March 23, 2005

Updates News

Frank (st) sent me his entire translation of Tao Te Ching on 1/11/2005. I will start putting his version alongside mine and the standard translation in this blog. Also I hope to gradually organize these chapters.

Check out my Enlightnment Blog that tracks my daily (or weekly, or monthly, or seasonly, or yearly, or lifetime) musings.

Love and Peace!
Ah-San (Jorielle)

December 18, 2004

75 民之飢





Why are the people starving?
Because the rulers eats up the money in taxes.
Therefore the people are starving.

Why are the people rebellious?
Because the rulers interfere too much.
Therefore they are rebellious.

Why do the people think so little of death?
Because the rulers demand too much of life.
Therefore the people take death lightly.

Having little to live on, one knows better than to value life too much.


(Note: This is the last of the 81 chapters of Tao Te Ching I am reading and adapting. The Feng and English translation is rather dull. I want to write it in words of love, peace and life.)

Why am I often unsatisfied?
Because I tend to waste energy doing passionless things.
Why do I often find it difficult to concentrate?
Because I try to do many things at the same time.
Why do I often forget to treasure life?
Because I too eagerly divert my attention outwardly.

Only when I seek inwardly,
Shall I find the meaning of all--peace, and love.

72 民不畏威 則大威至


民不畏威 則大威至
無狎其所居 無厭其所生
夫唯不厭 是以不厭


When men lack a sense of awe, there will be disaster.

Do not intrude in their homes.
Do not harass them at work.
If you do not interfere, they will not weary of you.

Therefore the sage knows himself but makes no show,
Has self-respect but is not arrogant.
He lets go of that and chooses this.


If he is not afraid of your pressure,
Then something terrible will happen.

Do not bother him in daily life
Do not harass him at work;
If you let him loose, he will not abandon you.

The wise woman knows herself but not shows off;
She has self-respect but not arrogant.
Therefore, be humble, know and love the self.

December 08, 2004

69 用兵有言


吾不敢為主 而為客
不敢進寸 而退尺
是謂行無行 攘無臂 扔無敵 執無兵
禍莫大於輕敵 輕敵幾喪吾寶
故抗兵相若 哀者勝矣


There is a saying among soldiers:
I dare not make the first move but would rather play the guest;
I dare not advance an inch but would rather withdraw a foot.

This is called marching without appearing to move,
Rolling up your sleeves without showing your arm,
Capturing the enemy without attacking,
Being armed without weapons.

There is no greater catastrophe than underestimating the enemy.
By underestimating the enemy, I almost lost what I value.

Therefore when the battle is joined,
The underdog will win.


There's a saying in commanding the army:
I'd rather play defense than offence;
I'd rather retreat a lot than advance a little.
This strategy is more like fighting without appearing to fight:
no formation, no movement, no soldier, no weapon,
Nothing is more dangerous than underestimating your enemy,
Because if you do, you might lose your life.
Therefore, in a battle, don't laugh until you win.

(I'm too tired to think about an analogy for this military related chapter.)

December 07, 2004

68 善為士者不武




A good soldier is not violent.
A good fighter is not angry.
A good winner is not vengeful.
A good employer is humble.
This is known as the Virtue of not striving.
This is known as ability to deal with people.
This since ancient times has been known
as the ultimate unity with heaven.


A good leader does not depend on military power.
A good commander does not depend on courage.
A good victor does not fight against enemy.
A good boss acts humble.
This is the virtue of non-competition,
And the ability to manage people (as well as things).
This is the natural way.

65 古之善為道者


非以明民 將以愚之
民之難治 以其智多
故以智治國 國之賊
不以智治國 國之福
常知稽式 是謂玄德
玄德深矣遠矣 與物反矣


In the beginning those who knew the Tao did not try to enlighten others,
But kept them in the dark.
Why is it so hard to rule?
Because people are so clever.
Rulers who try to use cleverness
Cheat the country.
Those who rule without cleverness
Are a blessing to the land.
These are the two alternatives.
Understanding these is Primal Virtue.
Primal Virtue is deep and far.
It leads all things back
Toward the great oneness.


I have seen the Ultimate and I want to reach It.
Knowing the Ultimate is not a matter of the mind:
--it is a matter of the heart.
Sometimes I find it difficult to return to the Ultimate,
Because I tend to think too much.

Therefore, when reason obstructs our way,
Abandon it, and let passion burn open a new path.

Understand the nature of reason and passion,
And use them wisely,
We shall find our way back to Ourselves.
In Ourselves and in Nature,
we ultimately reach the ultimate Ultimate.

(I feel ashamed that I almost abandoned Tao. It contains so much Truth, but I won't see it unless I keep quiet and open--when I am in Tao.)

December 06, 2004

62 道者 萬物之奧


道者 萬物之奧
善人之寶 不善人之所保

美言可以示尊 美行可以加人
人之不善 何棄之有
故立天子 置三公

不曰求以得 有罪以免邪


Tao is the source of the ten thousand things.
It is the treasure of the good man, and the refuge of the bad.
Sweet words can buy honor;
Good deeds can gain respect.
If a man is bad, do not abandon him.
Therefore on the day the emperor is crowned.
Or the three officers of state installed,
Do not send a gift of jade and a team of four horses,
But remain still and offer the Tao.
Why does everyone like the Tao so much at first?
Isn't it because you find what you seek and are forgiven when you sin?
Therefore this is the greatest treasure of the universe.

62. (Tao in the name of Love)

Love dominates everything in life.
Those who are in love want to keep it.
Those who are out of love want to find it.

Good words can gain recognition;
Good deeds can gain appreciation.
There's no reason to abandon a lost soul.
If someone is successful,
Rather than presenting good words and deeds as gifts,
It's better to send in Love.

Why is Love so valuable ever since the beginning of time?
Isn't it because with Love,
all you yearnings are answered,
and all your wrongs are forgiven?
Therefore Love is the best thing in Life.

December 04, 2004

60 治大國 若烹小鮮


治大國 若烹小鮮
以道蒞天下 其鬼不神
非其鬼不神 其神不傷人
非其神不傷人 聖人亦不傷人
夫兩不相傷 故德交歸焉


Ruling the country is like cooking a small fish.
Approach the universe with Tao,
And evil will have no power.
Not that evil is not powerful,
But its power will not be used to harm others.
Not only will it do no harm to others,
But the sage himself will also be protected.
They do not hurt each other,
And the Virtue in each refreshes both.


When you cook a small fish, don't stir too much.
It's the same as ruling a country or living a life.
If you use the natural way to conduct in the world,
Devils and Adversities will not act.
It is not that devils and adversities do not occur,
Rather they will not harm you.
Not only devils and adversities don't harm you,
Saint and prosperities won't harm you either.
It's because devils and saint, adversities and prosperities
live and grow in each other.

(hmm, I sort of get this but I am not sure if I can make it make sense to others.)

December 01, 2004

56 知者不言 言者不知


知者不言 言者不知
塞其兌 閉其門
挫其銳 解其紛
和其光 同其塵 是謂玄同
故不可得而親 不可得而疏
 不可得而利 不可得而害
 不可得而貴 不可得而賤


Those who know do not talk.
Those who talk do not know.

Keep your mouth closed.
Guard your senses.
Temper your sharpness.
Simplify your problems.
Mask your brightness.
Be at one with the dust of the earth.
This is primal union.

He who has achieved this state
Is unconcerned with friends and enemies,
With good and harm, with honor and disgrace.
This therefore is the highest state of man.

56. (ah san)

He who knows does not speak.
He who speaks does not know.

Close off his senses,
Slow down his mind,
Temper his sharpness,
Untangle from his problems,
Mask his brilliance,
Mix himself with the dust:
He has reached the state of being one with nature.

We can't get close to him.
We can't get away from him.
We can't gain anything from him.
We can't harm him.
We can't honor him.
We can't disgrace him.
This way he is respected by all.
(But seriously, I think he is done with this world.)

November 18, 2004

49 聖人無常心 以百姓心為心


聖人無常心 以百姓心為心
善者 吾善之
不善者 吾亦善之
信者 吾信之
不信者 吾亦信之 德信

聖人在天下 歙歙焉
為天下 渾其心


The sage has no mind of his own.
He is aware of the needs of others.

I am good to people who are good.
I am also good to people who are not good.
Because Virtue is goodness.
I have faith in people who are faithful.
I also have faith in people who are not faithful.
Because Virtue is faithfulness.

The sage is shy and humble--to the world he seems confusing.
Men look to him and listen.
He behaves like a little child.


I have no constant mind.
I take other people's concerns as my own.
I think good the good people.
I think also good the not-so-good people.
This way I gain goodness.
I trust those trustworthy people.
I trust also those not-so-trustworthy people.
This way I gain trust.

I hope everyone is more humble and simple.
Man tends to focus his senses on external things.
But I close all my senses and look only inwardly.


42 道生一 一生二


道生一 一生二
二生三 三生萬物
萬物負陰而抱陽 沖氣以為和

人之所惡 唯孤 寡 不穀
故物或損之而益 或益之而損

人之所教 我亦教之
強梁者不得其死 吾將以為教父


The Tao begot one.
One begot two.
Two begot three.
And three begot the ten thousand things.

The ten thousand things carry yin and embrace yang.
They achieve harmony by combining there forces.

Men hate to be "orphaned,", "widowed," or "worthless,"
But this is how kings and lords describe themselves.

For one gains by losing
And loses by gaining.

