Tao Te Ching

 

二○ ○二年五月十一日

○綿綿若存○用之不勤○ 谷神不死○是謂玄牝○玄牝之門○是謂天地根 六章 動而俞出○多言數窮○不如守中○ 為芻狗○天地之間○其猶橐蘥乎○虛而不屈○ 天地不仁○以萬物為芻狗○聖人不仁○以百姓 五章 ○吾不知誰子○象帝之先○ 銳○解其紛○和其光○同其塵○湛兮○似或存 道沖○而用之惑不盈○淵兮○萬物之宗○挫其 四章 治○ 知無欲○使夫智者不敢為也○為無為○則無不 虛其心○實其腹○弱其志○強其骨○常使民無 盜○不見可欲○使民心不亂○是以聖人之治○ 不尚賢○使民不爭○不貴難得之貨○使民不為 三章 是以不去○ 而不有○為而不恃○功成而弗居○夫唯弗居○ 處無為之事○行不言之教○萬物作而不辭○生 ○高下相傾○音聲相和○前後相隨○是以聖人 斯不善已○故有無相生○難易相成○長短相形 天下皆知美之為美○斯惡已○皆知善之為善○ 二章 之玄○玄之又玄○眾妙之門○ ○常有○欲觀其徼○此兩者同出而異名○同謂 地之始○有○名萬物之母○故常無○欲觀其妙 道可道○非常道○名可名○非常名○無○名天 一章 老 子

