Article Index

41.1 When a wise person hears Tao, he practices it diligently. When an average person hears Tao, he practices it sometimes, and just as often ignores it.
41.2 When an inferior person hears Tao, he roars with laughter. If he didn't laugh, it wouldn't be Tao.
41.3 Thus the age old sayings: The way to illumination appears dark. The way that advances appears to retreat. The way that is easy appears to be hard. The highest virtue appears empty. The purest goodness appears soiled. The most profound creativity appears fallow.
41.4 The strongest power appears weak. The most genuine appears unreal. The greatest space has no corners. The greatest talent matures slowly. The greatest voice can't be heard. The greatest image can't be seen.
41.5 Tao is hidden and has no name. Tao alone nourishes and fulfills all things.

42.1 Nonbeing gives birth to the oneness. The oneness gives birth to yin and yang. Yin and Yang give birth to heaven, earth, and beings. Heaven, earth, and beings give birth to everything in existence.
42.2 Therefore everything in existence carries within it both yin and yang, and attains its harmony by blending together these two vital breaths.
42.3 Ordinary people hate nothing more than to be powerless, small, and unworthy. Yet this is how superior people describe themselves.
42.4 Gain is loss. Loss is gain.
42.5 I repeat what others have said: The strong and violent don't die natural deaths. This is the very essence of my teaching.

43.1 The soft overcomes the hard in the world as a gentle rider controls a galloping horse. That without substance can penetrate where there is no space. By these I know the benefit of nonaction.
43.2 Teaching without words, working without actions-nothing in the world can compare with them.

44.1 Which is more precious, fame or health? Which is more valuable, health or wealth? Which is more harmful, winning or losing?
44.2 The more excessive your love, the greater your suffering. The longer you hoard, the heavier your losses.
44.3 Knowing what is enough is freedom. Knowing when to stop is safety. Practice these, and you'll endure.

45.1 The greatest perfection seems imperfect, yet its usefulness is endless. The greatest fullness seems empty, yet its usefulness is inexhaustible. Great straightness seems flexible.
45.2 Great skill looks clumsy. Great eloquence sounds awkward.
45.3 Movement triumphs over cold. Stillness triumphs over heat. Clarity and tranquility set the whole world in order.

46.1 When the world practices Tao, horses fertilize the fields. When the world ignores Tao, horses are bred for war.
46.2 There is no greater calamity than desire, no greater curse than greed.
46.3 Know that enough is enough, and you'll always have enough.

47.1 Without going out the door, you can know the world. Without looking out the window, you can see heaven. The farther you travel, the less you know.
47.2 Thus the wise person knows without traveling, understands without seeing, accomplishes without acting.

48.1 In the pursuit of learning, every day something is added. In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.
48.2 Less and less is done, until one arrives at nonaction. When nothing is done, nothing is left undone. The world is won by letting things take their own course.
48.3 If you still have ambitions, its out of your reach.

49.1 The sage has no set mind. She adopts the concerns of others as her own.
49.2 She is good to the good. She is also good to the bad. This is real goodness.
49.3 She trusts the trustworthy. She also trusts the untrustworthy. This is real trust.
49.4 The sage takes the minds of the worldly and spins them around. People drop their ideas and agendas, and she guides them like beloved children.

50.1 Between their births and their deaths,
50.2 three out of ten are attached to life, three out of ten are attached to death, three out of ten are just idly passing through. Only one knows how to die and stay dead and still go on living.
50.3 That one hasn't any ambitions, hasn't any ideas, makes no plans. From this mysterious place of not-knowing and non-doing he gives birth to whatever is needed in the moment. Because he is constantly filling his being with nonbeing, he can travel the wilds without worrying about tigers or wild buffalo, or he can cross a battlefield without armour or weapon.
50.4 No tiger can claw him. No buffalo can gore him. No weapon can pierce him. Why is this so? Because he has died, there isn't any more room for death in him.

51.1 Tao gives life to all beings. Nature nourishes them. Fellow creatures shape them. Circumstances complete them. Everything in existence respects Tao and honours nature
51.2 - not by decree, but spontaneously. Tao gives life to all beings. Nature watches over them, develops them, shelters them, nurses them, grows them, ripens them, completes them, buries them, and returns them.
51.3 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 beings.

