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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, www.thebigview.com
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 Gia Fu Feng and Jane English.
About Lao Tzu Not much is known about Lao Tzu. 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. Lao Tzu (his name is sometimes written Lao Tse or Lao Zi. Lao Tzu then retreated into the solitude of the mountain pass. his name became legendary with this writing. wrote the Tao Te Ching. which also happens to be his only work. There he was approached by a border official named Guan Yin Zi. . at least nothing that is certain. whereupon he went westward and was never seen again. when he rode on a water buffalo to retire in the mountains to a province in the western frontiers. His name means “old-young” and he has been called the “Old Master”. who urged the master to write down his teachings so that they might be passed on. However. Some even doubt whether he is the author of the Tao Te Ching. Lao Tzu was very old.
Fire.Mountain . Heat . receiving force that is associated with earth.Yin And Yang In Chinese philosophy.River . When Yin reaches its climax. female. as well as in the world of humans. it provides us with what we need to survive. Spring .Dissolving .Rain.Decreasing . Autumn .Traditional .The Sun . intuitive. The T’ai-chi T’u diagram (above) illustrates this principle.Passive.Soft . the rhythm of life.Even Numbers . This is the eternal cycle.The Moon . Yin .Reformative .Bladder .Dragon .Psychological .Intellect . Up . creative.Innovative . The heaven above us is always in motion and brings about change.Conservative .Day. Yin cannot exist without Yang and vice versa.Astral World .Liver. The symmetrical disposition of the dark Yin and the light Yang suggests cyclical changes.Solidifying .Desert . male.Straight Line .Hard .Night.Intestines. Dynamic . it recedes in favour of Yang. Light . is the action of complementary principles Yin and Yang. Yin is the quiet.Kidneys.Summer. Water.Winter.Expansion . West . which pulsates through the universe. Skin .Odd Numbers .North. Lungs Yang .Left. Dark .Tiger . Heart .Increasing . is a state of harmony represented by the balance of Yin and Yang in body and mind. Cold .Contraction . The dots inside the white and black halves indicate that within each is the seed of the other.Intuition . Static . Yang is the strong.South. The earth is the source of life.Visible World .Physical . East .Curve . The ideal state of things in the physical universe.Right. giving force that is associated with heaven.Valley . Down . then after Yang reaches its climax it recedes in favour of Yin.Active.
The Feng & English translation has almost become a classic by now. Tao Te Ching. This wasn’t an easy task. Others are scholarly and heavily commented.com. which is great for comparative studies. Some are very literal and helpful in the understanding of the original Chinese text. one had to be chosen for thebigview. the available translations have different objectives and thus different strengths and weaknesses.thebigview. Clearly. There are many websites that present various translations side by side. There were two favourites: the translation of Gia Fu Feng & Jane English and that of Tolbert McCarroll. It is conspicuous for its poetic. and again others are concise and poetic.com Page 5 .The Translation Of all the English translations of the Tao Te Ching. www. evocative style and it conveys Lao Tzu’s own style in a succinct yet elegant language. but weaker on the literary side.
but never filled. These two spring from the same source but differ in name. The gate to all mystery. Not collecting treasures prevents stealing. Difficult and easy complement each other. by weakening ambitions and strengthening bones. It is the forefather of the gods. Merge with dust. hidden deep but ever present! I do not know from whence it comes. then clever people will not try to interfere. Working. 3 Not exalting the gifted prevents quarreling. Creating. Darkness within darkness. The more it moves. The space between heaven and Earth is like a bellows. unfathomable source of ten thousand things! Blunt the sharpness. the more it yields. Ever desiring. Long and short contrast each other: High and low rest upon each other. then forgotten.thebigview. yet not taking credit. 4 The Tao is an empty vessel. Therefore it lasts forever. Soften the glare. Voice and sound harmonize each other. it is used. If men lack knowledge and desire. yet not possessing. www. The named is the mother of the ten thousand things. Tao Te Ching. Front and back follow one another. The wise are impartial. Oh. 5 Heaven and Earth are impartial. Ever desireless. then all will be well. this appears as darkness. Therefore having and not having arise together. All can know good as good only because there is evil. The nameless is the beginning of heaven and Earth. Untangle the knot. teaching no-talking. one can see the mystery. The wise therefore rule by emptying hearts and stuffing bellies. If nothing is done. 1 The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. 2 Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness. They see the ten thousand things as straw dogs. The shape changes but not the form. Oh. They see the people as straw dogs. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. one sees the manifestations. Work is done. The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease.Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing.com Page 6 . Not seeing desirable things prevents confusion of the heart.
