The only way possible to think, runs counter to the constant way, just as the name possible to express runs counter to the constant name. Without description, the universe began. Of the describable universe, the Tao created the origin of all things. Hence, we remain normally without desire so as to observe its wonder, or to question its source. Normally, being man, we would have desire so as to observe its boundary, or create one for ourselves. These two things are the same coming out, yet differ in name, the same in as to mean ever dark and mysterious. Two things seen by most as dark and dark again, ever to remain mysterious, perhaps until we return to the source at some distant time.
All of us have looked up into the night sky and realized beauty as beauty, There is wickedness already, yet still we all realize goodness as goodness, creating it where no goodness exists already. Hence existence and nothing give birth to each other, just as difficult and easy become one another. The long and short must form one another, like the high and low incline to each other. I hear the sound by the tones blending together. Front and back follow each other.
Considering this, the wise person manages without doing anything, carrying out the indescribable teaching. They give birth to wisdom that they do not have, to the knowledge they are yet to gain, knowing that the Tao will give what is needed, They do but do not depend upon the wisdom, nor do they seek to achieves success, not even to dwell in it. The simple man alone does not dwell in it and because of this he never leaves it.
Through the Tao we learn how to value worthy people, those leading people to avoid contention. We try to teach them how not to value rare goods, of how this kind of value leads people to steeling and greed. How to put out of your mind whatever fine thing may take your notice or what suits desires all leading people’s hearts to avoid confusion.
This is because of how the wise person governs, by emptying their hearts of ego, while filling their people’s bellies. Weakening their aspirations, strengthening their bones, always leading the people to be without awareness and without longings. And all the while leading resourceful men to follow the same example but they will never dare to act as well. As the Tao teaches, do without doing, following without exception governs.
The way of the Tao flushes and employs the virtue of ‘less’, ever deep like the ancestor of every-thing. The Tao subdues that sharpness, separates that confusion. It is but to soften that brightness, and to be the same as that dust of creation. Deep and clear, to us it appears to exist. We can never know of whose child it is, for it resembles the ancestor of a Supreme Being.
The universe in not benevolent and all things serve as grass do, rooting around for tender leafy stalks, or roots. The wise person is not benevolent, and the people serve also as grass dogs. Is not the space between the heavens and earth like a bag of manna? Empty, yet it doesn’t submit. Moving yet recovering from all its coming and going. More speech adds up to being exceptionally limited, and unlike keeping to the middle.
In walking the path of the Tao we encounter the spirit of the valley that never dies. This is what is referred to as profound female, the entrance of the profound female; this is the origin of the universe. Continuous, in a way like it exists, in usefulness, if not diligent.
Everlasting, the Universe and Earth can long endure. Because they do not give themselves life, hence they can long continue to exist. The wise person places his life last, yet life comes first. He is outside his life, yet life lives from within. Non-conforming as well as without personal evil! Hence he is able to succeed personally.
The highest of good is like water, benefiting all things, contending with none. It dwells in the hidden places the multitudes loath, therefore it is somewhat like the way of the Tao. In being, good is the Earth. In intention, good is depth and benevolence. In speech, good is truth. In honesty, good is found in order. In work, good is in ability and diligence. In action, we find good is present, if he alone does not contend. Hence there is no blame.
Holding a surplus is not in harmony with oneself or the Tao. Carrying a fighting spirit cannot be long maintained, doing more harm to the fighter than the victim. Treasures can fill a room which no one is able to keep or admire. Wealth and pride, one’s gift to one’s pride becomes but a downfall with no one else to blame. Meritorious deeds that satisfy one recede, hiding below ego and greed, hidden even from one’s self. This is the way of nature and the way of the Tao.
When loaded down with life, can you leave with nothing? Focused in breath, can you be as yielding as a baby, simply enjoying each new sensation as it comes? Washing away the mysteries, can you yet see life as flawless in its beauty and simplicity? When loving the nation, can you govern the people without acting or trying to control? The answers you seek can be found within you, given freely by the Tao.
When the gates of the Universe open wide, can your action be female? When understanding reaches its full extent, can you know nothing and be content? Give birth and raise, give birth and not have; Act and not depend on; Be in charge and not rule; This is called profound moral character and the way of the Tao.
