Article Index

Red Pine(Translator)

1.1 The way that becomes a way is not the Immortal Way the name that becomes a name is not the Immortal Name
1.2 the maiden of Heaven and Earth has no name the mother of all things has a name
1.3 thus in innocence we see the beginning in passion we see the end
1.4 two different names for one and the same
1.5 the one we call dark the dark beyond dark the door to all beginnings

2.1 All the world knows beauty but if that becomes beautiful this becomes ugly
2.2 all the word knows good but if that becomes good this becomes bad
2.3 the coexistence of have and have not the coproduction of hard and easy the correlation of long and short
2.4 the codependence of high and low the correspondence of note and noise the coordination of first and last is endless
2.5 thus the sage performs effortless deeds and teaches wordless lessons
2.6 he doesn't start all things he begins he doesn't presume on what he does he doesn't claim what he achieves
2.7 and because he makes no claim he suffers no loss

3.1 Bestowing no honours keeps people from fighting
3.2 prizing no treasures keeps people from stealing
3.3 displaying no attractions keeps people from making trouble
3.4 thus the rule of the sage empties the mind but fills the stomach weakens the will but strengthens the bones
3.5 by keeping the people from knowing or wanting and those who know from daring to act
3.6 he thus governs them all

4.1 The Tao is so empty those who use it never become full again
4.2 and so deep as if it were the ancestor of us all
4.3 dulling our edges untying our tangles softening our light merging our dust
4.4 and so clear as if it were present
4.5 I wonder whose child it is it seems it was here before the Ti

5.1 Heaven and Earth are heartless treating creatures like straw dogs
5.2 heartless is the sage treating people like straw dogs
5.3 between Heaven and Earth how like a bellows empty but inexhaustible each movement produces more
5.4 taking only wastes it better to keep it inside

6.1 The valley spirit that doesn't die we call the dark womb
6.2 as real as gossamer silk and yet we can't exhaust it.
6.3 The valley spirit that doesn't die we call the dark womb the dark womb's mouth we call the source of creation as real as gossamer silk and yet we can't exhaust it.

7.1 Heaven is eternal and Earth is immortal
7.2 the reason they're eternal and immortal is because they don't live for themselves hence they can live forever
7.3 thus the sage pulls himself back but ends up in front
7.4 he lets himself go but ends up safe
7.5 selflessness must be the reason whatever he seeks he finds

8.1 The best are like water bringing help to all without competing choosing what others avoid hence approaching the Tao
8.2 dwelling with earth thinking with depth helping with kindness speaking with truth
8.3 governing with peace working with skill moving with time
8.4 and because they don't compete they aren't maligned

9.1 Instead of pouring in more better stop while you can
9.2 making it sharper won't help it last longer
9.3 houses full of treasure can never be safe
9.4 the vanity of success invites its own failure
9.5 retire when your work is done this is the Way of Heaven

10.1 Can you hold fast your crescent soul and not let it wander
10.2 can you make your breath as soft as a baby's
10.3 can you wipe your Dark Mirror free of dust
10.4 can you love people and lead them without imposing your will? can you serve and govern without effort
10.5 can you be the female at Heaven's Gate
10.6 can you light up the world without knowledge
10.7 beget things and keep them but beget without possessing keep without controlling this is Dark Virtue

11.1 Thirty spokes converge on a hub but it's the emptiness that makes a wheel work
11.2 pots are fashioned from clay but it's the hollow that make a pot work
11.3 windows and doors are carved for a house but it's the spaces that make a house work
11.4 existence makes something useful but nonexistence makes it work

12.1 The five colours make our eyes blind the five tones make our ears deaf the five flavours make our mouths numb
12.2 riding and hunting make our minds wild hard-to-get goods make us break laws
12.3 thus the rule of the sage puts the stomach ahead of the eyes thus he picks this over that

13.1 Favour and disgrace are like warnings honour and disaster are like the body
13.2 and why are favour and disgrace like warnings favour means descending to gain it is like a warning to lose it is like a warning thus are favour and disgrace like warnings
13.3 and why are honour and disaster like the body the reason we have disaster is because we have a body if we didn't have a body we wouldn't have disaster
13.4 who honours is body as much as the world can be entrusted with the world who loves his body as much as the world can be encharged with the world

14.1 We look but don't see it and call it indistinct we listen but don't hear it and call it faint we reach but don't grasp it and call it ethereal
14.2 three failed means to knowledge I weave into one
14.3 with no light above and no shade below too fine to be named returning to nothing
14.4 this is the formless form the immaterial image this is the waxing waning we meet without seeing its face we follow without seeing its back
14.5 holding onto this very Way we rule this very realm and discover its ancient past this is the thread of the Way

15.1 The ancient masters of the Way aimed at the indiscernible and penetrated the dao
15.2 you would never know them I describe them with reluctance they were careful as if crossing a river in winter cautious as if worried about neighbours reserved like guests
15.3 ephemeral like melting ice simple like uncarved wood open like valleys and murky like puddles
15.4 but a puddle becomes clear when it's still and stillness becomes alive when it's roused
15.5 those who treasure this Way don't try to be full not trying to be full they can hide and stay hidden

16.1 Let limits be empty the center be still
16.2 ten thousand things rise we watch them return creatures without number all return to their roots
16.3 return to their roots to be still to be still to revive to revive to endure knowing how to endure is wisdom not knowing is to suffer in vain
16.4 knowing how to endure is to be all-embracing all embracing means impartial impartial means the king the king means Heaven Heaven means the Way
16.5 and the Way means long life life without trouble.

17.1 During the High Ages people knew they were there then people loved and praised them then they feared them finally they despised them
17.2 when honesty fails dishonesty prevails
17.3 hesitate and guard your words when their work succeeds let people think they did it

18.1 When the Great Way disappears we meet kindness and justice
18.2 when reason appears we meet great deceit
18.3 when the six relations fail we meet obedience and love
18.4 when the country is in chaos we meet honest officials

19.1 Get rid of wisdom and reason and people will live a hundred times better
19.2 get rid of kindness and justice and people once more will love and obey
19.3 get rid of cleverness and profit and thieves will cease to exist
19.4 but these three sayings are not enough hence let this be added
19.5 wear the undyed and hold the uncarved reduce self-interest and limit desires get rid of learning and problems will vanish

20.1 Yes and no aren't so far apart lovely and ugly aren't so unalike
20.2 what others fear we too must fear
20.3 before the moon wanes everyone is gay as if they were at the Great Sacrifice or climbing a tower in spring I sit here and make no sign like a child that doesn't smile lost with no one to turn to
20.4 while others enjoy more I alone seem forgotten my mind is so foolish so simple
20.5 others look bright I alone seem dim others are certain I alone am confused receding like the ocean waxing without cease
20.6 everyone has a goal I alone am dumb and backward for I alone choose to differ preferring still my mother's breast