Tao Te King
Lao Tse
Chinese - English by
Alan Sheets & Barbara Tovey, ~ 2002

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"The Way of the Action of the Soul"
(title translation by Sheets/Tovey)

The Tao Te Ching is an ancient Chinese document purportedly written about 2500 years ago. It is an important piece of Taoist literature which has been translated by many different people because of its age and spiritual nature. It is extensively studied throughout the world in a variety of translations.

The author of the Tao Te Ching is "Lao Tzu" which means "the grand old master." Hence, the author's birth name is not known, and there is no recorded history of the author's life. The document is typically divided into eighty-one chapters and contains more than 5,000 Chinese characters.

Alan Sheets and Barbara Tovey made an unexpected correlation between the Tao Te Ching and the nine soultype families; they discovered that the Tao Te Ching was written about the nine soultypes. Alan and Barbara discovered that by organizing the Tao Te Ching according to the table below, every ninth chapter addresses the nature of the same soultype, creating nine groups of nine chapters (see chart).

The Tao Te Ching represents the first historical writing found by Alan and Barbara that directly addresses the soultype families. Until their discovery, Alan and Barbara were solely responsible for documentation about this subject.

Excited about their finding, Alan and Barbara have made an entirely new translation of the Tao Te Ching, because it cannot be effectively understood without awareness of the differences between the nine soul families. Alan and Barbara believe that the Tao Te Ching is specifically a manual to teach people of each of the nine soul families how to express the soul. It teaches people both where they need to go to live from soul, and the pitfalls that get in the way.

Alan and Barbara did not need to rewrite, reinterpret, or intuit meaning as they worked on their translation. Of the possible definitions for each Chinese character, they chose the definition that best communicated insight about the soultype family being addressed. The translation is literal. They made minor grammatical adjustments to account for the shift from the Chinese way of expressing ideas to the English style.

Although Alan and Barbara are not scholars of Chinese literature or Taoism, they have extensive knowledge of the unique nature of soul-to-soul connections with people from each soultype family. This gave them a foundation to add context that had not been previously integrated into the Tao Te Ching translations. The soultype-specific nuances bring each chapter alive. This new translation forms a powerful spiritual document that has a new flavor.


The Tao is the unobstructed breath.
The Tao holds the opposing forces of the eternal Tao.

The Name* is the unobstructed breath.
The Name holds the opposing forces of the eternal Name.

Heaven and Earth were without names (consciousness) in the beginning.
The names of the ten-thousand things (everything) arose through its mother.

If you are eternally without deep-seated desires, then you perceive its mystery.
If you have deep-seated desires, then you perceive its outer form.
These both (the essence and outer form) have the same origin but have different names.

Oneness (the Source) is called the mystery.
The mystery will always be mysterious.
All people are at the door of this mysterious One.
* The Name: The universe becoming conscious of itself through its human form.



In Heaven below (the sacred body) everyone recognizes beauty as beauty when ugly-heartedness ends.
Everyone recognizes virtue as virtue when lack of virtue ends.

Being and not being, together they give life.
Difficult and easy, together they complete.
Long and short, together they compare.
High and low, together they support.
Tone and voice, together they harmonize.
Front and back, together they follow each other.

The sages stay without action in their activities.
They practice silence in their teachings.

Ten-thousand things (everything) arise and they do not refuse.

They give life and do not hold onto it.
They achieve and do not take credit.

What is achieved continues on its own merit.
The masters agree not to dwell on their achievements.
Their accomplishments never cease.



Do not exalt one whose virtue, talent, power, and action exceeds others, so people will not compete.
Do not prize difficult-to-obtain goods, so that people will not commit robbery.
Do not display deep-seated desires, so that peopleís minds are untroubled.

The sages' way of ruling is by:
- freeing the mind,
- reinforcing the soul,
- making gentle their ambitions,
- and strengthening their bones.

It is a constant that when the mind is free, people are free of deep seated desires.
The master knows this and does not presume to act!
Act without action (wu wei), then all is in order.



The Tao creates union that is never draining.

The Deep! It is like the ten-thousand things (everything) of the Source.
It blunts sharpness.
It unravels knots.
It harmonizes the light and it becomes one with the dust of the Earth.

Deep! It is enduring.
I do not know who its ruler is.
It came before the creation of images.



Heaven and Earth do not have human sentiments.
Ten-thousand things (everything) have the importance of a straw dog.*

The sages are not sentimental, thus they act toward the hundred families (everyone) as if they are straw dogs.

The space between Heaven and Earth is like the space inside of a flute!
It is hollow, yet does not get exhausted.
The more active it is, the more it produces.

Too many words bring about exhaustion.
It is better to hold your center.
* Straw dog: A sacrificial straw sculpture in the shape of a dog that was carefully maintained until it was used and then it was discarded.



The valley of the divine never dies so says the mysterious female.

The mysterious female of the gate speaks of Heaven and Earth's origin.

Soft, silky, and barely visible, her divine center is inexhaustible.



Heaven is eternal, the Earth is enduring.
There is a reason why Heaven and Earth are eternal and enduring.
It is because they do not live for themselves.
Thus, they give life everlasting.

The sage puts their own life second, and their body first.
They reject their self, and the body remains.
Surely, there is no self-interest.
Power and accomplishment are self-interest.



Supreme goodness follows the natural laws of the earth like water.
This goodness benefits the ten-thousand things (everything), yet it does not struggle.
It rejects the lowest place that people go.
This is why nature can be compared with the Tao.
The Earth is a good place to live with its profound good heart.

