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.

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

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.

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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”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 23 – Express yourself completely, then keep quiet

Tao Te Ching – Verse 23

Express yourself completely,
then keep quiet.
Be like the forces of nature:
when it blows, there is only wind;
when it rains, there is only rain;
when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.

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Tao Te Ching – Verse 22 – If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial. If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked.

Tao Te Ching – Verse 22

If you want to become whole,
let yourself be partial.
If you want to become straight,
let yourself be crooked.
If you want to become full,
let yourself be empty.
If you want to be reborn,
let yourself die.
If you want to be given everything,
give everything up.

Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 22 – If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial. If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked.”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 21 – The Master keeps her mind always at one with the Tao; that is what gives her her radiance.

Tao Te Ching – Verse 21

The Master keeps her mind
always at one with the Tao;
that is what gives her her radiance.

The Tao is ungraspable.
How can her mind be at one with it?
Because she doesn’t cling to ideas. Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 21 – The Master keeps her mind always at one with the Tao; that is what gives her her radiance.”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 20 – Stop thinking, and end your problems.

Tao Te Ching – Verse 20

Stop thinking, and end your problems.
What difference between yes and no?
What difference between success and failure?
Must you value what others value,
avoid what others avoid?
How ridiculous!
Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 20 – Stop thinking, and end your problems.”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 19 – Throw away holiness and wisdom, and people will be a hundred times happier.

Tao Te Ching – Verse 19

Throw away holiness and wisdom,
and people will be a hundred times happier.
Throw away morality and justice,
and people will do the right thing.
Throw away industry and profit,
and there won’t be any thieves.

If these three aren’t enough,
just stay at the center of the circle
and let all things take their course. Continue reading “Tao Te Ching – Verse 19 – Throw away holiness and wisdom, and people will be a hundred times happier.”

Tao Te Ching – Verse 18 – When the great Tao is forgotten, goodness and piety appear.

Tao Te Ching – Verse 18

When the great Tao is forgotten,
goodness and piety appear.
When the body’s intelligence declines,
cleverness and knowledge step forth.
When there is no peace in the family,
filial piety begins.
When the country falls into chaos,
patriotism is born.

(translation by Stephen Mitchell, 1995)
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The great Tao fades away
There is benevolence and justice
Intelligence comes forth
There is great deception

The six relations are not harmonious
There is filial piety and kind affection
The country is in confused chaos
There are loyal ministers

(translation by Derek Lin, 2006)
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There is no Code of Ethics,
And there never was.
There is no kindness; no morality.
There is no genius.
Loyal sons and dutiful workers
Are unreal.
Stop.

(translation by Jeremy M. Miller, 2013)
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