Tao Te King
Isabella Mears, 1916
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Tao that can be expressed is not Everlasting Tao.
The name that can be named is not the Everlasting Name.
The Name, in its inner aspect, is Life-Spring of Heaven and Earth.
The Name, in its outer aspect, is Mother of all created things.
To perceive the mystery of Life, desire always to reach the innermost.
To perceive the limitations of things, desire always to posses them.
These two aspects of Life are One.
In their out-come they become different in Name but in their depth they are One.
In a depth, still deeper yet, is the Door of many mysteries.
All men know the existence of beauty,
Beauty, cleft asunder, is ugliness.
All men know the existence of Love.
Love, cleft asunder, is hatred.
Therefore "possessions" and "Inner Life" interdepend in life.
Difficult and easy interdepend in completeness.
Long and short interdepend in form.
High and low interdepend in alternation.
Tone and voice interdepend in harmony.
Before and after interdepend in sequence.
That is why the self-controlled man
makes it his business to dwell in the Inner Life;
he teaches not by words, but by actions;
he brings all beings into action, he does not refuse them;
he gives them life, but does not possess them;
he acts, but does not look for reward;
he works out perfectness, but claims no credit.
The Master, indeed, rests not on rewards.
That is why he passes not away.
Exalt not men, so that the people may not fight.
Prize not rare objects, so that the people may not steal.
Look not on desirable things, so that the people's hearts be not troubled.
That is why the self-controlled man governs by stilling the emotions, by quieting thought, by mastering the will, by increasing strength.
He always teaches the people to know the Inner Life, to desire the Inner Life.
He teaches the Masters of knowledge to cease from activity, to act through activity of the Inner Life; then Inner Life will govern all.
Tao is infinite.
If we use It, we find It inexhaustible,
It appears to be Ancestor of all things.
It rounds our angles. It unravels our difficulties. It harmonizes our Light. It brings our atoms into Unity.
It appears to be everlasting in principle.
I do not know whose Son It is,
It existed before God was manifest in Form.
Heaven and earth are impartial, they regard all creatures as sacred.
The self-controlled man is impartial, he regards all people as sacred.
The space between Heaven and Earth is like a bellows.
Emptied, it loses not power,
Moved, it sends forth more and more wind.
Many words lead to exhaustion.
Be not thus; keep to thy center.
The Spirit of the Valley dies not, it is called Mother-substance of the Deep.
The Door of Mother-substance of the Deep is called the Root of Heaven and Earth.
It nourishes and preserves.
Thy strength shall not fail.
Heaven and Earth can endure long.
If Heaven and Earth endure long,
It is because they do not live for self,
Therefore they can long endure.
That is why the self-controlled man puts himself last,
Yet he is found in the foremost place.
He regards his body as outside of himself,
Yet his body is preserved.
Is it not that his chief interest is in the Inner Life?
Therefore he can perfect his chief interest.
Heavenly Love is like water.
Water blesses all things,
It does not hurt them.
It loves the lowly place that men dislike,
Therefore it comes very near to Tao.
The Master loves to dwell upon the earth.
In his heart he loves Infinity,
In his benevolence he loves giving,
In his words he loves sincerity,
In his government he loves peace,
In his business affairs he loves ability,
In his movements he loves punctuality.
The Master, indeed, does not fight,
Therefore his Inner Life increases.
Let Heavenly Love fill you and overflow in you,
Not according to your measure of fulness.
Prove it, probe deeply into it,
It shall not long withstand you.
You may fill a place with gold and precious stones,
You will not be able to guard them.
You may be weighted with honours and become proud.
Misfortune then will come to your Self.
You may accomplish great deeds and acquire fame,
This is Heavenly Tao.
Bring soul and spirit into unity, they will become welded in the Inner Life.
Conquer vital force until it yields to you, you will become as a new-born child.
Purify the channels of deep perception, you will dwell safely in the Inner Life.
Govern a kingdom by loving the people, they will learn to act from the Inner Life.
Open and shut the doors of heaven, you will have repose of mind in active life.
Let your purity shine forth in all directions, men will see that you have an Inner Life.
Give it birth, nourish it,
Give it birth, but do not seek to possess.
Act but do not appropriate.
Endure but do not rule.
That is called profound Teh.
Thirty spokes surround one nave, the usefulness of the wheel is always in that empty innermost.
You fashion clay to make a bowl, the usefulness of the bowl is always in that empty innermost.
You cut out doors and windows to make a house, their usefulness to a house is always in their empty space.
Therefore profit comes from external form, but usefulness comes from the empty innermost.
The five colours blind the eyes of man.
The five musical notes deafen the ears of man.
The five flavours dull the taste of man.
Violent running and hunting disturb the emotions of man.
Greed for rare objects is hurtful to the actions of man.
That is why the self-controlled man occupies himself with the unseen, he does not occupy himself with the things visible, he puts away the latter and seeks the former.
Dread glory as you dread shame.
Prize great calamity as you prize your body.
What does this mean:
"Dread glory as you dread shame"?
Glory comes from below.
