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Red Pine (Translator)


"Written more than two thousand years ago, the Tao Teh Ching is probably the most influential work of Asian thought. . . . This lucid translation demonstrates that these teachings are useful in the arts of leadership as they are in developing a sense of balance and harmony in everyday life."— Branches of Light

When you read the translator's book, you will benefit tremendously by his/her footnotes and insights, without which the Daodejing's wisdom and magic is not totally revealed. This project is concerned only with comparing line by line translations of the various masters. To unlock the beauty and depth of the Daodejing's wisdom, you can do better than simply reading the translated text, we need the expertise of a good guide and the author is such a person.


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1.1 The way that becomes a way is not the Immortal Way the name that becomes a name is not the Immortal Name
1.2 the maiden of Heaven and Earth has no name the mother of all things has a name
1.3 thus in innocence we see the beginning in passion we see the end
1.4 two different names for one and the same
1.5 the one we call dark the dark beyond dark the door to all beginnings

2.1 All the world knows beauty but if that becomes beautiful this becomes ugly
2.2 all the word knows good but if that becomes good this becomes bad
2.3 the coexistence of have and have not the coproduction of hard and easy the correlation of long and short
2.4 the codependence of high and low the correspondence of note and noise the coordination of first and last is endless
2.5 thus the sage performs effortless deeds and teaches wordless lessons
2.6 he doesn't start all things he begins he doesn't presume on what he does he doesn't claim what he achieves
2.7 and because he makes no claim he suffers no loss

3.1 Bestowing no honours keeps people from fighting
3.2 prizing no treasures keeps people from stealing
3.3 displaying no attractions keeps people from making trouble
3.4 thus the rule of the sage empties the mind but fills the stomach weakens the will but strengthens the bones
3.5 by keeping the people from knowing or wanting and those who know from daring to act
3.6 he thus governs them all

4.1 The Tao is so empty those who use it never become full again
4.2 and so deep as if it were the ancestor of us all
4.3 dulling our edges untying our tangles softening our light merging our dust
4.4 and so clear as if it were present
4.5 I wonder whose child it is it seems it was here before the Ti

5.1 Heaven and Earth are heartless treating creatures like straw dogs
5.2 heartless is the sage treating people like straw dogs
5.3 between Heaven and Earth how like a bellows empty but inexhaustible each movement produces more
5.4 taking only wastes it better to keep it inside

6.1 The valley spirit that doesn't die we call the dark womb
6.2 as real as gossamer silk and yet we can't exhaust it.
6.3 The valley spirit that doesn't die we call the dark womb the dark womb's mouth we call the source of creation as real as gossamer silk and yet we can't exhaust it.

7.1 Heaven is eternal and Earth is immortal
7.2 the reason they're eternal and immortal is because they don't live for themselves hence they can live forever
7.3 thus the sage pulls himself back but ends up in front
7.4 he lets himself go but ends up safe
7.5 selflessness must be the reason whatever he seeks he finds

8.1 The best are like water bringing help to all without competing choosing what others avoid hence approaching the Tao
8.2 dwelling with earth thinking with depth helping with kindness speaking with truth
8.3 governing with peace working with skill moving with time
8.4 and because they don't compete they aren't maligned

9.1 Instead of pouring in more better stop while you can
9.2 making it sharper won't help it last longer
9.3 houses full of treasure can never be safe
9.4 the vanity of success invites its own failure
9.5 retire when your work is done this is the Way of Heaven

10.1 Can you hold fast your crescent soul and not let it wander
10.2 can you make your breath as soft as a baby's
10.3 can you wipe your Dark Mirror free of dust
10.4 can you love people and lead them without imposing your will? can you serve and govern without effort
10.5 can you be the female at Heaven's Gate
10.6 can you light up the world without knowledge
10.7 beget things and keep them but beget without possessing keep without controlling this is Dark Virtue

11.1 Thirty spokes converge on a hub but it's the emptiness that makes a wheel work
11.2 pots are fashioned from clay but it's the hollow that make a pot work
11.3 windows and doors are carved for a house but it's the spaces that make a house work
11.4 existence makes something useful but nonexistence makes it work

