Asia Online (TAO)
Tao Te Ching
by Lao Tzu
Mawangdui version translated
by Jerry C. Welch
Copyright Khiron, the Kuei-Shen Hsien 1998.
More English versions
The Finite cannot be all of the Infinite!
THOU by any specific name is not all there is to THOU.
The un-nameable is the Father of the myriads of things.
The nameable is the Mother of it's own myriads of things.
never wanting, one may observe the wondrously subtle;
Desiring, one may witness the manifestations.
of these are attributes of the same Source.
They have different 'nameabilities' but the same designation:
the Gate of all wonders!
Life and Bodiless Life give birth to each other.
Difficult and Easy give birth to each other, in turn.
Long and Short; High and Low; Tone and Voice; Front and Back;
each give occasion for the other. It must always be so.
the Sage does nothing much very personal,
and carries on a Discourse beyond personalities:
one allows the myriads of things to arise, but does not demand of them.
One acts, but not very 'personally;' one does one's work,
but without self-importance.
because one 'Mothers' things instead of 'commanding' them,
one's offspring never leave you.
Not praising the Ego prevents people from competing fiercely.
Not hoarding-away the rarest treasures prevents people from stealing.
Not making a forbidden 'icon' of what the people enjoy prevents revolution.
Sages, in 'ruling' make themselves ordinary;
they satisfy all appetites, and fulfill everyone's Libido.
They build-up the people, soundly; and slake every need with reward.
They insure that what is taught does not cause violence;
and THAT IS ALL that they insure-against.
their 'rule' is universal.
wears-down all sharp edges,
unravels all knots,
mingles with dust.
lies submerged, seeming barely to exist at all.
I know not whose child Id is!.. only that it seems to be the Womb of God.
Sages, too, are not merely 'human;' they too treat all creatures as
relating between Id and Super-Ego: how like a bellows it is!
Empty but inexhaustible, the more it pumps, the more comes out of it.
Ego-speech is merely exhausting. Better to remain with 'Totemic
Portal of the Mystical Female is called
"The Cave Of Impressions."
gossamer, Id is seemingly insubstantial;
yet never consumed through use.
Sages therefore overcome their Ego-interests, and their Souls speak;
they do not think of themselves as their Egos, yet those remain present.
beyond their purely Egoic motives, they can accomplish their goals.
Therefore it is nearby to people like THOU.
Virtue of an abode is it's location.
The Virtue of the heart is it's depth.
The Virtue of giving lies in trusting others.
The Virtue of wise rule is orderliness.
The Virtue of enterprise is skill.
The Virtue of action is timing.
is precisely because one does not 'struggle' that there is no blame.
when JUST ENOUGH has been done;
that is the way of Heaven.
your breath into gossamer-like serenity,
can you still be as simple as a baby's Libido?
the mirror of mysteries,
can you locate and remove your own illusions?
people and uplifting the society,
can you do so without being 'cunning?'
and closing the Cave of Impressions,
can you remain The Bride Of Heaven?
with clarity in all directions,
can you refrain from acting 'personally?'
gives birth to them and nurtures them.
THOU gives birth to them but does not 'own' them.
THOU rears them but does not 'command' them.
This is called 'Motherly Virtue.'
must be shaped with skill to make a pot,
but it is the empty hole in the middle which makes it useful.
doors and windows into four walls to make a room,
but it is the empty space between them that makes it comfortable.
while benefits may be derived from something,
it is in EMPTY NOTHING that we find usefulness.
The five colors can blind the eye.
Racing-about on Quests can drive you MAD!
Hard-won goals can make one falter on the path.
The five flavors can dull one's taste.
The five tones can deafen the ears.
in 'ruling' the sages satisfy LIBIDO's instead of 'Ego's.'
They down-play the one, and satisfy the other.
one were never 'favored' disgrace could not touch you.
If one were not embodied, there could be neither 'honor' nor affliction.
when one merely minds one's own affairs
rather than 'taking care of the universe'
the universe may be entrusted to you;
and when one does not afflict oneself while 'taking care of the universe'
then a universe can be safely delivered over to you.
three are unfathomable;
They are bound together into a Unity.
