Tao Te King
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The Tao that can be named is not the absolute Tao.
The name that can be uttered is not the name of the Eternal.
As the unmanifest it is the origin of heaven and earth; manifest it is the mother of all beings.
Whoever free from attachment looks inward with detachment attains the vision of the Unmanifest; whoever is ego-bound and clings to greed sees but the outer show.
The Manifest and the Unmanifest although different in name are one in essence.
This unity is the mystery of the Tao the unfathomable of the primordial ground the starting point of all manifestation.
The whole world knows: when beauty tries to be beautiful it changes into ugliness by that very fact.
The whole world knows: when kindness tries to appear kind it changes into unkindness by that very fact.
So close are Being and Non-Being that one arises from the other.
So suddenly easy becomes difficult short becomes long high becomes low loud becomes soundless the first becomes the last.
That is why the Sage strives to act without action to teach without speaking.
He lets things happen and does not try to stay them.
He labors and is not greedy.
He acts and does not demand anything.
He receives and does not retain anything.
Not boasting of merit and not stressing cleverness thus one prevents jealously and quarrels.
Not concerned about possessions and not overestimating valuables thus one avoids greed and theft.
Not considering anything outside as desirable thus one prevents anxiety and discord inside.
Likewise the Awakened One:
He renders men's hearts desireless thereby opening them to abundance.
He decreases their craving thereby increasing their power of realization.
He teaches them to put the inner above the outer to value wisdom higher than knowledge not to act from the outside but from the unmovedness of their inner being.
Thus practicing non-action they find peace and realize:
Through non-action nothing remains undone.
Unfathomable in its depth Tao is the primordial ground of all life.
Because it is empty it is the origin of fullness and remain while producing fulfillment forever unmoved and unfilled.
Empty it is the primordial matrix and center of all beings.
It softens the discord it unravels their entanglement it effaces appearance and unites them in Being.
Because it is still it is inaudible.
Unmoved it is all creative.
Unborn it is older than God.
The universe does not measure according to human standards
It is equally close to everything and pervades everything without distinction.
Likewise the Awakened Man:
He is close to all beings affirming all as holy without exception.
Like a bellows is the universe:
Although empty it does not collapse.
In motion it produces more and more.
Likewise the Sage:
Non-inflated he does not exhaust himself in idle words.
Moved from within he draws and gives from the fullness of the universe.
The depth of the universe is changeless.
Empty it is the Female giving birth in secret.
In motion it is the eternally flowing spring of all Becoming and all things.
Requiring no fertilization it is giving birth without ceasing.
Inexhaustible it is bringing forth abundance.
Heaven and earth are lasting.
That they do not live for themselves that is what gives them duration.
Likewise the Awakened Man:
Because he keeps his self back he advances; because he gives himself he increases; because he is not concerned about himself he is preserved.
That is it: because he is selfless he attains Self-completion.
The Perfect Man is like water:
To all things it readily bestows refreshment and comfort.
Without struggle it fills the depths which man shuns and is closest to the Tao.
Likewise the Perfect Man:
Where he abides he gladly fills his place.
What he has in mind is fathomless goodness.
Where he gives he gives himself desireless.
When he speaks purest truth wells up.
Where he leads he guides through gentleness.
Where he acts he serves all and carries them to abundance.
Where he intervenes he causes balance and peace.
Because he adapts himself without struggle he lives without enmity and resistance.
Better it is to observe moderation than to fill to overflowing.
Impossible it is to use a tool at the same time impossible, too, greedily to accumulate treasures and to be secure at the same time.
For possessions beget possession possession begets arrogance and arrogance disaster.
By observing moderation when his work is completed by keeping back his ego and by shunning fame the wisdom of the Awakened Man is evidenced.
He who knows himself to be one with all in spirit and mind is safe from division and discord.
He who practicing gentleness purifies his senses and soul becomes like a new-born child heir to heaven.
He who striving for clarity looks inside attains insight and the perceptions of truth.
He who leads others through love himself remaining serene brings about order without giving orders.
Since giving and receiving are one to him he opens all the gates of heaven like the maternal World Spirit.
Because he himself is inwardly open everything is open to him without learning.
That he nourishes and sustains without holding that he acts without keeping back and retaining that he leads without dominating: such is the virtue of the Supreme Man.