9 Better to stop short than fill to the brim. The sage stays behind.thebigview. In action. In speech. It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao. Claim wealth and titles. it will never fail. be true. Oversharpen the blade. go deep in the heart. be just. It is the woman. 8 The highest good is like water. Bearing yet not possessing. So ever living. thus at one with all. thus he is ahead. Can you play the role of woman? Understanding and being open to all things. and disaster will follow. Can you be without stain? Loving all men and ruling the country. Use it. Water gives life to the ten thousand things and does not strive. he attains fulfillment. Can you be as a newborn babe? Washing and cleansing the primal vision. be competent. In ruling. This is the way of heaven. This is the Primal Virtue. 6 The valley spirit never dies. It is the center hole that makes it useful. be gentle and kind. Are you able to do nothing? Giving birth and nourishing. Hold fast to the center.More words count less. and no one can protect it. 7 Heaven and Earth last forever. It is the space within that makes it useful. Retire when the work is done. In dwelling. and the edge will soon blunt. 10 Carrying body and soul and embracing the one. He is detached. Why do heaven and Earth last forever? They are unborn. be aware of the time and the season. In dealing with others. Shape clay into a vessel. Leading yet not dominating. No fight: No blame. Through selfless action. Amass a store of gold and jade. Her gateway is the root of heaven and Earth. be close to the land. primal mother. It is like a veil barely seen.com Page 7 . Can you avoid separation? Attending fully and becoming supple. It is the holes which make it useful. In daily life. www. 11 Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub. Can you be without cleverness? Opening and closing the gates of heaven. Tao Te Ching. Working yet not taking credit. Cut doors and windows for a room. Therefore benefit comes from what is there. In meditation.
Courteous. It is called indefinable and beyond imagination. www. Follow it and there is no end. Move with the present. how could there be misfortune? Surrender yourself humbly. Alert. It returns to nothingness.it is intangible. like visiting guests. This is called "accepting disgrace willingly. then you can be trusted to care for all things. Stay with the ancient Tao.it is beyond form. Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of Tao. 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. it cannot be seen . Opaque. The five tones deafen the ear.com Page 8 . Precious things lead one astray. profound.it is beyond sound. The image of the imageless. Grasp. All we can do is describe their appearance. From above it is not bright. Simple." What do you mean by "Accept misfortune as the human condition"? Misfortune comes from having a body. He lets go of that and chooses this. like men aware of danger. From below it is not dark: An unbroken thread beyond description. Therefore they are joined in one. 15 The ancient masters were subtle. then you can truly care for all things. Without a body. mysterious. Tao Te Ching. Watchful. 13 Accept disgrace willingly. it cannot be heard . Stand before it and there is no beginning. Hollow. Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees. Love the world as your own self. like men crossing a winter stream. 14 Look. These three are indefinable. Listen. Because it is unfathomable. Accept misfortune as the human condition.Usefulness from what is not there. Racing and hunting madden the mind.thebigview. What do you mean by "Accept disgrace willingly"? Accept being unimportant. like uncarved blocks of wood. like caves. The depth of their knowledge is unfathomable. like muddy pools. Yielding like ice about to melt. The five flavors dull the taste. The form of the formless. Do not be concerned with loss or gain. 12 The five colors blind the eye. responsive. it cannot be held .
