Article Index

61.1 A great country is like a low-lying land into which many streams flow. It draws powerful energies to it as a receptive woman draws an eager man. The feminine can always conquer the masculine by yielding and taking the lower position. In this way she becomes as low-lying land: in time, everything comes her way.
61.2 Therefore a great country can win over a small country by practicing humility. A small country can also win over a great country by practicing humility.
61.3 One wins by willingly taking the lower position. The other wins by willingly acknowledging its lower position.
61.4 The great country wants to embrace and nourish more people. The small country wants to ably serve its benefactor.
61.5 Both accomplish their ends by yielding.

62.1 Tao is the hidden secret source of all life. Good men recognize that Tao provides for them and therefore they esteem it. Bad men don't recognize this, but the Tao doesn't stop providing for them.
62.2 Beautiful words win some men honours; good deeds buy others acclaim. But the Tao values everyone, not just those who excel. What's the sense in discarding anyone?
62.3 Thus, on the day a new king is crowned or powerful ministers installed, while others rush forward with gifts and praises, just be still and offer Tao.
62.4 Why have sages prized Tao for so long? Because with Tao, he who seeks finds, and he who has flaws is forgiven. This is why it is the treasure of the world.

63.1 Act by not acting, accomplish by not straining, understand by not knowing.
63.2 Regard the humble as exalted and the exalted as humble. Remedy injury with tranquil repair.
63.3 Meet the difficult while it is still easy; cross the universe one step at a time.
63.5 Because the sage doesn't try anything too big, she's able to accomplish big things.
63.6 Those who commit lightly seldom come through. Those who think everything is easy will finmd everything hard.
63.7 The sage understands that everything is difficult, and thus in the end has no difficulties.

64.1 What has equilibrium is easy to maintain. What hasn't begun is easy to plan. What is fragile is easy to shatter. What is small is easy to scatter.
64.2 Deal with things before they arise. Cultivate order before confusion sets in.
64.3 The tallest tree springs from a tiny shoot. The tallest tower is built from a pile of dirt. A journey of a thousand miles begins at your feet.
64.4 Interfere with things, and you'll be defeated by them. Hold on to things, and you'll lose them. The sage doesn't interfere, so he doesn't fail; doesn't hold on, so he doesn't lose.
64.5 Because projects often come to ruin just before completion, he takes as much care at the end as he did at the beginning, and thereby succeeds.
64.6 His only desire is to be free of desire. Fancying nothing, learning not to know, electing not to interfere, he helps all beings become themselves.

65.1 In ancient times those who practiced Tao didn't want to enlighten people, but to keep them natural and simple.
65.2 When cleverness and intellect abound, people don't do well. A leader who governs with cleverness cheats his people. A leader who governs with simplicity is a blessing to his people.
65.3 These are the two alternatives. Understanding them is subtle insight.
65.4 The use of subtle insight brings all things back into the oneness.

66.1 The sea is king of the valleys and streams because it is willing to be beneath them.
66.2 One who wishes to guide the people should be humble in her speech toward them. One who wishes to lead the people must learn the art of following them.
66.3 The sage is above the people, but they don't feel her weight. She stays ahead of the people, and no harm comes to them. She has the affection of the whole world.
66.4 Because she contends with no one, no one can contend with her.

67.1 Everyone under heaven says that my Tao is great, but inconceivable. It is its very greatness that makes it inconceivable! If it could be conceived of, how small it would be!
67.2 I have three treasures to hold and protect: The first is motherly love. The second is economy. The third is daring not to be first in the world.
67.3 With motherly love one can be courageous. With economy one can be expansive. With humility one can lead.
67.4 To be courageous without motherly love, To be expansive without practicing economy, To go to the front without humility - this is courting death.
67.5 Venture with love and you win the battle. Defend with love and you are invulnerable. Heaven's secret is motherly love.

68.1 A good general doesn't show off his power. a good warrior doen't get angry.
68.2 A good conqueror doesn't attack people. A good employer puts himself below his employees.
68.3 This is called the power of noncontention. This is called using the strength of others. This is called perfect emulation of heaven.

69.1 In conflict it is better to be receptive than aggressive, better to retreat a foot than advance an inch.
69.2 This is called moving ahead without advancing, capturing the enemy without attacking him.
69.3 There is no greater misfortune than underestimating your opponent. To underestimate your opponent is to forsake your three treasures.
69.4 When opposing forces are engaged in conflict, the one who fights with sorrow will triumph.