Thirty spokes meet in one hub
But it upon the empty space the non-existent in the hub that the wheel's usefulness depends.
Kneading clay one moulds vessels of it
But only their hollowness the non-existent makes their filling possible.
With walls from which doors and windows are cut out a house is built
But only its empty space the non-existent gives it its value.
The visible the existent gives form to the work.
The invisible the non-existent gives it essence and meeting.
Light too glaring endangers sight
Noise too loud deafens hearing
Spices too strong spoil taste
Craving for pleasure kills knowledge.
This is why the Awakened Man turns inward and rules the senses.
He lets go what passes
And seizes what lasts.
Fame and shame are equally laden with grief
Good luck and bad luck resemble man's ego.
What does this mean?
Acquire fame and you dread its loss
Lose fame and you are scared of shame.
Both are accompanied by fear both are sources of grief.
Good luck and bad luck arise from man's ego hit man's ego accompany man's ego.
That is why freedom from ego means freedom from fame as well as shame from good luck as well as bad luck freedom from grief.
For I-ness means limitation means to be chained to grief and bound to the world
All-ness is oneness with the limitless is superiority over grief and overcoming of the world.
Not the man who searches and looks for it but one who closes his eyes becomes aware of the invisible.
Not by listening and straining to hear but in serene silence the soundless become audible.
Not by struggling to grasp and comprehend but in calmness and letting-go the incomprehensible reveals itself.
These three one should not do one must be them to realize the One and disbecome in it.
From outside TAO is obscure
Inside there is brightness
To the world of Being it is Non-being to Non-being Suprabeing:
Being behind all appearance
Spirit beyond form the unmoved before and after all movement.
Obscure is its beginning unknowable its ending.
Yet one who neither looks back nor ahead but stopping awakens to the All-presence of the now soars beyond the cycle of Becoming and decaying and returns home to the ONE.
The wise men of old were masters of meditation and one with the One.
Unfathomable was their depth incomprehensible their greatness.
Without attracting attention they acted out of their stillness.
They walked cautiously as though wading through a swollen river.
They were watchful as though it were important not to hurt anyone
reserved like guests from foreign lands
Yielding like snow in the sun
Inconspicuous like uncut wood
Willing and open like a deep valley
And yet obscure and inscrutable like troubled waters ....
Who can clear muddiness and lighten up darkness?
One who in the stillness and the silence clears and illumines itself.
And who can quicken the dregs without stirring them?
The Tao-united man who has emptied himself by letting-go.
Because he has become selfless he bestows life.
He no longer awaits the coming of fullness who has attained perfection.
Emptied of all I-ness you rest in the silent primordial ground of the Self.
Everything living swells to unfoldment
All beings move through change decay and return and disbecoming turn back to their root.
Turning back to their root means return to rest resting means going home to one's destination fulfilling one's destination means becoming aware of one's permanence becoming aware of one's permanence means to be enlightened.
Being enlightened about one's Self means to remain in the cycle of ignorance and subjection to grief.
One who becomes aware of his permanence is wise.
Wise he is just.
Just he is serene.
Serene he is of a heavenly nature.
Of a heavenly nature he is united with Tao.
United with Tao he is eternal.
Thus the circle closes.
Sure of the eternity of his Self the loss of his body leaves him serene.
True leaders are hardly felt less perfect ones find followers and devotion still lesser ones arouse fear and resistance unwise ones reap derision and disdain.
Only he who sows confidence reaps confidence.
The Sage chooses and weighs his words.
Imperceptibly he serves the good and leads to completion and the people feel free.
Separated from the origin there is talk of humaneness and justice.
Where wisdom gives way to smartness cunning and lying appear.
Separated from the All-relatedness and All-union man seeks a substitute in human relationships and family ties.
When consciousness of the unity of mankind vanished clans and peoples and feud without end arose.
Stop your hypocritical smartness and your calculating cunning and the well-being of all creatures will increase.
Stop demanding humaneness and justice and the certainty of oneness will be furthered.
Stop catering to the lust for power and possessions and the danger of theft and loss will disappear.
These three are not attained by regulations and laws but by the return to genuineness and oneness.
Therefore: turn self-seeking into self-discipline and prove yourselves pure then selflessness becomes a matter of course.
