The te

THE TE

1.

Those people who possess the highest degree of Integrity,

Don’t seek to show it.

That’s how you know they have it.

Other people brag about how much Integrity

They have.

That’s how you know they don’t.

People with Integrity don’t do anything,

And they always get the job done.

People without, do everything.

They are always busy, doing something.

And nothing gets done.

People who are kind, do unto others to be kind.

They act without thinking and do the right thing.

People who are righteous do unto others as they see fit.

They act with malice aforethought and screw everything up.

And when nobody responds,

They roll up their sleeves and are itching for a fight.

If you are not in touch with Tao

You can still have your Integrity.

If you don’t have Integrity you can still be kind.

If you can’t be kind there is always truthfulness.

If you can’t be truthful,

All that is left is righteousness.

Righteousness is just a pale imitation of Tao,

And is the beginning of disorder.

Being judgmental is the beginning of stupidity.

Thus the Taoist lives by what is real and ignores all the noise.

Ignore everything else, focus on Tao.

2.

From the very beginning there was Tao.

Tao makes heaven pure and bright.

Tao makes solid the earth.

Tao gives birth to our immortal soul.

Tao fills the valley’s void.

Tao gives authority to faithful leaders.

Tao gives life to all.

All of this is made possible by Tao.

Without Tao,

Heaven would crumble,

Earth would collapse,

Our souls would fail,

Valleys would dry up,

Leaders would stumble and fall,

All life would not be.

However high, however grand,

All life would simply fade away.

Humility keeps us humble.

Our faithful leaders need to keep their feet on the ground,

Their nose to the grind stone,

And their eyes, on Tao.

Do not make yourself all shiny and new,

Instead, make yourself ordinary

And green.

3.

Tao moves by not pressing forward.

The meek and the mild, these mark the deeds of Tao.

Everything is everything because it exists.

It exists because it came from Tao.

4.

When the Simple hear about Tao,

They follow Tao, they practice Tao,

And get right with Tao.

When the Ordinary hear about Tao,

They try real hard,

For awhile, maybe longer,

To get right with Tao,

But in the end, they always give up.

When the Smart hear about Tao,

They laugh,

And laugh, And laugh.

If they did not laugh,

It would not be Tao.

The Ancient Taoist said:

“The path toward enlightenment

Has a dark side.

“The path that leads forward

Turns back on itself.

“The easy path

Is rugged and hard.

“High values rise from the bottom.

“True beauty offends the eye.

“Virtues are vices.  Truth:  imaginary.”

It is hard to make:

The corners of a square,

The void of a vessel,

The music you don’t hear,

The image you don’t see.

Tao is hidden to us

And has no name.

Yet, Tao alone is the source of everything

5.

First there was Tao.

The Tao was one.

The one became two.

The two became three.

The three became everything else.

Everything emerges from Tao,

Everything returns to Tao.

While they are here, they have the breath of life in them.

People hate to be lonely,

Hate to be called “unworthy” and “insignificant”.

But that is how Taoist see themselves.

Some things are made great by being little,

Other things are made small because they are great.

Remember this: “Violence begets violence.”

“Those who live by the sword,

Die by the sword.”

This is my motto.  Take it to heart.

6.

The softest force can overcome the hardest obsticle.

That which has no substance enters where there is no opening.

This is how I know the value of action without doing.

Silent teachings

And the power of nothing

Are understood by only a few.

7.

Your body or your soul:

Which is more important?

Your money or your life:

Which is worth more?

A gain or a loss:

Which is more dangerous?

To keep life and lose other things

Or

To keep them,

When they only bring sorrow and pain,

And lose your life?

If you hold too tightly to your possessions,

It will only cause you grief.

If you hold too tightly to your money,

It will only cause you to be miserable.

Being content with what you have is not a sin.

Knowing when to stop is not a fault.

Staying out of trouble is not cowardly.

This is the secret to a long life and lasting success.

8.

Great achievements should seem like mistakes.

Great fullness should seem empty.

Great straightness should seem crooked.

Great skill should seem clumsy.

Great eloquence should sound like gibberish.

If it’s cold, move around to stay warm.

If it’s hot, sit still, stay cool.

But, no matter the weather,

Stay calm

And everything around you will sort itself out.

9.

When the world is right with Tao

Horses are used to draw dung-carts to the field.

When the world ignores Tao

War-horses are bred on the border lands.

There is nothing worse than unbridled greed,

Except, maybe, for being discontent with one’s lot in life and wanting more.

Therefore, be happy to have what you have.

10.

You do not have to go outside to understand what’s happening in the world.

You do not have to look out a window to see the hand of Tao.

Do not wander around looking for what isn’t there.

The farther you go the less you know.

Remember,

Wherever you go, there you are.