It is best to deal with others humanely.
Sincere speech is best.
A just government is best.
Competent service to others is best.
There is a proper timing for best actions.
The masters do not compete, therefore they will be without fault.



It is better to stop than to hold and overfill a cup.
A blade hammered to a sharp edge does not long endure.
If you fill your house with gold and jade, no one can guard this wealth, honor, and pride.
What follows is your downfall.

Withdraw when your work is done.
This is Heavenís Tao.



Hold and manage the soul of the body.
Embrace the One (the Source) with the power of not-separation!
Concentrate your chi (vital force) to attain the gentle power of a newborn infant!
Cleanse and purify your deep (inner) perception so it can be without flaws!

Cherish the people.
Govern the country with the power of emptiness!

As heavenís gate opens and closes (as life changes) retain the ability to act like a mother bird caring for her young!

Illuminate the purity of the four directions.
Open up to the power of not doing* (wu wei)!
It gives life from the Source.
It gives life and does not posses.
It acts and does not presume.
It increases and does not rule.
This speaks of the mysterious action of the soul.
* Not doing is the practice of letting your soul lead your actions by stepping back and not interfering.



Thirty spokes unite one hub.
Because of its emptiness, the wheel is useful.

Mold the clay and make a vessel.
Because of its emptiness, the vessel is useful.

Cut out windows and doors to build a room.
Because of its emptiness, the room is useful.

Benefits emerge.
Emptiness makes it useful.



The eyes can become blind to the five colors.
The ears can become deaf to the five notes.
The mouth can become dull to the five tastes.
Too much hunting in a field over excites the heart and mind.
Precious goods hinder oneís activities.

The sages attend to their souls, not to what their eyes see.
They discard the latter and take hold of the former.



Take on shame, fear, and disappointment with trepidation.
Take on your great misfortune with your body.
Why talk about shame, fear, and disappointment?
Favor acting from below.

Gain, it comes with fear.
Loss, it comes with fear.
This tells you about taking on shame, fear, and disappointment.

Why talk about your body taking on your great misfortune?
By means of the great misfortune, you are in a position for your body to emerge through reaching a state of not-self (emptiness).
You emerge.
This is why misfortune is reason to honor your body.
The action of Heaven below (the sacred body) can be trusted.
Heaven below expresses humanity through its actions
The action of Heaven below can be entrusted to Heaven below.



Look for it and you will not see it; its name is called invisible.
Listen for it and it cannot be heard; its name is called soundless.
Try to touch it and you will not be able to grasp it; its name is called formless.
It will do you no good to scrutinize these three.
They merge and become one.

Those above are not light.
Those below are not dark.

An unbroken thread. An unbroken thread that cannot be named.
It again returns to the original state.
It is a shape without a shape.
It is an image without substance.
This is called illusory and inexplicable.

Go toward it and you do not see its face.
Follow it and you do not see its back.

Retain the ancient ways of the Tao in order to take hold of the present.
You have the power to know the Source.
This is called the Taoís unbroken thread.



The masters* of ancient times could penetrate subtle mysteries too intense to be comprehended.
Students** of the Tao are truly not able to understand and feel compelled to describe these mysterious qualities.

Be hesitant, like crossing a river in winter.
Watchful! Like standing in awe of all four directions.
Reserved! And behave like a guest.
Yielding! Like melting ice.
Genuine! Like the natural state of uncarved wood or uncut jade.
Empty! Like a valley.

Turbulence! Like churning waters.
Who can be still and slowly calm the churning waters?
Who can be tranquil with this motion to insure the gradual birth?

The Tao is not depleted by deep-seated desires.
Separation from deep-seated desires is not new.
It completes.
* person who knows all from 1 to 10 (1 indicates Heaven, and 10 indicates being centered in the four directions)
** upstanding community member who is trying to do things correctly.



Attain the highest emptiness.
Keep a constant stillness.
Ten-thousand things (everything) come into being and flourish in unison.

I witness the return.
Now all things can flourish, flourish.
Every one is restored and returns to the origin.
The return to the origin is known as stillness.
This is called a return to life.
Repeating life is known as eternal.

Perceiving the eternal speaks of the light.
Not perceiving the eternal is an error that brings calamity.

Experience of the eternal is all-embracing.
The all-embracing opens and reveals.
The act of revealing connects Heaven, Humanity and Earth.
The act of connecting Heaven, Humanity and Earth is heaven.

Heaven is the Tao.
The Tao is enduring.
Till the end, the body is not in peril.



The superior person who is below* perceives reality.
The next best person loves and praises them.
The next best person is in fear of them.
The next best person despises them.

Good intentions are not adequate in that place of reality.
People are reluctant to not have good intentions!
They have words.
They reward accomplishment

True success is achieved when the hundred families (all people) say it is as though we all did it together.
* The concept that if you place yourself below everything then you will be able to receive everything and accurately perceive your world; e.g., the ocean lies below the rivers to receive them.



When the great Tao is abandoned,
Humanity with righteousness is the practice.
After that, intellect and knowledge appear.
Then comes great hypocrisy.
The six relationships (the entire family) will not be in harmony.

After that, duty and devotion to the state arise.
Families will be in trouble and there will be disorder.
After that, loyal ministers appear.



Renounce holiness, discard certainty, the people will benefit one-hundred fold.
Abandon benevolence with righteousness, people will return to devotion in the family.
Abandon craftiness, discard profit, and thieves and bandits will not appear.

