Article Index

21.1 The greatest Virtue is to follow Tao and Tao alone.
21.2 The Tao is elusive and intangible.
21.3 Oh, it is intangible and elusive, and yet within is image.
21.4 Oh, it is elusive and intangible, and yet within is form.
21.5 Oh, it is dim and dark, and yet within is essence.
21.5 This essence is very real, and therein lies faith.
21.6 From the very beginning until now its name has never been forgotten.
21.7 Thus I perceive the creation.
21.8 How do I know the ways of creation?
21.9 Because of this.

22.1 Yield and overcome; Bend and be straight; Empty and be full; Wear out and be new; Have little and gain; Have much and be confused.
22.2 Therefore the wise embrace the one And set an example to all.
22.3 Not putting on a display, They shine forth.
22.4 Not justifying themselves, They are distinguished.
22.5 Not boasting, They receive recognition.
22.6 Not bragging, They never falter.
22.7 They do not quarrel, So no one quarrels with them.
22.8 Therefore the ancients say, "Yield and overcome." Is that an empty saying? Be really whole, And all things will come to you.

23.1 To talk little is natural.
23.2 High winds do not last all morning.
23.3 Heavy rain does not last all day.
23.4 Why is this? Heaven and Earth! If heaven and Earth cannot make things eternal, How is it possible for man? He who follows the Tao Is at one with the Tao.
23.5 He who is virtuous Experiences Virtue.
23.6 He who loses the way Is lost.
23.7 When you are at one with the Tao, The Tao welcomes you.
23.8 When you are at one with Virtue, The Virtue is always there.
23.9 When you are at one with loss, The loss is experienced willingly.
23.10 He who does not trust enough Will not be trusted.

24.1 He who stands on tiptoe is not steady.
24.2 He who strides cannot maintain the pace.
24.3 He who makes a show is not enlightened.
24.4 He who is self-righteous is not respected.
24.5 He who boasts achieves nothing.
24.6 He who brags will not endure.
24.7 According to followers of the Tao, "These are extra food and unnecessary luggage." They do not bring happiness.
Therefore followers of the Tao avoid them.

25.1 Something mysteriously formed, Born before heaven and Earth.
25.2 In the silence and the void, Standing alone and unchanging, Ever present and in motion.
25.3 Perhaps it is the mother of ten thousand things.
25.4 I do not know its name Call it Tao.
25.5 For lack of a better word, I call it great.
25.6 Being great, it flows I flows far away.
25.7 Having gone far, it returns.
25.8 Therefore, "Tao is great; Heaven is great; Earth is great; The king is also great." These are the four great powers of the universe, And the king is one of them.
25.9 Man follows Earth.
25.10 Earth follows heaven.
25.11 Heaven follows the Tao.
25.12 Tao follows what is natural.

26.1 The heavy is the root of the light.
26.2 The still is the master of unrest.
26.3 Therefore the sage, traveling all day, Does not lose sight of his baggage.
26.4 Though there are beautiful things to be seen, He remains unattached and calm.
26.5 Why should the lord of ten thousand chariots act lightly in public? To be light is to lose one's root.
26.6 To be restless is to lose one's control.

27.1 A good walker leaves no tracks; A good speaker makes no slips; A good reckoner needs no tally.
27.2 A good door needs no lock, Yet no one can open it.
27.3 Good binding requires no knots, Yet no one can loosen it.
27.4 Therefore the sage takes care of all men And abandons no one.
27.5 He takes care of all things And abandons nothing.
27.6 This is called "following the light."
27.7 What is a good man? A teacher of a bad man.
27.8 What is a bad man? A good man's charge.
27.9 If the teacher is not respected, And the student not cared for, Confusion will arise, however clever one is.
27.10 This is the crux of mystery.

28.1 Know the strength of man, But keep a woman's care! Be the stream of the universe! Being the stream of the universe, Ever true and unswerving, Become as a little child once more.
28.2 Know the white, But keep the black! Be an example to the world! Being an example to the world, Ever true and unwavering, Return to the infinite.
28.3 Know honor, Yet keep humility.
28.4 Be the valley of the universe! Being the valley of the universe, Ever true and resourceful, Return to the state of the uncarved block.
28.5 When the block is carved, it becomes useful.
28.6 When the sage uses it, he becomes the ruler.
28.7 Thus, "A great tailor cuts little."

29.1 Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it? I do not believe it can be done.
29.2 The universe is sacred.
29.3 You cannot improve it.
29.4 If you try to change it, you will ruin it.
29.5 If you try to hold it, you will lose it.
29.6 So sometimes things are ahead and sometimes they are behind; Sometimes breathing is hard, sometimes it comes easily; Sometimes there is strength and sometimes weakness; Sometimes one is up and sometimes down.
29.7 Therefore the sage avoids extremes, excesses, and complacency.

30.1 Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of Tao, Counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe.
30.2 For this would only cause resistance.
30.3 Thorn bushes spring up wherever the army has passed.
30.4 Lean years follow in the wake of a great war.
30.5 Just do what needs to be done.
30.6 Never take advantage of power.
30.7 Achieve results, But never glory in them.
30.8 Achieve results, But never boast.
30.9 Achieve results, But never be proud.
30.10 Achieve results, Because this is the natural way.
30.11 Achieve results, But not through violence.
30.12 Force is followed by loss of strength.
30.13 This is not the way of Tao.
30.14 That which goes against the Tao comes to an early end.