And men will rediscover filial piety and love. Give up ingenuity. Not knowing constancy leads to disaster. 20 Give up learning. you will attain the divine. they are not swayed by desire for change. When the country is confused and in chaos. Give up kindness. Tao Te Ching. Who does not trust enough will not be trusted. When actions are performed Without unnecessary speech. Being royal. Then comes that which people know and love. Loyal ministers appear. 16 Empty yourself of everything. you will be at one with the Tao. When wisdom and intelligence are born. renounce morality. enjoying the sacrificial feast of the ox. Knowing constancy. With an open mind. To realize one's true nature. The great pretense begins. It is more important To see the simplicity. Filial piety and devotion arise. 17 The very highest if barely known. The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return. Returning to the source is stillness. www. Being at one with the Tao is eternal. they are not sufficient in themselves. Knowing constancy is insight. Being divine.thebigview. which is the way of nature. you will act royally. 19 Give up sainthood.Not seeking fulfillment. Let the mind become still. These three are outward forms alone. When there is no peace within the family.com Page 9 . "We did it!" 18 When the great Tao is forgotten. People say. The way of nature is unchanging. renounce profit. renounce wisdom. Being openhearted. And it will be a hundred times better for everyone. And bandits and thieves will disappear. Then that which is feared. Kindness and morality arise. To cast off selfishness And temper desire. They grow and flourish and then return to the source. the Tao will never pass away. And though the body dies. you will be openhearted. the mind is open. and put an end to your troubles. Then that which is despised. 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.
But I alone am dull and stupid. This essence is very real. But I alone am drifting. Have much and be confused. The loss is experienced willingly. and yet within is essence. When you are at one with loss. They never falter. without a place to go. They receive recognition. I am a fool. and yet within is form. not knowing where I am. Not justifying themselves. Oh. Oh. And all things will come to you. Oh. I am different. and climb the terrace. The Tao is elusive and intangible.com Page 10 . Bend and be straight. He who loses the way Is lost. Heavy rain does not last all day. it is elusive and intangible. They do not quarrel. High winds do not last all morning. How is it possible for man? He who follows the Tao Is at one with the Tao. but I alone have nothing. Not bragging. and therein lies faith. When you are at one with Virtue. They shine forth. Not boasting. Empty and be full. "Yield and overcome. Have little and gain. 22 Yield and overcome. Without direction. I am nourished by the great mother. 21 The greatest Virtue is to follow Tao and Tao alone. 23 To talk little is natural. Others are sharp and clever. The Tao welcomes you. Like a newborn babe before it learns to smile. Everyone else is busy.In spring some go to the park. I drift like the waves of the sea. He who does not trust enough Will not be trusted.thebigview. Oh. The Virtue is always there. I am alone. it is intangible and elusive. Tao Te Ching. He who is virtuous Experiences Virtue. When you are at one with the Tao. Others are clear and bright. Therefore the wise embrace the one And set an example to all. They are distinguished. Others have more than they need. Therefore the ancients say. So no one quarrels with them. Oh. But I alone am dim and weak. From the very beginning until now its name has never been forgotten. it is dim and dark. Why is this? Heaven and Earth! If heaven and Earth cannot make things eternal. yes! I am confused. Not putting on a display. like the restless wind. Thus I perceive the creation. www. Wear out and be new. How do I know the ways of creation? Because of this. and yet within is image." Is that an empty saying? Be really whole. But I alone am aimless and depressed.
A good door needs no lock. He who makes a show is not enlightened. The king is also great. Heaven is great. it flows I flows far away. I do not know its name Call it Tao. Earth is great. traveling all day. If the teacher is not respected. Born before heaven and Earth. Tao Te Ching. Why should the lord of ten thousand chariots act lightly in public? To be light is to lose one's root. This is called "following the light. Standing alone and unchanging. And the student not cared for. According to followers of the Tao. therefore followers of the Tao avoid them. Therefore." What is a good man? A teacher of a bad man. For lack of a better word.thebigview. Perhaps it is the mother of ten thousand things. 27 A good walker leaves no tracks. This is the crux of mystery. Being great. Heaven follows the Tao. He who is self-righteous is not respected. www. 25 Something mysteriously formed." They do not bring happiness. Ever present and in motion. Good binding requires no knots. 28 Know the strength of man. A good reckoner needs no tally. Confusion will arise. Yet no one can loosen it. Does not lose sight of his baggage. In the silence and the void. He who boasts achieves nothing. Though there are beautiful things to be seen." These are the four great powers of the universe. 24 He who stands on tiptoe is not steady. He who strides cannot maintain the pace.com Page 11 . however clever one is. He remains unattached and calm. "Tao is great. Earth follows heaven. Man follows Earth. Therefore the sage. What is a bad man? A good man's charge. "These are extra food and unnecessary luggage. I call it great. A good speaker makes no slips. it returns. He who brags will not endure. Tao follows what is natural. 26 The heavy is the root of the light. Yet no one can open it. He takes care of all things And abandons nothing. Therefore the sage takes care of all men And abandons no one. The still is the master of unrest. Having gone far.And the king is one of them. To be restless is to lose one's control.
