The Tao Te Ching

Translation by Gia Fu Feng & Jane English Comments and layout by Thomas Knierim

Table Of Contents
Table Of Contents.................................................................................................................1 About The Tao Te Ching ..................................................................................................... 2 About Lao Tzu ..................................................................................................................... 3 Yin And Yang ....................................................................................................................... 4 The Translation ................................................................................................................... 5

Tao Te Ching,

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About The Tao Te Ching
The Tao Te Ching was written in China roughly 2,500 years ago at about the same time when Buddha expounded the Dharma in India and Pythagoras taught in Greece. The Tao Te Ching is probably the most influential Chinese book of all times. Its 81 chapters have been translated into English more times than any other Chinese document. The Tao Te Ching provides the basis for the philosophical school of Taoism, which is an important pillar of Chinese thought. Taoism teaches that there is one undivided truth at the root of all things. It literally means: = tao (the way) = te (strength/virtue) = ching (scripture) The verses of the Tao Te Ching are written in ancient Chinese, which is very different from English. Abstraction and logic are not distinguishing marks of the ancient Chinese language, hence, it is less rigid than English and there are very few formal or grammatical structures. The classical Chinese word does not stand for a single concrete idea, but it evokes associations of different ideas and things. Quite a few Chinese words can be used as nouns, adjectives and verbs at the same time. Thus sentences composed of various signs have a sort of suggestive power, evoking emotions, ideas and pictures. It is almost impossible to render an ancient Chinese text properly in English without losing some part. Different translations of the Tao Te Ching may appear as completely different texts. In order to understand the original text fully it is helpful to read various translations that consummate each other. The alternative is, of course, to learn Chinese. This document uses the translation of Tolbert McCarroll.

Tao Te Ching,

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which also happens to be his only work. Lao Tzu was very old. His name means “old-young” and he has been called the “Old Master”. and he is also known as Li Er and Lao Dan) was supposedly born in Honan on the 24th of March in the year 604 BC. www. Some even doubt whether he is the author of the Tao Te Ching. However. Lao Tzu (his name is sometimes written Lao Tse or Lao Zi.thebigview. There he was approached by a border official named Guan Yin Zi. wrote the Tao Te Ching. Lao Tzu then retreated into the solitude of the mountain pass.About Lao Tzu Not much is known about Lao Tzu. when he rode on a water buffalo to retire in the mountains to a province in the western frontiers. his name became legendary with this Page 3 . whereupon he went westward and was never seen again. at least nothing that is certain. Tao Te Ching. who urged the master to write down his teachings so that they might be passed on.

East .South. Cold . West . is a state of harmony represented by the balance of Yin and Yang in body and mind.Left.Psychological .Active.Astral World . The earth is the source of life.Valley . Spring . the rhythm of life. The dots inside the white and black halves indicate that within each is the seed of the other. The ideal state of things in the physical universe. Yin is the quiet.Desert . Heat .Day. it provides us with what we need to survive. female.Hard . is the action of complementary principles Yin and Yang. When Yin reaches its climax.Expansion .Winter. Skin Tao Te Ching. Lungs Yang .Fire.Yin And Yang In Chinese philosophy. Light . Down . it recedes in favour of Yang.North. The symmetrical disposition of the dark Yin and the light Yang suggests cyclical changes.Innovative .Mountain .Tiger . as well as in the world of humans.Conservative . Heart .River .Visible World .Physical .Intestines.Rain.Bladder .Contraction .Increasing . Water. www. creative. This is the eternal cycle.Passive. receiving force that is associated with earth.The Moon .Liver. male. Autumn .Traditional . giving force that is associated with heaven.Intellect .Summer.Soft . Yin cannot exist without Yang and vice versa.thebigview.Reformative . which pulsates through the universe.Decreasing .Right.The Sun .Even Numbers .com Page 4 . Yin . Dynamic . then after Yang reaches its climax it recedes in favour of Yin. intuitive.Solidifying .Night. Yang is the strong.Odd Numbers .Dragon .Intuition .Straight Line .Dissolving .Curve . The T’ai-chi T’u diagram (above) illustrates this principle. The heaven above us is always in motion and brings about change.Kidneys. Dark . Static . Up .

The Feng & English translation has almost become a classic by now. the available translations have different objectives and thus different strengths and weaknesses. www. and again others are concise and poetic. Tao Te Ching.thebigview. which is great for comparative studies. evocative style and it conveys Lao Tzu’s own style in a succinct yet elegant language. This wasn’t an easy Page 5 . This document uses the Feng & English Translation. but weaker on the literary side. one had to be chosen for thebigview. Some are very literal and helpful in the understanding of the original Chinese text. There were two favourites: the translation of Gia Fu Feng & Jane English and that of Tolbert McCarroll. It is conspicuous for its poetic. There are many websites that present various translations side by side. Others are scholarly and heavily commented.The Translation Of all the English translations of the Tao Te Ching.

