Article Index

41.1 The wise student hears of the Tao and practices it diligently.
41.2 The average student hears of the Tao and gives it thought now and again.
41.3 The foolish student hears of the Tao and laughs aloud.
41.4 If there were no laughter, the Tao would not be what it is.
41.5 Hence it is said: The bright path seems dim; Going forward seems like retreat; The easy way seems hard; The highest Virtue seems empty; 41.6 Great purity seems sullied; A wealth of Virtue seems inadequate; The strength of Virtue seems frail; Real Virtue seems unreal; The perfect square has no corners; Great talents ripen late; The highest notes are hard to hear; The greatest form has no shape; The Tao is hidden and without name.
41.7 The Tao alone nourishes and brings everything to fulfillment.

42.1 The Tao begot one.
42.2 One begot two.
42.3 Two begot three.
42.4 And three begot the ten thousand things.
42.5 The ten thousand things carry yin and embrace yang.
42.6 They achieve harmony by combining these forces.
42.7 Men hate to be "orphaned," "widowed," or "worthless," But this is how kings and lords describe themselves.
42.8 For one gains by losing And loses by gaining.
42.9 What others teach, I also teach; that is: "A violent man will die a violent death!" This will be the essence of my teaching.

43.1 The softest thing in the universe Overcomes the hardest thing in the universe.
43.2 That without substance can enter where there is no room.
43.3 Hence I know the value of non-action.
43.4 Teaching without words and work without doing Are understood by very few.

44.1 Fame or self: Which matters more? Self or wealth: Which is more precious? Gain or loss: Which is more painful? He who is attached to things will suffer much.
44.2 He who saves will suffer heavy loss.
44.3 A contented man is never disappointed.
44.4 He who knows when to stop does not find himself in trouble.
44.5 He will stay forever safe.

45.1Great accomplishment seems imperfect, Yet it does not outlive its usefulness.
45.2 Great fullness seems empty, Yet cannot be exhausted.
45.3 Great straightness seems twisted.
45.4 Great intelligence seems stupid.
45.5 Great eloquence seems awkward.
45.6 Movement overcomes cold.
45.7 Stillness overcomes heat.
45.8 Stillness and tranquillity set things in order in the universe.

46.1 When the Tao is present in the universe, The horses haul manure.
46.2 When the Tao is absent from the universe, War horses are bred outside the city.
46.3 There is no greater sin than desire, No greater curse than discontent, No greater misfortune than wanting something for oneself.
46.4 Therefore he who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.

47.1 Without going outside, you may know the whole world.
47.2 Without looking through the window, you may see the ways of heaven.
47.3 The farther you go, the less you know.
47.4 Thus the sage knows without traveling; He sees without looking; He works without doing.

48.1 In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.
48.2 In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.
48.3 Less and less is done Until non-action is achieved.
48.4 When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.
48.5 The world is ruled by letting things take their course.
48.6 It cannot be ruled by interfering.

49.1 The sage has no mind of his own.
49.2 He is aware of the needs of others.
49.3 I am good to people who are good.
49.4 I am also good to people who are not good.
49.5 Because Virtue is goodness.
49.6 I have faith in people who are faithful.
49.7 I also have faith in people who are not faithful.
49.8 Because Virtue is faithfulness.
49.9 The sage is shy and humble - to the world he seems confusing.
49.10 Others look to him and listen.
49.11 He behaves like a little child.

50.1 Between birth and death, Three in ten are followers of life, Three in ten are followers of death, And men just passing from birth to death also number three in ten.
50.2 Why is this so? Because they live their lives on the gross level.
50.3 He who knows how to live can walk abroad Without fear of rhinoceros or tiger.
50.4 He will not be wounded in battle.
50.5 For in him rhinoceroses can find no place to thrust their horn, Tigers no place to use their claws, And weapons no place to pierce.
50.6 Why is this so? Because he has no place for death to enter.

51.1 All things arise from Tao.
51.2 They are nourished by Virtue.
51.3 They are formed from matter.
51.4 They are shaped by environment.
51.5 Thus the ten thousand things all respect Tao and honor Virtue.
51.6 Respect of Tao and honor of Virtue are not demanded, But they are in the nature of things.
51.7 Therefore all things arise from Tao.
51.8 By Virtue they are nourished, Developed, cared for, Sheltered, comforted, Grown, and protected.
51.9 Creating without claiming, Doing without taking credit, Guiding without interfering, This is Primal Virtue.