What others teach, I also teach; that is:
"A violent man will die a violent death!"
This will be the essence of my teaching.


In the beginning there is Universe.
Universe divides itself into yin and yang.
From there comes heaven, earth, and man.
Then all things come to being.
Immersed in yin and ying, all things are in harmony.

People hate humble words,
But they use them on themselves.
This is because one gains by losing,
And loses by gaining.

What everyone teaches, I also teach:
"A violent man will die a violent death."
And this is the first of my teaching.

November 17, 2004

37 道常無為 而無不為


道常無為 而無不為
侯王若能守之 萬物將自化
化而欲作 吾將鎮之以無名之樸
鎮之以無名之樸 夫亦將無欲
不欲以靜 天下將自正


Tao abides in non-action,
Yet nothing is left undone.
If kings and lords observed this,
The ten thousand things would develop naturally.
If they still desired to act,
They would return to the simplicity of formless substance.
Without form there is no desire.
Without desire there is tranquility.
And in this way all things would be at peace.


God is eternal, and does nothing,
But there's nothing He cannot do.
If one can keep with God,
Everything in life would develop naturally.

When all things are natural, desires might arise.
Try to use the simplicity of nature to pacify,
So that no more desire will remain.

When there is no desire, there is tranquility,
And in it one becomes at peace with God.

November 16, 2004

36 將欲歙之 必固張之


將欲歙之 必固張之
將欲弱之 必固強之
將欲廢之 必固舉之
將欲取之 必固與之

是謂微明 柔弱勝剛強
國之利器 不可以示人


That which shrinks
Must first expand.
That which fails
Must first be strong.
That which is cast down
Must first be raised.
Before receiving
There must be giving.

This is called perception of the nature of things.
Soft and weak overcome hard and strong.

Fish cannot leave deep waters,
And a country's weapons should not be displayed.

(this one seems quite pointless to me. it might has something to do with military strategies. the recent few tao verses i am reading are about war and weapons, but these days i am learning about st. augustine and love. maybe it's time to quit tao for a while. or, to gain insight of tao, quit it first....)

To close something, open it first.
To weaken something, strengthen it first.
To abandon something, proclaim it first.
To claim something, give it away first.

This is the highest wisdom:
Weak and soft overcome strong and hard.
Fish cannot leave water.
Don't show your weapon to others.

November 15, 2004

33 知人者智 自知者明


知人者智 自知者明
勝人者有力 自勝者強
知足者富 強行者有志
不失其所者久 死而不亡者壽


Knowing others is wisdom;
Knowing the self is enlightenment.
Mastering others requires force;
Mastering the self needs strength.

He who knows he has enough is rich.
Perseverance is a sign of will power.
He who stays where he is endures.
To die but not to perish is to be eternally present.

33 (one of my favorites)

He who knows others is smart;
He who knows the self is wise.
He who conquers others is strong;
He who conquers the self is mighty.

He who understands contentment is rich;
He who works with diligence is willful.
He who preserve his nature is long lasting;
He who dies without perishing is immortal.

November 14, 2004

32 道常無名


樸雖小 天下莫能臣
侯王若能守之 萬物將自賓
天地相合 以降甘露

名亦既有 夫亦將知止
知止 可以不殆
譬道之在天下 猶川谷之於江海


The Tao is forever undefined.
Small though it is in the unformed state, it cannot be grasped.
If kings and lords could harness it,
The ten thousand things would naturally obey.
Heaven and earth would come together
And gentle rain fall.
Men would need no more instruction
and all things would take their course.

Once the whole is divided, the parts need names.
There are already enough names.
One must know when to stop.
Knowing when to stop averts trouble.
Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea.


He is eternal, and has no name.
He is simple, but invincible.
Follow Him, everything flows;
Nature comes around to nurture all lives;
The universe is in harmony.

When He creates everything,
Each is separated and given a name.
Know that names are only names,
Do not let them take over the essence.
He is the source of everything,
Like all water on earth returns to the sea.

November 13, 2004

31 夫兵者 不祥之器


夫兵者 不祥之器
物或惡之 故有道者不處
君子居則貴左 用兵則貴右
兵者 不得已而用之
殺人之眾 以悲哀泣之
戰勝 以喪禮處之


Good weapons are instruments of fear; all creatures hate them.
Therefore followers of Tao never use them.
The wise man prefers the left.
The man of war prefers the right.

Weapons are instruments of fear; they are not a wise man's tools.
He uses them only when he has no choice.
Peace and quiet are dear to his heart,
And victory no cause for rejoicing.
If you rejoice in victory, then you delight in killing;
If you delight in killing, you cannot fulfill yourself.

On happy occasions precedence is given to the left,
On sad occasions to the right.
In the army the general stands on the left,
The commander-in-chief on the right.
This means that war is conducted like a funeral.
When many people are being killed,
They should be mourned in heartfelt sorrow.
That is why a victory must be observed like a funeral.


Weapons are no good. Most people hate them. The taoists never possess any. Weapons should only be used when absolutely necessary.

So many people are killed. War should be treated with sorrow, and victory should be observed like a funeral.

November 06, 2004

30 以道佐人主者 不以兵強天下


以道佐人主者 不以兵強天下
其事好遠 師之所處 荊棘生焉
     大軍之後 必有凶年
善者果而已 不以取強
果而勿矜 果而勿伐 果而勿驕
果而不得已 果而勿強
物壯則老 是謂不道 不道早已


Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of Tao,
Counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe.
For this would only cause resistance.
Thorn bushes spring up wherever the army has passed.
Lean years follow in the wake of a great war.
Just do what needs to be done.
Never take advantage of power.

Achieve results,
But never glory in them.
Achieve results,
But never boast.
Achieve results,
But never be proud.
Achieve results,
Because this is the natural way.
Achieve results,
But not through violence.

Force is followed by loss of strength.
This is not the way of Tao.
That which goes against the Tao comes to an early end.

30. (11/6/2004)

A Taoist does not use force to win other nations in the world.
If one uses force, one has to deal with the consequences:
After the army has passed, the land becomes barren;
When the war is finished, there will be years of famine.

The one who knows how to use force knows not to abuse power.
The goal of war should not be pride, arrogance, demonstration,
War should be the last resort.

He who is too strong will only weaken and decline;
He who uses force to win the world is against Tao;
He who is against Tao will only come to an early end.

November 05, 2004

28 知其雄 守其雌 為天下谿


知其雄 守其雌 為天下谿
為天下谿 常德不離 復歸於嬰兒
知其白 守其黑 為天下式
為天下式 常德不忒 復歸於無極
知其榮 守其辱 為天下谷
為天下谷 常德乃足 復歸於樸
樸散則為器 聖人用之則為官長


Know the strength of man,
But keep a woman's care!
Be the stream of the universe!
Being the stream of the universe,
Ever true and unswerving,
Become as a little child once more.

Know the white,
But keep the black!
Be an example to the world!
Being an example to the world,
Ever true and unwavering,
Return to the infinite.

Know honor,
Yet keep humility.
Be the valley of the universe!
Being the valley of the universe,
Ever true and resourceful,
Return to the state of the uncarved block.

When the block is carved, it becomes useful.
When the sage uses it, he becomes the ruler.
Thus, "A great tailor cuts little."

28. (ah san)

Know how to be strong, but keep the softness;
Be the canyon of the world.
Don't lose your human nature.
Return to the state of a newborn.

Know how to be sharp, but keep the vagueness;
Be the crystal ball of the world.
Don't mistake your human nature.
Return to the state of vastness.

Know how to reach high, but keep the openness;
Be the valley of the world.
Fulfill your human nature.
Return to the state of purity.

A piece of wood can be cut into pieces,
and made into different tools.
Just as the Wisdom that can be interpreted,
and made into different ideologies.
Using the pieces, a smart man can become a king.
Think of it:
How complete will one accomplish using the whole.

November 04, 2004

26 重為輕根 靜為躁君


重為輕根 靜為躁君
雖有榮觀 燕處超然
奈何萬乘之主 而以身輕天下
輕則失根 躁則失君


The heavy is the root of the light;
The still is the master of unrest.

Therefore the sage, traveling all day,
Does not lose sight of his baggage.
Though there are beautiful things to be seen,
He remains unattached and calm.

Why should the lord of ten thousand chariots act lightly in public?
To be light is to lose one's root.
To be restless is to lose one's control.

26. (ah san)

heaviness can master lightness,
calmness can tame restlessness.
to travel far, take all the necessities,
but even with lots of money, live simply.

how come some people think it's easy to govern a nation?

lightness leads to loss of direction.
restlessness leads to lost of control.

November 03, 2004

24 企者不立 跨者不行


企者不立 跨者不行
見者不明 自是者不彰
自伐者無功 自矜者不長
其在道也 曰餘食贅行
物或惡之 故有道者不處


He who stands on tiptoe is not steady.
He who strides cannot maintain the pace.
He who makes a show is not enlightened.
He who is self-righteous is not respected.
He who boasts achieves nothing.
He who brags will not endure.
According to followers of the Tao,
"There are extra food and unnecessary luggage."
They do not bring happiness.
Therefore followers of the Tao avoid them.

24. (ah san)

He who tiptoes cannot stand for long.
He who strides cannot travel far.
He who sees only the self cannot discern.
He who agrees only with the self cannot remark.
He who praises only the self cannot improve.
He who loves only the self cannot last.
These are leftover stuff from Tao,
That nobody likes, and the Taoists avoid.