They see the ten thousand things as straw dogs. Darkness within darkness. this appears as darkness. The nameless is the beginning of heaven and Earth. yet not taking credit. Oh. If men lack knowledge and desire. Front and back follow one another. Creating. Ever desiring. Voice and sound harmonize each other. then Page 6 . Soften the glare. Difficult and easy complement each other. Ever desireless. 3 Not exalting the gifted prevents quarreling. www. Working. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. Long and short contrast each other: High and low rest upon each other. They see the people as straw dogs. one can see the mystery. Oh. The space between heaven and Earth is like a bellows. Not seeing desirable things prevents confusion of the heart. Untangle the knot. If nothing is done. but never filled. 1 The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. then clever people will not try to interfere. unfathomable source of ten thousand things! Blunt the sharpness. Not collecting treasures prevents stealing. 5 Heaven and Earth are impartial. The wise are impartial. then all will be well. 4 The Tao is an empty vessel. the more it yields. It is the forefather of the gods. one sees the manifestations. yet not. by weakening ambitions and strengthening bones. These two spring from the same source but differ in name. The more it moves. hidden deep but ever present! I do not know from whence it comes. Work is done. teaching no-talking. Therefore it lasts forever. Therefore having and not having arise together. The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.thebigview. Merge with dust. it is used. The shape changes but not the form.Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing. The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease. Tao Te Ching. All can know good as good only because there is evil. 2 Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness. The gate to all mystery. The wise therefore rule by emptying hearts and stuffing bellies.

7 Heaven and Earth last forever. Can you be without cleverness? Opening and closing the gates of heaven. In speech. be aware of the time and the season. It is the holes which make it useful. www.More words count less. Can you be without stain? Loving all men and ruling the country. In ruling. Claim wealth and titles. Her gateway is the root of heaven and Earth. Hold fast to the center. primal mother. 6 The valley spirit never dies. It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao. It is the space within that makes it useful. Leading yet not Page 7 . he attains fulfillment.thebigview. Tao Te Ching. He is detached. 11 Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub. In dwelling. Therefore benefit comes from what is there. Use it. Are you able to do nothing? Giving birth and nourishing. Working yet not taking credit. thus he is ahead. 10 Carrying body and soul and embracing the one. In dealing with others. be gentle and kind. and disaster will follow. It is like a veil barely seen. Shape clay into a vessel. it will never fail. In meditation. thus at one with all. Bearing yet not possessing. Why do heaven and Earth last forever? They are unborn. It is the center hole that makes it useful. Cut doors and windows for a room. go deep in the heart. This is the Primal Virtue. So ever living. 8 The highest good is like water. Can you play the role of woman? Understanding and being open to all things. Through selfless action. be competent. be true. Retire when the work is done. It is the woman. The sage stays behind. be just. Water give life to the ten thousand things and does not strive. Can you be as a newborn babe? Washing and cleansing the primal vision. and no one can protect it. and the edge will soon blunt. Can you avoid separation? Attending fully and becoming supple. In daily life. Oversharpen the blade. This is the way of heaven. In action. Amass a store of gold and jade. No fight: No blame. be close to the land. 9 Better to stop short than fill to the brim.

Stay with the ancient is beyond sound. This is called "accepting disgrace willingly. The image of the imageless. like visiting guests. mysterious. Do not be concerned with loss or gain. Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees. like uncarved blocks of is beyond form. The form of the formless. 13 Accept disgrace willingly. Yielding like ice about to Page 8 . 14 Look. Who can wait quietly while the mud settles? Who can remain still until the moment of action? Observers of the Tao do not seek fulfillment. like men crossing a winter stream. Courteous. The five tones deafen the ear. like muddy pools.Usefulness from what is not there. Stand before it and there is no beginning. It returns to nothingness. Watchful. What do you mean by "Accept disgrace willingly"? Accept being unimportant. The depth of their knowledge is unfathomable." What do you mean by "Accept misfortune as the human condition"? Misfortune comes from having a body. like men aware of danger. then you can truly care for all things. Simple. it cannot be held . Love the world as your own self. These three are indefinable. it cannot be seen . www. From below it is not dark: An unbroken thread beyond description. profound. 12 The five colors blind the eye. Opaque. It is called indefinable and beyond imagination. responsive. it cannot be heard . Without a body. 15 The ancient masters were subtle. Grasp. He lets go of that and chooses this. Alert. Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of Tao.thebigview. Because it is unfathomable. then you can be trusted to care for all things. Tao Te Ching. The five flavors dull the taste. From above it is not is intangible. Hollow. Move with the present. Precious things lead one astray. Follow it and there is no end. like caves. Racing and hunting madden the mind. All we can do is describe their appearance. Listen. Accept misfortune as the human condition. Therefore they are joined in one. how could there be misfortune? Surrender yourself humbly.

