第六十一章


大國者下流,天下之交。天下之牝,牝常以靜勝牡,以靜為下。故大國以下小國,則取小國;小國以下大國,則取大國。故或下以取,或下而取。大國不過欲兼畜人,小國不過欲入事人。夫兩者各得其所欲,大者宜為下。

第六十二章


道者萬物之奧。善人之寶,不善人之所保。美言可以市,尊行可以加人。人之不善,何棄之有﹖故立天子,置三公,雖有拱璧以先駟馬,不如坐進此道。 古之所以貴此道者何﹖不曰﹕以求得,有罪以免邪﹖故為天下貴。

第六十三章


為無為,事無事,味無味。大小多少,報怨以德。圖難於其易,為大於其細;天下難事必作於易,天下大事必作於細。是以聖人終不為大,故能成其大。夫輕諾必寡信,多易必多難。是以聖人猶難之,故終無難矣。

第六十四章


其安易持,其未兆易謀。其脆易泮,其微易散。為之於未有,治之於未亂。合抱之木,生於毫末;九層之臺,起於累土;千里之行,始於足下。為者敗之,執者失之。是以聖人無為故無敗,無執故無失。民之從事,常於幾成而敗之。慎終如始,則無敗事。是以聖人欲不欲,不貴難得之貨;學不學,復眾人之所過。以輔萬物之自然,而不敢為。

第六十五章


古之善為道者,非以明民,將以愚之。民之難治,以其智多。故以智治國,國之賊;不以智治國,國之福。知此兩者亦稽式。常知稽式,是謂玄德。玄德深矣,遠矣,與物反矣,然後乃至大順。

第六十六章


江海所以能為百谷王者,以其善下之,故能為百谷王。是以欲上民,必以言下之。欲先民,必以身後之。是以聖人處上而民不重,處前而民不害。是以天下樂推而不厭,以其不爭,故天下莫能與之爭。

第六十七章

天下皆謂我道大,似不肖。夫唯大,故似不肖。若肖,久矣其細也夫﹗我有三寶,持而保之。一曰慈,二曰儉,三曰不敢為天下先。慈故能勇;儉故能廣;不敢為天下先,故能成器長。今舍慈且勇,舍儉且廣,舍後且先,死矣﹗夫慈以戰則勝,以守則固。天將救之,以慈衛之。

第六十八章


善為士者不武,善戰者不怒,善勝敵者不與,善用人者為之下,是謂不爭之德,是謂用人之力,是謂配天古之極。

第六十九章


用兵有言﹕「吾不敢為主而為客,不敢進寸而退尺。」是謂行無行,攘無臂,扔無敵,執無兵。禍莫大於輕敵,輕敵幾喪吾寶。故抗兵相加,哀者勝矣。

第七十章


吾言甚易知,甚易行。天下莫能知,莫能行。言有宗,事有君。夫唯無知,是以不我知。知我者希,則我者貴。是以聖人被褐懷玉。

61


Submission

A nation is like a hierarchy, a marketplace, and a maiden.
A maiden wins her husband by submitting to his advances;
Submission is a means of union.

So when a large country submits to a small country
It will adopt the small country;
When a small country submits to a large country
It will be adopted by the large country;
The one submits and adopts;
The other submits and is adopted.

It is in the interest of a large country to unite and gain service,
And in the interest of a small country to unite and gain patronage;
If both would serve their interests,
Both must submit.





62


Sin

The Way is the fate of men,
The treasure of the saint,
And the refuge of the sinner.

Fine words are often borrowed,
And great deeds are often appropriated;
Therefore, when a man falls, do not abandon him,
And when a man gains power, do not honour him;
Only remain impartial and show him the Way.

Why should someone appreciate the Way?
The ancients said, “By it, those who seek may easily find,
And those who regret may easily absolve”
So it is the most precious gift.





63


Difficulty

Practice no-action;
Attend to do-nothing;
Taste the flavorless,
Magnify the small,
Multiply the few,
Return love for hate.

Deal with the difficult while it is yet easy;
Deal with the great while it is yet small;

The difficult develops naturally from the easy,
And the great from the small;
So the sage, by dealing with the small,
Achieves the great.

Who finds it easy to promise finds it hard to be trusted;
Who takes things lightly finds things difficult;
The sage recognizes difficulty, and so has none.





64a


Care at the Beginning

What lies still is easy to grasp;
What lies far off is easy to anticipate;
What is brittle is easy to shatter;
What is small is easy to disperse.

Yet a tree broader than a man can embrace is born of a tiny shoot;
A dam greater than a river can overflow starts with a clod of earth;
A journey of a thousand miles begins at the spot under one’s feet.

Therefore deal with things before they happen;
Create order before there is confusion.





64b


Care at the End

He who acts, spoils;
He who grasps, loses.
People often fail on the verge of success;
Take care at the end as at the beginning,
So that you may avoid failure.

The sage desires no-desire,
Values no-value,
Learns no-learning,
And returns to the places that people have forgotten;
He would help all people to become natural,
But then he would not be natural.





65


Subtlety

The ancients did not seek to rule people with knowledge,
But to help them become natural.

It is difficult for knowledgeable people to become natural;
So to use law to control a nation weakens the nation,
But to use nature to control a nation strengthens the nation.

Understanding these two paths is understanding subtlety;
Subtlety runs deep, ranges wide,
Resolves confusion and preserves peace.





66


Lead by Following

The river carves out the valley by flowing beneath it.
Thereby the river is the master of the valley.

In order to master people
One must speak as their servant;
In order to lead people
One must follow them.

So when the sage rises above the people,
They do not feel oppressed;
And when the sage stands before the people,
They do not feel hindered.

So the popularity of the sage does not fail,
He does not contend, and no one contends against him.





67


Unimportance

All the world says,
“I am important;
I am separate from all the world.
I am important because I am separate,
Were I the same, I could never be important.”

Yet here are three treasures
That I cherish and commend to you:
The first is compassion,
By which one finds courage.
The second is restraint,
By which one finds strength.
And the third is unimportance,
By which one finds influence.

Those who are fearless, but without compassion,
Powerful, but without restraint,
Or influential, yet important,
Cannot endure.





68


Compassion

Compassion is the finest weapon and best defence.
If you would establish harmony,
Compassion must surround you like a fortress.

Therefore,
A good soldier does not inspire fear;
A good fighter does not display aggression;
A good conqueror does not engage in battle;
A good leader does not exercise authority.

This is the value of unimportance;
This is how to win the cooperation of others;
This to how to build the same harmony that is in nature.





69


Ambush

There is a saying among soldiers:
It is easier to lose a yard than take an inch.

In this manner one may deploy troops without marshalling them,
Bring weapons to bear without exposing them,
Engage the foe without invading them,
And exhaust their strength without fighting them.

There is no worse disaster than misunderstanding your enemy;
To do so endangers all of my treasures;
So when two well matched forces oppose eachother,
The general who maintains compassion will win.





70


Individuality

My words are easy to understand
And my actions are easy to perform
Yet no other can understand or perform them.

My words have meaning; my actions have reason;
Yet these cannot be known and I cannot be known.

We are each unique, and therefore valuable;
Though the sage wears coarse clothes, his heart is jade.

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