Daodejing Chapter 50: life and death

Richard Brown
1 min readJul 31, 2023

Everyone passes
From birth to death,
One third are companions of life.
One third are companions of death.
One third cling so tightly to life,
That they enter the field of death.
Why is this so?
Because they set
Too much store by life.
It is said:
People who know how to live properly,
Travel the earth without
Encountering a rhinoceros or a tiger,
Go into battle without
Donning armour or weapons.
The rhinoceros finds no spot
To gore them with its horns.
The tiger finds no spot
To sink its claws into them.
The weapon finds no spot
To pierce them with its blade.
Why is this so?
Because they are not
In the field of death.


It is only by accepting the inevitability of death as part of the natural cycle that you can live your life to its full. The harder you strive to cling to life, the more you suck the joy out of it and make yourself vulnerable to an untimely demise.

I took this image at Longhu (Dragon Tiger) Mountain, a famous Daoist site about ten miles south of Yingtan in Jiangxi Province. A great place to visit!



Richard Brown

I live in Taiwan and am interested in exploring what ancient Chinese philosophy can tell us about technology and the rise of modern China.