Passages 40-81 of the Daoist Classic
Return to passages 1-39
Return to passages 1-39
|Chapter 40 (第四十章) |
| ||Resilience is the Dao in action, |
Vulnerability is the Dao in expression.
The myriad things in the universe are conceived by existence,
Existence is conceived by inexistence.
|Chapter 41 (第四十一章) |
| ||The learned discovers the Dao, duly obliges; |
The learning discovers the Dao, and questions its potency;
The unlearned discovers the Dao, and roars into laughter,
Without the laughs, it would not be the Dao.
Therefore words of wisdom goes:
Those enlightened by the Dao seem confused,
Those progressing towards the Dao seem to fall behind,
Those who discredit the Dao seem honourable,
Those Virtuous seem desolate,
Those honest seem humiliated,
Those with noble Virtue seem lacking,
Those building on Virtue seem fraudulent,
Those of principled character seem to waver,
Great squareness is without turning corners,
Great instruments are deliberately constructed,
Great vocalists seldom raise their voices,
Great icons are shapeless.
The Dao is a master of provisioning and empowerment.
|Chapter 42 (第四十二章) |
| ||The Dao gives birth to unity, |
Unity gives birth to duality,
Duality gives birth to trinity,
Trinity gives birth to a myriad of things.
The myriad things bear shadows and embrace radiance,
Are infused with the breath of life to achieve the harmonized trinity of darkness, light and soul.
(People hate to be uninvolved, irrelevant and undeserving,
Yet true leaders associate themselves with these characters.)
Therefore, things may be gained by losing,
May be lost by gaining.
What others profess, I will also proclaim:
“Forced principles will not be viable”,
Let this be the heart and soul of the message.
|Chapter 43 (第四十三章) |
| ||The world's softest, |
Steers the world's hardest,
That with no substance enters there with no space,
Hence come to the appreciation of the benefits of inaction.
Doctrines of unspoken words,
Benefits of inaction,
Rarely in this world could anything compare.
|Chapter 44 (第四十四章) |
| ||Fame and honour, which is more associable? |
Health and wealth, which is more vital?
Success and failure, which is more harmful?
Hence intense admiration comes with a hefty price,
Accumulation of treasures comes with the loss of modesty.
Acquaint with humility and be unhumiliated,
Know the limitations and be unlimited, be lasting.
|Chapter 45 (第四十五章) |
| ||Great support seems deficient, |
Employed it will not collapse;
Great buoyancy seems empty,
Utilized it will not be exhausted.
Great honesty seems corrupt,
Great skills seem incompetent,
Great orations seem inarticulate.
Movement overcomes coldness,
Stillness overcomes heat,
Tranquility makes the world become righteous.
|Chapter 46 (第四十六章) |
| ||When the world is with the Dao, |
Carriages are used to transport manure;
When the world is without the Dao,
Armed chariots are lined up near the city gates.
There is no greater sin than seduction,
No greater fault than discontentment,
No greater guilt than yearning.
Therefore know what is enough, and you will always have enough.
|Chapter 47 (第四十七章) |
| ||Without leaving home, |
You may be acquainted with the universe;
Without prying into windows of knowledge,
You may be acquainted with the Dao.
The further you may travel, the less you might know.
Hence the master travels not, yet knowledgeable,
Sees not, yet pronounced,
Acts not, yet accomplished.
|Chapter 48 (第四十八章) |
| ||Practicing scholarships, everyday there is something to gain, |
Practicing the Dao, everyday there is something to lose;
When you lose all that can be lost,
You may be without action.
Act not and leave none to be acted upon!
Therefore those who can master the universe,
Often remain unoccupied;
Those who are preoccupied,
Cannot master the universe.
|Chapter 49 (第四十九章) |
| ||The master never close up their mind, |
But base their mind on the people's mind.
Those kind, be kind to them,
Those unkind, be kind to them also.
Virtuous is being kind.
Those faithful, have faith in them,
Those unfaithful, have faith in them also.
Virtuous is having faith.
The master is always anxious with the world about,
And is concerned with the people.