Obtain it, you are afraid of shame;
Lose it, you are still afraid of shame.
That is why it is said;
"Dread glory as you dread shame."
What does this mean:
"Prize great calamity as you prize your own body"?
We who meet with great calamities, meet them because we have a body.
If we had not a body what calamity could reach us?
Therefore he who honours the kingdom as his body can govern the kingdom.
He who loves the kingdom as his own body can be trusted with the kingdom.
Looking at it, you do not see it, you call it Invisible.
Listening to it, you do not hear it, you call it Inaudible.
Touching it, you do not grasp it, you call it Intangible.
These three cannot be described, but they blend, and are One.
Above, it is not bright;
Below, it is not dim;
It cannot be called by a Name,
It enters into Form, and returns into Spirit.
That is why it is called Spiritual Form of Form, Spiritual Image of Image.
That is why it is called vague and indeterminate.
Meet it, you cannot see its beginning;
Follow it, and you cannot see its end.
Consider the Tao of Old in order to arrange affairs of Now.
To be able to know the Life-Spring of Old is to give expression to the Thread of the Tao.
Of old, those who were leaders in good actions examined mysteries with deep penetration; searching deeply, they did not understand; even Masters did not understand; therefore their actions were void of strength.
They were timid, as those who cross a torrent in winter; irresolute, as those who fear their neighbours; grave, as strangers before their host; they effaced themselves as ice that melts; they were rough as undressed wood, empty as a valley, confused as troubled water.
Who is able by quietness to make pure the troubled heart?
Who is able by repose to become conscious of Inner Life?
He who safely maintains his consciousness of Life will find it to be inexhaustible.
Therefore he will be able, though not faultless, to renew perfectness.
To arrive at ultimate quietness
Steadfastly maintain repose.
All creatures together have form;
I see them return again to their root.
The Master creatures come to perfect form,
Continuously they return to their root.
Continuous return to the root is called repose,
Repose is called the law of return,
The law of return is called eternity.
To know eternity is called illumination.
To ignore eternity is to draw misfortune on oneself,
To know eternity is to be great of Soul,
To be great of soul is to be a ruler,
To be a ruler is to be greater than all,
To be greater than all is to be conscious of Life,
To be conscious of Life is to endure.
The body shall disappear but not decay.
In ancient times
The people knew that they had rulers.
Then they loved and praised them,
Then they feared them,
Then they despised them.
The rulers did not trust the people,
The people did not trust the rulers.
The rulers were grave, their words were precious.
The people having finished their work,
and brought it to a successful issue, said:
"We affirm the Self."
Great Tao lost,
There came the duty to man and right conduct.
Wisdom and shrewdness appearing,
There came great hypocrisy.
The six relationships inharmonious,
There came filial piety deep, deep in the heart.
Kingdoms, families, and clans at war,
There came loyal Ministers.
If the people renounce self-control and reject wisdom,
Let them gain simplicity and purity
If the people renounce duty to man and reject right conduct,
Let them return to filial piety deep, deep in the heart.
If they renounce skill and leave off search for profit,
Let them rob and by violence take possession of spiritual life.
These three things do not help our progress.
Therefore now let us seek
To perceive simplicity,
To conserve beauty in the heart,
To curb selfishness and to have few desires.
Renounce learning, it brings loss to the Inner Life.
How slight the difference between Yes and Yea!
How great the difference between Good and Evil!
That which men fear is indeed to be feared.
When men give themselves up to disorder it never stops.
Many men rejoice and rejoice over a supply of good food, over being in a high and exalted position.
I am calm, I do not feel the slightest emotion, like a new-born child which cannot yet smile at its mother, without attachment to anything, returning always to the Inner Life.
Many men have superfluous possessions.
I have nothing that I value; I desire that my heart be completely subdued, emptied to emptiness.
Men of wealth are in the daylight of prosperity.
I am in the dark.
Men of wealth are endowed with penetration.
I appear confused and ignorant.
Suddenly I am, as it were, on a vast sea, floating on the sea of Inner Life which is boundless.
Many men are full of ability.
I appear to be stupid and rustic.
Thus I am different from other men.
But I revere the Mother, Sustainer of all beings.
The complete manifestation of things visible proceeds only from Life.
In its nature Life is always coming into activity, yet in itself it eludes our sight and tough.
Eluding sight! eluding touch!
Within it are hid the plane of created things.
Eluding touch! eluding sight!
Within it are hid all created beings.
It is profound! It is obscure!
Within it is hid pure Spirit.
It is pure Spirit, enfolding Truth!
Within it is hid an infallible witness.
Free of Old until Now
Its Name remains unchanged.
Through its Doorway comes the Universe into existence.
How do I know that the Universe is coming to full perfection through Life?
The witness is in Life itself.
That which is incomplete becomes complete.
The crooked becomes straight,
The empty becomes full,
The worn-out becomes new.
He who obtains has little,
He who scatters has much.
That is why the self-controlled man holds to Unity and brings it into manifestation for men.