Donít be content to use these three lessons as decorations.
Learn to depend on them.

Recognize simplicity, embrace the purity of uncarved wood or uncut jade.
Reduce self-interest, diminish desires, abandon learnedness, and the people will have no sorrow.



Abandon learnedness, and you will not walk slowly with a troubled head and heart.

I join together certainty with uncertainty so both can be discarded and come close to what is.

I join together the virtuous with the loathsome so both can be discarded and become what is.

People are afraid. They are unable to not be afraid.
Without restraint! They are without limits!

All people are busy, busy.
Like taking part in a great ox feast.
Like in spring climbing a terrace.

I alone remain calm!
I am one who gives no sign, like a newborn baby who does not smile.
Wearied, wearied!
I seem to be a person who has no place to return to.

People everywhere, all have excess.
I alone appear to be deficient.
I am a simple person in my heart and mind!!

Chaos, chaos!
Worldly people display, display.
I alone am dim, dim.

Worldly people are sharp, sharp.
I alone am dull, dull.

Tranquil! I seem like an ocean.
Whirlwind! It never stops.

People everywhere, all have a reason to exist.
I alone am thickheaded, and seem unrefined.
I alone differ from people and treasure being fed by the Mother.



The all-embracing action of the soul displays itself the same as the Tao to be followed.

The Tao acts on things entirely elusively and inexplicably.

Inexplicable! Elusive! Its center has form.

Inexplicable! Elusive! Its center has substance.

Deep! Mysterious! Its center contains the life force.

Its life force is very genuine, it can be tested.

Throughout the ages its presence has never ceased.

Witness all things of creation.

How I know all things of creation is through this.



Yield to be whole.
Curl in order to straighten.

Empty in order to be filled.
Grow old in order to be renewed.

Reduce in order to receive.
Excess creates confusion.

The sage embraces unity to become Heaven belowís (the sacred body's) example.

They do not display themselves, which allows them to shine.
They do not see themselves as being right, which allows them to be outstanding.

They do not show off, which allows them to be rewarded.
They are not arrogant, which allows them to endure.

It is precisely because the masters do not resist Heaven below that no one is able to contest them.

The ancients said yield to be whole.
How can these words possibly be hollow?
True wholeness will be preserved and return to its original state.



Scatter your words spontaneously.
Gusty winds do not outlast the dawn.
Torrential rains do not outlast the sun.
Why does Heaven Earth (nature) do this?

Heaven Earth (nature) honors the power of change.
Is it less so for people?
You need to pursue your activities through the Tao.
The Tao becomes one with the Tao.
The action of the soul becomes one with the action of the soul.
Change becomes one with change.

Become one with the Tao and enjoy the benefits of the Tao.
Become one with the action of the soul and enjoy the benefits of the action of the soul.
Become one with change and enjoy all the benefits of change.

Faith is never enough! Be in the place of change, not in the place of faith.



On tiptoes, they cannot be steady.
When they straddle something, they cannot go forward.

Self-display is not the light.
Self-righteousness is not outstanding.

Boasting about yourself is not of service.
Praising yourself cannot endure.

From the point of view of the Tao this is called excessive consumption and redundant actions.
All beings will detest this.

One who follows the Tao does not dwell in excessive consumption and redundant actions.



The substance that arose from the chaos is whole.
Before Heaven and Earth were born there was stillness! Formlessness!
Alone, poised, not yet changed.
Then it went out everywhere unhindered.
It then became Heaven below's (the sacred body's) mother.

We still know it by the name of the one.
The philosopher, they speak of the Tao.
Forced to create a name, I name it the great.

The great is called far reaching.
Far reaching, it is known to go far away.
Far away, it is known to return.

Thus the Tao is great, Heaven is great, Earth is great, the nobility of humanity is great.
Within the universe there exist four great directions and the nobility of humanity dwells there in the unity of the one.
Humanity emulates the Earth, the Earth emulates the Heavens, the Heavens emulate the Tao, and the Tao emulates itself.



Being solid creates a lighthearted foundation.
Unresponsive stillness makes an agitated master.

The sages all day go forward and do not separate themselves from their heavy load.

Though they have beautiful perception, they stay calm in an undisturbed manner.

Their resources are what a master of ten-thousand chariots has, yet they are a person who moves lightly in Heaven below (the sacred body).

Disregard follows the loss of their foundation.
Restlessness follows the loss of this master.



Good practices leave no trace of a rut.
Good words do not find fault.
Good plans are not calculated.
Good doors have no bolt or bar, yet cannot be opened.
Good bindings have no ties, yet cannot be loosened.

The sage is always good at embracing people because they do not abandon people.
They are always good at embracing all of life because they do not reject anything.
This is called following the light.

The good person is the bad personís teacher.
The bad person is the good personís lesson.

When the student does not value their teacher, they become cunning and very confused. They cannot cherish their lessons.
This is called the essential mystery.



Know your masculine.
Maintain your feminine.
Act in Heaven below's (the sacred body) valley.
Act in Heaven below's valley.
The eternal action of the soul does not divide or separate.
Return and revert to your original state like that of a new born child.

Know your purity.
Observe your evil.
Become an example of Heaven below.
Become an example of Heaven below.
The eternal action of the soul does not falter.
Return and revert to the origin through the highest emptiness.

Know your beauty.
Observe your shame.
Act in Heaven below's empty spaces.
Act in Heaven below's empty spaces.
Eternal action of the soul is enough.
Return and restore the purity of uncarved wood or uncut jade.