Replace knowledge by wisdom and your ignorance and worry will vanish.
Opinion or certainty do you perceive the difference? Following habit or following conscience do you feel the difference?
What all men honor should not be despised.
How else shall the darkening of the souls end?
The masses follow their lusts and desires as though life were a springtime and a feast without end ....
I am standing still serene and desireless like a newborn babe that does not yet smile like a homeless one whom nothing holds back.
The masses have manifold wants and aims
I am unwanting because of my foolish simple heart.
The masses are rolling on hurriedly like the waves of the sea beaming because of the diversity of their learning.
I am unmoved and dark like the depth of the sea.
The masses are busy and chase after progress
I remain in non-action different and alone ....
But the more different and alone the closer to the common All-one am I the closer to the maternal primordial ground of the Tao
The strength and goal of virtue is the imitation of Tao.
Tao invisible intangible is bot origin and essence of everything visible and tangible.
Invisible intangible it contains the germ of all things.
Invisible intangible it is the original source of all powers.
Invisible intangible it is the original nature of all beings.
In it life is rooted in it there is duration.
Beginning power and completion of all is Tao.
By whom was this knowledge imparted to me?
He who surrenders attains completion.
He who bends will endure.
He who empties himself finds fullness.
He who sacrifices himself is renewed.
He who desires nothing attains everything.
He who still craves attains nothing.
Likewise the Awakened Man:
By losing his identity in Tao he becomes a model for the world.
Because he does not try to shine he illumines.
Because he disregards himself he is highly regarded.
Because he wants nothing for himself he is successful.
Because he does not make much of himself he has power.
Because he does not resist nothing resists him.
Not vain talk is the wisdom of the ancients:
"One who surrenders attains completion."
The Awakened Man fulfills it.
Speaking rarely means following nature:
A hurricane does not last all morning a cloudburst not a day.
As these utterances of heaven and earth are of short duration so shouldn't be man's.
For more than outer life and utterance is the inner life:
One who lets Tao act through him is guided by Tao.
One who follows virtue is determined by it.
One who turns outward and follows outer things is determined from outside and has no stability.
If you are one with Tao Tao will serve you willingly.
If you are one with virtue its fruits will falls into your lap.
If you are one with the world your companion is want.
From where your trust flows an answer will be given you.
One who stands on tiptoe does not stand firm.
One who walks astride does not get on
One who tries to shine is not illumined.
One who asserts himself has no importance.
One who throws his weight about carries no weight.
One who exalts himself is no Exalted One.
Such an attitude is of little use to the Tao as refuse is to the preservation of the body.
One who has TAO keeps away from it.
Before heaven and earth arose, the ONE is without a second unmanifest perfect silent unfathomable primordial ground.
Unmoved It is without change and division pervading all yet Itself impervious primordial womb of the world.
Nameless it is the ONE.
I call It: TAO.
Formless It is without attributes.
I name It: the limitless the circle reverting to itself.
Tao is infinite heaven is infinite earth is infinite man is infinite.
There are four infinites one of them is man: his law is the earth the law of earth is heaven the law of heaven is TAO Tao is a law unto Itself.
The weighty guides the light-minded the stilled masters the restless.
Likewise the Sage:
He is anchored in his inner support and preserves his weight
He remains serene even when fame and wealth are calling.
For he who loses his inner support relying on things loses both weight and support.
Without weight he becomes light-minded and restless.
Without support he remains inferior and powerless.
A good traveler needs no noseband, does not trespass
A good speaker makes no promise, causes no opposition
A good reckoner uses no counter and calculation
A good watchman locks without bolt and key yet no one can break in.
Likewise the Sage:
His will to help embraces all never wavers and locks no one out.
His serenity tolerates all never rests, despises and abandons no one.
Enlightened from within he leads all to the Light.
The wise man is the unwise man's teacher and the unwise is the material upon which wise man works.
One who does not value his teacher one who does not love his material misunderstands and misses the way of Tao the way to the mystery of enlightenment.
To be aware of one's male creative power and yet keep to one's female receptiveness is to become a river of life.
As a river of life he is a carrier of virtue and returns home to the security of the childlike state.