which is the way of nature. the Tao will never pass away. Give up ingenuity. Give up kindness. Loyal ministers appear. Who does not trust enough will not be trusted. 20 Give up learning. Knowing constancy is insight. Kindness and morality arise. It is more important To see the simplicity. With an open mind. Not knowing constancy leads to disaster. Is there a difference between yes and no? Is there a difference between good and evil? Must I fear what others fear? What nonsense! Other people are contented. The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return. And bandits and thieves will disappear. they are not swayed by desire for change. www. you will attain the divine. And it will be a hundred times better for everyone. "We did it!" 18 When the great Tao is forgotten. the mind is open. renounce wisdom. To realize one's true nature. And though the body dies. Tao Te Ching. and put an end to your troubles. Being openhearted. 19 Give up sainthood. When the country is confused and in chaos. Let the mind become still. renounce morality. The way of nature is unchanging. They grow and flourish and then return to the source. Being divine. When actions are performed Without unnecessary speech. Then that which is despised. To cast off selfishness And temper desire. they are not sufficient in themselves. you will be at one with the Tao. enjoying the sacrificial feast of the ox. Being at one with the Tao is eternal. When wisdom and intelligence are born. Then that which is feared. 16 Empty yourself of Page 9 . When there is no peace within the family. The great pretense begins. People say. Then comes that which people know and love. you will act royally. These three are outward forms alone. you will be openhearted. Filial piety and devotion arise. And men will rediscover filial piety and love. Returning to the source is stillness. Being royal.Not seeking fulfillment.thebigview. Knowing constancy. renounce profit. 17 The very highest if barely known.

Empty and be full. Not putting on a display. He who is virtuous Experiences Virtue. When you are at one with Virtue. From the very beginning until now its name has never been forgotten. I am different. I am a fool. Not boasting. They do not quarrel. 21 The greatest Virtue is to follow Tao and Tao alone.thebigview. Thus I perceive the creation. This essence is very real. High winds do not last all morning. Oh. How do I know the ways of creation? Because of this. The Tao is elusive and intangible. Have much and be confused. Like a newborn babe before it learns to smile. Heavy rain does not last all day. "Yield and overcome. www.In spring some go to the park. When you are at one with loss. Bend and be straight. Not bragging. and yet within is image. And all things will come to you. Without direction. it is intangible and elusive. but I alone have nothing. Therefore the wise embrace the one And set an example to all. Have little and gain. They receive recognition. and climb the terrace. But I alone am aimless and depressed. They are Page 10 . They never falter. I drift like the waves of the sea. Others have more than they need. The Tao welcomes you. Oh. yes! I am confused. Wear out and be new. Oh. and yet within is form. it is dim and dark." Is that an empty saying? Be really whole. They shine forth. He who loses the way Is lost. The Virtue is always there. When you are at one with the Tao. like the restless wind. 22 Yield and overcome. The loss is experienced willingly. and therein lies faith. Others are sharp and clever. I am nourished by the great mother. But I alone am dim and weak. Not justifying themselves. and yet within is essence. I am alone. Therefore the ancients say. How is it possible for man? He who follows the Tao Is at one with the Tao. Tao Te Ching. without a place to go. 23 To talk little is natural. it is elusive and intangible. Everyone else is busy. So no one quarrels with them. Oh. But I alone am drifting. He who does not trust enough Will not be trusted. But I alone am dull and stupid. Others are clear and bright. not knowing where I am. Why is this? Heaven and Earth! If heaven and Earth cannot make things eternal. Oh.