Thirty spokes may share one hub, but without the hub there would be nothing, for the blending of all create the useful vehicle. Mix water with clay soil, think utensil, and see it in your mind, out of this nothing exists, yet we create the useful utensil. Remember though that the vessel its self serves no useful purpose much as us, for it is the empty space within that can hold the water or grain that we need. Cut out a door and window, think room, and out of its nothingness exists the useful room. This is our creative spirit, dreaming what we truly need, and making it happen. Hence, of having what is thought favorable, of the nothing think only of the useful.
Just as the five colors can make people’s eyes blind, the flashing show of the false leader can blind the mind. Though five loud sounds make people’s ears deaf, the lies of the greedy few may crush the spirit. The five tastes make people’s mouths sour and brittle, but the poisons given freely by a leadership lost will take the center from all. The rushed hunt makes people’s hearts go crazy in their hunger and need for success. By making goods hard to come, the greedy few make people behave harmfully to each other and the world around them. Because of this, the wise person acts for the belly, not the eye, Hence, he leaves that and takes this. The simple way is the best way. The way of the Tao.
By bestowing favor and disgrace likewise, you startle. Treasure and trouble, likewise always seem personal. Why say bestowing favor and disgrace likewise startle? Bestowing favor supports the low. Gain seems to startle, Loss seems to startle. This says bestowing favor and disgrace likewise startle, tramping upon the feelings of the ones bestowed. Why say treasure and trouble likewise seem personal? That I have great trouble means I perceive I have a body, journey as yet uncompleted, I still travel and must learn.
Come the day I have no body, and in returning to the source, what trouble could I have? Hence, when regarding the body as the most precious supports all under the Universe, likewise trustworthy for all under the skies. Taking care in use of the body supports all on Earth walking the shining path of the Tao, and likewise worthy of serving as support for all of existence it’s self and respect for creation.
Though we have watched for it, and yet not seen it, still we would call it smooth. We listened for it, yet could not hear, still we call it rarefied and fine. Never handled, never held and still called a minute as though measured. These three are unfathomable, so they blend and serve as the One. Its upper part is not taken in, its lowest part is not hidden, and it simply is,
Ever unending, how can it resist our need to give it name? Yet it cannot be named, and returns again to nothing. This unnamable is called that which is without shape or form, that without substance shape, and yet it is that which give all of existence clarity and meaning. This is called the suddenly trance-like state, when we, reaching at the core of each of us, find deep within that the answers are to be freely found. Moving towards it you will not see its head; following behind it you will not see its back. Hold to the ancient way in order to manage today. The ability to know the ancient beginning, this is called the way’s discipline. By following the path of the Tao we too can know the wisdom of the ancient masters, for the Tao shares all with all.
In times of old, the adept student was minutely subtle, open and deep beyond knowledge. He alone could not be known; hence his strength lay in allowing the knowledge to enter. He prepared as if to be fording a river in winter; as if like in fear of vengeful neighbors. In a solemn manner that seems to allow, finally vanishing his fear like ice slowly melting away. Honesty that is simple yet broad as the widest of valley. A blending that is like muddy churning waters, yet tranquil liken the calmest sea at rest. A never-ending cycle, circular, without beginning or end, complete and satisfied in its existence.
Who can be muddy as well as still to gently clarify? Who can be calm as well as aroused to gently live? Keeping to this way, he who desires not to be full, will become so. Therefore, only he who is not full can conceal, seek, and yet newly become.
In order to improve yourself devote your efforts to emptiness, sincerely watch stillness, embracing it to the core of your being. Everything ‘out there’ rises up together, and you watch again. Everything ‘out there’, one and all, returns again to their root cause. Returning to the root cause is called stillness, this means you are answering to your destiny, the driving force you find within.
Answering to one’s destiny can be called the constant, for knowing the constant is called honest, and being honest with one’s self is one of the highest virtues. Not knowing the constant, rash actions will lead to ominous results. Knowing the constant allows, and allowing is therefore impartial, and impartial therefore the whole, whole thereby being the most natural of all. Natural is therefore the way. The way therefore long enduring, nearly rising beyond one. Once more, we tread the path of the Tao.