道 德 經

謂貴大患若身○吾所以有大患者○為吾有身○ 下○得之若驚○失之若驚○是謂寵辱若驚○何 寵辱若驚○貴大患若身○何謂寵辱若驚○寵為 十三章 妨○是以聖人為腹不為目○故去彼取此○ ○馳騁田獵○令人心發狂○難得之貨○令人行 五色令人目盲○五音令人耳聾○五味令人口爽 十二章 其無○有室之用○故有之以為利○無之以為用 為器○當其無○有器之用○鑿戶牖以為室○當 三十輻○共一轂○當其無○有車之用○埏埴以 十一章 ○是謂玄德○ ○生之畜之○生而不有○為而不恃○長而不宰 ○天門開闔○能為雌乎○明白四達○能無知乎 ○滌除玄覽○能無疵乎○愛人治國○能無為乎 載營魄抱一○能無離乎○專氣致柔○能嬰兒乎 十章 功遂○身退○天之道○ 金玉滿堂○莫之能守○富貴而驕○自遺其咎○ 持而盈之○不如其已○揣而銳之○不可長保○ 九章 故無尤○ 善信○政善治○事善能○動善時○夫唯不爭○ 惡○故幾於道○居善地○心善淵○與善仁○言 上善若水○水善利萬物而又不爭○處眾人之所 八章 而身存○非以其無私邪○故能成其私○ ○故能長生○是以聖人後其身而身先○外其身 天長地久○天地所以能長且久者○以其不自生 七章
絕聖棄智○民利百倍○絕仁棄義○民復孝慈○ 十九章 ○有孝慈○國家昏亂○有忠臣○ 大道廢○有仁義○智慧出○有大偽○六親不和 十八章 其貴言○功成事遂○百姓皆謂我自然○ 之○其次○侮之○信不足焉○有不信焉○悠兮 太上○不知有之○其次○親而譽之○其次○畏 十七章 ○沒身不殆○ ○容乃公○公乃全○全乃天○天乃道○道乃久 命曰常○知常曰明○不知常○妄作凶○知常容 芸芸○各復歸其根○歸根曰靜○靜曰復命○復 致虛極○守靜篤○萬物並作○吾以觀復○夫物 十六章 ○夫唯不盈○故能弊而新成○ 徐清○孰能安以動之徐生○保此道者○不欲盈 樸○曠兮其若谷○混兮其若濁○孰能濁以靜之 四鄰○儼兮其若客○渙若冰之將釋○敦兮其若 可識○故強為之容○豫焉若冬涉川○猶兮若畏 古之善為道者○微妙玄通○深不可識○夫唯不 十五章 御今之有○能知古始○是謂道紀○ 迎之不見其首○隨之不見其後○執古之道○以 無物○是謂無狀之狀○無物之象○是謂惚恍○ ○其上不曒○其下不昧○繩繩不可名○復歸於 不得○名曰微○此三者不可致詰○故混而為一 視之不見○名曰夷○聽之不聞○名曰希○摶之 十四章 寄天下○愛以身為天下○若可託天下○ 及吾無身○吾有何患○故貴以身為天下○若可
二十四章 焉○有不信焉○ 德亦樂得之○同於失者○失亦樂得之○信不足 同於失○同於道者○道亦樂得之○同於德者○ 從事於道者○同於道○德者○同於德○失者○ 此者○天地○天地尚不能久○而況於人乎○故 希言自然○故飄風不終朝○驟雨不終日○孰為 二十三章 所謂○曲則全○者○豈虛言哉○誠全而歸之○ ○故長○夫惟不爭○故天下莫能與之爭○古之 明○不自是○故彰○不自伐○故有功○不自矜 多則惑○是以聖人抱一為天下式○不自見○故 曲則全○枉則正○窪則盈○敝則新○少則得○ 二十二章 甫之狀哉○以此○ 自今及古○其名不去○以閱眾甫○吾何以知眾 窈兮冥兮○其中有精○其精甚真○其中有信○ 惚兮恍兮○其中有象○恍兮惚兮○其中有物○ 孔德之容○惟道是從○道之為物○惟恍惟惚○ 二十一章 而我獨頑且鄙○我獨異於人○而貴食母○ 悶○澹兮其若海○飂兮若無止○眾人皆有以○ 哉○俗人昭昭○我獨昏昏○俗人察察○我獨悶 歸○眾人皆有餘○而我獨若遺○我愚人之心也 兆○沌沌兮○如嬰兒之未孩○儽儽兮○若無所 熙熙○如享太牢○如春登臺○我獨泊兮○其未 人之所畏○不可不畏○荒兮○其未央哉○眾人 唯之與阿○相去幾何○善之與惡○相去若何○ 二十章 故令有所屬○見素抱樸○少私寡欲○絕學無憂 絕巧棄利○盜賊無有○此三者以為文○不足○
○不可為也○為者敗之○執者失之○夫物或行 將欲取天下而為之○吾見其不得已○天下神器 二十九章 長○故大制不割○ ○復歸於樸○樸散則為器○聖人用之○則為官 榮○守其辱○為天下谷○為天下谷○常德乃足 式○為天下式○常德不忒○復歸於無極○知其 不離○復歸於嬰兒○知其白○守其黑○為天下 知其雄○守其雌○為天下谿○為天下谿○常德 二十八章 大迷○是謂要妙○ 人者○善人之資○不貴其師○不愛其資○雖智 物○是謂襲明○故善人者○不善人之師○不善 聖人常善救人○故無棄人○常善救物○而無棄 閉無關楗不可開○善結無繩約而不可解○是以 善行無轍跡○善言無瘕謫○善數不用籌策○善 二十七章 以身輕天下○輕則失根○躁則失君○ 重○雖有榮觀○燕處超然○奈何萬乘之主○而 重為輕根○靜為躁君○是以君子終日行不離輜 二十六章 天法道○道法自然○ 中有四大○而人居其一焉○人法地○地法天○ ○遠曰返○故道大○天大○地大○人亦大○域 強字之曰道○強為之名曰大○大曰逝○逝曰遠 ○周行而不殆○可以為天地母○吾不知其名○ 有物混成○先天地生○寂兮寥兮○獨立而不改 二十五章 ○餘食贅形○物或惡之○故有道者不處○ 彰○自伐者無功○自矜者不長○其在道也○曰 企者不立○跨者不行○自見者不明○自是者不
其終不自為大○故能成其大○ 可名於小○萬物歸焉而不為主○可名於大○以 ○功成而不有○衣養萬物而不為主○常無欲○ 大道氾兮○其可左右○萬物恃之○以生而不辭 三十四章 而不亡者壽○ ○知足者富○強行者有志○不失其所者久○死 知人者智○自知者明○勝人者有力○自勝者強 三十三章 之於江海○ 知止○知止可以不殆○譬道之在天下○猶川谷 莫之令而自均○始制有名○名亦既有○夫亦將 守之○萬物將自賓○天地相合○以降甘露○民 道常無名○樸○雖小○天下莫能臣○侯王若能 三十二章 之眾○以悲哀泣之○戰勝以喪禮處之○ 將軍居左○上將軍居右○言以喪禮處次○殺人 不可得志於天下矣○吉事尚左○凶事尚右○偏 不美○而美之者○是樂殺人○夫樂殺人者○則 非君子之器○不得已而用之○恬淡為上○勝而 君子居則貴左○用兵則貴右○兵者不祥之器○ 夫兵者○不祥之器○物或惡之○故有道不處○ 三十一章 老○是謂不道○不道早已○ ○果而勿驕○果而不得已○果而勿強○物牡則 有果而已○不敢以取強○果而勿矜○果而勿伐 之所處○荊棘生焉○大軍之後○必有凶年○善 以道佐人主者○不以兵強天下○其事好還○師 三十章 聖人去甚○去奢○去泰○ 或隨○或噓或吹○或強或贏○或載或隳○是以
本邪○非乎○故至譽無譽○是故不欲琭琭如玉 基○是以侯王自謂孤○寡○不轂○此非以賤為 王無以正○將恐蹶○故貴以賤為本○高以下為 谷無以盈○將恐竭○萬物無以生○將恐滅○侯 裂○地無以寧○將恐廢○神無以靈○將恐歇○ 一以為天下正○其致之也○謂天無以清○將恐 一以靈○谷得一以盈○萬物得一以生○侯王得 昔之得一者○天得一以清○地得一以寧○神得 三十九章 其實○不居其華○故去彼取此○ 而愚之始○是以大丈夫處其厚○不居其薄○處 者○忠信之薄○而亂之首○前識者○道之華○ 失德而後仁○失仁而後義○失義而後禮○夫禮 之而莫之應○則攘臂而扔之○故失道而後德○ 仁為之而無以為○上義為之而有以為○上禮為 ○上德無為而無以為○下德無為而有以為○上 上德不德○是以有德○下德不失德○是以無德 三十八章 無名之樸○夫將不欲○不欲以靜○天下將自正 化○化而欲作○吾將鎮之以無名之樸○鎮之以 道常無為而無不為○侯王若能守之○萬物將自 三十七章 利器不可示人○ 是謂微明○柔弱勝剛強○魚不可脫於淵○國之 將欲癈之○必固興之○將欲取之○必固與之○ 將欲歙之○必固張之○將欲弱之○必故強之○ 三十六章 見○聽之不足聞○用之不足既○ ○過客止○道之出口○淡乎其無味○視之不足 執大象○天下往○往而不害○安平太○樂與餌 三十五章
天下有道○卻走馬以糞○天下無道○戎馬生於 四十六章 勝熱○清靜以為天下正○ 大直若屈○大巧若拙○大辯若訥○靜勝躁○寒 大成若缺○其用不弊○大盈若沖○其用不窮○ 四十五章 ○可以長久○ 必大費○多藏必厚亡○故知足不辱○知止不殆 名與身孰親○身與貨孰多○得與亡孰病○甚愛 四十四章 ○天下希及之○ ○吾是以知無為之有益○不言之教○無為之益 天下之至柔○馳騁天下之至堅○無有入於無間 四十三章 其死○吾將以為教父○ 益之而損○人之所教○我亦教之○強梁者不得 ○不轂○而王公以為稱○故物或損之而益○或 陰而抱陽○沖氣以為和○人之所惡○唯孤○寡 道生一○一生二○二生三○三生萬物○萬物負 四十二章 象無形○道隱無名○夫唯道○善貸且成○ 白若辱○大方無隅○大器晚成○大音希聲○大 若谷○廣德若不足○建德若偷○質真若渝○大 有之○明道若昧○進道若退○夷道若纇○上德 下士聞道○大笑之○不笑不足以為道○故建言 上士聞道○勤而行之○中士聞道○若存若亡○ 四十一章 有生於無○ 反者道之動○弱者道之用○天下萬物生於有○ 四十章 ○珞珞如石○
○既知其子○復守其母○沒身不殆○塞其兌○ 天下有始○以為天下母○既得其母○以知其子 五十二章 而不宰○是謂玄德○ 之毒之○養之覆之○生而不有○為而不恃○長 而常自然○故道生之○德畜之○長之育之○亭 莫不尊道而貴德○道之尊○德之貴○夫莫之命 道生之○德畜之○物形之○勢成之○是以萬物 五十一章 爪○兵無所容其刃○夫何故○以其無死地○ ○入軍不被甲兵○兕無所投其角○虎無所用其 以其生生之厚○蓋聞善攝生者○陸行不遇兕虎 ○人之生○動之於死地○亦十有三○夫何故○ 出生入死○生之徒○十有三○死之徒○十有三 五十章 之○ ○為天下渾其心○百姓皆注其耳目○聖人皆孩 信者○吾亦信之○得信○聖人在天下○歙歙焉 不善者○吾亦善之○得善○信者○吾信之○不 聖人常無心○以百姓心為心○善者○吾善之○ 四十九章 ○不足以取天下○ ○無為而無不為○取天下常以無事○及其有事 為學日益○為道日損○損之又損○以至於無為 四十八章 不為而成○ ○其知彌少○是以聖人不行而知○不見而明○ 不出戶○知天下○不闚牖○見天道○其出彌遠 四十七章 之足○常足矣○ 郊○禍莫大於不知足○咎莫大於欲得○故知足
多利器○國家滋昏○人多伎巧○奇物滋起○法 知其然哉○以此○天下多忌諱○而民彌貧○人 以正治國○以奇用兵○以無事取天下○吾何以 五十七章 貴○ 得而害○不可得而貴○不可得而賤○故為天下 不可得而親○不可得而疏○不可得而利○不可 銳○解其紛○和其光○同其塵○是謂玄同○故 知者不言○言者不知○塞其兌○閉其門○挫其 五十六章 物壯則老○謂之不道○不道早已○ 和曰常○知常曰明○益生曰祥○心使氣曰強○ 朘作○精之至也○終日號而不嗄○和之至○知 玃鳥不搏○骨弱筋柔而握固○未知牝牡之合而 含德之厚○比於赤子○毒蟲不螫○猛獸不據○ 五十五章 何以知天下然哉○以此○ 家○以鄉觀鄉○以邦觀邦○以天下觀天下○吾 修之於天下○其德乃普○故以身觀身○以家觀 修之於鄉○其德乃長○修之於邦○其德乃豐○ 修之於身○其德乃真○修之於家○其德乃餘○ 善建者不拔○善抱者不脫○子孫以祭祀不輟○ 五十四章 ○非道也哉○ 文綵○帶利劍○厭飲食○財貨有餘○是謂盜夸 夷○而人好俓○朝甚除○田甚蕪○倉甚虛○服 使我介然有知○行於大道○唯施是畏○大道甚 五十三章 ○無遺身殃○是謂襲常○ 救○見小曰明○守柔曰強○用其光○復歸其明 閉其門○終身不勤○開其兌○濟其事○終身不
六十三章 求以得○有罪以免邪○故為天下貴○ 不如坐進此道○古之所以貴此道者何○不曰○ 有○故立天子○置三公○雖有拱璧以先駟馬○ 言可以市尊○行可以加人○人之不善○何棄之 道者萬物之奧○善人之寶○不善人之所保○美 六十二章 入事人○夫兩者各得其所欲○大者宜為下○ 或下而取大○大邦不過欲兼畜人○小邦不過欲 邦○小邦以下大邦○則取大邦○故或下以取○ 靜勝牡○以靜為下○故大邦以下小邦○則取小 大邦者下流○天下之牝○天下之交也○牝常以 六十一章 人亦不傷人○夫兩不相傷○故德交歸焉○ 非其鬼不神○其神不傷人○非其神不傷人○聖 治大國○若烹小鮮○以道蒞天下○其鬼不神○ 六十章 長久○是謂深根固蒂○長生久視之道○ 其極○莫知其極○可以有國○有國之母○可以 謂之重積德○重積德則無不克○無不克則莫知 治人事天○莫若嗇○夫唯嗇○是謂早服○早服 五十九章 而不肆○光而不耀○ 其日固久○是以聖人方而不割○廉而不劌○直 ○其無正也○正復為奇○善復為妖○人之迷○ 禍兮○福之所倚○福兮○禍之所伏○孰知其極 其政悶悶○其民淳淳○其政察察○其民缺缺○ 五十八章 ○我無欲○而民自樸○ 自化○我好靜○而民自正○我無事○而民自富 令滋彰○盜賊多有○故聖人云○我無為○而民
○夫慈○以戰則勝○以守則固○天將救之○以 長○今舍慈且勇○舍儉且廣○舍後且先○死矣 故能勇○儉故能廣○不敢為天下先○故能成器 之○一曰慈○二曰儉○三曰不敢為天下先○慈 肖○若肖○久矣其細也夫○我有三寶○持而保 天下皆謂我○道大○似不肖○夫唯大○故似不 六十七章 爭○故天下莫能與之爭○ 處前而人不害○是以天下樂推而不厭○以其不 先民○必以身後之○是以聖人處上而民不重○ 為百谷王○是以聖人欲上民○必以言下之○欲 江海之所以能為百谷王者○以其善下之○故能 六十六章 後乃至大順○ ○是謂玄德○玄德深矣○遠矣○與物反矣○然 治國○國之福○知此兩者○亦稽式○常知稽式 治○以其智多○故以智治國○國之賊○不以智 古之善為道者○非以明民○將以愚之○民之難 六十五章 之○慎終如始○則無敗事○ 無敗○無執故無失○民之從事○常於幾成而敗 足下○為者敗之○執者失之○是以聖人無為故 毫末○九層之臺○起於累土○千里之行○始於 ○為之於未有○治之於未亂○合抱之木○生於 其安易持○其未兆易謀○其脆易泮○其微易散 六十四章 ○是以聖人猶難之○故終無難矣○ 大○故能成其大○夫輕諾必寡信○多易必多難 於易○天下大事○必作於細○是以聖人終不為 德○圖難於易○為大於其細○天下難事○必作 為無為○事無事○味無味○大小多少○報怨以
○夫代司殺者殺○是謂代大匠斲○夫代大匠斲 為奇者○吾執得而殺之○孰敢○常有司殺者殺 民不畏死○奈何以死懼之○若使民常畏死○而 七十四章 天網恢恢○疏而不失○ 勝○不言而善應○不召而自來○繟然而善謀○ 害○天之所惡○孰知其故○天之道○不爭而善 勇於敢則殺○勇於不敢則活○此兩者○或利或 七十三章 見○自愛不自貴○故去彼取此○ 生○夫唯不厭○是以不厭○是以聖人自知不自 民不畏威○則大威至○無狎其所居○無厭其所 七十二章 其病病○夫唯病病○是以不病○ 知不知○尚矣○不知知○病也○聖人不病○以 七十一章 我者希○則我者貴○是以聖人被褐而懷玉○ 言有宗○事有君○夫唯無知○是以不我知○知 吾言甚易知○甚易行○天下莫能知○莫能行○ 七十章 勝矣○ 大於輕敵○輕敵幾喪吾寶○故抗兵相若○哀者 是謂行無行○攘無臂○仍無敵○執無兵○禍莫 而退尺○ 用兵有言○吾不敢為主○而為客○不敢進寸○ 六十九章 謂用人之力○是謂配天古之極○ 不爭○善用人者○為之下○是謂不爭之德○是 善為士者○不武○善戰者○不怒○善勝敵者○ 六十八章 慈衛之○