It's height is not 'distant;'
it's depth is not 'blurred.'
Extended infinitely, it merges with NOTHING PERSONAL.
This is "the Form of the formless:"
the 'business' that is Non-Personal.
This is "Disembodied Form," or YOUR SPIRITUAL IDENTITY.
backwards, you cannot see it's beginnings.
Looking forwards, you cannot see where it leads.
to the Business of Today,
managing the actualities of the moment,
you may comprehend your primeval beginnings.
IS THE VERY STORY-LINE OF YOUR BEING.
because they could not be 'identified,'
one can only describe them with difficulty;
hesitant, as though crossing a stream in winter;
careful, as though conscious of every nearby stranger;
solemn, as though guests in someone else's house;
self-diminishing, like ice melting away;
plain as an unhewn log;
intermingled-with like turbid waters;
as expansive and welcoming as a broad valley.
turbid waters are stilled, they become clear.
If something still is set in motion, it gradually becomes more 'lively.'
Those who perservered in this Way did not wish to be over-full.
Now, simply by not wishing to to be over-full,
they could be like gossamer; hard to 'identify.'
myriad creatures arise paired together;
thus Egos observe their Resurrection.
but each returns to it's roots, which is utter stillness.
This is called 'Karmic Reward.'
Reward is perpetual-
to know the perpetual is to be enlightened;
not to know the perpetual is to be 'reckless.'
Recklessness breeds 'Wrong.'
know the perpetual is to be tolerant-
tolerance leads to Hieratic FAIRNESS;
Hieratic Fairness leads to Royal Monism,
Royal Monism, to Heaven,
Heaven, to THOU,
THOU to everlastingness.
ones days, one may remain unimperiled.
a 'Ruler' is not trusting,
he is not trustworthy.
if carefully he measures his words,
when his work is done and his affairs completed,
his subjects will say,
"this is like being left to ourselves."
when the Heavenly Way was forgotten,
there arose 'humaneness' and 'righteousness;'
when cunning and Wit arose,
there came great falsity;
when the loving relations between people, as if all of one family,
was lost, there arose Religions in the world.
Once the state and royal house were in disarray,
there arose 'upright ministers!'
Such ideas as "Abolish Sagehood and all other Cleverness,
and the people will benefit a hundredfold;
Abolish humaneness and forbid any reference to Righteousness,
and the people will again be filial and kind;
Abolish 'politics' and abandon profit,
and bandits and thieves will be no more"..
'prime principles' inadequate as a civilized doctrine.
Let this be added to them:
the 'plain-ness' of Gossamer;
Propagate the simplicity of an un-hewn log;
and there will be nothing left to worry about.
who is feared cannot but be fearful, themself.
How confusing! There is no end of it all.
joyous are the masses, as though at a feast,
or as if courting on a terrace in the springtime;
Yet motionless is Ego like a baby before it's first cry,
how dejected!, as if there were no where to turn.
masses have more than enough,
but Ego alone is bereft.
Ego has the heart of a fool. How muddled!
else seems bright and clear;
Ego alone seems confused.
How nebulous, like the ocean!
How blurred, as though without boundaries.
masses all serve noble Super-Ego's cause;
but Ego alone is stubborn and uncouth.
Ego is 'different.' Ego is nourished in the Great Mother.
nebulous and blurred!
Yet within Id there are IMAGES.
How blurred and nebulous!
Yet within Id there are OBJECTS.
How cavernous and dark!
Yet within Id there is an ESSENCE.
It's Essence is quite real;
Within Id there are TOTEMS.
the present back to the ancient past, Id's identity is imperishable.
Through Id, we conjoin with the Father of the masses.
do I know what the Father of the masses is like? THROUGH THIS!
is bent, it will be kept intact;
if it is crooked, it will be straightened.
it is sunken, it will be filled-up.
it is worn-out, it will be renewed.
it has little, it will gain more.
it gets too much, it may get confused!
Sage remains in Unity,
and serves as the shepherd of all under Heaven.