You will find that what you thought were the greatest heights, lay now far below what you realized. Next you begin to understand that what we praise exceedingly lacks what we believe earned that praise. Our next fall comes in the form of what we fear, for that leads only to what we would bully and dominate. By looking within and finding the overwhelming need for peace we all hold there, how can we be satisfied with any the less?
Would it be that the great leaders should listen and learn in this way, for when trust is lacking, there is no trust. A long drawn out speech may be noble and eloquent, but all too often lacks any truth or meaning. Meritorious accomplishment is truly fulfilling, and if done well the people all say, “I am natural”.
By wasting the great way, both benevolence and justice bloom;
When intelligence increases, great falseness must follow;
When intimacy lacks harmony, there is more mourning than kindness;
When the county is confused and chaotic, there are loyal officials, loyal not to the people, but to the greedy few that remain hidden in the shadows.
You will find that if you cut off the sage, discarding his wisdom, the people will benefit a hundred fold by learning to think for themselves, thus allowing personal growth and new knowledge. Cutting off benevolence and discarding justice, allows the people to resume their own devout kindness. By cut off cleverness and discarding advantage, robbers cannot exist. But these three, considering culture, are not enough. For this reason, make something to belong to, see simply, live in simplicity, embrace the plain, and have few personal desires.
Can we cut off learning and be without worry? Of need and hunger, both differ by how much? Of good and evil, both would differ how then? Of man’s actual fears, one cannot not fear what remains unknown? Do we abide a famine such that it seems to have no end? As crowds of people bustle about, dancing on strings of the rich.
Like enjoying excessive sacrifice, or ascending a springtime terrace. I alone seem anchored without anticipation. Like an infant, not a child, breathing in and out with a place to return to. That crowd of dancing people all have more than enough, yet still they dance as told. I alone seem left behind, outside, unmotivated by the reasons for which they dance. Am I of foolish of human mind also? Innocent conventional people are perhaps clear. I alone am drowsy. As normal people seem to discern a great difference and pursue their passion, I alone am subdued and saddened. That crowd of people all have appointments to keep, I alone am stubborn and out of the way. I alone am different from people, and value feeding the mother, cleansing of my spirit.
There comes the time when the core within you blooms to create an opening of moral character, allowing only a way through to the way of serving the outside world. Suddenly, and only indistinct, it fully blooms to become liken to the most beautiful of flowers gracing a field. Indistinct and suddenly, among which exist a shape, suddenly and indistinct, among which exists the outside world.
Deep and dark in which exists essence, it is essence that is more than real. In which essence exists trust also abides. From ancient times up though the present, its reputation never left because of the experience of the multitude. Why do I know the multitude is of just this condition? Because of this. Bent follows whole, crooked follows straight, hollow follows filled, worn-out follows new. We also see little follows satisfaction, but much follows the bewildered. The wise person uses this to hold the One and model his life for all under the heavens. He does not see his self for he is honest. He does not exist for he is clear, for his existence means little. He does not attack himself for by looking within he finds he has merit. He is not self important but he endures.
He alone does not contend for anything under the skies, thereby being content within himself. This is the ancient point of view, bent follows whole. How can it be that emptiness speaks? Complete sincerity returns. Infrequent speech is natural. Fluttering breezes quickly change direction. Sudden showers can’t last the day. What does cause this? Heaven and earth. Even heaven and earth are unable to long continue. And so what about people?
Hence, following the Way is the same as the Way. Following Virtue is the same as Virtue. Following Loss is the same as Loss. Together in the way, the way always happily satisfies. Together in virtue, virtue happily satisfies, together in loss, loss happily satisfies. When Trust is not sufficient herein, there exists no Trust herein.
Learning that that which we look forward to does not yet exist. In that what we chase after, we will not prevail to catch. Live simply and plainly, close to home and family, for this is your path to happiness. Seeing yourself, is not being honest with yourself, yet seeing within yourself is the pinnacle of honesty for self. Of course, this is not readily evident; you must learn that attacking your self is without merit, for self pity does not serve nor endure.
Such ways are called surplus food and superfluous forms. Such matters of the outside world are distasteful; hence one who has the way does not dwell in them. For most of mankind the outside world passes for the beginning of Heaven and Earth. Still and silent, it alone does not seem to change. Going around yet doing no harm, it can serve as the mother of all under heaven and earth.