24 He who stands on tiptoe is not steady. Confusion will arise. "Tao is great. Born before heaven and Earth.And the king is one of them. Therefore the sage. Why should the lord of ten thousand chariots act lightly in public? To be light is to lose one's root. it flows I flows far away. If the teacher is not respected. 28 Know the strength of man. Tao Te Ching. This is called "following the light." What is a good man? A teacher of a bad man. To be restless is to lose one's control. traveling all Page 11 . He who boasts achieves nothing. Though there are beautiful things to be seen.thebigview. I do not know its name Call it Tao. He who is self-righteous is not respected. Therefore the sage takes care of all men And abandons no one. The still is the master of unrest. A good door needs no lock. The king is also great. Ever present and in motion. Tao follows what is natural. I call it great. therefore followers of the Tao avoid them. For lack of a better word. Man follows Earth. He takes care of all things And abandons nothing. 25 Something mysteriously formed. According to followers of the Tao. Does not lose sight of his baggage. He who makes a show is not enlightened. He who brags will not endure. And the student not cared for. Heaven follows the Tao. Perhaps it is the mother of ten thousand things. Standing alone and unchanging. "These are extra food and unnecessary luggage. Good binding requires no knots. however clever one is. This is the crux of mystery. In the silence and the void. Heaven is great. www. 27 A good walker leaves no tracks. Being great. 26 The heavy is the root of the light. Therefore. Earth is great." They do not bring happiness." These are the four great powers of the universe. Having gone far. it returns. He remains unattached and calm. A good reckoner needs no tally. What is a bad man? A good man's charge. Yet no one can loosen it. Earth follows heaven. Yet no one can open it. He who strides cannot maintain the pace. A good speaker makes no slips.

The man of war prefers the right. The wise man prefers the left. Sometimes one is up and sometimes down. So sometimes things are ahead and sometimes they are behind. Return to the infinite." Sometimes breathing is hard. excesses. www. But never glory in them. That which goes against the Tao comes to an early end. Know the white. you will lose it. Ever true and resourceful. Thorn bushes spring up wherever the army has passed. Counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe. This is not the way of Tao. But keep the black! Be an example to the world! Being an example to the world. Therefore followers of Tao never use them. 31 Good weapons are instruments of fear. But not through violence. Tao Te Ching. Become as a little child once more. If you try to hold it. sometimes it comes easily. For this would only cause resistance. Yet keep humility. If you try to change it. Be the valley of the universe! Being the valley of the universe. When the sage uses it. 29 Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it? I do not believe it can be done. it becomes useful. and complacency. Ever true and unwavering. Ever true and unswerving. 30 Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of Tao. Know honor. Force is followed by loss of strength. The universe is sacred. Return to the state of the uncarved block. Achieve results. When the block is carved. you will ruin it. Thus. Lean years follow in the wake of a great war.thebigview. But never boast. Achieve results. Just do what needs to be done. Therefore the sage avoids extremes.But keep a woman's care! Be the stream of the universe! Being the stream of the universe. Achieve results. all creatures hate Page 12 . "A great tailor cuts little. they are not a wise man's tools. But never be proud. He uses them only when he has no choice. he becomes the ruler. Achieve results. Peace and quiet are dear to his heart. Sometimes there is strength and sometimes weakness. Achieve results. Never take advantage of power. Because this is the natural way. You cannot improve it. Weapons are instruments of fear.

it is very small. you cannot fulfill yourself.And victory no cause for rejoicing. And is therefore truly great. One must know when to stop. The commander-in-chief on the right. That which fails Must first be strong. It nourishes the ten thousand things. Knowing the self is enlightenment. But a description of the Tao Seems without substance or flavor. On sad occasions to the right. To die but not to perish is to be eternally present. The ten thousand things would come together And gentle rain Page 13 . And yet is not their lord. 35 All men will come to him who keeps to the one.thebigview. Knowing when to stop averts trouble. The ten thousand things depend upon it. Yet it is not their lord. If you rejoice in victory. it cannot be heard. 36 That which shrinks Must first expand. 32 The Tao is forever undefined. it holds nothing back. then you delight in killing. They should be mourned in heartfelt sorrow. Mastering the self needs strength. It is very great. On happy occasions precedence is given to the left. both to the left and to the right. Mastering others requires force. Men would need no more instruction and all things would take their course. the parts need names. www. There are already enough names. If you delight in killing. He who stays where he is endures. 34 The great Tao flows everywhere. It does not show greatness. The ten thousand things return to it. Small though it is in the unformed state. It cannot be seen. 33 Knowing others is wisdom. He who knows he has enough is rich. It fulfills its purpose silently and makes no claim. This means that war is conducted like a funeral. Tao Te Ching. If kings and lords could harness it. It has no aim. Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea. When many people are being killed. And yet it cannot be exhausted. That is why a victory must be observed like a funeral. For there lie rest and happiness and peace. Once the whole is divided. Perseverance is a sign of willpower. it cannot be grasped. Passersby may stop for music and good food. In the army the general stands on the left.

