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A Casual Dao De Jing
道可道,非常道。 名可名,非常名。 无名天地之始;有名万物之母。 故常无欲,以观其妙; 常有欲,以观其徼。 此两者,同出而异名, 同谓之玄。 玄之又玄, 衆妙之门。
Where the Way is often sought, The truest Way cannot be caught. Names we give, but they won't last long, Yet naming is how things belong. From nothingness, the world did start, Naming gives each thing its part. Desireless, we see wonder's core, Otherwise, we always seek more. Two paths, different names they bear, Both mysterious, beyond compare.
天下皆知美之为美, 斯恶已。皆知善之为善, 斯不善已。故有无相生, 难易相成,长短相较, 高下相倾,音声相和,前后相随。 是以圣人处无为之事,行不言之教; 万物作焉而不辞,生而不有。 为而不恃,功成而弗居。 夫唯弗居,是以不去。
When all see beauty and call it so, Ugliness begins its show. When all know good and label it Right, Wrong then steps into the light. Opposites give each other birth, Easy-hard, short-long, heaven-earth. Sounds harmonize, and sequences flow, Thus, the wise let go of the show. They act without a fuss or claim, Achieve, but never seek the fame.
不尚贤, 使民不争; 不贵难得之货, 使民不为盗; 不见可欲, 使心不乱。 是以圣人之治, 虚其心, 实其腹, 弱其志, 强其骨。 常使民无知无欲。 使夫1知者不敢为也。 为无为,则无不治。",
Value not just the wise and bright, So people won't compete with might. Don't prize rare treasures or heavy gold, Or theft will in the hearts take hold. Hide desires, clear the mind's view, So the heart remains pure and true. The wise leader, with this creed, Fulfills needs, not just greed. Strengthens bones and weakens pride, Lets wisdom quietly reside. By acting without a forceful hand, All is right within the land.
道冲, 而用之或不盈。 渊兮, 似万物之宗。 挫其锐,解其纷,和其光,同其尘。 湛兮似或存。 吾不知谁之子,象帝之先。
The Way is vast, yet never fills, Deep as a gorge, atop the hills. It's the root, from which all springs, Softens the sharp, untangles strings. Blends the light, with dust it binds, Deep and clear, in all it winds. Seems eternal, never ends, Whose child it is, none comprehends. Perhaps before the great sky's span, It was there, before time began.
天地不仁,以万物为刍狗; 圣人不仁,以百姓为刍狗。 天地之间,其犹橐龠乎? 虚而不屈,动而愈出。 多言数穷,不如守中。
The sky and earth, they do not care, For all below, it is just air. Wise folks too, may seem unkind, But for the greater good, they're aligned. Between sky and earth, it's like a bellows' song, Empty yet strong, moving all along. Talk too much, and words will end, Better to stay centered, my friend.
谷神不死,是谓玄牝。 玄牝之门,是谓天地根。 绵绵若存,用之不勤。
The spirit of the valley never fades, A mystical mother, in the shades. The gate of the mystic mother, so keen, Is called the root of all unseen. Continuous, it seems to be, Use it well, and never weary. It's there without a fuss or fight, Enduring with a gentle might.
天长地久。 天地所以能长且久者, 以其不自生,故能长生。 是以圣人后其身而身先;外其身而身存。 非以其无私耶。 故能成其私。
Heaven stretches, earth endures, A dance of time that reassures. Why do they last, so old and great? They do not live for their own sake. Thus the sage, in wisdom's seat, Puts herself last, a feat so neat. Forgets herself, but finds she's found, In this way, her presence profound. Is it not because she's selfless, true, That her own self comes shining through? By setting herself aside, so clever, She finds her place, and lives on forever.
上善若水。 水善利万物而不争, 处衆人之所恶,故几于道。 居善地,心善渊,与善仁, 言善信,正善治,事善能, 动善时。夫唯不争,故无尤。
The highest good's like a flowing stream, Water benefits all, in every dream. Never fighting, just goes with the flow, Stays where others might not go. It's close to the Way, in its gentle glide, Lives in good places, with pride set aside. Heart as deep as the ocean's own bend, Kindness in actions, a true-hearted friend. Speaks with trust, acts with grace, Always right, knows its place. Adept in action, timely in deed, It's the lack of strife, that lets it succeed.
持而盈之, 不如其已; 揣而锐之, 不可长保。 金玉满堂, 莫之能守; 富贵而骄, 自遗其咎。 功遂身退, 天之道也。
Holding too much, filled up to the brim, Better to stop, before reaching the rim. Sharpen too much, and it won't stay keen, It can't be kept up, if you know what I mean. Rooms full of treasure, gold and jade, No one can guard them, they'll surely fade. Wealth and pride lead to a fall, It's the Way of the world, the same for all. Accomplishments done, step back, that's the key, The Way of heaven, naturally. For in stepping back when the work is through, Space is made for the new to brew.
载营魄抱一, 能无离乎。 专气致柔, 能婴儿乎。 涤除玄览, 能无疵乎。 爱民治国, 能无知乎。 天门开阖, 能为雌乎。 明白四达, 能无知乎。 生之、畜之, 生而不有, 为而不恃, 长而不宰, 是谓玄德。
Nurturing the spirit, embracing the one, Can you keep it together, until it's all done? Focus your energy, soft and profound, Can you be like a baby, with innocence unbound? Cleanse your inner vision, keep it pure and clear, Can you avoid all flaws, and hold what's dear? Loving the people, guiding the state, Can you do so without knowing their fate? Open and close the gates of heaven's might, Can you be passive, letting things take flight? Seeing all directions, in clarity and glow, Can you act without knowing, just letting it flow? Nourish and care, let things grow wild and free, Have without possessing, let everything just be. Lead without controlling, let nature have its due, This is the mystic virtue, always true.
三十辐,共一毂,当其无,有车之用。 埏埴以为器,当其无,有器之用。 凿户牖以为室,当其无,有室之用。 故有之以为利,无之以为用。
Thirty spokes share one hub's embrace, It's the empty space that gives the wheel grace. Clay is shaped to form a vessel's frame, It's the space within that gives it a name. Doors and windows cut in walls standing tall, It's the void they create that's useful to all. Thus what is there gives us the means to thrive, But the nothingness within gives everything life.
五色令人目盲; 五音令人耳聋; 五味令人口爽; 驰骋田猎,令人心发狂; 难得之货,令人行妨。 是以圣人为腹不为目,故去彼取此。
Five colors can blind a person's sight, Five sounds make the hearing not quite right. Five flavors can overwhelm the taste, Hunting and chasing, a crazy waste. Rare treasures lead to harmful deeds, For they plant in hearts those greedy seeds. Thus the sage keeps to the core, Leaves the superficial, seeks something more.
