Article Index

21.1 The Master keeps her mind always at one with the Tao; that is what gives her her radiance.
21.2 The Tao is ungraspable. How can her mind be at one with it? Because she doesn't cling to ideas. The Tao is dark and unfathomable. How can it make her radiant? Because she lets it.
21.3 Since before time and space were, the Tao is. It is beyond is and is not.
21.4 How do I know this is true? I look inside myself and see.

22.1 If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial. If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked. If you want to become full, let yourself be empty. If you want to be reborn, let yourself die. If you want to be given everything, give everything up.
22.2 The Master, by residing in the Tao, sets an example for all beings.
22.3 Because he doesn't display himself, people can see his light. Because he has nothing to prove, people can trust his words. Because he doesn't know who he is, people recognize themselves in him.
22.4 Because he has no goal in mind, everything he does succeeds.
22.5 When the ancient Masters said, "If you want to be given everything, give everything up," they weren't using empty phrases. Only in being lived by the Tao can you be truly yourself.

23.1 Express yourself completely, then keep quiet.
23.2 Be like the forces of nature: when it blows, there is only wind; when it rains, there is only rain; when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.
23.3 If you open yourself to the Tao, you are at one with the Tao and you can embody it completely. If you open yourself to insight, you are at one with insight and you can use it completely. If you open yourself to loss, you are at one with loss and you can accept it completely.
23.4 Open yourself to the Tao, then trust your natural responses; and everything will fall into place.

24.1 He who stands on tiptoe doesn't stand firm. He who rushes ahead doesn't go far.
24.2 He who tries to shine dims his own light. He who defines himself can't know who he really is.
24.3 He who has power over others can't empower himself. He who clings to his work will create nothing that endures.
24.4 If you want to accord with the Tao, just do your job, then let go.

25.1 There was something formless and perfect before the universe was born. It is serene. Empty. Solitary. Unchanging. Infinite. Eternally present. It is the mother of the universe.
25.2 For lack of a better name, I call it the Tao.
25.3 It flows through all things, inside and outside, and returns to the origin of all things.
25.4 The Tao is great. The universe is great. Earth is great. Man is great. These are the four great powers.
25.5 Man follows the earth. Earth follows the universe. The universe follows the Tao. The Tao follows only itself.

26.1 The heavy is the root of the light. The unmoved is the source of all movement.
26.2 Thus the Master travels all day without leaving home. However splendid the views, she stays serenely in herself.
26.3 Why should the lord of the country flit about like a fool?
26.4 If you let yourself be blown to and fro, you lose touch with your root. If you let restlessness move you, you lose touch with who you are.

27.1 A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving. A good artist lets his intuition lead him wherever it wants. A good scientist has freed himself of concepts and keeps his mind open to what is.
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27.3 Thus the Master is available to all people and doesn't reject anyone. He is ready to use all situations and doesn't waste anything. This is called embodying the light.
27.4 What is a good man but a bad man's teacher? What is a bad man but a good man's job?
27.5 If you don't understand this, you will get lost, however intelligent you are. It is the great secret.

28.1 Know the male, yet keep to the female: receive the world in your arms. If you receive the world, the Tao will never leave you and you will be like a little child.
28.2 Know the white, yet keep to the black: be a pattern for the world. If you are a pattern for the world, the Tao will be strong inside you and there will be nothing you can't do.
28.3 Know the personal, yet keep to the impersonal: accept the world as it is. If you accept the world, the Tao will be luminous inside you and you will return to your primal self.
28.4 The world is formed from the void, like utensils from a block of wood. The Master knows the utensils, yet keeps to the block: thus she can use all things.

29.1 Do you want to improve the world? I don't think it can be done.
29.2 The world is sacred. It can't be improved. If you tamper with it, you'll ruin it. If you treat it like an object, you'll lose it.
29.3 There is a time for being ahead, a time for being behind; a time for being in motion, a time for being at rest; a time for being vigorous, a time for being exhausted; a time for being safe, a time for being in danger.
29.4 The Master sees things as they are, without trying to control them. She lets them go their own way, and resides at the centre of the circle.

