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Tao (The Laws of the Universe) can be talked about, but not the Eternal Tao (Laws of the Universe).
Names can be named, but not the Eternal Name.
(You cannot name the unknown.)
As the origin of heaven-and-earth, it is not describable:
As "the Mother" of all things, it is describable.
(You cannot describe the unknown origin.)
As it is always hidden,
We should look at its Inner Sum and Substance (through philosophy and poetry):
As always visible,
We should look at its Outer Form (through science and obsevation).
These two flow from the same source (the Laws of the Universe), though differently named;
And both are called mysteries.
The Mystery of mysteries is the Gate of all sum and substance.
(Beyond the gate of experience is the Way.
It is in all ways greater and more subtle than the world.)
When all the world recognizes beauty as beauty, this in itself is ugliness, (for it lacks a seeing of the Truth.)
(When all of humankind abstracts beauty there is no beauty).
When all the world recognizes good as good, this in itself is destruction., (for it lacks a seeing of the Truth.)
(What is good in one circumstance is bad in another).
Indeed, the hidden and the visible give birth to each other.
Hard and easy balance each other.
Long and short give measure to each other.
High and low set measure to each other.
Voice and sound give wholeness each other.
Back and front follow each other.
Therefore, the Complete Thinker experiences without abstraction and accomplishes without visible action;
Yet spreads their teaching by actions.
Accepting the ebb and flow of the many living things.
Raises them, but makes no claim of them.
Does his work, but does not brag about it.
Finishing tasks, and moves on.
And yet it is just because of moving on.
That nobody can take works away.
By not making great the worthy you will cause the people to stop from having enemies and fighting.
(When everyone is equal, each is rewarded fairly.)
By not giving value to goods hard to get, you will cause the people to stop from robbing and stealing.
(When material goods have no value there is no temptation to steal.)
By not showing what people would like to have, you will cause the people's hearts to remain undisturbed.
(When people are not tempted to own things they do not desire things.)
Therefore, the Complete Thinker's way of governing begins by
Emptying the heart of wants,
Filling the belly with food,
Relaxing the ambitions, (not creating a temptation),
Toughening the bones, (guiding a healthful life).
In this way will cause the people to remain without strategy and without desire, and prevent the knowing ones from causing any trouble.
Practice doing things at the Proper Speed, and everything will be in order.
The Tao (the Law of the Universe) is like an empty bowl.
Which in being used can never be filled up.
So deep it cannot be measured, it is the origin of all things.
It blurs all sharp edges,
It unties all tangles,
It blends all lights,
It unites the world into one whole.
Hidden in the depths,
Yet it seems to exist for ever.
I do not know whose child it is;
It is the common ancestor of all,
the father of all things.
(It is the Universal Laws from the beginning of our Universe),
To live by these Laws is to live in harmony with our True Nature.
Heaven-and-Earth is not sentimental;
It treats all things like straw dogs (equal).
The Complete Thinker is not sentimental;
Treats all people as straw dogs (equally).
Between Heaven and Earth,
There seems to be a Bellows:
It is empty, yet it can not be emptied;
The more it works, the more comes out of it.
The Complete Thinker draws upon the universal experience thus cannot be exhausted.
Better look for it within you.
The Tao (the Laws of the Universe) is in all that exists.
The Spirit of the Valley dies not.
It is called the Secret which is Filled with womanly qualities.
The Gateway of the Secret is
Filled with womanly qualities
Is called the Womb of Heaven-and-Earth.
Staying like a fog, it has only a hint that it is there;
And yet when you use it, it is always there without end.
Heaven lasts long, and Earth lasts.
What is the secret of their lasting?
Is it not because they do not live for themselves
That they can live so long?
The Complete Thinker wants to remain behind,
But is found at the head of others;
Ignores his desires,
But is found content.
Is it not because of selflessness
That True Self is realized?
The highest form of goodness is like water.
Water knows how to benefit all things without contention.
It flows to places others disdain.
It comes near the Tao (the Laws of the Universe).
In choosing your dwelling, know how to keep the ground.
In cultivating your mind, know how to dive in the hidden depths.
In dealing with others, know how to be gentle and kind.
Speak within trust.
In governing, know how to maintain order.
In transacting business, know how to be efficient.
In making a move, know how to choose the right moment.
If you do not contend, none contend against you.
Fill a cup to its brim, it is easy to spill.
Do not over do the task, close it.
Temper a sword throughout to its hardest, and it is easily broken.
Fill your house with gold and jade, it can not be guarded.
(Do not tempt others for someone will give in to temptation.)
Set store by your riches and honor, you easily fall.
This is the Tao (the Laws of the Universe):
When your purpose is achieved retire.
In keeping the spirit and the vital soul together,
Are you able to maintain their perfect blending?
Breath gently and become newborn.
Clear your inner vision, and become clear.
In loving your people and governing your state,
Are you able to be impartial?
In opening and shutting of heaven's gate(your heart), you become accepted.
Enlightened and seeing far into all directions,
Can you at the same time remain not involved and not interfere?
Raise your people with care!
Feed your people!
Raise them without saying they are your own!
Do your work without setting any value to it!
Be one to be followed, not one who commands!
This is called Hidden Powers.
This is true harmony.
Thirty Spokes converge upon a single hub;
It is on the hole in the center that the use of the cart hinges.
We make a bowl or cup from a lump of clay:
It is the empty space within the vessel that makes it useful.
We make doors and windows for a room;
It is the empty spaces that make the room livable.
Take advantage of what is visible,
By making use of What is not visible.
The five colors blind the eye.