Learn without learning

See without seeing

Do without doing.

Everything works out in the end.

11.

In the pursuit of learning, something new is learned every day.
In the pursuit of Tao, something is let go every day.

Do less and less until you come to action without striving.
When you get this right, nothing remains undone.

Everything is gained by letting them take their course.
Nothing can be gained by interfering.

12.

Do not think about yourself.

Think of others first.

Be kind to the good,

Be kind to the bad,

Thus kindess multiplies.

Be faithful to the faithful,

Be faithful to the faithless

Thus faithfulness multiplies.

The world should see you as detached

And humble, and often confused.

Yet, they will listen

Because of your child-like innocence.

13.

Some men come, all men go, some may come again.

Some come for life.

Some come for death.

Some come for life but turn to death.

Why?

Because they value life too much.

Someone who truly understands life

Can walk through the jungle without fear,

Or cross a battlefield unarmed.

Wild animal and weapons cannot kill him.

Why?

Because he is so full of life, there is no place in him for death to enter in.

14.

Tao gives life to all living things,

And nourishes each with its overflowing power.

And each, in turn, pays tribute to the power.

Tao gives life without expecting anything in return.

So it is that Tao births them, nurses them, and completes them,

Makes them mature, protects and shelters and loves them.

Tao does all of this and more,

And still does not control you.

This is the secret virtue of Tao.

15.

Everything has a common beginning,

And Tao is the mother of all things.

If you know the Mother

You will know the child.

If you know the child and honor the mother

All the days of your life

You will be free.

Shut up and stand still

And your strength will endure.

Run your mouth all the time

And all is lost.

It takes insight to see the sublime.

It takes strength to yield to a gentle force.

Cling to your insight,

Cling to your strength,

And you will find peace.

That’s how to get right with Tao.

16.

If I were king,

I would walk with Tao and govern according to Tao.

My only fears would be becoming boastful,

Messing things up and

Leading the people astray and losing Tao.

It is not difficult to get right with Tao,

The path is straight and smooth,

Yet people are easily distracted,

They prefer the side roads and sideshows.

In the real world, the courts and their grounds are well kept and well stocked,

But the fields are full of weeds,

And the granaries are empty.

In the real world, kings and queens wear elegant robes,

And carry sharp knives.

They pamper themselves with food and drink.

They live the high life.

They own more than they can ever use.

They are nothing more than thugs and thieves.

This is not Tao.

17.

What is planted in Tao cannot be uprooted.

What is tied to Tao cannot be loosed.

It is to be honored from generation to generation.

When you nurture Tao within yourself, Virtue will be real.

When you nurture Tao within your house, Virtue will be abundant.

When you nurture Tao within your village, Virtue will last

When you nurture Tao within your country, Virtue will abound.

When you nurture Tao within your world, Virtue will be universal.

In this way, Tao will be known by all.

How do I know this is true?  I know, because I know.

18.

A person who walks with Tao is like an infant.

Insects will not sting,

Wild animals will not pounce,

Birds of prey will not strike.

An infant has soft bones and weak muscles but has a firm grip.

A child knows nothing of sex but can still become aroused.

A baby can cry all day and not get hoarse,

That’s because he is one with Tao.

If you are one with Tao, you know contentment.

If you are content you know enlightenment.

It is not healthy to try to prolong your life by artificial means. 

It is unnatural to impose the will of man upon the body.

People waste time and energy

Trying to be strong and look beautiful

And in the end,

Their strength and beauty fade and decay

This is not the way of Tao.

That which goes against the way of Tao

will ultimately crumble and fade away.

19.

Those who know Tao, don’t talk about it.

Those who always talk about it, don’t know it.

Shut up.

Sit still.

Relax.

And then you can:

Blunt sharp points,

Unravel complicated things,

Temper brightness,

And bring peace to the unruly.

This is called the Mystery of Eveness.

Those who avhieve this cannot be contained, cannot be kept afar.

They cannot win, they cannot lose.

They have no honor, they have no disgrace.

This above all is the nobelest state.

20.

A country can be ruled with rules,

A war can be won with strategy and war-craft,

But everything can be had by doing nothing;

By being free of action and purpose.

How do I know?  I know because I know.

The more rules to follow the poorer the people.

The more weapons they have the more unruly they are.

The crazier their thoughts, the weirder the stuff that happens.

The more laws that are passed, the more thugs and thieves arise.

A wise leader does nothing

And the people transform themselves.

A wise leader says nothing

And the people straighten themselves.

A wise leader controls nothing

And the people prosper by themselves.

A wise leader wants for nothing

And the people become simple themselves.

21.

A nation ruled by a light hand may seem most unwise,

But the people live simple, good lives.

A nation ruled by a heavy hand may seem most wise,

But the people are cunning and discontent.