12.1 The five colours make our eyes blind the five tones make our ears deaf the five flavours make our mouths numb
12.2 riding and hunting make our minds wild hard-to-get goods make us break laws
12.3 thus the rule of the sage puts the stomach ahead of the eyes thus he picks this over that

13.1 Favour and disgrace are like warnings honour and disaster are like the body
13.2 and why are favour and disgrace like warnings favour means descending to gain it is like a warning to lose it is like a warning thus are favour and disgrace like warnings
13.3 and why are honour and disaster like the body the reason we have disaster is because we have a body if we didn't have a body we wouldn't have disaster
13.4 who honours is body as much as the world can be entrusted with the world who loves his body as much as the world can be encharged with the world

14.1 We look but don't see it and call it indistinct we listen but don't hear it and call it faint we reach but don't grasp it and call it ethereal
14.2 three failed means to knowledge I weave into one
14.3 with no light above and no shade below too fine to be named returning to nothing
14.4 this is the formless form the immaterial image this is the waxing waning we meet without seeing its face we follow without seeing its back
14.5 holding onto this very Way we rule this very realm and discover its ancient past this is the thread of the Way

15.1 The ancient masters of the Way aimed at the indiscernible and penetrated the dao
15.2 you would never know them I describe them with reluctance they were careful as if crossing a river in winter cautious as if worried about neighbours reserved like guests
15.3 ephemeral like melting ice simple like uncarved wood open like valleys and murky like puddles
15.4 but a puddle becomes clear when it's still and stillness becomes alive when it's roused
15.5 those who treasure this Way don't try to be full not trying to be full they can hide and stay hidden

16.1 Let limits be empty the center be still
16.2 ten thousand things rise we watch them return creatures without number all return to their roots
16.3 return to their roots to be still to be still to revive to revive to endure knowing how to endure is wisdom not knowing is to suffer in vain
16.4 knowing how to endure is to be all-embracing all embracing means impartial impartial means the king the king means Heaven Heaven means the Way
16.5 and the Way means long life life without trouble.

17.1 During the High Ages people knew they were there then people loved and praised them then they feared them finally they despised them
17.2 when honesty fails dishonesty prevails
17.3 hesitate and guard your words when their work succeeds let people think they did it

18.1 When the Great Way disappears we meet kindness and justice
18.2 when reason appears we meet great deceit
18.3 when the six relations fail we meet obedience and love
18.4 when the country is in chaos we meet honest officials

19.1 Get rid of wisdom and reason and people will live a hundred times better
19.2 get rid of kindness and justice and people once more will love and obey
19.3 get rid of cleverness and profit and thieves will cease to exist
19.4 but these three sayings are not enough hence let this be added
19.5 wear the undyed and hold the uncarved reduce self-interest and limit desires get rid of learning and problems will vanish

20.1 Yes and no aren't so far apart lovely and ugly aren't so unalike
20.2 what others fear we too must fear
20.3 before the moon wanes everyone is gay as if they were at the Great Sacrifice or climbing a tower in spring I sit here and make no sign like a child that doesn't smile lost with no one to turn to
20.4 while others enjoy more I alone seem forgotten my mind is so foolish so simple
20.5 others look bright I alone seem dim others are certain I alone am confused receding like the ocean waxing without cease
20.6 everyone has a goal I alone am dumb and backward for I alone choose to differ preferring still my mother's breast

21.1 The expression of empty virtue comes from the Tao alone
21.2 the Tao as a thing waxes and wanes it waxes and wanes but inside is an image it waxes and wanes but inside is a creature it's distant and dark but inside is an essence an essence fundamentally real and inside is a heart
21.3 throughout the ages its name has never changed so we might follow our fathers
21.4 how do we know what our fathers were like through this

22.1 Partial means whole crooked means straight hollow means full worn-out means new less means content more means confused
22.2 thus the sage holds onto the one to use in guiding the world
22.3 not watching himself he appears not displaying himself he flourishes not flattering himself he succeeds not parading himself he leads
22.4 because he doesn't compete no one can compete against him
22.5 the ancients who said partial means whole came close indeed becoming whole depends on this