52.1 The origin and mother of everything in the world is Tao.
52.2 Know the mother and you can know the children. Having known the children, return to their source and hold on to her. Abiding by the mother, you are free from danger, even when your body dies.
52.3 Don't live for your senses. Close your mouth, close all the body's openings, and reside in the original unity. In this way you can pass your life in peace and contentment.
52.4 Open your mouth, increase your activities, start making distinctions between things, and you'll toil forever without hope.
52.5 See the subtle and be illuminated. Abide in gentleness and be strong.
52.6 Use your light, and return to insight. Don't expose yourself to trouble. This is following Tao.

53.1 Because I have a little wisdom, I choose to walk the great path of Tao and fear nothing except to stray from it.
53.2 The great way is very smooth and easy, but some people are fond of getting sidetracked.
53.3 When a ruler's palace is full of treasure, the people's fields are weedy and their granaries are empty.
53.4 If the ruler wears fancy clothes and his house is full of weapons, if his table is laden with extravagant food and drink and everywhere one looks he has more wealth than he can use, the ruler is a robber and thief. This is not in keeping with Tao.

54.1 Plant yourself firmly in the Tao and you won't ever be uprooted. Embrace Tao firmly and you won't ever be separated from it. Your children will thrive, and your children's children.
54.2 Cultivate goodness in your self, and goodness will be genuine. Cultivate it in your family, and goodness will flourish. Cultivate it in your community, and goodness will grow and multiply. Cultivate it in your country, and goodness will be abundant. Cultivate it in the world, and goodness will be everywhere.
54.4 How do I know the world works like this? By watching.

55.1 She who is filled with goodness is like a newborn child: wasps and snakes will not bite it, fierce beasts will not attack it, birds of prey will not pounce on it. Its bones are soft and its muscles weak, but its grip is firm.
55.2 It hasn't yet known the union of male and female, yet its organ stirs with vitality.
55.3 It can howl all day without becoming hoarse, so perfect is its harmony. To know harmony is to know the eternal. To know the eternal is to be illumined.
55.4 Prolonging life is not harmonious./ Coercing the breath is unnatural.
55.5 Things which are overdeveloped must decay. All this is contrary to Tao, and whatever is contrary to Tao soon ceases to be.

56.1 Those who know don't talk. Those who talk don't know.
56.2 Close your mouth. Block the door. Quiet your senses. Blunt the sharpness. Untie the tangles. Soften the brightness. Be one with the dust, and enter the primal oneness.
56.3 One who has merged with Tao in this way can't be courted, can't be bought, can't be harmed, can't be honoured, can't be humiliated. He is the treasure of the world.

57.1 Govern a nation by following nature. Fight a war with unexpected moves. Win the world by letting go. How do I know this? From seeing these:
57.2 The more prohibitions there are, the poorer people become. The more weapons there are, the darker things become.
57.3 The more laws there are, the greater the number of scoundrels.
57.4 Therefore the sage says: I take no action, and people transform themselves. I love tranquility, and people naturally do what is right.
57.5 I don't interfere, and people prosper on their own. I have no desires, and people return to simplicity.

58.1 When the government is dull and sleepy, people are wholesome and good. When the government is sharp and exacting, people are cunning and mean.
58.2 Good rests upon bad. Bad hides within good.
58.3 Who knows where the turning point is? Whether government or person, if you aren't tranquil and honest, the normal flips to the abnormal, the auspicious reverts to the bizarre, and your bewilderment lasts for a long time.
58.4 Therefore the sage does what is right without acting righteous, points without piercing, straightens without straining, enlightens without dazzling.

59.1 In governing people and serving heaven, there is nothing better than moderation.
59.2 To be moderate is to follow Tao without straying. To follow Tao without straying is to become filled with good energy. To be filled with good energy is to overcome all things. To overcome all things is to know that all things are possible.
59.3 She who knows that all things are possible is fit to govern people.
59.4 Because she is one with the mother, her roots go deep, her foundation stands firm, her life lasts long, her vision endures.

60.1 Governing a large country is like cooking a small fish.
60.2 If it's done in accordance with Tao, nothing bad will happen. Guide the world with Tao, and evil won't be a problem.
60.3 Not that it won't be around, but it won't find an opening, it can't harm anyone.
60.4 The sage doesn't harm anyone, either. When there's no harm on this side, no harm on that, goodness flows back and forth like water.