Purity* disperses and becomes the vessel.
The sage uses it and becomes an enduring leader.
Hence great rulers do no harm
* Purity: Energy from the Source of all creation.



If you have deep-seated desires to control Heaven below (the sacred body) and manipulate it, you will see that you do not benefit!

Heaven below is a sacred vessel that cannot be manipulated!
Manipulation destroys it.
Seizing it separates you from your reason for existence.

Sometimes you will progress, sometimes you will imitate.
Sometimes you will breath out, sometimes you will breathe in.
Sometimes you will be strong, sometimes you will be weak.
Sometimes you will break, sometimes you will be broken.

This is why the sage rejects extremes, rejects extravagances, and rejects excesses.



With the Tao guiding the people the rulers do not have a reason to use weapons and violence.
Heaven below's (sacred body's) activities will return to the highest degree.

The master knows when to stop, for brambles and thorny bushes live there.
Great battles are postponed, or surely there would be disaster for years.
The results are good when one does not venture to rule by force.

They succeed yet do not brag.
They succeed yet do not destroy.
They succeed yet are not arrogant.
They succeed yet do not possess!
They succeed yet do not overpower.

Life flourishes and then decays.
This is sometimes spoken of as not the Tao.
Not the Tao is when life ends before its time.



Those who are superior at warfare do not have good fortune.
They are likely to be detested.

The emergence of the Tao does not stop.
The honorable ruler dwells in and emulates this (the Tao) because they favor the left side.
Using weapons emulates and favors the right side.
Weapons are not a blessing and are not useful.
The honorable ruler does not obtain these instruments! Yet they still can function.
Tranquility and quiet become supreme.

Conquering has no beauty because it is as if you rejoice and delight at the slaughter of people.
Truly to rejoice at the killing of people means you will not be able to fulfill your ambitions for Heaven below (the sacred body)!

Joyful activities add to the left side.
Cruel activities add to the right side.
The person who acts from below will approach the battle and dwell in the left side.
The person who acts from above will approach the battle and dwell in the right side.

Speak as though performing funeral rites.
Killing causes the people to grieve and weep with sorrow.
Tremble at victory because life will be like a funeral ceremony.



The Tao is eternal and not named.
Even though simple and subtle, no one in Heaven below (the sacred body) can rule over it!

When all people can sustain it, ten-thousand things (everything) will naturally honor it as they would honor a guest.
Heaven and Earth are mutually joined and drip with sweet dew.
The people are without laws and are naturally in harmony.

When rules began, their names emerged.
From their names, exhaustion emerged.

The master will recognize that in which the mind rests, and knows that when the mind rests there is no danger.

They compare this to the Tao's presence in Heaven below.
It resembles the valley streams that become the great rivers that flow into the sea.



Recognize that people naturally know.
Knowing the light sustains humanity.

This naturally emerging force overcomes violence.
Knowing the light provides strength in action.

Resolve to not separate from it.
The light is enduring.

Death is not the end.
The light is immortal.



The great Tao is the cycle of life!
It can move to the left and to the right.*
Ten-thousand things (everything) rely upon it and it gives birth and does not refuse.

It deserves praise for the whole which cannot be named.
It clothes and nourishes ten-thousand things and does not act like a ruler.
It is always without deep seated desires.

Its name is associated with everything including the small.
Ten-thousand things revert to their original state, and from that place do not act as rulers.

The Name** becomes great because until the end, it is not great and does not act great.
Thus it can succeed in its greatness.
* Left and right = Being to the right of the ruler was considered a place of honor. Being to the left of the ruler was considered second best.

**The Name = The universe becoming conscious of itself through its human form.



Take hold of and follow Heaven below's (the sacred body's) elephant*.
Follow and there will be no loss, quiet peace is in abundance.
Food and music will make passing strangers stop.

The Tao that goes forth by words is tasteless!
It is without taste.
Those who think about it cannot see it.
Those who listen for it cannot hear it.
Use it and it can never be exhausted.
* Elephant: a symbol of strength, peace and abundance.



To be at peace with your deep-seated desires, you surely must expand.
To soften your deep-seated desires, you surely must be vigorous.
To give up your deep-seated desires, you surely must flourish.
To deprive your deep-seated desires, you surely must give of yourself.
This is called the mystery of the light.

The gentle and the yielding overcome the hard and the forceful.
Force cannot separate you from your watery abyss (deep-seated desires).
The community's acquisitions cannot help you to know yourself.



The Tao is eternal not doing (wu wei) yet does everything.
When all people can uphold it, ten-thousand things (everything) will naturally evolve.

When I am influenced by deep-seated desires, I will restrain them without naming them in order to keep my purity.

By focusing on the uncarved block of wood or the uncut jade, the master will be without deep-seated desires.
Without deep-seated desires there is tranquility in Heaven below (the sacred body) and peace follows.



The person who acts from above does not have access to the action of their soul.
The action of the soul is positive.
The action of the soul emerges from below.*
The action of the soul does not abandon.
The action of the soul is positive because of its emptiness.
The action of the soul is supreme.
The action of the soul is not doing (wu wei) and uses not doing.
The action of the soul comes from below and emerges because of its actions.

Humanity acts from above and this action is the opposite of not doing.
Righteousness from above emerges because of these actions.
Then rules of behavior come from above and no one responds.
Those who act from above seize the arms of the people and apply force.