23.1 Whispered words are natural a gale doesn't last all morning a squall doesn't last all day
23.2 who else could make these only Heaven and Earth if Heaven and Earth can't make things last what about Man
23.3 thus in whatever we do let those on the Way be one with the Way let those who succeed be one with success let those who fail be one with failure
23.4 be one with success for the Way succeeds too be one with failure for the Way fails too

24.1 Who tiptoes doesn't stand who strides doesn't walk
24.2 who watches himself doesn't appear who displays himself doesn't flourish
24.3 who flatters himself achieves nothing who parades himself doesn't lead
24.4 on the road they say too much food and a tiring pace some things are simply bad thus the Taoist avoids them

25.1 Imagine a nebulous thing here before Heaven and Earth silent and elusive it stands alone not wavering it travels everywhere unharmed it could be the mother of us all
25.2 not knowing its name I call it the Tao forced to name it I name it Great
25.3 great means ever-flowing ever-flowing means far-reaching far-reaching means returning
25.4 the Tao is great Heaven is great Earth is great the king is also great the realm contains four greats of these the king is one
25.5 Man imitates Earth Earth imitates Heaven Heaven imitates the Tao the Tao imitates itself

26.1 Heavy is the root of light still is the master of busy
26.2 thus a lord might travel all day but never far from his supplies even in a guarded camp his manner is calm and aloof
26.3 why would the lord of ten thousand chariots treat himself lighter than his kingdom
26.4 too light he loses his base too busy he loses command

27.1 Good walking leaves no tracks good talking reveals no flaws good counting counts no beads
27.2 good closing locks no locks and yet it can't be opened good tying ties no knots and yet it can't be undone
27.3 thus the sage is good at saving and yet abandons no one nor anything of use this is called cloaking the light
27.4 thus the good instruct the bad the bad learn from the good
27.5 not honouring their teachers not cherishing their students the wise alone are perfectly blind this is called peering into the distance

28.1 Recognize the male but hold onto the female and be the world's maid being the world's maid don't lose your ancient virtue not losing your ancient virtue be a newborn child again
28.2 recognize the pure but hold onto the defiled and be the world's valley being the world's valley be filled with ancient virtue being filled with ancient virtue be uncarved wood again
28.3 recognize the white but hold onto the black and be the world's guide being the world's guide don't stray from the ancient virtue not straying from ancient virtue be without limits again
28.4 uncarved wood can be split to make tools the sage makes it his chief official a master tailor doesn't cut

29.1 Trying to govern the world with force I see this not succeeding
29.2 the world is a spiritual thing it can't be forced to force it is to harm it to control it is to lose it
29.3 sometimes things lead sometimes they follow sometimes blow hot sometimes blow cold sometimes expand sometimes collapse
29.4 therefore the sage avoids extremes avoids extravagance avoids excess

30.1 Use the Tao to help your king don't use weapons to rule the land such things soon return
30.2 where armies camp brambles grow
30.3 best to win then stop don't make use of force
30.4 win but don't be proud win but don't be vain win but don't be cruel win when you have no choice this is to win without force
30.5 virility means old age this isn't the Tao what isn't the Tao ends early

31.1 Weapons are not auspicious tools some things are simply bad thus the Taoist shuns them
31.2 in peace the ruler honours the left in war he honours the right
31.3 weapons are not auspicious weapons are not a ruler's tools he wields them when he has no choice dispassion is the best
31.4 thus he does not beautify them he who beautifies them enjoys killing others he who enjoys killing others achieves no worldly rule
31.5 thus we honour the left for joy we honour the right for sorrow the left is where the adjutant stands the commander on the right
31.6 which means at a funeral when you kill another honour him with your tears when the battle is won treat it as a wake
32.4 the first distinction gives us names after we have names we should know restraint who knows restraint knows no trouble

32.1 The Tao has never had a name simple and though small no one can command it
32.2 if a lord upheld it the world would be his guest
32.3 when Heaven joins with Earth they bestow sweet dew no one gives the order it comes down to all
32.5 to picture the Tao in the world imagine rivers and the sea

33.1 Who knows others is perceptive who knows himself is wise
33.2 who conquers others is forceful who conquers himself is strong
33.3 who knows contentment is wealthy who strives hard succeeds
33.4 who doesn't lose his place endures who dies but doesn't perish lives on

