The five colors blind the eyes of man;
The five tones deafen the ears of man;
The five flavors dull the taste of man;
Horse-racing, hunting and chasing madden the minds of man;
Rare, valuable goods keep their owners awake at night.
Therefore the Sage:
Provides for the belly and not the eye.
Hence, he rejects the one and accepts the other.
(Translated by Yu Tang Lin)
Five Colors: green, red, yellow, white, black.
Five Tones: 宫 Gong(Do) 商 Shang(Re) 角 jiao(Mi) 徵 Zhi(Sol) 羽 Yu(La), similar to the Western notes (do), (re), (mi), (so), (la), 1 2 3 5 6.
Lao Tzu points out that our sensual desires or pursuing of material which is external often brings disastrous consequences to us. Again, he reminds us to rid ourselves of outside pleasure and gain peace within. Just like the saint who only meets the basic survival needs of the belly, rather than chasing the extra desires. In other words, the saint chooses to be simple and quiet, and not to be extravagant.