宠辱若惊,贵大患若身。 何谓宠辱若惊。 宠为下,得之若惊,失之若惊,是谓宠辱若惊。 何谓贵大患若身。 吾所以有大患者,为吾有身, 及吾无身,吾有何患。 故贵以身为天下,若可寄天下; 爱以身为天下,若可托天下。
If fame or shame comes knocking at your door, React with surprise, as if never before. Why do we treat these guests with such a start? Fame puts us high, its loss tears us apart. And why is great trouble like our own flesh? For troubles come when we mesh and we mesh. Without a self, what trouble can truly be? So if you hold your self too dear, you'll never be free. If you value your body as if the world it could hold, You might be trusted with riches untold. If you love with a heart that's as wide as the sea, Perhaps the world itself, in your hands could be.
视之不见,名曰夷; 听之不闻,名曰希; 搏之不得,名曰微。 此三者不可致诘,故混而为一。 其上不皦,其下不昧。 绳绳不可名,复归于无物。 是谓无状之状,无物之象,是谓惚恍。 迎之不见其首,随之不见其后。 执古之道,以御今之有。 能知古始,是谓道纪。
See it, yet it hides, call it the elusive sight, Hear it, yet it's silent, the quiet takes flight. Grasp it, but it's gone, like a wisp in the breeze, These three are mysterious, blending with ease. Neither bright above, nor dark down below, It's continuous, unnamable, in its gentle flow. Returning to the realm of the unseen and unknown, This form without form, image all on its own. Approach, and its start remains out of view, Follow, and its end, slips away too. Embrace ancient ways, in today's bustling spree, To understand beginnings, is the Dao's decree.
古之善为士者,微妙玄通,深不可识。 夫唯不可识,故强为之容。 豫兮若冬涉川; 犹兮若畏四邻; 俨兮其若容; 涣兮若冰之将释; 敦兮其若朴; 旷兮其若谷; 混兮其若浊; 孰能浊以静之徐清。 孰能安以久动之徐生。 保此道者,不欲盈。 夫唯不盈,故能蔽不新成。
Sages of old with their wisdom so deep, Subtle and mystical, their secrets they keep. So profound and complex, they elude our perception, Their demeanor, a force, commanding respect without question. Cautious as one who crosses streams in winter's chill, Reserved as if surrounded by attention that might kill. Solemn as a guest, with every gesture measured right, Dissolving like the ice that meets the morning light. Simple as uncarved blocks of wood, they'd appear, Spacious as valleys, hollow and clear. Muddled as murky waters, yet calm inside, Few can remain still and let the murk subside? Those who keep to this Way do not seek to be full, For only by being empty can they be ever pull, Renewal without end, an eternal spring, Their vessels void, so the universe within can sing.
致虚极,守静笃。 万物并作,吾以观复。 夫物芸芸,各复归其根。 归根曰静,是谓复命。 复命曰常,知常曰明。 不知常,妄作凶。 知常容,容乃公, 公乃王,王乃天, 天乃道,道乃久,没身不殆。
Embrace the void, hold fast to quietude, As all things rise, we watch their multitude. Each being in the world, in tumult it thrives, But each to its root, eventually arrives. This return to peace, a destiny fulfilled, To accept this fate is to be constant, skilled. In constancy lies insight, and with insight, light, Ignorance of this constancy breeds acts of blight. To know and keep to constancy is to be tolerant, Tolerance leads to impartiality, a virtue most gallant, Impartiality to sovereignty, sovereignty to the skies, From skies to the Dao, and in Dao, eternity lies. For he who embodies Dao, despite the worldly tides, Remains untouched by death, in the cosmic flow resides.
太上,下知有之; 其次,亲而誉之; 其次,畏之;其次,侮之。 信不足,焉有不信焉。 悠兮,其贵言。 功成事遂,百姓皆谓我自然。
In the realm of the utmost, few know it's there, A presence so subtle, like a whisper-thin hair. Next in line, they'll praise it with cheer, Hold it dear, and keep it quite near. But then there are those who will fear its might, And those who mock it, not seeing its light. When trust is scarce, doubt will surely breed, Words are precious, take heed, take heed. When all's done and the goals are all met, The folks will all say, "It just happened!" and yet, It was the quiet work of the Dao, unseen, Guiding and flowing, ever serene.
大道废,有仁义;智慧出,有大伪; 六亲不和,有孝慈;国家昏乱,有忠臣。
When the Great Way falls out of sight, Comes self-righteousness, holding its light. Where wisdom's dawn brings on the day, Great pretense, too, begins to play. But with kin not in accord or subtle peace, Piety and filial love increase. And in a state where confusion reigns, Loyal friends work through the strains.
绝圣弃智,民利百倍; 绝仁弃义,民复孝慈; 绝巧弃利,盗贼无有。 此三者以为文, 不足。 故令有所属:见素抱朴,少私寡欲。
Let go of the sage, abandon the wise, The people will thrive, to no one's surprise. Let go of kindness, let justice be gone, Folks return to love, and tend to the dawn. Let go of craft, and profit forsake, No thieves will there be, no mischief to make. These teachings, though, are not enough, A simpler path is rarely less rough. See simplicity, embrace what's plain, With lesser desires, much more to gain.
绝学无忧,唯之与阿,相去几何。 善之与恶,相去若何。 人之所畏,不可不畏。 荒兮其未央哉! 衆人熙熙,如享太牢,如春登台。 我独怕兮其未兆; 如婴儿之未孩; 儽儽兮若无所归。 衆人皆有馀,而我独若遗。 我愚人之心也哉! 沌沌兮, 俗人昭昭,我独若昏。 俗人察察,我独闷闷。 澹兮其若海,飂兮若无止,衆人皆有以,而我独顽似鄙。 我独异于人,而贵食母。
In a land where learning's tossed aside, Worry's gone, with the tide. Good from bad, how do we tell? The difference, oh, it might as well. What folks fear, we must too, Endless it seems, this vast ado! While the crowd's all cheer and glee, Like a feast, or springtime spree. I alone seem lost, and oh so small, Like a babe that's yet to crawl. Drifting, like I've no place to be, While others have, but not me. I feel like I'm the odd one out, In a world that's clear, I'm filled with doubt. While they're sharp, I'm in a haze, In their rhythm, I'm lost in a daze. Calm as the sea, endless and deep, While the world's wisdom, they seem to keep. They have their ways, and I, my own, Cherishing the Mother, to me, it's shown.
孔德之容,唯道是从。 道之为物,唯恍唯惚。 忽兮恍兮,其中有象; 恍兮忽兮,其中有物。 窈兮冥兮,其中有精; 其精甚真,其中有信。 自古及今,其名不去,以阅衆甫。 吾何以知衆甫之状哉。以此。
In the heart of virtue, the Dao does dwell, A mysterious path, as tales do tell. It's hazy and fleeting, hard to see, But within its mist, forms come to be. Now here, now gone, shapes appear, Vanishing swiftly, then drawing near. Deep and dark, a mystery it keeps, Within its core, a spirit leaps. True and genuine, its essence so real, Trust and belief, in it we feel. From ancient times to this very day, Its name remains, come what may. How do I know of this grand old tale? By observing the Dao, without fail!
