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Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing)
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TAO-TE CHING, DAO DE JING SYMBOL Fine weapons are instruments of evil as soldiers can be: quite ill-omened things, often hated.

Those with fine Tao turn away from weapons that are most often hated.

The gentleman favours the left hand side among people in peace; peace people are of good birth. In a fair peace the symbolic left is the place of honour. Yes, a good ruler honours the left and its good omens when at home, but in war this is reversed: On military occasions he favours the right side as the place of war honour. And so he honours the right of bad omens.

The durable, even when he conquers, does hardly regard weapons as lovely things. Weapons and soldiers can be bad and evil-doing tools. They are not often the tools of the gentleman and good ruler.

To hold them dear means to delight in them, and so to delight in slaughter of men.

And he who delights in the slaughter of men will never get what he looks for out of those that live and function under heaven. In ugly victory there is no beauty,

And who calls it handsome perhaps preaches slaughter.

Use of soldiers [and police] can't be helped, best policy is calm restraint.

Who delights in the slaughter of men wont succeed, wont succeed in ruling the world; and slaying of multitudes should be mourned.

A host that has slain men had better be received with grief and mourning rites; he that has conquered in battle had better be received and celebrated with some mournful funeral custom.. A victory is the grand occasion for funerals.


Best Tao is absolute and eternal. As such it has neither name nor fame.

Its uncunning, cute naiveté, the fabled raw block of wood, and it cant be used by anybody. None in the whole world can master and make use of such basic simplicity. Yet, though seemingly of small value, it could be greater than anything in the universe.

Good kings and barons can keep such unspoiled, inborn nature. If kings and barons would but hold on to it, all beings and things would submit to them well of their own accord. Yes, the best let heaven and earth join, so that the mystic sweet rain falls, all the time beyond the command of men, yet evenly upon all. Let heaven and earth unite to drip sweet dew. And the ten thousand creatures would flock to honour you; for the world would conspire much for sweet dew: Without law or compulsion, men would take up regulations and institutions, sort out names and [try to] live in harmony.

A human civilisation can rise once there are names [principles].

Once the block is carved, there will be such names; they are wide differentiations of things. But as soon as there are [principles and neatly differentiated] names, know that it is time to stop. Its well to know where to stop for calm and poise. As soon as there are names [and study] it is time to stop.

By knowing when it is time to stop, much danger could be avoided.

In the world Tao can be likened to rivers that turn into wider rivers and eventually course into some sea. All will come to and be clasped by one and more such Tao rivers -and to [some] Tao all under heaven will come, as streams and torrents flow into a great river or sea [of universal Tao].


He who knows others is learned;

But he who knows himself is wise, nay, in the end it could be illumined.

He who conquers others has strength of muscles;

To conquer oneself is hard. So he who conquers himself is strong.

To be content with what one has is to feel rich; so let the contented feel rich.

Next: He who works, may eventually succeed. And he one who acts with vigour has will. Even he who works through sordid violence can get his way - The determined one has strength of will.

What stays in its place can endure. He who does not lose his centre can last quite long, he who hardly loses his place (with such as Tao).

The one ho dies but does not really perish enjoys long life. He who dies yet (his power) remains has long life. When such a one dies he should hardly be thought of as [too] lost; there is no other longevity [than long life].


Some great Tao can flow everywhere. Like a flood it can go left or right. Like a drifting boat it can go this way or that.

All things [eventually] derive their life from it. It hardly denies or disowns them.

It accomplishes its task, but seem to claim no credit for it. It hardly takes possession of anyone, either.

So though it covers all there is like some garment, it hardly takes possession. It can clothe and feed all beings but hardly claims to be guru over them.

Therefore it can perhaps be called low and quite free from insignificant desires.

To turn into the home of all things, do not make any outer claims. (Implied; cf. Y)

See into how Tao is by non-desiring empty mind. (Cf. Y)

Ten thousand [hungry] creatures obey a Tao master and his ways, though they hardly understand it or how. Tao is called great. And the man who lives it or a Tao repertoire is called great as well.

The wise man never strives [verbally] for the great. To the end the wise Tao man does not claim any outer greatness. Thus [some degree of subtle Vossa-] greatness is installed.

And the wise man never at any time hardly ever makes a show of greatness. By such a dogged, keen strategy some [clowns] achieves greatness.


Hold the great symbol and great form of Tao know-how. He who visualises or holds the great symbol form at its best can go about his work (in such as his empire), yet without doing harm. An then all the world follows. At last a lot of people will come and meet no harm. All in peace, quietness and security, commonwealth. All can enjoy comfort and health.

Sound of music, smell of good dishes will make the passing stranger pause. Yes, offer music and dainties, very good things to eat and the [odd], passing and wayfaring stranger will stays.

How different the words that Tao gives forth! So thin, insipid, so flavour- or tasteless! Still Tao is mild to the taste.

Looked at, it can't be seen. So look at Tao; it is quite imperceptible. If one looks for Tao, there is hardly anything solid to see.

If one listens for it, there is nothing loud to hear. We listen to this inaudible [thing].

If one uses it, its supply never fails. So use it; it is inexhaustible.


What is in the end to be shrunk can first be stretched. The one who is to be made to dwindle (in power) can first be caused to expand; and then it is necessary first to expand.

Whatever is to be weakened must begin by being made strong [enough for it first of all].