He looks not at self, therefore he sees clearly;
He asserts not himself, therefore he shines;
He boasts not of self, therefore he has merit;
He glorifies not himself, therefore he endures.
The Master indeed does not strive, yet no one in the world can strive against him.
The words of the Ancients were not empty words:
"That which is incomplete becomes complete."
Acquire completeness by returning it.
With few words affirm the Self.
A great wind does not blow all the morning,
A heavy wind does not continue all day.
Why is this so?
It is because of the inter-relations of Heaven and Earth.
If Heaven and Earth cannot make things last long.
How much less can man?
Therefore he who follows the service of Tao is one with Tao,
He who is virtuous is one with Teh,
He who fails is one with failure.
He who is one with Tao,
Tao shall also claim him.
He who is one with Teh
Teh shall also claim him.
He who is one with failure,
Failure shall also claim him.
Faith that is not complete is not faith.
He who stands on tiptoe is not steady,
He who holds legs stiffly cannot walk.
He who looks at self does not see clearly.
He who asserts himself does not shine.
He who boasts of himself has no merit.
He who glorifies himself shall not endure.
These things are to the Tao like excreta or a hideous tumour to the body.
Therefore he who has Tao must give them no place.
There was a Being already perfect before the existence of Heaven and Earth.
It is calm! It is formless!
It stands alone and changes not!
Reaching everywhere and inexhaustible,
It may be regarded as Mother of the Universe.
I do not know its name.
For a title we call it the Tao.
If forced to give it a name we call it the Great.
Great, we call it the Flowing,
Flowing we call it distant,
Distant, we call it Coming again.
Therefore the Tao is Great, Heaven is Great,
The Earth is Great, the Ruler is also Great.
In the Universe four are Great,
And the Ruler is one of them.
Man finds his law in the Earth.
The Earth finds its law in Heaven,
Heaven finds its law in the Tao,
The Tao finds its law in the affirmation of Self.
Gravity is the root of lightness,
Quiescence is the master of motion.
That is why a king's son though he may travel all day long, does not cease to be quiet and grave; though he may achieve glory he abides in restfulness, he affirms his detachment.
How sad it would be if the Lord of a thousand chariots should conduct himself lightly in the kingdom!
If his conduct is light, he will fail as a Minister;
If he is hasty in action, he will fail as a Ruler.
He who walks in goodness leaves his trace in the Inner Life.
He who speaks in goodness carries no blame to the Inner Life.
He who reckons in goodness does not need to use a tally.
The good man has power to close the inner door and no one can open it.
The good man has power to tie the inner knot and no one can untie it.
That is why the self-controlled man always uses goodness in helping men, thus he draws them to the Inner Life.
He always uses goodness in helping creatures, thus he draws them to the Inner Life.
This is called being doubly illuminated.
Therefore the good man masters the man who is not good,
And the man who is not good is helper to the good man.
He who does not honour his master,
He who does not love his helper,
Though counted wise, is greatly deceived.
This is called important and mysterious.
To know manly strength, to guard womanly gentleness,
Is to be the central channel of the kingdom.
To be the central channel of the kingdom, always manifesting life, never guilty, is to return to the innocence of childhood.
To know light, to guard the darkness,
Is to be the model of the kingdom.
To be the model of the kingdom, always manifesting life, never at fault, is to return to the bounds of the Inner Kingdom.
To know glory, to guard humility,
Is to be the valley of the kingdom.
To be the valley of the kingdom, always manifesting life becoming perfect, is to return to a condition like undressed wood.
Undressed wood, being made into many utensils,
The self-controlled man uses them,
Then he becomes Ruler for a long time,
Thus he achieves greatness without hurt to anyone.
If you desire to gain the kingdom by action,
I see that you will not succeed.
The kingdom is a spiritual vessel,
It cannot be gained by action.
He who acts, destroys it
He who grasps, loses it.
Therefore behold the animals:
Some go in front, others follow;
Some are warm, others cold;
Some are strong, others feeble;
Some keep moving, others are still.
That is why the self-controlled man puts away excess, he puts away egotism, he puts away easy living.
He who would help a Ruler of men by Tao
Does not take soldiers to give strength to the kingdom.
His service is well rewarded.
Where troops dwell, there grow thorns and briers.
After great wars, there follow bad years.
He who loves, bears fruit unceasingly,
He does not dare to conquer by strength.
He bears fruit, but not with assertiveness,
He bears fruit, but not with boastfulness,
He bears fruit, but not with meanness,
He bears fruit, but not to obtain it for himself,
He bears fruit, but not to shew his strength.
Man is great and strong, then he is old,
In this he is not of Tao.
If he is not of Tao
He will quickly perish.
The Master who is a Captain of soldiers
Does not give blessings with his weapons.
Soldiers' weapons are hated by most men,
Therefore he who has the Tao gives them no place.
In the dwelling of the man of peace the left side is the place of honour.
In soldiers' usage the right side is the place of honour.
A soldier does not give blessings with his weapons.
They are not the instruments of a man of peace.
A man of peace will not possess them, nor use them;
He gives the first place to calmness and repose.
