When the country is ruled with a light hand
The people are simple.
When the country is ruled harshly,
The people are cunning.
Happiness is rooted in misery.
Misery lurks beneath happiness.
Who knows what the future holds?
There is no honesty.
Honesty becomes dishonest.
Goodness becomes delusion.
People’s delusion lasts for a long time.
Therefore the wise are sharp but not cutting,
Pointed but not piercing,
Straightforward but not unrestrained,
Brilliant but not blinding.