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Tao Te Ching - Part VII

Chapter 57

Govern a country with upright integrity Deploy the military with surprise tactics Take the world with non-interference How do I know this is so? With the following:

When there are many restrictions in the world The people become more impoverished When people have many sharp weapons The country becomes more chaotic When people have many clever tricks More strange things occur The more laws are posted The more robbers and thieves there are

Therefore the sage says: I take unattached action, and the people transform themselves I prefer quiet, and the people right themselves I do not interfere, and the people enrich themselves I have no desires, and the people simplify themselves

Chapter 58

When governing is lackluster The people are simple and honest When governing is scrutinizing The people are shrewd and crafty

Misfortune is what fortune depends upon Fortune is where misfortune hides beneath Who knows their ultimate end? They have no determined outcome Rightness reverts to become strange Goodness reverts to become wicked The confusion of people has lasted many long days

Therefore the sages are: Righteous without being scathing Incorruptible without being piercing Straightforward without being ruthless Illuminated without being flashy

Chapter 59

In governing people and serving Heaven There is nothing like conservation Only with conservation is it called submitting early Submitting early is called emphasis on accumulating virtues Accumulating virtues means there is nothing one cannot overcome When there is nothing that one cannot overcome One's limits are unknown The limitations being unknown, one can possess sovereignty With this mother principle of power, one can be everlasting This is called deep roots and firm foundation The Tao of longevity and lasting vision

Chapter 60

Ruling a large country is like cooking a small fish Using the Tao to manage the world Its demons have no power Not only do its demons have no power Its gods do not harm people

Not only do its gods not harm people The sages also do not harm people They both do no harm to one another So virtue merges and returns

Chapter 61

The large country is like the lowest river The converging point of the world The receptive female of the world The female always overcomes the male with serenity Using serenity as the lower position

Thus if the large country is lower than the small country Then it can take the small country If the small country is lower than the large country Then it can be taken by the large country Thus one uses the lower position to take The other uses the lower position to be taken The large country only wishes to gather and protect people The small country only wishes to join and serve people So that both obtain what they wish The larger one should assume the lower position

Chapter 62

The Tao is the wonder of all things The treasure of the kind person The protection of the unkind person

Admirable words can win the public's respect Admirable actions can improve people Those who are unkind How can they be abandoned?

Therefore, when crowning the Emperor And installing the three ministers Although there is the offering of jade before four horses None of it can compare to being seated in this Tao

Why did the ancients value this Tao so much? Is it not said that those who seek will find, And those with guilt will not be faulted? Therefore, it is the greatest value in the world

Chapter 63

Act without action Manage without meddling Taste without tasting Great, small, many, few Respond to hatred with virtue

Plan difficult tasks through the simplest tasks Achieve large tasks through the smallest tasks The difficult tasks of the world Must be handled through the simple tasks The large tasks of the world Must be handled through the small tasks Therefore, sages never attempt great deeds all through life Thus they can achieve greatness

One who makes promises lightly must deserve little trust One who sees many easy tasks must encounter much difficulty Therefore, sages regard things as difficult So they never encounter difficulties all through life

Chapter 64

When it is peaceful, it is easy to maintain When it shows no signs, it is easy to plan When it is fragile, it is easy to break When it is small, it is easy to scatter Act on it when it has not yet begun Treat it when it is not yet chaotic A tree thick enough to embrace Grows from the tiny sapling A tower of nine levels Starts from the dirt heap A journey of a thousand miles Begins beneath the feet

The one who meddles will fail The one who grasps will lose Therefore, sages do not meddle and thus do not fail They do not grasp and thus do not lose

People, in handling affairs Often come close to completion and fail If they are as careful in the end as the beginning Then they would have no failure

Therefore, sages desire not to desire They do not value goods that are hard to acquire They learn to unlearn To redeem the fault of the people To assist the nature of all things Without daring to meddle

Chapter 65

Those of ancient times who were adept at the Tao Used it not to make people brighter But to keep them simple The difficulty in governing people Is due their excessive cleverness Therefore, using cleverness to govern the state Is being a thief of the state Not using cleverness to govern the state Is being a blessing of the state

Know that these two are both standards Always knowing these standards Is called Mystic Virtue Mystic Virtue: Profound! Far-reaching! It goes opposite to material things Then it reaches great congruence

Chapter 66

Rivers and oceans can be the kings of a hundred valleys Because of their goodness in staying low So they can be the kings of a hundred valleys Thus if sages wish to be over people They must speak humbly to them If they wish to be in front of people They must place themselves behind them Thus the sages are positioned above But the people do not feel burdened They are positioned in front But the people do not feel harmed Thus the world is glad to push them forward without resentment Because they do not contend So the world cannot contend with them

Translation by Derek Lin

Credit source and Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained,

published by SkyLight Paths in 2006

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