52.1 The beginning of the universe Is the mother of all things.
52.2 Knowing the mother, on also knows the sons.
52.3 Knowing the sons, yet remaining in touch with the mother, Brings freedom from the fear of death.
52.4 Keep your mouth shut, Guard the senses, And life is ever full.
52.5 Open your mouth, Always be busy, And life is beyond hope.
52.6 Seeing the small is insight; Yielding to force is strength.
52.7 Using the outer light, return to insight, And in this way be saved from harm.
52.8 This is learning constancy.

53.1 If I have even just a little sense, I will walk on the main road and my only fear will be of straying from it.
53.2 Keeping to the main road is easy, But people love to be sidetracked.
53.3 When the court is arrayed in splendor, The fields are full of weeds, And the granaries are bare.
53.4 Some wear gorgeous clothes, Carry sharp swords, And indulge themselves with food and drink; They have more possessions than they can use.
53.5 They are robber barons.
53.6 This is certainly not the way of Tao.

54.1 What is firmly established cannot be uprooted.
54.2 What is firmly grasped cannot slip away.
54.3 It will be honored from generation to generation.
54.4 Cultivate Virtue in your self, And Virtue will be real.
54.5 Cultivate it in the family, And Virtue will abound.
54.5 Cultivate it in the village, And Virtue will grow.
54.6 Cultivate it in the nation, And Virtue will be abundant.
54.7 Cultivate it in the universe, And Virtue will be everywhere.
54.8 Therefore look at the body as body; Look at the family as family; Look at the village as village; Look at the nation as nation; Look at the universe as universe.
54.9 How do I know the universe is like this? By looking!

55.1 He who is filled with Virtue is like a newborn child.
55.2 Wasps and serpents will not sting him; Wild beasts will not pounce upon him; He will not be attacked by birds of prey.
55.3 His bones are soft, his muscles weak, But his grip is firm.
55.4 He has not experienced the union of man and woman, but is whole.
55.5 His manhood is strong.
55.6 He screams all day without becoming hoarse.
55.7 This is perfect harmony.
55.8 Knowing harmony is constancy.
55.9 Knowing constancy is enlightenment.
55.10 It is not wise to rush about.
55.11 Controlling the breath causes strain.
55.12 If too much energy is used, exhaustion follows.
55.13 This is not the way of Tao.
55.14 Whatever is contrary to Tao will not last long.

56.1 Those who know do not talk.
56.2 Those who talk do not know.
56.3 Keep your mouth closed.
56.4 Guard your senses.
56.5 Temper your sharpness.
56.6 Simplify your problems.
56.7 Mask your brightness.
56.8 Be at one with the dust of the Earth.
56.9 This is primal union.
56.10 He who has achieved this state Is unconcerned with friends and enemies, With good and harm, with honor and disgrace.
56.11 This therefore is the highest state of man.

57.1 Rule a nation with justice.
57.2 Wage war with surprise moves.
57.3 Become master of the universe without striving.
57.4 How do I know that this is so? Because of this! The more laws and restrictions there are, The poorer people become.
57.5 The sharper men's weapons, The more trouble in the land.
57.6 The more ingenious and clever men are, The more strange things happen.
57.8 The more rules and regulations, The more thieves and robbers.
57.9 Therefore the sage says: I take no action and people are reformed.
57.10 I enjoy peace and people become honest.
57.11 I do nothing and people become rich.
57.12 I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.

58.1 When the country is ruled with a light hand The people are simple.
58.2 When the country is ruled with severity, The people are cunning.
58.3 Happiness is rooted in misery.
58.4 Misery lurks beneath happiness.
58.5 Who knows what the future holds? There is no honesty.
58.6 Honesty becomes dishonest.
58.7 Goodness becomes witchcraft.
58.8 Man's bewitchment lasts for a long time.
58.9 Therefore the sage is sharp but not cutting, Pointed but not piercing, Straightforward but not unrestrained, Brilliant but not blinding.

59.1 In caring for others and serving heaven, There is nothing like using restraint.
59.2 Restraint begins with giving up one's own ideas.
59.3 This depends on Virtue gathered in the past.
59.4 If there is a good store of Virtue, then nothing is impossible.
59.5 If nothing is impossible, then there are no limits.
59.6 If a man knows no limits, then he is fit to be a ruler.
59.7 The mother principle of ruling holds good for a long time.
59.8 This is called having deep roots and a firm foundation, The Tao of long life and eternal vision.

60.1 Ruling the country is like cooking a small fish.
60.2 Approach the universe with Tao, And evil is not powerful, But its power will not be used to harm others.
60.3 Not only will it do no harm to others, But the sage himself will also be protected.
60.4 They do not hurt each other, And the Virtue in each one refreshes both.