To be aware of the Inner Light and yet to keep to the dark is to become a luminary for the world,
As a luminary for the world he returns led from within home to the primordial ground of Suprabeing.
To be aware of one's greatness and nobility and yet keep small and modest is to become a valley floor of life.
As a valley floor of life he finds himself the source of virtue and unites himself with the simplicity of primordial Being.
Where such simplicity spreads it effects the perfecting of man.
The Sage in practicing it guides even the ruling classes without force and injury imperceptibly because self-less.
Winning and controlling the empire by deeds is the way that leads to failure.
Because the empire is a divine vessel not to be grasped and not to be bargained for.
One who tries to seize it does no comprehend it.
One who tries to take it loses it:
He thinks he is getting ahead and is staying behind.
He thinks he is increasing and is dwindling away.
He believes he is strong and reveals his weakness.
He believes he is above others and succumbs.
How different the Sage:
He avoids arrogance and impetuousness.
Instead of doing he accomplishes through non-action.
One who lets himself be guided by Tao rules without force conquers through non-resistance.
Where war rages only thistles and thorns grow great armies are followed by ravage and want.
The Sage conquers without a word.
Without effort without harshness without arming without bragging he rules rightly as an agent of Right.
One who is arrogant and hard soon breaks up because he is Tao-less.
One who is willing and gentle and has Tao has permanence.
Weapons cause pain.
The Sage is against violence
The Tao-filled man has no need of it.
One who lives in peace goes the way of the blessed.
One who takes up arms follows the path of the cursed.
Weapons bring disaster.
The Sage detests them.
How can a victory gladden which brings sorrow and death to others?
Injuring others means losing Tao.
One who follows wisdom goes the way of life and light.
One who chooses arms does the way of death pursued by curse and darkness despair and destruction.
TAO the ONE has no name.
Onefold He is the One in all cause of all motion and manifoldness of the All.
When the leaders are one with Him the people trust and follow them heaven and earth visibly bless their acts and without creating Right they are making men righteous.
When the Onefold unfolds He can be named.
Name, however, is a thing and a limitation and holds the unfolding back.
Yet one who pauses holding on to the One in his heart finds his was to the Absolute to the One in all to the TAO like brooks and rivers to the sea of completion.
He who knows others is clever;
He who knows himself is enlightened.
He who conquers others is strong;
He who conquers himself has might.
A man content with little, is rich.
A man who has a goal, knows his way.
A man who rests within himself, has permanence.
A man who has disbecome, has overcome death.
The Great TAO is all pervading All-present and All-effective.
All beings live out of It.
Never failing It does not refuse Itself to anyone.
It furthers without demanding
And dispenses Right without judging.
That It is undemanding and unattainable is Its nothingness.
That It is All-embracing and intangible is Its greatness.
Likewise the Awakened Man:
That he does not impose his will but lets Tao will through him in his nothingness.
That Tao fills him and acts through him is his greatness.
One who holds fast to the Great Symbol
Gains the whole world
Bestows purest peace
Serenity and bliss.
Yet the hasty wayfarer
Attracted only by outer chars
Tastes Tao and is not aware of it
Sees Tao and does not perceive it
Listens to Tao and does not hear it.
Grasps and holds it
Is grasped by the permanent
And attains duration.
What is to shrink must first inflate itself.
What is to become weak must first become strong.
What is to fall must first arise.
If you would receive practice giving.
That is what I call the law of reversion: by yielding, the soft conquers the hard the weak, the strong spirit, force.
TAO does not do anything and yet leaves nothing undone.
Where the rulers do the same all will turn out for the best.
And where the manifoldness of cravings and desires stirs attachment to the ONE will tame them.
Attachment to the ONE makes man desireless
Desireless produces calm
Calm produces order.
Teh true virtue does not intend to be virtuous
That is why it is right and leads to completion.
Virtue eager to be known as virtuous is useless.
True virtue is at work invisibly without intention and without action.
Where there is intention and action in the visible there is cleverness but not virtue.
Goodness is at work but without calculation and intention.
Justice is at work calculates and has intentions.
Morality is at work calculates and meets resistance with force.
If the essential thing is missing the oneness with TA resort to virtue.
If the spontaneity of virtue is missing find support in goodness.
If goodness is lacking be just.
If the feeling for Right is missing only morality remains ....