We don’t know its name, powerful; in words we call it the way of the Tao. Striving, of reputation we call it great. Great we call death, in death we call distant, and in distant we call it reversal. Hence, the way is great, heaven is great, earth is great, and man is also great. In the center there exists four ‘greats’ and people reside as one. People follow earth, earth follows heaven, heaven follows the way, and the way follows that which is natural and free from affectation
You should know that the heavy is the cause of the light; the still remains the ruler of the restless. Because of this, the noble man, throughout the day never abandons seriousness. Although, he flourishes, watches, enjoys and dwells on his surrounding, he remains detached and untroubled. How wasteful to be in charge, yet take life lightly? Light follows the loss of the cause. Restless abandon follows the loss of the ruler.
He becomes adept at prevailing without the ruts of an outward sign. Adept at speech without the flawed threat of banishment or blame. And perhaps most importantly adept at truly listening without a plan or paper, mind open, subject un-judged. Closing without locking, yet cannot it cannot be opened. Adept at settling without restraint, that which cannot be undone. Using this, the wise person is: Always adept at helping people because he discards no one.
Always adept at helping things, because he discards nothing, valuing all. This says he follows the pattern honestly. Thus, those who are adept are models for those not adept. Those not adept support those who are adept. Neither values the model nor loves the supporter. This wisdom, although perplexing, Is called an essential subtlety.
Knowing the male, yet abiding by the female. Become a small stream for all under the heavens. Being a small stream for all under heavens, the constant virtue will never leave you, and you will again return to infancy.
Knowing the white while abiding by the black, and you become a pattern for all under the heavens. Being a pattern for all under heavens, constant virtue will never be in error, and you will again return to moderation.
Knowing its honor, abiding by its disgrace, and being a valley for all under the heavens. Being a valley for all under the heavens, constant virtue will be sufficient, and you will again return to simplicity.
Simplicity loosens the standard and allows a wise person to be a public elder. This is how even the greatest control never cuts.
With desire limiting the choice of a thing, nothing can be chosen, and no satisfaction gained. All under the skies of heaven are divine talent; nothing can be done for either. Doing decays, leaving you only grasping at loses. In the external world of man, someone leads, someone follows. Someone sighs, someone blows. Someone strives; someone wins, while others feel the loss. Someone subdues, while someone ruins. Because of this, the wise man leaves the extremes, the extravagant, and the safe behind, remaining once more simple and sure wrapped within the Tao.
Leaders, in using the way to assist in managing people,
Avoid strong arming like anything under the skies.
Such affairs easily rebound and force hardships on your people.
See that where harsh live, thorn bushes grow thick and wide
Know that where armies have been, years of famine will follow.
Those most adept have results, yet stop, not daring to seek more or better. Have results yet don’t pity. Having results yet not attacking. Having results yet not allowing ego to make them proud leading to foolish mistakes that only their people will pay for.
Have results yet not complacent afterwards, for you can have results that you don’t strive for. The strong standard always, is not of the Tao, making matters better as a long term rule, is not of the Tao. That not of the Tao ends early and badly.
For the good person, weapons are inauspicious tools, even considered evil perhaps. Hence, one who has the way gets along without them. A person of noble character dwells normally noble left, with the use of weapons normally noble right.
Weapons are inauspicious tools, not the tools of a person of noble character. Having no alternative but to use them, indifferent to fame or gain, to lightly act is best. Being victorious is not beautiful, for what beauty in cheerfully killing people?
The man cheerfully killing people normally never get his way in the world. Auspicious affairs still left burial affairs still right. The partisan general dwells on the left, the superior general dwells right. They speak at funeral places, for the murder of so many takes sorrowful weeping, as the vanquished take the pain, and the winner filled false with spoils.
The way constant is without name.
Simple though small,
Nothing under heaven can subjugate it either.
Great men, if able to abide by it,
All things would take the role of guest.
Heaven and earth would join and let sweet dew fall,
The people, not ordered and yet self equal.
Only when restricted, are there names.
Names already exist,
Man handles the realization to stop
Knowing to stop can be without danger.