70.1 My words are very easy to understand, very easy to put into practice. But you can't "understand" them, can't put them into "practice."
70.2 Words have their ruler. Eventshave their origins. People who can't understand this can't understand me. Those who do are few.
70.3 They wear coarse cloth and carry jade in their breasts.

71.1 Moving from knowing to not knowing - this is good. Moving from not knowing to knowing - this is sickness. You have to become sick of your sickness before you can get rid of it.
71.2 The sage isn't sick. He's sick of his sickness. Therefore he's not sick.

72.1 If people fear your power, then you don't really have any.
72.2 Leave them alone in their homes. Respect them in their lives, and they won't grow weary of you.
72.3 The sage knows herself, but doesn't dwell on herself; Loves herself, but no more than she loves everyone else. She adopts the concerns of heaven as her own.

73.1 Those who are courageous out of daring are killed. Those who are courageous out of love survive.
73.2 The first is harmful, the second beneficial. Heaven prohibits some things, but who knows the reason? Not even the sage knows the answer to this.
73.3 This is the way of heaven: It doesn't contend, but easily overcomes. It doesn't speak, but always responds. It can't be summoned, but comes of its own volition. Utterly without haste, it plans for everything.
73.4 The net of heaven is vast. Though its meshes are wide, nothing slips through.

74.1 If people don't love life, they won't fear death, and threatening them with it won't work.
74.2 If people have lives worth living, then the threat of death is meaningful, and they'll do what is right to avoid it.
74.3 But killing itself should be the province of the great executioner alone. Trying to take his place and kill is like cutting wood in the place of the master carpenter: The odds are you'll hurt your own hand.

75.1 What makes people go hungry? Rulers eating up all their money in taxes.
75.2 What makes people rebellious? Rulers who can't stop interfering.
75.3 What makes people take death so lightly? People taking life too seriously. Those who enjoy life are wiser than those who employ life.

76.1 At birth a person is soft and yielding, at death stiff and hard.
76.2 All beings, the grass, the trees: alive, soft, and yielding; dead, stiff, and hard.
76.3 Therefore the hard and inflexible are friends of death. The soft and yielding are friends of life.
76.4 An unyielding army is destroyed. An unbending tree breaks.
76.5 The hard must humble itself or be otherwise humbled. The soft will ultimately ascend.

77.1 The way of heaven is like the bending of a bow. What is high up gets pulled down. What is low down gets pulled up.
77.2 Heaven takes from what has too much and gives to what doesn't have enough. Man is different: he takes from those who have too little and gives to those who have too much.
77.3 Who has a genuine abundance to give to the world? Only a person of Tao.
77.4 He acts without expectation, accomplishes without taking credit, and has no desire to display his merit.

78.1 Nothing under heaven is as soft and yielding as water. Yet for attacking the hard and strong, nothing can compare with it.
78.2 The weak overcomes the strong. The soft overcomes the hard. Everyone knows this, but none have the ability to practice it.
78.3 Therefore the sage says: One who accepts the dung of the nation becomes the master of soil and sustenance. One who deals with the evils of the nation becomes king under heaven. True words seem paradoxical.

79.1 In the reconciling of resentments, ill will often lingers. What's the good in that?
79.2 The person who is truly good concerns herself always with what she owes others, never with what they owe her.
79.4 The Tao of heaven is impartial. If you perpetuate it, it perpetuates you.

80.1 Let there be small countries with few people. Let the people have no use for complicated machinery. Let them be mindful of death so that they don't move too far from their birthplaces.
80.2 If there be boats and carriages, let there be nowhere to take them to. If there are weapons, let there be no occasion to display them.
80.3 Let the people's responsibilities be few enough that they may remember them by knotting a string. Let them enjoy their food, be content with their clothes, be satisfied with their homes, and take pleasure in their customs.
80.4 Though the next country may be close enough to hear the barking of dogs and the crowing of its rooster, let the people grow old and die without feeling compelled to visit it.

81.1 True words aren't elaborate. Elaborate words aren't true.
81.2 Good people don't argue. People who argue aren't good.
81.3 People who know aren't full of facts. People who are full of facts don't know.
81.4 The sage doesn't hoard. She increases her treasure by working for her fellow human beings. She increases her abundance by giving herself to them.
81.5 The way of heaven: benefit all, harm none. The way of the sage: work for all, contend with none.