Translation by Ascending Hall - Cleveland, Ohio

Tao Te Ching Chapters


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Chapter 1 - Tao

1 The Tao voiced is no longer the eternal Tao.
   The name written is no longer the eternal name.

2 Nameless is the source of Heaven and Earth.
   Name is the seal of motherhood.

3 Stilled, spirit peers into the subtle.
   Stirred, soul touches the manifest.

4 Both spring from the same source yet bear different names.
   Together, mystery within the mystery,
   The door to all wonders.

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Chapter 2 - Heaven

1 Below heaven
   Perceives beauty as beauty
   In the shadow of ugliness;
   Knows goodness as goodness
   In the shroud of evil.

2 Since
   Being and non-being birth one another,
   Difficulty and ease fulfill each other,
   Long and short measure one another,
   High and low flow into each other,
   Voice and silence harmonize one another,
   Before and after follow each other.

3 Therefore the sage
   Dwells in desireless affairs,
   Radiates wordless teaching.

4 As such, all things
   Act without beginning,
   Nourish without possessing,
   Accomplish without claiming.

5 Only selflessness sustains.

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Chapter 3 - Without

1 Without idolizing the wise, people will not compete;
   Without prizing rare goods, people will not steal;
   Without seeing the desirable, people will not lust.

2 So the sage's ways are:
   Emptying the heart,
   Vitalizing the gut,
   Softening the will,
   Strengthening the character.

3 Thus, common folk care not to know.
   The privileged dare not to blow.
   Then nothing is beyond ruling.

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Chapter 4 - Thrust

1 Tao thrusts and functions
   And is never exhausted.

2 Allah! The source of all.

3 Blunting the sharp edges,
   Unraveling the tangles,
   Husbanding into the light,
   Being as dust.

4 Ah! Limpid! Only seeming to exist.

5 I do not know whose seed it is,
   This image preceding the Creator.

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Chapter 5 - Center

1 Nature has no benevolence,
   It treats all things like strawdogs;
   The sage has no benevolence,
   He treats all people like strawdogs.

2 In between heaven and earth seems like a bellows:
   Empty, yet inexhaustible,
   Force it, and it backfires.

3 Taking in too much is exhausting,
   Why not be centered?

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Chapter 6 - Valley

1 Valley-spirit is undying.
   It is known as mystic milk.

2 The fountain of the mystic milk,
   Is named the root of heaven and earth.

3 Wafting, it seems present.
   Drink it, it is nurturing.

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Chapter 7 - Birth

1 Heaven is eternal, earth is long-lasting.

2 What makes this so is they do not birth themselves.
   So they are eternal and long-lasting.

3 Thus the sage,
   Withdraws from the body, so the body comes to the fore.
   Goes beyond the body, so the body comes to the fore.
   Goes beyond the body, so the body exists of itself.

4 Not relying non-personal propulsion,
   Self is fulfilled.

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Chapter 8 - Auspicious

1 Eminent goodness is like water.

2 Water benefits all things with its compelling strength.
   It dwells in the lowliest places.
   Thus it is like the Tao.

3 Reside in an auspicious place,
   Intend from abundant resource,
   Breathe through mountain sky,
   Speak simple trust,
   Orchestrate divine law,
   Labor with refined ability,
   Catch the definitive moment.

4 As a result,
   There is no competition or concern.

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Chapter 9 - Merit

1 Possessiveness causes overflow; just let it be.
   Forced consent cannot endure.
   A house decorated with gold and jade is not secure.
   Pride in royalty and wealth is self-punitive.

2 When meritorious work is done, body withdraws,
   This is the Tao of heaven.

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Chapter 10 - Mysterious

1 Donning the spirit and soul, and embracing them into
   Oneness,
   Can they come apart?
   Concentrating the Qi until the body is supple,
   Is this not the infant?
   Cleansing the worldly mystery behind the lens of perception,
   Can a speck exist?
   Loving the people and shepherding the country,
   Is this not the beknown?
   The opening and closing of Heavenly Gate,
   Is this not the feminine?
   Comprehending the four corners,
   Is this not the known?

2 Birthing and nourishing;
   Begetting but not possessing,
   Enhancing but not dominating.

3 This is Mysterious Action.

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Chapter 11 - Hub

1 Thirty spokes join at one hub,
   Yet the emptiness inside the hub makes the vehicle
   functional;
   Clay is molded into a vessel,
   Yet its hollowness makes the vessel useful;
   Windows and doors frame the house,
   Yet its openness makes the room livable.

2 So, having permits benefit,
   Not-having permits service.

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Chapter 12 - Belly

1 Five colors blind the eyes.
   Racing and hunting madden the heart.
   Pursuing what is rare makes action deceitful.
   Five flavors dull the palate.
   Five tones deafen the ears.

