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Tao Te Ching


Chapter One

Tao (The Way) that can be spoken of
is not the Constant Tao’
The name that can be named
is not a Constant Name.
Nameless, is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
The named is the Mother of all things.
Thus, the constant void enables one
to observe the true essence.
The constant being enables one
to see the outward manifestations.
These two come paired from the same origin.
But when the essence is manifested,
It has a different name.
This same origin is called
“The Profound Mystery.”
As profound the mystery as It can be,
It is the Gate to the essence of all life.

Chapter Two

As soon as beauty is known
by the world as beautiful, it becomes ugly.
As soon as virtue is being known
as something good, it becomes evil.
Therefore being and non-being
give birth to each other.
Difficult and easy accomplish each other.
Long and short form each other.
High and low distinguish each other.
Sound and tone harmonize each other
Before and after follow each other as a sequence.
Realizing this, the saint performs
effortlessly according to the natural Way
without personal desire,
and practices the wordless teaching
thru one’s deeds.
The saint inspires the vitality of all lives,
without holding back.
He nurtures all beings
with no wish to take possession of.
He devotes all his energy
but has no intention to hold on to the merit.
When success is achieved,
he seeks no recognition.
Because he does not claim for the credit,
hence shall not lose it.

Chapter Three

By not adoring the worthy,
people will not fall into dispute.
By not valuing the hard to get objects,
people will not become robbers.
By not seeing the desires of lust,
one’s heart will not be confused.
Therefore the governing of the saint is to empty one’s mind,
substantiate one’s virtue, weaken
one’s worldly ambition and strengthen one’s essence.
He lets the people to be innocent
of worldly knowledge and desire,
and keeps the clever ones
from making trouble with their wits.
Acts naturally without desire,
then everything will be accomplished in its natural order.

Chapter Four

Tao (The Way) can be infused into the nature
and put to use without being exhausted.
It is so deep and subtle like an abyss
that is the origin of all things.
It is complete and perfect as a wholeness that can
Round off sharp edges;
Resolve confusion;
Harmonize with the glory;
Act in unity with the lowliness.
Tao is so profound and yet in invisible,
It exists in everywhere and anywhere.
I don not know whose Son It is,
It existed before heaven and earth.

Chapter Five

Nature nurtures all things
with the wholeness of complete virtue.
It shows the greatest and perfect kindness
by giving life to let all things grow and accomplish
them with the hastening of harvest.
Therefore, according to ancient custom,
nature may seem unkind to regard all beings as a
traditional straw dog for sacrifice.
And likewise with a saint, he may seem unkind
to regard people as a traditional straw
dog for sacrifice.
The space between heaven and earth is like the bellows,
it appears empty yet it gives a supply
that never fails;
The more it moves, the more it brings forth.
Many words lead to exhaustion.
It is better to center on the true essence within.

Selected excerpts from following chapters

“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”

“Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.”

“If you understand others you are smart.
If you understand yourself you are illuminated.
If you overcome others you are powerful.
If you overcome yourself you have strength.
If you know how to be satisfied you are rich.
If you can act with vigor, you have a will.
If you don't lose your objectives you can be long-lasting.
If you die without loss, you are eternal.”

“A leader is best
When people barely know he exists
Of a good leader, who talks little,
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
They will say, “We did this ourselves.”

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.
What difference between yes and no?
What difference between success and failure?
Must you value what others value,
avoid what others avoid?
How ridiculous!

Other people are excited,
as though they were at a parade.
I alone don't care,
I alone am expressionless,
like an infant before it can smile.

Other people have what they need;
I alone possess nothing.
I alone drift about,
like someone without a home.
I am like an idiot, my mind is so empty.

Other people are bright;
I alone am dark.
Other people are sharp;
I alone am dull.
Other people have purpose;
I alone don't know.
I drift like a wave on the ocean,
I blow as aimless as the wind.

I am different from ordinary people.
I drink from the Great Mother's