The five tones deafen the ear.
The five flavors stick to the palate.
Racing and hunting make crazy the mind.
Temptations make men do wrong.
The Complete Thinker takes care of the hunger, not the senses.
Prefers the substance within not the illusion.
"Welcome disgrace as a pleasant surprise.
Prize misfortunes as your own body."
Why should we "welcome disgrace as a pleasant surprise"?
Because a lowly state is a boon:
Getting it is a pleasant surprise,
And so is losing it!
That is why we should "welcome disgrace as a pleasant surprise."
Why should we "prize misfortunes as our own body"?
Because our body is the very source of our misfortunes.
If we have no body, what misfortunes can we have?
Only he who is willing to give their body for the sake of the world is fit to be entrusted with the world.
Only they who can do it with love and regard themselves as the world are worthy of being the steward of the world.
This lesson is known by all Complete Thinkers.
Look at it but you cannot see it!
Its name is Formless.
Listen to it but you cannot hear it!
Its name is Soundless.
Try to hold it but you cannot get it!
Its name is Incorporeal.
These three attributes are to deep to measure;
They mix together into one.
Its upper side is not bright:
Its under side is not dim.
Always the Not Namable moves on,
Until it returns beyond the world of things.
We call it the formless Form, the imageless Image.
We call it the not describable and unimaginable.
Confront it and you do not see its face!
Follow it and you do not see its back!
Yet equipped with this timeless Tao (the Laws of the Universe),
You can control present realities and deal with the past.
To know the ancient origins (the beginning of the Universe) is to know the true Tao (the Laws of the Universe)
In times past the Complete Thinkers of the Tao (the Laws of the Universe) were not obvious about what they did and could change to meet the circumstance,
Their minds, strong and widespread, were too deep to be measured.
Because their minds are unmeasurable,
One can only describe them unclearly by their appearance.
Slow to start like one crossing thin ice;
Shy as if surrounded by danger on all sides;
Careful and polite like a guest;
Unbouded like ice on the point of melting;
Genuine like an uncarved block;
Hollow like a cave;
Disordered like a muddy pool;
And yet who else could quietly and gradually change from the muddy to the clear?
Who else could slowly but steadily move from the lifeless to the living?
The who keep the Tao (the Laws of the Universe) does not want to be full.
But precisely because they are never full,
They can always remain open in thought,
They do not become rigid in thought.
Achieve the utmost Emptiness.
Cling single-heartedly to interior peace.
Become a part of all things,
In this way see the pattern.
Flourish they do,
Each of them will return to its root.
To return to the root is to find peace.
To find peace is to fulfill one's destiny.
To fulfill one's destiny is to be unchanging.
To know the Unchanging is called Insight.
If one does not know the Unchanging,
One runs blindly into disasters.
If one knows the Unchanging,
One can understand and embrace all.
If one understands and embraces all,
One is capable of doing justice.
To be just is to be a leader;
To be a leader is to be one with nature;
To be one with nature is to be one with the Tao (the Laws of the Universe);
To be one with the Tao (the Laws of the Universe) is to become immortal.
Such a one will be safe and whole, Even after the death of body.
The Tao does not decay.
The best type of leader is one of whose existence the people are barely aware.
Next comes one whom they love and praise.
Next comes one whom they fear.
Next comes one whom they despise and defy.
When you are lacking in faith,
Others will be unfaithful to you.
The Complete Thinker is quiet and uses few words.
When tasks have been accomplished and things have been completed,
All the people say, "We ourselves have achieved it!"
When the Great Tao (the Laws of the Universe) was abandoned,
There appeared duty and justice.
When intelligence and jokes arose,
There appeared people who said they were one way but lived the opposite.
When the family lost their compatibility,
There appeared respectful devotion and fatherly kindness.
When darkness and disorder began to control a country,
There appeared the loyal and trustworthy patriots.
Drop wisdom, abandon cleverness,
And the people will be benefited a hundred fold.
Drop humanity, abandon morality,
And the people will return to their natural affections.
Drop cleverness, abandon greed,
And robbers and thieves will cease to be.
These three are a pattern of Tao (the Laws of the Universe),
And are not sufficient in themselves they are only symptoms.
They should be subordinated to a Higher principle;
People need personal remedies.
See the simple True Self and embrace your original nature.
Forget you habits and desires, simplify you life.
Have done with rote learning,
And you will have no more frustration.
How great is the difference between agreement and being the servant?
What is the difference between "construction" and "destruction"?
Must I fear what others fear?
What difficult stupidity this!
As though feasting upon a sacrificial ox, As though mounting the Spring Garden;
I alone am peaceful and give no sign, Like a babe which has not yet smiled.
I alone am forgotten as one who has no home to return to.
All have enough and more:
I alone appear to possess nothing.
What a not knowing person I am!
What a confused mind I have!
All are bright, bright:
I alone am dim, dim.
All are sharp, sharp:
I alone am silent, silent!
Tasteless like the ocean,
Aimless like the drifting wind.
All settle in their paths:
I alone am stubborn and remain outside.
I am most different from others
In knowing to take support from my Eternal Mother!
It lies in the nature of Power
To follow the Tao (the Laws of the Universe) and the Tao (the Laws of the Universe) alone.
Now what is the Tao (the Laws of the Universe)?
It is Something slippery and shifty. Shifty and slippery!
And yet It contains within Itself a Form. Shifty and slippery!
And yet It contains within Itself a Substance.
Shadowy and dim!
And yet It contains within Itself a Core of Energy (the Force of Life).