Not being self-interested, one shines-forth;
not being an exhibitionist, one is distinguished;
not being egotistical, one has merit;
not flattering oneself, one may long endure.
simply because one is not competing, none will compete with you.
The old saying about the flexible being preserved is right on the mark!
one will be returned, intact.
whirlwind does last all morning;
A downpour does not last all day.. and who causes THEM?
If Heaven and Earth cannot express such things ceaselessly,
how much less so can human beings?!
Therefore, in pursuing his own affairs;
person like THOU identifies with THOU.
A person like DEITY identifies with DEITY.
A person who fails has identified with failure.
one who identifies with DEITY, THOU awards divinity.
To one who identifies with failure, THOU awards failure.
for THOU, we may say it sees all such things as 'extra baggage.'
The Fatherly Light does not reward such trivialities. Therefore, one who
aspires to THOU does not abide in them.
may regard it as the Mother of Heaven and Earth.
Not knowing it's name, I call it THOU.
If forced to 'describe' it, I would call it 'Great.'
Greatness implies infinity; infinity implies recoiling upon itself.
Heaven is Great.
Earth is Great.
The King, too, is Great.
our Cosmos, there are Four "Greats,"
and the King is one of them.
patterns itself after IN, the Earth.
Earth patterns itself after ANKH, Heaven.
Heaven patterns itself after THOU.
THOU patterns itself.
For these reasons,
Super-Ego may travel the whole world
without leaving their own vehicle behind;
though inside a walled courtyard of a busy inn,
one may placidly rise above it all.
then, should a King with ten-thousand chariots
take themself lightly before Heaven?
a King takes themself lightly,
they lose their taproot;
if they are hasty, they will lose their Kingship.
A skillful woodsman leaves neither tracks nor traces;
a skillful speaker is quite flawless in their delivery;
a master mathematician needs neither tallies nor counters;
a master joiner needs neither lock nor key, yet their work cannot be opened;
a master binder needs neither rope nor cord, yet what they bind is permanent.
Super-Egos are always expert at saving others, and abandon none;
nor do they miss the chance to serve. This is called 'Inmost Sincerity.'
'good people' are teachers for 'good people,'
'bad people' are foils in the Super-Ego's hand.
One who values not their teacher and loves not their foils,
though they be quite 'knowledgeable,' is nonetheless greatly deluded.
is what is called 'the Mystic Essential.'
Know ANKH, the Masculine, but remain with-IN, the Great Mother;
be a Womb for all under Heaven. By being such a Womb,
Super-Ego will never desert you. If Super-Ego never deserts you,
you will remain forever Libidinally-newborn.
that you are Innocent; remain steadfast if insulted;
be a welcoming valley for all under Heaven.
By being a welcoming valley for all under Heaven, Divinity alone will suffice.
If Divinity alone suffices for you, you will remain a simple un-hewn log.
whiteness but remain in the dark, and be a model for all under Heaven.
By being a model for all under Heaven, Divinity cannot miss it's mark.
If Divinity does not miss it's mark, you will remain with the Infinite.
an un-hewn log is cut apart, it is made into tools;
when Sages are put to use, they become the chief of officials..
GREAT SCULPTING CUTS-AWAY NOTHING.
the universe is a Divine Alembic, not something to 'use.'
Who strives to 'use' it will be defeated; who grasps it will fail.
Creatures; some march forward, others follow behind;
some tremble in silence, others are puffed-up;
some are agressive, others are meek;
some build things up, others collapse them.
these reasons, Sages avoid extremism;
avoid being grandiose.
Where armies have been stationed, briars and brambles tend to grow.
A good General attains the defense, and THAT IS ALL.
attain the defense, but not 'proudly.'
They attain the defense, but do not boast.
They attain the defense only because THAT IS WHAT MUST BE DONE.
something grows old while still in it's prime,
that is called 'Not being in accord with THOU.'
Not being in accord with THOU leads to untimely ends.
Superior Person, at home, honors the more powerful Left-side;
on the battlefield, the more gentle Right-side;
put Peace above all else,
and refuse to glorify weapons.