The people attends to the master's words and expressions,
The master fosters all in innocence.
|Chapter 50 (第五十章) |
| ||Battling between life and death: |
Three of ten believe they will live,
Three of ten believe they will die,
There are also three of ten who believe that being born,
Is the beginning of the journey towards death.
Why is it so?
Because being alive is treasured heavily.
Those who truly know how to capture the essence of living,
Travels through the woods without being attacked by tigers,
Enters into battlefields without requiring armours;
Brutality has no angle to strike,
Tigers find no place to lay their claws,
Enemies find no opening to lodge their swords.
Why is it so?
Because there is no room for death.
|Chapter 51 (第五十一章) |
| ||The Dao conceives, |
Hence for the myriad things,
There is none that does not respect the Dao and honour Virtue.
Respect for the Dao,
Honour given to Virtue,
Are not commanded, yet they come about naturally.
Therefore the Dao conceives and Virtue provisions,
Leads and educates,
Empowers and ripens,
Raises and redeems.
Conceive and not possess,
Act and not dwell,
Lead and not dictate,
These are the intricacies of Virtue.
|Chapter 52 (第五十二章) |
| ||The origin of existence began with the mother of all nature. |
Understand the mother,
And get to know the being of the child;
Understand the being of the child,
Then reacquaint with the mother,
Without being, be unlimited.
Clutter the exchanges,
Close the doors,
Live to be without office.
Open the exchanges
Operate the businesses,
Live to be without relief.
Seeing to little things is to have insight,
Keeping to gentleness is to have strength.
Exploit the radiance,
But return to your insight,
Remember that trying to leave nothing behind leaves yourself in vain,
That is practicing the timeless truth.
|Chapter 53 (第五十三章) |
| ||That which makes one principled is having knowledge, |
Walking the way of the Dao,
The only fear is to become instructive.
The way towards the Dao is unpaved,
Yet people like having a path.
When many are appointed to offices, while fields sprout weed,
Storages are empty,
Fashions are blatantly accessorized,
People carry weaponry,
Are satiated in feasts,
Lavished with extravaganzas,
That is making out like bandits!
Not the way of the Dao.
|Chapter 54 (第五十四章) |
| ||Proficient builders do not eradicate, |
Noble embracers do not abandon,
They continue to be honoured from generation to generation.
Cultivate the Dao amidst your self,
The Virtue is in understanding the truth;
Cultivate the Dao amidst your family,
The Virtue is in finding fortune;
Cultivate the Dao amidst your community,
The Virtue is in garnering respect;
Cultivate the Dao amidst your nation,
The Virtue is in harvesting prosperity.
Cultivate the Dao amidst the universe,
The Virtue is ubiquitously enjoyed.
Therefore, behold one's self to see self,
Behold one's family to see family,
Behold one's community to see community,
Behold one's nation to see nationality,
Behold the universe to see the universe.
How do I know the essence of the universe?
By seeing this.
|Chapter 55 (第五十五章) |
| ||The profoundness of being embraced with the Virtue, |
Is like a being a newborn.
Wild wasps, poisonous scorpions, venomous snakes will find no sting,
Fierce beasts will find no hold,
Preying birds will find no claws.
The bones are weak, the muscles are tender, yet the grip is firm.
Knows not of the union of male and female,
Yet wholly united with integrity, the very essence of exquisiteness.
Cries all day, yet the voice is not hoarsened,
The very chorus of harmony.
Understanding harmony is being eternal,
Understanding eternity is being enlightened,
Promoting life is being gracious,
Channelling your energies internally is being strong.
Things that mature grow old,
Because they contradict the Dao,
Contradict the Dao, and be brought to an early end.
|Chapter 56 (第五十六章) |
| ||Those who know talk not, |
Those who talk know not.
Blockading its exchanges,
Confining its ideals,
Moderating its ingenuity,
Unraveling its complexity,
Softening its intensity,
Is but merging into its ubiquity,
That is the intricacy of ubiquity.
It cannot be possessed for love,
Cannot be possessed for hate,
Cannot be possessed for profit,
Cannot be possessed for harm,
Cannot be possessed for respect,
Cannot be possessed for despise.