34.1 The Tao drifts it can go left or right
34.2 everything lives by its grace but it doesn't speak when its work succeeds it makes no claim it has no desires
34.3 shall we call it small
34.4 everything turns to it but it wields no control shall we call it great
34.5 therefore the sage never acts great thus he can do great things

35.1 Hold up the Great Image and the world will come and be beyond harm safe serene and at one
35.2 fine food and song detain passing guests
35.3 when the Tao speaks it's senseless and plain we look and don't see it we listen and don't hear it

36.1 What you would shorten you should therefore lengthen what you would weaken you should therefore strengthen what you would topple you should therefore raise what you would take you should therefore give
36.2 this is called hiding the light the weak conquering the strong
36.3 fish can't survive out of the deep as state's greatest tool is not meant to be shown

37.1 The Tao never does a thing yet there is nothing it doesn't do
37.2 if a ruler could uphold it people by themselves would change and changing if their desires stirred he would make them still with simplicity that has no name
37.3 stilled by nameless simplicity they would not desire and not desiring be at peace the world would fix itself

38.1 Higher Virtue is not virtuous thus it possesses virtue Lower Virtue is not without virtue thus it possesses no virtue
38.3 Higher Virtue lacks effort and the thought of effort Higher Kindness involves effort but not the thought of effort Higher Justice involves effort and the thought of effort Higher Ritual involves effort but no response until it threatens and compels
38.4 when the Way is lost virtue appears when virtue is lost kindness appears when kindness is lost justice appears when justice is lost ritual appears
38.5 ritual marks the waning of belief and onset of confusion augury is the flower of the Way and beginning of delusion
38.6 thus the great choose thick over thin the fruit over the flower therefore they pick this over that

39.1 Of things that became one in the past Heaven became one and was clear Earth became one and was still spirits became one and were active
39.2 streams became one and were full kings became one and ruled the world
39.3 but by implication Heaven would crack if it were always clear Earth would crumble if it were always still spirits would fail
39.4 if they were always active streams would dry up if they were always full kings would fall if they were always high and noble
39.5 thus the noble is based on the humble the high is founded on the low
39.6 thus do kings refer to themselves as orphaned widowed and destitute but this is the basis of humility
39.7 counting a carriage as no carriage at all
39.8 not wanting to clink like jade they clunk like rocks

40.1 The Tao moves the other way the Tao works through weakness
40.2 the things of this world come from something something comes from nothing

41.1 When a great person hears of the Way he follows it with devotion when an average person hears of the Way he doesn't know if it's real or not
41.2 when a small person hears of the Way he laughs out loud if he didn't laugh it wouldn't be the Way
41.3 hence these sayings arose the brightest path seems dark the quickest path seems slow the smoothest path seems rough the highest virtue low the whitest white pitch-black the greatest virtue wanting
41.4 the staunchest virtue timid the truest truth uncertain the perfect square lacks corners the perfect tool does nothing the perfect sound is hushed the perfect form is shapeless
41.5 the Tao is hidden and has no name but because it's the Tao it knows how to start and how to finish

42.1 The Tao gives birth to one one gives birth to two two gives birth to three three gives birth to ten thousand things
42.2 ten thousand things with yin at their backs and yang in their embrace and breath between for harmony
42.3 what the world hates to be orphaned widowed or destitute kings use for their titles
42.4 thus some gain by losing others lose by gaining
42.5 thus what people teach I teach too tyrants never choose their deaths this becomes my teacher

43.1 The weakest thing in the world excels the strongest thing in the world what doesn't exist finds room where there is none thus we know doing nothing succeeds
43.2 teaching without words succeeding without effort few in the world can equal this

44.1 Which is more vital fame or health which is more precious health or riches which is more harmful loss or gain
44.2 the deeper the love the higher the cost the bigger the treasure the greater the loss
44.3 who knows contentment suffers no shame who knows restraint encounters no trouble

45.1 The greatest thing seems incomplete yet it never wears out the fullest thing seems empty yet it never runs dry the straightest thing seems crooked
45.2 the cleverest thing seems clumsy the richest thing seems poor
45.3 activity overcomes cold stillness overcomes heat who can be perfectly still is able to govern the world