If he conquers, he does not rejoice.
Without joy is he who wounds and kills men.
The Master who wounds and kills men
Cannot succeed in ruling his kingdom.
In time of joy, the left hand is preferred,
In time of mourning, the right hand is preferred.
In war, the second in command is placed on the left,
The first in command is placed on the right,
That is, he stands in the place of mourning.
He who has killed many men should weep with many tears.
He who has conquered in battle should stand in the place of mourning.
The Name of Inner Life is Everlasting Tao.
If only he is pure, though he may be small,
The Servant of Tao dares to stand against the world.
Tao is able to maintain the unity of prince and people;
It subdues and binds all beings with each other;
It united Heaven and Earth harmoniously to produce sweet dew;
It gathers the people in the bonds of time and individuality.
The Name produces, divides, and brings to life;
Things produced ever return into the name.
The Master also shall know how to rest in it.
Knowing how to rest in it means that he never will decay.
On the earth everywhere Tao exists,
As the waters are collected in the valleys
And return into the rivers and the seas.
He who knows men is wise,
He who knows himself can see clearly.
He who conquers men has strength,
He who conquers himself has power
He who knows that he has enough is rich,
He who acts with energy has a strong will.
He who fails not to find the Self shall endure,
He who dies, but does not perish, shall endure for ever.
Great Tao flows everywhere,
It extends to the left and to the right.
All beings receive It in order to live and be free.
It works out perfectness in them although It possesses not a Name.
It protects them with love and sustains them, but does not claim to be Ruler of their actions.
Always seeking the innermost, you may say that Its Name is in the Small.
All beings return again into It, yet It does not claim to be Ruler of their actions.
You may say that Its Name is in the Great.
That is why, to the end of his life, the self-controlled man is not great in action,
Thus he is able to perfect his greatness.
Hold fast the idea of "The Great,"
Then all men will be drawn to you.
They will come to you and receive no hurt,
But rest, peace and great calm.
When you provide music and exquisite food
The traveller will stay with you gladly.
When the Tao flows out from you to him
By his palate he does not detect its savour,
By his eye he cannot perceive it,
By his ears he cannot hear it,
But in using it he finds it to be inexhaustible.
If you desire to breathe deeply, you must first empty the lungs.
If you desire to be strong, you must first learn to be weak.
If you desire to be in a lofty position, you must first learn to take a lowly position.
If you desire to be enriched by gifts, you must first give away all that you have.
This is called concealment and enlightenment.
The soft overcomes the hard.
The weak overcomes the strong.
Fish cannot swim safely in shallow waters.
The secrets of government of a kingdom should not be revealed to the people.
The activity of Everlasting Tao is in the Inner Kingdom,
It does not act except through the innermost.
If prince and people can maintain it together,
All beings will be transformed from within themselves;
Being transformed, they again desire action.
We must learn to still desire
To obtain in the Inner Life Purity of the Name.
Purity of the Name in the Inner Life
Brings absence of desire;
Absence of desire brings stillness;
Thus shall the world be perfected from within itself.
To assume virtue without being really virtuous is to be virtuous from duty;
To be less virtuous, yet not to lose real virtue, is to be virtuous from Inner Life.
Supreme virtue comes through activity of Inner Life; then let us actively seek Inner Life.
TO be less virtuous and to practice it, let us be active in the performance of duty.
To assume benevolence and practice it let us actively seek Inner Life.
To assume right conduct and practice it let us be active in the performance of duty.
To assume expediency and practice it is to find that no one honours it; then it bares the arm, and asserts itself by force.
Therefore, when Tao is lost, follow Virtue; when virtue is lost, follow benevolence; when benevolence is lost, follow right conduct; when right conduct is lost, follow expediency.
Those who are Masters of expediency have in the heart only the shadow of faith; and in the mind only confusion.
Those who are Leaders of politeness have only the husk of Tao, which is the source of ignorance.
That is why the greatest of the Masters abide in the real,
They do not abide in the shadow.
They hold to the fruit, they do not hold to the husk.
Therefore they put away the latter and take hold of the former.
These are they which from of Old have obtained Unity.
Heaven obtained Unity by purity;
he earth obtained Unity by repose;
Spiritual beings obtained Unity by lack of bodily form;
The valleys obtained Unity by fulness;
All beings obtained Unity by life;
Princes and people obtained Unity by being under the rule of Heaven.
These all obtained permanence by Unity.
The innermost of Heaven is purity, if not so, it would be obscured;
The innermost of Earth is repose, it not so, it would disintegrate;
The innermost of spiritual beings is lack of bodily form, if not so, they would die;
The innermost of valleys is fulness of water, if not so, they would be sterile;
The innermost of creatures is life, if not so, they would perish.
The high honour of prince and people is in their being together under the rule of Inner Life, if not so, they would soon lose harmony,
The root of honour is in humility,
The standpoint of high estate is in lowliness.
That is why prince and people call themselves orphans, solitary men, chariots without wheels.
The active principle of their Unity is in lowliness.
Who can deny this?
If you take a chariot to pieces, you have no chariot (it has lost its Unity).