Therefore it is respected by the universe.
|Chapter 57 (第五十七章) |
| ||Be righteous in governance, |
Be unpredictable on the battlefield,
Be unoccupied to master the universe.
How do I know the essence of leadership?
The world is full of taboo and forbiddance,
And the people is immersed in poverty;
The people is armed with weaponry,
And the nation is clouded with corruption;
The people is preoccupied with professions,
And bizarre obsessions grow out of no where;
Chapters of law and orders are increasingly written,
And thievery is common.
Therefore the master maintains:
“I act not and the people naturally becomes transpired,
I believe in peace and the people naturally becomes righteous,
I am unoccupied and the people naturally becomes prosperous,
I yearn not and the people naturally becomes serene.”
|Chapter 58 (第五十八章) |
| ||When the governance is idle, |
The people is mellow;
When the governance is vigilant,
The people is mischievous.
Adversity! Where fortunes lean,
Fortunes! Where adversity hides.
How can the ultimate be known?
It has no norm!
As righteousness regresses to bewilderments,
Goodwill regresses to bewitchments,
The days become long and hard.
Hence the master is square without being edgy,
Incorrupt without being severe,
Straight without being thoughtless,
Radiant without being glorious.
|Chapter 59 (第五十九章) |
| ||In governance and management, nothing compares to being conservative. |
Only being conservative,
Can withdrawal be advanced.
Advanced withdrawal is putting weight on building Virtue
Put weight on building Virtue,
Then there is nothing insurmountable,
Insurmountable, and limitations are unbeknownst,
When one's limitations are unbeknownst,
One can inspire a nation.
A nation inspired, is a nation that can be viable.
That is being deeply rooted,
In the viability and vision of the Dao.
|Chapter 60 (第六十章) |
| ||Governing a nation is like frying small fish. |
Approach the world with the Dao,
And evilness will find no spirit.
Not that there are no evil spirits,
But that the spirits will be of no harm;
Not only will the spirits be of no harm,
The master will also be of no harm.
When the master and the subjects bring no harm to each other,
Virtue can hence be returned to another.
|Chapter 61 (第六十一章) |
| ||Superior nations are positioned downstream. |
Where heaven and earth meets,
There the heavenly feminine remains.
Femininity often overcomes masculinity with composure,
Maintaining composure is keeping a low profile.
Therefore when a great nation lurks beneath a small nation,
It can overtake the smaller nation;
When a small nation lurks beneath a great nation,
It can overtake the greater nation.
Therefore stay low in order to conquer,
Or stay low to be able to conquer.
The biggest mistake for a great nation is to be obsessed with domination,
The critical mistake for a small nation is to be obsessed with dominance.
Greatness is achieved only when the desires from both are fulfilled,
Therefore the superior stay low.
|Chapter 62 (第六十二章) |
| ||The Dao holds the crux to the myriad things, |
It is the treasure of goodness,
It is the redeemer of evilness.
Articulate words can influence the economy,
Respectable actions can win the hearts of the people.
How can one be removed from temptation?
Therefore when the leader is chosen,
And the officers are appointed,
Though you may have treasures of honour and chariots of pride to offer,
It compares not to offering a vision in the Dao.
Why is the value of the Dao cherished timelessly?
Without asking and be given,
Having sinned and be forgiven?
Therefore it is cherished by the world.
|Chapter 63 (第六十三章) |
| ||Act without act, |
Work without work,
Taste without taste.
Enlarge the belittled, increase the lessened,
Reward condemnation with Virtue.
Complexity is drawn from simplicity,
Greatness is found in triviality.
Problematic complexities must be resolved in simplicity,
Great accomplishments must be built on trivialities,
Hence the master continues to be unconcerned with great deeds,
Therefore is capable of accomplishing greatness.
Light minded promises draws few believers,
The more simplifications, the more complicated it will become,
Hence the master addresses the complexity.
Therefore may continually avoid complications.
|Chapter 64 (第六十四章) |
| ||That settled is easily maintained, |
That without signs is easily conspired,
That fragile is easily shattered,
That insignificant is easily dispersed.
