TAO TE KING – excerpts
When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good, other things become bad.
Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.
Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your sword and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work and step back – the only way to serenity.
In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.
When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete,
Everybody will respect you.
We join spokes in a wheel,
But it is the center hole that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
But it is the emptiness inside that holds what we want.
We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable.
We work with being,
But it is non-being what we use.
The gentlest thing in the world overcomes the hardest thing in the world.
That which has no substance
enters where there is no space.
Teaching without words, performing without actions –
That is the Master’s way.
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.
The mark of moderate man is the freedom from his ideas.
Tolerant like the sky, all-pervading like sunlight,
Firm like a mountain, firm like a tree in the wind,
He has no destination in view
And makes use of anything that life brings on his way.
True words aren’t eloquent; eloquent words aren’t true.
Wise men don’t need to prove their point;
Men who need to prove their point aren’t wise.
Nothing in this world is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet, for disolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it.
The soft overcomes the hard, the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true, but few can put it into practise.