Article Index

Brian B Walker(Translator)

To read Walker's text, which is being widely circulated and plagiarized is one thing, but to learn from his book is the full experience without which the translation does not reveal the full wisdom to be gained. Walker makes an app available that teaches not only the Daodejing but other teaching of LaoTzi as well. 

Brian Walker's website

1.1 Tao is beyond words and beyond understanding. Words may be used to speak of it, but they cannot contain it.
1.2 Tao existed before words and names, before heaven and earth, before the ten thousand things. It is the unlimited father and mother of all limited things.
1.3 Therefore, to see beyond all boundaries to the subtle heart of things, dispense with names, with concepts, with expectations and ambitions and differences.
1.4 Tao and its many manifestations arise from the same source:
1.5 subtle wonder within mysterious darkness. This is the beginning of all understanding.

2.1 When people find one thing beautiful, another consequently becomes ugly.
2.2 When one man is held up as good, another is judged deficient.
2.3 Similarly, being and non-being balance each other; difficult and easy define each other; long and short illustrate each other;
2.4 high and low rest upon each other; voice and song meld into harmony; what is to come follows upon what has been.
2.5 The wise person acts without effort and teaches by quiet example.
2.6 He accepts things as they come, creates without possessing, nourishes without demanding, accomplishes without taking credit.
2.7 Because he constantly forgets himself, he is never forgotten.

3.1 When praise is lavished upon the famous, the people contend and compete with one another.
3.2 When exotic goods are traded and treasured, the compulsion to steal is felt.
3.3 When desires are constantly stimulated, people become disturbed and confused.
3.4 Therefore, the wise person sets an example by emptying her mind, opening her heart, relaxing her ambitions, relinquishing her desires, cultivating her character.
3.5 having conquered her own cunning and cravings, she can't be manipulated by anyone.
3.6 Do by not-doing. Act with non-action. Allow order to arise of itself.

4.1 Tao is a whirling emptiness, yet when used it cannot be exhausted.
4.2 Out of this mysterious well flows everything in existence.
4.3 Blunting sharp edges, Untangling knots, Softening the glare, It evolves us all and makes the whole world one.
4.4 Something is there, hidden and deep!
4.5 But I do not know whose child it is - It came even before God.

5.1 Heaven and Earth are not sentimental; they regard all things as dispensable.
5.2 The sage isn't sentimental, either; He views all forms as ephemeral and transitional.
5.3 Tao is like a bellows: empty but inexhaustible. The more you move it the more it makes.
5.4 Too much talk about it evaporates your understanding, though. Simply stay at the center of the circle.

6.1 The heart of Tao is immortal, the mysterious fertile mother of us all,
6.2 of heaven and earth, of every thing and not-thing.
6.3 Invisible yet ever present, you can use it forever without using it up.

7.1 Heaven is eternal, earth everlasting.
7.2 They endure this way because they do not live for themselves.
7.3 In the same way, the wise person puts himself last, and thereby finds himself first;
7.4 Holds himself outside, and thereby remains at the center;
7.5 Abandons himself, and is thereby fulfilled.

8.1 The highest good is like water which benefits all things and contends with none. it flows in low places that others disdain and thus it is close to the Tao.
8.2 In living, choose your ground well. In thought, stay deep in the heart. In relationships, be generous. In speaking, hold to the truth.
8.3 In leadership, be organized. In work, do your best. In action, be timely.
8.4 If you compete with no one, no one can compete with you.

9.1 Filling to fullness is not as good as stopping at the right moment.
9.2 Oversharpening a blade causes its edge to be lost.
9.3 Line your home with treasures and you won't be able to defend it.
9.4 Amass possessions, establish positions, display your pride: Soon enough disaster drives you to your knees.
9.5 This is the way of heaven: do your work, then quietly step back.

10.1 Can you marry your spirit and body to the oneness and never depart from it?
10.2 Can you ride your breath until your entire being is as supple as the body of an infant?
10.3 Can you cleanse your inner vision until you see heaven in every direction?
10.4 Can you love the people and govern them without conniving and manipulating?
10.5 Can you bear heaven's children in all that you do and are?
10.6 Can you give the wisdom of your heart precedence over the learning of your head?
10.7 Giving birth, nourishing life, shaping things without possessing them, serving without expectation of reward, leading without dominating: These are the profound virtues of nature, and of nature's best things.