When you are separated from the Tao, you are separated from the action of your soul.
Next you abandon humanity.
When you abandon humanity, you lose your heart.
Rules of behavior follow the loss of your heart.
Truly, rules of behavior that are faithfully and loyally followed are superficial and the first sign of discord.

Know the Tao's splendor.
Folly is the place to begin to know it.
This is the reason for its greatness.
The revered master dwells in the substance and does not stay with its husk.
Stop to make it solid.
Do not inhabit that which is embellished with ornaments.
Your purpose is to discard the latter and take hold of the former.
* You must be below to receive the the gifts of others as the ocean is below the rivers to receive the gifts of the rivers.



In ancient times there was unity.
Heaven benefited from unity and became pure.
Earth benefited from unity and became stabilized.
The soul benefited from unity and became divine.
The valleys benefited from unity and became bountiful.
Ten-thousand things (everything) benefited from unity and were born.
All people benefited from unity and became Heaven belowís (the sacred body's) high principle.
They achieved this.

Without purity, fear would split Heaven apart.
Without solidity, fear would cause the Earth to crumble.
Without divinity, fear would shut down the soul.
Without abundance, fear would deplete the valleys.
Without birth, fear would cause the ten-thousand things to perish.
Without taking in hand their exalted treasure, fear would cause the people to stumble.
Thus, value is rooted in humble action.
High positions are humble and form the foundation.
When people say orphans and widows are not worthy, it surely is not the root of humble action.
Surely not!

Therefore, looking for praise does not bring success.
Do not desire to sparkle, sparkle like a jewel.
Instead, resemble a necklace, a necklace of rocks.



Return to your true nature, the movement of the Tao.
The way of the Tao is gentle.

Ten-thousand things (everything) and Heaven below (the sacred body) were born from its existence.
Existence was born from nonexistence (the Source).



The master who acts from above strains to listen to the Tao, and becomes exhausted.
The master who acts from the middle hears the Tao very faintly, and then loses it.
The master who acts from below hears the Tao and laughs greatly.
Those who are unable to laugh will not have enough of a reason to practice the Tao.

Thus we can say:
The luminous Tao seems dark.
The advancing Tao seems to retreat.
The smooth Tao appears flawed.
The highest action of the soul seems empty.

Great purity appears degraded.
Abundant action of the soul appears to not be enough.
Stable action of the soul appears to be unsteady.
Simple truth seems fickle.

It is the great square that has no corners.
It is the great vessel that is not complete.
It is the great music that has no sound.
It is the great elephant that has no form.

The Tao is hidden without a name.
Yet for these exact reasons the Tao is good and completes.



The Tao gives birth to one.
The one gives birth to two.
The two gives birth to three.
The three gives birth to ten-thousand things (everything).

Ten-thousand things carry the yin (the physical) and hold the yang (the spiritual) within.
The collision of these two vital forces (the chi) creates the totality that is humanity.

Widows and orphans can connect Heaven, Humanity and Earth.
The ministers who disdain them make titles for themselves.

Sometimes things decrease and there is a gain.
Sometimes with an increase, there is a loss.

The lessons of others are also my lessons.
The lessons of the forceful and aggressive do not create the necessary death.
I receive each lesson, thus making it a beginning.



Heaven below (the sacred body) has perfect flexibility and moves like a galloping horse.
Heaven below has perfect strength.

Not being penetrates emptiness.
I perceive not doing (wu wei) as the means to advance.
Not speaking is its philosophy.

Not doing benefits the world.
Heaven below soundlessly reaches for it.



Your body or your appearance, which do you love?
Your body or wealth, which is worth more?
Gain or loss, which is more difficult?

Excessive love surely creates great expense.
The more you hoard, the more you have to lose.

Know contentment, not disappointment.
Know how to stop before there is exhaustion.
You can thus last long.



Great perfection is with imperfection.
Its use is not impaired.

Great fullness is with emptiness
Its usefulness is not exhausted.

Great truth is with inaccuracies.
Great skill is with limitations.
Great oratory is with stammering.

Movement overcomes cold.
Stillness overcomes heat.
The act of pure tranquility guides Heaven below (the sacred body).



When Heaven below (sacred body) is with the Tao, galloping horses* are curbed and used to haul dung.
When Heaven below does not have the Tao, war horses breed on sacred ground.

There is no greater misfortune than not knowing contentment.
There is no greater downfall than having deep-seated desires.
Know contentment. Your contentment is always enough!
* The galloping horse is the symbol of sanctity, power and outstanding achievement of a nation.



Without going out the door, you can know Heaven below (the sacred body).
Without looking through a window, you can see Heavenís Tao.
The more you go away from yourself, the less you perceive.

The sage does not go out, yet knows;
does not look, yet names;
does not do, yet finishes.



You will benefit when you let the sun come through the covered mind.
Align with the Tao every day and your effort diminishes, diminishes, and diminishes.
Hence you reach a state of not doing (wu wei), not doing, and nothing but not doing.

Always without trying, take hold of Heaven below (the sacred body).
When you stop trying, you will be able to take hold of Heaven below.



The sage has the emptiness of the eternal center.
Thus the center of the hundred families (all families) becomes the center.

Goodness - people are good.
Those who are not good - they are also good because the action of their soul is good.

Trust - people can be trusted.
Those who cannot be trusted - they can also be trusted because the action of their soul can be trusted.