Do not desire to be isolated as a single gem, nor to be lost in a crowd as pebbles on the beach.
He who returns is sent forth by Tao,
He who is weak is used by Tao.
In the world things are born into existence,
Existing things are born into Inner Life.
When great scholars heard of Tao, they diligently followed it.
When mediocre scholars heard of Tao, sometimes they kept it, sometimes they lost it.
When inferior scholars heard of Tao, they laughed at it.
Whether they laugh or whether they follow, Tao remains active.
Therefore the poets have said:
Brightness of Tao seems to be dark,
Progress in Tao seems going back,
The aim of Tao seems confused.
The highest Tao seems lowliest,
Great purity seems full of shame,
The fullest Teh seems incomplete.
Teachers of Teh have lost their zeal
And certain Truth appears to change.
A great square with inner angles,
A great vase unfinished,
A great voice never heard,
A great Image with inner form.
Tao is hid within its Name,
But by Tao the Masters bless,
And all things bring to perfectness.
In Tao is Unity of Life,
In Unity is Duality of Life,
In Duality is Trinity of Life,
In Trinity all beings have life.
All beings shun the principle of Inertia,
They hold to the principle of Life.
They are brought into deep harmony by the Breath of the Deep.
That which men dislike is to be called orphans, solitary, wheels without naves;
Yet princes and rulers may thus be named.
Therefore some are increased by being diminished,
And some are diminished by being increased.
That which men have taught I also shall teach:
"He who is strong and violent shall not meet with easy death."
I shall in this way teach fundamentals.
In the world when we arrive at gentleness we press forward to overcome all hardness.
To possess Inner Life we enter it by our own private doorway.
We do this in order to know in overflowing fulness the possession of activity of Inner Life.
Overflowing fulness of activity of Inner Life
With power to impart it to others without words -
Few men in the world attain to this.
Which is more dear to you, your character or your body?
Which do you treasure more, your body or your wealth?
Which makes you more unhappy, to gain or to lose?
But we must sacrifice much to gain true love.
We must suffer great loss to obtain much treasure,
To know contentment is to fear no shame.
To know how to stop is to avoid destruction.
Thus doing, we shall long endure.
Esteem lightly your greatest accomplishment, your patience will not fail.
Reckon your great fulness to be emptiness, your strength will not become exhausted.
Count your rectitude as foolishness,
Know your cleverness to be stupidity,
Recognize your eloquence to be stammering words,
And you will find that
As movement overcomes cold, and as stillness overcomes heat, even sol, he who knows the true secret of tranquillity
Will become a pattern for all mankind.
When Tao was manifested to men,
Horses were used for cultivating the fields.
When Tao was hid within itself,
War horses were reared on the frontiers.
There is no sin greater than desire,
There is no misfortune greater than discontent,
There is no calamity greater than the wish to acquire,
Therefore to be satisfied is an everlasting sufficiency.
Without going out of my door I know the Universe.
Without opening my window I perceive Heavenly Tao.
The more I go abroad, the less I understand.
That is why the self-controlled man arrives without going, names things without seeing them, perfects without activity.
By activity in learning we are daily enriched.
By activity of Tao we are daily diminished, diminished and yet more diminished, until we arrive at activity of Inner Life, and activity of Inner Life becomes stillness of Inner Life.
By the practice of Inner Life stillness we can continually conquer all things.
By the practice of returning to possessions, nothing that we conquer will be sufficient for us.
The Heart of the self-controlled man is always in the Inner Kingdom.
He draws the hearts of all men into his Heart.
If a man is good, he blesses him;
If a man is not good, still he blesses him with the Blessing of Teh.
If a man is faithful, he is faithful to him,
If a man is not faithful, still he is faithful to him with the Faithfulness of Teh.
The self-controlled man dwells in the world.
Patiently and persistently
He brings the whole world into active community of Heart.
All men turn their ears and their eyes towards him.
They are all children of the self-controlled man.
We come into Life, we enter Death.
Three out of ten men follow the way of Life.
Three out of ten men follow the way of Death
Also there are three out of ten who live as men and yet they move on to the place of Death.
What a Master is he, therefore, who takes hold of life, of real Life!
He lives, his ears open to goodness, listening to hidden things.
In travelling, he fears not the rhinoceros nor tiger.
In entering the war-chariot, he dreads not the weapons of the soldier.
Can a rhinoceros with his horn strike the Inner Life?
Can a tiger with his claw tear the Inner Life?
Can a soldier with his weapon pierce the valley of Inner Life?
What a Master is he, therefore, who into the place of Death can bring his Inner Life!
Tao gives Life to all beings.
Teh nourishes them.
It gives to each being its form.
It gives the inward urge towards perfectness.
That is why there is no living creature that does not reverence Tao and honour Teh.
The veneration of Tao!
The honour of Teh!
No Master has decreed it,
But eternally it affirms the Self.
Therefore Tao gives Life to all beings,
It nourishes and makes them grow,
It rears them and perfects them,
It sustains, feeds, and protects them.