But keep a woman's care! Be the stream of the universe! Being the stream of the universe. Therefore the sage avoids extremes. But never glory in them. Thus. Become as a little child once more. Therefore followers of Tao never use them. Just do what needs to be done. Sometimes there is strength and sometimes weakness. Yet keep humility. If you try to hold it. When the block is carved. Return to the state of the uncarved block. Counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe. 31 Good weapons are instruments of fear. He uses them only when he has no choice. So sometimes things are ahead and sometimes they are behind. all creatures hate them. sometimes it comes easily.com Page 12 . But never be proud. That which goes against the Tao comes to an early end. Peace and quiet are dear to his heart. If you try to change it. it becomes useful. Achieve results. Tao Te Ching. you will ruin it. Achieve results. Weapons are instruments of fear. www. Force is followed by loss of strength. they are not a wise man's tools. Never take advantage of power. Return to the infinite. Know the white. Be the valley of the universe! Being the valley of the universe. This is not the way of Tao." Sometimes breathing is hard. Thorn bushes spring up wherever the army has passed. you will lose it. But keep the black! Be an example to the world! Being an example to the world. But not through violence. 29 Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it? I do not believe it can be done. Lean years follow in the wake of a great war. The man of war prefers the right. Achieve results. "A great tailor cuts little. Sometimes one is up and sometimes down. Ever true and unswerving. But never boast. Achieve results.thebigview. Achieve results. The universe is sacred. excesses. and complacency. he becomes the ruler. For this would only cause resistance. Because this is the natural way. When the sage uses it. 30 Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of Tao. Ever true and resourceful. Ever true and unwavering. You cannot improve it. The wise man prefers the left. Know honor.
it cannot be heard. The ten thousand things would come together And gentle rain fall. It cannot be seen. The ten thousand things depend upon it. And yet is not their lord. it cannot be grasped. And is therefore truly great. 33 Knowing others is wisdom. Knowing when to stop averts trouble. 32 The Tao is forever undefined. 36 That which shrinks Must first expand. Small though it is in the unformed state. Passersby may stop for music and good food. And yet it cannot be exhausted. It does not show greatness. Mastering the self needs strength. The ten thousand things return to it. It nourishes the ten thousand things. then you delight in killing. This means that war is conducted like a funeral. Perseverance is a sign of willpower. In the army the general stands on the left. it is very small. Once the whole is divided. Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea. If you rejoice in victory. One must know when to stop. Tao Te Ching. They should be mourned in heartfelt sorrow. The commander-in-chief on the right.com Page 13 . both to the left and to the right. It is very great. When many people are being killed. It fulfills its purpose silently and makes no claim. the parts need names. On happy occasions precedence is given to the left. Knowing the self is enlightenment. To die but not to perish is to be eternally present. Mastering others requires force. On sad occasions to the right. it holds nothing back. If kings and lords could harness it. That is why a victory must be observed like a funeral.thebigview. www. It has no aim. But a description of the Tao Seems without substance or flavor.And victory no cause for rejoicing. He who knows he has enough is rich. There are already enough names. For there lie rest and happiness and peace. That which fails Must first be strong. you cannot fulfill yourself. 34 The great Tao flows everywhere. Men would need no more instruction and all things would take their course. 35 All men will come to him who keeps to the one. Yet it is not their lord. If you delight in killing. He who stays where he is endures.