When a disciplinarian does something and no one responds. the beginning of confusion. And is therefore not good. The strength of the spirit prevents its being used up. there is goodness. The valley is whole and full. The earth is whole and firm. This is called perception of the nature of things. Therefore accept the one and reject the other. Without for there is no Page 14 . The clarity of the sky prevents its falling. And is therefore good. Kings and lords are whole. Therefore when Tao is lost. If kings and lords observed this. Knowledge of the future is only a flowery trapping of Tao. he leaves a great deal to be done. 38 A truly good man is not aware of his goodness.That which is cast down Must first be raised. 37 Tao abides in non-action. Yet nothing is left undone. Soft and weak overcome hard and strong. Therefore the truly great man dwells on what is real and not what is on the surface. All these are in virtue of wholeness. When kindness is lost. he leaves nothing undone. there is kindness. The growth of the ten thousand things prevents their drying out. A foolish man tries to be good. and the country is upright. A truly good man does nothing. The firmness of the earth prevents its splitting. Fish cannot leave deep waters. And a country's weapons should not be displayed. They would return to the simplicity of formless substance. Yet leaves nothing undone. He rolls up his sleeves in an attempt to enforce order. there ritual. Tao Te Ching. When goodness is lost. A foolish man is always doing. The fullness of the valley prevents its running dry. The spirit is whole and strong. there is justice.thebigview. Now ritual is the husk of faith and loyalty. And in this way all things would be at peace. 39 These things from ancient times arise from one: The sky is whole and clear. It is the beginning of folly. The ten thousand things are whole and alive. Without desire there is. www. When a just man does something. When justice is lost. If they still desired to act. When a truly kind man does something. Before receiving There must be giving. Yet much remains to be done. The ten thousand things would develop naturally. On the fruit and not the flower.

41 The wise student hears of the Tao and practices it diligently. Real Virtue seems unreal. Princes and lords consider themselves "orphaned". Teaching without words and work without doing Are understood by very few. Two begot three. www. that is: "A violent man will die a violent death!" This will be the essence of my teaching. Therefore the humble is the root of the noble. The foolish student hears of the Tao and laughs aloud.The leadership of kings and lords prevents the downfall of the country. The low is the foundation of the high." "widowed. For one gains by losing And loses by gaining. The strength of Virtue seems frail. And three begot the ten thousand things. Yielding is the way of the Tao. the Tao would not be what it is. "widowed" and "worthless". What others teach. A wealth of Virtue seems inadequate. If there were no laughter. One begot two. The Tao is hidden and without name. Great purity seems sullied. I also teach. The average student hears of the Tao and gives it thought now and again. Do they not depend on being humble? Too much success is not an advantage. The ten thousand things carry yin and embrace Page 15 . The highest Virtue seems empty." But this is how kings and lords describe themselves. Going forward seems like retreat. Hence I know the value of non-action. Being is born of not being. The highest notes are hard to hear.thebigview. The easy way seems hard. Great talents ripen late. Do not tinkle like jade Or clatter like stone chimes. Tao Te Ching. That without substance can enter where there is no room. The ten thousand things are born of being." or "worthless. 43 The softest thing in the universe Overcomes the hardest thing in the universe. The perfect square has no corners. They achieve harmony by combining these forces. Hence it is said: The bright path seems dim. 40 Returning is the motion of the Tao. The greatest form has no shape. 42 The Tao begot one. Men hate to be "orphaned. The Tao alone nourishes and brings everything to fulfillment.

45 Great accomplishment seems imperfect. 47 Without going outside. 46 When the Tao is present in the universe. Because Virtue is faithfulness. Movement overcomes cold. War horses are bred outside the city. 49 The sage has no mind of his the world he seems confusing. The horses haul manure. Stillness and tranquility set things in order in the universe. Less and less is done Until non-action is achieved. nothing is left undone. When the Tao is absent from the universe. every day something is dropped. He is aware of the needs of others. I have faith in people who are faithful. No greater curse than discontent. Yet it does not outlive its usefulness. Great eloquence seems awkward. every day something is acquired. He behaves like a little child. 44 Fame or self: Which matters more? Self or wealth: Which is more precious? Gain or loss: Which is more painful? He who is attached to things will suffer much. He works without doing. He who saves will suffer heavy loss. Because Virtue is goodness. Without looking through the window. Tao Te Ching. Great straightness seems twisted. He sees without looking. I am also good to people who are not good. He who knows when to stop does not find himself in trouble. Therefore he who knows that enough is enough will always have enough. Yet cannot be exhausted. Others look to him and listen. No greater misfortune than wanting something for oneself. Great fullness seems empty. the less you know. Thus the sage knows without traveling.There is no greater sin than desire. I am good to people who are good. He will stay forever safe. 48 In the pursuit of learning. you may know the whole world. The world is ruled by letting things take their course. www. The farther you go. Stillness overcomes heat. When nothing is done. The sage is shy and humble .thebigview. A contented man is never disappointed. In the pursuit of Tao. Great intelligence seems stupid. you may see the ways of Page 16 . I also have faith in people who are not faithful. It cannot be ruled by interfering.