If one glorifies weapons, this propagates killing.
One who delights in killing people has no influence with Heaven.
occasions of celebration, one honors the Left-side;
on occasions of grief, the Right-side is honored more.
A Deputy General stands on the Left side;
their Commander stands at the Right..
in other words, they stand in the order of their gravity of offense.
killing of masses of people we ought bewail with sorrow and grief.
Victory in battle we ought commemorate with mournful rites.
the un-hewn log is small, none care to subjugate it.
If Kings and rulers had it, the masses would gladly serve them.
and Earth unite to bring-forth sweet dew.
Without 'governing' the people, natural equality ensues.
soon as one carves-up Nature, 'labels' arise.
Once there are labels, one should know that it is time to STOP.
Knowing when to stop, one may avoid peril.
Totemic terms, the relationship of the universe to THOU
is 'Valley Streams flowing back into the River and the Sea.'
Forceful conduct is Reckless.
Not losing one's rightful nature is Immortality.
'die' but not the perish
is to be eternally present.
Rippling art THOU, to the left and the right!
All tasks completed, all affairs finished,
still it does not claim them for itself.
The myriad creatures return to it,
but it does not act as their ruler.
without 'personal motivations'
it may be named among the small;
the myriad creatures return to it
though it does not 'order' them to.
It may thus be named among the Great.
this way, Sages can achieve 'greatness;'
by not acting 'great:' therefore they may be named among the Great.
Hold fast to the Great Imagery, and all under Heaven will come;
they will come and not be harmed by contact with your Libido;
they will rest in safety and peace;
music and fine food will make the passerby halt.
when THOU art expressed in mere words,
people say 'how bland and tasteless it is!'
"We look for it, but there is not enough to be seen!"
'We listen for it, but there is not enough to be heard.'
when put to use, it is inexhaustible!
When you wish to contract something, you must first briefly expand it.
To weaken something, you must first briefly make it stronger.
To reject something, you must first momentarily join with it.
When you wish to seize something, you must first NOT be grasping it.
This is a 'subtle' insight!
The soft and the weak conquer the strong.
cannot be removed alive from their watery depths;
the profit-making instruments of State cannot be shown to the masses.
THOU art eternally nameless.
If rulers and Kings preserved it, the masses would transform.
After transformation, should they wish to rise-up,
I could restrain them with the nameless unhewn log.
Should I so restrain them, they would not feel disgraced;
they would be still, whereupon Heaven and Earth would right themselves.
true Virtuoso Does Nothing Much Personal..
for they have no egoic motives toward their skill.
A true Humanitarian takes action..
but not for any egoic reasons.
A truly 'Righteous' person takes action
only for 'good causes.'
'Civilized' person takes action,
but if others do not respond accordingly,
they roll up their sleeves and convince them!
when DEI is lost, afterwards comes 'Virtuosity' rediscovered;
When Virtuosity has not yet been rediscovered, there comes 'Humanitarianism;'
when Humanitarianism has been lost, afterwards comes 'Righteousness;'
when Righteousness has been lost there comes 'Civilization' in it's place.
Civilization is the refined product of Trust..
the Karma of Trust is the chaos of trusting the untrustworthy.
Foreknowledge is but the blossoming of DEI,
and not it's final 'proof.'
a person like DEI resides in original Wholeness,
not in 'refined products.'
They reside in fruitful 'proof,'
not it's first blossoming promise.
'suspect' the one and adopt the other.
Originally, these attained Wholeness;
Heaven attained Wholeness, and became 'pure.'
Earth attained Wholeness, and became 'solid.'
The Spirits attained Wholeness, and became 'divine.'
The Cave Of Impressions attained Wholeness, and began to fill.
The Hierarchy attained Wholeness, and all was put 'right.'
Karma recoiling upon itself, it implies that;
Once Heaven was 'pure' it would be torn asunder;
once Earth was 'solid' it would begin to quake;
once Spirits were 'divine' they would begin to bicker;
once the Cave Of Impressions filled-up, it would run dry;
once the Hierarchy was 'right' and exalted, it would 'fall.'
of Karma, it is necessary to be Humbly-Noble;
it is necessary to be Modestly-Exalted.
this reason, Hierarchs style themselves as
'orphaned and destitute and hapless.'