A foolish man is always doing. A truly good man does nothing. All these are in virtue of wholeness. Fish cannot leave deep waters. www. The fullness of the valley prevents its running dry. Soft and weak overcome hard and strong. the beginning of confusion. When a truly kind man does something. Knowledge of the future is only a flowery trapping of Tao.com Page 14 .thebigview. He rolls up his sleeves in an attempt to enforce order. The firmness of the earth prevents its splitting. The growth of the ten thousand things prevents their drying out. Kings and lords are whole. The ten thousand things are whole and alive. They would return to the simplicity of formless substance. The spirit is whole and strong. 38 A truly good man is not aware of his goodness. Therefore the truly great man dwells on what is real and not what is on the surface. Before receiving There must be giving. there is goodness. This is called perception of the nature of things. he leaves a great deal to be done. And a country's weapons should not be displayed. 39 These things from ancient times arise from one: The sky is whole and clear. On the fruit and not the flower. he leaves nothing undone. The clarity of the sky prevents its falling. When kindness is lost. When justice is lost. The earth is whole and firm. A foolish man tries to be good. If kings and lords observed this. Yet nothing is left undone. It is the beginning of folly. Yet much remains to be done. Therefore accept the one and reject the other. And is therefore good. there ritual. Tao Te Ching. When a just man does something. Without for there is no desire. And in this way all things would be at peace. When a disciplinarian does something and no one responds. When goodness is lost. Yet leaves nothing undone.That which is cast down Must first be raised. And is therefore not good. Without desire there is. there is justice. If they still desired to act. Now ritual is the husk of faith and loyalty. Therefore when Tao is lost. The valley is whole and full. The strength of the spirit prevents its being used up. 37 Tao abides in non-action. The ten thousand things would develop naturally. there is kindness. and the country is upright.
Hence it is said: The bright path seems dim. The Tao alone nourishes and brings everything to fulfillment. Hence I know the value of non-action. The greatest form has no shape. 43 The softest thing in the universe Overcomes the hardest thing in the universe. www.com Page 15 . Princes and lords consider themselves "orphaned". If there were no laughter. that is: "A violent man will die a violent death!" This will be the essence of my teaching. Real Virtue seems unreal. 40 Returning is the motion of the Tao. One begot two. That without substance can enter where there is no room. For one gains by losing And loses by gaining.The leadership of kings and lords prevents the downfall of the country. Do they not depend on being humble? Too much success is not an advantage. Being is born of not being. The foolish student hears of the Tao and laughs aloud. The highest Virtue seems empty. The highest notes are hard to hear. Therefore the humble is the root of the noble. The ten thousand things are born of being. What others teach. The easy way seems hard. 42 The Tao begot one. Going forward seems like retreat. A wealth of Virtue seems inadequate. "widowed" and "worthless". The low is the foundation of the high. I also teach.thebigview. The strength of Virtue seems frail. Yielding is the way of the Tao. The ten thousand things carry yin and embrace yang. Do not tinkle like jade Or clatter like stone chimes. The perfect square has no corners. the Tao would not be what it is." But this is how kings and lords describe themselves. 41 The wise student hears of the Tao and practices it diligently." "widowed. Tao Te Ching. Great talents ripen late. Men hate to be "orphaned. The Tao is hidden and without name. Teaching without words and work without doing Are understood by very few. Two begot three. The average student hears of the Tao and gives it thought now and again." or "worthless. Great purity seems sullied. They achieve harmony by combining these forces. And three begot the ten thousand things.
48 In the pursuit of learning. Because Virtue is goodness. you may see the ways of heaven. Without looking through the window. Yet it does not outlive its usefulness. www. Great fullness seems empty. 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. Tao Te Ching. It cannot be ruled by interfering. Therefore he who knows that enough is enough will always have enough. No greater misfortune than wanting something for oneself. Great straightness seems twisted. The farther you go. Less and less is done Until non-action is achieved. I am also good to people who are not good. The sage is shy and humble . He who knows when to stop does not find himself in trouble. The horses haul manure. Because Virtue is faithfulness. I am good to people who are good. He will stay forever safe. He works without doing. In the pursuit of Tao.com Page 16 . Great intelligence seems stupid.thebigview. Yet cannot be exhausted. The world is ruled by letting things take their course. the less you know. When nothing is done. 47 Without going outside. nothing is left undone. Movement overcomes cold. 49 The sage has no mind of his own. Stillness overcomes heat. every day something is acquired. 46 When the Tao is present in the universe. Thus the sage knows without traveling. No greater curse than discontent. you may know the whole world. He who saves will suffer heavy loss. He behaves like a little child.to the world he seems confusing. 45 Great accomplishment seems imperfect. Great eloquence seems awkward. A contented man is never disappointed. every day something is dropped. Others look to him and listen. He sees without looking. I have faith in people who are faithful. When the Tao is absent from the universe. I also have faith in people who are not faithful.There is no greater sin than desire. Stillness and tranquility set things in order in the universe. He is aware of the needs of others. War horses are bred outside the city.