Just as the way exists under heaven,
The river of a valley flows to the great river and the sea.
Knowledge of people is resourcefulness,
Knowledge of self is honesty.
Victory over others is power,
Victory over self is strength.
Being content is wealth.
Striving to prevail is will
Not losing place is endurance.
Dead, but not gone,
This is longevity.
The great way flows, such as it may left and right.
All things on earth depend on it for existence and it never declines,
Meritorious accomplishment yet anonymous.
Clothes and supports all things on earth yet not act as master
Always, without desire, befits the name small.
All things on earth return here, Why?
Not being their master, befits the name great.
Because of its ultimate non-self, it becomes great.
Hence it can accomplish its greatness.
Hold the great image and all under heaven come toward you.
Coming toward you but without harm, its quiet equanimity greatest.
Happily offering enticement, passing visitors stop.
Of the way, speech is meaningless, so lofty its non-flavor.
Of watching, not enough to see.
Of listening to, not enough to hear.
Of using, not enough already..
In desiring to inhale through the nose, one must first open up.
In desiring a little less, one must first make an effort.
In desiring to let go, one must first begin.
In desiring to take, one must first give.
This saying is little understood.
The weak gets the better of the unyielding
Fish can’t escape from the deep,
A state’s weapons can’t instruct the people.
The way normally does nothing, yet there is nothing not done.
If kings and noblemen will abide by this,
Everything will self transform.
Transform yet desire rises,
Press it down using nameless simplicity,
Of nameless simplicity, man also handles without desire.
No desire and still, all under heaven will settle themselves.
Superior virtue is not virtuous, and so has virtue.
Inferior virtue never deviates from virtue, and so is without virtue.
Superior virtue: without doing, and without believing.
Inferior virtue: without doing, yet believing.
Superior benevolence: doing, yet without believing.
Superior justice: doing and believing.
Superior ritual: doing and when none respond,
Normally roles up sleeves and throws.
Hence, virtue follows loss of way.
Benevolence follows loss of virtue.
Justice follows loss of benevolence.
Ritual follows loss of justice.
Ways of chaos follow loss of loyalty and thinning faith in ritual.
Foreknowledge of the way, magnificent yet a beginning of folly.
The great man dwells in the thick, not in the thin.
Dwells in the true, not in the magnificent.
Hence, he leave that and takes this.
All that came before fulfills the One
Heaven fulfills the One and is clear.
Earth fulfills the One and is tranquil.
Mind fulfills the One and is effective.
Valley fulfills the One and is full.
Existence fulfills the One and grows.
Rulers fulfill the One and support the empire faithfully.
The One causes.
Heaven without clarity brings dreadful splitting.
Earth without tranquility brings dreadful waste.
Mind without effectiveness brings dreadful stoppage.
Valley without fullness brings dreadful exhaustion.
Existence without growth brings dreadful extinction.
Rulers without faithfulness bring dreadful setbacks.
Hence, the precious take the lowly as the origin.
The high take low as the base.
This, and so rulers call themselves solitary, scant, pathetic
Is this not taking the lowly as a foundation of heresy? No.
Extreme fame is without fame.
Not to desire is comparable to beauty.
Jewelry is comparable to stone.
In the opposite direction, of the way ‘it’ moves.
Loss through death, of the way ‘it’ uses.
All under heaven is born in having
Having, is born in nothing.
The superior student hearing the Way, diligently travels it.
The average student hearing the Way, seem to live it, seems to lose it.
The inferior student hearing the Way, really ridicules it.
Without this ridicule, it could not be the Way.
Hence, we advocate saying,
The bright Way seems hazy and hidden.
Entering the Way seems like moving backwards.
The smooth Way seems rough.
Superior virtue seems like a valley.
Great purity seems disgraceful.
Vast virtue seems insufficient.
Established virtue seems stolen.
Truthful promises seem capricious
Great honesty is without whispers.
Great capacity is a long time coming.
Great sound is scarce sound.
Great appearance is without form.
The way hides from view without name.
The way alone masters perfect forgiveness and accomplishment..
The Way gave birth to the whole.
The whole gave birth to difference.
Difference gave birth to the many.
The many gave birth to all things.
All things suffer the negative and embrace the positive.