Is this not because they have learned true humility?
since striving for great praise deprives one of it,
consequently do not desire to tinkle like jade
or to ring like the True Stone.
When a 'superior' person hears of DEI,
they are scarcely able to put it into practice.
When a 'middling' person hears of DEI,
they appear to now perservere, now lose it.
When a 'common' person hears of DEI,
they laugh out loud.
If they did not laugh, it could not be DEI!
is a series of old sayings, that go;
"The bright Path seems dim.
The forward Path seems backwards.
The level Path seems bumpy.
Virtuosity seems like a depression.
Great whiteness seems grimy.
Ample skill seems insufficient.
Full DEI seems apathetic.
Plain truth seems sullied.
great square has no corners.
The great vessel is never completed.
The great note sounds muted.
The great Image is formless.
The Path is hidden, and nameless."
this Path alone is good at it's beginning and at it's end.
creatures are born of Being; Being is born from Nonbeing.
myriad creatures bear IN on their backs,
and embrace ANKH to their bosoms;
they unify these subtleties, and thus achieve harmony.
which everyone in the world hates most
is to be orphaned, destitute and hapless..
yet Hierarchs call themselves thus!
may be diminished by being increased,
or increased by being diminished.
that which people teach,
after some reflection, I also teach people.
say, "A tyrant does not die a natural death."
I take that as my Guide.
'dead' have gone to nowhere 'solid.'
Thus I know the advantage of Doing Nothing Much Personal.
Discourse Beyond Personalities-
The advantages of Doing Nothing Much Personal-
few indeed can grasp these!
loves entail great costs;
Many riches ential heavy losses.
contentment and you will not be disgraced.
Know satisfaction and you will not be endangered;
then may you long endure.
straightness seems crooked.
Great skill seems clumsy.
Great attainment seems bashful.
standing still vanquishes heat.
and still, one can straighten-out the Universe.
guilt is greater than Egoic motivations;
no disaster is greater than Egoic discontent;
no crime is greater than the Egoic desire for gain.
Contentment that derives from knowing when to be Content
is Eternal Contentment.
farther one goes,
the less one knows!
the Sage knows without needing to journey;
understands without needing to look;
and accomplishes without needing to act.
The pursuit of learning results in daily increase.
Hearing DEI-ty results in daily decrease!
Decrease and more Decrease,
until you reach Doing Nothing Much Personal.
Through this, no action is left undone.
one aspire to attain the Cosmos,
one should remain ever free of Ego-involvements;
just as surely as one becomes Ego-involved,
one becomes unfit to attain the Cosmos.
well those who are 'good.'
Also treat well those who are 'not good.'
This is Goodness ATTAINED.
sincere to the sincere.
Also be sincere to the insincere.
This is Sincerity ATTAINED.
are self-effacing in their dealings with all under heaven,
and bemuddle their own minds for the sake of others.
common people all rivet their eyes and ears upon them,
and Sages make them giggle like children!
out of ten are partners of Life;
Three out of ten are partners of Death;
And those whose every act leads them to Death
because they cling desperately to Life are also three in ten.
what is the Reason for this?!
It is because all of these CLING.
I have heard it said that those who can save life
do not avoid tigers or rhinoceroses
when out walking in the hills;
nor do they put on armor and take up weapons
when they approach a battlefield.
The rhinoceros has no place to jab it's horn,
the tiger has no place to fasten it's claws,
and weapons have no place to put their blades.
what is the Reason for this?!
Because in them there is no remaining Mortality.
of this, the myriad creatures respect THOU and esteem DEI-ty.
Respect for THOU and esteem for DEI-ty are by no means 'conferred' on them,
but always occurs naturally.
gives birth to them;
toughens them up
gives birth but does not 'claim' them;
acts but does not 'intend;'
rears but does not 'control.'
is "Mysterious DEI-ty."