The sage lives peacefully in Heaven below (the sacred body).
The peaceful action of Heaven below is like an ocean at its center.
The sage is like a child ready to smile at everyone.



The Source gives life and penetrates death.*

Life is a companion to the four directions that exist within Heaven, Humanity and Earth.
Death is a companion to the four directions that exist within Heaven, Humanity and Earth.
People are born, live, and die, on earth, also as companions to the four directions that exist within Heaven, Humanity and Earth.

What is the purpose?
To give life.
To give life abundantly.

Indeed, we have heard of people who are good at sustaining life.
On land they travel and do not encounter rhinoceroses.
Tigers enter the battlefield and they do not need to wear armor or carry weapons.
Rhinoceroses have no place to butt with their horns.
Tigers have no place to put their claws.
Soldiers have no place to thrust their blades.

How can this be so?
Because of the not-dying** Earth.
* The life force energy from the Source penetrates what is dead and brings it more alive.
** Not-dying means the absence of death, as not-doing means the absence of doing.



The Tao gives life to them.
The action of the soul nourishes them.
The material world shapes them.
Circumstances perfect them.

The ten-thousand things (everything) all honor the Tao and favor the action of the soul.
They revere the Tao.
The action of the soul is their treasure.

Above all, it is without destiny, yet always is as it is.
Hence, the Tao gives life to them.

The action of the soul

- gives birth to them
- sustains them
- nurtures them
- protects them
- prepares them
- feeds them
- shelters them

- gives them life and does not possess them
- acts and does not presume
- develops and does not rule

This is called the mystery of the action of the soul.



Heaven below (the sacred body) has a beginning that was made by Heaven belowís mother.
When the mother finished, she recognized her child.
When she recognized her child, she held it again.
Till the end the body is not in danger.

Close your openings, shut your gates, to the end of your days your body will not be exhausted.
Open your mouth, meddle in your affairs, to the end of your days, your body will not be taken care of.

Recognize that what is subtle is called the light.
Put its brilliance to use.

Return to the original state of the light.
The body is not in danger.
This is called the eternal practice.



Because I lack importance, I have perception.
I walk with the glorious Tao.
I dread straying from its path.

The path of the great Tao is deceptively smooth and the people are liable to take side paths.
Palaces will have excess splendor.
Fields will have excess weeds.
Granaries will be very empty.
People will be dressed in elegant clothes.
People will have excessive food and drink.
They will have a surplus of wealth and possessions.
This is called stealing and exaggeration, not the Tao!



If it is well established, it cannot be uprooted.
If you skillfully embrace it, it will not leave.
For generations, yearly offerings to it have not ceased.

Cultivate it in your body.
The action of the soul is then real.

Cultivate it in the family (clans).
The action of the soul is then in surplus.

Cultivate it in the village.
The action of the soul lasts a long time.

Cultivate it in the country.
The action of the soul is in abundance.

Cultivate it in Heaven below (the sacred body).
The action of the soul is universal.

The body recognizes the body.
The family recognizes the family.
The village recognizes the village.
The country recognizes the country.
Heaven below recognizes Heaven below.

How do I perceive Heaven below being so?
I perceive it through this.



Embody the action of the soul in its fullness.
Join with it to be as open as a newborn infant.

The bee, scorpion, serpent, and snake, will not bite.
Wild animals will not attack.
Birds of prey will not strike.
Even with weak bones and tender muscles you will be able to stand firm.

It does not know male-female union, yet the whole comes into being.

The life force is at its height!
You can cry all day and you are not hoarse.
Harmony is at its height!

You know that harmony is known as the eternal.
You know that the eternal is called the light.
The increase in your life force is a blessing.

Directing the chi with your mind is violent.
Things overdevelop, which is followed by exhaustion.
This is not the Tao.
What is not the Tao soon ends.



One who knows, does not speak.
One who speaks, does not know.

Shut your mouth.
Close your gates.
Blunt your sharpness.
Unravel your tangles.
Harmonize your brilliance.
Join with your dust.
This is called the mystery of the One (the Source).

You will not be possessed by love.
You will not be possessed by hate.

You will not be possessed by profit.
You will not be possessed by loss.

You will not be possessed by honor.
You will not be possessed by disgrace.

This makes Heaven below (the sacred body) a treasure.



Connect Heaven and Earth to govern the country.
Disconnect Heaven and Earth to use your weapons.

By means of not working, you can take hold of Heaven below (the sacred body).
I know this to be so!

In Heaven below, excess restrictions and prohibitions increase poverty.
People have an excess of sharp weapons, the country's families are in great disorder.

If people are more skillful at being cunning, more abnormal things arise.
Law and order become more and more prominent.
Robbers and thieves appear.

Thus the sage speaks:

I practice not doing (wu wei) and the people naturally transform.
I welcome peace and the people naturally create a connection between Heaven and Earth.
I do not interfere and the people are naturally wealthy.
I am without desires and the people are naturally pure like uncarved wood or uncut jade.



When the government is dull, dull, the people are pure, pure.
When the government is sharp, sharp, the people are broken, broken.

Bad fortune! There is good fortune to lean on.
Good Fortune! There is bad fortune concealed within it.

Who can know the end?
There is no normal.
The normal, in turn, becomes the abnormal.
The good, in turn, becomes evil.

The people are confused and try many paths.
The sun is strong and enduring.

The sage is square* and the corners do not injure.
They have corners and do not pierce.

They have truth and do not overreach.
They have the light that does not blind.
* The square is the planar form of the cube which is the Platonic Solid that represents the energetic structure of SoulType 4.