曲则全,枉则直,洼则盈, 弊则新,少则得,多则惑。 是以圣人抱一为天下式。 不自见,故明; 不自是,故彰; 不自伐,故有功; 不自矜,故长。 夫唯不争,故天下莫能与之争。 古之所谓曲则全者,岂虚言哉! 诚全而归之。
When bent, you're whole, when twisted, you're straight, When dipped, you're full, renewed when out-of-date. In less, you find, too much leads you astray, So the wise one embraces 'One' as the way. Not focused on self, so they shine so bright, Not claiming they're right, they're a brilliant light. Not boasting of deeds, their achievements are grand, Humble in stance, they forever stand. They don't fight or quarrel, no conflicts they see, For the world can't contend, in their peaceful spree. The old saying goes, "When curved, you're complete," It's not just mere words, it's a truth so neat! Indeed, they are whole, and to this, they retreat.
希言自然, 故飘风不终朝,骤雨不终日。 孰为此者。 天地。天地尚不能久,而况于人乎。 故从事于道者,道者,同于道; 德者,同于德;失者,同于失。 同于道者,道亦乐得之; 同于德者,德亦乐得之; 同于失者,失亦乐得之。 信不足,焉有不信焉。
Nature whispers softly, without a claim, Stormy winds and sudden rains can't always remain. Who does all this, my dear? It's Earth and Sky that we revere. Yet even they can't always last, Their mighty times will be surpassed. So those who with the Dao choose to engage, Are one with the Dao, and its eternal page. Those who in virtue share their heart's intent, Are one with virtue, in joyful ascent. But if they're lost and go astray, Loss too finds its frightful way. In Dao or virtue if you stay, Joy comes to those who don't betray. But doubt makes trust decay away...
企者不立;跨者不行; 自见者不明;自是者不彰; 自伐者无功;自矜者不长。 其在道也,曰:馀食赘行。 物或恶之,故有道者不处。
Those who stand on tiptoes don't stand firm; Those who stride cannot maintain their term. Those who show off will not shine in sight; Self-righteous souls aren't seen in the light. Conceit cuts your journey, you won't get very far, In the Way of the Dao, such acts are bizarre. Like leftover food or lumps in one's path, The wise avoid these, to steer clear of wrath.
有物混成,先天地生。 寂兮寥兮,独立不改, 周行而不殆,可以为天下母。 吾不知其名,字之曰道,强为之名曰大。 大曰逝,逝曰远,远曰反。 故道大,天大,地大,王亦大。 域中有四大,而王居其一焉。 人法地,地法天,天法道,道法自然。
A formless mix before stars and earth's design, Silent and vast, stands alone, divine. It circles endless, without wear or tear, Could be the mother of the world so fair. Its name unknown, we call it the Way; Forced to name further, 'Great' we say. Great means passing, going far and wide, Great means returning, to this we abide. Great is the Dao and the sky's vast blue, Great is the Earth, and kings are too. But in the realm, of the greats we view, Only one king stands among the few. Men follow earth, as earth tracks the skies, Heaven follows the Way, as the Way simply lies. In its own nature, so clear and so plain, In effortless being, its eternal domain.
重为轻根,静为躁君。 是以圣人终日行不离辎重。 虽有荣观,燕处超然。 奈何万乘之主,而以身轻天下。 轻则失本,躁则失君。
Heaviness roots the lightness found, Stillness reigns where haste is bound. Thus, the sage travels all day long, Yet never departs from his wagon strong. Though sights and sounds may allure them near, They're calm and detached, showing no fear. How can one lead, with the world so vast, But make themselves light, forgetting the past? For in lightness, the root is lost, In haste, the mastery's cost. A truth profound, on this depend: Lose your base, and meet your end.
善行无辙迹,善言无瑕讁; 善数不用筹策;善闭无关楗而不可开, 善结无绳约而不可解。 是以圣人常善救人,故无弃人; 常善救物,故无弃物。 是谓袭明。 故善人者,不善人之师; 不善人者,善人之资。 不贵其师,不爱其资, 虽智大迷,是谓要妙。
Good deeds leave no tracks, good words bear no cracks, No counters need count when one's good with the facts. A good lock needs no bolt, yet it can't be outdone, A good knot needs no rope, yet it can't be undone. Thus the sage saves all people, never to forsake, Holds all things with care, for compassion's own sake. This is the essence of enlightening ways, Where the good lead the lost, through the world's maze. The good are the teachers for those who have slipped, The errant provide for the good a script. Disregard the mentor, or dismiss the student's part, Even the wise will stumble, missing the art.
知其雄,守其雌,为天下溪。 为天下溪,常德不离,复归于婴儿。 知其白,守其黑,为天下式。 为天下式,常德不忒,复归于无极。 知其荣,守其辱,为天下谷。 为天下谷,常德乃足,复归于朴。 朴散则为器,圣人用之, 则为官长,故大制不割。
In a world so vast and wide, Know the strong, yet stand by the bride. By the stream, where all things glide, Return to the babe, with arms open wide. Acknowledge the light but keep the dark close beside, Be the standard by which all things are tried. With virtue steadfast, take it in stride, You'll return to the boundless, where all is untried. Embrace the fame, but also the shame, Be the valley, in life's great game. With enough virtue to stake your claim, Back to simplicity, you'll always aim. From the simple, tools are cast, Wise folks use them, making moments last. They lead without cutting, without taking a side, For the greatest of leaders in non-action abide.
将欲取天下而为之,吾见其不得已。 天下神器,不可为也, 为者败之,执者失之。 故物或行或随;或歔或吹; 或强或羸;或挫或隳。 是以圣人去甚,去奢,去泰。
To grasp the world and control its way, Often such efforts lead men astray. The world's a sacred vessel, not to command, For those who force it, it slips from the hand. Some things lead, while others will follow, Some breathe out, others swallow. Some are strong, and some are weak, Some will peak, while others bleak. Thus, the sage avoids excess in his stride, He lets go of luxury, and sets aside pride.
以道佐人主者,不以兵强天下。 其事好还。 师之所处,荆棘生焉。 大军之后,必有凶年。 善有果而已,不敢以取强。 果而勿矜,果而勿伐,果而勿骄。 果而不得已,果而勿强。 物壮则老,是谓不道,不道早已。
When leading with Dao, put the weapons away, For force will just bring resistance into play. Where troops camp, thorns will grow day by day, And after great battles, bad years will hold sway. The wise lead by following, content in their way, Not daring to take by force or display. With outcomes achieved, they don't boast or betray, Nor take pride in conquest, nor force their sway. What grows strong and tall will soon decay, This is not the Dao; it leads you astray. What's not of the Dao will fade away, For against nature's course, there's a price to pay.