2 So, the sage's method is for the belly, not for the eyes.
   He abandons the latter and abides in the former.

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Chapter 13 – Divine Creation

1 Favor and disgrace are shocking.
   Treasure the biggest disaster, mirrored in the body.

2 Why is it that “favor and disgrace are shocking"?
   Being favored lows.
   Receiving is a shock,
   Losing is also a shock.
   This is why "favor and disgrace are shocking".

3 Why to "treasure the biggest disaster, mirrored in the
   body"?
   Since I have a body, I have disaster.
   When I am no-body, where can disaster be?

4 Thus, if you value the body as you do the world,
   You will be entrusted with the world;
   If you love the body as you do the divine creation,
   You will be blessed with the divine.

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Chapter 14 - Silk

1 What is looked at but not seen is the invisible;
   When is listened to but not heard is the inaudible;
   Where is touched but not felt is the intangible.

2 These three are beyond reckoning,
   When woven, they are one.

3 One:
   Nothing above incomplete;
   Nothing below excluded.
   Searching and pondering, it remains unnamable.

4 It returns to no-thing.
   Its state is indescribable;
   Its form, formless.
   It is the vision beyond focus.

5 Chasing after is endless.
   Catching ahead is illusive.

6 Embrace the Tao of now to manage the day’s affairs and
   know the ancient past.

7 This is the silk of Tao.

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Chapter 15 - Sage

1 The ancient sages of Tao are subtle and mysteriously
   penetrating.
   Their depth is beyond the power of will.

2 Because it is beyond the power of will,
   All we can do is try to describe it:

3 Thus,
   Full of care, as one crossing a wintry stream,
   Attentive, as one cautious of the surroundings,
   Circumspect, as one who is a guest,
   Merging, as one blends into a marsh,
   Simple, like uncarved wood,
   Opaque, like mud,
   Magnificent, like valley.

4 As the murky stills, it becomes clear.
   As the mother bears down, she gives birth.

5 Preserving such a Tao, there is no excess.
   Without excess, one prevails over incompletion.

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Chapter 16 - Emptiness

1 Attaining ultimate emptiness, one abides in pure stillness,
   All things manifest aside.

2 I then observe their return.

3 Heavenly matter breathes as clouds.
   Yet each returns to its own root.
   This is stillness.
   Stillness means returning to destiny.
   Returning to destiny is steadfastness.
   To know steadfastness is enlightenment.
   Not to know steadfastness is to act deadly.
   Acting deadly brings disaster.
   Knowing the steadfast is to allow.
   Allowance is impartial.
   Impartial is regal.
   Regal is heaven.
   Heaven is Tao.
   Tao beyond the body is imperishable.

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Chapter 17 - Mother

1 The Supreme is self-aware.
   Below is the angelic.
   Next is the fearful.
   At the base is mother.

2 Without faith, how can there be trust,
   Even in the face of true words?

3 Meritorious deeds complete affairs.
   Thus, people call me Nature.

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Chapter 18 - Piety

1 When the Great Tao is abandoned,
   There is benevolence and righteousness.
   When intelligence arises,
   It invites thievery.
   When there is family discord,
   The filial piety pulls it together.
   When the country reaches calamity.
   Patriotism unites it.

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Chapter 19 - Simple

1 Give up voice, abandon intelligence, and
   People will benefit a hundredfold.
   Give up benevolence, abandon justice, and
   People will return to filial piety and kindness.
   Give up skill, abandon profit, and
   Thieves will not thrive.

2 These three are palatable but can never be legitimized.
   So just let things be.

3 See the plain and embrace the simple.
   Think less of self and desire little,
   Give up learning, and there will be no worry.

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Chapter 20 - Value

1 How much difference is there between yea and nay?
   How much difference is there between beautiful and ugly?

2 Much of people’s fear results from their inability to objectify
   fear,
   They are not self-cultivating and not centered.

3 Ordinary people are satiated,
   In their sensorial prison while yearning for climatic heights.
   I am anchored without prejudice,
   Like a baby who has not yet cried,
   Fulfilled and beyond the point of no return.

5 Pompous people are ostentatious.
   I am left alone, a fool at heart, as if a pitter-patter.

6 Pompous people are clever and cunning.
   I am alone in my heart:
   A fetus in the sea, endlessly undulating.

7 Ordinary people all have so much,
   I am alone, stubbornly uncultured.

8 Wholly different from everyone else, I value the food from
   mother.

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Chapter 21 - Father

1 The beatific image of virtuous action follows only from the
   Tao.

2 The substance of Tao is boundless and unfathomable.
   Unfathomable and boundless,
   In its center there is image;
   Boundless and unfathomable,
   In its center there is an object;
   Embryonic and dark,
   In its center there is essence;
   The essence is very pure,
   In its center there is trust.
   From now to the days of old,
   Its name never dies,
   Because it is aligned with the principles of all fatherhood.