Some wear gorgeous clothes.thebigview. 53 If I have even just a little sense. Why is this so? Because he has no place for death to enter. Tigers no place to use their claws. cared for. I will walk on the main road and my only fear will be of straying from it. Developed. This is certainly not the way of Tao. Why is this so? Because they live their lives on the gross level. 52 The beginning of the universe Is the mother of all things. Seeing the small is insight. They are robber barons. Therefore all things arise from Tao. Keep your mouth shut. yet remaining in touch with the mother.Doing without taking credit. Guard the senses. And men just passing from birth to death also number three in ten. He will not be wounded in battle. But people love to be sidetracked. And the granaries are bare. This is learning constancy. and protected. For in him rhinoceroses can find no place to thrust their horn. 51 All things arise from Tao. He who knows how to live can walk abroad Without fear of rhinoceros or tiger. And in this way be saved from harm. Knowing the mother. They have more possessions than they can use. Open your mouth. And life is ever full. Thus the ten thousand things all respect Tao and honor Virtue. This is Primal Virtue. They are nourished by Virtue. When the court is arrayed in splendor. And weapons no place to pierce. Three in ten are followers of death.com Page 17 . They are shaped by environment. Always be busy. And indulge themselves with food and drink. Keeping to the main road is easy. The fields are full of weeds. Guiding without interfering. And life is beyond hope. They are formed from matter. return to insight. Carry sharp swords. Respect of Tao and honor of Virtue are not demanded. comforted. Brings freedom from the fear of death. Knowing the sons. on also knows the sons. Three in ten are followers of life. Sheltered. www. But they are in the nature of things. By Virtue they are nourished. Yielding to force is strength. Tao Te Ching. 50 Between birth and death. Grown. Using the outer light. Creating without claiming.
Cultivate it in the family. exhaustion follows. This is not the way of Tao. Cultivate it in the universe. Cultivate Virtue in your self. with honor and disgrace. Mask your brightness. Guard your senses. His manhood is strong. Look at the village as village. Knowing harmony is constancy. And Virtue will be abundant. Look at the family as family. Those who talk do not know. Temper your sharpness. He screams all day without becoming hoarse. Simplify your problems. his muscles weak. Become master of the universe without striving. With good and harm. What is firmly grasped cannot slip away. But his grip is firm. And Virtue will be everywhere. This is primal union. The more trouble in the land. And Virtue will be real. If too much energy is used. And Virtue will abound. And Virtue will grow. www. Wage war with surprise moves. It is not wise to rush about.com Page 18 . The sharper men's weapons. Cultivate it in the village. Look at the universe as universe. How do I know the universe is like this? By looking! 55 He who is filled with Virtue is like a newborn child. Keep your mouth closed.thebigview. but is whole. 57 Rule a nation with justice. Wasps and serpents will not sting him. Therefore look at the body as body. This therefore is the highest state of man. How do I know that this is so? Because of this! The more laws and restrictions there are. Look at the nation as nation. Whatever is contrary to Tao will not last long.He has not experienced the union of man and woman. His bones are soft. It will be honored from generation to generation. Be at one with the dust of the Earth. The poorer people become. Knowing constancy is enlightenment. 54 What is firmly established cannot be uprooted. He who has achieved this state Is unconcerned with friends and enemies. Controlling the breath causes strain. Wild beasts will not pounce upon him. He will not be attacked by birds of prey. This is perfect harmony. Cultivate it in the nation. 56 Those who know do not talk. Tao Te Ching.