The Core of Energy (Force of Life) is very real,
It contains within Itself an unfailing Honesty.
Throughout the ages
Its Name has been preserved
In order to recall the
Beginning of all things.
(We can see and hear the background radiation that was the Big Bang the beginning of our Universe.)
How do I know the ways of all things at the Beginning?
By what is within me.
(For are we not made of recycled Star Stuff.)
Accept and you will be whole.
Bend and you will straighten.
Empty and you will fill.
Grow old and you will be renewed.
Have little and you will gain.
Have much and you will be confused.
The Complete Thinker embraces the One,
Becomes a Pattern to all under Heaven.
Does not make a show,
Does not justify self,
Then becomes known;
Does not brag of ability,
Then gets credit;
Does not show success,
Does not compete with anyone,
Then no one can compete with the Complete Thinker.
Indeed, the ancient saying:
"Accept and you will remain whole" is no idle word.
Turn within and concentrate your Power.
The world is as your home.
Only simple and quiet words will ripen of themselves.
For a whirlwind does not last a whole morning.
A sudden rain does not last a whole day.
Who is their creator?
Even Heaven-and-Earth cannot make such violent things last long;
The same is true of the reckless efforts of humans.
Who helps the Tao (the Laws of the Universe) is one with the Tao (the Laws of the Universe);
Who thinks with Power is one with Power;
And who seeks the hand of loss is one with Loss.
To be one with the Tao (the Laws of the Universe) is to be a welcome addition to the Tao (the Laws of the Universe);
To be one with Power is to be a welcome addition to Power;
To be one with Loss is to be a welcome addition to Loss.
Failure of faith on your part
Creates faithlessness on the part of others.
One on tip-toe cannot stand solid.
Sitting on a horse you cannot walk.
Who shows off does not shine.
Who brags has no glory.
Who boasts of ability has no merit.
Who parades success will not last.
In Tao (the Laws of the Universe) these things are called "unwanted food and extra growths,"
Are rejected by all things.
A person of the Tao (the Laws of the Universe) does not want them.
They turn away from them.
There was Something undefined and complete in itself,
Born before Heaven-and-Earth.
Silent and endless,
Standing alone without change,
Being within all,
It may be thought of as the Mother of the world.
I do not know its name;
I write it "Tao (the Laws of the Universe)";
Without a better word, call it "The Great."
To be great is to go on,
To go on is to go far,
To go far is to return.
"Tao (the Laws of the Universe) is great,
Heaven is great,
Earth is great,
The Leader is great"
Thus the Leader is one of the great four in the Universe.
Humans follows the ways of the Earth.
Earth follows the ways of Heaven,
Heaven follows the ways of Tao (the Laws of the Universe),
Tao (the Laws of the Universe) follows its own ways.
Heaviness is the root of lightness.
Peace of mind is the master of restlessness.
The Complete Thinker, traveling all day,
Does not leave the baggage-wagon;
There may be gorgeous sights to see,
But stays peacefully at home.
How can a leader
Have a light hearted position in the world?
To be light hearted is to be separated from one's root;
To be restless is to lose one's self-mastery.
Good walking leaves
no track behind it, but the walking was true;
Good speech leaves no mark to be picked at, but the speech was true;
Good calculation makes no use of counting-slips, yet the counting is true;
Good shutting makes no use of bolt and bar,
And yet nobody can undo it;
Good tying makes no use of rope and knot,
And yet nobody can untie it.
The Complete Thinker is always good at saving humans,
And nobody is abandoned;
Always good at savings things,
And nothing is wasted.
This is called "following the guidance of the Insight."
Good humans are the teachers of destructive humans,
Destructive humans depend on constructive humans.
Not to honor one's teacher,
Not to value one's dependent,
Is to be on the wrong road, however intelligent one may be.
This is call the Important Not Obvious.
Know the masculine,
Keep to the feminine,
And be the
Brook of the World.
To be the Brook of the World is
To move unchanging in the path of Power
Without swerving from it,
And to return again to infancy.
Know the white,
Keep to the black,
And be the Pattern of the World.
To be the Pattern of the World is
To move unchanging in the path of Power
Without making a single wrong step,
And to return again to the Infinite.
Know the glorious,
Keep to the lowly,
And be the Fountain of the World.
To be the Fountain of the World is
To live the life of Virute (Power) ,
And to return again to the First Simplicity.
When the First Simplicity splits apart,
It becomes useful tools,
Then in the hands of a Complete Thinker, make them leaders.
"a great tailor does little cutting."
Does anyone want to take the world and do what he wants with it?
I do not see how they can succeed.
The world is a sacred vessel, which must not be tampered with or grabbed after.
To tamper with it is to spoil it, and to grasp is to lose it.
For all things there is a time for going ahead, and a time for following behind;
A time for slow-breathing and a time for fast-breathing;
A time to grow in strength and a time to decay; time to be up and a time to be down.
The Complete Thinker avoids all extremes, excesses and luxuries.
Travels the middle path.
Who knows how to guide a leader in the path of Tao (the Laws of the Universe),
Does not try to conquer the world with military force.
It is in the nature of a military force to turn against its user.
(Economic Force stregthens the Society)
Wherever armies are stationed, thorny bushes grow.
After a great war, bad years always follow.
(Over spending for military might only overtaxes the people)
Protect efficiently your own state,
But not to aim at selfishness.
After you have attained your purpose,
You must not show off your success,
You must not brag of your ability,
You must not feel proud,
You must rather regret that you had not been able to prevent the war.
You must never think of taking control of others by force.
