第二十一章


孔德之容,惟道是從。道之為物,惟恍惟惚。惚兮恍兮,其中有象;恍兮惚兮,其中有物。窈兮冥兮,其中有精;其精甚真,其中有信。自今及古,其名不去,以閱眾甫。吾何以知眾甫之狀哉﹖以此。

第二十二章


曲則全,枉則直,窪則盈,敝則新,少則得,多則惑。是以聖人抱一為天下式。不自見,故明;不自是,故彰;不自伐,故有功;不自矜,故長。夫唯不爭,故天下莫能與之爭。古之所謂曲則全者,豈虛言哉﹗誠全而歸之。

第二十三章


希言自然。故飄風不終朝,驟雨不終日。孰為此者﹖天地。天地尚不能久,而況於人乎﹖故從事於道者,(道者)同於道,德者同於德,失者同於失。同於道者,道亦樂得之;同於德者,德亦樂得之;同於失者,失亦樂得之。信不足焉,有不信焉。

第二十四章


企者不立,跨者不行,自見者不明,自是者不彰,自伐者無功,自矜者不長。其在道也,曰「餘食贅行」。物或惡之,故有道者不處。

第二十五章


有物混成,先天地生。寂兮寥兮,獨立而不改,周行而不殆,可以為天下母。吾不知其名,字之曰道,強為之名,曰大。大曰逝,逝曰遠,遠曰反。故道大,天大,地大,王亦大。域中有四大,而王居其一焉。人法地,地法天,天法道,道法自然。

第二十六章


重為輕根,靜為躁君。是以聖人終日行不離輜重。雖有榮觀,燕處超然。奈何萬乘之主,而以身輕天下﹖輕則失本,躁則失君。

第二十七章


善行無轍跡,善言無瑕謫;善數不用籌策;善閉無關楗而不可開,善結無繩約而不可解。是以聖人常善救人,故無棄人;常善救物,故無棄物,是謂襲明。故善人者,不善人之師;不善人者,善人之資。不貴其師,不愛其資,雖智大迷,是謂要妙。

第二十八章


知其雄,守其雌,為天下谿。為天下谿,常德不離,復歸於嬰兒。知其白,守其黑,為天下式。為天下式,常德不忒,復歸於無極。知其榮,守其辱,為天下谷,常德乃足,復歸於樸。樸散則為器,聖人用之,則為官長,故大制不割。

第二十九章


將欲取天下而為之,吾見其不得已。天下神器,不可為也,(不可執也。)為者敗之,執者失之。(是以聖人無為,故無敗;無執,故無失。)故物或行或隨;或歔或吹;或強或羸;或挫或隳。是以聖人去甚,去奢,去泰。

 



第三十章


以道佐人主者,不以兵強天下。其事好遠。師之所處,荊棘生焉。大軍之後,必有凶年。善者果而已,不以取強。果而勿矜,果而勿伐,果而勿驕。果而不得已,果而勿強。物壯則老,是謂不道,不道早已。

21


Accept

Harmony is only in following the Way.

The Way is without form or quality,
But expresses all forms and qualities;
The Way is hidden and implicate,
But expresses all of nature;
The Way is unchanging,
But expresses all motion.

Beneath sensation and memory
The Way is the source of all the world.
How can I understand the source of the world?
By accepting.





22


Home

Accept and you become whole,
Bend and you straighten,
Empty and you fill,
Decay and you renew,
Want and you acquire,
Fulfill and you become confused.

The sage accepts the world
As the world accepts the Way;
He does not display himself, so is clearly seen,
Does not justify himself, so is recognized,
Does not boast, so is credited,
Does not pride himself, so endures,
Does not contend, so none contend against him.

The ancients said, “Accept and you become whole”,
Once whole, the world is as your home.





23


Words

Nature says only a few words:
High wind does not last long,
Nor does heavy rain.
If nature’s words do not last
Why should those of man?

Who accepts harmony, becomes harmonious.
Who accepts loss, becomes lost.
For who accepts harmony, the Way harmonizes with him,
And who accepts loss, the Way cannot find.





24


Indulgence

Straighten yourself and you will not stand steady;
Display yourself and you will not be clearly seen;
Justify yourself and you will not be respected;
Promote yourself and you will not be believed;
Pride yourself and you will not endure.

These behaviours are wasteful, indulgent,
And so they attract disfavour;
Harmony avoids them.





25


Beneath Abstraction

There is a mystery,
Beneath abstraction,
Silent, depthless,
Alone, unchanging,
Ubiquitous and liquid,
The mother of nature.
It has no name, but I call it “the Way”;
It has no limit, but I call it “limitless”.

Being limitless, it flows away forever;
Flowing away forever, it returns to my self:

The Way is limitless,
So nature is limitless,
So the world is limitless,
And so I am limitless.

For I am abstracted from the world,
The world from nature,
Nature from the Way,
And the Way from what is beneath abstraction.





26


Calm

Gravity is the source of lightness,
Calm, the master of haste.

A lone traveller will journey all day, watching over his belongings;
Yet once safe in his bed he will lose them in sleep.

The captain of a great vessel will not act lightly or hastily.
Acting lightly, he loses sight of the world,
Acting hastily, he loses control of himself.

A captain can not treat his great ship as a small boat;
Rather than glitter like jade
He must stand like stone.





27


Perfection

The perfect traveller leaves no trail to be followed;
The perfect speaker leaves no question to be answered;
The perfect accountant leaves no working to be completed;
The perfect container leaves no lock to be closed;
The perfect knot leaves no end to be ravelled.

So the sage nurtures all men
And abandons no one.
He accepts everything
And rejects nothing.
He attends to the smallest details.

So the strong must guide the weak,
For the weak are raw material to the strong.
If the guide is not respected,
Or the material is not cared for,
Confusion will result, no matter how clever one is.

This is the secret of perfection:
When raw wood is carved, it becomes a tool;
When a man is employed, he becomes a tool;
The perfect carpenter leaves no wood to be carved.





28


Becoming

Using the male, being female,
Being the entrance of the world,
You embrace harmony
And become as a newborn.

Using strength, being weak,
Being the root of the world,
You complete harmony
And become as unshaped wood.

Using the light, being dark,
Being the world,
You perfect harmony
And return to the Way.





29


Ambition

Those who wish to change the world
According with their desire
Cannot succeed.

The world is shaped by the Way;
It cannot be shaped by the self.
Trying to change it, you damage it;
Trying to possess it, you lose it.

So some will lead, while others follow.
Some will be warm, others cold
Some will be strong, others weak.
Some will get where they are going
While others fall by the side of the road.

So the sage will be neither wasteful nor violent.





30


Violence

Powerful men are well advised not to use violence,
For violence has a habit of returning;
Thorns and weeds grow wherever an army goes,
And lean years follow a great war.

A general is well advised
To achieve nothing more than his orders:
Not to take advantage of his victory.
Nor to glory, boast or pride himself;
To do what is dictated by necessity,
But not by choice.

For even the strongest force will weaken with time,
And then its violence will return, and kill it.

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