Heaven governs humanity's affairs and resembles the harvest.
For this reason the master is frugal and is correct to call for morning clothes.

Morning clothes show the importance of accumulating soulful experiences.
The important accumulation of soulful experiences emulates emptiness.
It does not control.
Emptiness that does not control follows no one.
Experiencing this is the highest.
Not experiencing this causes the emergence of rulers, the emergence of kingdoms.

The mother is able to long endure which shows a deep foundation.
The strengthened foundation increases life and brings an enduring recognition of the Tao.



Govern a great state as carefully as you would fry a small fish.
The Tao can govern Heaven below (the sacred body).

You are lost in a field without direction when you are not with your soul.
Surely being lost in a field without direction happens when you are not with your soul.

The soul does not enter the people like an arrow.
The soul surely does not enter the people like an arrow.

The sage does not enter the people like an arrow.
Both together will not enter the people like an arrow.

The action of the soul unifies and restores the path, indeed.



A great state lies below the river and unites with Heaven below (the sacred body).

Heaven below is female.
The female is eternal and tranquil which sustains the male.

Through peacefulness and acting below, a great country has the means to receive a petty country.
Thus they can govern a petty country.

By means of being below, a great country thus governs itself.
The capacity to be below is the means to govern.

A great country's tendency is to unite and nourish the people.
A petty country's tendency is to penetrate the people's activities.
Above all, they both have a tendency.
For the great it is proper to act below.



The ten-thousand things (everything) follow the Tao.
Its mystery is the good person's treasure.
It protects the bad person.

Pleasing words can be used to sell.
Honorable actions bring people together.
Why reject the essence of people who are not good?

The emperor who appoints three ministers to bring precious jade preceded by a team of four horses is not equal to the stillness of advancing the Tao.

We honor the Tao because it came first.
Does it not say that those who seek to attain reality can thus free themselves from wrongdoing?
Thus the act of becoming human is Heaven below's (the sacred body's) treasure.



Act without doing (wu wei).
Work without working.
Taste without tasting.
Great is small, more is less.
Respond to hatred with the action of your soul.

Deal with the difficult by becoming one (with the source).
Easily become great through the exquisite.

The difficult endeavors of Heaven below (the sacred body) flourish through ease.
Heaven belowís great endeavors arise from the exquisite.

Until their last day, the sage does not act great, hence can accomplish great things.

To condemn the inarticulate diminishes trust.
Changing places (becoming one with) becomes very difficult.
By means of resembling the difficulty, the sage is free of difficulty until the end of their days.



That which is content is easy to hold.
That which does not manifest easily is a scheme.
That which is delicate is easy to dissolve.
That which is mysterious is easy to disperse.

Practice and do not possess.
Govern through not creating discord.
Join and embrace a tree as it grows from a tiny seedling.
A tower of nine stories rises from the Earth.
A thousand li* journey begins when you are sufficiently connected to the Earth.

Those who do, destroy.
Those who seize, lose.

The sages practice not doing (wu wei) and do not destroy.
They do not seize and they do not lose.

The people pursue their worldly affairs, and are often near success, and yet they fail.
When they are as careful to the end as they are in the beginning they will not fail in their worldly affairs.

The sages desires are not deep-seated desires.
They do not value difficult-to-obtain treasures.
They study not studying.
They can help ten-thousand things (everything) naturally and do not venture to act.
* Li=1/3 mile



The ancients were excellent in the practice of the Tao.
It was surely not only because they were of the light, but because they were able to receive the people's folly.

People are difficult to govern because of their extreme cunning.
Therefore cunning governs the rulers of the country.
They are thieves.
When cunning does not govern the rulers of the country, there is good fortune.
Recognize both of these.

Always pay attention to the way the master speaks of the mysterious action of the soul.
The mysterious action of the soul is deep! Distant!
Join with its substance and return!
After this great harmony is at its height.



Great rivers and seas can rule the hundred valleys because they are positioned below to receive the water.
In this way, they rule the hundred valleys.

The people are positive that their deep-seated desires are of the highest nature and justify them with inferior speech.
Deep-seated desires began for people when the body was put second.

There is a reason the sages do not engage with or give weight to the people's deep-seated desires.
They stop in front of the deep-seated desires and the people do not suffer (from their own deep-seated desires).

This is because Heaven below (the sacred body) is joyfully supported and not beyond its limits.
Accordingly it does not compete.
Therefore, Heaven below is without the ability to join with the deep-seated desires and compete.



All people of Heaven below (the sacred body) call the Tao great because it does not resemble anything.
The masters are great because they do not resemble anything.
The Tao is barely visible.
It endures!
It is exquisite!

The master says, "I have three treasures. I hold and protect them."
One is called compassion.
Two is called moderation.
Three is known as not presuming to venture ahead of Heaven below.

Compassion gives you the power to be courageous.
Moderation gives you the power to be generous.
Not presuming to venture ahead of Heaven below gives you the power to succeed in expanding your vessel (body).

Nowadays people:
- forsake compassion to be daring.
- forsake moderation to be abundant.
- forsake, postpone, and soon die!

Through compassion the master can fight to overcome.
By holding firm to this, heaven takes them in hand and takes care of them.
Compassion protects them.



The good actions of the masters* are not warlike or aggressive.
A skillful battle does not include anger.
To skillfully defeat an enemy, do not join them in their anger.