November 01, 2004

22 曲則全 枉則直


曲則全 枉則直
窪則盈 敝則新
少則多 多則惑

不自見 故明
不自是 故彰
不自伐 故有功
不自矜 故長

夫唯不爭 故天下莫能與之爭
古之所謂曲則全者 豈虛言哉


Yield and overcome;
Bend and be straight;
Empty and be full;
Wear out and be new;
Have little and gain;
Have much and be confused.

Therefore wise men embrace the one
And set an example to all.
Not putting on a display,
They shine forth.
Not justifying themselves,
They are distinguished.
Not boasting,
They receive recognition.
Not bragging,
They never falter.
They do not quarrel,
So no one quarrels with them.
Therefore the ancients say, "Yield and overcome."
Is that an empty saying?
Be really whole,
And all things will come to you.


Bend and preserve,
Adapt and attain,
Empty and fill,
Exhaust and renew,
Minify and gain,
Amplify and lose.

See more than the self and discriminate;
Know more than the self and understand;
Recognize more than the self and achieve;
Love more than the self and eternalize.

Compete with no one and there's no competition.
It's the perfect and only way.

October 31, 2004

18 大道廢 有仁義


大道廢 有仁義
智慧出 有大偽
六親不和 有孝慈
國家昏亂 有忠臣


When the great Tao is forgotten,
Kindness and morality arise.
When wisdom and intelligence are born,
The great pretense begins.

When there is no peace within the family,
Filial piety and devotion arise.
When the country is confused and in chaos,
Loyal ministers appear.


When I lost touch with my self,
I come up with reasons for my being.
When I realize how smart I am,
I fool myself with my intelligence.
When I don't feel love for others,
I know how to be polite and courteous.
When my life is in confusion and chaos,
Any step I take is a step forward.

October 25, 2004

17 太上 不知有之


太上 不知有之
其次 親而譽之
其次 畏之
其次 侮之
信不足焉 有不信焉  
悠兮其貴言 功成事遂
百姓皆謂 「我自然」


The very highest is barely known by men.
Then comes that which they know and love.
Then that which is feared.
Then that which is despised.

He who does not trust enough will not be trusted.

When actions are performed
Without unnecessary speech.
People say, "We did it!"


Of anything, that includes anyone, any idea, any place, any thing,
The best can be merely sensed;
The good are admired and wanted;
The bad are feared and avoided.
The worst are simply despised.

The natural deeds are done without suspicion,
Without effort,
Without words.

October 24, 2004

03 不尚賢 使民不爭


不尚賢 使民不爭
不貴難得之貨 使民不為盜
不見可欲 使民心不亂
 虛其心 實其腹 弱其志 強其骨
 為無為 則無不治


Not exalting the gifted prevents quarreling.
Not collecting treasures prevents stealing.
Not seeing desirable things prevents confusion of the heart.

The wise therefore rule by emptying hearts and stuffing bellies.
by weakening ambitions and strengthening bones.
If people lack knowledge and desire,
then intellectuals will not try to interfere.
If nothing is lost, then all will be well.


When wealth is prized, competition arises.
When perfection is valued, deceit begins.
When desires are encouraged, confusion sets in.

Think less, eat well, give up ambition, strengthen the body.
But if you must think, then think only for fun,
And do not pride yourself on your intelligence.


If you toss compliments around freely,
people will waste your time
trying to impress you.
If you give things too much value,
you're going to get ripped off.
If you try to please people,
you'll just make them pissed.

The Master leads
by clearing the crap
out of people's heads
and opening their hearts.
He lowers their aspirations
and makes them suck in their guts.

He shows you how to forget
what you know and what you want,
so nobody can push you around.
If you think you've got the answers,
he'll mess with your head.

Stop doing stuff all the time,
and watch what happens.

October 23, 2004

12 五色令人盲目





The five colors blind the eye.
The five tones deafen the ear.
The five flavors dull the taste.
Racing and hunting madden the mind.
Precious things lead one astray.

Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees.
He lets go of that and chooses this.


Bright colors blind the eye.
Pleasant music deafens the ear.
Delicious food sickens the stomach.
Adventurous hobbies shatter the mind.
Rare curiosities destroy the moral.

Abandon the attachment to pleasures.
Live healthy and be free.

October 21, 2004

63 為無為 事無事 味無味


為無為 事無事 味無味
大小多少 報怨以德
圖難於其易 為大於其細
是以聖人終不為大 故能成其大

夫輕諾必寡信 多易必多難
是以聖人猶難之 故終無難矣


Practice non-action.
Work without doing.
Taste the tasteless.
Magnify the small, increase the few.
Reward bitterness with care.

See simplicity in the complicated.
Achieve greatness in little things.

In the universe the difficult things are done as if they are easy.
In the universe great acts are made up of small deeds.
The sage does not attempt anything very big,
And thus achieves greatness.

Easy promises make for little trust.
Taking things lightly results in great difficulty.
Because the sage always confronts difficulties,
He never experiences them.


Do the non-doing;
Work on the non-work;
Enjoy the non-enjoyable.
See small as big, see less as more;
Return hatred with kindness.
To tackle the difficult, start from the easy;
To accomplish the great, start from the trivial.
See, the master never attempts the great,
And therefore he achieves the great.

One who promises easily often has little sincerity.
One who oversimplifies often encounters the complicated.
Therefore, handle everything as if it is complex,
And then you will never face true difficulties.

October 20, 2004

54 善建者不拔 善抱者不脫


善建者不拔 善抱者不脫
修之於身 其德乃真
修之於家 其德乃餘
修之於鄉 其德乃長
修之於邦 其德乃豐
修之於天下 其德乃普
故以身觀身 以家觀家
以鄉觀鄉 以邦觀邦
吾何以知天下然哉 以此


What is firmly established cannot be uprooted.
What is firmly grasped cannot slip away.
It will be honored from generation to generation.

Cultivate Virtue in your self,
And Virtue will be real.
Cultivate it in the family,
And Virtue will abound.
Cultivate it in the village,
And Virtue will grow.
Cultivate it in the nation,
And Virtue will be abundant.
Cultivate it in the universe,
And Virtue will be everywhere.

Therefore look at the body as body;
Look at the family as family;
Look at the village as village;
Look at the nation as nation;
Look at the universe as universe.

How do I know the universe is like this?
By looking!


The good builder does not let shake,
The good holder does not let drop.
Remember this, and teach your children.

Practice this in relationship with your self,
your gain shall be genuine.
Practice this in relationship with your family,
your gain shall be ample.
Practice this in relationship with your neighbors,
your gain shall be lasting.
Practice this in relationship with your nation,
your gain shall be abundant.
Practice this in relationship with the world,
your gain shall be immense.

Observe one's self using his practice with the self;
Observe one's family using his practice with the family.
Observe one's neighbors using his practice with the neighbors.
Observe one's nation using his practice with the nation.
Observe one's world using his practice with the world.

How does LaoZi know this is true?
Because this is exactly his own practice.

October 19, 2004

43 天下之至柔


不言之教 無為之益


The softest thing in the universe
Overcomes the hardest thing in the universe.
That without substance can enter where there is no room.
Hence I know the value of non-action.

Teaching without words and work without doing
Are understood by very few.


The softest can move freely through the hardest.
The formless can enter effortlessly into the seamless.
Then Lao Zi realizes the value of non-action:
Nothing beats deed without work,
And teaching without words.

October 18, 2004

35 執大象 天下往


執大象 天下往
往而不害 安、平、泰

樂與餌 過客止
道之出口 淡乎其無味


All men will come to him who keeps to the one.
For there lie rest and happiness and peace.

Passersby may stop for music and good food,
But a description of the Tao
Seems without substance or flavor.
It cannot be seen, it cannot be heard.
And yet it cannot be exhausted.

35. (ah san)

Be One with Being, and All shall be with One.
The world will become harmonious, peaceful, flowing.

Compare to good music and great food,
The spoken Tao is rather plain and bland.
True, it cannot be seen, cannot be heard,
Yet it cannot be used up.

October 17, 2004

10 載營魄抱一 能無離乎


載營魄抱一 能無離乎
專氣致柔 能嬰兒乎
滌除玄覽 能無疵乎
愛國治民 能無為乎
天門開闔 能為雌乎
明白四達 能無知乎

生而不有 為而不恃 長而不宰

TEN (Feng)

Carrying body and soul and embracing the one,
Can you avoid separation?
Attending fully and becoming supple,
Can you be as a newborn babe?
Washing and cleansing the primal vision,
Can you be without stain?
Loving all men and ruling the country,
Can you be without cleverness?
Opening and closing the gates of heaven,
Can you play the role of woman?
Understanding and being open to all things,
Are you able to do nothing?
Giving birth and nourishing,
Bearing yet not possessing,
Working yet not taking credit,
Leading yet not dominating,
This is the Primal Virtue.


Can you let body and soul be one,
and never separate?
Can you focus the primal energy and relax,
and be like a baby again?
Can you cleanse the mirror of the heart,
and let it free of dust and stain?
Can you love people, promote peace,
and in reality do nothing?
Can you watch the universe transform,
and keep calm and still?
Can you be sharp, bright, knowing,
and still retain no knowledge, no wisdom?

Let all things go through their own life cycles.
Nourish them, but never interfere;
Guide them, but never claim to be the master.
This, is the highest and farthest Way of Virtue.