夫佳兵者,不祥之器, 物或恶之,故有道者不处。 君子居则贵左,用兵则贵右。 兵者不祥之器,非君子之器, 不得已而用之,恬淡为上。 胜而不美,而美之者,是乐杀人。 夫乐杀人者,则不可以得志于天下矣。 吉事尚左,凶事尚右。 偏将军居左,上将军居右,言以丧礼处之。 杀人之衆,以哀悲泣之,战胜以丧礼处之。
The finest of weapons are tools of ill fate, Loathed by creation, by the wise they debate. In peace, the noble value the just, In war, it's the fierce that earn trust. Weapons are cursed, not the sage's desire, Used only in need, with reluctance, not ire. To win without pride is the noble's decree, Not to find joy in death's wild spree, For good, turn to kindness; for ill, turn to might, The generals stand so, as if in twilight's last light. The multitude killed, mourned with sorrow and tear, In victory, the somber rites shall appear.
道常无名。 虽小, 天下莫能臣。 侯王若能守之,万物将自宾。 天地相合,以降甘露,民莫之令而自均。 始制有名,名亦既有, 夫亦将知止,知止所以不殆。 譬道之在天下,犹川谷之与江海。
The Dao, it seems, has no name to tout, Yet it's tiny and mighty, there's no doubt. Kings and lords, if they hold it near, All the creatures to them will cheer. Heaven and Earth, in a grand embrace, Shower sweet dew on the human race. No command needed, things balance, it's true, Nature knows just what to do. Once you name it, the game begins, But with naming, trouble spins. To know when to stop, that's the key, For in balance and calm, all troubles flee. Think of the Dao, spread far and wide, Like rivers and valleys, to the sea they glide.
知人者智,自知者明。 胜人者有力,自胜者强。 知足者富。 强行者有志。 不失其所者久。 死而不亡者寿。
To know others is intelligence, self-knowledge is true insight. To best others might show power, but self-mastery is might. Contentment is wealth untold. A will that's strong defies the cold. Those who do not lose their place endure. And who in death cease not, their lives are sure.
大道泛兮,其可左右。 万物恃之而生而不辞,功成不名有。 衣养万物而不为主,可名于小; 万物归焉而不为主,可名为大。 以其终不自为大,故能成其大。
The Great Way's broad, beyond just left or right, All life depends on it, from day to night. It works its magic, silent, without claim, Feeds life abundant, yet not seeking fame. The smallest name it might accept, it's true, Yet to the greatest title, it's due. It does not ever boast or claim its might, That's why its greatness reaches such a height.
执大象,天下往。 往而不害,安平大。 乐与饵,过客止。 道之出口,淡乎其无味, 视之不足见,听之不足闻,用之不足既。
Grasp the great image, the world will go forth, Harmoniously heading, South, West, East, North. With joy as their bait, the travelers rest, For where the Tao speaks, simplicity's best. Its flavor, though mild, will quench any thirst, To look or to listen, it won't seem the first. But use it, oh use it, and you will find soon, Its well never empties, by night or by noon.
将欲歙之,必固张之; 将欲弱之,必固强之; 将欲废之,必固兴之;将 欲夺之,必固与之。 是谓微明。 柔弱胜刚强。 鱼不可脱于渊,国之利器不可以示人。
To shrink it, you must first stretch it out; To weaken it, you must first make it stout. To end it, you must first raise it high; And to take it, you must first comply. This is the subtle clarity, Soft overcomes the hard, tis reality. Like fish that in deep waters thrive, State's secrets from the crowd you must hide. Keep your tools of power from public view, For in mystery lies the rule, ever true.
道常无为而无不为。 侯王若能守之,万物将自化。 化而欲作,吾将镇之以无名之朴。 无名之朴,夫亦将无欲。 不欲以静,天下将自定。
The Way does nothing, yet leaves nothing undone. If leaders could hold it, their problems would be none. All things transform, and if desires arise, Quell them with simplicity, that has no guise. Simplicity unnamed, desire will be stilled. Without want, there's peace, and all is fulfilled. The world would settle, in stillness, we'd find A calm that would govern, all of mankind.
上德不德,是以有德; 下德不失德,是以无德。 上德无为而无以为; 下德为之而有以为。 上仁为之而无以为; 上义为之而有以为。 上礼为之而莫之应, 则攘臂而扔之。 故失道而后德,失德而后仁, 失仁而后义,失义而后礼。 夫礼者,忠信之薄,而乱之首。 前识者,道之华,而愚之始。 是以大丈夫处其厚,不居其薄; 处其实,不居其华。故去彼取此。
When virtue's high, it's not about the deed, For truest virtue's got no need to plead. The highest good is done without a fuss, While lesser good can't help but make a muss. When kindness acts with no thought of reward, While lesser hearts would seek to strike a chord. Justice done just for the praise it might bring, And ritual without heart is an empty thing. Thus, when the Way is lost, virtue takes flight, And when virtue's gone, kindness hides from sight, Justice fails, and rituals lose their meaning, Leading to the chaos that they're breeding. Ritual's the thinning veil of loyalty, The herald of confusion's royalty. The wise man dwells in depth, not in sheen, Foregoing frills, true substance he gleans.
昔之得一者: 天得一以清; 地得一以宁; 神得一以灵; 谷得一以盈; 万物得一以生; 侯王得一以为天下贞。 其致之,天无以清,将恐裂; 地无以宁,将恐发; 神无以灵,将恐歇; 谷无以盈,将恐竭; 万物无以生,将恐灭; 侯王无以贵高将恐蹶。 故贵以贱为本,高以下为基。 是以侯王自称孤、寡、不谷。 此非以贱为本耶。非乎。故致数誉无誉。 不欲琭琭如玉,珞珞如石。
In days of old, when One was the key: The sky had One, and clear it'd be; The earth had One, and still it'd stay; The spirits One, to light the way; Valleys had One, and they were full; All living things, One made them whole; Kings and lords, with One rule true, kept their realms in line and view. Yet without that One, oh, what's to do? The sky might crack, no longer blue; The earth might quake, its calmness gone; The spirits fade, as night from dawn; Valleys dry, their fullness sapped; All life might end, its vigor zapped; Kings might fall, from their high throne, left to wander and bemoan. So, in their might, the great do see: the lowly are the base of thee. High's foundation is the low, this truth all wise leaders know. They call themselves alone, sparse, and humble, a stance not so high but ready to tumble. They wish not for luster, like gemstones shone, Not shining like jade, but simple, like stone.