Clashing spirits considered harmonious,
As people, we loathe alone, few and not of the valley,
And Kings and princes consider this a suitable match.
Hence, things perhaps lose as well as benefit, and benefit as well as lose.
Of people’s religious teaching, I also teach,
The backbone of effort seldom results in one’s death.
I will take this teaching of my ancestors just so.
The most flexible of all things under heaven surpasses the most resolute.
Without existence entering without space between, I know non action has the advantage.
Not of words teaching, Without action advantage.
All under heaven rarely reach this.
Name and body, which is intimate.
Body and goods, which is excessive.
Gain and loss, which is defective.
Therefore, the more we love, the greater the cost.
The more we hold on, the deeper the loss.
Knowing contentment, never dishonorable.
Knowing when to stop, never dangerous.
Then you can long endure.
Great accomplishment seems incomplete, its use doesn’t harm.
Great fullness seems dynamic, its use doesn’t end.
Great straightness seems bent.
Great cleverness seems clumsy.
Great debate seems slow in speech.
Still surpasses impetuous,
Cold surpasses heat.
Quiet keeps all-under-heaven honest.
All under heaven, have the Way,
Retreating horses fertilize the fields.
All under heaven, without the Way,
Army horses breed in the suburbs.
Of misfortunes, none are greater than not being content with one’s lot.
Of faults, none are greater than longing for gain.
Therefore, in being contented with one’s lot, enough is usually enough indeed.
Without going out the door we can know all under heaven.
Without looking out the window we can see Nature’s Way.
He goes out farther, he realizes less,
Accordingly, the wise person goes nowhere yet knows.
Sees nothing yet understands.
Refrains from acting yet accomplishes..
Do knowledge, day by day increase.
Do the Way, live the Way, day by day decrease.
Decreasing and decreasing,
Until without doing.
Without doing, yet nothing left undone.
Take all under heaven ordinary,
Use without responsibility, as well as with responsibility,
Not enough use, take all under heaven.
The wise person is without ordinary intention.
Takes the common people’s intention as his intention.
With kindness, I am also kind.
Without kindness, I am also kind, of integrity kind.
With trust, I also trust.
Without trust, I also trust, of integrity trust.
How does the wise person exist, all under heaven, breathing in?
Becoming all under heaven, simple and natural his intention.
The multitude all explain with their knowledge;
The wise person, each and every child.
In birth we join death.
Of life, follow three in ten.
Of death, follow three in ten.
Of people, aroused by life, in death trapped, also three in ten.
Why is this so?
Because they favor life.
It’s well known, those good at conserving life,
Traveling on land never meet fierce tigers,
Joining the army never the first to fight.
Of the ferocious, no place to thrust its horns.
Of the tiger, no place to apply its claw.
Of the weapon, no place to allow the knife edge.
Why is this so?
Because he is not in death trapped
The Way gives birth, virtue rears, things give shape, power accomplishes.
Accordingly, everything respects the Way and values virtue.
Respect of the Way and value of virtue happens not by fate, but naturally.
Hence, of the Way born, of virtue reared.
Of long duration, of giving birth.
Of well balanced, of malicious.
Of support, of overturning.
It gives birth yet claims not,
It acts yet relies on not,
It is the elder yet rules not.
This is called profound virtue.
All under heaven had a beginning; consider the origin of all under heaven.
Already having this origin, use this to know its seed.
Already knowing its seed, return to observe the origin.
Rising beyond oneself, not nearly almost.
Squeeze exchange, shut the gates; to the end, oneself diligent.
Open the exchange, help its affairs; to the end, oneself no relief.
Seeing the small is called clarity, observe yielding is called powerful.
Use the light, and again return to clarity, not offer oneself misfortune.
This serves as practice of the constant.
Were I mindful yet had knowledge,
Going in the great Way, alone bestow this respect.
The great way is very smooth, yet people are fond of paths.
The government is very removed, the fields very overgrown, the storehouses very empty.
Colorful clothes, culture, belted swords, satisfied of drink and food, wealth and goods to spare.
This is called in praise of robbery.
This does not conform to the way either
What is well established cannot be pulled out.
What is well established cannot be neglected.