46.1 When the Tao prevails courier horses manure fields instead of roads when the Tao fails war-horses are raised on the border
46.2 no crime is worse than yielding to desire no wrong is greater than discontent no curse is crueller than getting what you want
46.3 the contentment of being content is true contentment indeed

47.1 Without going out his door he knows the whole world without looking out his window he knows the Way of Heaven the farther people go the less people know
47.2 therefore the sage knows without moving names without seeing succeeds without trying

48.1 Those who seek learning gain every day those who seek the Way lose every day
48.2 they lose and they lose until they find nothing to do nothing to do means nothing not dome who rules the world isn't busy
48.3 if someone is busy he can't rule the world

49.1 The sage has no mind of his own his mind is the mind of the people
49.2 to the good he is good to the bad he is good until they become good
49.3 to the true he is true to the false he is true until they become true
49.4 in the world the sage withdraws with others he merges his mind people open their ears and eyes the sage covers them up

50.1 Appearing means life disappearing means death
50.2 thirteen are the followers of life thirteen are the followers of death but people living to live join the land of death's thirteen and why because they live to live
50.3 it's said that those who guard life well aren't injured by soldiers in battle or harmed by rhinos or tigers in the wild
50.4 for rhinos have nowhere to sink their horns tigers have nowhere to sink their claws and soldiers have nowhere to sink their blades and why because for them there is no land of death

51.1 The Way begets them Virtue keeps them matter shapes them usage completes them thus do all things honour the Way and glorify Virtue
51.2 the honour of the Way the glory of Virtue and not conferred but always so the Way begets and keeps them cultivates and trains them steadies and adjusts them nurtures and protects them
51.3 but begets without possessing acts without presuming and cultivates without controlling this is called Dark Virtue

52.1 The world has a maiden she becomes the world's mother
52.2 who knows the mother understands the child who understands the child keeps the mother safe and lives without trouble
52.3 who blocks the opening who closes the gate lives without toil
52.4 who unblocks the opening who meddles in affairs lives without hope
52.5 who sees the small has vision who protects the weak has strength
52.6 who uses his light who trusts his vision lives beyond death this is the Hidden Immortal

53.1 Were I sufficiently wise I would follow the Great Way and only fear going astray
53.2 the Great Way is smooth but people love byways
53.3 their palaces are spotless their fields are overgrown and their granaries are empty
53.4 they wear fine clothes they carry sharp swords they tire of food and drink and possess more than they need this is called robbery and robbery is not the Way

54.1 What is planted right is not uprooted what is held right is not ripped away future generations worship it forever
54.2 cultivated in thee self virtue becomes real cultivated in the family virtue multiplies cultivated in the village virtue increases cultivated in the state virtue prospers cultivated in the world virtue abounds
54.3 thus view the self through the self view the family through the family view the village through the village view the state through the state view the world through the world
54.4 how do we know what the world is like through this

55.1 He who contains virtue in abundance resembles a newborn child wasps don't sting him beasts don't claw him birds of prey don't carry him off his bones are weak and his tendons are soft and yet his grip is firm
55.2 he hasn't known the union of sexes and yet his penis is stiff so full of essence is he
55.3 he cries all day yet ever gets hoarse so full of breath is he who knows how to breath endures who knows how to endure is wise
55.4 who lengthens his life tempts luck who breathes with his will is strong
55.5 but virility means old age this isn't the Way what isn't the Way ends early

56.1 Those who know don't talk those who talk don't know
56.2 seal the opening close the gate dull the edge untie the tangle soften the light join the dust this is called the Dark Union
56.3 it can't be embraced it can't be abandoned it can't be helped it can't be harmed it can't be exalted it can't be debased thus does the world exalt it

57.1 Use direction to govern a country use indirection to fight a war use inaction to rule the world how do we know this works
57.2 the greater the prohibitions the poorer the people the sharper the weapons the darker the realm
57.3 the smarter the scheme the stranger the outcome the finer the treasure the thicker the thieves
57.4 thus the sage declares I change nothing and the people transform themselves I stay still and the people adjust themselves
57.5 I do nothing and the people enrich themselves I want nothing and the people simplify themselves