二○ ○二年五月十一日

聖人之道○為而不爭○ 愈有○既以與人己愈多○天之道○利而不害○ 知者不博○博者不知○聖人不積○既以為人己 信言不美○美言不信○善者不辯○辯者不善○ 八十一章 ○民至老死○不相往來○ ○安其居○樂其俗○鄰國相望○雞犬之聲相聞 所陳之○使民復結繩而用之○甘其食○美其服 不遠徙○雖有舟輿○無所乘之○雖有甲兵○無 小國寡民○使有什伯之器而不用○使民重死而 八十章 道無親○常與善人○ 左契○而不責於人○有德司契○無德司徹○天 和大怨○必有餘怨○安可以為善○是以聖人執 七十九章 正言若反○ 主○受國不祥○是謂天下王○ ○莫能行○是以聖人云○受國之垢○是謂社稷 無以易之○弱之勝強○柔之勝剛○天下莫不知 天下莫柔弱於水○而攻堅強者莫之能勝○以其 七十八章 不恃○功成而不處○其不欲見賢○ 孰能有餘以奉天下○唯有道者○是以聖人為而 補不足○人之道○則不然○損不足以奉有餘○ 有餘者損之○不足者補之○天之道○損有餘而 天之道○其猶張弓與○高者抑之○下者舉之○ 七十七章 弱處上○ 徒○是以兵強則滅○木強則折○強大處下○柔 ○其死也枯槁○故堅強者死之徒○柔弱者生之 人生之也柔弱○其死也堅強○草木之生也柔脆 七十六章 貴生○ 生之厚○是以輕死○夫唯無以生為者○是賢於 ○以其上之有為○是以難治○人之輕死○以其 民之饑○以其上食稅之多○是以饑○民之難治 七十五章 者○希有不傷其手矣○

Tao Te Ching

This book Taoteching is in general form, so different people will interpret differently.

1. There are ways but the Way is uncharted; there are names but not nature in words: nameless indeed is the source of creation but things have a mother and she has a name. (Tao is just a worldly name for IT.)

The secret waits for the insight of eyes (not blind) unclouded by longing; those who are bound by desire see only the outward container. (The secret of Tao is for the simple minded. Others see the outward features, ie the two eyes.)

These two come paired but distinct by their names. Of all things profound, say that their pairing is deepest, the gate to the root of the world. (When the two eye-balls look inward that is looking at the mark on the forehead or nasal gaze.)

2. Since the world points up beauty as such, there is ugliness too. If goodness is taken as goodness, wickedness enters as well.

For is and is-not come together; hard and easy are complimentary; long and short are relative; high and low are comparative; pitch and sound make harmony; before and after are a sequence.

Indeed the Wise Man's office is to work by being still; he teaches not by speech but by accomplishment; he does for everything, neglecting none; their life he gives to all, possessing none; and what he bring to pass depends on no one else. As he succeeds, he takes no credit and just he does not take it, credit never leaves him.

The Sage's job is to meditate and expound the doctrine of inaction.

3. If those who are excellent find no preferment, the people will cease to contend for promotion. If goods that are hard to obtain are not favored, the people will cease to turn robbers or bandits. If things much desired are kept under cover, disturbance will cease in the minds of the people.