Descendants using ceremonial offering of sacrifice to ancestors never ceases.
Of cultivating in the body, its virtue is true.
Of cultivating in the family, its virtue is abundant.
Of cultivating in the village, its virtue is long.
Of cultivating in the nation, its virtue is abundant.
Of cultivating in all under heaven, its virtue is universal.
Use the body to observe the body,
Use the family to observe the family,
Use the village to observe the village,
Use the nation to observe the nation,
Use all under heaven to observe all under heaven.
How can we know all under heaven is like that?
By using this.
Deeply contained integrity is comparable to an child’s sincerity.
Poison insects don’t sting it, fierce beasts don’t seize it, birds will not grab it.
Its bones are weak, its muscle supple, yet its hold is firm.
It doesn’t know the joining of female and male, yet its work and spirit perfect.
Endlessly it can howl, yet not become exhausted, of knowing also the most.
Knowing harmony is the constant.
Knowing the constant is called clear and honest.
A beneficial life is called lucky.
Mind employing life energy is called striving.
The powerful ruling the old is called not of the way.
That which is not of the Way ends early.
The know-er not to speak; speaker not know.
Subdue its sharpness, untie its tangles,
Soften its brightness, be the same as dust,
This is called profound sameness.
For this reason,
Unobtainable and intimate,
Unobtainable and distant
Unobtainable and favorable
Unobtainable and fearful
Unobtainable and noble
Unobtainable and humble
Unobtainable and noble
For this reason all under heaven value it.
Use honesty to maintain order,
Use surprise when using force,
Use non responsibility when seeking all under heaven.
How do I know so? Because of this.
The wider spread the taboos, the poorer the people.
The sharper their tools, the more confusion grows.
The more clever they are, the more strange things appear.
The more laws multiply, the more conspicuous the robbers.
For this reason, the holy person says,
I do nothing and the people change themselves.
I love stillness and the people straighten themselves.
I am without responsibility and people thrive themselves.
I am without desire and the people simplify themselves.
When its politics is boring, its people are honest.
When its politics is scrutinized, its people are imperfect.
Misfortune, yet of good fortune its resting place
Good fortune, yet of misfortune its hiding place
Who knows such extremes? It’s not mainstream.
Mainstream turns to strange,
Good turns to evil.
The people have been long confused.
Thus, the wise are upright, yet not cuttingly so.
Honest, yet not stabbingly so.
Straightforward, yet not wantonly so.
Honorable yet not gloriously so.
For managing people’s daily affairs, there is nothing like frugality.
Only the frugal man is said to serve from the start.
Serving from the start he is said to deeply accumulate virtue
Deeply accumulating virtue, as a rule he is said to be limitless.
Being limitless, as a rule no one knows his utmost point
No one knowing his utmost point, he can have state
Have the origin of the state, he can long endure
This is called deep roots, solid foundation,
Long life, enduringly watchful of the Way
Govern a big country as if boiling a small fish.
So that the way is present for all under heaven,
Its spirit is not magical.
Not only that its spirit is not magical,
Its magic does not hinder the people.
Not only that its magic does not hinder the people,
The wise person does not hinder the people.
Neither assists in hindering,
Therefore, each ascribes virtue to the other
The larger spreads below where all under heaven meet.
Of all under heaven, The female normally uses stillness to overcome the male.
Using stillness she serves the lower position.
For this reason, the larger, using the lower position, normally takes in the smaller,
The smaller, using the lower position, normally takes in the larger.
For this reason, the low as well as taking in, the low yet taken in.)
The larger only wishes to concurrently raise the people.
The smaller only wishes to join in the affairs of the people.
Both each satisfying the position they want,
The larger fittingly serve the lower position.
The way of the myriad things is profound and difficult to understand.
For the good person it is precious, for the not good person it is protective.
Beautiful speech can bring worldly honor.
Beautiful behavior can augment people.
For people not good, why abandon them?
Hence, the son of heaven (emperor) establishes three commonalities,
Even though surrounded by jade and presented with horses,
Not equal to receiving the way.
Of old, why was this way so valued?
Wasn’t it said that by using it one got what one sought.
By using it one avoids the evils of hardship.
Hence it is valued by all under heaven.
Do without doing,
Be involved without being involved.