Everything under heaven has a beginning
which may be thought of as the mother of everything.
Having realized the mother, you thereby know her children.
Knowing her children, go back and abide with the mother:
To the end of your days, you will not be imperiled!
the orifices of your heart; stop beckoning at that door:
and for the rest of your days you will not suffer.
Arouse your passions; meddle with affairs:
and your life will be beyond helping.
what is small is called 'insight.'
Abiding in serenity is 'strength.'
ANKH your light to return to 'insight.'
Be not an inheritor of personal calamity!
is "remaining constant."
court may be thoroughly deserted,
the fields all choked with weeds,
the granaries, totally empty;
there may still be some who wear bright, fancy clothing,
sharp swords hanging at their sides;
they walk around gorged with food
and overflowing with possessions and wealth:
is BRAZEN BANDITRY.
This is surely NOT the Path!
Thus, the prayers of sons and grandsons will never end!
in the person, DEI is true.
Cultivated in the family, DEI is ample.
Cultivated in the village, DEI lasts long.
Cultivated in the state, DEI is abundant.
Cultivated everywhere under heaven, DEI is vast.
other people through your own person.
Observe other families through your own family.
Observe other villages through your own village.
Observe other states through your own state.
Observe all under heaven through all of these.
do I know the nature of all under heaven? By LOOKING!
spiders, scorpions and snakes
do not sting or bite them;
Rapacious birds and fierce beasts
do not seize them.
bones are weak and their sinews, soft
yet their grip is tight.
They have not known the joining of male and female,
yet they are sexually aroused!
Their Libido is at it's peak.
can scream all day long without becoming hoarse;
Their harmony has reached it's perfection.
to increase one's life is ominous;
to control one's vital breath with the mind entails force.
that grows old in it's prime
is said to not be in accord with the Path.
Not being in accord with the Path leads to an early demise.
quiets the portals of their heart,
stops beckoning from that door;
diffuses their light;
mingles with dust;
files away their sharp edges and
unravels their tangles
HAS "MYSTICAL SELF-IDENTITY."
neither can one be fully 'intimate' with them
nor can one remain distant from them;
neither can one profit from them
nor can one be harmed by them;
neither can one achieve honor though them
nor can one be dishonored through them.
of this, they are esteemed by all under heaven.
How do I actually KNOW this is right?
more 'taboos' or prohibitions under heaven
the poorer the people are.
The more clever the devices the people have
the more confused the state and the ruling house.
The more scientific knowledge there is
the stranger the anomalies that spring up.
The more laws there are in the land
the more bandits and thieves.
"I Do Nothing Much Personally
yet the people transform themselves.
I am fond of stillness
yet the people correct their own ways.
I do not interfere in affairs
yet the people enrich themselves.
I desire not to 'desire' it
yet the people of their own accord
are become as simple as un-hewn logs."
brings-forth the best in people, and new innovations;
having more than one's own share is that wherein Disaster lurks!
Who knows where this will end?!
there is no uprightness,
correctness reverts to craftiness;
goodness reverts to the gruesome.
delusion of mankind;
how LONG has been it's Reign!
For this reason, be:
but not abrasive;
Pointed but not agressive;
Right-On but not arrogant;
Bright but not dazzling.
only through thriftiness
can one be prepared;
means having a large store of DEI.
With a large store of DEI
one can overcome anything.
Being able to overcome anything,
no one knows your limits!
If no one knows what you are capable of,
you may have your Kingdom.
Being the Mother of a Kingdom,
one can long endure.
is called "planting your roots firm and deep,
the Path of long life and lasting vision."
one oversees all under heaven in partnership with THOU,
'monsters' do not exist.
Not only that, but
their 'existance' could not harm anyone!
Not only could they not harm anyone,
but the ruling Sage does them no harm either.
when neither scorches the other,
merit in nourished in both: (and the fish is DONE!)
A large state is like a great river valley;
the Mother of all under heaven.
In the union of all under heaven
she conquers her ravisher by stillness.
Because she is still,
it is fitting for her to lie low.
lying beneath a small state,
a large state can take over the smaller.