To be over-developed is to quicken decay,
And this is against Tao (the Laws of the Universe),
And what is against Tao (the Laws of the Universe) will soon end.
Soldiers of war predict destruction.
And are for use against Life.
A person of Tao (the Laws of the Universe) does not set his heart upon them.(A person of Tao (the Laws of the Universe) does not build armies to fight and take control of others land.)
In ordinary life, a gentle person regards the left side (omen of the future) as the place of honor:
In war, the right side (omen of the past) is the place of honor.
As soldiers are tools of destruction, They are not properly a gentle person's tools;
On necessity will they will use them, (having them and knowing their use).
With calm control.
Even winning is no cause for rejoicing.
To rejoice over a war won is to rejoice over the slaughter of humans!
So a person who rejoices over the slaughter of humans cannot expect to do well in the world of humans.
On happy occasions the left side (omen of the future) is preferred:
On sad occasions the right side (omen of the past).
In the army, the Lieutenant Commander stands on the left,
While the Commander-in-Chief stands on the right.
This means that war is treated as equal to a funeral service (rememberance of the past).
Because many people have been killed, it is only correct that living should be sad at the loss of them.
Hence, even in a victory is a funeral.
Tao (the Laws of the Universe) is always nameless.
Small as it is in its First Simplicity,
It is less than nothing in the world.
If only a leader could stick to it, Everything will give respect to them.
Heaven and Earth will be harmonized
And send down sweet dew.
Peace and order will reign among the people
Without any command from above.
When once the Primal Simplicity broke up, (at the Time of the Big Bang,)
Different names appeared.
Are there not enough names now?
Is this not the time to stop?
To know where to stop is to preserve ourselves from danger.
The Tao (the Laws of the Universe) is to the world what a great river or an ocean is to the streams and brooks.
The Tao is manifest into a shape, but then the shape is lost.
Do not be rigid about shapes, but only about ability to change.
Who knows people is clever;
Who knows self has enlightenment.
Who conquers a people has force;
Who conquers self is truly strong.
Who knows when they have enough are rich,
And who follows carefully the path of Tao (the Laws of the Universe) is a person of steady purpose.
Who stays where they have found their true home lasts long,
And who dies but is not forgotten enjoys real longevity.
The Great Tao (the Laws of the Universe)
is universal like a flood.
How can it be turned to the right or to the left?
All creatures depend on it, and it denies nothing to anyone.
It does its work,
But it makes no claims for itself.
It clothes and feeds all,
But it does not rule them:
Thus, it may be called "the Little."
All things return to it as to their home,
But it does not rule them:
It may be called "the Great."
It is just because it does not wish to be great
That its greatness is fully realized.
The Complete Thinker would not control the world;
They are in harmony with the world.
Who holds to the Great Pattern will attract all things to them.
They go to them and receive no harm, in them they find peace, security and happiness.
Music and snacks can only make a passing guest pause.
The words of Tao (the Laws of the Universe) have lasting effects,
They are mild and flavorless,
We look and see nothing.
We listen and hear nothing.
But if we use it,
It is without end.
What is in the end to be shrunken,
Begins by being first stretched out.
What is in the end to be weakened,
Begins by being first made strong.
What is in the end to be thrown down,
Begins by being first set on high.
What is in the end to be raped,
Begins by being first given riches.
Herein is the hidden wisdom of life:
The soft and weak overcomes the hard and strong.
Just as the fish must not leave the deeps,
The words of agression should not be used.
Tao (the Laws of the Universe) never makes any showiness,
And yet it does everything.
If a ruler can stick to it,
All things will grow of themselves.
When they have grown and tend to make an excitement,
It is time to keep them in their place by the aid of the nameless First Simplicity.
Which alone can control the desires of people.
When the desires of people are limited, there will be peace,
And the world will settle down of its own agreement.
High Virtue (Power) is completely virtuous (powerful) without chasing after virtue (power);
Therefore it has Virtue (Power).
Low Virtue (Power) is always chasing after virtue (power) and never frees itself from the chase;
Therefore it is without Virtue (Power).
High Virtue (Power) is without problems and is without private goals to serve:
Low Virtue (Power) not only makes problems but has private goals to serve.
High humanity makes problems but is without private goals to serve:
High morality not only makes problems but has private goals to serve.
High ceremony makes problems but is without response;
Then it raises its arms to show itself.
Losing Tao (the Laws of the Universe), man uses Virtue (Power).
Losing Virtue (Power), humans use humanity.
Losing humanity, people use morality.
Losing morality, humans use ceremony.
Ceremony is the shell of faith and loyalty;
It is the beginning of all, not understanding and mix-up.
Knowing the future, is only, the attractive without substance part, of the Tao (the Laws of the Universe),
And the beginning of foolishness.
The full-grown human
Can enter the substance rather than the shell;
Can enter totality rather than the promise;
They prefer what is within instead of appearance.
There are many things that have achieved Oneness.
The sky achieved Oneness and became clear;
The earth achieved Oneness and became calm;
The spirits achieved Oneness and became charged with powers;
The fountains achieved Oneness and became full;
All of the plants and animals achieved Oneness and became reproductive;
Leaders achieved Oneness and became the greatest rulers of the world.
All of them are what they are by virtue (the power) of Oneness.
If the sky were not clear, it would be likely to fall to pieces;
If the earth were not calm, it would be likely to burst into bits;
If the spirits were not charged with powers, they would be likely to cease from being;
If the fountains were not full, they would be likely to dry up;
If all the plants and animals were not reproductive, they would be likely to cease to exist;
If the leaders were not the greatest rulers, they would be likely to stumble and fall.