58.1 Where government stands aloof the people open up where government steps in the people slip away
58.2 happiness rests in misery misery hides in happiness
58.3 who knows where they end there is no direction direction turns into indirection good turns into evil the people have been lost for a long long time
58.4 thus the sage is an edge that doesn't cut a point that doesn't pierce a line that doesn't extend a light that doesn't blind

59.1 In governing people and caring for Heaven nothing surpasses economy
59.2 economy means planning ahead planning ahead means accumulating virtue accumulating virtue means overcoming all overcoming all means knowing no limit knowing no limit means guarding the realm
59.3 guarding the realm's mother means living long
59.4 this means deep roots and a solid trunk the Way of long and lasting life

60.1 Ruling a great state is like cooking a small fish
60.2 when you govern the world with the Tao spirits display no powers
60.3 Not that they don't have power, But their power will not harm people.
60.4 Inasmuch as none of them harms anybody, Therefore virtue belongs to them both.

61.1 The great state is a watershed the confluence of the world the female of the world through stillness the female conquers the male in order to be still she needs to be lower
61.2 the great state that is lower governs the small state the small state that is lower is governed by the great state
61.3 some lower themselves to govern some lower themselves to be governed
61.4 the great state's only desire is to unite and lead others the small state's only desire is to join and serve others
61.5 for both to achieve their desire the greater needs to be lower

62.1 The Tao is creation's sanctuary treasured by the good it keeps the bad alive
62.2 beautiful words might be the price noble deeds might be the gift how can we abandon people who are bad
62.3 thus when emperors are enthroned or ministers installed though there be great discs of jade followed by teams of horses they don't rival one who sits and offers up this Way
62.4 why the ancients exalted it did they not proclaim who searches thereby finds who errs thereby escapes thus the world exalts it

63.1 Act without acting work without working taste without tasting
63.2 great or small many or few repay each wrong with virtue
63.3 plan for the hard while it's easy work on the great while it's small
63.4 the hardest task in the world begins easy the greatest goal in the world begins small
63.5 therefore the sage never acts great he thus achieves great things
63.6 who quickly agrees is seldom trusted who makes it all easy finds it all hard
63.7 therefore the sage makes everything hard he thus finds nothing hard

64.1 It's easy to rule while it's peaceful it's east to plan before it arrive it's easy to break while it's fragile it's easy to disperse while it's small
64.2 act before it exists govern before it rebels
64.3 as giant tree grows from the tiniest shoot a great tower rises from a basket of dirt a thousand mile journey begins at your feet
64.4 but to act is to fail to control is to lose therefore the sage doesn't act he thus doesn't fail he doesn't control he thus doesn't lose
64.5 when people pursue a task they always fail near the end care at the end as well as the start means an end to failure
64.6 the sage thus seeks what no one seeks he doesn't prize hard to-get-goods he studies what no one studies he turns to what others pass by to help all things be natural he thus dares not act

65.1 The ancient masters of the Way tried not to enlighten but to keep men in the dark
65.2 what makes the people hard to rule is knowledge who rules the realm with knowledge spreads evil in the realm who rules without knowledge spreads virtue in the realm
65.3 who understands these two understands the universal key this is called Dark Virtue
65.4 Dark Virtue goes deep goes far goes the other way until it reaches perfect harmony

66.1 The reason the sea can govern a hundred rivers is because it has mastered being lower thus it can govern a hundred rivers
66.2 thus if the sage would be above the people he should speak as if he were below them if he would be before them he should act as though he were behind them
66.3 thus when the sage is above the people are not burdened when he is in front the people are not hindered the world never wearies of pushing him forward
66.4 because he doesn't struggle no one can struggle against him

67.1 The world calls me great great but useless because I am great I am useless if I were of use I would have stayed small
67.2 but I possess three treasures I treasure and uphold first is compassion second is austerity third is reluctance to excel
67.3 because I am compassionate I can be valiant because I am austere I can be extravagant because I am reluctant to excel I can be chief of all tools
67.4 if I renounced compassion for valour austerity for extravagance reluctance for supremacy I would die
67.5 compassion wins every battle and outlasts every attack what Heaven creates let compassion protect

68.1 In ancient times the perfect officer wasn't armed the perfect warrior wasn't angry
68.2 the perfect victor wasn't hostile the perfect commander acted humble
68.3 this is the virtue of nonaggression this is using the strength of others this is uniting with Heaven which was the ancient end