thebigview. For in him rhinoceroses can find no place to thrust their horn. Using the outer light. And in this way be saved from harm. Why is this so? Because they live their lives on the gross level. They are shaped by environment. And men just passing from birth to death also number three in ten. 51 All things arise from Tao. Therefore all things arise from Tao. The fields are full of weeds. This is certainly not the way of Tao. He will not be wounded in battle. Tao Te Ching. and protected. Guard the senses. return to insight. Keeping to the main road is easy. Carry sharp swords. They have more possessions than they can use. www. But they are in the nature of things. Sheltered. And life is ever full. Creating without claiming. When the court is arrayed in splendor. Three in ten are followers of life. 50 Between birth and death. They are formed from matter. And indulge themselves with food and drink. comforted. Yielding to force is strength. cared for. Always be busy.Doing without taking credit. Keep your mouth shut. And the granaries are bare. They are nourished by Virtue. And life is beyond hope. Knowing the sons. yet remaining in touch with the mother. Brings freedom from the fear of death. And weapons no place to pierce. Respect of Tao and honor of Virtue are not demanded. They are robber barons. Developed. Open your mouth. Tigers no place to use their claws. Seeing the small is insight. He who knows how to live can walk abroad Without fear of rhinoceros or tiger. Some wear gorgeous Page 17 . Why is this so? Because he has no place for death to enter. This is Primal Virtue. 52 The beginning of the universe Is the mother of all things. Thus the ten thousand things all respect Tao and honor Virtue. Grown. on also knows the sons. I will walk on the main road and my only fear will be of straying from it. 53 If I have even just a little sense. This is learning constancy. Three in ten are followers of death. By Virtue they are nourished. But people love to be sidetracked. Guiding without interfering. Knowing the mother.

Simplify your problems. Mask your brightness. Cultivate it in the nation. It is not wise to rush about. exhaustion follows. It will be honored from generation to Page 18 . 56 Those who know do not talk. his muscles weak.thebigview. Cultivate it in the family. The sharper men's weapons. Be at one with the dust of the Earth. Temper your sharpness. What is firmly grasped cannot slip away. Knowing constancy is enlightenment. Controlling the breath causes strain. He will not be attacked by birds of prey. Look at the family as family. Whatever is contrary to Tao will not last long. How do I know that this is so? Because of this! The more laws and restrictions there are. And Virtue will be everywhere. He who has achieved this state Is unconcerned with friends and enemies. Wage war with surprise moves. But his grip is firm. And Virtue will abound. His bones are soft. Knowing harmony is constancy. Look at the nation as nation. Keep your mouth closed.He has not experienced the union of man and woman. 57 Rule a nation with justice. Cultivate Virtue in your self. Tao Te Ching. www. And Virtue will grow. Look at the universe as universe. And Virtue will be abundant. The poorer people become. And Virtue will be real. This is primal union. Therefore look at the body as body. The more trouble in the land. Cultivate it in the village. Cultivate it in the universe. With good and harm. Wild beasts will not pounce upon him. but is whole. Wasps and serpents will not sting him. If too much energy is used. This is not the way of Tao. This is perfect harmony. Guard your senses. 54 What is firmly established cannot be uprooted. His manhood is strong. Those who talk do not know. He screams all day without becoming hoarse. This therefore is the highest state of man. Look at the village as village. How do I know the universe is like this? By looking! 55 He who is filled with Virtue is like a newborn child. Become master of the universe without striving. with honor and disgrace.