Truly, humility is the root from which greatness springs,
The High must be built upon the foundation of the low.
That is why leaders describe themselves "The Helpless One," "The Little One," and "The Worthless One."
To gain the peoples support.
They realize their dependence upon the lowly.
Get honor by not being honored.
It is not wise to shine like jade and sound like stone-chimes.
(The true leader has substance rather just appearance.)
The movement of the Tao (the Laws of the Universe) consists of Returning.
(In science, for every physical action there is a physical reaction. It is the same in social order.)
The use of the Tao (the Laws of the Universe) consists of perception.
(Understand the root cause and you will understand the process.)
All things under heaven are born of the Visible;
The Visible is born of the Invisible.
(The principals that we do not directly perceive create what we see.
Chaos has a pattern if only we use our intuition.)
When a wise scholar hears the Tao (the Laws of the Universe),
They practice it without fail.
When a average scholar hears the Tao (the Laws of the Universe),
They move between belief and unbelief.
When a worthless scholar hears the Tao (the Laws of the Universe),
They laugh loudly at it.
If such a one does not laugh at it,
The Tao (the Laws of the Universe) would not be the Tao (the Laws of the
To the untrained observer;
Who understands the Tao, seems foolish;
Who progresses in the Tao, seems to fail;
Who follows the Tao, seems to wander.
The wise people of old have truly said:
The bright Way looks dim.
The forward Way looks backward.
The smooth Way looks rough.
High Virtue (Power) looks low like a bottomless pit.
Great clearness looks spotted.
Unending Virtue (Power) looks like it is not enough.
Proved Virtue (Power) looks pitiful.
Solid Virtue (Power) looks as though melted.
Greatest space has no corners.
Great talents are slowly mastered.
Great music has the rarest sound.
Great Form is shapeless.
The Tao (the Laws of the Universe) is hidden and nameless;
It alone knows how to give help and to make whole.
Tao (the Laws of the Universe) gave birth to One, (The Unified Field)
One gave birth to Two, (Energy and Matter, E=MC2)
Two gave birth to Three, (Gravity, Nuclear and Electro-Magnetic Forces)
Three gave birth to all things.
All the things carry the Yin (physical(matter)) on their backs and hold the Yang (spiritual(energy)) to their chest,
Getting their vital balance from the proper blending of the two vital Breaths.
(Physical(matter) and Spiritual(energy))
What is more hated by men than to be "helpless(in need of help)," "little(no desire to be superior)," and "worthless (no desire to be rich)"?
These are the very names the true leaders call themselves.
You can gain by losing (putting ourselves in a position to gain),
And you can lose by gaining (receiving our hearts desire and feeling lost).
What others have taught I repeat:
"A person who lives for destruction will attract destruction to themself."
(Destruction attracts destruction.
Construction attracts construction.
Weakness attracts destruction.
Virtue (power) attracts construction.)
I will make this chapter my most important teaching.
The softest of all things
Wears down the hardest of all things.
Only No thing can enter into no-space.
I know the advantages of doing everything at its own speed.
Few things under heaven teach as much as the lessons of Silence,
Or are as helpful as the fruits of proper timing.
Your name and your body, which is more valuable?
Your body and your wealth, which is more prized?
Gain and loss, which is more painful?
Too much love for anything will cost you a lot in the end.
The storing up of too much worldly goods will mean a big loss.
Know when you have enough and be immune from disgrace.
Know when to stop and be protected from dangers.
Only this way can you last long.
The greatest perfection is never completed,
So its use never runs out.
The greatest fullness has always room for more,
So its use goes on forever.
The greatest straightness is curved.
The greatest skill is looks effortless.
The greatest speaking is slow.
Moving around overcomes cold,
Calm overcomes heat.
The peaceful and calm
Is the Normal of the World.
When the world is in possession of the Tao (the Laws of the Universe),
The galloping horses are led to fertilize the fields with their droppings.
(People create goods for exchange and contend with each other in sport.)
When the world has become Taoless (without the Laws of the Universe),
War horses breed themselves in the suburbs.
(People create tools of destruction and contend with each other over the ownership of countries.)
There is no disaster like not knowing what is enough.
There is no evil like greed.
They who know what is enough will always have enough.
Without going out of your door,
You can know the ways of the world.
Without looking through your window,
You can see the Tao (the Laws of the Universe).
You can travel far,
And know very little.
The Complete Thinker knows without traveling,
Sees without looking,
And achieves without Effort.
(Because they understand the Laws of the Universe and the Power of their application.)
Rote Learning involves daily getting more;
The practice of Tao (the Laws of the Universe) involves dailygetting rid of.
Keep ongetting rid of and getting rid of,
Until you reach the state of Effortlessness.
Effortlessness and nothing is left undone.
To win the world, give up all.
If you still have private goals,
You will never win the world.
The Complete Thinker has no interests of their own,
But takes the interests of the people as their own.
They are kind to the kind;
They are also kind to the not kind:
Kindness is Power.
They are faithful to the faithful
They are also faithful to the not faithful:
Faithfulness is Power.
In the middle of the world, the Complete Thinker is shy and does not brag.
For the world they keep their heart in its largest state.
All the people try to listen and see:
The Complete Thinker acts without prejudice.
When one is out of Life, one is in Death.
The partners of Life are thirteen; the partners of Death are thirteen;
When a living person moves into the Realm of Death, his partners are also thirteen.
How is this?
Because they draws upon the property of Life too heavily.
They who knows well how to live meets no tigers or wild buffaloes on their road, comes out from the battle-ground not touched by the soldiers of war.
