第五十一章


道生之,德畜之,物形之,勢成之。是以萬物莫不尊道而貴德。道之尊,德之貴,夫莫之命而常自然。故道生之,德畜之。長之育之,亭之毒之,養之覆之。生而不有,為而不恃,長而不宰。是謂玄德。

第五十二章


天下有始,以為天下母。既得其母,以知其子,既知其子,復守其母,沒身不殆。塞其兌,閉其門,終身不勤。開其兌,濟其事,終身不救。見小曰明,守柔曰強。用其光,復歸其明,無遺身殃,是為習常。

第五十三章


使我介然有知,行於大道,唯施是畏。大道甚夷,而人好徑。朝甚除,田甚蕪,倉甚虛;服文綵,帶利劍,厭飲食,財貨有餘;是為夸盜。非道也哉﹗

第五十四章


善建者不拔,善抱者不脫,子孫以祭祀不輟。修之於身,其德乃真;修之於家,其德乃餘;修之於鄉,其德乃長;修之於國,其德乃豐;修之於天下,其德乃普。故以身觀身,以家觀家,以鄉觀鄉,以國觀國,以天下觀天下。吾何以知天下然哉﹖以此。

第五十五章


含德之厚,比於赤子。蜂蠆虺蛇不螫,猛獸不據,攫鳥不搏。骨弱筋柔而握固。未知牝牡之合而全作,精之至也。終日號而不嗄,和之至也。知和曰常,知常曰明。益生曰祥。心使氣曰強。物壯則老,謂之不道,不道早已。

第五十六章


知者不言,言者不知。塞其兌,閉其門,挫其銳,解其分,和其光,同其塵,是謂玄同。故不可得而親,不可得而疏;不可得而利,不可得而害;不可得而貴,不可得而賤。故為天下貴。

第五十七章


以正治國,以奇用兵,以無事取天下。吾何以知其然哉﹖以此。天下多忌諱,而民彌貧;民多利器,國家滋昏;人多伎巧,奇物滋起;法令滋彰,盜賊多有。故聖人云﹕「我無為,而民自化;我好靜,而民自正;我無事,而民自富;我無欲,而民自樸。」

第五十八章


其政悶悶,其民淳淳;其政察察,其民缺缺。禍兮福之所倚,福兮禍之所伏。孰知其極﹖其無正。正復為奇,善復為妖。人之迷,其日固久。是以聖人方而不割,廉而不劌,直而不肆,光而不燿。

第五十九章


治人事天,莫若嗇。夫唯嗇,是謂早服;早服謂之重積德;重積德則無不克;無不克則莫知其極;莫知其極,可以有國;有國之母,可以長久;是謂深根固柢,長生久視之道。

 



第六十章


治大國,若烹小鮮。以道蒞天下,其鬼不神;非其鬼不神,其神不傷人;非其神不傷人,聖人亦不傷人。夫兩不相傷,故德交歸焉。

51


Nurture

The Way bears all things;
Harmony nurtures them;
Nature shapes them;
Use completes them.

Each follows the Way and honours harmony,
Not by law,
But by being.

The Way bears, nurtures, shapes, completes,
Shelters, comforts, and makes a home for them.

Bearing without possessing,
Nurturing without taming,
Shaping without forcing,
This is harmony.





52


Clarity

The origin of the world is its mother;
Understand the mother, and you understand the child;
Embrace the child, and you embrace the mother,
Who will not perish when you die.

Reserve your judgments and words
And you maintain your influence;
Speak your mind and take positions
And nothing can save you.

As observing detail is clarity,
So maintaining flexibility is strength;
Use the light but shed no light,
So that you do yourself no harm,
But embrace clarity.





53


Difficult Paths

With but a small understanding
One may follow the Way like a main road,
Fearing only to leave it;
Following a main road is easy,
Yet people delight in difficult paths.

When palaces are kept up
Fields are left to weeds
And granaries empty;
Wearing fine clothes,
Bearing sharp swords,
Glutting with food and drink,
Hoarding wealth and possessions -
These are the ways of theft,
And far from the Way.





54


Cultivate Harmony

Cultivate harmony within yourself, and harmony becomes real;
Cultivate harmony within your family, and harmony becomes fertile;
Cultivate harmony within your community, and harmony becomes abundant;
Cultivate harmony within your culture, and harmony becomes enduring;
Cultivate harmony within the world, and harmony becomes ubiquitous.

Live with a person to understand that person;
Live with a family to understand that family;
Live with a community to understand that community;
Live with a culture to understand that culture;
Live with the world to understand the world.

How can I live with the world?
By accepting.





55


Soft Bones

Who is filled with harmony is like a newborn.
Wasps and snakes will not bite him;
Hawks and tigers will not claw him.

His bones are soft yet his grasp is sure,
For his flesh is supple;
His mind is innocent yet his body is virile,
For his vigour is plentiful;
His song is long-lasting yet his voice is sweet,
For his grace is perfect.

But knowing harmony creates abstraction,
And following abstraction creates ritual.
Exceeding nature creates calamity,
And controlling nature creates violence.





56


Impartiality

Who understands does not preach;
Who preaches does not understand.

Reserve your judgments and words;
Smooth differences and forgive disagreements;
Dull your wit and simplify your purpose;
Accept the world.

Then,
Friendship and enmity,
Profit and loss,
Honour and disgrace,
Will not affect you;
The world will accept you.





57


Conquer with Inaction

Do not control the people with laws,
Nor violence nor espionage,
But conquer them with inaction.

For:
The more morals and taboos there are,
The more cruelty afflicts people;
The more guns and knives there are,
The more factions divide people;
The more arts and skills there are,
The more change obsoletes people;
The more laws and taxes there are,
The more theft corrupts people.

Yet take no action, and the people nurture eachother;
Make no laws, and the people deal fairly with eachother;
Own no interest, and the people cooperate with eachother;
Express no desire, and the people harmonize with eachother.





58


No End

When government is lazy and informal
The people are kind and honest;
When government is efficient and severe
The people are discontented and deceitful.

Good fortune follows upon disaster;
Disaster lurks within good fortune;
Who can say how things will end?
Perhaps there is no end.

Honesty is ever deceived;
Kindness is ever seduced;
Men have been like this for a long time.

So the sage is firm but not cutting,
Pointed but not piercing,
Straight but not rigid,
Bright but not blinding.





59


Restraint

Manage a great nation as you would cook a delicate fish.

To govern men in accord with nature
It is best to be restrained;
Restraint makes agreement easy to attain,
And easy agreement builds harmonious relationships;
With sufficient harmony no resistance will arise;
When no resistance arises, then you possess the heart of the nation,
And when you possess the nation’s heart, your influence will long endure:
Deeply rooted and firmly established.
This is the method of far sight and long life.





60


Demons

When you use the Way to conquer the world,
Your demons will lose their power to harm.
It is not that they lose their power as such,
But that they will not harm others;
Because they will not harm others,
You will not harm others:
When neither you nor your demons can do harm,
You will be at peace with them.

 

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