反者道之动;弱者道之用。 天下万物生于有,有生于无。
To reverse is the movement of the Way, And to yield is how the Dao will play. In the world, all things from presence arise, But presence itself comes from the empty skies.
上士闻道,勤而行之; 中士闻道,若存若亡; 下士闻道,大笑之。 不笑不足以为道。 故建言有之: 明道若昧; 进道若退; 夷道若纇; 上德若谷; 太白若辱; 广德若不足; 建德若偷; 质真若渝; 大方无隅; 大器晚成; 大音希声; 大象无形; 道隐无名。 夫唯道,善贷且成。
In wisdom's path, the great ones tread, The middling doubt, the small ones dread. Laughter rings where wisdom leads, No jest? The path of insight recedes. Ancient words, a riddle's thread: Clear as mud, the Way ahead. Gain by loss, step back to lead, Simplicity's challenge, the wise concede. High virtue low, a valley's creed, Purest stain, the colors bleed. Wide virtue's narrow, needs exceed, Solid truth, the heart to plead. Boundless square, no edge to heed, Great work's slow, its time we seed. Silent sound, the quiet's breed, Formless shape, the Way's deed. Hidden Way, without a name, Gives and shapes, without claim.
道生一,一生二,二生三,三生万物。 万物负阴而抱阳,冲气以为和。 人之所恶,唯孤、寡、不谷,而王公以为称。 故物或损之而益,或益之而损。 人之所教,我亦教之。 强梁者不得其死,吾将以为教父。
In the land of Dao, one gave birth to two, Two then made three, and from three, all things grew. All things have shadows and embrace the light, Balanced by the breath, making all just right. People often dread being left alone, Yet kings and lords sit high on their throne. Some things may lessen but then they grow strong, While others gain but then something goes wrong. What people teach, I will also convey, But those who force their Way will lose their day. For those who won't bend, won't meet a good end, I'll use them as lessons, on that depend!
天下之至柔,驰骋天下之至坚。 无有入无间,吾是以知无为之有益。 不言之教,无为之益,天下希及之。
The world's softest thing dashes against the hard, Through spaces so tiny, it seems unscarred. From nothingness comes the benefit clear, The silent teaching, a doing that's sheer. Actions without acting, a paradox, A wordless doctrine that breaks all locks. Rarely reached by the many, known to few, This path of non-doing that's ever true.
名与身孰亲。身与货孰多。得与亡孰病。 是故甚爱必大费;多藏必厚亡。 知足不辱,知止不殆,可以长久。
Which is dearer, name or self? Which holds more, wealth or health? Gain or loss, which brings more pain? Thus, we ponder again and again. Thus, love deeply, count the cost. Hoarding riches, much is lost. Contentment shields from shame's hard blow, And knowing limits wards off woe. Long-lasting then, can our lives be, When we embrace, sufficiency.
大成若缺,其用不弊。 大盈若冲,其用不穷。 大直若屈,大巧若拙,大辩若讷。 躁胜寒静胜热。清静为天下正。
Great success seems at times incomplete, Yet its function never depletes. Overflowing like a void so wide, Its usefulness never pushed aside. The straightest line might curve to sight, The greatest skill appears unright, And eloquence, in simplicity caught, Stammers like a child's first thought. Restlessness may conquer the cold, Stillness prevails against heat untold. In quiet clarity, the world finds correction, For serenity is nature's own perfection.
天下有道,却走马以粪。 天下无道,戎马生于郊。 祸莫大于不知足;咎莫大于欲得。 故知足之足,常足矣。
When the world knows the Way, calm is the scene, Horses retire to farm, fields turn green. In a world without Way, war horses breed, On the borders they stand, spurred by greed. Disaster looms large when contentment is scant, The greatest of faults is the endless want. Thus he who knows 'enough' will always have plenty, For in sufficiency lies heart's true serenity.
不出户知天下;不闚牖见天道。 其出弥远,其知弥少。 是以圣人不行而知,不见而名,不为而成。
Without stepping out, the world you can see, No need to peer out, to know the Way free. The further you wander, the less you will know, Stay put and observe, let wisdom just grow. Thus, the sage without roaming can understand, Without looking can grasp the lay of the land. With no effort, they achieve, letting go to succeed, In the art of doing nothing, they find all they need.
为学日益,为道日损。 损之又损,以至于无为。 无为而无不为。 取天下常以无事,及其有事,不足以取天下。
In learning, we add to each and every day, But seeking the Way, we must strip away. Less and still less, until action is none, And doing by not doing is how it's done. The master by quiet, the world does he win, When busyness beckons, he does not begin. For in the realm of less is the power to sway, And with no ado, the world will obey.
圣人无常心,以百姓心为心。 善者,吾善之; 不善者,吾亦善之;德善。 信者,吾信之; 不信者,吾亦信之;德信。 圣人在天下,歙歙为天下浑其心, 百姓皆注其耳目,圣人皆孩之。
The sage's heart is not his own, It beats for the people, their needs alone. The good are met with goodness clear, The bad as well, for virtue's dear. Trust he gives to one and all, Doubters too, won't see him stall. In the world, a sage's role Is to blend the hearts, to make them whole. With eyes and ears the masses come, To sage's wisdom, they succumb. He treats them all like children dear, Their laughter and their joy to hear.
出生入死。 生之徒,十有三; 死之徒,十有三; 人之生,动之死地,十有三。 夫何故。 以其生,生之厚。 盖闻善摄生者,陆行不遇兕虎,入军不被甲兵; 兕无所投其角,虎无所措其爪,兵无所容其刃。 夫何故。以其无死地。
Into life we come, to death we go. Of those who live, a third will know The touch of death, for as they thrive, Another third won't stay alive. And in the mix, a third will tread Towards death, though full of life instead. Why does this happen? What's the cause? It's life's excess that breaks its laws. Yet, those who live can deftly hold, Walk unharmed where tigers stroll, In battles, they escape unscathed, By horns untouched, by claws ungraved. No weapon finds its mark, its home, But why is this? It's simply known: They harbor not the place of death, Within, they carry life's own breath.
道生之,德畜之,物形之,势成之。 是以万物莫不尊道而贵德。 道之尊,德之贵,夫莫之命常自然。 故道生之,德畜之; 长之育之;亭之毒之;养之覆之。 生而不有,为而不恃, 长而不宰,是谓玄德。
The Dao gives birth, virtue will keep, Forming all things, its power so deep. All of creation, both near and wide, Honors the Dao, with virtue beside. Respect for the Dao, virtue held high, Given by nature, no need to try. The Dao brings to life, virtue will raise, Nurtures and protects, all of its days. Leading without claim, acting with ease, Growing without rule, like a soft breeze. Having without hold, working so free, This is the magic of nature's mystery.