It gives them Life, but does not possess them.
It gives them activity, but does not depend o them.
It urges them to grow, but does not rule them.
This is called profound Teh.
While in the world gain possession of the Life-Spring in order that you may become a World-Mother.
When you have attained to Motherhood you will know your children.
When you know your children you will retain your Motherhood.
Then, though the body may disappear, You will not be hurt.
Close the door of the mouth,
Shut the doors of the senses,
Throughout life your body will not be fatigued.
Open your mouth,
Increase your business affairs,
Throughout life your body will not be safe.
To perceive the small is called clear vision.
To guard the weak is called strength.
Follow the Light, you will reflect its radiance.
Neglect the Inner Life, your body will meet with calamity.
This is called the eternal heritage.
If I have knowledge and resolute faith I shall walk in the Great Tao.
If I fear, I can only behave well outwardly.
Great Tao is very straight, But the people love by-roads.
The palace may be well kept, But the fields may be uncultivated And the granaries empty.
The Princes take more land,
At their girdle they carry a sword,
They eat dainty food,
They take possession of much gold.
That is called glorification of robbery.
It is not Tao.
He who is established in goodness shall not be uprooted.
He who cherishes goodness shall not be cast out.
His children to all generations shall be blessed unceasingly.
Cultivate it in the body, your Teh shall become true.
Cultivate it in the family, your Teh shall superabound.
Cultivate it in the village, your Teh shall endure.
Cultivate it in the kingdom, your Teh shall flourish.
Cultivate it in the world, your Teh shall be universal.
Therefore, according to the body, judge the body.
According to the family, judge the family.
According to the village, judge the village.
According to the kingdom, judge the kingdom.
According to the world, judge the world..
How shall I know that there is some faith in the world?
The witness is in itself.
He who has his foundation in Teh is like a little child.
Poisonous insects do not sting him, Wild beasts do not seize him, Birds of prey do not strike at him.
His bones are weak, his muscles soft, Yet he can take hold firmly.
He is ignorant of sex, but is full of vitality.
He will grow to maturity.
All day long he shouts and sings.
He will arrive at a knowledge of harmony.
The knowledge of harmony is called eternal.
The knowledge of eternal things is called clear vision.
Increase of life does not always bring happiness.
The life-force that gives birth to human emotion is strong.
Human emotion comes to full power and then grows old.
It is not Tao.
If it is not Tao, it will quickly perish.
He who knows, speaks not;
He who speaks, knows not.
He closes the mouth,
He shuts the doors of the senses.
He rounds off angles;
He unravels all difficulties.
he harmonizes Light.
He brings men into Unity.
This is called wonderful Unity.
Favour and disgrace do not touch him,
profit and loss do not affect him,
Honour and shame are alike to him,
Therefore he is held in high esteem by all men.
To govern a kingdom, use righteousness.
To conduct a war, use strategy.
To be a true world-ruler, be occupied with Inner Life.
How do I know this is so?
The more restrictive the laws, the poorer the people.
The more machinery used, the more trouble in the kingdom.
The more clever and skilful the people, the more do they make artificial things.
The more the laws are in evidence, the more do thieves and robbers abound.
That is why the self-controlled man says:
If I act from Inner Life the people will become transformed in themselves.
If I love stillness the people will become righteous in themselves.
If I am occupied with Inner Life the people will become enriched in themselves.
If I love the Inner Life the people will become pure in themselves.
If the government is from the heart the people will be richer and richer.
If the government is full of restrictions the people will be poorer and poorer.
Miserable! you rely on coming happiness.
Happy! you crouch under dread of coming misery.
You may know the end from the beginning.
If a ruler is in line with Inner Life his strategy will come right, his bad luck will become good, and the people will be astonished.
Things have been so for a long time.
That is why the self-controlled man is just and hurts no one, is true and takes no licence; he shines, and offends not by his brightness.
To govern men and to serve heaven nothing is better than to have a reserve.
The Master indeed has a reserve; it is called brilliant foresight.
Brilliant foresight is called the increasing abundance of Teh.
If you have an ever-increasing abundance of Teh , then your Inner Life is unconquerable.
If you Inner Life in unconquerable, then its limits cannot be known.
If you cannot gauge the limits of your Inner Life, then you shall surely possess the kingdom.
If you possess the Mother of the kingdom,
You shall endure forever.
This is to be deep rooted and to have a firm foundation.
The possessor of Tao shall have enduring life and infinite vision.
Govern a Great State
As you would cook a small fish (do it gently).
When Tao is manifest in the world
Evil spirits have no power.
When evil spirits have no power
They cannot hurt men.
Evil spirits cannot hurt men.
The self-controlled man does not hurt men.
The Master also does not hurt men.
Therefore they unite in manifesting Teh.
A great kingdom, lowly like running water, is the Meeting-place of the world.
It is the feminine quality of the world.
The feminine quality always overcomes the masculine by stillness.
In order to be still, we must become lowly.
Therefore, if a great kingdom is lowly towards a little kingdom it will take possession of the little kingdom.