The Wise Man's policy, accordingly, will be to empty people's hearts and minds, to fill their bellies, weaken their ambition, give them sturdy frames and always so, to keep them uninformed, without desire, and knowing ones not venturing to act. (Wise Man's policy is to do Inaction, not as written.)

Be still while you work and keep full control over all.

4. The Way is a void, used but never filled: an abyss it is, like an ancestor from which all things come. (Tao is void, a black hole where energy springs out and can be sucked back.)

It blunts sharpness, resolves tangles; it tempers light, subdues turmoil. (Some uses, spiritually)

A deep pool it is, never to run dry! Whose offspring it may be I do not know: it is like a preface to God. (our tears; like Garden of Eden, underneath which rivers flow)

5. Is then the world unkind? And does it treat all things like straw dogs used in magic rites? The Wise Man too, is he unkind? And does he treat the folk like straw dogs made to throw away?

Between the earth and sky the space is like a bellows, empty but unspent. When moved its gift is copious.

Much talk means much exhaustion; better far it is to keep your thought!

6. The valley spirit is not dead: they say it is the mystic female. Her gateway is, they further say, the base of earth and heaven. (The innate spirit is eternal. The mark is the gateway to emptiness.)

Constantly, and so forever, use her without labor. (By inaction, meditation)

7. The sky is everlasting and the earth is very old. Why so? Because the world exists not for itself; it can and will live on.

The Wise Man chooses to be last and so becomes the first of all; denying self, he too is saved. For does he not fulfillment find in being an unselfish man?

8. The highest goodness, water-like, does good to everything and goes unmurmuring to places men despise; but so, is close in nature to the Way.

If the good of the house is from land, or the good of the mind is its depth, or love is the virtue of friendship, or honesty blesses one's talk, or in government, goodness is order, or in business, skill is admired, or the worth of an act lies in timing, then peace is the goal of the Way by which no one ever goes astray. (All will be saved.)

9. To take all you want is never as good as to stop when you should. Scheme and be sharp and you'll not keep it long. One never can guard his home when it's full of jade and fine gold: wealth, power and pride bequeath their own doom. When fame and success come to you, then retire. This is the ordained Way. (Or others will plot for your downfall.)

10. Can you govern your animal soul, hold to the ONE and never depart from it? Can you throttle your breath, down to the softness of breath in a child? Can you purify your mystic vision and wash it until it is spotless? Can you love all your people, rule over the land without being known? Can you be like a female, and passively open and shut heaven's gates? Can you keep clear in your mind the four quarters of earth and not interfere?

This is meditation instruction.

Quicken them, feed them; quicken but do not possess them. Act and be independent; be the chief but never the lord: this describes the mystic virtue.

11. Thirty spokes will converge in the hub of a wheel; but the use of the cart will depend on the part of the hub that is void.

With a wall all around a clay bowl is mould; but the use of the bowl will depend on the part of the bowl that is void.

Cut out windows and doors in the house as you build; but the use of the house will depend on the space in the walls that is void.

So advantage is had from whatever is there; but usefulness rises from whatever is not.

12. The five colors darken the eye; the five sounds will deaden the ear; the five flavors weary the taste; chasing the beasts of the field will drive a man mad. The goods that are hard to procure are hobbles that slow walking feet. (Desires beget troubles.)

So the Wise Man will do what his belly dictates and never the sight of his eyes. Thus he will choose this but not that. (Wise Man has less desire.)

13. "Favor, like disgrace brings trouble with it; high rank, like self, involves acute distress."

What does that mean, to say that "favor, like disgrace brings trouble with it"? When favor is bestowed on one of low degree, trouble will come with it. The loss of favor too means trouble for that man. This, then, is what is meant by "favor, like disgrace brings trouble with it." What does it mean, to say that "rank, like self, involves acute distress"? I suffer most because of me and selfishness. If I were selfless, then what suffering would I bear?

In governing the world, let rule entrusted be to him who treats his rank as if it were his soul; world sovereignty can be committed to that man who loves all people as he loves himself. (The man who preserves his soul and maintains a pure mind and body is fit to rule the world.)

14. They call it elusive, and say that one looks but it never appears. They say that indeed it is rare, since one listens, but never a sound. Subtle, they call it, and say that one grasps it but never gets hold. These three complaints amount to only one, which is beyond all resolution.

At rising, it does not illumine; at setting, no darkness ensures; it stretches far back to that nameless estate which existed before the creation.

Describe it as form yet unformed; as shape that is still without shape; or say it is vagueness confused: one meets it and it has no front; one follows and there is no rear. (Can you describe the mark on the forehead?)

If you hold ever fast to that most ancient Way, you may govern today. Call truly that knowledge of primal beginning the clue to the Way.

15. The excellent masters of old, subtle, mysterious, mystic, acute, were much too profound for their times. Since they were not then understood, it is better to tell how they looked.

Like men crossing streams in the winter, how cautious! As if all around there were danger, how watchful! As if they were guests on every occasion, how dignified! Like ice just beginning to melt, self-effacing! Like a valley awaiting a guest, how receptive! Like a torrent that rushes along, and so turbid! (also mentioned in I-Ching.)

Who, running dirty, comes clean like still waters? Who, being quiet, moves others to fullness of life? It is he who, embracing the Way, is not greedy; who endures wear and tear without needing renewal. (The Wise Man)

16. Touch ultimate emptiness, hold steady and still. (this is meditation instruction) All things work together: I have watched them reverting, and have seen how they flourish and return again, each to his roots. This, I say, is the stillness: (meditation) a retreat to one's roots; or better yet, return to the will of God, (certain people are enlightened by the will of God) which is, I say, to constancy. The knowledge of constancy I call enlightenment and say that not to know it is blindness that works evil. (those not called to God yet) But when you know what eternality is so, you have stature and stature means righteousness, and righteousness is kingly and kingliness divine, and divinity is the Way which is final. Then, though you die, you shall not perish. (your soul is eternal)

17. As for him who is highest, the people just know he is there. His deputy's cherished and praised; of the third, they are frightened; the fourth, they despise and revile. If you trust people less than enough, some of them never trust you.

He is aloof, as if his talk were priced beyond the purchasing; but once his project is contrived, the folk will want to say of it: "Of course! We did it by ourselves!"

18. The mighty Way declined among the folk, and then came kindness and morality. When wisdom and intelligence appeared, they brought with them a great hypocrisy. The six relations were no more at peace, so codes were made to regulate our homes. The fatherland grew dark, confused by strife: official loyalty became the style. (There is a similar written work by Chuang Tzu. If you refer to the Old Testament, when the Jews had no kings, they can still live happily whenever they obeyed God. Once they are distracted by idols and pagan praying, troubles came to harm them, but the people are still intact and cohesive. After the introduction of kingship, the Jews were separated into two countries after King Solomon died. Kingship did not help the Jews but instead destroyed the Jews and the Holy Temple. So the old ways of no king is better when the people know the True God. The more we know the more we sin. The number of knowledge now in the world is so vast, but yet they can not solve the basic problems of human being. So you see, the powerful enact rules and regulations in order to rule over the weak. This is decline in morality.)

19. Get rid of the wise men! Put out the professors! Then people will profit a hundredfold over. Away with the kind ones; those righteous men too! and let people return to the graces of home. Root out the artisans; banish the profiteers! and bandits and robbers will not come to plunder. But if these three prove not enough to satisfy the mind and heart, more relevant, then, let there be a visible simplicity of life, embracing unpretentious ways, and small self-interest and poverty of coveting. (This poem is true in a sense but not practical. The writer is trying to say that the so called wise men are not wise but idiots. Because of them, we have so many social problems.)