天下有始, 以为天下母。 既得其母, 以知其子, 复守其母, 没身不殆。 塞其兑,闭其门,终身不勤。 开其兑,济其事,终身不救。 见小曰明,守柔曰强。 用其光,复归其明,无遗身殃; 是为习常。
The world began with a hidden birth, The mother of all, the source of our worth. To know the child, embrace the mother's grace, Protect her well, and find a lasting place. Seal the gaps, close the door with care, No need to labor, you'll be free from wear and tear. Open the gates, let your actions flow, No need for rescue, your life will glow. See the small, call it bright and clear, Embrace gentleness, and strength will appear. Use your light, return to your source so true, No harm will touch you, that's what you'll do. This is the Way of the constant sage, In harmony with the Dao, they engage.
使我介然有知,行于大道,唯施是畏。 大道甚夷,而民好径。 朝甚除,田甚芜,仓甚虚; 服文彩,带利剑,厌饮食, 财货有馀;是谓盗夸。 非道也哉!
Grant me the wisdom, calm and profound, To walk the great Way where true fears are found. The great Way is smooth, yet folks love the twists, Favor shortcuts through valleys, and up the high mists. Courtyards scrubbed clean, yet fields overgrown, Granaries empty, through negligence shown. Adorned in fine robes, sharp swords at their sides, Feasting to excess while true need abides. This isn't the Way, indeed, it's astray! A path not of virtue, but pride on display.
善建者不拔, 善抱者不脱,子孙以祭祀不辍。 修之于身,其德乃真; 修之于家,其德乃馀; 修之于乡,其德乃长; 修之于国,其德乃丰; 修之于天下,其德乃普。 故以身观身, 以家观家,以乡观乡, 以国观国,以天下观天下。 吾何以知天下然哉。以此。
Good builders don't yank, Good holders won't drop, Ancestral rites go on non-stop. Tend to yourself, your virtue is key, Tend to your kin, it'll multiply freely. Tend to your town, it grows mightily, Tend to your state, it prospers widely, Tend to the world, it spreads broadly. Judge yourself and learn what's true, Judge your home to see what's due, Judge your town, their actions cue, Judge your land, their state review, Judge the world, their overview. The world shows the world, forevermore.
含德之厚,比于赤子。 蜂虿虺蛇不螫,猛兽不据,攫鸟不搏。 骨弱筋柔而握固。 未知牝牡之合而全作,精之至也。 终日号而不嗄,和之至也。 知和曰常, 知常曰明, 益生曰祥。心使气曰强。 物壮则老,谓之不道,不道早已。
With virtue as deep as an infant's grace, Even bees and serpents won't sting in the chase. Ferocious beasts won't seize or bite, And birds in your hand won't take flight. Weak bones, tender sinews, yet a firm hold, The unity of the feminine and masculine, bold. Crying all day without getting hoarse, This is the ultimate, the harmonious force. Understanding harmony is to know the Way, Knowing the Way is to see the light of day. Beneficial growth, a sign of auspicious flow, Where the heart guides the breath, strength does grow. When things are too strong, they age and decay, That's what they call not following the way, But if you understand harmony, you'll see the right, And the path of virtue will shine ever bright.
知者不言,言者不知。 塞其兑,闭其门,挫其锐,解其分,和其光, 同其尘,是谓玄同。 故不可得而亲,不可得而踈; 不可得而利,不可得而害; 不可得而贵,不可得而贱。故为天下贵。
Those who know don't speak, those who speak don't know, Close the gates and silence the flow. Dull the sharpness, untangle the threads, Blend the light, walk where the dust treads. You can't get close, nor can you estrange, Can't seek gain, can't provoke change. Can't be esteemed, can't be disdained, That's why the Dao is forever maintained.
以正治国,以奇用兵,以无事取天下。 吾何以知其然哉。以此: 天下多忌讳,而民弥贫; 民多利器,国家滋昏; 人多伎巧,奇物滋起; 法令滋彰,盗贼多有。 故圣人云: 我无为,而民自化; 我好静,而民自正; 我无事,而民自富; 我无欲,而民自朴。
To govern with virtue, employ the plain and true, To use the art of war, be strategic, not askew. To conquer without conflict, that's the Way to go, How do I know this to be so? I'll tell you so: The world is full of taboos, and the people grow poor, Many tools bring darkness to the nation's core. People are cunning, strange inventions they devise, Laws proliferate and so thieves and rogues arise. So the sage declares, "I do nothing, and the people transform, I seek peace, and righteousness becomes the norm. I interfere not, and the people prosper more, I desire less, and simplicity they explore."
其政闷闷,其民淳淳; 其政察察,其民缺缺。 祸兮福之所倚,福兮祸之所伏。 孰知其极。其无正。 正复为奇,善复为妖。 人之迷,其日固久。 是以圣人方而不割,廉而不刿, 直而不肆,光而不耀。
When the government's quiet, the people are pure, When it's prying and tight, their woes are sure. Calamity rests where blessings secure, Fortune's deep where misfortunes endure. Who can tell where one ends or begins? In such chaos, who loses, who wins? Right turns strange, good turns to mischief, Amidst confusion, they float and drift. Thus the sage is sharp but not stabbing, Straight but not rigid, bright but not blinding, Guiding the lost their way back to finding.
治人事天莫若啬。 夫唯啬,是谓早服; 早服谓之重积德;重积德则无不克; 无不克则莫知其极;莫知其极,可以有国; 有国之母,可以长久; 是谓深根固柢,长生久视之道。
To govern people and serve the divine way, Nothing is as vital as being frugal each day. Being frugal means starting early and true, Accumulating virtues in all that you do. With virtues well gathered, there's naught you can't face, No bounds to your power, no limits in place. Not knowing your limits, you'll rule a great land, The mother of nations, forever to stand. This is the Way to endure and to thrive, With deep-rooted strength, long-lasting life.
治大国若烹小鲜。 以道莅天下,其鬼不神; 非其鬼不神,其神不伤人; 非其神不伤人,圣人亦不伤人。 夫两不相伤,故德交归焉。
Rule the lands as wide as the seas, Like cooking small fish with gentle ease. Use Dao to guide the worldly spin, No spirit's spark will dare begin. If spirits lose their ghastly flight, Such cursed ones will do no spite. For neither gods nor saints will harm, When kept at bay by Dao's soothing charm. So with care and grace, the land is led, And in this realm, no fear is spread.
大国者下流,天下之交, 天下之牝。 牝常以静胜牡,以静为下。 故大国以下小国,则取小国; 小国以下大国,则取大国。 故或下以取,或下而取。 大国不过欲兼畜人,小国不过欲入事人。 夫两者各得其所欲,大者宜为下。
A great land, like a river's flow, Is where all streams of the world go. The world's womb, receptive, still, In stillness, wins as nature's will. A big land stooping low to see, Embraces small with harmony. The small, in turn, looks up to bond, And in their dance, they both respond. Some bow to give, some bow to take, Big lands care, for people's sake. Small lands serve, with aims so true, Both find their wants, and their due. The greatest lands must serve the most, In humble grace, they hold their post.