Morality is outer-only virtue without a link with the inner leading to unreality, and useless for man's completion.
That is why the Sage turns to the essential thing inward instead of outward to the kernel instead of the shell to Being instead of appearance and letting-go all striving becomes a serene carrier of the virtue of the Tao.
All living things live by the Light of Oneness.
From it heaven receives its brightness earth its stability mind its insight space its fullness life its fertility and the leader his model.
If the Light of Oneness did not blaze in everything heaven would lose its brightness earth its stability mind its insight space its fullness life its fertility and the leader his model.
That is why the Sage lives consciously by the Light of Oneness like the crown of the tree out of the root.
That is why the leaders call themselves servants of the people remembering the onefoldness of the One guided by the spirit of Oneness.
Back to the source the way and motion of Tao are leading Non-action is its will and essence.
All creatures and things arise from Being but Being is rooted in Non-Being.
The wise man hearing of Tao follows him.
Less wise men hearing of Tao turn to him and again turn away fro him.
Unwise men hearing of Tao laugh at him.
To fools the highest can appear but foolish.
To them the saying applies:
One enlightened by Tao looks dark advancing toward the Tao he seems to go backward.
His wisdom looks like error his being filled with Tao like emptiness.
His virtue looks useless his kindness like stupidity.
Because Tao is his support he seems to have no support.
Because he rests quietly within himself he has a disquieting effect.
Because he does not calculate he appears incalculable.
For the invisible cannot be grasped the infinite cannot be measured the eternal cannot be fathomed the primordial ground cannot be probed.
Although it is the origin and completion of all beings Tao is hidden and without a name.
Out of Tao came the One.
The One begot the Two.
Two produced Three.
Out of Three the multiplicity of beings flowed which are appearance outside being inside both united by Spirit.
The masses are afraid of being inside, alone and little.
The few the leaders give preference to it knowing that being-more is less and being-less is more.
Gentleness overcomes rigidity Non-Being penetrates Being In that lies the superiority of non-action.
To persuade without words to win without deeds few in the world succeed.
Name or self what is closer to you?
Being or having what is more to you?
Acquiring or letting go what is better?
If desires and attachment grow Disaster also increases.
For a gain in having means a loss in being.
One who gives up the perishable escapes perishing.
One who stops finds inner support and with it fullness fulfillment and duration.
Right perfection seems imperfect yet abundance flows from it.
Highest fulfillment resembles emptiness yet remaining inexhaustible.
Highest straightness seems devious greatest wisdom sounds foolish and highest eloquence like stuttering ...
As motion conquers cold calmness conquers heat.
Serene action is the gauge of the Sage.
When Tao prevails on earth war-horses pull the plough.
When Tao is lacking cavalry horses trample down the fields.
Nothing is more unwholesome than greedy desires nothing more disastrous than attachment nothing more grievous than greed.
One who is content has always enough.
Without leaving one's house one may know the world.
Without looking out of the window one may perceive the Highest.
One who looks around a great deal loses insight.
That is why the Sage knows without moving about.
He comprehends without looking and completes without doing.
He who strives after learning increases daily.
He who follows his essence decreases daily.
He reduces his doing until not-doing is reached.
By not-doing nothing remain undone.
Because not-doing wins the empire which refuses itself to doing.
The Sage has no heart of his own His heart is beating in all.
Because his being breathes kindness He is equally kind to the good and the not-good.
Because his being breathes openheartedness he is equally open to the sincere and the insincere.
Devoted to the One He remains accessible to all As though they were his children Thereby winning their hearts.
Going forth into life means moving toward death.
Three out of ten affirm this life Three out of ten affirm the life beyond Three out of ten negate this life and fear death.
These nine see but the outer life and fall prey to death.
The tenth, however the Sage moves through the outer life without yea and nay without greed and fear sure of the inner truth.
No external power can stay him no force can destroy him no death can hit him for he is living beyond the realm of death.
Tao gives life to beings Teh preserves them.
Tao shapes them Teh leads them to completion.
No creature therefore that does not revere Tao and love Teh - not in duty bound but of its own accord.
For Tao is the life and support of all their refuge and shield It makes them arise and grow mature and perfect themselves.
It acts without doing It fosters without demanding and guides without commanding.