If a little kingdom is lowly towards a great kingdom it will take possession of the great kingdom.
So one becomes lowly in order to conquer,
The other is lowly and yet it conquers.
If a great kingdom only desires to unify and nourish men,
If a small kingdom only desires to enter in and serve men,
Then the Master, in each case, shall obtain his desire.
He who is great ought to be lowly.
He who has the Tao is the refuge of all beings.
He is the treasure of the good man,
He is the support of the man who is not good.
Beautiful words through Tao gain power,
Man, by following it gains steadfastness in action,
But, by the evil man, its possession is ignored.
The Son of Heaven sits enthroned,
His three Ministers are appointed.
One carries inj his hand a tablet of jade:
Another is followed by a mounted retinue,
But the one who is most values sits quietly, and offers as his gift this Tao.
How was the Tao prized by men of Old?
Daily they sought for it.
They found it, hid within the Self.
It gives a way of escape to the guilty.
Therefore it is prized by all men.
Be active, with the Activity of Inner Life.
Serve, with the Service of Inner Life.
Be fragrant, with the Fragrance of Inner Life.
The great shall be small,
The many shall be few, and
Evil shall be recompensed by goodness.
Mediate on difficult things till they become easy.
Do great deeds till they appear to be small.
To serve men in difficult things,
We must begin by easy things.
To serve men in great things,
We must begin by doing small things.
That is why the self-controlled man to the end of life does not become great, and thus he can perfect his greatness.
The Master has little faith in a quickly mad promise.
Many things are easy, many are also difficult.
The self-controlled man takes hold of difficulties.
To the end of life he solves difficulties in the Inner Life.
His Restfulness is easily maintained.
Events foreseen by him are easily arranged for.
By him weak things are easily bent,
And small things are easily scattered.
He can stop an evil before it comes into existence.
He can keep a twig straight before it becomes crooked.
Behold the girth of this tree!
It grew from a small filament of a stalk.
This tower of nine stories has its base upon a small space on the earth.
The journey of a thousand miles began with a footstep on the ground.
He who makes, unmakes.
He who grasps, lets go.
That is why the self-controlled man by Inner Life can make and by Inner life unmake, by Inner Life can grasp and by Inner Life let go.
Men in business affairs come near perfection, then fail.
If they were as attentive at the end as at the beginning their business would succeed.
That is why the self-controlled man desires to have no wishes; he sets no value upon rare objects; he learns without study; he helps all beings by the outflow of his personality; and he does this without planning to do it.
Of Old, he who was active in Tao did not use it to make people enlightened, but to make them more kind.
If people are difficult to govern it is because they have too much knowledge.
Therefore if you govern a kingdom by knowledge, you will be an oppressor of the kingdom.
But if you govern a kingdom by wisdom, you will give happiness to the kingdom.
If you know and do these things you will be a pattern for men.
Knowledge of how to be always a pattern for men is called profound Teh.
Profound Teh is in the very source of life, it pervades the utmost limits of life, it returns and dwells in every being.
When fully manifested, it unites all beings in a great harmony.
The Rivers and the Seas (because they seek a lowly place) are Lords of a hundred valleys
Let your love flow, seek a lowly place, you will be Lord of a hundred valleys.
That is why if the self-controlled man desires to exalt the people, in his speech he must take a lowly place; if he desires to put the put the people first he must put himself after them.
Thus, though he dwells above them, the people are not burdened by him
Though he is placed before them, the people are not obstructed by him,
Therefore men serve him gladly, they do not tire in serving him.
Because he does not strive, no one in the world can strive against him.
In the world many call me great, yet I seem to have no intelligence.
The Master indeed is great, yet he also seems to have no intelligence.
As regards our intelligence, its smallness is of long continuance.
The Master and I have three treasures,
We hold them and prize them.
The first is called "Deep Love,"
The second is called "Protectiveness,"
The third is called "Not planning to be first."
Having Deep Love, you then can have courage.
Having Protectiveness, you then can give freely.
Not planning to be first, you will be a perfect instrument that will endure.
Now, men neglect Deep Love and seek courage,
They put aside Protectiveness and see extravagance.
They leave the second place and seek the first, Then death comes.
The Master fights by means of Love, then he conquers.
He keeps guard by means of it, then he is impregnable.
Heaven will save him and Love will defend him.
He who loves, in being a soldier is not warlike.
He who loves, in fighting is not angry.
He who loves, in conquering does not grasp fo self.
He who loves, in employing men is lowly before them.
This is called Manifestation of non-greed.
It is called the power of using men.
It is called Unity with Heaven.
Of Old it was man's highest aim.
A great soldier used to say:
"I plan not to be a Lord, but to be a follower; I plan not to advance an inch, but to recede a foot.
This is called:
Advancing with the advantage of Inner Life, baring the arm with the energy of Inner Life, grasping a weapon with the force of Inner Life, meeting the foe as a soldier of Inner Life.
There is no calamity greater than lightly to engage in war.
To engage lightly in war is to lose our treasure of gentleness.
Therefore, when soldiers meet who are equally strong,
He who is compassionate shall conquer.