This depends on Virtue gathered in the past. The Tao of long life and eternal vision. It is the meeting ground of the universe. 58 When the country is ruled with a light hand The people are simple. If a man knows no limits. 59 In caring for others and serving heaven. Therefore the sage says: I take no action and people are reformed. Who knows what the future holds? There is no honesty. If there is a good store of Virtue. then there are no limits. The mother principle of ruling holds good for a long time. Honesty becomes dishonest. Approach the universe with Tao. Restraint begins with giving up one's own ideas. then he is fit to be a ruler. Therefore if a great country gives way to a smaller country. If nothing is impossible. The people are cunning. Man's bewitchment lasts for a long time. Straightforward but not unrestrained. Not only will it do no harm to others. There is nothing like using restraint. 61 A great country is like low land. Misery lurks beneath happiness. Therefore the sage is sharp but not cutting. It can conquer the great country. The more thieves and robbers. I enjoy peace and people become honest. Goodness becomes witchcraft.The more ingenious and clever men are. The female overcomes the male with stillness.thebigview. But its power will not be used to harm others. Pointed but not piercing.com Page 19 . The mother of the universe. And evil is not powerful. Tao Te Ching. Brilliant but not blinding. I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life. www. This is called having deep roots and a firm foundation. then nothing is impossible. The more strange things happen. And the Virtue in each one refreshes both. I do nothing and people become rich. Lying low in stillness. The more rules and regulations. But the sage himself will also be protected. It will conquer the smaller country. They do not hurt each other. 60 Ruling the country is like cooking a small fish. And if a small country submits to a great country. When the country is ruled with severity. Happiness is rooted in misery.
In the universe great acts are made up of small deeds. Sweet words can buy honor. A great nation needs more people. It is the treasure of the good man. He who acts defeats his own purpose.com Page 20 .thebigview. 63 Practice non-action. A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth. He learns not to hold on to ideas. But remain still and offer the Tao. A tree as great as a man's embrace springs up from a small shoot. Easy promises make for little trust. A journey of a thousand miles starts under one's feet. 64 Peace is easily maintained. Trouble is easily overcome before it starts. Deal with it before it happens. Each gets what it wants. People usually fail when they are on the verge of success. Tao Te Ching. Because the sage always confronts difficulties. Or the three officers of state installed. He never experiences them. Achieve greatness in little things. and so is not defeated. Set things in order before there is confusion. Good deeds can gain respect. Do not send a gift of jade and a team of four horses. A small country needs to serve. www. Then there will be no failure. In the universe the difficult things are done as if they are easy. Therefore the sage seeks freedom from desire. He does not grasp and therefore does not lose.Therefore those who would conquer must yield. So give as much care to the end as to the beginning. The sage does not act. The brittle is easily shattered. Taking things lightly results in great difficulty. Reward bitterness with care. increase the few. 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. The small is easily scattered. See simplicity in the complicated. If a man is bad. It is fitting for a great nation to yield. and the refuge of the bad. And those who conquer do so because they yield. do not abandon him. He does not collect precious things. Magnify the small. Taste the tasteless. Therefore on the day the emperor is crowned. Work without doing. And thus achieved greatness. The sage does not attempt anything very big. 62 Tao is source of the ten thousand things. He who grasps loses.
65 In the beginning those who knew the Tao did not try to enlighten others. When he stands before them. This since ancient times has been known as the ultimate unity with heaven. the people will not feel oppressed. In this way when the sage rules. he must follow behind. But refrains from action. Mercy brings victory in battle and strength in defense.He brings men back to what they have lost. he must serve with humility. These are the two alternatives. Why is it so hard to rule? Because people are so clever. This is certain death. This is known as ability to deal with people. He does not meet competition. they will not be harmed. The whole world will support him and will not tire of him. but always try to be first. it would have vanished long ago. A good fighter is not angry. Rulers who try to use cleverness Cheat the country. It leads all things back Toward the great oneness. Nowadays men shun mercy. 66 Why is the sea king of a hundred streams? Because it lies below them. He help the ten thousand things find their own nature. www. Understanding these is Primal Virtue. The first is mercy. Tao Te Ching. the second is economy. 68 A good soldier is not violent. If the sage would guide the people. I have three treasures which I hold and keep. It is the means by which heaven saves and guards. Those who rule without cleverness Are a blessing to the land.com Page 21 . Because it is great. Primal Virtue is deep and far. but try to be brave. They do not believe in humility. From mercy comes courage. From humility comes leadership. They abandon economy.thebigview. it seems different. But kept it hidden. The third is daring not to be ahead of others. from economy comes generosity. Therefore it is the king of a hundred streams. but try to be generous. A good winner is not vengeful A good employer is humble. This is known as the Virtue of not striving. Because he does not compete. If it were not different. 67 Everyone under heaven says that my Tao is great and beyond compare. If he would lead them.
