Article Index

61.1 When a country obtains great power, it becomes like the sea: all streams run downward into it. The more powerful it grows, the greater the need for humility. Humility means trusting the Tao, thus never needing to be defensive.
61.2 A great nation is like a great man: When he makes a mistake, he realizes it. Having realized it, he admits it. Having admitted it, he corrects it.
61.3 He considers those who point out his faults as his most benevolent teachers. He thinks of his enemy as the shadow that he himself casts.
61.4 -
61.5 If a nation is centred in the Tao, if it nourishes its own people and doesn't meddle in the affairs of others, it will be a light to all nations in the world.

62.1 The Tao is the centre of the universe, the good man's treasure, the bad man's refuge.
62.2 Honours can be bought with fine words, respect can be won with good deeds; but the Tao is beyond all value, and no one can achieve it.
62.3 Thus, when a new leader is chosen, don't offer to help him with your wealth or your expertise. Offer instead to teach him about the Tao.
62.4 Why did the ancient Masters esteem the Tao? Because, being one with the Tao, when you seek, you find; and when you make a mistake, you are forgiven. That is why everybody loves it.

63.1 Act without doing; work without effort.
63.2 Think of the small as large and the few as many.
63.3 Confront the difficult while it is still easy; accomplish the great task by a series of small acts.
63.4 -
63.5 The Master never reaches for the great; thus she achieves greatness.
63.6 When she runs into a difficulty, she stops and gives herself to it.
63.7 She doesn't cling to her own comfort; thus problems are no problem for her.

64.1 What is rooted is easy to nourish. What is recent is easy to correct. What is brittle is easy to break. What is small is easy to scatter.
64.2 Prevent trouble before it arises. Put things in order before they exist.
64.3 The giant pine tree grows from a tiny sprout. The journey of a thousand miles starts from beneath your feet.
64.4 Rushing into action, you fail. Trying to grasp things, you lose them. Forcing a project to completion, you ruin what was almost ripe. Therefore the Master takes action by letting things take their course.
64.5 People often fail on the verge of success; Take care at the end as at the beginning, So that you may avoid failure.
64.6 He remains as calm at the end as at the beginning. He has nothing, thus has nothing to lose. What he desires is non-desire; what he learns is to unlearn. He simply reminds people of who they have always been. He cares about nothing but the Tao. Thus he can care for all things.

65.1 The ancient Masters didn't try to educate the people, but kindly taught them to not-know.
65.2 When they think that they know the answers, people are difficult to guide. When they know that they don't know, people can find their own way. If you want to learn how to govern, avoid being clever or rich. The simplest pattern is the clearest.
65.3 -
65.4 Content with an ordinary life, you can show all people the way back to their own true nature.

66.1 All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power.
66.2 If you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them. If you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.
66.3 The Master is above the people, and no one feels oppressed. She goes ahead of the people, and no one feels manipulated. The whole world is grateful to her.
66.4 Because she competes with no one, no one can compete with her.

67.1 Some say that my teaching is nonsense. Others call it lofty but impractical. But to those who have looked inside themselves, this nonsense makes perfect sense. And to those who put it into practice, this loftiness has roots that go deep.
67.2 I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.
67.3 Simple in actions and in thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.
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67.5 -

68.1 The best athlete wants his opponent at his best. The best general enters the mind of his enemy.
68.2 The best businessman serves the communal good. The best leader follows the will of the people.
68.3 All of the embody the virtue of non-competition. Not that they don't love to compete, but they do it in the spirit of play. In this they are like children and in harmony with the Tao.

69.1 The generals have a saying: "Rather than make the first move it is better to wait and see. Rather than advance an inch it is better to retreat a yard."
69.2 This is called going forward without advancing, pushing back without using weapons.
69.3 There is no greater misfortune than underestimating your enemy. Underestimating your enemy means thinking that he is evil. Thus you destroy your three treasures and become an enemy yourself.
69.4 When two great forces oppose each other, the victory will go to the one that knows how to yield.

70.1 My teachings are easy to understand and easy to put into practice. Yet your intellect will never grasp them, and if you try to practice them, you'll fail.
70.2 My teachings are older than the world. How can you grasp their meaning?
70.3 If you want to know me, look inside your heart.

71.1 Not-knowing is true knowledge. Presuming to know is a disease. First realize that you are sick; then you can move toward health.
71.2 The Master is her own physician. She has healed herself of all knowing. Thus she is truly whole.

72.1 When they lose their sense of awe, people turn to religion.
72.2 When they no longer trust themselves, they begin to depend upon authority.
72.3 Therefore the Master steps back so that people won't be confused. He teaches without a teaching, so that people will have nothing to learn.

73.1 The Tao is always at ease.
73.2 -
73.3 It overcomes without competing, answers without speaking a word, arrives without being summoned, accomplishes without a plan.
73.4 Its net covers the whole universe. And though its meshes are wide, it doesn't let a thing slip through.

74.1 If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to.
74.2 If you aren't afraid of dying, there is nothing you can't achieve.
74.3 Trying to control the future is like trying to take the master carpenter's place. When you handle the master carpenter's tools, chances are that you'll cut your hand.

75.1 When taxes are too high, people go hungry.
75.2 When the government is too intrusive, people lose their spirit.
75.3 Act for the people's benefit. Trust them; leave them alone.

76.1 Men are born soft and supple; dead, they are stiff and hard.
76.2 Plats are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry.
76.3 Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death.
76.4 Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life.
76.5 The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail.

77.1 As it acts in the world, the Tao is like the bending of a bow. The top is bent downward; the bottom is bent up. It adjusts excess and deficiency so that there is perfect balance. It takes from what is too much and give to what isn't enough.
77.2 Those who try to control, who use force to protect their power, go against the direction of the Tao. They take from those who don't have enough and give to those who have far too much.
77.3 The Master can keep giving because there is no end to her wealth.
77.4 She acts without expectation, succeeds without taking credit, and doesn't think that she is better than anyone else.

78.1 Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water. Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it.
78.2 The soft overcomes the hard; the gentle overcomes the rigid. Everyone knows this is true, but few can put it into practice.
78.3 Therefore the Master remains serene in the midst of sorrow. Evil cannot enter his heart. Because he has given up helping, he is people's greatest help. True words seem paradoxical.

79.1 If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame.
79.2 Failure is an opportunity.
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79.4 Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others.

80.1 If a country is governed wisely, its inhabitants will be content. They enjoy the labour of their hands and don't waste time inventing labour-saving machines. Since they dearly love their homes, they aren't interested in travel.
80.2 There may be a few wagons and boats, but these don't go anywhere. There may be an arsenal of weapons, but nobody ever uses them.
80.3 People enjoy their food, take pleasure in being with their families, spend weekends working in their gardens, delight in the doings of the neighbourhood.
80.4 And even though the next country is so close that people can hear its roosters crowing and its dogs barking, they are content to die of old age without ever having gone to see it.

81.1 True words aren't eloquent; eloquent words aren't true.
81.2 Wise men don't need to prove their point; men who need to prove their point aren't wise.
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81.4 The Master has no possessions. The more he does for others, the happier he is. The more he gives to others, the wealthier he is.
81.5 The Tao nourishes by not forcing. By not dominating, the Master leads.