For, in them, a buffalo would find no target for his horns, a tiger nothing to put his claws upon, and a soldier of war no place for its tool to enter.
How is this?
Because there is no room for Death in them.
Tao (the Laws of the Universe) gives them life,
Virtue (Power) nurses them,
Matter shapes them,
Environment completes them.
All things worship Tao (the Laws of the Universe) and pray to Virtue (Power).
They have not been commanded to worship Tao (the Laws of the Universe) and pray to Virtue (Power),
But they always do so automatically.
It is Tao (the Laws of the Universe) that gives them life:
Its Virtue (Power) that nurses them, grows them, raises them, shelters them, comforts them, feeds them and covers them under her wings.
To give life but to demand nothing,
To do your work but to set no importance to it,
To be a leader, not a rule maker,
This is called Hidden Virtue (Power).
All-under Heaven have a common Beginning
This Beginning is the Mother of the world.
Having known the Mother,
We may proceed to know her children.
Having known the children,
We should go back and hold on to the Mother
In so doing, you will take no risk
Even though your body be destroyed.
Block all the passage ways!
Shut all the doors!
And to the end of your days you will not be worn out.
Open the passages!
Multiply your activities!
And to the end of your days you will remain helpless.
To see the small is to have insight.
To hold on to flexibility is to be strong.
If, in using your factual intelligence
You return to your insight.
You will not bring destruction upon yourself.
This is the way of learning the Changeless.
If I had the smallest seed of wisdom,
I would walk the Great Way,
And my only fear would be to lose my way from it.
The Great Way is very smooth and straight;
And yet the people like better the complicated paths.
The courtyard is very clean and well decorated,
(Their cities appear powerful.)
But the fields are very weedy and wild,
And the grain silo's are very empty!
(But they have lost the skill to feed themselves.)
They wear beautiful clothes,
(They value appearances over substance.)
They carry destructive weapons,
(They use the tools of destruction to get their needs.)
They over fill themselves with food and drink,
(They indulge themselves in the fruits of the conquered.)
They own more riches than they can use!
(They are greedy.)
They are the messengers of lawlessness!
As for Tao (the Laws of the Universe), what do they know about it?
What is well planted cannot be uprooted.
What is well accepted cannot slip away.
Your descendants will pray for you for ages without end.
Feed Virtue (Power) in your own person,
And it becomes a real part of you.
Feed Power in the family,
And it will stay.
Feed Power in the community,
And it will live and grow.
Feed Power in the state,
And it will be generously successful.
Feed Power in the World,
And it will become total.
A person must be judged as a person;
A family must be judged as family;
A community must be judged as a community;
A state must be judged as a state;
The world must be judged as a world.
How do I know about the world?
By what is within me.
One who is high in Virtue (Power) is like the new-born babe.
Wasps and poisonous snakes don't sting,
Murderous beasts do not seize,
Birds who hunt do not beat,
Its bones are flexible, its muscles relaxed,
Its grip is strong.
It does not know the sex,
Growing in its wholeness, and keeping its spirit
in its Life Force is at its greatest.
It screams all day long without getting hoarse,
Because of its perfect harmony.
To know harmony is to know the Changeless.
To know the Changeless is to have understanding.
To hurry the growth of life is dangerous.
To control the breath by choice is to over force it.
To be overgrown is to rot.
This is against Tao (the Laws of the Universe),
Whatever is against Tao (the Laws of the Universe) soon ceases to be.
They who know may not speak.
They who speak may not know.
Block all the passage ways!
(Be content with your position.)
Shut all the doors!
(Remove all distractions.)
Unsharpen all edges!
(Be kind not sharp in your dealings with life.)
Untie all knots!
(Understand the the root of all problems.)
Blend all lights!
(View all you see based on the Laws of the Universe.)
Bring the world together into one completeness!
(Understand the oneness of the World.)
This is called the Beyond Understanding Completeness,
Which you cannot attract or push away,
Benefit or hurt,
Honor or reduce.
It is the Highest Truth of the world.
You lead a group with correctness;
You fight a war by moves not thought of by your enemies;
You win the world by not using effort.
How do I know this is so?
By what is within me!
The more things that are forbidden and limited in the world,
The poorer the people become.
(Freedom for the people is required for a full life.)
The more destructive the weapons the people possess,
The greater confusion controls the land.
(People are dangerous to other people and the greater the tools of
destruction in their hands the more they will destroy.)
The more clever and tricky the men,
The more often strange things happen.
(People who cheat the Laws of the Universe cause a lack of balance which can not last.)
The more well spoken the laws and rulings,
The more robbers and thieves there are.
(The more rules there are, the more likely people will break them in the course of life.
Then after breaking some rules the other rules are less respected and criminals are considered normal citizens.)
The Complete Thinker says:
I live a simple life, and the people change themselves.
I love quiet, and the people settle down in their regular jobs.
I look to effortlessness, and the people grow rich.
I have no desires, and the people return to Simplicity.
Where the leader is quiet, quiet,
The people are simple and happy.
Where the leader is dishonest, dishonest,
The people are tricky and unhappy.
Bad fortune is what good fortune leans on,
Good fortune is what bad fortune hides in.
Who knows the final end of this process?
Is there not a normal of right?
What is normal, soon becomes not normal,
And what is good soon turns bad.
Long indeed have the people been in difficulty.
The Complete Thinker: makes even without cutting,
Is honest without hurting,
Is direct without effort,
Teaches without causing the mind to be excited.
In governing a people and in serving Heaven,
There is nothing like not being wasteful.