I enjoy peace and people become honest.The more ingenious and clever men are. If nothing is impossible. The more strange things happen. They do not hurt each other. The people are cunning. It can conquer the great country. Man's bewitchment lasts for a long time. The mother of the universe. If there is a good store of Virtue. Misery lurks beneath happiness. Honesty becomes dishonest. This is called having deep roots and a firm foundation. I do nothing and people become rich. The mother principle of ruling holds good for a long time. I have no desires and people return to the good and simple Page 19 . If a man knows no limits.thebigview. The more thieves and robbers. Therefore the sage is sharp but not cutting. Lying low in stillness. This depends on Virtue gathered in the past. Goodness becomes witchcraft. Brilliant but not blinding. 59 In caring for others and serving heaven. Therefore if a great country gives way to a smaller country. Straightforward but not unrestrained. then there are no limits. 61 A great country is like low land. then he is fit to be a ruler. www. Happiness is rooted in misery. Approach the universe with Tao. Therefore the sage says: I take no action and people are reformed. But its power will not be used to harm others. It will conquer the smaller country. The Tao of long life and eternal vision. And if a small country submits to a great country. When the country is ruled with severity. Not only will it do no harm to others. The more rules and regulations. It is the meeting ground of the universe. There is nothing like using restraint. then nothing is impossible. 60 Ruling the country is like cooking a small fish. But the sage himself will also be protected. And the Virtue in each one refreshes both. Who knows what the future holds? There is no honesty. Pointed but not piercing. Restraint begins with giving up one's own ideas. The female overcomes the male with stillness. 58 When the country is ruled with a light hand The people are simple. Tao Te Ching. And evil is not powerful.

Trouble is easily overcome before it starts. A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth. The sage does not attempt anything very big. People usually fail when they are on the verge of success. It is the treasure of the good man. Because the sage always confronts difficulties. And thus achieved greatness. He who acts defeats his own purpose. If a man is bad. But remain still and offer the Tao. It is fitting for a great nation to yield. Reward bitterness with care. A tree as great as a man's embrace springs up from a small shoot. Taking things lightly results in great difficulty. In the universe the difficult things are done as if they are easy. Easy promises make for little trust. Achieve greatness in little things. Sweet words can buy honor. The sage does not act. He never experiences them. Or the three officers of state installed. Why does everyone like the Tao so much at first? Isn't it because you find what you seek and are forgiven when you sin? Therefore this is the greatest treasure of the universe. A small country needs to serve. Work without doing. Therefore the sage seeks freedom from desire. Magnify the small. www. Set things in order before there is confusion. And those who conquer do so because they yield. He does not collect precious things. 63 Practice non-action. 62 Tao is source of the ten thousand things. See simplicity in the complicated. 64 Peace is easily maintained. Do not send a gift of jade and a team of four horses. The small is easily scattered. Then there will be no failure. So give as much care to the end as to the beginning.thebigview. A great nation needs more people. Tao Te Ching. and so is not defeated. He learns not to hold on to ideas. and the refuge of the bad. The brittle is easily shattered. do not abandon him. Good deeds can gain respect. A journey of a thousand miles starts under one's feet. Taste the tasteless. increase the few. Therefore on the day the emperor is crowned.Therefore those who would conquer must yield. Each gets what it Page 20 . He does not grasp and therefore does not lose. In the universe great acts are made up of small deeds. Deal with it before it happens. He who grasps loses.

it seems different. From humility comes leadership. But refrains from action. www. A good winner is not vengeful A good employer is humble. Mercy brings victory in battle and strength in defense. Why is it so hard to rule? Because people are so clever. If the sage would guide the people. This is certain Page 21 . The third is daring not to be ahead of others. they will not be harmed. it would have vanished long ago. He does not meet competition. the second is economy. He help the ten thousand things find their own nature. These are the two alternatives. The whole world will support him and will not tire of him.He brings men back to what they have lost. 68 A good soldier is not violent. If it were not different. Understanding these is Primal Virtue. Primal Virtue is deep and far. The first is mercy. From mercy comes courage. In this way when the sage rules. If he would lead them. Rulers who try to use cleverness Cheat the country. But kept it hidden. Nowadays men shun mercy. They do not believe in humility. Because it is great. This is known as the Virtue of not striving. Therefore it is the king of a hundred streams. from economy comes generosity. but try to be generous. A good fighter is not angry. 65 In the beginning those who knew the Tao did not try to enlighten others. I dare not advance and inch but would rather withdraw a foot. This is known as ability to deal with people.thebigview. I have three treasures which I hold and keep. but always try to be first. he must serve with humility. They abandon economy. Because he does not compete. he must follow behind. This since ancient times has been known as the ultimate unity with heaven. the people will not feel oppressed. but try to be brave. 67 Everyone under heaven says that my Tao is great and beyond compare. It is the means by which heaven saves and guards. 66 Why is the sea king of a hundred streams? Because it lies below them. It leads all things back Toward the great oneness. Those who rule without cleverness Are a blessing to the land. Tao Te Ching. When he stands before them. 69 There is a saying among soldiers: I dare not make the first move but would rather play the guest.

