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Should only one day be given me to carry out my wishes in explaining the principle of the Great TAO, I would condemn almsgiving as being a poisonous medicine, making people dependent. The Way of the Great TAO is wide and straight for men to follow, but most people prefer the bypaths.

When the royal palace is magnificent, fields become devastated and granaries empty. To wear ornaments and gay colors, to carry sharp swords, to indulge in dainties and excessive drinking, to hoard wealth and treasure, is simply to invite robbery. It is not the Way of the Great TAO.

Next: Chapter 54