October 16, 2004

06 谷神不死 是謂玄牝


谷神不死 是謂玄牝
玄牝之門 是謂天地根
綿綿若存 用之不勤

SIX (Feng)

The valley spirit never dies;
It is the woman, primal mother.
Her gateway is the root of heaven and earth.
It is like a veil barely seen.
Use it; it will never fail.


The Goddess of void is eternal.
She is the mother of all.
From her birth canal,
The universe is born.
With her mysterious power,
She preserves us all, forever.

October 15, 2004

78 天下莫柔弱於水



弱之勝強 柔之勝剛
天下莫不知 莫能行

受國之垢 是謂社稷主
受國不祥 是為天下王


Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.
Therefore the sage says:
He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people
is fit to rule them.
He who takes upon himself the country's disasters deserves
to be king of the universe.
The truth often sounds paradoxical.


Nothing is as soft and weak as water.
Yet nothing is better in destroying the firm and strong.
Because there's nothing like water.

The weak overcomes the strong;
The soft overcomes the firm;
This is just common sense,
Yet no one knows how to apply it to life.

Therefore, the Master says,
Be willing to take in shame and humiliation,
And be ready to act upon adversity and calamity,
Then you will become a master of the universe.

October 14, 2004

39 昔之得一者


天得一以清 地得一以寧
神得一以靈 谷得一以盈
萬物得一以生 侯王得一以為天下貞

謂天無以清將恐裂 地無以寧將恐廢
神無以靈將恐歇 谷無以盈將恐竭
萬物無以生將恐滅 侯王無以正將恐蹶

故貴以賤為本 高以下為基
是以侯王自稱孤 寡 不穀
此非以賤為本邪 非乎
不欲琭琭如玉 珞珞如石


These things from ancient times arise from one:
The sky is whole and clear.
The earth is whole and firm.
The spirit is whole and strong.
The valley is whole and full.
The ten thousand things are whole and alive.
Kings and lords are whole, and the country is upright.
All these are in virtue of wholeness.

The clarity of the sky prevents its falling.
The firmness of the earth prevents its splitting.
The strength of the spirit prevents its being used up.
The fullness of the valley prevents its running dry.
The growth of the ten thousand things prevents their dying out.
The leadership of kings and lords prevents the downfall of the country.

Therefore the humble is the root of the noble.
The low is the foundation of the high.
Princes and lords consider themselves "orphaned," "windowed," and "worthless.:
Do they not depend on being humble?

Too much success is not an advantage.
Do not tinkle like jade
Or clatter like stone chimes.

39. (ah san)

With Tao:
The Sky is clear, the Earth steady;
The Gods are alive, the Valleys lush;
Everything grows, Everyone prevails.

Without Tao:
The sky will split, the earth crack;
The gods go idle, the valleys arid;
All perish, all lost forever.

The noble roots in the base;
The high founds on the low;
The illustrious speak humble names.

Seeking honor brings nothing in the end.
Rather than try sparkling like the jade,
Be happy like a piece of natural rock.

October 13, 2004

44 名與身孰親




Fame or self: Which matters more?
Self or wealth: Which is more precious?
Gain or loss: Which is more painful?

He who is attached to things will suffer much.
He who saves will suffer heavy loss.
A contented man is never disappointed.
He who knows when to stop does not find himself in trouble.
He will stay forever safe.

44 (ah san)

Fame and life, which is more precious?
Life and wealth, which is more important?
Gain and loss, which is more harmful?

Too much attachment will end in great loss;
Too much saving will result in great expense.
Knowing contentment leads to peace,
Knowing satisfaction brings harmony,
And longevity.

October 12, 2004

11 三十輻 共一轂


三十輻 共一轂
當其無 有車之用
當其無 有器之用
當其無 有室之用
故有之以為利 無之以為用


Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore profit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.


The spokes centers around the wheel's hub;
It's the hole in the hub that makes a vehicle useful.

The clays are shaped into a vessel;
It's the space inside that makes the container useful.

The doors and windows are cut to build a house;
It's the openings that makes a room useful.

Therefore, the body only serves as the evidence of existence;
It's the empty nothingness that makes it useful.

October 11, 2004

66 江海所以能為百谷王者


以其善下之 故能為百谷王
是以欲上民 必以言下之
欲先民  必以身後之
以其不爭 故天下莫能與之爭


Why is the sea king of a hundred streams?
Because it lies below them.
Therefore it is the king of a hundred streams.

If the sage would guide the people, he must serve with humility.
If he would lead them, he must follow behind.
In this way when the sage rules, the people will not feel oppressed;
When he stands before them, they will not be harmed.
The whole world will support him and will not tire of him.

Because he does not compete,
He does not meet competition.


The sea is the king of all streams,
It's because it lies below.
He who manages others must speak humbly;
He who guides others must put himself behind.

Therefore the wise one stays above others,
Yet no one sees his shadow;
He stands in front of them,
Yet no one feels any hindrance.

He is friends with everyone, and admired by all.
He never competes,
So he has no competition in the world.

October 10, 2004

45 大成若缺 其用不弊


大成若缺 其用不弊
大盈若沖 其用不窮
大直若屈 大巧若拙 大辯若訥
躁勝寒 靜勝熱 清靜為天下正


Great accomplishment seems imperfect,
Yet it does not outlive its usefulness.
Great fullness seems empty,
Yet it cannot be exhausted.

Great straightness seems twisted.
Great intelligence seems stupid.
Great eloquence seem awkward.

Movement overcomes cold.
Stillness overcomes heat.
Stillness and tranquility set things in order in the universe.

45 (ah san)

The perfect seems imperfect,
Yet it has no flaws.
The fullest seems empty,
Yet it has no bound.

The straightest line seems bent;
The cleverest act seems clumsy;
The wisest words seem senseless.

"Nothing is as what it seems."

Warmth overcomes coldness;
Stillness overcomes chaos;
Warmth and stillness bring harmony to the world.

October 08, 2004

53 使我介然有知 行於大道


使我介然有知 行於大道
大道甚夷 而人好徑
朝甚除 田甚蕪 倉甚虛 服文采
帶利劍 厭飲食 財貨有餘
是為盜夸 非道也哉


If I have even just a little sense,
I will walk on the main road and my only fear will be of straying from it.
Keeping to the main road is easy,
But people love to be sidetracked.

When the court is arrayed in splendor,
The fields are full of weeds,
And the granaries are bare,
Some wear gorgeous clothes,
Carry sharp swords,
And indulge themselves with food and drink;
They have more possessions than they can use.
They are robber barons.
This is certainly not the way of Tao.

53 (ah san)

Common sense says, keep on the main road.
But how come everyone likes the small roads?

They have fancy houses,
Although behind and inside they are quite empty;
They wear fashionable cloth,
They are equipped with the newest gadgets,
They grow tired of good food and wine;
They have amassed innumerable treasures.
I think they are rather robbers
who walk on those small roads.

October 07, 2004

09 持而盈之 不如其已


持而盈之 不如其已
揣而銳之 不可長保
金玉滿堂 莫之能守
富貴而驕 自遺其咎
功成身退 天之道也


Better stop short than fill to the brim.
Oversharpen the blade, and the edge will soon blunt.
Amass a store of gold and jade, and no one can protect it.
Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow.
Retire when the work is done.
This is the way of heaven.


Too full a cup is likely to spill;
Too sharp a knife will soon blunt;
Too much treasure cannot be guarded;
Too rich and famous leads to trouble.

When the work is done, quit.
Anything that's too much is too much.

October 05, 2004

58 其政悶悶 其民醇醇


其政悶悶 其民醇醇
其政察察 其民缺缺
孰知其極 其無正
正復為奇 善復為妖
人之迷 其日固久
是以聖人 方而不割


When the country is ruled with a light hand
The people are simple.
When the country is ruled with severity,
The people are cunning.

Happiness is rooted in misery.
Misery lurks beneath happiness.
Who knows what the future holds?
There is no honesty.
Honesty becomes dishonest.
Goodness becomes witchcraft.
Man's bewitchment lasts for a long time.

Therefore the sage is sharp but not cutting,
Pointed but not piercing,
Straightforward but not unrestrained,
Brilliant but not blinding.

58 (ah-san)

If you are easygoing, then your life will be simple.
If you are serious, then you will always encounter trickery.

I remember Gibran's words on Joy and Sorrow:

"When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

"Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed."

Nobody knows how things can change.
Something normal can become crazy;
Someone good can become evil;
No one can ever tell.

Again, Lao Tsu's advice:
Be strict but not interfering;
Be square but not hurting;
Be bold but not reckless.
Be brilliant but not blinding;

October 04, 2004

34 大道泛兮 其可左右


大道泛兮 其可左右
衣養萬物而不為主 常無慾 可名於小
萬物歸焉而不為主 可名為大
以其終不自為大 故能成其大


The great Tao flows everywhere, both to the left and to the right.
The ten thousand things depend upon it; it holds nothing back.
It fulfills its purpose silently and makes no claim.

It nourishes the ten thousand things,
And yet is not their lord.
It has no aim; it is very small.

The ten thousand things return to it,
Yet it is not their lord.
It is very great.

It does not show greatness,
And is therefore truly great.


How profound is the flow of Nature!
No one can set its course.

Nourishing all things,
yet desiring none, and never acting like the boss,
Nature is the smallest of the small.

Governing all things,
yet never claiming to be the master,
Nature is the greatest of the great.