30.1 Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men doesn't try to force issues or defeat enemies by force of arms. For every force there is a counterforce.
30.2 Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.
30.3 The Master does his job and then stops. He understands that the universe is forever out of control, and that trying to dominate events goes against the current of the Tao.
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30.5 Because he believes in himself, he doesn't try to convince others. Because he is content with himself, he doesn't need others' approval. Because he accepts himself, the whole world accepts him.

31.1 Weapons are the tools of violence; all decent men detest them.
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31.3 Weapons are the tools of fear; a decent man will avoid them except in the direst necessity and, if compelled, will use them only with the utmost restraint. Peace is his highest value. If the peace has been shattered, how can he be content?
31.4 His enemies are not demons, but human beings like himself. He doesn't wish them personal harm. Nor does he rejoice in victory. How could he rejoice in victory and delight in the slaughter of men?
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31.6 He enters a battle gravely, with sorrow and with great compassion, as if he were attending a funeral.
32.4 When you have names and forms, know that they are provisional. When you have institutions, know where their functions should end. Knowing when to stop, you can avoid any danger.

32.1 The Tao can't be perceived. Smaller than an electron, it contains uncountable galaxies.
32.2 If powerful men and women could remain centered in the Tao, all things would be in harmony.
32.3 The world would become a paradise. All people would be at peace, and the law would be written in their hearts.
32.5 All things end in the Tao as rivers flow into the sea.

33.1 Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
33.2 Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.
33.3 If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.
33.4 If you stay in the center and embrace death with your whole heart, you will endure forever.

34.1 The great Tao flows everywhere.
34.2 All things are born from it, yet it doesn't create them. It pours itself into its work, yet it makes no claim. It nourishes infinite worlds, yet it doesn't hold on to them.
34.3 Since it is merged with all things and hidden in their hearts, it can be called humble.
34.4 Since all things vanish into it and it alone endures, it can be called great.
34.5 It isn't aware of its greatness; thus it is truly great.

35.1 She who is centered in the Tao can go where she wishes, without danger. She perceives the universal harmony, even amid great pain, because she has found peace in her heart.
35.2 Music or the smell of good cooking may make people stop and enjoy.
35.3 But words that point to the Tao seem monotonous and without flavour. When you look for it, there is nothing to see. When you listen for it, there is nothing to hear. When you use it, it is inexhaustible.

36.1 If you want to shrink something, you must first allow it to expand. If you want to get rid of something, you must first allow it to flourish. If you want to take something, you must first allow it to be given.
36.2 This is called the subtle perception of the way things are. The soft overcomes the hard. The slow overcomes the fast.
36.3 Let your workings remain a mystery. Just show people the results.

37.1 The Tao never does anything, yet through it all things are done.
37.2 If powerful men and women could center themselves in it, the whole world would be transformed by itself, in its natural rhythms. People would be content with their simple, everyday lives, in harmony, and free of desire.
37.3 When there is no desire, all things are at peace.

38.1 The Master doesn't try to be powerful; thus he is truly powerful. The ordinary man keeps reaching for power; thus he never has enough.
38.2 The Master does nothing, yet he leaves nothing undone. The ordinary man is always doing things, yet many more are left to be done.
38.3 The kind man does something, yet something remains undone. The just man does something, and leaves many things to be done. The moral man does something, and when no one responds he rolls up his sleeves and uses force.
38.4 When the Tao is lost, there is goodness. When goodness is lost, there is morality. When morality is lost, there is ritual.
38.5 Ritual is the husk of true faith, the beginning of chaos.
38.6 Therefore the Master concerns himself with the depths and not the surface, with the fruit and not the flower. He has no will of his own. He dwells in reality, and lets all illusions go.

39.1 In harmony with the Tao, the sky is clear and spacious, the earth is solid and full,
39.2 all creature flourish together, content with the way they are, endlessly repeating themselves, endlessly renewed.
39.3 When man interferes with the Tao, the sky becomes filthy, the earth becomes depleted, the equilibrium crumbles, creatures become extinct.
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39.7 The Master views the parts with compassion, because he understands the whole. His constant practice is humility.
39.8 He doesn't glitter like a jewel but lets himself be shaped by the Tao, as rugged and common as stone.

40.1 Return is the movement of the Tao. Yielding is the way of the Tao.
40.2 All things are born of being. Being is born of non-being.