Success and Failure are Equal Ailments

Dragons-At-Work-Author-Stephen-JosephsThis week’s commentary is guided contemplation of Lao Tzu’s poem in Chapter 16.

Here’s the text to the poem.


Click below for the audio.




# 10 – Translation by Witter Bynner


Favor and disfavor have been called equal worries,

Success and failure have been call equal ailments.

How can favor and disfavor be called equal worries?

Because winning favor burdens a man,

With fear of losing it.

How can success and failure be called equal ailments?

Because a man thinks of the personal body as self.

When he no longer thinks of the personal body as self

Neither failure nor success can ail him.

One who knows his lot to be the lot of all other men

Is a safe man to guide them,

One who recognizes all men as members of his own body

Is a sound man to guard them.