Tao Te Ching – Verse 36 – If you want to shrink something, you must first allow it to expand

36
If you want to shrink something,
you must first allow it to expand.
If you want to get rid of something,
you must first allow it to flourish.
If you want to take something,
you must first allow it to be given.
This is called the subtle perception
of the way things are.

The soft overcomes the hard.
The slow overcomes the fast.
Let your workings remain a mystery.
Just show people the results.

(translation by Stephen Mitchell, 1995)
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If one wishes to shrink it
One must first expand it
If one wishes to weaken it
One must first strengthen it
If one wishes to discard it
One must first promote it
If one wishes to seize it
One must first give it
This is called subtle clarity

The soft and weak overcomes the tough and strong
Fish cannot leave the depths
The sharp instruments of the state
Cannot be shown to the people

(translation by Derek Lin, 2006)
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After years of error,
One finds strength —
Find again weakness.
After years of error,
One finds beauty —
Find again ugliness.
After years of conquest —
One finds again, stillness.
Undo that which has no meaning.
A filthy man
Does not become clean,
Because he has bathed with soap.

(translation by Jeremy M. Miller, 2013)
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from I Ching Online

 

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