Such is the mystery of Teh.
The Light-abyss of the Tao is the Mother of all beings.
One who recognizes the Mother knows that he is a child of God.
Aware of his filiation he is on his way home.
Returning home he is lifted out of impermanence.
One who shuts his sense-gates and keeps silent lives without trouble.
But one who turns his senses outward and opens his mouth remains a slave of fear and death.
One who sees the origin in all is enlightened and who like growing things preserves his softness is strong.
One who loses the Inner Light loses nothing at the passing of his body,
Shining in Tao he is heir to the Eternal.
The Sage is living serene and inward Unwise men are busily striving outward.
The one finds gain of Self on the inner Path the masses fall prey to self -seeking on the outer paths.
Gain of Self leads to Tao Self-seeking leads to theft.
What some have too much others lack:
While the fields are lying waste the granaries are bare and want is spreading the possession-possessed build palaces arm themselves with weapons look fine and feast boast of their riches and do not see that their conduct is robbery their property stolen goods not possession of Tao!
One who is rooted in Tao will not be uprooted.
One who is led by Tao will not be misled.
Those who come after him will praise him.
Obey the Tao within you and your Teh your virtue and fitness will increase.
Affirm the Tao in your neighbor and your Teh will promote abundance and cohesion.
Look at the Tao in your community and your Teh will increase harmony and togetherness.
See Tao in your country and your Teh will bring about prosperity and unity.
Advance Tao in the world and your Teh will serve the unification of mankind.
As Tao should be your model you should be a model for your neighbor.
Thus you help to turn them into a model for the community your community into a model for your country your country into a model for the world.
By what do you recognize that the world is in good shape?
By how far you yourself have advanced how far Tao is a model to you.
One who is rich is Teh is like a child.
Insects and snakes wild beasts and birds of prey do not harm him.
His bones are weak his sinews tender but his grip is firm.
Unaware of his sex he nevertheless unfolds his creative power.
Constantly crying and babbling he does not get hoarse for he is one with himself.
To know of one's at-one-ness is being one with the Eternal.
To be one with the Eternal is to be enlightened.
Enjoying life is delusive happiness of separate existence.
Exhausting one's vital powers is delusive strength.
Delusive power of separate existence vanishes soon and decays since it is without All-Being without Tao.
What is Taoless has no duration.
One who knows does not speak One who speaks does not know.
The Sage closes his sense-gates and keeps silent softens discord and solves confusion dims his light and is next to all.
Because he is one with all neither love nor hate can affect him neither profit nor loss neither honor nor disgrace.
That is his nobility.
Honesty governs the empire Cleverness overcomes without weapons Wisdom prevails through non-action.
How do I know this? Because this is how it is:
The more administrations and prohibitions there are the more force and poverty.
The more force and weapons there are the more unrest and resistance.
The more cunning and calculation there are the more craftiness and setbacks.
The more orders are given the more foes of order there are.
Hence the Sage speaks:
I practice non-action and the people do what is right of themselves.
I practice silence and the people calm down.
I practice non-interference and the people attain prosperity.
I practice gentleness and patience and the people attain harmony and simplicity.
The less administration the more beneficial is the harmony.
The more administration the more unpleasant confusion grows.
Trusting letting-go produces agreement and happiness.
Decisive attempt at control causes disagreement and misfortune.
One who does not give thought to what he does turns order into disorder fortune into misfortune enlightenment into blinding and dazzling.
How different is the Sage:
He is just without judging.
He guides without regulating.
He is a model without deforming.
He shines without blinding.
To advance the people and serve Tao nothing is better than serenity.
Serenity is caring foresight that guards against troubles.
It leads to abundance through being filled with Tao which is being superior to every situation.
To be superior means to be without limits to be without limits means to be owner of the empire To be owner of the empire means to be rooted in the limitless to be rooted in the limitless means to have duration.
Thus a firm foundation in the unfathomable immortality and the All-wisdom of the Tao grow out of serenity.
One should rule a country as one prepares a meal: with wisdom.
The more willingly one lets Tao do the less things are mismanaged and spoilt.
The less management the less pressure of forces.
The less forces are pressing the less trouble counter-pressure and resistance there are.
A sage does not press therefore he produces harmony and unity.