October 03, 2004

20 唯之與阿 相去幾何


唯之與阿 相去幾何 善之與惡 相去若何
人之所畏 不可不畏 荒兮 其未央哉

眾人熙熙 如享太牢 如春登台
我獨泊兮其未兆 如嬰兒之未孩 儡儡兮 若無所歸

眾人皆有餘 而我獨若遺 我愚人之心也哉 沌沌兮
俗人昭昭 我獨昏昏 俗人察察 我獨悶悶

澹兮其若海 飂兮若無止

眾人皆有以 而我獨頑且鄙
我獨異於人 而貴食母


Give up learning, and put an end to your troubles.

Is there a difference between yes and no?
Is there a difference between good and evil?
Must I fear what others fear? What nonsense!
Other people are contented, enjoying the sacrificial feast of the ox.
In spring some go to the park, and climb the terrace,
But I alone am drifting, not knowing where I am.
Like a newborn babe before it learns to smile,
I am alone, without a place to go.

Others have more than they need, but I alone have nothing.
I am a fool. Oh, yes! I am confused.
Other men are clear and bright,
But I alone am dim and weak.
Other men are sharp and clever,
But I alone am dull and stupid.
Oh, I drift like the waves of the sea,
Without direction, like the restless wind.

Everyone else is busy,
But I alone am aimless and depressed.
I am different.
I am nourished by the great mother.


what's the difference between yes and no,
good and bad, or right and wrong?
and what's so frightening about what other people fear?
if i follow people as they follow one other,
and there will be no end to it.

the whole world seems so joyous
as if there's a spring party on the hilltop;
but i alone am unconcerned and unmoved,
like a newborn who hasn't learned to smile.
i am idle as if i have no home to return.

everyone has so much and is content,
but i alone have lost all.
i am just a simpleton, dumb and slow.
everyone is so smart and knowing,
while i alone am confused.
everyone is so clean and civilized,
but i am dull and ignorant.

i am as calm as the deep sea,
and i wander about the universe aimlessly.

everyone is meaningful and accomplished,
but i alone am useless and immature.
i guess i am just somewhat different.
i am one with mother nature.

20. (fst)

All the world is merry as a holiday
or as if climbing to a vista in spring.
I alone seem listless and still,
as one without desire -
like an infant which has not yet smiled;
dejected and forlorn, like one with no home.
All the world has enough - and more.
I alone seem to have lost everything.

My mind is that of a fool,
lost in a cloud of indiscerning.

People on the street are bright and knowing.
I alone seem in the dark.
The people are sharp and discriminate.
I alone make no distinctions.
I drift about, at sea, with nowhere to rest.
All the world has a goal.
I alone seem aimless and unable,
like a rustic new to the city.

I alone seem different from the world,
because I value the food of the Dao.

October 02, 2004

47 不出戶 知天下


不出戶 知天下
不窺牖 見天道
其出彌遠 其知彌少


Without going outside, you may know the whole world.
Without looking through the window, you may see the ways of heaven.
The farther you go, the less you know.

Thus the sage knows without traveling;
He sees without looking;
He works without doing.


Awakened, need I neither go outside to comprehend the world;
nor look outward to see who, where, when, and why I am.
For I know, the more knowledge I seek, the less wisdom I find.
Like a master, I arrive without going,
see without looking;
and accomplish without doing.

October 01, 2004

16 致虛極 守靜篤


致虛極 守靜篤
萬物並作 吾以觀復

夫物芸芸 各復歸其根
歸根曰靜 靜曰復命
復命曰常 知常曰明

不知常 妄作凶
知常容 容乃公
公乃全 全乃天 天乃道 道乃久


Empty yourself of everything,
Let the mind rest at peace.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then return to the source.
Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.
The way of nature is unchanging.
Knowing constancy is insight.
Not knowing constancy leads to disaster.
Knowing constancy, the mind is open.
With an open mind, you will be openhearted.
Being openhearted, you will act royally.
Being royal, you will attain the divine.
Being divine, you will be at one with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
And though the body dies, the Tao will never pass away.


In the highest state of void,
I am still like the mountain.
That everything grows and flourishes,
I silently watch their cycles.

Oh, there are so many things in the universe,
They come and go and eventually return to what they are.
To return to self is to reach void,
or fate, or eternity, or infinite, or absolute, or nature.
Knowing nature is true wisdom.

He who knows the ultimate nature of the world
is accepting, is just, is preserved, is natural,
and he lives on with nature, in all eternity.

September 30, 2004

52 天下有始 以為天下母


天下有始 以為天下母
既得其母 以知其子
既知其子 復守其母 沒身不殆
塞其兌 閉其門 終身不勤
開其兌 濟其事 終身不救
見小曰明 守柔曰強
用其光 復歸其明
無遺身殃 是為襲常


The beginning of the universe
Is the mother of all things.
Knowing the mother, one also knows the sons.
Knowing the sons, yet remaining in touch with the mother,
Brings freedom from the fear of death.

Keep your mouth shut,
Guard the senses,
And life is ever full.
Open your mouth,
Always be busy,
And life is beyond hope.

Seeing the small is insight;
Yielding to force is strength.
Using the outer light, return to insight.
And in this way be saved from harm.
This is learning constancy.

52 ( ah san )

There is a beginning to everything--we call it Reality.
If we understand reality,
then we can understand all its manifestations.
When we can see through the manifestations,
we shall seek reality,
and live in peace and harmony.

Keep away from desires and senses,
life will be relaxed and liberated.
Seek the satisfaction of desires and senses,
life can never be truly fulfilled.

One who can see the tiny is bright;
One who knows how to surrender is strong.
Use the light from the outside "reality"
to see the light from within, and return,
This is the way,
the way to the everlasting.

September 29, 2004

41 上士聞道 勤而行之


上士聞道 勤而行之
中士聞道 若存若亡
下士聞道 大笑之
故建言有之 明道若昧 進道若退
夷道若纇 上德若谷 大白若辱
廣德若不足 建德若偷 質德若渝
大方無隅 大器晚成
大音希聲 大象無形
道隱無名 夫唯道 善貸且成


The wise student hears of the Tao and practices it diligently.
The average student hears of the Tao and gives it thought now and again.
The foolish student hears of the Tao and laughs aloud.
If there were no laughter, the Tao would not be what it is.

Hence it is said:
The bright path seems dim;
Going forward seems like retreat;
The easy way seems hard;
The highest Virtue seems empty;
Great purity seems sullied;
A wealth of Virtue seems inadequate;
The strength of Virtue seems frail;
Real Virtue seems unreal;
The perfect square has no corners;
Great talents ripen late;
The highest notes are hard to hear;
The greatest form has no shape.
The Tao is hidden and without name.
The Tao alone nourishes and brings everything to fulfillment.

41 (ah san's version)

Upon hearing about Tao,
The talented one follows it "diligently";
The average one thinks it suspicious;
The slow one laughs at it--
If he doesn't laugh at its absurdity, then it is not Tao.

You must have heard:
Bright path seems dim;
Forward path seems backward;
Smooth path seems rugged;
High seems low, pure seems dirty;
Broad seems insufficient, strong seems weak;
Reality seems illusory;
A perfect square has no corners;
The best article is made last;
The loudest sound is in stillness;
The largest shape has no form.

So I say,
Tao is hidden and can't be described,
But from Tao, everything forms and grows.

August 21, 2004

08 上善若水


處眾人之所惡 故幾於道
居善地 心善淵 與善仁
言善信 政善治
事善能 動善時
夫唯不爭 故無尤


The highest good is like water.
Water gives life to the then thousand things and does not strive.
It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao.

In dwelling, be close to the land.
In meditation, go deep in the heart.
In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.
In speech, be true.
In ruling, be just.
In business, be competent.
In action, watch the timing.

No fight: No blame.


Sometimes I think about water.
Silently, it is the source for all lives,
Humbly, it flows to the lowland.
It reminds me of Tao.

So I must learn from water:
Live close to the land.
Search inwardly, deeply.
Be gentle with others.
Be trustworthy in speech.
Judge with common sense.
Work with competence.
Act effectively and efficiently.

Stay low,
And no harm shall come.

August 18, 2004

01 道可道 非常道


道可道 非常道
名可名 非常名
無名天地之始 有名萬物之母
故常無 欲以觀其妙
 常有 欲以觀其徼
此兩者 同出而異名 同謂之玄
玄之又玄 眾妙之門

ONE (Feng)

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.


I want to tell you about it, but what I can say is not it.
I want to give it a name, but any name says something else.
The universe begins with this cannot-name,
From it come all things that can be named.
Therefore, use the no-name concept (religion, art, music)
to wonder about the whole,
And use the named ideas (science, philosophy)
to study and communicate the details.
See, these are just the two different angles of the same thing,
Call it nature, force, field, god, or simply,

1. (st)

If you can talk about it,
it ain't Tao.
If it has a name,
it's just another thing.

Tao doesn't have a name.
Names are for ordinary things.

Stop wanting stuff;
it keeps you from seeing what's real.
When you want stuff,
all you see are things.

Those two sentences
mean the same thing.
Figure them out,
and you've got it made

August 17, 2004

80 小國寡民


雖有舟輿 無所乘之
雖有甲兵 無所陳之
甘其食 美其服
安其居 樂其俗
鄰國相望 雞犬之聲相聞  
民至老死 不相往來


A small country has fewer people.
Though there are machines that can work ten to a hundred times faster
than man, they are not needed.
The people take death seriously and do not travel far.
Though they have boats and carriages, no one uses them.
Though they have armor and weapons, no one displays them.
Men return to the knotting of rope in place of writing.
Their food is plain and good, their clothes fine but simple,
their homes secure.
They are happy in their ways.
Though they live within sight of their neighbors,
And crowing cooks and barking dogs are heard across the way,
Yet they leave each other in peace while they grow old and die.