Act on it before it materializes,
Manage it before it becomes chaotic.
A strapping tree is grown from a tiny sprout;
A sky-scraping tower is built from a modest mound,
A far-reaching journey begins with a small step.
Those who act upon will fail,
Those who hold on will lose.
The master acts not, therefore fails not;
Holds not on, therefore loses not.
Amateurs often fail at the verge of success.
Be focused in the end as in the beginning,
Then there will be no failure.
Hence the master desires not to be desirous,
Treasures not precious possessions.
Learn to be unlearned,
Liberate the people of their past.
Assist the myriad things in returning to their essence,
And not dare act.
|Chapter 65 (第六十五章) |
| ||The timeless masters of the Dao, |
Is not about enlightening the people with it,
But about humbling the people with it.
The people is complicated,
Manage it by managing its intelligence.
Use intelligence to govern a nation, and be the traitor of a nation;
Not use intelligence to govern a nation, and be the blessing of a nation.
Understand these two, and set them as standards.
Being understanding in setting standards,
Is having the intricate Virtue.
The intricate Virtue is profound! Farfetched!
Contra to its objects! And leads towards favourable peacefulness.
|Chapter 66 (第六十六章) |
| ||Lakes and oceans can be the master of all streams, |
Because they are good at staying low,
Therefore they can be master of all streams.
Hence one who desires to be honoured,
Must speak humbly of one's self;
One who desires to lead, must keep one's self behind.
Hence the master is on top yet the people does not feel the weight,
Is in front yet the people is not offended,
Hence the world finds pleasure in pushing the master ahead
Without feeling pushed aside.
It is because the master contests not,
Therefore can be uncontested.
The world says that the Dao is great, but seems useless.
I say that it is great, therefore it seems useless.
If it seemed anything useful,
Time would have diminished its greatness.
|Chapter 67 (第六十七章) |
| ||I have three precious things, that I hold onto and cherish. |
The first is called mercy,
The second is called prudence,
The third is not daring to be on top of the world.
Merciful, therefore can be courageous;
Prudent, therefore can be generous;
Not daring to be on top of the world,
Therefore can become instrumental and respectable.
When without mercy and still courageous,
Without prudence and still generous,
Without reservation and still forging ahead, futility!
With mercy, battles will be won,
Defence will be secure,
The heavens will come to your rescue, and protection in its mercy.
|Chapter 68 (第六十八章) |
| ||Great gladiators are not violent, |
Great warriors are not enraged,
Great champions remain uncontested,
Great leaders act with humility.
That is the Virtue of not contesting,
That is the power of leadership,
That is the ultimate unity with timelessness.
|Chapter 69 (第六十九章) |
| ||There is a saying in the battlefield, |
“Dare not be the host thus be the guest,
Dare not advance an inch thus retreat a foot.”
That is to move without moves,
Be armed without arms,
Cast out without out-casting,
Be forceful without forces.
There is no greater fault than underestimating one's opponent,
To underestimate one's opponent is to lose one's reservation.
Therefore upon the clashing of the forces,
Those who are reserved are victorious!
|Chapter 70 (第七十章) |
| ||These words are easy to understand, and easy to follow. |
Yet for worldly people, none can understand, none can follow.
Words make legends,
Feats make heroes.
Because in this there is nothing to be known, hence it is unknown.
Those who know are rare, those who abide are respectable,
Hence the master bears humility in apparels and treasuries at heart.
|Chapter 71 (第七十一章) |
| ||Knowing that you do not know, is superiority; |
Not knowing this knowledge, is defectiveness.
Only by defecting defectives,
Can one be void of defectiveness.
The master is void of defectiveness,
Because of the defecting of defectives
Hence is void of defectiveness.
|Chapter 72 (第七十二章) |
| ||When the people is not threatened by the imposing dignity, |
Dignity is imposed! Without intruding the people's dwellings,
Without dejecting the people's creations.
Because of not dejecting,
Hence is not dejected.
Hence the master is introspective, and not professing.
Self-loving, and not self-righteous.
Therefore liberated and resolved.
|Chapter 73 (第七十三章) |
| ||Courageous in daring and kill, |
Courageous in not daring and live.
