Article Index

41.1 When a superior man hears of the Tao, he immediately begins to embody it. When an average man hears of the Tao, he half believes it, half doubts it.
41.2 When a foolish man hears of the Tao, he laughs out loud. If he didn't laugh, it wouldn't be the Tao.
41.3 Thus it is said: The path into the light seems dark, the path forward seems to go back, the direct path seems long, true power seems weak, true purity seems tarnished,
41.4 true steadfastness seems changeable, true clarity seems obscure, the greatest are seems unsophisticated, the greatest love seems indifferent, the greatest wisdom seems childish.
41.5 The Tao is nowhere to be found. Yet it nourishes and completes all things.

42.1 The Tao gives birth to One. One gives birth to Two. Two gives birth to Three. Three gives birth to all things.
42.2 All things have their backs to the female and stand facing the male. When male and female combine, all things achieve harmony.
42.3 Ordinary men hate solitude. But the Master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe.
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43.1 The gentlest thing in the world overcomes the hardest thing in the world. That which has no substance enters where there is no space. This shows the value of non-action.
43.2 Teaching without words, performing without actions: that is the Master's way.

44.1 Fame or integrity: which is more important? Money or happiness: which is more valuable? Success of failure: which is more destructive?
44.2 If you look to others for fulfilment, you will never truly be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself.
44.3 Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

45.1 True perfection seems imperfect, yet it is perfectly itself. True fullness seems empty, yet it is fully present. True straightness seems crooked.
45.2 True wisdom seems foolish. True art seems artless.
45.3 The Master allows things to happen. She shapes events as they come. She steps out of the way and lets the Tao speak for itself.

46.1 When a country is in harmony with the Tao, the factories make trucks and tractors. When a country goes counter to the Tao, warheads are stockpiled outside the cities.
46.2 There is no greater illusion than fear, no greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself, no greater misfortune than having an enemy.
46.3 Whoever can see through all fear will always be safe.

47.1 Without opening your door, you can open your heart to the world. Without looking out your window, you can see the essence of the Tao. The more you know, the less you understand.
47.2 The Master arrives without leaving, sees the light without looking, achieves without doing a thing.

48.1 In pursuit of knowledge, every day something is added. In the practice of the Tao, every day something is dropped.
48.2 Less and less do you need to force things, until finally you arrive at non-action. When nothing is done, nothing is left undone. True mastery can be gained by letting things go their own way.
48.3 It can't be gained by interfering.

49.1 The Master has no mind of her own. She works with the mind of the people.
49.2 She is good to people who are good. She is also good to people who aren't good. This is true goodness.
49.3 She trusts people who are trustworthy. She also trusts people who aren't trustworthy. This is true trust.
49.4 The Master's mind is like space. People don't understand her. They look to her and wait. She treats them like her own children.

50.1 The Master gives himself up to whatever the moment brings.
50.2 He knows that he is going to die, and he has nothing left to hold on to: no illusions in his mind, no resistances in his body. He doesn't think about his actions; they flow from the core of his being.
50.3 He holds nothing back from life; therefore he is ready for death, as a man is ready for sleep after a good day's work.
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51.1 Every being in the universe is an expression of the Tao. It springs into existence, unconscious, perfect, free, takes on a physical body, lets circumstances complete it.
51.2 That is why every being spontaneously honours the Tao. The Tao gives birth to all beings, nourishes them, maintains them, cares for them, comforts them, protects them, takes them back to itself, creating without possessing, acting without expecting, guiding without interfering.
51.3 That is why love of the Tao is in the very nature of things.

52.1 In the beginning was the Tao. All things issue from it; all things return to it.
52.2 To find the origin, trace back the manifestations. When you recognize the children and find the mother, you will be free of sorrow.
52.3 If you keep your mind from judging and aren't led by the senses, your heart will find peace.
52.4 If you close your mind in judgements and traffic with desires, your heart will be troubled.
52.5 Seeing into darkness is clarity. Knowing how to yield is strength.
52.6 Use your own light and return to the source of light. This is called practicing eternity.

53.1 Be aware when things are out of balance. Stay centered within the Tao.
53.2 The great Way is easy, yet people prefer the side paths.
53.3 When rich speculators prosper
53.4 While farmers lose their land; when government officials spend money on weapons instead of cures; when the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible while the poor have nowhere to turn - all this is robbery and chaos. It is not in keeping with the Tao.

54.1 Whoever is planted in the Tao will not be rooted up. Whoever embraces the Tao will not slip away. Her name will be held in honour from generation to generation.
54.2 Let the Tao be present in your life and you will become genuine. Let it be present in your family and your family will flourish. Let it be present in your country and your country will be an example to all countries in the world. Let it be present in the universe and the universe will sing.
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54.4 How do I know this is true? By looking inside myself.

55.1 He who is in harmony with the Tao is like a newborn child. Its bones are soft, its muscles are weak, but its grip is powerful.
55.2 It doesn't know about the union of male and female, yet its penis can stand erect, so intense is its vital power.
55.3 It can scream its head off all day, yet it never becomes hoarse, so complete is its harmony. The Master's power is like this. He lets all things come and go effortlessly, without desire. He never expects results; thus he is never disappointed. He is never disappointed; thus his spirit never grows old.
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56.1 Those who know don't talk. Those who talk don't know.
56.2 Close your mouth, block off your senses, blunt your sharpness, untie your knots, soften your glare, settle your dust. This is the primal identity. Be like the Tao.
56.3 It can't be approached or withdrawn from, benefited or harmed, honoured or brought into disgrace. It gives itself up continually. That is why it endures.

57.1 If you want to be a great leader, you must learn to follow the Tao. Stop trying to control. Let go of fixed plans and concepts, and the world will govern itself.
57.2 The more prohibitions you have, the less virtuous people will be. The more weapons you have, the less secure people will be.
57.3 The more subsidies you have, the less self-reliant people will be.
57.4 Therefore the Master says: I let go of the law, and people become honest.
57.5 I let go of economics, and people become prosperous. I let go of religion, and people become serene. I let go of all desire for the common good, and the good becomes common as grass.

58.1 If a country is governed with tolerance, the people are comfortable and honest. If a country is governed with repression, the people are depressed and crafty.
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58.3 When the will to power is in charge, the higher the ideals, the lower the results. Try to make people happy, and you lay the groundwork for misery. Try to make people moral, and you lay the groundwork for vice.
58.4 Thus the Master is content to serve as an example and not to impose her will. She is pointed, but doesn't pierce. Straightforward, but supple. Radiant, but easy on the eyes.

59.1 For governing a country well there is nothing better than moderation.
59.2 The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas. Tolerant like the sky, all-pervading like sunlight, firm like a mountain, supple like a tree in the wind, he has no destination in view and makes use of anything life happens to bring his way.
59.3 Nothing is impossible for him.
59.4 Because he has let go, he can care for the people's welfare as a mother cares for her child.

60.1 Governing a large country is like frying a small fish. You spoil it with too much poking.
60.2 Center your country in the Tao and evil will have no power.
60.3 It is not that they lose their power as such, But that they will not harm others; Because they will not harm others, You will not harm others:
60.4 Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.