The great place themselves low like streams rushing toward the sea which unites in itself rivers and brooks.
As woman conquers man through gentleness winning through surrender the great win the small through service and the small the great.
Service ensures conquest service makes superior.
When the great thus protect the small and advance them and the small willingly serve the whole all are served.
Greatness and oneness both thrive on surrender and are maintained through service.
Tao is a refuge for all beings treasure of the good and support of the not-good.
Words coming form it produce perfection.
Works caused by it, lead to realization.
The not-good, too, it guides to completion.
Mightier than the highest ruler stronger than all those in power more secure than those possessing most is the man who rests in Tao.
That is why Tao has since olden times ranked highest:
Because it is attained by one who surrenders because it saves him who knows that it is the savior Tao of all creation the home and the shelter.
Let your action be non-action your doing letting go your enjoying being free from gain.
See the great as small the many as one and requite hatred with goodness.
Tackle the difficult while it is easy.
Master the big while it is small.
For everything difficult arises from what is easy everything big grows from what is smallest.
Thus, mastering the small the Sage accomplishes the great without acting big.
Since the Sage unbiased sees the end in the beginning the small in the big what is riskiest and hardest becomes easy for him.
Easy it is to guide what is still at rest to forestall what is not yet manifest to bend what is still weak to master what is still small. Therefore, put order into things in their not-yet-being.
Guide in the bud what will later be awkward and unmanageable.
The strongest tree grows from a tiny rootlet the highest house rises from a clod of earth a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.
Interfering disturbs and spoils grasping causes disappearance and loss.
Therefore the Sage:
Not grasping he does not disturb and spoil.
Not interfering he does not lose.
The masses instead busily greedily interfering grasping for plenitude are at an end before completion ...
... They would not fail before the goal if they took care of the beginning as of the end of the small as of the great!
Follow the Sage:
Content with little he does not fail.
Heeding what is unheeded letting things ripen and biding his time he follows the wisdom of non-action and attains what belongs to him.
The old Sages doers of the Tao did not bring to men the multiplicity of learning but taught the simplicity of wisdom.
Because those knowing much are not sure of the goal and hard to lead.
One who tries to advance men by increasing their learning only leads them to perdition.
One who increases their wisdom serves their liberation.
One who considers both is a pointer to the goal and a model.
To be a pointer to the goal means to be a carrier of virtue.
Teh the fullness of virtue wells up from the depth flowing far surmounts ignorance and resistance leading all life to the sea of fulfillment.
The reason why streams and seas rule over rivers and brooks is that they are taking a low position.
Thus they remain lords of abundance.
Likewise the Sage:
He becomes a model for others by keeping in the background.
He leads them upward by keeping glow.
Thus he accomplishes outstanding things without being prominent and produces harmony without causing injury.
Because he does not oppress anybody everybody presses on to him because he is untiring one does not tire of him.
And because he is a master of non-action devoted to all nobody can harm him.
The world calls my TAO great but myself insignificant.
Yes: the clearer TAO manifests the more meaningless the ego becomes.
Worth nothing and without duration is he who wants to rate and be of importance.
Three treasures I guard which endure: the first is compassion the second frugality the third modesty.
Compassion makes me brave frugality generous modesty a carrier of the eternal.
Today the inconsiderate is called brave the spendthrift generous the go-getter progressive ....
They are progressing away from the essential thing toward decay toward death while the compassionate conquer through gentleness remaining in existence through non-resistance.
Heaven fills with compassion those it wants to preserve.
A good manager manages without force a god fighter wins without fighting a good conqueror conquers without struggle a good user of men controls without constraint.
Such is the virtue of non-resistance such is the art of resolving through moderation.
Such is: being like heaven the highest goal of all times.
A man experienced in the struggle for life knows:
Better it is to yield thoughtfully than to provoke thoughtlessly.
Better it is to retreat a foot than to advance an inch.
That is what I call:
To go forward without pushing forward.
To capture without taking.
To hold without keeping.
To conquer without defeating.
He acts disastrously who attacks wantonly since it is easy to tackle and overcome a man who is an advocate of force.
Where two clash the more thoughtful is the victor.
My words are easy to understand still easier to practice and yet they are seldom understood still more seldom practiced.