3 I know all Fatherhood from this.

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Chapter 22 - Stance

1 Those who boast lose their stance.
   He who displays himself is not seen.
   He who justifies himself is not understood.
   He who self-promotes has no merit.
   He who is conceited does not endure.

2 In the sense of Tao,
   This is eating too much and acting too much.
   Then even matter revolt.

3 Those who desire will not endure.

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Chapter 23 - Shepherd

1 Yielding enables completion.
   Expanding enables concentration.
   The hollow enables the plentiful.
   The used enables the new.
   Lack enables sufficiency.
   Excess breeds confusion.

2 Therefore the sage holds oneness as the shepherd of the
    world.

3 He who does not display himself is seen.
   He who does not justify himself is understood.
   He who does not self-promote is meritorious.
   He who does not conceited is endurable.

4 Therefore,
   Without striving, there is no competition.

5 So the old saying, "yielding enables completion." is but a
   few words,
   But with faith, all returns.

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Chapter 24 - Become

1 Well chosen words are sufficient.

2 Gusty winds do not last all morning,
   Cloudbursts do not last all day.
   Why so?

3 Heaven and earth will not last forever,
   How could a human being last!

4 So those who
   Abide in the Tao, become Tao,
   Abide in action, become action,
   Abide in loss, become loss.

5 Becoming action, Tao becomes action.
   Becoming loss, Tao becomes loss.

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Chapter 25 - Originates

1 Matter is formed from the chaos birthing heaven and earth.
   Silent and void.
   Existing alone, without bounds,
   Becoming the mother to heaven and earth.

2 I do not yet know its name, call it Tao.
   With reluctance I call it Great.
   Great refers to the divination.
   Divination refers to what is remote.
   The remote refers to what will revolt.

3 Tao is great.
   Heaven is great.
   Earth is great.
   Kingship is also great.
   These are the four great things in the world,
   Kingship being as one of them.

4 Humanity originates from earth.
   Earth originates from heaven.
   Heaven originates from Tao.
   Tao originates Nature.

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Chapter 26 - Tranquility

1 The heavy roots the light.
   Tranquility masters the restless.

2 Thus, the noble one travels all day without leaving the root.
   Though at the head of highest authority,
   And surrounded by luxury,
   He remains pristine.

3 How could the king of myriad chariots value his body less
   that his country?

4 Being careless loses the root.
   Being restless loses mastery.

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Chapter 27 - Principle

1 A good traveler leaves no trace.
   A good speaker is without artifice.
   A good diviner needs no tool.
   A good guardian uses no locks, yet their doors cannot be
   pried open.
   A good weaver binds no edge, yet their fabric does not
   unravel.

2 Therefore, the sage is good at rescuing people with no
   abandon.
   Nothing of value is lost,
   This is called being in the tow of enlightenment.

3 For everything that is good teaches the good.
   Everything that is not good feeds the good.
   No need to honor the teacher.
   No need to love the material.

4 Though to understand this is truly perplexing,
   It is the subtle principle.

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Chapter 28 - Mechanism

1 Knowing the male while maintaining the female
   Enables the stream of the world.
   In the stream of the world, there is no separation from the
   eternal action.
   No separation from the eternal action returns childhood.

2 Knowing the favor while maintaining the disgrace
   Enables the valley of the world.
   In the valley of the world, eternal action abounds.
   Abundant eternal action returns simplicity.

3 Knowing the white while maintaining the black
   Enables the formation of the world.
   In the formation of the world, eternal action supersedes
   matter.
   Superseding matter, eternal action returns the infinite.

4 Simplicity produces mechanism.
   The sage uses it as the head ruler.
   Great ruling never divides.

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Chapter 29 - Sacred

1 I see those who take over the world and manipulate it, do not
   succeed.

2 The sacred mechanism of the world is beyond manipulation.
   Those who manipulate fail,
   Those who control lose.

3 Matter
   Either leads or follows,
   Either heats or chills,
   Either strengthens or weakens,
   Either enhances or destroys.

4 So the sage abandons extremes, extravagance, and
   multiplicity.

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Chapter 30 - Bounty

1 Using the Tao as the rule for governing the people,
   One does not employ the army to overpower the world,
   For this will backfire.

2 Where the army marches, only thorns and briars thrive.

3 Being good produces bounty,
   Which cannot be seized by power.

4 Fruitful with no pride,
   Fruitful with no fanfare,
   Fruitful with no diminishing,
   Fruitful with no possessiveness.
   This is called fruitful with no force.