20. Be done with rote learning and its attendant vexations; for is there distinction of a 'yes' from a 'yea' comparable now to the gulf between evil and good? "What all men fear, I too must fear' --How barren and pointless a thought!

The reveling of multitudes at the feast of Great Sacrifice, or up on the terrace at carnival in spring, leave me, alas, unmoved, alone, like a child that has never smiled.

Lazily, I drift as though I had no home. All others have enough to spare; I am the one left out. I have the mind of a fool, muddled and confused! When common people scintillate I alone make shadows. Vulgar folks are sharp and knowing: only I am melancholy. Restless like the ocean, blown about, I cannot stop. Other men can find employment, but I am stubborn; I am mean.

Alone I am and different, because I prize and seek my sustenance from the Mother! (A true Taoist behaves like this, anti-tradition, seek no high post and live as poor as a church mouse.)

21. The omnipresent Virtue will take shape according only to the Way. The Way itself is like some thing seen in a dream, elusive, evading one. In it are images, elusive, evading one. In it are things like shadows in twilight. In it are essences, subtle but real, embedded in truth. (You can experience them in meditation.)

From of old until now, under names without end, the First, the Beginning is seen. How do I know the beginning of all, what its nature may be? By these! [By looking at the nose tip. The Virtue inside us will develop according to the Way; all already planned beforehand. In meditation, you can be in a dream stage, an illusionary stage etc. In Buddhist 42 sections Sutra's 42nd section has a saying: I look upon Nirvana as upon waking at daybreak from a night's sleep. I look upon dhyana meditation as upon the pillar of Mount Sumeru (our nose)].

22. The crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain; the pools shall be filled and the worn renewed; the needy shall receive and the rich shall be perplexed.

So the Wise Man cherishes the One, as a standard to the world: not displaying himself, he is famous; not asserting himself, he is distinguished; not boasting his powers, he is effective; taking no pride in himself, he is chief.

Because he is no competitor, no one in all the world can compete with him. The saying of the men of old is not in vain: "The crooked shall be made straight--" To be perfect, return to it. (Tao)

23. Sparing indeed is nature of its talk; the whirlwind will not last the morning out; the cloudburst ends before the day is done. What is it that behaves itself like this? The earth and sky! And if it be that these cut short their speech, how much more yet should man!

If you work by the Way, you will be of the Way; if you work through its virtue you will be given the virtue; abandon either one and both abandon you.

Gladly then the Way receives those who choose to walk in it; gladly too its power upholds those who choose to use it well; gladly will abandon greet those who to abandon drift.

Little faith is put in them whose faith is small.

24. On tiptoe your stance is unsteady; long strides make your progress unsure; show off and you get no attention; your boasting will mean you have failed; asserting yourself brings no credit; be proud and you never will lead.

To persons of the Way, these traits can only bring distrust; they seem like extra food for parasites. So those who choose the Way, will never give them place. (In Taoist context yes, but on the whole, no. How to expound the 4-lines stanza? Be quiet?)

25. Something there is, whose veiled creation was before the earth or sky began to be; so silent, so aloof and so alone. It changes not, nor falls, but touches all: conceive it as the mother of the world.

I do not know its name; a name for it is Tao; pressed for designation, I call it Great. Great means outgoing, outgoing, far-reaching, far-reaching, return.

The Way is great, the sky is great, the earth is great, the king also is great. Within the realm these four are great; the king but stands for one of them. (A king, the Wise Man, will bring peace to the world.)

Man conforms to the earth; the earth conforms to the sky; the sky conforms to the Way; the Way conforms to its own nature.

26. The heavy is foundation for the light; so quietness is master of the deed.

The Wise Man, though he travel all the day, will not be separated from his goods. So even if the scene is glorious to view, he keeps his place, at peace, above it all.

For how can one who rules ten thousand chariots give up to lighter moods as all the world may do? If he is trivial, his ministers are lost; if he is strenuous, there is no master then.

27. A good runner leaves no tracks. A good speech has no flaws to censure. A good computer uses no tallies. A good door is well shut without bolts and cannot be opened. A good knot is tied without rope and cannot be loosed.

The Wise Man is always good at helping people, so that none are cast out; he is always good at saving things, so that none are thrown away. This is called applied intelligence.

Surely the good is the bad man's teacher; and the bad man is the good man's business. If the one does not respect his teacher, or the other doesn't love his business, his error is very great. This is indeed an important secret.

28. Be aware of your masculine nature; but by keeping the feminine way, you shall be to the world like a canyon, where the Virtue eternal abides, and go back to become as a child.

Be aware of the white all around you; but remembering the black that is there, you shall be to the world like a tester, whom the Virtue eternal, unerring, redirects to the infinite past.

Be aware of your glory and honor; but in never relinquishing shame, you shall be to the world like a valley, where Virtue eternal, sufficient, sends you back to the Virginal Block.

When the Virginal Block is asunder, and is made into several tools, to the ends of the Wise Man directed, they become then his chief officers: for "The Master himself does not carve." (The poem is like directed to me only.)

29. As for those who would take the whole world to tinker it as they see fit, I observe that they never succeed: for the world is a sacred vessel not made to be altered by man. The tinker will spoil it; usurpers will lose it.

For indeed there are things that must move ahead, while others must lag; and some that feel hot, whole others feel cold; and some that are strong, while others are weak; and vigorous ones, with others worn out.

So the Wise Man discards extreme inclinations to make sweeping judgments, or to a life of excess. (This poem is also for me. Everything is fated. The Great Plan.)

30. To those who would help the ruler of men by means of the Way: let him not with his militant might try to conquer the world; this tactic is like to recoil. For where armies have marched, there do briars spring up; where great hosts are impressed, years of hunger and evil ensure.

The good man's purpose once attained, he stops at that; he will not press for victory. His point once made, he does not boast, or celebrate the goal he gained, or proudly indicate the spoils. He won the day because he must; but not by force or violence.

That things with age decline in strength, you well may say, suits not the Way; and not to suit the Way is early death. (To achieve world peace, I need not have to resort to violence. My weapons are the scriptures' secret. By revealing the secret, any attack on me will be re-bounced and subdues the attackers. Even your thought in your mind to attack me will be re-bounced, because the One that punishes you is inside you.)

31. Weapons at best are tools of bad omen, loathed and avoided by those of the Way. In the usage of men of good breeding, honour is had at the left; good omens belong on the left; bad omens belong on the right and warriors press to the right! When the general stands at the right his lieutenant is placed at the left. So the usage of men of great power follows that of the funeral rite.

Weapons are tools of bad omen, by gentlemen not to be used; but when it cannot be avoided, they use them with calm and restraint. Even in victory's hour these tools are unlovely to see; for those who admire them truly are men who in murder delight. (The PAP government spends so much on defence, is this correct?)

As for those who delight to do murder, it is certain they never can get from the world what they sought when ambition urged them to power and rule. A multitude slain!--and their death is a matter for grief and for tears; the victory after a conflict is a theme for a funeral rite.

32. The Way eternal has no name, a block of wood un-tooled, though small, may still excel the world. And if the king and nobles could retain its potency for good, then everything would freely give allegiance to their rule.

The earth and sky would then conspire to bring the sweet dew down; and evenly it would be given to folk without constraining power.

Creatures came to be with order's birth, and once they had appeared, came also knowledge of repose, and with that was security.

In this world, compare those of the Way to torrents that flow into river and sea. (Tao is the name to signifies the Way, which is nameless. Although an unseen dot on us, It covers the world. So wise king making use of it will bring world peace. The rain will fall and the 4 seasons orderly. The Tao can be said as to go back to its source, the ocean. Tao in us are gods, Tao in ocean is like God, so we are going back to the Origin, which is no different from us as water in rain drop will merge with the water in the ocean. Where then can you find the rain drops in the ocean?)