To not be wasteful is to return before going away from the path.
To return before going away from the path is to have a double supply of Virtue (Power).
To have a double supply of Virtue (Power) is to overcome everything.
To overcome everything is to have no limits.
Only they who have no limits can have a kingdom.
Only they who have the true understanding of the Tao can last long.
This is the way to be deep-rooted and firm-planted in the Tao (the Laws of the Universe).
This is the secret of long life and lasting understanding.
Ruling a big kingdom is like cooking a small fish.
(You have to be careful not to burn it.)
When a person of Tao (the Laws of the Universe) rules over the world, demons have no spiritual powers.
Not that the demons have no spiritual powers, but the spirits themselves do no harm to humans.
Not that the spirits do no harm to humans, but the Complete Thinker does no harm to the people.
If only the leader and people would stop from hurting each other, all the good things of life would get together in the kingdom.
A great Country is like the lowland to which all streams flow.
It is the lake of all under heaven, the Feminine of the world.
The Feminine always conquers the Masculine by her quietness, by lowering herself through her quietness.
If a great country can lower itself before a small country, it will win over the small country; and if a small country can lower itself before a great country, it will win over the great country.
The one wins by lowering itself; the other, by remaining low.
What a great country wants is simply to accept more people; and what a small country wants is simply to serve its protector.
Each gets what it wants.
But it benefits a great country to lower itself.
The Tao (the Laws of the Universe) is the hidden Source of all things.
A treasure to the honest, it is a protection to the confused.
A good word will find its own location.
A good deed may be used as a gift to another.
A person missing the right path
Is no reason they should be thrown away.
At the official times of empowerment,
Let others offer their discs of jade, following it up with cars and boats;
It is better for you to offer the Tao (the Laws of the Universe) without moving your feet!
Why did the people of the past prize the Tao (the Laws of the Universe)?
It is because by the virtue (the power) of it, he who looks finds,
And the guilty are forgiven.
That is why it is such a treasure to the world.
Do the Effortlessness.
Try for the effortless.
Enjoy the joyless.
Raise high the low.
Multiply the few.
Return hurt with kindness.
Stop troubles in the beginning.
Plant the great with the small.
Difficult things of the world.
Can only be tackled when they are easy.
Big things of the world
Can only be completed by paying attention to their small beginnings.
The Complete Thinker never has to struggle with the big things,
But they alone are capable of completing them!
They who promises lightly must be lacking in faith.
They who thinks everything easy will end by finding difficulty.
The Complete Thinker, who regards everything as difficult,
Meets with no difficulties in the end.
What is not moving is easy to hold.
What shows no predictions is easily made not to happen.
What is delicate is easily smashed.
What is small is easily widely separated and lost.
Do things before they have become visible. (Plan ahead.)
Help peace and order before confusion and disorder have set in. (Punish the destructive without delay.)
A tree as big as a man's embrace starts from a tiny sprout. (Big things start small.)
A tower nine stories high begins with a heap of earth.
A journey of three thousand miles starts from where your feet stand.
They who trouble over anything spoils it.
They who hold anything loses it.
The Complete Thinker troubles over nothing and then spoils nothing.
Tries to hold nothing and then loses nothing.
In handling business, people often spoil it just at the point of success.
With carefulness in the beginning and patience at the end, nothing will be spoiled.
The Complete Thinker wants to be want-less.
Sets no value on rare goods.
Learns to relearn learning.
And convinces the people to return from where they have passed.
They only helps all creatures to find their own nature, but does not try to lead them by the nose.
In the old days, those who were good at the practice of Tao (the Laws of the Universe) did not try to teach the people, but to keep them in the state of simple life.
Why are the people hard to govern?
Because they are too tricky!
They who govern their state with trickiness is its wrongdoer;
They who govern their state without resorting to trickiness is its protector.
To know these principles is to have a rule and a measure.
To keep the rule and the measure constantly in your mind is what we call Virtue (Power) that is hidden!
It leads all things to return, till they come back to the Great Balance!
How does the sea become the King of all streams?
Because it lies lower than they!
That is why it is the king of all streams.
The Complete Thinker rules over the people by lowering themself in speech;
Leads the people by putting themself behind.
When a Complete Thinker stands above the people,
They do not feel the heaviness of weight;
When they stands in front of the people, the people do not feel hurt.
All the world is glad to push them forward without getting tired of them.
Because they compete with nobody,
Nobody can ever compete with them.
All the world says that my Tao (the Laws of the Universe) is great, but seems strange, like nothing on earth.
But it is just because my Tao (the Laws of the Universe) is great that it is like nothing on earth!
If it were like anything on earth, how small it would have been from the very beginning!
I have Three Treasures,
Which I hold fast and watch over closely.
The first is Mercy.
The second is Frugality.
The third is Daring to Be Not First in the World.
Because I am merciful, I can be brave.
Because I am frugal, I can be generous.
Because I dare not to be first, I can lead.
If a person wants to be brave without first being merciful, generous without first being frugal, a leader without first wishing to follow, they are only asking for destruction!
Mercy alone can help you win a war.
Mercy alone can help you defend your state.
Heaven will come to the rescue of the merciful, and protect them with its Mercy.
A good soldier is never the first to fight;
A good fighter is never angry.
The best way of beating an enemy
Is to win them over by not disagreeing with them.
The best way of employing a person
Is to serve under them.
This is called the virtue (power) of non-striving!
This is called using the abilities of people!
This is called being wedded to Heaven like in the past!
The planners of fights have a saying:
I do not want to receive guests, but I would like to be a guest;
I do not want to go forward an inch, but I would like to go back a foot.