Happiness brings misery,

Misery brings joy,

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Today you’re in, tomorrow you’re out.

High fashion hides a multitude of sins.

In this crazy, topsy-turvy world,

No wonder we are all confused.

Therefore, be:

Sharp without cutting,

Honest without provocation,

Bright without flashiness.

22.

Good Leadership like good service,

It is best practiced in moderation.

Practice moderation and you will understand Tao.

Understanding Tao brings an abundance of Virtue.

This Virtue cannot be conquered.

The Virtue that cannot be conquered has no limits.

Only those with limitless Virtue are fit to lead.

Only a leader in touch with Tao will endure

By having deep roots in firm soil.

Focus on Tao

And you will see clearly

All the days of your life.

23.

Running a country is like cooking a small fish.

When everyone is ruled according to Tao,

Demons and devils do not manifest,

They do no harm.

They are not the only ones with power

And do no harm.

The wise leader, in touch with Tao, also has power,

And does no harm.

When a good and wise leader does no harm,

Power flows to the people

And they do the right thing.

24.

A great country is like the low lands

Where all of the streams flow into one.

Yin overcomes Yang by stillness,

Even though stillness is seen as passive.

A great country wins by yielding to a little country.

A little country wins by yielding to a great country.

If you yield to someone less powerful, you gain a follower,

If you yield to someone more powerful, you gain a favor.

To get ahead, you must lay low,

Bide your time,

And wait for the power to come to you.

That way everybody wins.

25.

Of ten thousand things

Tao has the most honored place.

It is the treasure of the good man,

It is the protection of the evil man.

Good words and good deeds go hand-in-hand;

They can lift you above the rest.

Even malcontents are not abandoned by Tao.

When the rich and powerful

Ascend to the throne

And everyone lines up to kiss their ass,

It is better to shut up,

sit still,

And give praise to the Tao.

In days of old,

Why was Tao valued?

Because if you sought Tao you found Tao,

And you could escape from what was hounding you.

This is why Tao is so valued.

26.

Do nothing.

Act without striving.

Do not work so hard to do it.

Learn to appreciate the everyday things.

Find flavor in the tasteless.

Enlarge the small.

Increase the few.

Repay hurt with kindness.

Do what is difficult while it is still easy.

Prepare the great while it is still small.

Don’t take on more than you can do

And great things will happen.

Promises made lightly inspire little faith.

Taking shortcut to make things easy

will only make things harder in the long run.

Be aware of how difficult things can be,

And you will never be overwhelmed by them.

27.

It is easy to hold things that sit still.

It is easy to handle a problem before it starts.

It is easy to break something that is brittle.

It is easy to lose something when it is small.

Deal with a situation before it becomes a problem.

Deal with disorder before it gets out of hand.

Big trees begin as tiny seeds.

Big buildings begin as tiny heaps.

Big journeys begin as tiny steps.

Interfering people do more harm than good.

Clingy people lose their hold on everything.

Therefore, act without striving and do no harm,

Release and hold on to it all.

People often sabotage their own success.

So focus as much on the ending

As you do on the beginning.

Desire freedom from desire.

Value things hard to value.

Learn without learning.

Teach without teaching.

Point out the pointless.

Thus ten thousand things can find their true nature

Without you in control.

28.

In anciet times,

Taoist leaders did not use Tao to bring enlightenment.

They helped people find simplicity.

People who know everything

Can’t be taught anything.

A leader who tries to be clever

Will screw everything up.

A leader who tries to keep it simple

Will make everything right.

These are your two choices.

If you understand this

You will understand the power of Tao called Mystic Virtue.

It is a power,

Very deep,

Very extensive,

It penetrates all levels of existence,

And can lead ten thousand things back toward harmony.

29.

The ocean is greater than all the rivers that flow into it

Because it is lower than them.

A leader leads, not by talking down to people,

Rather he leads by being lower than them.

He does not parade around out front,

Rather he cleans up from behind.

In this way, his people are free to come and go as they please

And do not feel his heavy weight or crushing blows.

All the world rejoices with a leader like this.

You cannot fight with him,

Because he will not fight with you.

30.

Everywhere I go the greatness of Tao goes.

Everywhere I go Tao seems so small.

It is unlike anything else on Earth.

If it were, it wouldn’t seem so small.

Three things I value:

The first is gentleness,

The second is efficiency,

The third is not being first.

Because I am gentle I can be courageous.

Because I am efficient I can be generous.

Because I am not first I can be a leader.

People forgo gentleness to prove they are courageous.

People forgo efficiency to prove they are generous.

People forgo last place to prove they can die first.

Yield to gentleness, even on the battlefield,

And heaven will yield to you.

31.

A veteran warrior does not rush to war.

A veteran fighter does not rush to anger.