My words originate in the primordial source and follow the primordial law.
One who does not know this misjudges me.
It is to my honor that few there are who recognize me and understand me.
An awakened man does not shine outside but inside he is Light.
Recognizing one's ignorance is wisdom Not recognizing it and believing that one knows is sickness.
To be tired of this sickness means to be rid of it.
The Sage is free from sickness because he is tired of ignorance.
Therein lies his freedom.
Where reverence disappears among men fear is growing.
Let them therefore self-conscious live in themselves.
Let them awake to their essence strive for the inner life.
Then they will move from the narrowness of the ego into the wide expanse of the Self.
Likewise the Awakened Man:
He knows the Self and puts his ego in the second place.
He loves the Self and thinks little of his ego.
Because he does not hold his ego in high esteem he is upheld by the Highest the Self.
Courage that swells to arrogance and recklessness ends in death.
Courage that wells up from humbleness and gentleness leads to life.
One brings disaster the other liberation.
Yet who pays attention to how heaven evaluates him?
The Sage considers the consequences and follows the way of the TAO.
TAO rules without force commands without commands calls without calls acts without deeds.
Its net of destiny is wide-meshed yet all-embracing and nothing slips through
When people are not afraid of death why threaten them with death?
And when an evil deed is threatened with death who would judge and put to death?
Only one decides about life and death.
He who judges and kills in his place resembles a blind man who wields a hatchet in place of the carpenter and wounds himself.
The people are worn out and wasting away because the authorities use and consume too much.
Therefore the misery of the people.
The people are undisciplined and unruly because the authorities are disciplining and ruling too much.
Therefore the unruliness of the people.
The people take death lightly because the authorities make life hard for them.
Therefore the indifference of the people.
He will guide more wisely and easily who orders and administers less letting the inner order of life prevail.
Man is soft and supple when he is born rigid hard and stiff when he dies.
Grasses and trees are pliant yielding and tender while they are growing dry hard and strong when they disbecome.
That is why rigidity and strength pertain to death softness and tenderness, to life.
One who relies on strength does not conquer.
A strong tree is cut down first.
The strong and hard go down the soft and tender rise.
The way of heaven is like that of an archer:
Without tension he draws his bow so that above approaches below.
He avoids what is unnecessary the ego-effort.
Releasing the arrow he lets the Tao-power take over.
Likeness of heaven whose equanimity equalizes all things.
The way of men is different:
Greedily they increase want and lock abundance out.
The Sage instead possessing Tao accomplishes his work bringing completion to all.
Because he does not hold and retain anything he become a vessel of abundance.
Because he wants to be only a mediator he becomes the center of everything.
Nothing in the world is softer nothing more yielding than water and yet it overcomes the hard and rigid.
Nothing equals it in that.
The soft overcomes the hard the yielding, the rigid and strong.
Yet no one acts accordingly.
A Sage, however, knows and proves it:
He who takes upon himself the suffering of others is their leader.
He who saves others from trouble is the one who is saved.
Truth lies in the paradox.
When a great feud is settled a grudge often remains.
How can it be disspelled?
By putting helping before demanding.
The Sage respects the rights of others practicing putting-up-with getting-along-with, and sharing.
An unwise man knows only demanding and insists on treaties and advantages.
Yet the Tao of heaven knows no favorites forever it gives to the kind man.
A country does well to remain small with few inhabitants who are provided with everything yet need little who love life and do not long to roam afar who have armor and weapons but do not use them who possess culture and scholarship yet prefer the usage and wisdom of the ancients.
Their food is natural yet tasty.
Their clothes are plain yet beautiful.
Their dwellings are simple yet comfortable and peaceful.
Their way of life is free and tolerant and a source of unity and contentment.
Though the neighboring State lies within reach and the effervescence of its life is calling temptingly to them they remain self-sufficient and serene and they grow old in peace free from the desire to stray afar.
True word is not fine fine word is not true.
He who has Tao does not quarrel.
He who has wisdom does not look for learning.
He who looks for learning has no wisdom.
The Sage does not hoard and yet has plenty.
The more he gives to others the more is bestowed on him.
The greater his sacrifice the greater his Self-possession.
That is the nature of heaven: to help without demanding.
That is the nature of the Sage: to accomplish without laboring.