This is called marching without moving,
Rolling up one's sleeves without baring one's arms,
Capturing the enemy without facing them,
Holding a weapon that is invisible.
There is no greater disaster than to under-estimate the strength of your enemy.
For to under-estimate the strength of your enemy is to lose your treasure.
When disagreeing armies meet in battle, victory belongs to the sorrowing side.
My words are very easy to understand, and very easy to practice:
But the civilization today cannot understand them, nor practice them
My words have an Ancestor.
My deeds have a Lord.
The people have no knowledge of this.
They have no knowledge of me.
The fewer persons know me,
The greater they are that follow me.
The Complete Thinker looks like the common man,
While keeping the Laws of the Universe and the Power of their application in his heart.
To understand that our knowledge is not complete,
This is a great understanding.
To think about our innocence as knowledge,
This is mental sickness.
Only when we are sick of our sickness
Shall we cease to be sick.
The Complete Thinker is not sick, being sick of sickness;
This is the secret of health.
When people no longer fear your power,
It is a sign that a greater power is coming.
Interfere not lightly with a persons house, (Do not intrude on their privacy.)
Do not make heavy taxes upon their work.
Only when you stop tiring them,
Will they stop being tired of you.
The Complete Thinker knows self,
But makes no show of self;
But does not lift self above others.
They prefer what is within to what is without.
The man who is brave and takes unneeded chances will be killed;
The man who is brave and does not take unneeded chances will survive.
Of these two kinds of bravery, one proves harmful, while the other is helpful.
Some things are hated by the Laws of the Universe,
But who knows the reason?
Even the Complete Thinker does not understand such a question.
It is the Universal Law, to win without effort.
It is the Universal Law to get answers without speaking.
It is the Universal Law
To get the people to come without calling them.
It is the Universal Law
To act agreeing to plans without hurry.
Powerful, beyond knowing are the Laws of the Universe:
Visible only by its results and yet
Only the formless can create new results.
When the people are no longer afraid of death,
Why scare them with the spirit of death?
If you could make the people always afraid of death,
And they still break the law,
Then you might arrest and execute them,
And who would dare break the law?
Is not the Great Executioner always there to kill?
To do the killing for the Great Executioner
Is to chop wood for a master carpenter,
And you would be lucky indeed if you did not hurt your own hand!
Why are the people starving?
Because those above them are taxing them too much.
That is why they are starving.
Why are the people hard to manage?
Because those above them are troublesome and selfish.
That is why they are hard to manage.
Why do the people make jokes about death?
Because those above them make too much of life.
That is why they make jokes about death.
The people have nothing to live on!
They know better than to value such a life!
When a person is living they are soft and easy to bend.
When they are dead, they become hard and stiff.
When a plant is living, it is soft and tender.
When it is dead, it becomes withered and dry.
The hard and stiff belongs to the company of the dead:
The soft and easy to bend belongs to the company of the living.
A mighty army can to fall by its own weight,
Just as dry wood is ready for the ax.
The mighty and great will be put low;
The humble and weak will be raised high.
Maybe the Laws of the Universe (Tao) may be compared to the stretching of a bow!
The upper part is depressed, while the lower is raised.
If the bow-string is too long, it is cut short: if too short, it is added to.
The Laws of the Universe (Tao) makes smaller the more-than-enough to supply the less than enough.
The way of people is different: it takes from the poor to give the rich.
Who except a person of the Tao (the Laws of the Universe) can put their never ending riches to the service of the world?
The Complete Thinker does work without setting any store by it, accomplishes tasks without dwelling upon them.
They do not want their merits to be seen.
Nothing in the world is softer and weaker than water;
But, for attacking the hard and strong, there is nothing like it!
For nothing can take its place.
That the weak overcomes the strong, and the soft overcomes the hard,
This is something known by all, but practiced by none.
The Complete Thinker says:
To receive the dirt of a country is to be the lord of its soil-shrines.
To hold up under the disasters of a country is to be the prince of the world.
(To be strong in the face of discrace and disaster, is to be truly Noble.)
Indeed, the Truth sound like its opposite!
When a great wound is healed,
There will still remain a scar.
Can this be a desirable thing?
The Complete Thinker, holding the left-hand tally (the count of things to come),
Performs their part of the agreement,
But puts no demands on others.
The virtuous (powerful) do their work;
The virtue-less (powerless) knows only to put taxes on the people.
The Laws of the Universe (Tao) have no private feelings,
But always agrees with the constructive.
Ah, for a small country with a small population!
Though there are very handy mechanical inventions, the people have no use for them.
Let them notice death and not go to far away places.
Ships and tanks, and weapons of war, there may still be, but there are no occasions for using or displaying them.
Let the people go back to sending messages by knotting cords.
(Let nothing be urgent)
See to it that they are happy with their food, pleased with their clothing, satisfied with their houses, and use the simple ways of living.
Though there may be another country so close that they are in sight of each other and the crowing of cocks and barking of dogs in one place can be heard in the other, yet there is no traffic between them, and throughout their lives the two peoples have nothing to do with each other.
Honest words are not sweet,
Sweet words are not honest.
Good people are not bad-tempered,
The bad-tempered are not good.
The wise do not think of themselves as knowing more than others, the ones who think of themselves as knowing more than others are not wise.
The Complete Thinker does not collect riches.
The more they lives for others,
The fuller is their life.
The more they give, the more they win.
The Laws of the Universe (Tao) are to help, not to hurt.
The Way of the Complete Thinker is to do their duty, not to compete with anyone.