Archives For Tao Te Ching

Words of truth are not pleasing.

Pleasing words are not truthful.

The wise one does not argue.

He who argues is not wise.

A wise man of Tao knows the subtle truth,

And may not be learned.

A learned person is knowledgeable but may not know the subtle truth of Tao.

A saint does not possess and accumulate surplus for personal desire.

The more he helps others, the richer his life becomes.

The more he gives to others, the more he gets in return.

The Tao of Nature benefits and does not harm.

The Way of a saint is to act naturally without contention.

~ Lau Tzu, Tao Te Ching

An ideal nation is small and with few people.

Although there are abundant weapons, there is no need for the use.

Let the people cherish their life and not pursue after fame and wealth,

So that they have no intention to move to faraway places.

Although there are boats and carriages, no one will ride them.

Although there are weapons and armors, there is no occasion to display them.

Let the people return to the ancient simple life where knotting ropes were used to record every event.

People would then enjoy the simple food, simple clothing, and be contented with a simple life.

And they shall live happily with the traditional customs.

Neighbors of the nations overlook one another in the near distance.

The barks of dogs and crowing of cocks can be heard.

Yet people are so contented that they enjoy their life without ever visiting each other.

~ Lau Tzu, Tao Te Ching

When a great resentment has resulted,

Even if one tries to reconcile and make peace,

There is bound to leave some remaining resentment.

Thus, how can this be considered as a good settlement?

Therefore, a saint cultivates himself with introspection and self-discipline without blaming others for faults.

This is like the ancient custom which acts by holding on to the left part of the tally as a debtor that demands nothing from others.

Hence, a person of virtue acts as if he were the debtor.

And a person without virtue acts as if he were the creditor that demands only from others.

The Tao of Nature is impersonal which makes no exception to anyone.

It always assists those that are kind and virtuous.

~ Lau Tzu, Tao Te Ching

There is nothing in this world that is softer and meeker than water.

Even those that can conquer the strong and hard,

Are still not superior than water.

Nothing can substitute it.

Hence, what is soft can overcome the strong.

What is gentle can overcome the strength.

This is known by the world.

However, people cannot put it into practice.

Therefore, the saint said as follow:

He who can take the disgrace of a nation,

Is said to be the master of the nation.

He who can bear the misfortune of a nation,

Is said to be the ruler of the world.

Truthful words may seem to be the reverse of worldly practices.

~ Lau Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Tao gives birth to all things.

And Te (virtue) nurtures them.

Matter shapes them.

The natural environment matures them.

Therefore, all things abide by Tao and honor Te.

Although Tao deserves reverence and Te deserves honor,

They are not demanded by decree,

But is a result of the Nature Way.

Hence, Tao gives life to all beings and Te nurtures, grows, fosters, develops, matures, supports, and protects them.

Tao gives birth to life and yet claims no possession.

It gives support without holding on to the merit.

It matures them but does not take control of.

This is called the Mystic Te.


~ Lau Tzu, Tao Te Ching

The Tao of Nature is like stretching a bow.

When the stretch is too high, it needs to be pressed down.

When the stretch is too low, it needs to be raised high.

The excess will be reduced.

The deficient will be replenished.

The Tao of Nature is to reduce the excessive and to replenish the insufficient.

The Tao of man, however is otherwise.

It takes from the needy to serve those who already have a surplus.

Who can spare one’s surplus to serve the world?

A person of Tao.

Thus, a saint acts without holding on to the achievements.

He accomplishes but does not claim for credit.

He has no desire to distinguish himself.

~ Lau Tzu, Tao Te Ching

When a man is alive, he is soft and supple.

When he dies, the body becomes hard and stiff.

When a plant is alive, it is soft and flexible.

When it is dead, it becomes dry and brittle.

Therefore, hard and rigid shall lead to death.

Soft and gentle shall lead to life.

Thus, a strong army with rigid force shall not win.

A thick and big tree will be cut down for its use.

The big and strong will take an inferior position.

The soft and gentle will take superior position.

~ Lau Tzu, Tao Te Ching

People starved because the ruler taxed too heavily.

People are difficult to be ruled,

Because the ruler governs with personal desire and establishes too many laws to confuse the people.

Therefore the people are difficult to be ruled.

People take death lightly,

Because the ruler pursues after luxurious life and depletes the people.

Therefore the people take death lightly.

One who does not value his life with self-desire, truly cherishes his life.

~ Lau Tzu, Tao Te Ching

When people do not fear death,

There is no use trying to threaten them with death.

If people value their lives, and those who break the law were being executed,

Then who would dare to commit criminal act?

The life and death of all beings are handled by the executioner of Nature.

Those who substitute the nature executioner to kill,

Is like replacing the master carpenter to chop the wood.

One who substitutes the master carpenter to chop the wood,

Rarely does not hurt his hands.

~ Lau Tzu, Tao Te Ching

He who is brave in being daring, acts recklessly and shall be killed.

He who is brave but acts cautiously and kindly shall live.

Of these two, one is beneficial while the other is harmful.

What nature wishes, who may know what the reasons are?

Thus, the saint is aware of the subtlety and profoundness of the Nature’s Way,

So he takes great caution in practicing It.

The Tao of Nature,

Does not contend, yet easily wins.

Does not speak, yet always responds.

Does not summon, yet all things gather.

Does not contemplate as if at ease,

Yet all plans were devised perfectly.

The Law of Nature is like a giant web,

Although sparsely meshed, nothing can slip through.

~ Lau Tzu, Tao Te Ching