33. It is wisdom to know others; it is enlightenment to know one's self. The conqueror of men is powerful; the master of himself is strong. It is wealth to be content; it is willful to force one's way on others. Endurance is to keep one's place; long life it is to die and not perish. (Conquer yourself in order to conquer the world. This is not destroying your oppositions in order to consolidate you rule like the PAP and Lee Kuan Yew. Our souls will never die, but we need to go back to the source, the black hole of human world, the mark on the forehead.)

34. O the great Way o'er-flows and spreads on every sides! All being comes from it; no creature is denied. But having called them forth, it calls not one its own. It feeds and clothes them all and will not be their lord.

Without desire always, it seems of slight import. Yet, nonetheless, in this its greatness still appears: when they return to it, no creature meets a lord.

The Wise Man, therefore, while he is alive, will never make a show of being great: and that is how his greatness is achieved.

35. Once grasp the great Form without form, and you roam where you will with no evil to fear, calm, peaceful, at ease. At music and viands the wayfarer stops. But the Way, when declared, seems thin and so flavorless! It is nothing to look at and nothing to hear; but used, it will prove inexhaustible.

36. What is to be shrunken is first stretched out; what is to be weakened is first made strong; what will be thrown over is first raised up; what will be withdrawn is first bestowed.

This indeed is subtle Light; the gentle way will overcome the hard and strong. As fish should not get out of pools, the realm's edged tools should not be shown to anybody. (I can only)

37. The Way is always still, at rest, and yet does everything that's done. If then the king and nobles could retain its potency for good, the creatures all would be transformed.

But if, the change once made in them, they still inclined to do their work, I should restrain them then by means of that unique Original simplicity found in the Virgin Block, which brings disinterest, with stillness in its train and so, an ordered world. (Tao is inaction, but every things are created. So only king and government leaders can make us of it, the country can be transformed. I can restrain the human beings by meditating upon the One, so an ordered world will be in place, but I have to be in the king's position to accomplish this task.)

38. A man of highest virtue will not display it as his own; his virtue then is real. Low virtue makes one miss no chance to show his virtue off; his virtue then is nought. High virtue is at rest; it knows no need to act, low virtue is a busyness pretending to accomplishment.

Compassion at its best consists in honest deeds; morality at best is something done, aforethought; high etiquette, when acted out without response from others, constrains a man to bare his arms and make them do their duty!

Truly, once the Way is lost, there comes then virtue; virtue lost, comes then compassion; after that morality; and when that's lost, there's etiquette, the husk of all good faith, the rising point of anarchy.

Foreknowledge is, they say, the Doctrine come to flower; but better yet, it is the starting point of silliness. So once full-grown, a man will take the meat and not the husk, the fruit and not the flower. Rejecting one, he takes the other.

39. These things in ancient times received the One: the sky obtained it and was clarified; the earth received it and was settled firm; the spirits got it and were energized; the valleys had it, filled to overflow; all things, as they partook it (the PLAN) came alive; the nobles and the king imbibed the One in order that the realm might upright be; such things were then accomplished by the One.

Without its clarity the sky might break; except it were set firm, the earth might shake; without their energy the gods would pass; unless kept full, the valleys might go dry; except for life, all things would pass away; unless the One did lift and hold them high, the nobles and the king might trip and fall.

The humble folk support the mighty ones; they are base on which the highest rest. The nobles and the king speak of themselves as "orphans," "desolate" and "needy ones". Does this not indicate that they depend upon the lowly people for support?

Truly, a cart is more than the sum of its parts. Better to rumble like rocks (ordinary) than to tinkle like jade.

40. The movement of the Way is a return; in weakness lies its major usefulness. From What-is all the world of things was born but What-is sprang in turn from What-is-not. (Cultivating Tao is to return to Tao. Inaction looks weak in appearance but major transformations are at work. From Tao all things are born but Tao is a void or a black hole.)

41. On hearing of the Way, the best of men will earnestly explore its length. The mediocre person learns of it and takes it up and sets it down. But vulgar people, when they hear the news, will laugh out loud, and if they did not laugh, it would not be the Way.

And so there is a proverb: "When going looks like coming back, the clearest road is mighty dark." Today, the Way that's plain looks rough, and lofty virtue like a chasm; the purest innocence like shame, the broadest power not enough, established goodness knavery, substantial worth like shifting tides.

Great space has no corners; great powers come late; great music is soft sound; the great Form no shape.

The Way is obscure and unnamed; it is a skilled investor, nonetheless, the master of accomplishment.

42. The Way begot one, and the one, two; then the two begot three and three, all else.

All things bear the shade on their backs and the sun in their arms; by the blending of breath from the sun and the shade, equilibrium comes to the world.

Orphaned, or needy, or desolate, these are conditions much feared and disliked; yet in public address, the king and the nobles account themselves thus. So a loss sometimes benefits one or a benefit proves to be loss.

What others have taught I also shall teach; if a violent man does not come to a violent death, I shall choose him to teach me. (The beginning of life is fertilization of the egg, that is the one or mark on the egg. This mark will get two eyes and finally the nostrils, the ears and mouth. The numbers are one, two and three. Usually the one is not mentioned and three and two occurs in many Buddhist sutras as 32,00 bikkius etc. In the New Testament, the ten brides are mentioned, five are smart and five stupid. Also the one talent, two talent and five talent are referring the same things. The total apertures are seven and One. Seven is often used in scriptures.) nostrils, the ears and mouth. The numbers are one, two and three. Usually the one is not mentioned and three and two occurs in many Buddhist sutras as 32,00 bikkius etc. In the New Testament, the ten brides are mentioned, five are smart and five stupid. Also the one talent, two talent and five talent are referring the same things. The total apertures are seven and One. Seven is often used in scriptures.)

The second is hard to explain but could be referring to meditation on the sun (nose) with our palms together at the tip of our nose.

The third refers to riches and authority are like orphans and destitute. This is because they can never cultivate self or Tao. A simple man with little money has more time to cultivate self.

The last refers to cause and effect. Violence brings violent death, simple as that.

43. The softest of stuff in the world penetrates quickly the hardest; insubstantial, it enters where no room is.

By this I know the benefit of something done by quiet being; in all the world but few can know accomplishment apart from work, instruction when no words are used. [Inaction (meditation) is supreme.]

44. Which is dearer, fame or self? Which is worth more, man or pelf? Which would hurt more, gain or loss?

The mean man pays the highest price; the hoarder takes the greatest loss; a man content is never shamed, and self-restrained, is not in danger: he will live forever.

45. Most perfect, yet it seems imperfect, incomplete: its use is not impaired. Filled up, and yet it seems poured out, an empty void: it never will run dry. (Tao is like that.)

The straightest, yet it seems to deviate, to bend; the highest skill and yet it looks like clumsiness. The utmost eloquence, it sounds like stammering. (Wise man is like that.)

As movement overcomes the cold, and stillness, heat, the Wise Man, pure and still, will rectify the world. (A man will bring peace to the world.)

46. When the Way rules the world, coach horses fertilize fields; when the Way does not rule, war horses breed in the parks. (A strong army is to fight others not for peace, the excuse of most politicians.)

No sin can exceed incitement to envy; no calamity's worse than to be discontented; nor is there an omen more dreadful than coveting. But once be contented, and truly you'll always be so. (If you are contented, you are at peace.)

47. The world may be known without leaving the house; the Way may be seen apart from the windows. The further you go, the less you will know. (Only The Wise Man has this opportunity. Whatever is happening at home is reflecting the happening in the world. The Tao is within, so the further you look for it, you are going astray.)

Accordingly, the Wise Man knows without going, sees without seeing, does without doing. (The working of Inaction.)