5 When matter becomes strong, it declines.
   This is "Not-Tao".
   Dying young is "Not-Tao".

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Chapter 31 - Nobleman

1 The army is the mechanism of bad luck.
   Even the world of elements opposes it.
   Those who desire cannot abide.

2 Thus, the nobleman values more the left side,
   The commander values more the right side.

3 So the army is not the way of nobleman.
   As a mechanism of bad luck,
   He deploys it only as the last resort.
   To deploy it swiftly and destructively is the highest strategy.
   Never relish this.
   If one delights in it, one enjoys killing people.
   Those who enjoy killing cannot receive the favor from the
   world.

4 Fortune inclines to the left,
   Loss inclines to the right.

5 Thus the intellectual commander positions on the left,
   The militaristic commander positions on the right.

6 Eulogizing is an image of sadness,
   After killing the people, all stand in mourning.
   Victory is celebrated as a funeral service.

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Chapter 32 - Natural

1 Tao is ever nameless.

2 Though simplicity is small,
   The world cannot treat it as subservient.
   If lords and rulers hold on to it,
   All things become self-sufficient.

3 Heaven and earth combine and allow sweet dew.
   Without rules, people are Naturally equal.

4 Initially, a rule must be expressed.
   Once expressed, let it come to its own end.
   Knowing this end is without danger.

5 One could say that Tao is to the world
   As rivers are to oceans and seas.

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Chapter 33 - Forget

1 To know others is intelligence,
   To know oneself is enlightenment;
   To master others is force,
   To master oneself is strength.

2 To know sufficiency is rich.
   To act with determination is will.
   To not lose one's essence is endurance.
   To die, but not be forgotten, is immortality.

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Chapter 34 - Proclaim

1 As the Tao is all-pervading,
   It operates both left and right.

2 Meritorious deeds complete affairs, and are not self-
   proclaiming.
   All things return, and are not self-determining.
   Endurance is forever desireless.
   This enables the small.
   All things return, and are not self-determining.
   This leads the great.

3 The sage accomplishes greatness without claiming
   greatness.
   Thus does he accomplish what is great.

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Chapter 35 - Great

1 Holding on to the great Symbol,
   The whole world revolves.
   On and on without harming.

2 Being happy with peaceful know-how,
   Savoring the music and food.
   Passing wanders stop.

3 When the Tao is voiced,
   It is colorless and flavorless.

4 Viewed, it is insufficient to be seen.
   Tuned in, it is insufficient to be heard.
   Applying, it is inexhaustible.

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Chapter 36 - Subtle

1 Before contracting anything, expand it first.
   Before weakening anything, strengthen it first.
   Before eliminating anything, supply it first.
   Before conquering anything, please it first.
   This is the subtle brightness.

2 The weak overcomes the strong.
   Fish cannot live away from the source.
   The cutting mechanism of the nation should never be
   unveiled.

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Chapter 37 - Holding

1 Tao is ever nameless.
   If lords and rulers hold on to it,
   All things transform themselves.

2 Transformation produces desire to work.
   I, then, suffuse this with the nameless simplicity.
   Suffusing with the nameless simplicity is eliminating
   humiliation.
   Without humiliation, peace arises.
   Heaven and earth regulate themselves.

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Chapter 38 - Action

1 Eminent action is inactive,
   Because of this, it is active.
   Lowly action does not stop acting,
   Because of this, it has no action.

2 Eminent action is disengaged,
   Yet nothing is left unfulfilled;
   Eminent benevolence engages,
   Yet nothing is left unfulfilled;
   Eminent righteousness engages,
   It contains engagement;
   Eminent justice engages,
   It responds inadequately to situations.
   Because of this, it is frustrated.

3 When Tao is lost,
   It becomes Action;
   When Action is lost,
   It becomes benevolence;
   When benevolence is lost,
   It becomes justice.
   When justice is lost,
   It becomes propriety.

4 Propriety is the veneer of faith and loyalty,
   And the forefront of trouble.

5 Foresight is the vain display of Tao,
   And the forefront of foolishness.

6 Therefore, the man of substance
   Abides in wholeness rather than veneer,
   Abides in the essence rather than the vain display.

7 He rejects the latter, and accepts the former.

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Chapter 39 - Oneness

1 From antiquity those in Oneness attained.

2 In Oneness, heaven is clear.
   In Oneness, earth is at peace.
   In Oneness, the spirit is quickened.
   In Oneness, the valley is filled.
   In Oneness, the king aligns the worldly order.
   All suffice in Oneness.

3 Without clarity, heaven is liable to explode.
   Without peace, earth is liable to erupt.
   Without quickening, the spirit is liable to die.
   Without fullness, the valley is liable to dry.
   Without esteem, the king is liable to fall.

4 Esteem is rooted in the humble.
   The high is founded upon the low.

5 This is why the lords and rulers know themselves as widows
   and orphans without support.
   Is this not the root of being humble?

