The ruler or prime minister who attends to the government as he attends to his own body, understanding that it is a source of "great heartache," is worthy of the trust.
The comparison of "rank" or "high office" to the body as a source of great trouble and anxiety is based on an idea which also plays an important part in Buddhism. Buddhist philosophy explains that the cause of all earthly trouble is due to the body, and the body ought to be treated like a wound which is the source of pain. We attend to it without loving it. In the "Questions of King Milinda" (Milindapañha) the Buddhist saint Nagasena says: "They who have retired from the world take care of their bodies as though they were wounds without thereby becoming attached to them" (Warren, Buddhism in Translations, p. 423). So long as man lives in his bodily existence he is subject to anxiety; as
soon as he ceases to live in the flesh he is no more troubled.
The character ching, here translated "trembling," denotes the state of a shy horse, and the word "heartache" shows a heart with a cord above it, such as is used in China for stringing up coins.
The last sentence of this chapter has been omitted because, with the exception of one word, it is a literal repetition of the preceding sentence and seems to have slipped into the text by a copyist's mistake.