道者万物之奥。善人之宝,不善人之所保。 美言可以市,尊行可以加人。 人之不善,何弃之有。 故立天子,置三公, 虽有拱璧以先驷马, 不如坐进此道。 古之所以贵此道者何。 不曰:以求得,有罪以免耶。故为天下贵。
The Dao is deep, to all a key, To good, a treasure, a sanctuary. Fine words can trade, respect can add, Yet what of those whose deeds are bad? Why cast them off, when Dao can guide? When kings are crowned, and lords abide, Though jewels shine and horses race, The Dao's path holds higher grace. Why prize this path from ancient lore? It grants the seekers evermore. Finds the lost, and clears the blamed, This across the world it's famed.
为无为,事无事,味无味。 大小多少,报怨以德。 图难于其易,为大于其细; 天下难事,必作于易, 天下大事,必作于细。 是以圣人终不为大,故能成其大。 夫轻诺必寡信,多易必多难。 是以圣人犹难之,故终无难矣。
Do by not doing, tasks unfold, Taste the tasteless, break the mold. Big or small, less or more, Meet spite with grace, open the door. Solve the hard when it's still easy, Do the big in steps that are breezy. All hard tasks start with a simple part, All great acts come from a tiny start. Thus the sage, by staying small, Achieves the greatest feat of all. Light promises will often fade, And hasty easiness will barricade. The sage knows this, keeps trouble far, And without striving, raises the bar.
其安易持,其未兆易谋。 其脆易泮,其微易散。 为之于未有,治之于未乱。 合抱之木,生于毫末; 九层之台,起于累土; 千里之行,始于足下。 为者败之,执者失之。 是以圣人无为故无败;无执故无失。 民之从事,常于几成而败之。 慎终如始,则无败事,是以圣人欲不欲, 不贵难得之货;学不学,复衆人之所过, 以辅万物之自然,而不敢为。
Easy to hold when it's still at peace, Easy to plan for before its crease. Fragile it breaks, just like thin ice, Scattered with ease, like tiny mice. Start it all before it grows, Fix it up before chaos shows. The mightiest tree from a sprout it's born, A tower of nine from earth is torn. A journey of miles starts at your feet, Doers will fail, met with defeat. Graspers lose grip on what they sought, Thus the wise do nothing, and lose naught. Folks often fail when the end's in sight, Careful to end as they start, just right. Thus the wise crave not, they just trust, Valuing not what's rare, but just. They learn, unlearn, from others' faults, Helping all without assaults. Never daring only to do, They simply follow nature's cue.
古之善为道者,非以明民,将以愚之。 民之难治,以其智多。 故以智治国,国之贼; 不以智治国,国之福。 知此两者亦𥡴式。 常知𥡴式,是谓玄德。 玄德深矣,远矣,与物反矣,然后乃至大顺。
Ancient sages, wise and true, Didn't enlighten folks, but kept things askew. People hard to lead, because they think they know, Too many ideas, in all directions they go. Rule with smarts, and you'll make a mess, Rule with heart, and you'll find success. To know these two, is the golden rule, Grasping this balance, makes one no fool. This deep wisdom, profound and vast, Goes against the flow, but it will last. With this mysterious virtue in hand, In harmony with the world, you'll stand.
江海所以能为百谷王者, 以其善下之,故能为百谷王。 是以圣人欲上民,必以言下之; 欲先民,必以身后之。 是以圣人处上而民不重,处前而民不害。 是以天下乐推而不厌。 以其不争,故天下莫能与之争。
The river and sea, leaders of all streams below, Because they lie low, they let all waters flow. So the sage to lead, speaks gently, don't you see? To be in front, they step back, let others be. Thus the sage stands above, and none feel oppressed, Stands in front, yet no harm comes to the rest. The world cheers them on, without a single sigh, For they do not contend, and none can vie. With no strife in their heart, they set the tone, In a world full of push, they stand alone. Because they don't compete, don't boast or brag, Not a soul in the world can pull their flag.
天下皆谓我道大,似不肖。 夫唯大,故似不肖。 若肖久矣。其细也夫! 我有三宝,持而保之。 一曰慈, 二曰俭, 三曰不敢为天下先。 慈故能勇;俭故能广; 不敢为天下先,故能成器长。 今舍慈且勇;舍俭且广; 舍后且先;死矣! 夫慈以战则胜,以守则固。 天将救之,以慈卫之。
The world thinks my Way is large and strange, It doesn't seem to fit within their range. But being vast, it looks out of place, As nuances are lost in its wide-open space. I hold three treasures close to my core, To guard and to keep forevermore. First is compassion, this I know, Second is frugality, from which bounty flows. Third, dare not to be the world's leading light, Thus, in humility, you gain true might. Compassion brings courage, this is clear, Frugality's expanse lets wealth appear. Not daring to lead, tools are wrought, With these treasures, greatness is taught. But abandon these, and what have you got? You'll perish indeed, in your own plot. For with compassion, in battle, you'll win, And in defense, an unbreakable skin. Heaven saves those who this Way begins, With a compassionate shield, you smile within.
善为士者,不武; 善战者,不怒; 善胜敌者,不与; 善用人者,为之下。 是谓不争之德, 是谓用人之力, 是谓配天古之极。
A good soldier fights not with might, A skilled warrior keeps anger out of sight. To conquer foes, you don't join the fight, Leading people well, you stand not in height. This is the virtue of non-contention, The power to lead without pretension. It's the way to match the ancient heaven's intention, The ultimate art, the sage's convention.
用兵有言: 吾不敢为主,而为客; 不敢进寸,而退尺。 是谓行无行;攘无臂; 扔无敌;执无兵。 祸莫大于轻敌,轻敌几丧吾宝。 故抗兵相加,哀者胜矣。
In the art of war, it's often said, Better to follow than try to lead ahead. Instead of advancing, take a step back, Such moves show strength where others might lack. To grapple without arms, to throw without foe, To hold without weapons, letting all tensions go. No greater disaster than underestimating the fight, For by taking it light, you may lose the night. Thus, when armies collide, and the struggle is tight, The one who mourns first, will conquer the fight.
吾言甚易知,甚易行。 天下莫能知,莫能行。 言有宗,事有君。 夫唯无知,是以不我知。 知我者希,则我者贵。 是以圣人被褐怀玉。
My words are simple, easy to see, And to practice them, as easy as can be. But folks everywhere just don't understand, They can't grasp or follow what I've planned. Every word has its source, every deed its king, But ignorance is why they don't get my thing. Those who know me are few, making me rare, Like a hidden gem, with value to spare. So the wise one, in modest attire, Holds a gem close, a secret to admire. Dressed in plain, but inside they gleam, With knowledge profound, they quietly dream.