6 Much praise amounts to no praise.

7 Without preference, Being is as resonant as Jade and as
   gravelly as stone.

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Chapter 40 - Clothed

1 When the eminent hear the Tao,
   They follow faithfully;
   When the average hear the Tao,
   They follow and they don’t.
   When the inferior hear the Tao,
   They laugh loudly.

2 Without such laughter, it would not be the Tao.

3 Thus, the adage is:
   Radiating the Tao seems costly.
   Entering the Tao seems like retreating.
   Being even with the Tao seems paradoxical.
   Eminent action seems like a valley.
   Knowing the truth seems a disgrace.
   Vast action seems insufficient.
   Constructing Action seems taxing.
   Pure quality seems tainted.
   The great square has no angle.
   The great talent matures late.
   The great voice sounds faint.
   The great image has no form.
   The Tao clothed remains nameless.

4 Only good beginnings bring good ends.

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Chapter 41 - Backfire

1 Upon backfire, Tao functions.
   Upon weakness, Tao provides.

2 The matter of the world is born of being.
   Being is born of non-being.

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Chapter 42 - Harmony

1 Tao enlivens one.
   One enlivens two.
   Two enlivens three.
   Three enlivens all things.

2 All things are heavied with yin and ringed with yang.
   Drumming the chi together into harmony.

3 The only hate in the world is the dependent widow and
   orphan,
   Yet, lords and rulers know themselves well as such.

4 So matter either increases from decrease, or decreases
   upon increase.

5 What people profess, after the sunset revelation, becomes
   the teaching.

6 Those who master strength do not prevail over death.
   I rely upon this as my supreme lesson.

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Chapter 43 - Riches

1 In the world, the softest overcomes the hardest.
   Not-being enters where there is no space.

2 From this I know the riches of non-action.

3 Wordless teaching and the riches of non-action are rarely
   matchable.

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Chapter 44 - Sufficient

1 Which is more cherished, name or body?
   Which is more worthy, body or possession?
   Which is more beneficial, gain or loss?

2 Excessive fondness results in deer cost;
   Excessive accumulation comes to a deer loss.

3 Knowing what is sufficient averts disgrace.
   Knowing when to stop averts danger.
   This leads to longevity.

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Chapter 45 - Measures

1 Grand perfection seems unfulfilled, yet its substance is never
   exhausted.
   Grand fullness seems empty, yet its use never comes to an
   end.
   Grand straightforwardness seems bent.
   Grand skill seems clumsy.
   Grand surplus seems deficient.

2 Activity overcomes cold.
   Stillness overcomes heat.
   Peace and tranquility are the heavenly measures.

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Chapter 46 - Endures

1 With Tao in the world, work horses fertilize the field.
   Without Tao in the world, the war horses trample the land.

2 No crime is greater than fostering desire.
   No disaster is greater than not knowing limits.
   No fault is greater than wanting to possess.

3 Knowing when enough is enough endures enough.

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Chapter 47 - Movement

1 Without stepping out the door, one knows the world.
   Without peering through the window, one knows the
   Heavenly Tao.

2 The further one travels, the less one knows.

3 So the sage knows without movement, identifies without
   sight, accomplishes without appointment.

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Chapter 48 - Shed

1 Those who pursue accumulate day by day.
   Those who listen shed day by day.
   Shedding what must be shed promotes inaction.
   Without desire, all is complete.

2 Ruling the world involves no agenda.
   Implementing an agenda never guarantees mastery over the
   world.

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Chapter 49 - Heart

1 The sage remains impartial.
   People’s hearts are the affairs of his heart.

2 He is kind to those who are kind.
   He is also kind to those who are not kind.
   It is the kindness of Action itself.
   He is trustworthy to those who are trustworthy.
   He is also trustworthy to those who are not trustworthy.
   It is the trust of Action itself.

3 In the world, the sage inhales.
   For the world, the sage keeps his heart humble.

4 Ordinary people fixate on the ears and eyes.
   The sage smiles like a child.

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Chapter 50 - Death

1 Coming to life, entering death:
   The followers of life are ten and three.
   The followers of death are ten and three.
   Generation after generation, all actions must lead to death;
   this is ten and three.

2 Why so? It is the nature of life itself.

3 As a matter of fact, I hear of those who are good at
   preserving their lives;
   Marching, not escaping rhinos and tigers;
   Engaging battle without wearing armor.
   The rhino has no place to drive its horns.
   The tiger has no place to dig its claws.
   The soldier has no place to thrust his blade.

4 Why so? Because they are impervious!

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Chapter 51 - Animates

1 Tao enlivens.
   Action animates.
   Matter defines.
   Mechanism completes.
   As such, all things worship Tao and exalt Action.

2 Worship of Tao and exaltation of Action cannot be
   conferred; it endorses naturally.

3 Tao: enlivens and animates, develops and refines, glorifies
   and infects, endorses and transforms.

4 Enlivening without possessing,
   Acting without expecting,
   Developing without dominating,
   Such is called Mysterious Action.