48. The student learns by daily increment. The Way is gained by daily loss, loss upon loss until at last comes rest. (Self cultivation is to become pure and be like a baby.)

By letting go, it all gets done; the world is won by those who let it go! But when you try and try, the world is then beyond the winning. (Everything goes according to fate. Don't try to go against fate. If you are the One, you are the One.)

49. The Wise Man's mind is free but tuned to people's need:

"Alike to good and bad I must be good, for Virtue is goodness. To honest folk and those dishonest ones alike, I proffer faith, for Virtue is faithful."

The Wise Man, when abroad, impartial to the world, does not divide or judge. But people everywhere mark well his ears and eyes; for wise men hear and see as little children do.

50. On leaving life, to enter death: thirteen members form a living body; a corpse has thirteen, too; thirteen spots by which a man may pass from life to death. Why so? Because his way of life is much too gross.

As I have heard, the man who knows on land how best to be at peace will never meet a tiger or a buffalo; in battle, weapons do not touch his skin, there is no place the tiger's claws can grip; or with his horn, the buffalo can jab; or where the soldier can insert his sword. Why so? In him there is no place of death. (Once you meditate, the vulnerable points will be blocked. And mark sealed, when you die, the spirit goes into the mark or void-ness. Most meditation manuals teach people to pass out through the occipit or top of skull. They become immortals, but have to be reborn again for the final sealing.)

51. The Way brings forth, its Virtue fosters them, with matter they take shape, and circumstance perfects them all: That is why all things do honor to the Way and venerate its power.

The exaltation of the Way, the veneration of its power, come not by fate or by decree; but always just because by nature it is so.

So when the Way brings forth, its power fosters all: they grow, are reared, and fed and housed until they come to ripe maturity. You shall give life to things but never possess them; your work shall depend on none; you shall be chief  but never lord.

This describes the mystic power.

52. It began with a matrix: the world had a mother whose sons can be known as ever, by her, but if you know them, you'll keep close to her as long as you live and suffer no harm. (Know the son, you know the father, in Bible.)

Stop up your senses; close up your doors; be not exhausted as long as you live. Open your senses; be busier still: to the end of your days there's no help for you.

You are bright, it is said, if you see what is small; a store of small strengths makes you strong. By the use of its light, make your eyes again bright from evil to lead you away.

This is called "practicing constancy."

53. When I am walking on the mighty Way, let me but know the very least I may, and I shall only fear to leave the road. The mighty Way is easy underfoot, but people still prefer the little paths.

The royal court is dignified, sedate, while farmers' fields are overgrown with weeds; the granaries are empty and yet they are clad in rich-embroidered silken gowns. They have sharp swords suspended at their sides; with glutted wealth, they gorge with food and drink.

It is, the people say, the boastfulness of brigandage, but surely not the Way!

54. Set firm in the Way: none shall uproot you; cherish it well and none shall estrange you; your children's children faithful shall serve your forebears at the altar of your house. (This is wrong. No altar is better).

Cultivate the Way yourself, and your Virtue will be genuine. Cultivate it in the home, and its Virtue will overflow. Cultivate it in the village, and the village will endure. Cultivate it in the realm, and the realm will flourish. Cultivate it in the world, and Virtue will be universal.

Accordingly, one will be judged by the Man of the Way; homes will be viewed through the Home of the Way; and the Village shall measure the village; and the Realm, for all realms, shall be standard; and the World, to this world, shall be heaven.

How do I know the world is like this? By this. (Meditation)

55. Rich in virtue, like an infant, noxious insects will not sting him; wild beasts will not attack his flesh nor birds of prey sink claws in him.

His bones are soft, his sinews weak, his grip is nonetheless robust; of sexual union unaware, his organs all completely formed, his vital force is at its height. He shouts all day, does not get hoarse: his person is a harmony.

Harmony experienced is known as constancy; constancy experienced is called enlightenment; exuberant vitality is ominous, they say; a bent for vehemence is called aggressiveness.

That things with age decline in strength, you well may say, suits not the Way; and not to suit the Way is early death.

56. Those who know do not talk and talkers do not know.

Stop your senses, close the doors; let sharp things be blunted, tangles resolved, the light tempered and turmoil subdued; for this is mystic unity in which the Wise Man is moved neither by affection nor yet by estrangement or profit or loss or honor or shame. Accordingly, by all the world, He is held highest.

57. "Govern the realm by the right, and battles by stratagem."

The world is won by refraining. How do I know this is so? By this:

As taboos increase, people grow poorer; when weapons abound, the state grows chaotic; where skills multiply, novelties flourish; as statutes increase, more criminals start.

So the Wise Man will say: As I refrain, the people will reform; since I like quiet, they will keep order; when I forebear, the people will prosper; when I want nothing, they will be honest.

58. Listlessly govern: happy your people; govern exactingly: restless your people.

"Bad fortune will promote the good; good fortune too, give rise to bad."

But who can know to what that leads? For it is wrong and would assign to right the strangest derivations and would mean that goodness is produced by magic means! Has man thus been so long astray?

Accordingly, the Wise Man is square but not sharp, honest but not malign, straight but not severe, bright but not dazzling.

59. "For ruling men or serving God, there's nothing else like stores saved up."

By "stores saved up" is meant forehandedness, accumulated Virtue, such that nothing can resist it and its limit none can guess: such infinite resource allows the jurisdiction of the king; whose kingdom then will long endure if it provides the Mother an abode. Indeed it is the deeply rooted base, the firm foundation of the Way to immortality of self and name.

60. Rule a large country as small fish are cooked. (Less stirring the better)

The evil spirits of the world lose sanction as divinities when government proceeds accordingly to the Way; but even if they do not lose their ghostly countenance and right, the people take no harm from them; and if the spirits cannot hurt the folk, the Wise Man surely does no hurt to them.

Since then the Wise Man and the people harm each other not at all, their several virtues should converge.

61. The great land is a place to which the streams descend; it is the concourse and the female of the world: quiescent, underneath, it overcomes the male. [Garden of Eden underneath rivers flow. (The Koran)]

By quietness and by humility the great land then puts down the small and gets it for its own; but small lands too absorb the great by their subservience. Thus some lie low, designing conquest's ends; while others lowly are, by nature bent to conquer all the rest.

The great land's foremost need is to increase the number of its folk; the small land needs above all else to find its folk more room to work. That both be served and each attain its goal the great land should attempt humility.

62. Like the gods of the shrine in the home, so the Way and its mystery waits in the world of material things: the good man's treasure, the bad man's refuge. (This mention of household gods is out of context. That means the writer was not 100% spiritual enlightened. This tradition of worshipping degrades prosperity and power of China for so many years. The Christians are rich and powerful because they have no household gods. This simple fact all must know, especially the Chinese and the Indians. There are spirits in these gods of deity. If you offended them, they cause you trouble. The best is not to have them in the house. Those who want to get rid of them, can do my meditation for a month and then remove the idols to temples. In this manner, you are not harmed. Once you meditate, they will fear you.)

Fair wordage is ever for sale; fair manners are worn like a cloak; but why should there be such a waste of the badness in men?

On the day of the emperor's crowning, when the three noble dukes are appointed, better than chaplets of jade drawn by a team of four horses, bring the Way as your tribute.

How used the ancients to honor the Way? Didn't they say that the seeker may find it, and that sinners who find are forgiven? So did they lift up the Way and its Virtue above everything else in the world.

63. Act in repose; be at rest when you work; relish unflavored things. Great or small, frequent or rare, requite anger with virtue.

Take hard jobs in hand while they are easy; and great affairs too while they are small. The troubles of the world cannot be solved except before they grow too hard. The business of the world cannot be done except while relatively small. The Wise Man, then, throughout his life does nothing great and yet achieves a greatness of his own.