My words are very easily known.
They are very easily practiced.
No one in the world can fully know them,
No one in the world can fully practice them.
My words come from one Source,
My service is to one Ruler.
The Master indeed knows the Inner Kingdom,
That is why he knows the negation of self.
Few there are who know the self.
Because they know it not, they prize the self.
That is why the self-controlled man wears wool.
But in his bosom are jewels.
To know that we are ignorant is a high attainment.
To be ignorant and to think we know is a defect.
The Master indeed can cure this defect.
That is why he has not this defect.
The self-controlled man has not this defect,
He takes hold of his defect and cures it.
That is why he has not this defect.
If the people do not dread majesty,
Then great majesty will come to them.
Let them guard the innermost of their dwellings,
Let them press towards the innermost of their life.
The Master indeed is not bound,
That is why he is not bound.
That is how the self-controlled man knows the Self and perceives the not-Self.
He loves the Self, and honours the not-Self.
Therefore he passes away from the latter and takes hold of the former.
A man with courage and daring is slain,
A man with courage and self-restraint lives.
Of these two, the one has benefit, the other has injury.
Who can tell why one of them should incur Heaven's Wrath?
Because of this the self-controlled man has doubt and difficulty.
Heavenly Tao strives not, but conquers by love;
It speaks not, but responds in Love;
It calls not to men, but of themselves they come;
It slowly is made manifest, yet its plans are laid in Love.
The net of Heaven is widely meshed; the meshes are far apart, yet nothing escapes from it.
If the people do not fear death,
How then can you frighten them by death?
But if you cause the people continually to fear death,
And if one of them becomes a great criminal,
Can you take hold of him and slay him?
Would you dare to this?
There is always one, the Executioner, who kills men.
But, on the contrary, if you kill as if you were Executioner,
It would be as if you tried to do the work of a Master Carpenter.
In attempting to do the work of a Master Carpenter,
Few there be who do not wound their own hands.
The people are hungry.
Because they who are over the food tax it heavily
That is why the people are hungry.
The people are difficult to govern.
Because the rulers trust in possessions and activities
That is why the people are difficult to govern.
The people make light of death.
Because they work hard in order to save their life,
That is why they make light of death.
A Master indeed is he whose life-activities are from within.
He excels all man in his application of Life.
In life, man is soft and tender,
In death, he is rigid and hard.
In life, plants and trees are soft and pliant,
In death, they are withered and tough.
Thus rigidity and hardness are companions of death.
Softness and tenderness are companions of life.
That is why the soldier who trusts only in strength does not conquer,
The tree that relies on its strength invites the axe.
Great strength dwells below,
Softness and tenderness dwell above.
Heavenly Tao is like the bending of a bow.
That which is high is bent downwards,
That which is low is raised up,
That which is too much is lessened,
That which is not enough is increased.
Heavenly Tao takes from those who have too much,
And gives to those who have not enough.
The way of man is not thus,
He takes from those who have not enough,
And gives to those who already have too much.
Who is able to hold his wealth in order to give it to men?
Only he who has the Tao.
That is why the self-controlled man acts without looking for reward, he brings to perfectness without claiming credit, he desires not to let his wosdom appear.
Of the soft and weak things in the world
None is weaker than water.
Bur in overcoming that which is firm and strong
Nothing can equal it.
It is easy to know the inner meaning of this: "That which is weak conquers the strong, that which is soft conquers the hard."
All men know this, No one is able to practice it.
That is why the self-controlled man says:
"He who fears the reproach of the Kingdom is called Ruler of the Land. He who bears the woes of the Kingdom is called King of the land."
True words in paradox.
To harmonize great enemies
We must possess that which far surpasses enmity.
We must be able to be at peace
In order to be active in Love.
That is why the self-controlled man holds the left-hand portion of the contract, but does not insist upon the other man producing his portion.
He who is virtuous may rule by a contract,
He whose virtue is within may rule by destroying it.
Akin to Heavenly Tao is Inner Life.
A constant giver is the man who loves.
Take a small kingdom and a few people,
Cause ten or a hundred of them to carry weapons,
But not to use them.
Cause the people to fear death,
Do not let them travel far,
Though they may have boats and carriages,
Let them use them only within the kingdom.
Though they may have soldiers in uniform,
Let them parade only within the kingdom.
Cause the people again to have knotted cords,
And to use them (instead of written characters).
Their food would be sweet,
Their clothing would be beautiful in their own eyes,
Their dwellings would be resting-places,
They would love their simple ways.
If another kingdom were so near
That they could hear the sounds of dogs and fowls,
They would not come into mutual contact
Until they all grew old and died.
Faithful words may not be beautiful,
Beautiful words may not be faithful.
Those who love do not quarrel,
Those who quarrel do not love.
Those who know are not learned,
Those who are learned do not know.
The riches of the self-controlled man are in the Inner Life.
When he spends for others, he has more for himself.
When he gives to others, he has much more for himself.
Heavenly Tao blesses all and hurts no one.
The way of the self-controlled man is to act and not to fight.