Simplify your life.
There's no need for high-tech gadgets,
No need for excessive outward excitements,
No need for fancy philosophies.
Enjoy your food,
Delight in your cloth,
Live comfortably in your home,
Be happy and content with it all.
Stay in peace with your friends and neighbors,
But don't meddle with their business.

August 16, 2004

73 勇於敢則殺 勇於不敢則活


勇於敢則殺 勇於不敢則活
此兩者 或利或害
天之所惡 孰知其故
天之道 不爭而善勝 不言而善應
不召而自來 禪然而善謀
天網恢恢 疏而不失


A brave and passionate man will kill or be killed.
A brave and calm man will always preserve life.
Of these two which is good and which is harmful?
Some things are not favored by heaven. Who knows why?
Even the sage is unsure of this.

The Tao of heaven does not strive, and yet it overcomes.
It does not speak, and yet is answered.
It does not ask, yet is supplied with all its needs.
It seems at ease, and yet it follows a plan.

Heaven's net casts wide.
Though its meshes are coarse, nothing slips through.


Fearless in being bold will get one killed.
Fearless in being timid will keep one alive.
But who knows why Nature keep its preference?

However, we know the Way of Nature:
it achieves without striving,
fulfills without declaring,
accumulates without soliciting,
determines without planning.

And how vast Nature's Net is!
Coarse are the meshes, yet nothing slips through.

August 15, 2004

74 民不畏死 奈何以死懼之


民不畏死 奈何以死懼之
而為奇者 吾得執而殺之 孰敢
夫代司殺者殺 是謂代大匠斲
夫代大匠斲者 希有不傷其手矣


If men are not afraid to die,
It is of no avail to threaten them with death.

If men live in constant fear of dying,
And if breaking the law means that a man will be killed,
Who will dare to break the law?

There is always an official executioner.
If you try to take his place,
It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood.
If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter,
you will only hurt your hand.


If people are not afraid of death,
then one can't threaten them with death.
But if they are always scared of death,
and for the criminals we catch and kill them,
then who dares to break the laws?

In nature, someone is in charge of execution.
If you try to do his job to kill,
then it's like trying to do a carpenter's job to chop wood--
sooner or later you will hurt your own hand.

August 13, 2004

55 含德之厚 比於赤子


含德之厚 比於赤子
毒蟲不螫 猛獸不據 攫鳥不搏
未知牝牡之合而朘作 精之至也
終日號而不嗄 和之至也
知和曰常 知常曰明
益生曰祥 心使氣曰強
物壯則老 謂之不道 不道早已


He who is filled with Virtue is like a newborn child.
Wasps and serpents will not sing him;
Wild beasts will not pounce upon him;
He will not be attacked by birds of prey.
His bones are soft, his muscles weak,
But his grip is firm.
He has not experienced the union of man and woman, but is whole.
His manhood is strong.
He screams all day without becoming hoarse.
This is perfect harmony.

Knowing harmony is constancy.
Knowing constancy is enlightenment.

It is not wise to rush about.
Controlling the breath causes strain.
If too much energy is used, exhaustion follows.
This is not the way of Tao.
Whatever is contrary to Tao will not last long.


A genius is like a baby,
so innocent that scorpions, beasts, vultures won't harm him.
His body is flexible but his grip is strong;
his doesn't know sex but he feels it;
he can cry all day and still not exhausted;
it's because he is full of the energy of life,
and the harmony of the nature.

To know harmony is to know eternity;
To know eternity is to know nature.

Seeking comfort and extravagance leads to disaster;
Following desire is like suicide.
Anything if grows too strong will become weak and old--
Not the way of Tao--and soon will die.

55. (st)

A person filled with the power of Tao
is like a baby boy:
bees can't sting him,
wild beasts can't attack him.

A baby has soft bones
and weak muscles,
but a firm grip.
He hasn't had sex,
but he can get an erection.
That's because he's got lots of energy.
He can cry all day
and never lose his voice.
That's because he's at one with his world.

If you're at one with the world,
you know constancy.
And if you know constancy,
you've been enlightened.

It's not healthy
to try to prolong your life.
It's unnatural to impose the mind's will
upon the body.
People waste time and energy
trying to be strong or beautiful,
and their strength and beauty fade.
They've lost touch with Tao,
and when you lose touch with Tao,
you might as well be dead.

August 12, 2004

81 信言不美 美言不信


信言不美 美言不信
善者不辯 辯者不善
知者不博 博者不知
天之道 利而不害
聖人之道 為而不爭


Truthful words are not beautiful.
Beautiful words are not truthful.
Good men do not argue.
Those who argue are not good.
Those who know are not learned.
The learned do not know.

The sage never tries to store things up.
The more he does for others, the more he has.
The more he gives to others, the greater his abundance.
The Tao of heaven is pointed but does not harm.
The Tao of the sage is work without effort.

81 (Douglas Adams)

When the editors of the Guide were sued by the families of those who had died as a result of taking the entry on the planet Traal literally (it said "Ravenous Bugblatter Beasts often make a very good meal for visiting tourists" instead of "Ravenous Bugblatter Beasts often make a very good meal of visiting tourists"), they claimed that the first version of the sentence was the more aesthetically pleasing, summoned a qualified poet to testify under oath that beauty was truth, truth beauty and hoped thereby to prove that the guilty party in this case was Life itself for failing to be either beautiful or true. The judges concurred, and in a moving speech held that Life itself was in contempt of court, and duly confiscated it from all those there present before going off to enjoy a pleasant evening's ultragolf.

-- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

81. (st)

The truth isn't flashy.
Flashy words aren't true.

Educated people
aren't always smart.
Smart people
don't always have an education.

Good people don't argue.
People who argue aren't good.

The Masters don't hang on to things.
They're always doing something
for other people,
so they always have more to give.
They give away
whatever they have,
so what they have is worth more.

If you want to get right with Tao,
help other people, don't hurt them.
The Masters always work with people,
never against them.

August 11, 2004

77 天之道 其猶張弓歟


天之道 其猶張弓歟
高者抑之 下者舉之
有餘者損之 不足者補之
天之道 損有餘而補不足
人之道 則不然


The Tao of heaven is like the bending of a bow.
The high is lowered, and the low is raised.
If the string is too long, it is shortened;
If there is not enough, it is made longer.

The Tao of heaven is to take from those who have too much
and give to those who do not have enough.
Man's way is different.
He takes from those who do not have enough
to give to those who already have too much.
What man has more than enough and gives it to the world?
Only the man of Tao.

Therefore the sage works without recognition.
He achieves what has to be done without dwelling on it.
He does not try to show his knowledge.


The way of nature is as simple as the operation of a bow:
When the aim is too high, lower it; when low, raise it.
When the string is too tight, loosen it; when loose, tighten it.

The way of nature is to smooth and even things out, i.e. negative feedback;
The way of man is to elaborate and exaggerate, i.e. positive feedback.
However, no one can create things from nothing continually.

Therefore the wise man follows the way of nature.
He acts and succeeds, but dwells not on his acts and success.

77. (st)

Lao Tzu said using Tao
was like pulling on a bowstring:
The top bends down,
the bottom bends up,
and all the energy
is focused in the middle.

Tao takes energy from where it is,
and sends it where it needs to be.
But most people take from those
who don't have enough,
so those who have too much already
can have more.

So who in this world
is truly generous to others?
People who are in touch with Tao.
They do their work
without taking credit.
They get the job done and move on.
They aren't interested in showing off.

August 10, 2004

71 知不知 上


知不知 上
不知知 病
夫唯病病 是以不病
聖人不病 以其病病 是以不病


Knowing ignorance is strength.
Ignoring knowledge is sickness.

If one is sick of sickness, then one is not sick.
The sage is not sick because he is sick of sickness.
Therefore he is not sick.


He who knows he does not know everything is wise.
He who does not know what he knows is in trouble.
Since I want to be wise, I try to avoid trouble,
i.e. I know what I know and what I don't know.

71. (st)

If you know
what you don't know,
you're doing great.
If you don't know
what you don't know,
you're sick.

The only way
to get rid of that sickness
is to be sick of it.

The Masters aren't sick,
because they got sick of being sick.

August 09, 2004

05 天地不仁 以萬物為芻狗


天地不仁 以萬物為芻狗
聖人不仁 以百姓為芻狗
天地之間 其猶橐龠乎
虛而不屈 動而愈出
多言數窮 不如守中

FIVE (Feng)

Heaven and earth are ruthless;
They see the ten thousand things as dummies.
The wise are ruthless;
They see the people as dummies.

The space between heaven and earth is like a bellows.
The shape changes but not the form;
The more it moves, the more it yields.
More words count less.
Hold fast to the center.


The nature has nothing to do with love;
Everything is just an abstraction.
The wise men don't talk about love either;
They see everyone as equals, detachedly.

Sometimes I think of the bellows--
when it holds still it is full of air,
the more it moves the more it exhausts itself,

To keep my life smooth, long and full,
I shall talk less, and be still.


5. (st)

Tao's neutral:
it doesn't worry about good or evil.
The Masters are neutral:
they treat everyone the same.