A veteran hero does not rush to vengeance.

A veteran business man does not rush to control.

This is known as the Virtue of Modesty.

It is the best way to use other men’s abilities.

As it was in days of old,

It is an excellent way to get right with Tao.

32.

The veterans of wars have often said:

“I do not dare to host a war,

I much prefer to be a guest.

“I do not dare advance an inch,

I much prefer to give a foot.”

This is how to win a war:

Rally troop where there are no troops to rally,

Bare empty arms,

Arm yourself without weapons,

And advance without marching.

There is no greater sin than to engage in war lightly.

To do so is a costly mistake.

When at last two swords must cross,

He who fights last, lives not to fight another day.

33.

It is easy to understand my words.

It is easy to put them to practice.

Yet, nobody does.

My words come from Tao

And Tao alone is my authority.

Many do not understand any of this, and don’t get me at all.

Those who do are few,

That’s why they are the ones to respect.

That’s why I live a simple life

And keep my thoughts to myself.

34.

To know that you know that you don’t know is enlightenment.

To know what you know and think you know more is a disease.

The pain of this disease, can save you from it

The wise man does not have it.

He knows the pain and the disease are one and the same.

He knows that he knows that he does not want it.

35.

When people lack the good sense

To fear what they ought to fear,

The universe will give them something to fear

And disaster will descend upon them.

Pay attention to your everyday life,

Do not forget on what your life depends.

Avoid indulgences and the weariness of life will not bog you down.

The wise man knows that he knows himself, so he doesn’t have to show off.

The wise man knows that he loves himself, so he doesn’t have to be applauded.

The wise man knows it is better to know this than that.

36.

He who dares to do wrong will be put to death.

He who is not so bold will be put to life.

Of these two, one seems to have the advantage.

When heaven strikes a man down, who is to blame?

No one can say for sure.

This is the way of Tao.

To overcome, do not struggle,

To get a response, do not speak,

To attract, do not beckon,

To succeed, do not plan.

The net of heaven is big, but nothing slips through.

37.

When people do not fear death,

What good does it do to threaten them with death?

Where people fear death and evil-doers are executed

Who then would dare do wrong?

Let the executioner take care of the executions,

Let the rest of us tend to our own affairs,

Lest we cut off our hands in spite of our nose.

38.

Why are people starving?

Because the government messes with them.

That’s why.

Why are people so unruly?

Because the government messes with them.

That’s why.

Why are people not afraid to die?

Because the government messes with them.

That’s why.

Indeed, it is far wiser to ignore life altogether,

Than to place a value on it.

39.

At birth the body is supple and soft.

At death the body is stiff and hard.

Trees and plants begin soft and flexible,

At the end they are brittle; they dry up and blow away.

Ridged and strong are the angels of death.

Soft and weak are the angels of life.

The strong shall not overcome,

The mighty tree will invite the axe.

So it is, that strength and force are inferior

And softness and gentleness are superior.

40.

They way of heaven is like bending a bow.

The high end is brought down,

The low end is pulled up.

Tao takes energy from those who have too much,

And gives it to those who have too little.

This is the way of Tao,

Not the way of man.

The man that can is fit to lead.

Act without malice of thought.

Work without arrogance and move on quietly.

Stay humble.

41.

Nothing is softer,

More yielding than water.

But is has no equal

In wearing down hard things.

If everyone knows that soft overcomes hard,

That yielding overcomes force,

Then why don’t they do it?

Only the one who bears the weight of the world

Is fit for sacrifice.

Only the one who bears the sins of others

Is fit to be king.

True words seem a paradox to be.

42.

Sometimes, when peace is made

Resentment remains on one side or the other.

How can this be beneficial to either?

Stick to your end of the agreement.

He who has virtue will stick to the plan,

He who has none will stick to himself.

Tao doesn’t play favorites

It is always on the side of the man

Who’s on the side of Tao.

43.

There once was a small country,

With very few people.

They had machines that made their work

Faster and easier.

But they did not use them.

They had a healthy fear of death,

And did not wander around looking for it.

They had boats and carriages, but no occasion to use them.

They had arms and armor, but no occasion to use them.

They spoke plain words,

They ate plain food,

They dwelled in plain huts,

They were content

And happy in their simple ways.

Across the way, however,

Was another state

With bright lights and barking dogs.

But the people had no interest in it.

They stayed at home, grew old together, and died.

They got it right with Tao.

44.

Sincere words are not eloquent.

Fancy words are not sincere.

Those who know Tao do not argue about it.

Those who don’t, do.

Those who know Tao do not have an expensive education.

Those who do, don’t.

Do not hoard.

The more you give the more you get.

The more you get the more you give.

With all the sharpness at its disposal, the Tao does not cut.

With all your doings, do not labor,

And all will be right with the universe.

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