He who is to be laid low can first be exalted to power. So: first promote, next destroy. Or: To destroy, first promote.

What is to be overthrown must begin by being set up. He who would be a taker must begin as a giver.

And this is the fine art. of dimming" one's light.

According to this [set-up] the soft overcomes the hard; and the weak, the strong. [Such things can happens, but most often not, or what?]

Fish should be left in the deep pool, not taken away from water. And sharp weapons of the state should not be displayed, but left where nobody can see them.


The Tao never does; it takes no action. Through it everything is done, yet there is nothing left undone.

If good kings and barons would master some fit Tao and keep it, all things in the world should transform spontaneously.

When reformed and rising to action, let all influenced be restrained by the blankness of the unnamed, the nameless pristine simplicity. Yes, if after being transformed they should desire to act, someone has to restrain them with simplicity that has no name.

Its an unnamed blankness; it could bring dispassion; As such nameless pristine simplicity is stripped of desire. So to be truly, artfully dispassionate, be free of desires and still. Simple wit and sense is free of desires.

By stripping of desire true [yoga] rest is achieved almost of itself, the whole [body or] empire will be at rest of its own accord. And next the world [perhaps of somebody] could get at peace of its own accord.


The two oldest and now found Tao De Jing documents from some centuries before Christ, start with hymn 38 and go on from there. In other writings, that were handed over, a division between verses 1-38 and verses 38-81 was also set up during the reign of Han Wonti (179-157 BC). The common name, Book of Might (i.e. te) was given to verses 38-81.


The man of superior [scholar] virtue is hardly (conscious of his) virtue, and so he is virtuous.

Superior virtue is hardly (conscious of) its virtue. [Or could it be that superior virtue is hardly virtue at all?]

The high-standing man hardly ever shows off that he has some supreme powers or prowess deep inside himself. He keeps such powers, and in this way he really owns virtue.

The man of low virtue is hardly losing virtue, and so he is devoid of virtue. The man of low virtue can lose sight of some virtue by never losing sight of it. Rather low or indecent power" can't get rid of the appearance of being some power'; [There is no scoffed, angrily sulking Messiah power'].

No one thinks a man of highest calibre acts. No one thinks he ever acts with ulterior motives.

The man of low virtue acts from himself, and very often with an ulterior motive - and is so regarded -

The man of super-kindness also acts, but with no irksome, ulterior motives. But all folks never think the superman acts.

The man of superior justice acts but has no ulterior motive to do so, and maybe with an ulterior motive, as he who is best in ritual acts not merely acts. (Yes, when) the man of superior morality acts and finds no response, he rolls up his sleeves and stretches his arms or advances upon them to force it on others.


Only when Tao is lost does [said] virtue arise. When [spoken-of] virtue is lost, only then does [a parade of] kind humanity rise. Such good kindness is lost, then (comes some sort of or endorsement of) just moral: When humanist riches deep inside are lost, only then comes [conform, outer-directed] normal righteousness. When righteousness is lost, only then propriety pops up.

[And now it stands up: Boss-given, endorsed] morality can be the thinning out of loyalty and honesty of heart and the start of chaos. [Inner, hearty] morality lost, then propriety or semi-ritual. So [much] ritual endorsement could be the mere husk of loyalty and promise-keeping. [And so, all in all,] good, seemly propriety is a superficial expression of loyalty and faithfulness, and the start of chaos or disorder.

Those who are the first to know, let words of Tao flower, and in the end it is an origin of folly. From this the great or noble man dwells in the solid, heavy and thick (base), and not in the superficial or thinned (end). Yes, he dwells in reality, which is a fruit, and not in the show of appearances, or flowering (expression).

Therefore he rejects the one and accepts the other.


There were those in old times who grasped and were possessed of the one:

The heaven was much clarified by attaining it.

Likewise, the earth got stable or calm by the same [rotating] measure; and demon spirits or gods were spiritualised, became divine.

The valley likewise became full, the abyss replenished.

By staying in the one, all creatures lived and grew.

By staying in some basic unity, [Russian] princes and dukes became the ennobled of the people - That was how each became so.

Barons and princes direct their people [in some ways]. It is some inner fabric of unified wholeness that sees to it.

[Man-felt] heaven could soon split open without fundamental clarity. Without basic clarity, heavens might become torn.

Without resting, steady stability, the earth might quake and tip over.

Without spiritual power, the gods might wither and crumble,

Without being filled, the valleys might crack and run dry.

If the myriad things had not thus lived and grown all would end without the life-giving sustenance of power. Without the ennobling power, the honourable kings and barons in high places, even the directors of their people, might stumble, some overthrown.

So the humble is the stem upon which the mighty grows. Yes, humble oneness is the basis for all honour. So even the exalted ones depend upon the lowly for their base. That could be [one reason] why [Russian] princes and dukes call themselves the orphaned," the lonely one," the unworthy," or the truly ill-provided. Is it not true then that they [to some extent] depend upon common man for support, or on hard ruler might rooting itself upon humility?

Just enumerate all the parts of a chariot. and you still have no [unified construct, no] chariot

So [learn to] rumble like rocks rather than jingle like jade.


Reversion is the action of Tao. In Tao the only motion is a return;

And the one useful quality is named soft [or polite] gentleness, So polite or weak gentleness [or humility] is the function of Tao.

The creatures and things of this world come from being. And being from not-yet-being.


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