Tao Te Ching – Verse 39 – In harmony with the Tao, the sky is clear and spacious

Tao Te Ching – Verse 39

In harmony with the Tao,
the sky is clear and spacious,
the earth is solid and full,
all creatures flourish together,
content with the way they are,
endlessly repeating themselves,
endlessly renewed.
When man interferes with the Tao,
the sky becomes filthy,
the earth becomes depleted,
the equilibrium crumbles,
creatures become extinct.

Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 39 – In harmony with the Tao, the sky is clear and spacious”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 38 – The Master doesn’t try to be powerful; thus he is truly powerful.

Tao Te Ching – Verse 38

The Master doesn’t try to be powerful;
thus he is truly powerful.
The ordinary man keeps reaching for power;
thus he never has enough.

The Master does nothing,
yet he leaves nothing undone.
The ordinary man is always doing things,
yet many more are left to be done.

Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 38 – The Master doesn’t try to be powerful; thus he is truly powerful.”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 37 – The Tao never does anything, yet through it all things are done

Tao Te Ching – Verse 37

The Tao never does anything,
yet through it all things are done.
If powerful men and women
could center themselves in it,
the whole world would be transformed
by itself, in its natural rhythms.
People would be content
with their simple, everyday lives,
in harmony, and free of desire.
When there is no desire,
all things are at peace. Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 37 – The Tao never does anything, yet through it all things are done”

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

Tao Te Ching – Verse 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. Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 36 – If you want to shrink something, you must first allow it to expand”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 35 – She who is centered in the Tao can go where she wishes, without danger.

Verse 35 – She who is centered in the Tao can go where she wishes, without danger.

She who is centered in the Tao
can go where she wishes, without danger.
She perceives the universal harmony,
even amid great pain,
because she has found peace in her heart.
Music or the smell of good cooking
may make people stop and enjoy.
But words that point to the Tao
seem monotonous and without flavor.
When you look for it, there is nothing to see.
When you listen for it, there is nothing to hear.
When you use it, it is inexhaustible.

Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 35 – She who is centered in the Tao can go where she wishes, without danger.”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 34 – The great Tao flows everywhere

Verse 34 – The great Tao flows everywhere

The great Tao flows everywhere.
All things are born from it,
yet it doesn’t create them.
It pours itself into its work,
yet it makes no claim.
It nourishes infinite worlds,
yet it doesn’t hold on to them.
Since it is merged with all things
and hidden in their hearts,
it can be called humble.
Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 34 – The great Tao flows everywhere”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 33 – Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.

Tao Te Ching – Verse 33

Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.

If you realize that you have enough,
you are truly rich.
If you stay in the center
and embrace death with your whole heart,
you will endure forever.

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Tao Te Ching – Verse 32 – The Tao can’t be perceived. Smaller than an electron, it contains uncountable galaxies.

Tao Te Ching – Verse 32

The Tao can’t be perceived.
Smaller than an electron,
it contains uncountable galaxies.

If powerful men and women
could remain centered in the Tao,
all things would be in harmony.
The world would become a paradise.
All people would be at peace,
and the law would be written in their hearts.

Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 32 – The Tao can’t be perceived. Smaller than an electron, it contains uncountable galaxies.”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 31 – Weapons are the tools of violence; all decent men detest them.

Tao Te Ching – Verse 31

Weapons are the tools of violence;
all decent men detest them.

Weapons are the tools of fear;
a decent man will avoid them
except in the direst necessity
and, if compelled, will use them
only with the utmost restraint.

Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 31 – Weapons are the tools of violence; all decent men detest them.”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 30 – Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men doesn’t try to force issues or defeat enemies by force of arms

Tao Te Ching – Verse 30

Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men
doesn’t try to force issues
or defeat enemies by force of arms.
For every force there is a counterforce.
Violence, even well intentioned,
always rebounds upon oneself.

Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 30 – Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men doesn’t try to force issues or defeat enemies by force of arms”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 29 – Do you want to improve the world? I don’t think it can be done.

Tao Te Ching – Verse 29

Do you want to improve the world?
I don’t think it can be done.

The world is sacred.
It can’t be improved.
If you tamper with it, you’ll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you’ll lose it. Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 29 – Do you want to improve the world? I don’t think it can be done.”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 28 – Know the male, yet keep to the female

Tao Te Ching – Verse 28

Know the male,
yet keep to the female:
receive the world in your arms.
If you receive the world,
the Tao will never leave you
and you will be like a little child.

Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 28 – Know the male, yet keep to the female”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 27 – A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving

Tao Te Ching – Verse 27

A good traveler has no fixed plans
and is not intent upon arriving.
A good artist lets his intuition
lead him wherever it wants.
A good scientist has freed himself of concepts
and keeps his mind open to what is.

Thus the Master is available to all people
and doesn’t reject anyone.
He is ready to use all situations
and doesn’t waste anything.
This is called embodying the light. Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 27 – A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 26 – The heavy is the root of the light. The unmoved is the source of all movement.

Tao Te Ching – Verse 26

The heavy is the root of the light.
The unmoved is the source of all movement.

Thus the Master travels all day
without leaving home.
However splendid the views,
she stays serenely in herself.
Why should the lord of the country
flit about like a fool?
If you let yourself be blown to and fro,
you lose touch with your root.
If you let restlessness move you,
you lose touch with who you are.
(translation by Stephen Mitchell, 1995)
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Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 26 – The heavy is the root of the light. The unmoved is the source of all movement.”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 25 – There was something formless and perfect before the universe was born.

Tao Te Ching – Verse 25

There was something formless and perfect
before the universe was born.
It is serene. Empty.
Solitary. Unchanging.
Infinite. Eternally present.
It is the mother of the universe.
For lack of a better name,
I call it the Tao.
It flows through all things,
inside and outside, and returns
to the origin of all things. Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 25 – There was something formless and perfect before the universe was born.”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 24 – He who stands on tiptoe doesn’t stand firm

Tao Te Ching – Verse 24

He who stands on tiptoe
doesn’t stand firm.
He who rushes ahead
doesn’t go far.
He who tries to shine
dims his own light.
He who defines himself
can’t know who he really is.

Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 24 – He who stands on tiptoe doesn’t stand firm”