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Tao Te Ching - Part VIII

Chapter 67

Everyone in the world calls my Tao great As if it is beyond compare It is only because of its greatness That it seems beyond compare If it can be compared It would already be insignificant long ago!

I have three treasures I hold on to them and protect them The first is called compassion The second is called conservation The third is called not daring to be ahead in the world Compassionate, thus able to have courage Conserving, thus able to reach widely Not daring to be ahead in the world Thus able to assume leadership Now if one has courage but discards compassion Reaches widely but discards conservation Goes ahead but discards being behind Then death! If one fights with compassion, then victory With defense, then security Heaven shall save them And with compassion guard them

Chapter 68

The great generals are not warlike The great warriors do not get angry Those who are good at defeating enemies do not engage them Those who are good at managing people lower themselves It is called the virtue of non-contention It is called the power of managing people It is called being harmonious with Heaven The ultimate principle of the ancients

Chapter 69

In using the military, there is a saying: I dare not be the host, but prefer to be the guest I dare not advance an inch, but prefer to withdraw a foot

This is called marching in formation without formation Raising arms without arms Grappling enemies without enemies Holding weapons without weapons There is no greater disaster than to underestimate the enemy Underestimating the enemy almost made me lose my treasures

So when evenly matched armies meet The side that is compassionate shall win

Chapter 70

My words are easy to understand, easy to practice The world cannot understand, cannot practice My words have basis My actions have principle People do not understand this Therefore they do not understand me Those who understand me are few Thus I am highly valued Therefore the sage wears plain clothes but holds jade

Chapter 71

To know that you do not know is highest To not know but think you know is flawed

Only when one recognizes the fault as a fault can one be without fault

The sages are without fault Because they recognize the fault as a fault That is why they are without fault

Chapter 72

When people no longer fear force They bring about greater force

Do not limit their place Do not reject their livelihood Because the ruler does not reject them Therefore they do not reject the ruler

Therefore the sages: Know themselves but do not glorify themselves Respect themselves but do not praise themselves Thus they discard that and take this

Chapter 73

The bold in daring will be killed The bold in not daring will survive

Of these two, one may benefit, the other may harm The one hated by Heaven – who knows the reason? Even the sages still find this difficult

The Tao of Heaven: Does not contend and yet excels in winning Does not speak and yet excels in responding Is not summoned and yet comes on its own Is unhurried and yet excels in planning The heavenly net is vast Loose, and yet does not let anything slip through

Chapter 74

People do not fear death How can they be threatened with death? If people are made to constantly fear death Then those who act unlawfully I can capture and kill them Who would dare? There exists a master executioner that kills If we substitute for the master executioner to kill It is like substituting for the great carpenter to cut Those who substitute for the great carpenter to cut It is rare that they do not hurt their own hands

Translation by Derek Lin

Credit source and Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained,

published by SkyLight Paths in 2006

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