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Chapter 52 - Infant

1 That which begins is the world of mother.

2 When you have the mother, you know the infant.
   When you know the infant, return to embrace the mother.
   Beyond physical death, there is no harm.

3 Sealing the mouth and closing the gate, there is no toil to
   life.
   Opening the mouth and pursuing affairs, there is no savings
   to life.

4 Seeing what is small is to light,
   Preserving what is subtle is to strengthen,
   Donning with light returns light,
   Leaving no residue centers the body,
   Such is called Capturing Light.

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Chapter 53 - Fear

1 Taking to heart and mind, I have the knowledge.
   Journeying the great Tao is only to slay fear.

2 The great Tao is quite smooth, yet people prefer shortcuts.
   Their passion chases sunrise, yet, the fields lie uncultivated
   and granaries are unfilled.
   They bear scholastic titles, wear military stripes, gorge with
   food, and favor bribes.
   They are sufficed with bounty, yet continue to steal.

3 Thievery is not the Tao.

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Chapter 54 – All-Capable

1 What is well-built cannot be pulled down.
   What is well-embraced cannot be separated.
   Seeds and grandseeds worship unceasingly.

2 Cultivate the self, and the Action is pure.
   Cultivate the family, the Action is sufficient.
   Cultivate the community, the Action is enduring.
   Cultivate the nation, the Action is abundant.
   Cultivate the world, the Action is all-capable.

3 Treat the self by the standard of self.
   Treat the family by the standard of family.
   Treat the community by the standard of community.
   Treat the nation by the standard of nation.
   Treat the world by the standard of world.

4 How do I know how the world is such?
   As such.

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Chapter 55 - Strength

1 Action in its profundity is like a newborn baby.
   Poisonous insects and venomous snakes do not sting it.
   Predatory birds and ferocious animals do not seize it.

2 Its bones are soft and its sinews supple, yet its grasp is firm;
   Without knowing the union of male and female, its organ is
   aroused:
   Its vital essence is the point.
   Crying all day, its voice is never lost.
   Its harmony reaches the point.

3 Harmony is eternal.
   Knowing eternity is light.
   Enhancing life is auspicious.
   Heart generating Qi is strength.

4 When things reach their climax, they are suddenly old.
   This is "Non-Tao".
    "Non-Tao" dies young.

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Chapter 56 - Light

1 Those who know say not.
   Those who say know not.

2 Seal the mouth,
   Close the gate,
   Merge into light,
   Be ordinary dust.

3 Blunt the sharpness.
   Unravel the entanglements.
   This is called Mysterious Sameness.

4 You are not intimate by acquiring it.
   You are not distant in not acquiring it;
   You do not profit by acquiring it.
   You do not lose by not acquiring it;
   You are not ennobled by acquiring it.
   You are not disgraced by not acquiring it.

5 This is the nobility of the world.

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Chapter 57 - Transform

1 Use lawfulness to govern the country.
   Use wizardry to conduct the battle.
   Use detachment to take over the world.

2 How do I know this is so?
   As so

3 The more prohibitions there are in the world, the poorer
   people will be.
   The more tactical and armed people become, the more
   chaotic the nation will be.
   The more intelligence and knowledge people have, the more
   bizarre things will appear.
   The more rules and regulations they are issued, the more
   thefts will flourish.

4 Therefore the sage says:
   When I am inactive, people transform themselves.
   When I abide in stillness, people organize themselves.
   When I am disengaged, people enrich themselves.
   When I am without desire, people simplify themselves.

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Chapter 58 - Derisive

1 Silent government ensures sincere people.
   Intrusive government produces a derisive state.

2 Disaster is where fortune lucks,
   Fortune is where disaster lurks.
   Who knows the extremities?

3 There is no absolute lawfulness.
   Lawfulness returns wizardry.
   Kindness returns devilry.
   People have known this since time.

4 Make sure:
   Be rounded but not cutting.
   Be honest but not stinging.
   Be straightforward but not wounding.
   Be bright but not dazzling.

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Chapter 59 - Root

1 To govern people and exalt heaven, nothing is better than
   frugality.

2 Only frugality savors the dews of dawn.
   The dews of dawn are the means to the savings of Action.
   The means to the savings of Action leaves nothing behind.
   Leaving nothing behind means there is no extremity
   unknown.
   As all extremities are known, all resources are utilized in a
   country.
   The country, relying on its resources, endures.

3 This is the Tao of deep root, vital stem, eternal life and
   enduring vision.

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Chapter 60 - Courtship

1 Governing a large country is like fry a small fish.

2 Applying the Tao to the world, ghosts will not overtake
   spirits.
   Not that ghosts are not spiritual, but that spirits will not harm
   people;
   Not that spirits are not painful to people, but that sages are
   beyond harm.