By lying beneath a large state,
a smaller one can take over the larger state.
Therefore, one may either take over or be taken over, by lying low.
a large state wishes only to annex and nurture others;
a small state wishes only to join-with and serve others.
Now, since both get what they seek,
it is fitting for the larger state to lie low.
words can be traded;
Noble deeds can be used as gifts of honor.
Why should we reject even the 'bad' others offer us?!
when a Child Of Heaven is enthroned,
or a Triune Ministry installed,
although they may have large and valuable ornaments
and be preceded by teams of four horses,
it would be better for them to sit down
and make progress in THIS!
did the ancients value THIS so highly?
Did they not say;
"Seek and ye shall find;
Repent and thou shalt be forgiven"?
THIS is valued by all under heaven.
by appreciating what is easy about them.
Do great deeds
by focusing on their little details.
difficulties under heaven arise from what is simple;
all great things under heaven depend upon little details.
Sages never strive to do what is great;
therefore they can achieve greatness.
who lightly agrees
is seldom believed;
One who thinks everything is going to be easy
encounters many problems!
even Sages consider things difficult;
and thus, find them easier than they thought, in the end.
before need arises;
Bring order before disorder begins.
tree you could barely wrap your arms around
began as a downy shoot;
A terrace nine layers tall
began with a single basketful of earth;
An ascent of a hundred steps
begins beneath one's foot.
Who grasps-on loses.
Sages do not 'act'
therefore they do not fail;
they do not grasp-on
and therefore they do not lose.
pursuing their affairs,
people often fail when close to success.
Therefore, if one is cautious at both end and beginning,
there will be no failures.
Sages desire to be free of avarice,
and do not prize goods that are hard to come by.
They learn not to be 'learned'
and return to what others leave behind.
they can help the myriad creatures to be natural,
for they dare not 'act!'
people are hard to 'rule' if they are too 'sophisticated.'
Therefore, ruling a state through 'information' actually weakens the state;
ruling a state through natural simplicity brings DEI-ty into the state.
who is always mindful of these two types grasps a great paradigm;
mindfulness of this paradigm is "mystical virtue."
and far runs this Mystical Virtue!
It runs counter to worldly things.. until they reach the great Sea!
Sages want to be be over the people, in teachings,
they must put themselves beneath them.
If one wishes to lead the people,
one must stand behind them.
one may lead the people without offending them;
one may oversee the people with one's teachings without burdening them;
everyone will happily push one forward without tiring of one's example;
and is this not because one is free of competition?
one does not compete with the people, none can oppose you.
say I am great;
great but 'quirky.'
precisely because I am 'quirky' I can BE great;
were I 'conventional' I would long ago have been declared 'common.'
have always had three treasures that I guard and cherish.
The first is compassion; the second is simplicity; and the third
is daring to not out-do everyone in the world.
because I am compassionate, I find I can be brave;
because I am simple, I can be generous;
because I dare to not out-do everyone in the world,
I find I can lead in the finishing of tasks.
I, today, were to
be courageous while forsaking compassion;
be generous while forsaking simplicity;
get ahead while forsaking the hindmost;
that would be my end!.. for
compassion in war brings true victory;
in defense brings invulnerability.
Whomsoever heaven would defend
it surrounds with a bulwark of compassion.
good warrior is not belligerent.
A good fighter does not anger.
A good conqueror does not dislike his enemy.
One who is good at employing others puts themself below them.
This is called "the virtue of non competitiveness."
This is called "utilizing others."
This is called "parity with heaven,"
-the pinnacle of the Ancient Masters.
Strategists have a saying:
dare not be the host,
but would rather be a guest!
I advance not an inch,
but retreat a foot."
Marching out of file;
Bearing nonexistent arms;
Flourishing nonexistent weapons; and
Driving back nonexistent enemies.
is no greater a misfortune
than not having a worthy foe;
once I believe there are no worthy foes about,
I have well-nigh forfeited all my treasures.
when opposing forces are evenly matched,
The one who is saddened by that WINS.
words are easy to understand and very easy to apply.
