Tao Te Ching – Verse 77
As it acts in the world, the Tao
is like the bending of a bow.
The top is bent downward;
the bottom is bent up.
It adjusts excess and deficiency
so that there is perfect balance.
It takes from what is too much
and gives to what isn’t enough.
Those who try to control,
who use force to protect their power,
go against the direction of the Tao.
They take from those who don’t have enough
and give to those who have far too much.
The Master can keep giving
because there is no end to her wealth.
She acts without expectation,
succeeds without taking credit,
and doesn’t think that she is better
than anyone else.
(translation by Stephen Mitchell, 1995)
The Tao of Heaven
Is like drawing a bow
Lower that which is high
Raise that which is low
Reduce that which has excess
Add to that which is lacking
The Tao of heaven
Reduces the excessive
And adds to the lacking
The Tao of people is not so
It reduces the lacking
In order to offer to the excessive
Who can offer their excess to the world?
Only those who have the Tao
Therefore sages act without conceit
Achieve without claiming credit
They do not wish to display their virtue!
(translation by Derek Lin, 2006)
Charity you say?
I say greed.
Gifts you say?
I say destruction.
Heaven and the Sage live these truths.
(translation by Jeremy M. Miller, 2013)
“May not the Tao be compared to bending a bow? The part of the bow which was high is brought low, and what was low is raised up. So Heaven diminishes where there is superabundance, and supplements where there is deficiency.
It is the Way of Heaven to diminish superabundance, and to supplement deficiency. It is not so with the way of man. He takes away from those who have not enough to add to his own superabundance.
Who can take his own superabundance and therewith serve all under heaven? Only he who is in possession of the Tao!
Therefore the sage acts without claiming the results as his; he achieves his merit and does not rest in it: — he does not wish to display his superiority.”
Excerpt From Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu