Article Index


1.1 The Tao that can be followed is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
1.2 The nameless is the origin of heaven and earth While naming is the origin of the myriad things.
1.3 Therefore, always desireless, you see the mystery Ever desiring, you see the manifestations.
1.4 These two are the same - When they appear they are named differently.
1.5 Their sameness is the mystery, Mystery within mystery; The door to all marvels.

2.1 All in the world recognize the beautiful as beautiful. Herein lies ugliness.
2.2 All recognize the good as good. Herein lies evil.
2.3 Therefore Being and non-being produce each other. Difficulty and ease bring about each other. Long and short delimit each other.
2.4 High and low rest on each other. Sound and voice harmonize each other. Front and back follow each other.
2.5 Therefore the sage abides in the condition of wu-wei (unattached action). And carries out the wordless teaching.
2.6 Here, the myriad things are made, yet not separated. Therefore the sage produces without possessing, Acts without expectations
2.7 And accomplishes without abiding in her accomplishments. It is precisely because she does not abide in them That they never leave her.

3.1 If you do not adulate the worthy, you will make others non-contentious.
3.2 If you do not value rare treasures, you will stop others from stealing.
3.3 If people do not see desirables, they will not be agitated.
3.4 Therefore, when the sage governs, He clears peoples' minds, Fills their bellies, Weakens their ambition and Strengthens their bones.
3.5 If the people are kept without cleverness and desire It will make the intellectuals not dare to meddle.
3.6 Acting without contrivance, there is no lack of manageability.

4.1 The Tao is so vast that when you use it, something is always left. How deep it is!
4.2 It seems to be the ancestor of the myriad things.
4.3 It blunts sharpness Untangles knots Softens the glare Unifies with the mundane.
4.4 It is so full! It seems to have remainder.
4.5 It is the child of I-don't-know-who. And prior to the primeval Lord-on-high.

5.1 Heaven and Earth are not jen, And regard the people as straw dogs.
5.2 The sage is not jen, And regards all things as straw dogs.
5.3 The space between Heaven and Earth is just like a bellows: Empty it, it is not exhausted. Squeeze it and more comes out.
5.4 Investigating it with a lot of talk Is not like holding to the center.

6.1 The valley spirit never dies. It is called "the mysterious female."
6.2 The opening of the mysterious female Is called "the root of Heaven and Earth."
6.3 The valley spirit never dies. It is called "the mysterious female." The opening of the mysterious female Is called "the root of Heaven and Earth." Continuous, seeming to remain. Use it without exertion.

7.1 Heaven and Earth last forever.
7.2 The reason that Heaven and Earth are able to last forever Is because they do not give birth to themselves. Therefore, they are always alive.
7.3 Hence, the sage puts herself last and is first.
7.4 She is outside herself and therefore her self lasts.
7.5 Is it not through her selflessness That she is able to perfect herself?

8.1 The highest goodness is like water. Water easily benefits all things without struggle. Yet it abides in places that men hate. Therefore it is like the Tao.
8.2 For dwelling, the Earth is good. For the mind, depth is good. The goodness of giving is in the timing. The goodness of speech is in honesty.
8.3 In government, self-mastery is good. In handling affairs, ability is good.
8.4 If you do not wrangle, you will not be blamed.

9.1 To hold until full is not as good as stopping.
9.2 An over sharpened sword cannot last long.
9.3 A room filled with gold and jewels cannot be protected.
9.4 Boasting of wealth and virtue brings your demise.
9.5 After finishing the work, withdraw. This is the Way of Heaven.

10.1 Pacifying the agitated material soul and holding to oneness: Are you able to avoid separation?
10.2 Focusing your energy on the release of tension: Can you be like an infant?
10.3 In purifying your insight: Can you un-obstruct it?
10.4 Loving the people and ruling the state: Can you avoid over-manipulation?
10.5 In opening and closing the gate of Heaven: Can you be the female?
10.6 In illuminating the whole universe: Can you be free of rationality?
10.7 Give birth to it and nourish it. Produce it but don't possess it. Act without expectation. Excel, but don't take charge. This is called Mysterious Virtue.

11.1 Thirty spokes join together in the hub. It is because of what is not there that the cart is useful.
11.2 Clay is formed into a vessel. It is because of its emptiness that the vessel is useful.
11.3 Cut doors and windows to make a room. It is because of its emptiness that the room is useful.
11.4 Therefore, what is present is used for profit. But it is in absence that there is usefulness.