But no Ego is able to understand them or apply them.
Affairs have a history!
is simply because of their ignorance
that Egos do not understand me.
Those who understand me are few, and
thus I am ennobled.
this reason, Sages may wear homespun cloth over their shoulders,
but they carry a jewel beyond price in their heart.
realize that you do not understand is a virtue;
NOT to realize it is something of a defect.
reason Sages have no such defects (LEFT!,)
is because they treat defects AS defects..
thus they have none left.
the people do not fear what is majestic,
Great Majesty will soon visit them.
not limit their dwellings
nor suppress their livelihoods.
Simply because you do not oppress them,
they will not grow tired of you.
Sages are self-aware,
but do not flaunt themselves;
they are self-focused,
but do not glorify themselves.
out-grow the one and adopt the other.
who is brave in daring will be killed.
One who is brave but not in daring will survive.
One of these two courses is beneficial, the other harmful.
Who knows the reason for Heaven's preferences?
way of Heaven is to not make war,
yet it is good at conquering;
does not expound,
yet is good at answering;
will not be ordered-about,
yet comes of it's own free will;
yet good at making plans.
net is vast;
though it's mesh is wide,
there is someone who doesn't fear death,
why threaten to kill them?
If people did fear death
and one were to capture and kill the devious few,
who would dare to be devious?:
the people are always at risk of execution,
there will never lack an executioner.
Now, to kill like an executioner is like-
at wood, instead of masterful carpentry;
few are there who can escape cutting their own hands!
is the result of governmental profiteering.
Because of THAT, there is hunger.
common people are not 'governable'
because of their 'superiors' own behavior.
Because of THAT, they are not governable.
people are 'entertained' by death
because of too much emphasis on preserving their lives.
Because of THAT, death is their 'entertainment.'
only Great Benevolence who acts not for the sake of outer life
is wiser than those who value their own skin very highly.
myriad creatures, grasses and trees are
soft and supple when alive,
dry and withered when dead.
it is said:
the rigid person is a disciple of death;
the soft, supple and delicate are lovers of life.
army that is inflexible will not conquer;
the tree that cannot bend will snap!
unyielding and mighty will be brought low;
the soft, supple and delicate will rise above them.
Path of Heaven is like bending a bow-
the upper part is pressed down,
the lower part is raised up;
the part which has much is reduced,
the part that has little is increased.
the Path of Heaven
reduced surplus to make up for scarcity;
the way of mankind's Ego
reduces scarcity and pays tribute to surplus!
is there who can have a surplus
and take from it to pay tribute to Heaven?
Surely, only one who is on the Path.
this reason, Sages transact, but do not hoard,
complete their work but do not dwell upon it.
In this way, they have no desire to display their 'worth.'
defeat of the hard by the soft, the strong by the weak-
this is known to everyone in the world,
yet nobody actually practices it.
Therefore Sages say:
who bears abuse directed against the state
is called 'Lord of the altars of the gods of soil and grain;'
One who bears the misfortunes of the state
is called the 'King of all under Heaven.'
words SEEM contradictory!
Sages hold the debtor's side of contracts
and do not make claims upon others.
the person of DEI attends to their debts;
the person without DEI-ty attends to their interest-ledgers.
way of Heaven IS impartial,
yet is ALWAYS on the side of the well-meaning.
may have carts and boats
but there will be no NEED to ride in them;
they may have armor and weapons
but they will never NEED to display them.
the people go back to tying knots for record-keeping;
let their food be savory;
their clothing beautiful;
their customs pleasurable;
their homes secure.
they may gaze across at a neighbor's holdings
and hear the sounds of it's dogs and chickens,
they will not bother them, coming and going.
They will die of happy old age.
words are not 'elegant.' Elegance of speech is insincere.
One who knows is not 'learned;' Learnedness is not knowledge.
One who is 'good' does not have much; Possessions are not virtue.
do not hoard.
The more they do for others,
the more they have, themselves;
the more they give to others,
the more their own bounty is increased.
the Path of DEI-ty benefits without harming;
the way of ego 'acts' but without effect.