31.1 Good weapons are instruments of fear; all creatures hate them.
31.2 Therefore followers of Tao never use them.
31.3 The wise man prefers the left.
31.4 The man of war prefers the right.
31.5 Weapons are instruments of fear; they are not a wise man's tools.
31.6 He uses them only when he has no choice.
31.7 Peace and quiet are dear to his heart, And victory no cause for rejoicing.
31.8 If you rejoice in victory, then you delight in killing; If you delight in killing, you cannot fulfill yourself.
31.9 On happy occasions precedence is given to the left, On sad occasions to the right.
31.10 In the army the general stands on the left, The commander-in-chief on the right.
31.11 This means that war is conducted like a funeral.
31.12 When many people are being killed, They should be mourned in heartfelt sorrow.
31.13 That is why a victory must be observed like a funeral.

32.1 The Tao is forever undefined.
32.3 Small though it is in the unformed state, it cannot be grasped.
32.3 If kings and lords could harness it, The ten thousand things would come together And gentle rain fall.
32.3 Men would need no more instruction and all things would take their course.
32.4 Once the whole is divided, the parts need names.
32.5 There are already enough names.
32.6 One must know when to stop.
32.7 Knowing when to stop averts trouble.
32.8 Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea.

33.1 Knowing others is wisdom; Knowing the self is enlightenment.
33.2 Mastering others requires force; Mastering the self needs strength.
33.3 He who knows he has enough is rich.
33.4 Perseverance is a sign of willpower.
33.5 He who stays where he is endures.
33.6 To die but not to perish is to be eternally present.

34.1 The great Tao flows everywhere, both to the left and to the right.
34.2 The ten thousand things depend upon it; it holds nothing back.
34.3 It fulfills its purpose silently and makes no claim.
34.4 It nourishes the ten thousand things, And yet is not their lord.
34.5 It has no aim; it is very small.
34.6 The ten thousand things return to it, Yet it is not their lord.
34.7 It is very great.
34.8 It does not show greatness, And is therefore truly great.

35.1 All men will come to him who keeps to the one, For there lie rest and happiness and peace.
35.2 Passersby may stop for music and good food, But a description of the Tao Seems without substance or flavor.
35.3 It cannot be seen, it cannot be heard, And yet it cannot be exhausted.

36.1 That which shrinks Must first expand.
36.2 That which fails Must first be strong.
36.3 That which is cast down Must first be raised.
36.4 Before receiving There must be giving.
36.5 This is called perception of the nature of things.
36.6 Soft and weak overcome hard and strong.
36.7 Fish cannot leave deep waters, And a country's weapons should not be displayed.

37.1 Tao abides in non-action, Yet nothing is left undone.
37.2 If kings and lords observed this, The ten thousand things would develop naturally.
37.3 If they still desired to act, They would return to the simplicity of formless substance.
37.4 Without for there is no desire.
37.5 Without desire there is.
37.6 And in this way all things would be at peace.

38.1 A truly good man is not aware of his goodness, And is therefore good.
38.2 A foolish man tries to be good, And is therefore not good.
38.3 A truly good man does nothing, Yet leaves nothing undone.
38.4 A foolish man is always doing, Yet much remains to be done.
38.5 When a truly kind man does something, he leaves nothing undone.
38.6 When a just man does something, he leaves a great deal to be done.
38.7 When a disciplinarian does something and no one responds, He rolls up his sleeves in an attempt to enforce order.
38.8 Therefore when Tao is lost, there is goodness.
38.9 When goodness is lost, there is kindness.
38.10 When kindness is lost, there is justice.
38.11 When justice is lost, there ritual.
38.12 Now ritual is the husk of faith and loyalty, the beginning of confusion.
38.13 Knowledge of the future is only a flowery trapping of Tao.
38.14 It is the beginning of folly.
38.15 Therefore the truly great man dwells on what is real and not what is on the surface, On the fruit and not the flower.
38.16 Therefore accept the one and reject the other.

39.1 These things from ancient times arise from one: The sky is whole and clear.
39.2 The earth is whole and firm.
39.3 The spirit is whole and strong.
39.4 The valley is whole and full.
39.5 The ten thousand things are whole and alive.
39.6 Kings and lords are whole, and the country is upright.
39.7 All these are in virtue of wholeness.
39.8 The clarity of the sky prevents its falling.
39.9 The firmness of the earth prevents its splitting.
39.10 The strength of the spirit prevents its being used up.
39.11 The fullness of the valley prevents its running dry.
39.12 The growth of the ten thousand things prevents their drying out.
39.13 The leadership of kings and lords prevents the downfall of the country.
39.14 Therefore the humble is the root of the noble.
39.15 The low is the foundation of the high.
39.16 Princes and lords consider themselves "orphaned", "widowed" and "worthless".
39.17 Do they not depend on being humble? Too much success is not an advantage.
39.18 Do not tinkle like jade Or clatter like stone chimes.

40.1 Returning is the motion of the Tao.
40.2 Yielding is the way of the Tao.
40.3 The ten thousand things are born of being.
40.4 Being is born of not being.