top of page
Recent Posts

Tao Te Ching - Part III

Chapter 19

End sagacity; abandon knowledge The people benefit a hundred times

End benevolence; abandon righteousness The people return to piety and charity

End cunning; discard profit Bandits and thieves no longer exist

These three things are superficial and insufficient Thus this teaching has its place: Show plainness; hold simplicity Reduce selfishness; decrease desires

Chapter 20

Cease learning, no more worries Respectful response and scornful response How much is the difference? Goodness and evil How much do they differ? What the people fear, I cannot be unafraid

So desolate! How limitless it is! The people are excited As if enjoying a great feast As if climbing up to the terrace in spring I alone am quiet and uninvolved Like an infant not yet smiling So weary, like having no place to return The people all have surplus While I alone seem lacking I have the heart of a fool indeed – so ignorant! Ordinary people are bright I alone am muddled Ordinary people are scrutinizing I alone am obtuse Such tranquility, like the ocean Such high wind, as if without limits

The people all have goals And I alone am stubborn and lowly I alone am different from them And value the nourishing mother

Chapter 21

The appearance of great virtue Follows only the Tao The Tao, as a thing Seems indistinct, seems unclear

So unclear, so indistinct Within it there is image So indistinct, so unclear Within it there is substance So deep, so profound Within it there is essence

Its essence is supremely real Within it there is faith From ancient times to the present Its name never departs To observe the source of all things How do I know the nature of the source? With this

Chapter 22

Yield and remain whole Bend and remain straight Be low and become filled Be worn out and become renewed Have little and receive Have much and be confused Therefore the sages hold to the one as an example for the world Without flaunting themselves – and so are seen clearly Without presuming themselves – and so are distinguished Without praising themselves – and so have merit Without boasting about themselves – and so are lasting

Because they do not contend, the world cannot contend with them What the ancients called "the one who yields and remains whole" Were they speaking empty words? Sincerity becoming whole, and returning to oneself

Chapter 23

Sparse speech is natural Thus strong wind does not last all morning Sudden rain does not last all day What makes this so? Heaven and Earth Even Heaven and Earth cannot make it last How can humans?

Thus those who follow the Tao are with the Tao Those who follow virtue are with virtue Those who follow loss are with loss Those who are with the Tao, the Tao is also pleased to have them Those who are with virtue, virtue is also pleased to have them Those who are with loss, loss is also please to have them Those who do not trust sufficiently, others have no trust in them

Chapter 24

Those who are on tiptoes cannot stand Those who straddle cannot walk Those who flaunt themselves are not clear Those who presume themselves are not distinguished Those who praise themselves have no merit Those who boast about themselves do not last

Those with the Tao call such things leftover food or tumors They despise them Thus, those who possesses the Tao do not engage in them

Chapter 25

There is something formlessly created Born before Heaven and Earth So silent! So ethereal! Independent and changeless Circulating and ceaseless It can be regarded as the mother of the world

I do not know its name Identifying it, I call it "Tao" Forced to describe it, I call it great Great means passing Passing means receding Receding means returning Therefore the Tao is great Heaven is great Earth is great The sovereign is also great There are four greats in the universe And the sovereign occupies one of them Humans follow the laws of Earth Earth follows the laws of Heaven Heaven follows the laws of Tao Tao follows the laws of nature

Chapter 26

Heaviness is the root of lightness Quietness is the master of restlessness

Therefore the sages travel an entire day Without leaving the heavy supplies Even though there are luxurious sights They are composed and transcend beyond

How can the lords of ten thousand chariots Apply themselves lightly to the world? To be light is to lose one's root To be restless is to lose one's mastery

Chapter 27

Good traveling does not leave tracks Good speech does not seek faults Good reckoning does not use counters Good closure needs no bar and yet cannot be opened Good knot needs no rope and yet cannot be untied

Therefore sages often save others And so do not abandon anyone They often save things And so do not abandon anything This is called following enlightenment

Therefore the good person is the teacher of the bad person The bad person is the resource of the good person Those who do not value their teachers And do not love their resources Although intelligent, they are greatly confused This is called the essential wonder

Translation by Derek Lin

Credit source and Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained,

published by SkyLight Paths in 2006

  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Pinterest Social Icon






bottom of page