知不知上;不知知病。 夫唯病病,是以不病。 圣人不病,以其病病,是以不病。
To know what is not known is best, Not knowing this, it's sickness, jest. For only when we see our plight, Can we step from dark to light. The sage within is never ill, Because they see beyond the hill. Acknowledging this common ache, They heal, for wisdom's very sake.
民不畏威, 则大威至。 无狎其所居, 无厌其所生。 夫唯不厌, 是以不厌。 是以圣人自知不自见; 自爱不自贵。 故去彼取此。
When the people no longer fear your might, Then truly great power will come to light. Don't intrude where they live and thrive, Nor despise the ways they stay alive. For only by not despising, will you not be despised, This wisdom of the ages cannot be disguised. Thus, the sage knows themselves but doesn't show off, Loves themselves but doesn't boast or scoff. So they discard that and keep to this, A path of humility that they rarely miss. By valuing less, they're valued more, A paradox that opens every door.
勇于敢则杀,勇于不敢则活。 此两者,或利或害。 天之所恶,孰知其故。是以圣人犹难之。 天之道, 不争而善胜,不言而善应, 不召而自来,繟然而善谋。 天网恢恢,踈而不失。
Dare to be bold, and risk the end, Dare not, and life may just extend. These two paths, one harms, one mends, Which one's disliked, on context depends. Thus, the wise are wary, you see, Of the ways of heaven's decree. The way of Dao does effortlessly win, No need for talk, it draws all in. Without a call, it comes around, In simple ways, it's wisdom found. The net of heaven is vast and wide, Though loose, it lets nothing aside.
民不畏死,奈何以死惧之。 若使民常畏死,而为奇者, 吾得执而杀之,孰敢。 常有司杀者杀。 夫司杀者,是大匠斫; 夫代大匠斫者,希有不伤其手矣。
If folks don't fear the grip of death, How can death be a threat in breath? If people lived in dread of dying, And oddballs rose, defying, vying, I'd catch and in the fray, they'd fall, But who would dare to face that call? For there's always one to wield the kill, The master carver, skilled with will. Yet he who takes the carver's place, Rarely escapes without a trace. For in the act of dealing blows, It's tough to save one's hands from woes.
民之饥,以其上食税之多,是以饥。 民之难治,以其上之有为,是以难治。 民之轻死,以其求生之厚,是以轻死。 夫唯无以生为者,是贤于贵生。
When folks are hungry, it's often told, It's because their rulers take too much gold. Taxing their food, while the people strive, Leaves bellies empty, hard to thrive. Hard to govern, when rulers always intervene, Their constant actions make the scene unclean. Life's cost is far too high high, In pursuit of living, they're more ready to die. Only those who don't cling to life with zest, Truly understand how to live the best. For in not obsessing over life's gleam, They truly understand the dream.
人之生也柔弱,其死也坚强。 万物草木之生也柔脆,其死也枯槁。 故坚强者死之徒,柔弱者生之徒。 是以兵强则不胜,木强则共。 强大处下,柔弱处上。
When we're born, we're soft and weak, In death, we're rigid, strength at peak. All things like grass and trees start tender, In death, they're stiff, no longer slender. Thus, what is hard will fall in strife, What's soft and yielding clings to life. So armies strong may not prevail, And rigid trees in storms will fail. Great strength may fall and meet its doom, The soft ascend, they find their room. For in the nature of our lot, It's gentle strength that ties the knot.
天之道,其犹张弓与。 高者抑之,下者举之; 有馀者损之,不足者补之。 天之道,损有馀而补不足。 人之道,则不然,损不足以奉有馀。 孰能有馀以奉天下,唯有道者。 是以圣人为而不恃,功成而不处,其不欲见贤。
The way of heaven's like drawing a bow, Lower the high, the low you raise, just so. Take from the full, to the lacking give, Balance it thus, how the heavens live. But human ways do invert the rule, Starving the poor to feed the rich as fuel. Who can serve all under the sky? Only those in the Dao comply. Thus the sage acts but doesn't take pride, Success is achieved, but he doesn't reside. He wishes not to show his worth so vast, For his will is to make his virtues last.
天下莫柔弱于水,而攻坚强者莫之能胜,其无以易之。 弱之胜强,柔之胜刚, 天下莫不知,莫能行。 是以圣人云: 受国之垢,是谓社稷主; 受国不祥,是谓天下王。 正言若反。
Nothing in the world's as soft as the tide, Yet against the hard and strong, it won't subside. There's naught that can its gentle power replace, Soft overcomes hard, flex beats the rigid in grace. The world knows this, yet can't follow through, But the sage proclaims it, and his words ring true: "He who takes the nation's grime becomes its shrine, He who takes its ill luck is called divine." Truthful words often seem inversely spun, For in their paradox, wisdom is won.
和大怨,必有馀怨; 安可以为善。 是以圣人执左契,而不责于人。 有德司契,无德司彻。 天道无亲,常与善人。
When great hatred is appeased in our days, Some resentment, like a shadow, stays. How can we then sow seeds of good cheer? The wise have a way, and it's quite clear. The sage holds not to the blame nor the fight, But to the promise of peace, keeping to what is right. He grasps the covenant gently, without demand, Doesn't fault others, extending a helping hand. Those with virtue manage the mending, While those without, bring only ending. Heaven's way plays no favorites, stays no kin, Yet always aligns with the good within.
小国寡民。 使有什伯之器而不用; 使民重死而不远徙。 虽有舟舆,无所乘之, 虽有甲兵,无所陈之。 使民复结绳而用之, 甘其食,美其服,安其居,乐其俗。 邻国相望,鸡犬之声相闻, 民至老死,不相往来。
In a small town, folks are few, Tools aplenty, but none they use. Life is cherished, no need to roam, Even with ships, they stay at home. Armor and chariots, left on the shelf, For peace is their wealth, not defending oneself. They tie with a rope, in a simple old style, Food is so sweet, and clothes bring a smile. Homes are a comfort, traditions are fun, Neighbor's dog barks, but harm there is none. Through life to death, content, they stay, There is no reason to wander far away.
信言不美,美言不信。 善者不辩,辩者不善。 知者不博,博者不知。 圣人不积,既以为人己愈有, 既以与人己愈多。 天之道,利而不害; 圣人之道,为而不争。
Truthful words aren't always so neat, Pretty words may just deceive. The truly good don't argue so, Those who argue, goodness they don't know. The wise don't show off all their lore, Boasters often know much less, not more. The sage accumulates no pile, Yet for others, they'll go the extra mile. The more they give, the more they gain, For selflessness is the sage's main aim. Nature's way, is to aid, never harm, The sage's path, is calm without alarm.