3 As none of these cause harm, so the courtship of Action
   returns.

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Chapter 61 - Lower

1 A great nation is a downward flow; it is the female of the
   world, and the courtship of the world.

2 The feminine abiding in tranquility subdues the masculine to
   promote the lower.

3 A great nation takes on a lower position to promote the
   small nation.
   A small nation being in a lower position benefits the great
   nation.

4 So being lower allows promotion or benefit.

5 A great nation does nothing but nourish the small nation.
   A small nation does nothing but serve its essence.

6 Each gets what it wants, by being greater and lower.

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Chapter 62 - Delta

1 Tao is the delta of all things:
   The treasurer of the good,
   The protector of the bad.

2 Beautiful words advertise well.
   Noble actions praise people.

3 As for those who act poorly, why reject them?

4 So, after the emperor is crowned, he appoints the three
   administrators.
   Bearing the seal to rule the four corners is no better than
   enthroning oneself and entering the stream.

5 This has been valued from times of old because:
   Without demanding, one gets it;
   In wrongdoing, one is forgiven.
   Thus, it holds the treasure of the world.

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Chapter 63 - Ease

1 Do without doing.
   Engage in engaging.
   Savor without savoring.

2 Large or small, many or few, reward or punishment, are all
    relying on Action.

3 Attempt the difficult with ease.
   Accomplish the great with the small.

4 The difficult of the world begins with ease.
   The great of the world begins with the small.

5 The sage never plans to do great.
   Thus, he accomplishes the great.

6 Facile promises necessarily result in little trust.
   What is easy necessarily entails difficulty.

7 Thus the sage, through extreme trials, encounters no
   difficulty.

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Chapter 64 - Nourish

1 It is easy to sustain what is at rest.
   It is easy to plan when there is not even a sign.
   What is fragile is easily broken.
   What is minute is easily dispersed.

2 Act upon it before it exists.
   Regulate it before it becomes chaos.

3 A massive tree grows from a little sprout.
   A nine-story-building rises from a clod of earth.
   A thousand-fathoms begin with a single step.

4 Those who impose will fail.
   Those who cling will lose.

5 So the sage, through non-action, does not fail;
   Not clinging, he does not lose.

6 When common people engage affairs, they always skim the
   surface; so they fail.

7 So the saying goes, "End as carefully as you begin; then
   affairs do not fail."

8 Thus, the sage desires without desiring and does not value
   rare things.
   He learns not to learn and restores the common people's
   losses.
   He nourishes the intrinsic nature of all things and dares not
   to impose.

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Chapter 65 - Country

1 Those who practiced Tao in the days of old did not use
   people’s brightness,
   Rather they made use of their foolishness.

2 It is difficult to govern people with their know-how.

3 So, to govern the country with knowledge, know-how
   becomes the thief.
   To govern the country without knowledge, know-how
   becomes Action.

4 Applying these two as the model for ruling is the eternal
   know-how.
   Knowing this model eternally is called the Mysterious Action.

5 Mysterious Action is deep and far-reaching.
   It is how matter returns,
   And sustains the Great Harmony.

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Chapter 66 - Rule

1 The reason rivers and seas rule all valleys is that they excel
   in lowliness.
   So they rule over all valleys.

2 Likewise, when sage elevates people, his speech is down
   to earth.
   When he advances people, he takes the backstage.

3 Although he is on the front page, people are not harmed.
   Although he stands above, people are not oppressed.
   The whole world supports him tirelessly.

4 Since he does not rely on competition, the world does not
   compete.

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Chapter 67 - Settling

1 A small country has few people.

2 Machines outnumber people, but are not employed.
   Let people be serious about death and enjoy life’s journey.
   Carriages and boats are ready for travel, but are not
   deployed.
   Troops and weapons prepare for war, but receive no orders.
   Let people return to:
   Knotting the ropes,
   Enjoying food,
   Beautifying with clothes,
   Delighting in customs,
   Settling into their lives.

3 The neighboring countries are in sight.
   The sounds of dogs and chickens are heard.
   People grow old and die without interference from each
   other.

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Chapter 68 - Words

1 Truthful words are not beautiful.
   Beautiful words have no truth.
   The knower cannot know everything.
   The know-it-all knows nothing.
   Kindness is not over-indulgent.
   Over-indulgence is not kind.

2 The sage does not collect.
   Existing only for others, he gains more.
   Giving all to others, he receives more.

3 So the Tao of heaven benefits and does not harm.
   The Tao of humanity exists and does not compete.

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Chapter 69 - Frugality

1 People of the world call me great, great without equal.
   Being without equal is what enables greatness.
   Once the equal sustains, the subtle becomes apparent.

2 I hold the three treasures:
   Compassion is the first.
   Frugality is the next.
   And, finally, don’t run ahead of God.