12.1 The five colours blind our eyes. The five tones deafen our ears. The five flavours confuse our taste.
12.2 Racing and hunting madden our minds. Possessing rare treasures brings about harmful behaviour.
12.3 Therefore the sage regards his centre, and not his eyes. He lets go of that and chooses this.

13.1 Accept humiliation as a surprise. Value great misfortune as your own self.
13.2 What do I mean by "Accept humiliation as a surprise"? When you are humble Attainment is a surprise And so is loss. That's why I say, "Accept humiliation as a surprise."?
13.3 What do I mean by "Value great misfortune as your own self"? If I have no self, how could I experience misfortune?
13.4 Therefore, if you dedicate your life for the benefit of the world, You can rely on the world. If you love dedicating yourself in this way, You can be entrusted with the world.

14.1 Look for it, it cannot be seen. It is called the distant. Listen for it, it cannot be heard. It is called the rare. Reach for it, it cannot be gotten. It is called the subtle.
14.2 These three ultimately cannot be fathomed. Therefore they join to become one.
14.3 Its top is not bright; Its bottom is not dark; Existing continuously, it cannot be named and it returns to no-thingness.
14.4 Thus, it is called the formless form, The image of no-thing. This is called the most obscure. Go to meet it, you cannot see its face. Follow it, you cannot see its back.
14.5 By holding to the ancient Tao You can manage present existence And know the primordial beginning. This is called the very beginning thread of the Tao.

15.1 The ancient masters of the Tao Had subtle marvelous mystic penetration A depth that cannot be known.
15.2 It is exactly because that they are unknowable That we are forced to pay attention to their appearance. Hesitant, like one crossing an ice-covered river. Ready, like one afraid of his neighbours on all sides. Dignified, like a guest.
15.3 Loose, like ice about to melt. Straightforward, like an uncarved block of wood. Open, like a valley. Obscure, like muddy water.
15.4 Who can be muddled, and use clarity to gradually become lucid? Who can be calm, and use constant application for eventual success?
15.5 The one who holds to this path does not crave fulfilment. Precisely because he does not crave fulfilment He can be shattered And do without quick restitution.

16.1 Effect emptiness to the extreme. Keep stillness whole.
16.2 Myriad things act in concert. I therefore watch their return. All things flourish and each returns to its root.
16.3 Returning to the root is called quietude. Quietude is called returning to life. Return to life is called constant. Knowing this constant is called illumination. Acting arbitrarily without knowing the constant is harmful.
16.4 Knowing the constant is receptivity, which is impartial. Impartiality is kingship. Kingship is Heaven. Heaven is Tao Tao is eternal.
16.5 Though you lose the body, you do not die.

17.1 From great antiquity forth they have known and possessed it. Those of the next level loved and praised it. The next were in awe of it. And the next despised it.
17.2 If you lack sincerity no one will believe you.
17.3 How careful she is with her precious words! When her work is complete and her job is finished, Everybody says: "We did it!"

18.1 When the great Tao perishes There is jen and justice.
18.2 When intelligence is manifest There is great deception.
18.3 When the six relationships are not in harmony There is filial piety and compassion.
18.4 When the country is in chaos Loyal ministers appear.

19.1 Get rid of "holiness" and abandon "wisdom" and the people will benefit a hundredfold.
19.2 Get rid of "altruism" and abandon "Justice" and the people will return to filial piety and compassion.
19.3 Get rid of cleverness and abandon profit, and thieves and gangsters will not exist.
19.4 Since the above three are merely words, they are not sufficient. Therefore there must be something to include them all.
19.5 See the origin and keep the non-differentiated state. Lessen selfishness and decrease desire.

20.1 Get rid of "learning" and there will be no anxiety. How much difference is there between "yes" and "no"? How far removed from each other are "good" and "evil"?
20.2 Yet what the people are in awe of cannot be disregarded. I am scattered, never having been in a comfortable center.
20.3 All the people enjoy themselves, as if they are at the festival of the great sacrifice, Or climbing the Spring Platform. I alone remain, not yet having shown myself. Like an infant who has not yet laughed. Weary, like one despairing of no home to return to.
20.4 All the people enjoy extra While I have left everything behind. I am ignorant of the minds of others. So dull!
20.5 While average people are clear and bright, I alone am obscure. Average people know everything. To me alone all seems covered. So flat! Like the ocean. Blowing around! It seems there is no place to rest.
20.6 Everybody has a goal in mind. I alone am as ignorant as a bumpkin. I alone differ from people. I enjoy being nourished by the mother.