These two are sometimes favourable, sometimes harmful.
What the heavens detest,
Hence the master addresses the complexity.
The heavenly Dao:
Contest not and master winning,
Speak not and master oration,
Summon not and it comes naturally,
Be honest and master intrigue.
The meshes of the heavenly dragnet is extensive,
It may be sparse, nothing escapes its netting.
|Chapter 74 (第七十四章) |
| ||When people are not threatened by death, |
Why intimidate them with death?
One who causes the people to be constantly threatened by death,
And bewitched with bewilderments, must be seized and executed,
Usually there are executioners who executes,
But those who assume the executioner's job to execute,
Is said to be like assuming the carpenter's job to carve wood.
Those who assume the carpenter's job to carve wood,
Seldom avoid hurting their hands.
|Chapter 75 (第七十五章) |
| ||People's poverty, |
Is caused by parasitic exploitation by superiors,
Hence there is poverty.
Is caused by ambitions of superiors,
Hence there are complications.
People's willingness to sacrifice,
Is because of the weight given to life,
Hence there are sacrifices.
Only those who are not ambitious for achievements in life,
Are truly capable of appreciating life.
| Chapter 76 (第七十六章) |
| || People are born gentle and fragile, |
They die stiff and tough.
The myriad things, plants and trees, are born tender and crisp,
They die dried and withered.
Therefore those who are stiff and tough are followers of death,
Those who are gentle and fragile are followers of life.
Hence when the armed forces are strong the nation is not successful,
When the resources are strong the arms are naturally forceful.
It is with great strength when one stays low,
It is with gentleness and fragility when one can assume superiority.
| Chapter 77 (第七十七章) |
| ||The heavenly Dao, |
Is like the arching bow!
That on top is repressed,
That below is held high;
The excessive is expended,
The deprived is supplemented.
The way of the Dao is heavenly,
It is to supplement the deprived at the expense of the excessive.
The way of the people is different,
It is to proffer the excessive at the expense of the deprived.
How then can there be any excess to offer to the world?
There is none but the Dao.
Hence the master acts without presumption,
Accomplishes and not dwell,
That is being undesirous in showing-off one's capabilities!
| Chapter 78 (第七十八章) |
| ||Of all gentleness and submissiveness in the world |
Nothing compares to water,
And to tackle stiffness and toughness there is nothing better,
There is no easier substitution.
Be submissive to overcome dominance,
Be gentle to overcome toughness,
There is none in the world who knows not,
There is none who can follow.
Therefore the master says,
“Accepting the nation's shame, is being stately;
Accepting the nation's adversities, is being majestic.”
Righteous words seem contradictory.
| Chapter 79 (第七十九章) |
| ||When hateful hostility is resolved, |
There will be lingering hatred,
How can this be cured?
Hence the master holds onto supporting agreements,
Without holding anyone responsible.
Those with Virtue exert effort on working out agreements,
Those without Virtue exert effort on scrutinizing the disagreements.
The Dao is unbiased,
It will always bring cure to the people.
| Chapter 80 (第八十章) |
| ||A small nation has a small population, |
Yet even without state of the art instruments to work with,
People would rather sacrifice themselves than to migrate away.
Even though there are vessels and vehicles of travel,
There is none who takes the opportunity;
Even though there are national guards,
They are not lined up for inspection;
People revert to simple means of measure with straps and knots.
Indulge their desires and aspirations,
Adorn their attires and outfits,
Secure their place and quarters,
Console their beliefs and customaries.
Then even if the neighbouring nation is within sight,
And the crowing and barking can be heard,
People retire of old age without longing to give service to the other.
| Chapter 81 (第八十一章) |
| ||Truthful words are not pleasant, |
Pleasant words are not trustworthy;
Those who are good do not dispute,
Those who are disputatious are not good;
Those who know are not learned,
Those who are learned do not know.
The Sage does not store up things,
The more he does for people, the more he has;
The more he gives, the more he gains.
The Way of Heaven,
Is benefitting, not harming.
The Way of the Sage,
Is acting, not contending.
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