The Traditional Chinese Reading Style:

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Adherence to bond or covenant - Version One

When a reconciliation is effected (between two parties) after a great animosity, there is sure to be a grudge remaining (in the mind of the one who was wrong). And how can this be beneficial (to the other)? Therefore (to guard against this), the sage keeps the left-hand portion of the record of the engagement, and does not insist on the (speedy) fulfilment of it by the other party. (So), he who has the attributes (of the Dao) regards (only) the conditions of the engagement, while he who has not those attributes regards only the conditions favourable to himself. In the Way of Heaven, there is no partiality of love; it is always on the side of the good man.

Adherence to bond or covenant - Version Two

After a bitter quarrel, some resentment must remain.  What can one do about it?  Therefore the sage keeps his half of the bargain  But does not exact his due.  A man of Virtue performs his part,  But a man without Virtue requires others to fulfill their obligations.  The Tao of heaven is impartial.  It stays with good men all the time.


  1. James Legge (1891). Tao Te Ching. Lao Tsu, Chinese Text Project
  2. Gia-Fu Feng (1972). Tao Te Ching. Lao Tsu
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