11.1 Thirty spokes meet at a hollowed-out hub; the wheel won't work without its hole.
11.2 A vessel is moulded from solid clay; its inner emptiness makes it useful.
11.3 To make a room, you have to cut doors and windows; without openings, a place isn't livable.
11.4 To make use of what is here, you must make use of what is not

12.1 The five colours blind the eye. The five tones deafen the ear. The five flavours overwhelm the palate.
12.2 Fancy things get in the way of one's growth. Racing here and there, hunting for this and that - Good ways to madden your mind, that's all.
12.3 Relinquish what is without. Cultivate what is within. Live for your center, not your senses.

13.1 Favour and disgrace are equally problematic. Hope and fear are phantoms of the body.
13.2 What does it mean the "favour and disgrace are equally problematic"? Favour lifts you up; disgrace knocks you down. Either one depends on the opinions of others and causes you to depart from your center.
13.3 What does it mean that "hope and fear are phantoms of the body"? When you regard your body as your self, hope and fear have real power over you. If you abandon the notion of body as self, hope and fear cannot touch you.
13.4 Know the universe as your self, and you can live absolutely anywhere in comfort. Love the world as your self, and you'll be able to care for it properly.

14.1 Looked at but not seen, listened to but not heard, grasped for but not held, formless, soundless, intangible:
14.2 the Tao resists analysis and defies comprehension.
14.3 Its rising is not about light, its setting not a matter of darkness. Unnameable, unending, emerging continually, and continually pouring back into nothingness,
14.4 It is formless form, unseeable image, elusive, evasive unimaginable mystery. Confront it, and you won't see its face. Follow it and you can't find an end.
14.5 Perceive its ancient subtle heart, however, and you become master of the moment. Know what came before time, and the beginning of wisdom is yours.

15.1 A sage is subtle, intuitive, penetrating, profound. His depths are mysterious and unfathomable.
15.2 The best one can do is describe his appearance: The sage is alert as a person crossing a winter stream; as circumspect as a person with neighbours on all four sides; as respectful as a thoughtful guest;
15.3 as yielding as melting ice; as simple as uncarved wood; as open as a valley; as chaotic as a muddy torrent.
15.4 Why "chaotic as a muddy torrent"? Because clarity is learned by being patient in the heart of chaos. Tolerating disarray, remaining at rest, gradually one learns to allow muddy water to settle and proper responses to reveal themselves.
15.5 Those who aspire to Tao don't long for fulfillment. They selflessly allow the Tao to use and deplete them; They calmly allow the Tao to renew and complete them.

16.1 Work toward emptiness and openness. Cultivate stillness. Breathe harmony. Become tranquility.
16.2 As the ten thousand things rise and fall, rise and fall, just witness their return to the root.
16.3 Everything that flourishes dissolves again into the source. To dissolve back into the source is to find peace. To find peace is to recover your true nature. To recover your true nature is to know the constancy of Tao. To know the constancy of Tao is insight.
16.4 Insight opens your mind. An open mind leads to an open heart. Openheartedness leads to justice. Justice is an expression of divinity. Divinity is oneness with Tao.
16.5 Oneness with Tao is freedom from harm, indescribable pleasure, eternal life.

17.1 The best leader is one whose existence is barely known. Next best is one who is lived and praised. Next is one who is feared. Worst of all is a leader who is despised.
17.2 If you fail to trust people, they won't turn out to be trustworthy.
17.3 Therefore, guide others by quietly relying on Tao. Then, when the work is done, the people can say, "We did this ourselves."

18.1 When people lose sight of the Tao, codes of morality and justice are created.
18.2 When cleverness and strategies are in use, hypocrites are everywhere.
18.3 When families forego natural harmony, parents become pious and children become dutiful.
18.4 When the nation is reigned by darkness, patriotic advisers abound.

19.1 Give up religiosity and knowledge, and the people will benefit a hundredfold.
19.2 Discard morality and righteousness, and the people will return to natural love.
19.3 Abandon shrewdness and profiteering, and there won't be any robbers or thieves.
19.4 These are external matters, however.
19.5 What is most important is what happens within: look to what is pure; hold to what is simple; let go of self-interest; temper your desires.

20.1 Be done with knowing and your worries will disappear. How much difference is there between yes and no? How much distinction between good and evil?
20.2 Fearing what others fear, admiring what they admire-nonsense.
20.3 Conventional people are jolly and reckless, feasting on worldly things and carrying on as though every day were the beginning of spring. I alone remain uncommitted, like an infant who hasn't yet smiled: lost, quietly drifting, unattached to ideas and places and things.
20.4 Conventional people hoard more than they need, but I possess nothing at all, know nothing at all, understand nothing at all.
20.5 They are bright; I am dark. They are sharp; I am dull. Like the sea, I am calm and indifferent. Like the wind I have no particular direction.
20.6 Everyone else takes his place and does his job; I alone remain wild and natural and free. I am different from others; my sustenance comes directly from the Mother.