Of these two which is good and which is harmful? Some things are not favored by heaven. The sage is not sick because he is sick of sickness. Do not intrude in their homes. Rolling up your sleeves without showing your arm. Therefore the sage knows himself but makes no show. By underestimating the enemy. 72 When men lack a sense of awe. My actions are disciplined. Therefore the sage wears rough clothing and holds the jewel in his heart. Has self-respect but is not arrogant. Those that abuse me are honored. A brave and calm man will always preserve life. www. I almost lost what I value. 69 There is a saying among soldiers: I dare not make the first move but would rather play the guest. Because men do not understand. I almost lost what I value. Those that know me are few. The underdog will win. Being armed without weapons.70 This is called marching without appearing to move. Who knows why? Tao Te Ching. Therefore when the battle is joined. I dare not advance and inch but would rather withdraw a foot. There is no greater catastrophe than underestimating the enemy. Therefore he is not sick. He lets go of that and chooses this. The underdog will win. there will be disaster. My words have ancient beginnings. Yet no man under heaven knows them or practices them. Ignoring knowledge is sickness.thebigview. My words are easy to understand and easy to perform. Rolling up your sleeves without showing your arm. If one is sick of sickness. Capturing the enemy without attacking. Therefore when the battle is Page 22 . then one is not sick. they have no knowledge of me. Capturing the enemy without attacking. 73 A brave and passionate man will kill or be killed. There is no greater catastrophe than underestimating the enemy. Being armed without weapons. This is called marching without appearing to move. Do not harass them at work. they will not weary of you. 71 Knowing ignorance is strength. If you do not interfere. By underestimating the enemy.

If you try to take his place. The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life. you will only hurt your hand. yet is supplied with all its needs. It is no avail to threaten them with death. Who will dare to break the law? There is always an official executioner. It seems to have no aim and yet its purpose is fulfilled. and yet it overcomes. Green plants are tender and filled with sap. And if breaking the law means that a man will be killed. nothing slips through. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter.Even the sage is unsure of this. Man's way is different. It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death. If the string is too long. If there is not enough. At their death they are withered and dry. and the low is raised. www. Heaven's net casts wide. A tree that is unbending is easily broken. If men live in constant fear of dying. The soft and weak will overcome. The Tao of heaven does not strive. Though its meshes are course. 74 If men are not afraid to die. and yet is answered. What man has more than enough and gives it to the world? Tao Te Ching. Therefore the people are starving. one knows better than to value life too much. He takes from those who do not have enough and give to those who already have too much. The hard and strong will fall.thebigview. it is shortened. Why do the people think so little of death? Because the rulers demand too much of life. It does not speak. it is made longer. It does not ask. Therefore the people take death lightly. Therefore they are rebellious. The Tao of heaven is to take from those who have too much and give to those who do not have Page 23 . Having little to live on. Because the rulers interfere too much. 77 The Tao of heaven is like the bending of a bow. Why are the people rebellious? Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle. 75 Why are the people starving? Because the rulers eat up the money in taxes. At his death he is hard and stiff. The high is lowered. 76 A man is born gentle and weak.

Though they have armor and weapons. Therefore the sage says: He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people is fit to rule them. The more he gives to others. no one displays them. Those who know are not learned. Though they have boats and carriages. They are happy in their ways. He who takes upon himself the country's disasters deserves to be king of the universe. Yet no one puts it into practice. Those who argue are not good. He does not try to show his knowledge. It has no equal. A man of Virtue performs his part. The Tao of the sage is work without effort. Tao Te Ching. The supple can overcome the Page 24 . Their food is plain and good. some resentment must remain. And crowing cocks and barking dogs are heard across the way. But a man without Virtue requires others to fulfill their obligations. Under heaven everyone knows this. www. their clothes fine but simple. The people take death seriously and do not travel far. Yet for attacking the solid and strong. Yet they leave each other in peace while they grow old and die. they are not needed. It stays with good men all the time. 79 After a bitter quarrel. 78 Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water. Good men do not argue. 80 Therefore the sage works without recognition. Men return to the knotting of rope in place of writing.thebigview. The learned do not know. A small country has fewer people. The Tao of heaven is pointed but does no harm. The Tao of heaven is impartial. He achieves what has to be done without dwelling on it. The truth often sounds paradoxical. The sage never tries to store things up. Though they live within sight of their neighbors. the greater his abundance. Though there are machines that can work ten to a hundred times faster than man. Beautiful words are not truthful. the more he has. no one uses them. nothing is better. The weak can overcome the strong.Only the man of Tao. The more he does for others. What can one do about it? Therefore the sage keeps his half of the bargain But does not exact his due. 81 Truthful words are not beautiful. their homes secure.

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