Employ people well by staying below them.
The action of the soul is called employing peopleís strengths.
This is called complying with Heavenís ancient perfection.
* The person who knows all from 1-10.



From using force a saying emerges: I dare not act like a ruler, but instead I must act like a guest.
Do not venture an inch when you can withdraw a foot.
This is called progress without progressing.

Seize without seizing.
Apply force to no opponent.
Manage without weapons.

There is no greater calamity than disregarding the enemy.
Disregarding your enemy brings you close to the death of what you treasure.

When two armies meet and inspect each other, grieve for the winner!



Their sayings are very easy to know and very easy to practice in Heaven below (the sacred body).

Without the power to perceive, without the power to progress;
Speech arises from your past.
Deeds are exalted.
For this exact reason the master knows emptiness.
This is the reason they are not recognized.

Know their soundlessness.
Emulate them.
Treasure the sage who wears coarse clothes and hides their jewels.



Know not knowing.
Those above do not know knowing.
For this reason they are sick.
Sickness, use your sickness as the means to get well.

The sage is not sick, because they use the one.
Sickness, use your sickness as the means to get well.



When people are not afraid of the power of the Tao then the great power will be at its height.

The vessel (body) will not be restricted.
Inhabit a vessel free of restrictions.
It gives life.
For this exact reason the masters do not go beyond their limits.

They do not go beyond their limits.
The sage naturally perceives and does not have opinions.
They naturally express humanity in their actions and do not give preference to themselves.
They are able to discard giving preference to themselves and take hold of expressing humanity in their actions.



Being rash in your courage is like killing.
Not being rash in your courage supports life.
Of these two, one supports Heaven, the other does not.

People who are in an ugly-hearted place, what do they know?
The sages are correct to watch for this difficulty.Heavenís Tao:
- does not compete and excels at overcoming.
- does not use words and has good answers.
- does not summon yet spontaneously attracts.
- has a patient manner, yet is good at laying plans.

Heavenís net is vast, wide, and open, and nothing is lost.



If people are not afraid to die, why would you use death to threaten them?

If you make people constantly fear death, and seize the dishonest ones and kill them, who would dare to do the killing?
An official would do the killing.
The one who kills is like the person who takes the place of the great artisan who created the universe.
Whomever takes the place of this great artisan rarely escapes injuring their own hand!



The people are starving because those who come from above are consuming their tax grain.
Their consumption is the reason for starvation.
The people find this way of ruling difficult because it comes from above.

It is radiance around death that enables you to pursue coming forth.
Generosity is the basis for your radiance around death.
For the reason of not having a reason, the master comes forth in life.
The act of becoming is worthy through the exalted act of coming forth.



When people are born, they are soft and yielding.
When people die, they are stiff and unyielding.

Ten-thousand things (everything) like grass and trees, when they are born, they are soft and supple.
When they die, they are rigid and dry.

Stiffness and unyielding are deathís companions.
Softness and yielding are lifeís companions.

Unyielding armies will not win.
Unyielding trees become weapons.

Great strength dwells below.
Weakness dwells above.



Heaven's Tao is similar to drawing a bow.
A bow joins the high that is brought down, with the low that is lifted up.
Surplus decreases.
Deficiency is supplemented.

Heavenís Tao reduces a surplus and replenishes a deficiency.
Humanity's Tao is not like the following: There is not enough, therefore give to those who have a lot.
Who is able to have abundance and serve Heaven below (the sacred body)?
Only those who have the Tao.

The sage does their work and does not expect a reward.
They complete their work and do not stop.
They do not have deep-seated desires to show that their actions exceed others'.



Heaven below (the sacred body) is not as soft and yielding as water, yet can take on the rigid and violent.
Without its (the sacred body's) ability to overcome the rigid and the violent, it is nothing.

It replaces violence with gentleness.
It overcomes violence.
Tenderly it overcomes the unyielding.
Without knowing this, no one in Heaven below can progress.

The sages speak of guarding the community:

Dishonor comes from making sacrifices to the gods.
Preserve the community, not its omens.
It is correct to speak of Heaven below as what connects Heaven,
Humanity and Earth.
The words of the person who sacrifices backfire.



If you agree with great hatred surely there will be a surplus of hatred.
How are you then able to act with virtue?

The sage holds the left side of the contract* and does not make claims on the people.
They have the action of the soul which takes charge of their contract.
Without the action of the soul the contract would be unfulfilled.

The heavenís Tao is not personal.
It is eternally on the side of the person's goodness.
* The left side was the position below or the position of debtor.



A petty country diminishes the people.
They possess ten times a hundred workers and yet do not use them.
They control the people by giving weight to death and the people do not move away.

Rather than owning boats and carriages, be free of a reason to ride in them.
Rather than being in armies and displaying weapons, be free without a reason for them.
Thus the people return to being continuously united and employed.
They will enjoy their food.
They will delight in their clothes.
They will be content with their homes.
They will enjoy their everyday lives.
Neighboring communities visit and help each other.
Both will listen together to the calls of each others' dogs and roosters.

At its height the people grow old and die without a reason to inspect each other.



Believing in words is not good.
Good words are not believed.

Skillful people do not dispute.
Those who dispute are not skillful.

Knowing it is not the same as wide learning.*
Wide learning is not the same as knowing.

The sage does not hoard.
Because they work for others, they have more.
Having shared with people, they have abundance.

Heavenís Tao is sharp, and does not injure.
The sage's Tao becomes, and does not compete.
* Wide learning=Metabolizing experiences in the body

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