Taste without tasting.
Make the great small and the many few,
Respond to resentment using kindness.
Plan difficulty from its easy.
Do the great from its small.
All difficulties under heaven must arise from the easy
All that is great under heaven must arise from the small
Accordingly, the wise man, in the end, doesn’t support greatness,
For this reason he is able to accomplish greatness.
The man that lightly promises, certainly few trust.
The excessively easy, certainly excessively difficult.
Accordingly, the wise man, akin of difficulty,
For this reason, in the end, without difficulty.
Its peace easily manages, Its presence easily plans,
Its fragility easily melts, Its timeliness easily scatters,
Acts without existing, Governs without disorder.
A tree barely embraceable grows from a fine tip.
A terrace nine layers high rises from piled earth.
A thousand mile journey begins below our feet.
Of doing we fail, Of holding on we lose.
Taking this, the wise do nothing, hence never fail,
Hold nothing, hence never lose.
People in their affairs always accomplish some, yet fail.
Being as careful at the end as the beginning as a rule never fails.
Taking this, the wise person desires non desire,
And does not value difficult to obtain goods.
Learns non learning and turns around people’s excesses,
In order to assists all things naturally and never boldly act.
Of ancients adept in the way, none ever use it to enlighten people,
They will use it in order to fool them.
People are difficult to govern because they are too intelligent.
Therefore, using intelligence to govern the country injures the country.
Not using intelligence to govern the country blesses the country.
Knowing these both and investigate their patterns.
Always investigate the patterns.
That is called profound moral character,
Profound moral character deeply penetrating.
After wards, and only then, does it reach great conformity..
The river and sea can serve as king for a hundred valleys,
According to their success of being below.
Hence they can support a hundred valleys as king.
Yes, accordingly, a wise person,
Desiring to be above the people, must using speech be below.
Desiring to be ahead of the people, must using life be behind.
Yes, accordingly, a wise person,
Dwells above, yet the people are not weighed down,
Dwells ahead, yet the people are not impaired.
Yes, accordingly, all under heaven cheerfully push, yet never tire.
Using such non contention,
Is the reason that under heaven, nothing can contend with it.
One adept in being a scholar is not martial
One adept in battle is not enraged.
One adept in victory over enemies does not participate.
This is called the moral character of not contending.
This is called employing the ability of the people.
This is called matching Nature’s ancient utmost
Those who use weapons have a saying,
We dare not act as hosts but act as visitors.
We dare not advance an inch but withdraw a foot.
This is called going without going.
Grabbing without an arm.
Casting aside without opposing.
Taking charge without weapons.
Of misfortunes, none is greater than rashly opposing.
Rashly opposing nearly lost me treasure.
Therefore contending militantly, add sorrow to victory.
Our words are very easy to know, very easy to do.
Under heaven none can know, none can do.
Speech has its faction, involvement has its sovereign.
Man alone is without knowing, and because of this I don’t know.
Knowing self is rare, following self is noble.
Because of this, the sacred person wears coarse cloth and cherishes pure.
Realizing I don’t know what is superior, not knowing this realization is a defect.
Man alone faults this defect, this so as not to be defective.
The sacred person is not defective, taking his defect as a defect.
Man alone has this defect; this is because to him there is no defect.
When the people don’t fear power,
Normally great power arrives.
Without meddling with their dwelling place,
Without detesting their existence.
Man only doesn’t detest,
Because of this not detested.
Because of this the wise person,
Knows himself without seeing himself.
Loves himself without valuing himself.
Hence, gets rid of one and seeks the other..
Brave certainty rules in killing
Brave hesitation rules in living
These both either benefit or harm
Nature’s ruthlessness, who knows its cause.
Nature’s way never contends, yet is adept in victory.
Never speaks, yet adept in answering
Never summons, yet one arrives.
Comes simple, yet adept in planning
Nature’s net is vast and thin, yet it never misses.
When people don’t respect death, why use the fear of death.
If we could cause people to always respect death and be in wonder,
And we caught and killed them, who would dare?
Always have the killer manage the killing,
A man taking the place of the killer killing,
Is said to be taking the place of the great craftsman.
A man taking the place of the great craftsman rarely ever hurts his own hands.