Again, a promise lightly made inspires little confidence; or often trivial, sure that man will often come to grief. Choosing hardship, then, the Wise Man never meets with hardship all his life. (Lead a simple life.)

64. A thing that is still is easy to hold. Given no omen, it is easy to plan. Soft things are easy to melt. Small particles scatter easily. The time to take care is before it is done. Establish order before confusion sets in. Tree trunks around which you can reach with your arms were at first only minuscule sprouts. A nine-storied terrace began with a clod. A thousand-mile journey began with a foot put down.

Doing spoils it, grabbing misses it; so the Wise Man refrains from doing and doesn't spoil anything; he grabs at nothing and so never misses.

People are constantly spoiling a project when it lacks only a step to completion. To avoid making a mess of it, be as careful of the end as you were of the beginning.

So the Wise Man wants the unwanted; he sets no high value on anything because it is hard to get. He studies what others neglect and restores to the world what multitudes have passed by. His object is to restore everything to its natural course, but he dares take no steps to that end.

65. Those ancients who were skilled in the Way did not enlighten people by their rule but had them ever held in ignorance; the more the folk know what is going on the harder it becomes to govern them.

For public knowledge of the government is such a thief that it will spoil the realm; but when good fortune brings good times to all, the land is ruled without publicity. To know the difference between these two involves a standard to be sought and found.

To know that standard always, everywhere, is mystic Virtue, justly known as such; which Virtue is so deep and reaching far, it causes a return, things going back to that prime concord which at first all shared.

66. How could the rivers and the seas became like kings to valleys? Because of skill in lowliness they have become the valleys' lords.

So then to be above the folk, you speak as if you were beneath; and if you wish to be out front, then act as if you were behind.

The Wise Man so is up above but is no burden to the folk; his station is ahead of them, to see they do not come to harm.

The world will gladly help along the Wise Man and will bear no grudge. Since he contends not for his own the world will not contend with him.

67. Everywhere, they say the Way, our doctrine, is so very like detested folly; but greatness of its own alone explains why it should be thus held beyond the pale. If it were only orthodox, long since it would have seemed a small and petty thing!

I have to keep three treasures well secured: the first, compassion; next, frugality; and third, I say that never would I once presume that I should be the whole world's chief.

Given compassion, I can take courage; given frugality, I can abound; if I can be the world's most humble man, then I can be its highest instrument.

Bravery today knows no compassion; abundance is, without frugality, and eminence without humility: this is the death indeed of all our hope.

In battle, 'tis compassion wins the day; defending, 'tis compassion that is firm: compassion arms the people God would save!

68. A skillful soldier is not violent; an able fighter does not rage; a mighty conqueror does not give battle; a great commander is a humble man.

You may call this pacific virtue; or say that it is mastery of men; or that it is rising to the measure of God, or to the stature of the ancients.

69. The strategists have a saying: "If I cannot be host, then let me be guest. But if I dare not advance even an inch, then let me retire a foot."

This is what they call a campaign without a march, sleeves up but no bare arms, shooting but no enemies, or arming without weapons.

Than helpless enemies, nothing is worse: to them I lose my treasures. When opposing enemies meet, the compassionate man is the winner!

70. My words are easy just to understand: to live by them is very easy too; yet it appears that none in all the world can understand or make them come to life.

My words have ancestors, my works a prince; since none know this, unknown I too remain. But honor comes to me when least I'm known: The Wise Man, with a jewel in his breast, goes clad in garments made of shoddy stuff.

71. To know that you are ignorant is best; to know what you do not, is a disease; but if you recognize the malady of mind for what it is, then that is health.

The Wise Man has indeed a healthy mind; he sees an aberration as it is and for that reason never will be ill.

72. If people do not dread your majesty, a greater dread will yet descend on them. See then you do not cramp their dwelling place, or immolate their children or their stock, nor anger them by your own angry ways.

It is the Wise Man's way to know himself, and never to reveal his inward thoughts; he loves himself but so, is not set up; he chooses this in preference to that.

73. A brave man who dares to, will kill; a brave man who dares not, spares life; and from them both come good and ill. "God hates some folks, but who knows why?" The Wise Man hesitates there too: God's Way is bound to conquer all but not by strife does it proceed.

Not by words does God get answers: He calls them not and all things come. Master plans unfold but slowly, like God's wide net enclosing all: its mesh is coarse but none are lost. (All will return to God.)

74. The people do not fear at all to die; what's gained therefore by threatening them with death? If you could always make them fear decrease, as if it were a strange event and rare, who then would dare to take and slaughter them? The executioner is always set to slay, but those who substitute for him are like the would-be master carpenters who try to chop as that skilled craft-man does and nearly always mangle their own hands!

75. The people starve because of those above them, who consume by tax in grain and kind more than their right. For this, the people are in want.

The people are so hard to rule because of those who are above them, whose interference makes distress. For this, they are hard to rule.

The people do not fear to die; they too demand to live secure: for this, they do not fear to die. So they, without the means to live, in virtue rise above those men who value life above its worth.

76. Alive, a man is supple, soft; in death, unbending, rigorous. All creatures, grass and trees, alive are plastic but are pliant too, and dead, are friable and dry.

Unbending rigor is the mate of death, and yielding softness, company of life: unbending soldiers get no victories; the stiffest tree is readiest for the axe. The strong and mighty topple from their place; the soft and yielding rise above them all.

77. Is not God's Way much like a bow well bent? (eyebrow) The upper part has been disturbed, pressed down; the lower part is raised up from its place; the slack is taken up; the slender width is broader drawn; for thus the Way of God cuts people down when they have had too much, and fills the bowls of those who are in want. But not the way of man will work like this: the people who have not enough are spoiled for tribute to the rich and surfeited.

Who can benefit the world from stored abundance of his own? He alone who has the Way, the Wise Man who can act apart and not depend on others' whims; but not because of his high rank will he succeed; he does not wish to flaunt superiority.

78. Nothing is weaker than water, but when it attacks something hard or resistant, then nothing withstands it, and nothing will alter its way.

Everyone knows this, that weakness prevails over strength and that gentleness conquers the adamant hindrance of men, but that nobody demonstrates how it is so.

Because of this the Wise Man says that only one who bears the nation's shame is fit to be its hallowed lord; that only one who takes upon himself the evils of the world may be its king.

This is paradox.

79. How can you think it is good to settle a grievance too great to ignore, when the settlement surely evokes other piques?

The Wise Man therefore will select the left-hand part of contract tallies; he will not put the debt on other men. This virtuous man promotes agreement; the vicious man allots the blame.

"Impartial though the Way of God may be, it always favors good men."

80. The ideal land is small, its people very few, where tools abound ten times or yet a hundred-fold beyond their use; where people die and die again but never emigrate; have boats and carts which no one rides. Weapons have they and armor too, but none displayed. The folk returns to use again the knotted cords. Their meat is sweet; their clothes adorned, their homes at peace, their customs charm. (Elaboration on the mark.)

And neighbor lands are juxtaposed, so each may hear the barking dogs, the crowing cocks across the way; where folks grow old and folks will die and never exchange a call. (Also in Chuang Tzu book.)

81. As honest words may not sound fine, fine words may not be honest ones; a good man does not argue, and an arguer may not be good! The knowers are not learned men (common folk) and learned men may never know. (professors and doctors etc. Only simple contented mind can understand Tao.)

The wise Man does not hoard his things; hard-pressed, from serving other men, he has enough and some to spare; but having given all he had, he then is very rich indeed.

God's Way is gain that works no harm; The Wise Man's way , to do his work without contending for a crown. (For others only. I need the crown to achieve world peace.)

Edited on 7th June 2008

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