Therefore the sage wears rough clothing and holds the jewel in his heart. The Tao of heaven does not strive. Being armed without weapons. they will not weary of you. 72 When men lack a sense of awe. The underdog will win. I almost lost what I value. Heaven's net casts wide. Therefore when the battle is joined. It does not speak.com Page 22 . Therefore he is not sick. My actions are disciplined. Who knows why? Even the sage is unsure of this. A brave and calm man will always preserve life. and yet is answered. If one is sick of sickness. Do not intrude in their homes. Rolling up your sleeves without showing your arm. My words have ancient beginnings.thebigview. By underestimating the enemy. Capturing the enemy without attacking. Do not harass them at work. If you do not interfere. yet is supplied with all its needs. Those that know me are few. Tao Te Ching. He lets go of that and chooses this. It does not ask. Of these two which is good and which is harmful? Some things are not favored by heaven. there will be disaster. Though its meshes are course. I dare not advance and inch but would rather withdraw a foot.69 71 There is a saying among soldiers: I dare not make the first move but would rather play the guest. There is no greater catastrophe than underestimating the enemy. It seems to have no aim and yet its purpose is fulfilled. 73 A brave and passionate man will kill or be killed. Those that abuse me are honored. Because men do not understand. The sage is not sick because he is sick of sickness. then one is not sick. nothing slips through. they have no knowledge of me. Knowing ignorance is strength. www. Therefore the sage knows himself but makes no show. Ignoring knowledge is sickness. 70 My words are easy to understand and easy to perform. Has self-respect but is not arrogant. This is called marching without appearing to move. and yet it overcomes. Yet no man under heaven knows them or practices them.
it is made longer.thebigview. it is shortened. www. Having little to live on. Green plants are tender and filled with sap. Therefore the sage works without recognition. The Tao of heaven is to take from those who have too much and give to those who do not have enough. At their death they are withered and dry. It is no avail to threaten them with death. The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life. Why do the people think so little of death? Because the rulers demand too much of life. If men live in constant fear of dying. The soft and weak will overcome. The hard and strong will fall.com Page 23 . Why are the people rebellious? Because the rulers interfere too much. And if breaking the law means that a man will be killed. Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death. you will only hurt your hand. What man has more than enough and gives it to the world? Only the man of Tao. He takes from those who do not have enough and give to those who already have too much. The high is lowered. 75 Why are the people starving? Because the rulers eat up the money in taxes. If you try to take his place. Therefore they are rebellious. one knows better than to value life too much. Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle. If there is not enough. He achieves what has to be done without dwelling on it. Man's way is different. A tree that is unbending is easily broken. It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter. At his death he is hard and stiff. He does not try to show his knowledge. If the string is too long. 74 If men are not afraid to die. Therefore the people take death lightly. and the low is raised. Therefore the people are starving.76 A man is born gentle and weak. Who will dare to break the law? There is always an official executioner. Tao Te Ching. 77 The Tao of heaven is like the bending of a bow.
Yet they leave each other in peace while they grow old and die. Good men do not argue. 79 After a bitter quarrel. Tao Te Ching. The sage never tries to store things up.com Page 24 . But a man without Virtue requires others to fulfill their obligations. The Tao of heaven is impartial. Yet for attacking the solid and strong. He who takes upon himself the country's disasters deserves to be king of the universe. no one displays them. 81 Truthful words are not beautiful. They are happy in their ways. What can one do about it? Therefore the sage keeps his half of the bargain But does not exact his due. The supple can overcome the stiff. www. nothing is better. they are not needed. The weak can overcome the strong. A man of Virtue performs his part. 80 A small country has fewer people. The learned do not know. their clothes fine but simple. the greater his abundance.78 Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water. The people take death seriously and do not travel far. The more he gives to others. Those who argue are not good. It has no equal. Beautiful words are not truthful. the more he has. Those who know are not learned. Though they have armor and weapons. no one uses them. Men return to the knotting of rope in place of writing. Though they live within sight of their neighbors. Their food is plain and good. The Tao of heaven is pointed but does no harm. their homes secure. Therefore the sage says: He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people is fit to rule them. It stays with good men all the time. Though there are machines that can work ten to a hundred times faster than man. And crowing cocks and barking dogs are heard across the way. The truth often sounds paradoxical.thebigview. The more he does for others. some resentment must remain. The Tao of the sage is work without effort. Though they have boats and carriages. Yet no one puts it into practice. Under heaven everyone knows this.