69.1 In warfare there is a saying rather than a host better to be a guest rather than advance an inch better to retreat a foot
69.2 this means to form no column to wear no armour to brandish no weapon to repulse no enemy
69.3 no fate is worse than to have no enemy without an enemy we would lose our treasure
69.4 thus when opponents are evenly matched the remorseful one prevails

70.1 My words are easy to understand easy to employ but no one can understand them no one can employ them
70.2 words have an ancestor deeds have a master because they have no understanding people fail to understand me rare are they who understand me thus I am exalted
70.3 the sage therefore wears coarse cloth and keeps his jade inside

71.1 To understand yet not understand is transcendence not to understand yet understand is affliction
71.2 the reason the sage is not afflicted is because he treats affliction as affliction hence he is not afflicted

72.1 When people no longer fear authority a greater authority will appear
72.2 don't restrict where people dwell don't repress how people live if they aren't repressed they won't protest
72.3 thus the sage knows himself but doesn't reveal himself he loves himself but doesn't exalt himself thus he picks this over that

73.1 Daring to act means death daring not to act means life
73.2 of these two one benefits one harms what Heaven hates who knows the reasons
73.3 the Way of Heaven wins easily without a fight answers wisely without a word comes quickly without a summons plans ingeniously without a thought
73.4 the Net of Heaven is all-embracing it mesh is wide but nothing escapes

74.1 If people no longer fear death why do we threaten to kill them
74.2 and if others fear death and still act perverse and we catch and kill them who else will dare
74.3 as long as people fear death the executioner will exist to kill in the executioner's place is to take the carpenter's place who takes the carpenter's place is bound to hurt his hands

75.1 The reason the people are hungry is because those above levy so many taxes thus the people are hungry
75.2 the reason the people are hard to rule is because those above are so forceful thus the people are hard to rule
75.3 the reason people think little of death is because those above think so much of life thus the people think little of death meanwhile those who do nothing to live are more esteemed than those who love life

76.1 When people are born they are soft and supple when they perish they are hard and stiff
76.2 when plants shoot forth they are soft and tender when they die they are withered and dry
76.3 thus it is said the hard and strong are followers of death the soft and weak are followers of life
76.4 when an army becomes strong it suffers defeat when a plant becomes hard it snaps
76.5 the hard and strong dwell below the soft and weak dwell above

77.1 The Way of Heaven is like stringing a bow pulling sown the high lifting up the low shortening the long lengthening the short
77.2 the Way of Heaven takes from the long and supplements the short unlike the Way of Man taking from the short and giving to the long
77.3 who can find the long and give it to the world only those who find the Way
77.4 thus the sage does not presume on what he does or claim what he achieves thus he chooses to hide his skill

78.1 Nothing in the world is weaker than water but against the hard and the strong nothing excels it for nothing can change it
78.2 the soft overcomes the hard the weak overcomes the strong this is something everyone knows but no one is able to practice
78.3 thus the sage declares who accepts a country's disgrace we call the lord of soil and grain who accepts a country's misfortune we call king of all under Heaven upright words sound upside down

79.1 In resolving a great dispute a dispute is sure to remain how can this be good
79.2 thus the sage holds the left marker he makes no claim on others
79.3 thus the virtuous oversee markers the virtueless oversee taxes
79.4 the Way of Heaven favours no one but always helps the good

80.1 Imagine a small state with a small population let there be labour-saving tools that aren't used let people consider death and not move far
80.2 let there be boats and carts but no reason to ride them let there be armour and weapons but no reason to employ them
80.3 let people return to the use of knots and be satisfied with their food and pleased with their clothing and content with their homes and happy with their customs
80.4 let there be a state so near people hear its dogs and chickens and live out their lives without making a visit

81.1 True words aren't beautiful beautiful words aren't true
81.2 the good aren't eloquent the eloquent aren't good
81.3 the wise aren't learned the learned aren't wise
81.4 the sage accumulates nothing but the more he does for others the greater his existence the more he gives to others the greater his abundance
81.5 the Way of Heaven is to help without harming the Way of the sage is to act without struggling

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