Lao Tzu said Tao is like a bellows:
It's empty,
but it could help set the world on fire.
If you keep using Tao, it works better.
If you keep talking about it,
it won't make any sense.

Be cool.

August 06, 2004

61 大邦者下流


天下之交 天下之牝
牝常以靜勝牡 以靜為下
故大邦以下小邦 則取小邦
小邦以下大邦 則取大邦
故或下以取 或下而取


A great country is like low land.
It is the meeting ground of the universe,
The mother of the universe.

The female overcomes the male with stillness,
Lying low in stillness.

Therefore if a great country gives way to a smaller country,
It will conquer the smaller country.
And if a small country submits to a great country,
It can conquer the great country.
Therefore those that would conquer must yield,
And those that conquer do so because they yield.

A great nation needs more people;
A small country needs to serve.
Each gets what it wants.
It is fitting for a great nation to yield.


Being great is like being in the low land
where all ideas are received;
Or like being feminine
whose compassion quietly encompasses all.

Be humble, so that
others will follow you when you are strong,
and help you when you are weak.

Some people tend to be dominant
while others submissive.
Humility serves everyone well.

61. (st)

Power flows down
to every level of existence
like a river to the ocean.

Victory comes
from lying perfectly still
and waiting for power
to come your way.

If you yield to someone
less powerful than yourself,
you will be in a position
to influence them.

If you submit to someone
more powerful than yourself,
you create an opportunity
to get your own way.

So if you want to get ahead,
lay low and bide your time.
That way, everybody's happy.

August 05, 2004

23 希言自然


故飄風不終朝 驟雨不終日
孰為此者 天地
天地尚不能久 而況於人乎
故從事於道者 同於道
德者 同於德
失者 同於失
同於道者 道亦樂得之
同於德者 德亦樂得之
同於失者 失亦樂得之
信不足焉 有不信焉


To talk little is natural.
High winds do not last all morning.
Heavy rain does not last all day.
Why is this? Heaven and earth!
If heaven and earth cannot make things eternal,
How is it possible for man?

He who follows the Tao
Is at one with the Tao.
He who is virtuous
Experiences Virtue.
He who loses the way,
Feels lost.
When you are at one with the Tao,
The Tao welcomes you.
When you are at one with Virtue,
The Virtue is always there.
When you are at one with loss,
The loss is experienced willingly.

He who does not trust enough
Will not be trusted.


It's natural to be silent at times.
Even God cannot make rain and wind last forever.

If you follow truth, you are one with truth;
If you seek perfection, you will find beauty;
If you believe in failure, you shall fail.

I once read:
"If you work by the Way, you will be of the Way;
If you work through its virtue, you will be given the virtue;
Abandon either one, and both abandon you.

"Gladly then the Way receives those who choose to walk in it;
Gladly too its power upholds those who choose to use it well;
Gladly will abandon greet those who to abandon drift."

And some says:
"Little faith is put into them whose faith are small."

23. (st)

When you have nothing to say,
you may as well keep your mouth shut.
The wind and the rain
don't go on forever.
If nature knows enough
to give it a rest sometimes,
so should you.

If you're ready for Tao,
you can live with Tao.
If you're ready to succeed,
you can live with success.
If you're ready to fail,
you can live with failure.

Trust your instincts,
and others will trust you.

August 04, 2004

51 道生之





All things arise from Tao.
They are nourished by Virtue.
They are formed by matter.
They are shaped by environment.
Thus the ten thousand things all respect Tao and honour Virtue.
Respect of Tao and honour of Virtue are not demanded,
But they are in the nature of things.

Therefore all things arise from Tao.
By Virtue they are nourished,
Developed, cared for,
Sheltered, comforted,
Grown, and protected.
Creating without claiming,
Doing without taking credit,
Guiding without interfering,
This is Primal Virtue.


I am born out of Tao.
I am blessed with human nature.
I take the shape of my body.
I grow into my temperament.

Everyone is like me--
No exception.

In harmony, I live
And life goes on.

51. (st)

Tao is the source of all living things,
and they are nourished
by Tao's power.
They are influenced
by the other living things around them,
and they are shaped
by their circumstances.

Everything respects Tao
and honors its power.
That's just the way it is.

Tao gives life to all things,
and its power watches out for them,
cares for them, helps them grow,
protects them, and comforts them.

Create something
without holding on to it.
Do the work
without expecting credit for it.
Lead people
without giving them orders.
That's the secret of the power of Tao.

August 01, 2004

15 古之善為道者 微妙玄通 深不可識


古之善為道者 微妙玄通 深不可識
夫唯不可識 故強為之容
豫兮若冬涉川 猶兮若畏四鄰
儼兮其若客 渙兮若冰之將釋
敦兮其若樸 曠兮其若谷
保此道者 不欲盈
夫唯不盈 故能蔽而新成


The ancient masters were subtle, mysterious, profound, responsive.
The depth of their knowledge is unfathomable.
Because it is unfathomable,
All we can do is describe their appearance.
Watchful, like men crossing a winter stream.
Alert, like men aware of danger.
Courteous, like visiting guests.
Yielding, like ice about to melt.
Simple, like uncarved blocks of wood.
Hollow, like caves.
Opaque, like muddy pools.

Who can wait quietly while the mud settles?
Who can remain still until the moment of action?
Observers of the Tao do not seek fulfillment.
Not seeking fulfillment, they are not swayed by desire for change.

15 (such a pretty verse)

The wise one, elusive, mysterious, and profound.
Am I even able to describe him to you?
Cautious, as crossing a winter stream,
Watchful, as aware of danger,
Courteous, like a visiting guest,
Unbound, like the melting ice,
Genuine, like the uncarved wood,
Broad, like the open valley,
Dark, like the muddy water.

He stills the water and lets the mud settle.
He stirs the nature and lets lives awake.
He desires not his own fulfillment,
and he is constantly reborn, renewed, relived.

15. (st)

The ancient Masters
were damn impressive.
They were deep. Real deep.
Words can't even begin to describe
how deep they were.
You can only talk
about how they acted.

They were careful,
like a man walking on thin ice.
They were cautious,
like a soldier behind enemy lines.
They were polite,
like a guest at a party.
They moved quickly, like melting ice.
They were as plain as a block of wood.
Their minds were as wide as a valley,
and their hearts as clear
as spring water.

Can you wait
for that kind of openness and clarity
before you try to understand the world?

Can you hold still
until events have unfolded
before you do the right thing?

When you act without expectations,
you can accomplish great things.

July 30, 2004

76 人之生也柔弱 其死也堅強


人之生也柔弱 其死也堅強
草木之生也柔脆 其死也枯槁
故堅強者死之徒 柔弱者生之徒
是以兵強則滅 木強則折
強大處下 柔弱處上


A man is born gentle and weak.
At his death he is hard and stiff.
Green plants are tender and filled with sap.
At their death they are withered and dry.

Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death.
The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.

Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle.
A tree that is unbending is easily broken.

The hard and strong will fall.
The soft and weak will overcome.

76 (one of my favorites)

Life is gentle, flexible, and tender;
Death is rigid, stiff, brittle, and hard;
Just look at the grass and the woods.

The mighty and forceful will be broken;
The mild and yielding shall last forever.
Look at the trees again:

The trunk is strong but stays at the bottom,
The flowers are gentle and bloom atop.

76. (st)

A baby's body is soft and gentle.
A corpse is hard and stiff.
Plants and trees are tender
and full of sap.
Dead leaves are brittle and dry.

If you are rigid and unyielding,
you might as well be dead.
If you are soft and flexible,
you are truly alive.

Soldiers trained to fight to the death will die.
A tree that cannot bend with the wind
will snap.

Here's a useful saying:
The harder they come,
the harder they fall.

Here's another:
The meek shall inherit the earth.

July 29, 2004

79 和大怨 必有餘怨


和大怨 必有餘怨
有德司契 無德司徹
天道無親 常與善人


After a bitter quarrel, some resentment must remain.
What can one do about it?
Therefore the sage keeps his half of the bargain
But does not exact his due.
A man of Virtue performs his part,
But a man without Virtue requires others to fulfill their obligations.
The Tao of heaven is impartial.
It stays with good men all the time.


When conflict is reconciled,
surely some hatred remain;
This doesn't seem right.

Therefore the sage keeps his half of the tally,
But demands no payment from others.
The man of virtue take charge of the tally;,
The man of no virtue takes charge of exaction.

Nature is impartial.
It always helps kind people.

79, again, on how to deal with people

Even after a bitter quarrel is dissolved, people are still unhappy.
There must be a better way!

The wise one keeps his words and keeps his mouth shut.
He doesn't go after other people and demand their reason.
Remember, there's no rule in this world.
Be good and have your peace.

79. (st)

when an argument is settled,
feelings of resentment still remain
on either side.
What's the point of carrying a grudge?

The Masters care
about what they owe other people,
not what other people owe them.

People who are in touch with Tao
do their duty.
People who aren't
try to force others into submission.

Tao doesn't play favorites.
But if you do right by Tao,
Tao will do right by you.

July 28, 2004

19 絕聖棄智 民利百倍


絕聖棄智 民利百倍
絕仁棄義 民復孝慈
絕巧棄利 盜賊無有
此三者以為文 不足
故令有所屬: 見素抱樸 少私寡欲


Give up sainthood, renounce wisdom,
And it will be a hundred times better for everyone.

Give up kindness, renounce morality,
And men will rediscover filial piety and love.

Give up ingenuity, renounce profit,
And bandits and thieves will disappear.