3 Because compassion enables courage.
   Frugality enables abundance.
   Not marching ahead of Time enables the entire mechanism
   to endure.

4 Today, courage is devoid of compassion.
   Abundance is devoid of frugality.
   Impulse is devoid of insight.
   Death results.

5 With compassion: defeat and win; defend and consolidate.

6 When heaven constructs it always relies on compassion.

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Chapter 70 - People

1 A good warrior is not militant.
   A good fighter is not angry.
   A champion does not confront.
   A good leader acts humbly.

2 This is called the action of not competing.
   This is called employing people’s strength.
   This is the way of heaven, which is eternal.

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Chapter 71 - Army

1 There is a saying on using armies:
   I dare not be the host, but rather a guest.
   I dare not advance an inch, but rather retreat a foot.

2 This is called performing without performing;
   Gathering the force without revealing the purpose;
   Empowering oneself without employing an army;
   Mastering oneself without defeating any enemy.

3 There is no disaster greater than having no enemy.
   Having no enemy almost destroys my treasure.

4 When opposing armies clash, those who cry win!

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Chapter 72 - Jade

1 My words are easy to understand and apply.
   Yet the world does not understand or apply.

2 Words have their origin, and events have their initiator.

3 It is only because of prevailing ignorance that I am not
   understood.
   The fewer who understand me, the more precious I am.

4 So the sage wears shabby clothes, but holds a treasure
   within.

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Chapter 73 - Knowing

1 Knowing what you don’t know is superior.
   Not knowing what you don’t know is a sickness.

2 Being without sickness, the sage knows sickness is
   sickness;
   Thus, he is without sickness.

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Chapter 74 - Bored

1 People are fearless before the Power.
   If fear arises, it will be a great fear.

2 Not constraining where the heart dwells,
   They do not get bored by what life produces.
   Because we do not get bored, there is no boredom.

3 Therefore the sage is self-aware but not introspective.
   He has self-respect but does not value himself.

4 He rejects one and takes the other.

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Chapter 75 - Strategizing

1 Combining courage with daring promotes killing.
   Not combining courage with daring promotes life.

2 These two can be either beneficial or harmful.

3 Who knows what heaven dislikes?

4 The Tao of heaven is
   Winning without fighting,
   Responding without speaking,
   Appearing without inviting,
   And strategizing while fighting.

5 The net of heaven is broad and loose,
   Yet nothing slips through.

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Chapter 76 - Killing

1 When people don’t fear death, how can killing be a threat?
   When people fear death but feign courage, I will catch and
   kill them; who else can?
   When people absolutely fear death but perform killing, they
   are the best executioners.

2 This is the carving of a master craftsman.
   Being a master craftsman, one’s hands rarely get cut.

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Chapter 77 - Seek

1 People are starving because taxes are too high.
   This is the reason for starvation.
   People are difficult to govern because their leaders are   
   constantly amending.
   This is why governing is difficult.
   People do not take death seriously because they seek the
   burdens of life.
   This is why they cannot take death seriously.

2 Only those who are not slaves to life are wise to the value of
   life.

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Chapter 78 - Soft

1 People are born soft and supple.
   They die willfull and strong.

2 Grasses, trees and all things are born soft and tender.
   They die withered.

3 So willfulness and strength are the companions of death.
   Softness and suppleness are the companions of life.

4 The powerful army will not win.
   The stiff tree will break.

5 So stiffness and willfullness stay below.
   Softness and suppleness stay above.

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Chapter 79 – Wise

1 The Tao of heaven is like bending a bow.
   What is above is reflected below
   What bends down must rise up.
   Surplus decreases.
   Scarcity is supplied.

2 So the Tao of heaven reduces the surplus and replenishes
   the insufficient.
   The Tao of humanity increases the surplus and exacerbates
   the insufficient.

3 Who can use the surplus to benefit heaven?
   Only those who possess the Tao.

4 So the sage
   Exists without ownership,
   Accomplishes without holding on.
   It is without desire that the wise see.

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Chapter 80 - Water

1 Nothing in the world is softer or more supple than water.
   When confronting strength and hardness nothing can
   overcome it.

2 Using nothingness simplifies.
   Using water overcomes hardness.
   Using weakness overcomes strength.
   There is no one who does not know this, but no one can
   apply it.

3 So it is a saying of the sages that:
   Whoever can bear the disgrace of the country is the ruler of
   the country.
   Whoever can bear the misfortune of the world is the ruler of
   the world.

4 Truthful speech seems paradoxical.

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Chapter 81 - Parent

1 Reconciling a great hatred necessarily entails unresolved
   hatred.
   How can this be kind?

2 So the sage honors his contract and does not blame the
   other party.

3 Kind Action holds the contract.
   Unkind Action dissolves the contract.

4 The Tao of heaven does not parent.
   It enhances those who are kind.

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