These three are outward forms alone; they are not sufficient in themselves.
It is more important
To see the simplicity,
To realize one's true nature,
To cast off selfishness
And temper desire.


Renounce wisdom, and people will benefit greatly.
Discard morality, and people will rediscover love.
Abandon ingenuity and profit, and crimes will disappear.
These three adornments are what Confucius teaches.
Not worthy.

Lao Tsu says,
Let people find their own paths:
Simplicity in action, purity in heart,
Moderation in self-interest and desire.

July 27, 2004

57 以正治國 以奇用兵


以正治國 以奇用兵
吾何以知其然哉 以此
天下多忌諱 而民彌貧
人多利器 國家滋昏
人多伎巧 奇物滋起
法令滋彰 盜賊多有
我無為 而民自化
我好靜 而民自正
我無事 而民自富
我無欲 而民自樸


Rule a nation with justice.
Wage war with surprise moves.
Become master of the universe without striving.
How do I know that this is so?
Because of this!

The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become.
The sharper men's weapons,
The more trouble in the land.
The more ingenious and clever men are,
The more strange things happen.
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.

Therefore the sage says:
I take no action and people are reformed.
I enjoy peace and people become honest.
I do nothing and people become rich.
I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.


"States are governed by justice,
Wars are waged by violations,
Yet the world is attained by not striving."

How does Lao Tsu know the things are?
"Restrictions lead to more poverty;
Weapons, destruction;
Technologies, anomaly;
Laws, crime."

"Therefore," he continues,
"With my no action, people are self-honest;
With my no stir, they are self-stable;
With my no intervention, they are self-prosperous;
With my no desire, they are self-genuine."

July 26, 2004

46 天下有道 卻走馬以糞


天下有道 卻走馬以糞
天下無道 戎馬生於郊
故知足之足 常足矣


When the Tao is present in the universe,
The horses haul manure.
When the Tao is absent from the universe,
War horses are bred outside the city.

There is no greater sin than desire,
No greater curse than discontent,
No greater misfortune than wanting something for oneself.
Therefore he who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.


When nations follow Tao,
Coach horses are returned to the rice field.
When nations violate Tao,
War horses are bred on the battle fields.

There is no sin greater than desire,
no transgression greater than discontent,
no calamity greater than ambition.

Therefore, knowing enough is enough
is enough.

46. (ST)

"When the world is right with Tao,"
Lao Tzu said,
"horses haul fertilizer to the fields.
When the world loses touch with Tao,
horses are trained for cavalry."

Nothing is more insidious than possession.
Nothing is more dangerous than desire.
Nothing is more disastrous than greed.

If you know when enough is enough,
you will always have enough.

July 25, 2004

40 反者道之動 弱者道之用


反者道之動 弱者道之用
天下萬物生於有 有生於無

FORTY (Feng)

Returning is the motion of the Tao.
Yielding is the way of the Tao.
The ten thousand things are born of being.
Being is born of not being.


Cycles the movement of Tao;
Gentleness the manner of Tao.
Everything comes from something.
And something comes from Tao.

July 23, 2004

07 天長地久




Heaven and earth last forever.
Why do heaven and earth last forever?
They are unborn,
So ever living.
The sage stays behind, thus he is ahead.
He is detached, thus at one with all.
Through selfless action, he attains fulfillment.


How immortal the Nature is!
For it fosters not its own life.
The sage puts behind his body,
Thus gains his true self.
He dwells elsewhere his mind,
Thus immortalizes his spirit.
For does he not fulfillment find
In not being one,
But one with the Nature?

7. (st)

Tao never stops. Why?
Because it isn't trying to accomplish anything.

The Masters hang back.
That's why they're ahead of the game.

They don't hang on to things.
That's how they manage to keep them.

They don't worry
about what they can't control.
That's why they're always satisfied.

July 22, 2004

48 為學日益 為道日損


為學日益 為道日損
損之又損 以至於無為
及其有事 不足以取天下


In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.
In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.

Less and less is done
Until non-action is achieved.
When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.

The world is ruled by letting things take their course.
It cannot be ruled by interfering.


To reach Tao, study and gain more knowledge everyday, and then unlearn a little everyday until one has achieved quiescence. This is the state of enlightenment. When one is in harmony with the universe, all things are possible. But when one fights against nature, one is bound to lose. The Master stays calm and his wisdom has illuminated the whole world.

July 21, 2004

70 吾言甚易知 甚易行


吾言甚易知 甚易行
天下莫能知 莫能行
言有宗 事有君
夫唯無知 是以不我知
知我者希 則我者貴


My words are easy to understand and easy to perform,
Yet no one under heaven knows them or practices them.

My words have ancient beginnings.
My actions are disciplined.
Because men do not understand, they have no knowledge of me.

Those that know me are few;
Those that abuse me are honoured.
(Not "abuse" but "follow")
Therefore the sage wears rough clothing and holds the jewel in his heart.


I say simple things but nobody gets it.
I show easy ways but nobody does it.
I can tell you, what I know is really neat,
But you guys are so dumb you can't learn.
Few people understand me, and even fewer follow me.
Oh well, I am gonna pretend to be dumb too.

70. (ST)

Lao Tzu's advice
was easy to understand
and easy to follow.
But nobody understood him
or did what he suggested.

His words
stemmed from ancient wisdom,
and his actions were highly disciplined.
People didn't get that,
which is why
they didn't understand him.
And the less they understood him,
the more meaningful his advice became.

That's why the Masters live simply,
hiding their wisdom deep within themselves.

July 20, 2004

14 視之不見 名曰夷


視之不見 名曰夷
聽之不聞 名曰希
搏之不得 名曰微
此三者不可致詰 故混而為一

其上不皦 其下不昧
繩繩兮不可名 復歸於無物
是謂 無狀之狀 無物之象 是謂恍惚

迎之不見其首 隨之不見其後
執古之道 以御今之有
能知古始 是謂道紀


Look, it cannot be seen--it is beyond form.
Listen, it cannot be heard--it is beyond sound.
Grasp, it cannot be held--it is intangible.
These three are indefinable;
Therefore they are joined in one.

From above it is not bright;
From below it is not dark;
An unbroken thread beyond description.
It returns to nothingness.
The form of the formless,
The image of the imageless,
It is called indefinable and beyond imagination.

Stand before it and there is no beginning.
Follow it and there is no end.
Stay with the ancient Tao,
Move with the present.

Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of Tao.

14 (Time)

Can't see it, can't hear it, can't hold it;
Can't even describe it.
Not bright, not dark,
No form, no image.
No nothing.
A beginning? An end? No!
Time, and its passing, is all we know of it.

14. (ST)

You can't see Tao,
no matter how hard you look.
You can't hear Tao,
no matter how hard you listen.
You can't hold on to Tao,
no matter how hard you grab.

But it's there.

It's in you, and it's all around you.

Remember that.

July 19, 2004

27 善行無轍跡 善言無瑕謫


善行無轍跡 善言無瑕謫
善數不用籌策 善閉無關楗而不可開
是以聖人常善救人 故無棄人
常善救物 故無棄物
故善人者 不善人之師
不善人者 善人之資
不貴其師 不愛其資
雖智大迷 是謂要妙

Gia-Fu Feng's translation is not very good. Actually it is wrong (debatable) and misleading in places. For example, in the "good man", "good" should not be the adjective of the noun "man", but rather, "good" is the adverb to the verb "man", meaning, "good in being a man". You can see how in Chinese, a noun can be cleverly used as a verb, especially by a poet like Lao Tsu. I will work on my version later, but I have added my comments to Feng's version below.


A good walker leaves no tracks;
A good speaker makes no slips;
A good beckoner needs no tally.
A good door needs no lock,
Yet no one can open it.
(Not about a door, but about the locker of the door.)
Good binding requires no knots,
Yet no one can loosen it.
(Not about the binding, but about the maker of the bind.)

Therefore the sage takes care of all men And abandons no one.
He takes care of all things
And abandon nothing.
(In the same grammatical structure, if any, the sage is "a good savoir" of men, and stuff.)

This is called "following the light."
(Not light, but wisdom. Wisdom not exposed, i.e. no trace, no lock, no rope; OR wisdom/Tao attained.)

What is a good man?
(Not morally good, but "a good *actor* of man", someone who knows how to live, a Taoist.) A teacher of a bad man.
(Similarly, someone who knows not how to live.) What is a bad man?
A good man's charge.
(Not charge, but "learning material", i.e. he serves as a lesson for others.)
If the teacher is not respected,
And the student not cared for,
(The lessons not learned.)
Confusion will arise, however clever one is.
This is the crux of mystery.

27. (ST)

With enough practice,
you could come and go without a trace,
speak without stumbling over words,
do complicated math problems
in your head.

You could build a door with no lock
that nobody could open.
You could tie something down
with no knots,
without even a rope,
and nobody could pry it loose.

Masters have time to help everybody,
and ignore nobody.
They use their resources wisely,
wasting nothing.
Some people call this
"following the light."

Good people teach others
because they have the potential
to be good too.
Brains count for nothing
if you fail to respect your teachers
or to honor the potential in others.
That's one of the most important lessons of Tao.


27 (whatever)

He walks on water,
speaks in tongues,
and is all knowing.
He knocks on your doors,
and binds your mind.
He is the savior,
of people and the world.
Who is he? The light?
He teaches people,
and cures diseases.
Everyone has to love him,
or they might get very confused,
and end up learning about Tao, instead.