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Tao Te Ching - Part IX (Finale)

Chapter 75

The people's hunger Is due to the excess of their ruler's taxation So they starve The people's difficulty in being governed Is due to the meddling of their ruler So they are difficult to govern The people's disregard for death Is due to the glut in their ruler's pursuit of life So they disregard death Therefore those who do not strive for living Are better than those who value living

Chapter 76

While alive, the body is soft and pliant When dead, it is hard and rigid All living things, grass and trees, While alive, are soft and supple When dead, become dry and brittle Thus that which is hard and stiff is the follower of death That which is soft and yielding is the follower of life Therefore, an inflexible army will not win A strong tree will be cut down The big and forceful occupy a lowly position While the soft and pliant occupy a higher place

Chapter 77

The Tao of Heaven Is like drawing a bow Lower that which is high Raise that which is low Reduce that which has excess Add to that which is lacking

The Tao of heaven Reduces the excessive And adds to the lacking

The Tao of people is not so It reduces the lacking In order to offer to the excessive

Who can offer their excess to the world? Only those who have the Tao Therefore sages act without conceit Achieve without claiming credit They do not wish to display their virtue!

Chapter 78

Nothing in the world is softer or weaker than water Yet nothing is better at overcoming the hard and strong This is because nothing can replace it

That the weak overcomes the strong And the soft overcomes the hard Everybody in the world knows But cannot put into practice

Therefore sages say: The one who accepts the humiliation of the state Is called its master The one who accepts the misfortune of the state Becomes king of the world The truth seems like the opposite

Chapter 79

After settling a great dispute There must be remaining resentments How can this be considered good? Therefore the sage holds the left part of the contract But does not demand payment from the other person Those who have virtue hold the contract Those without virtue hold the collections

The Heavenly Tao has no favorites It constantly gives to the kind people

Chapter 80

Small country, few people Let them have many weapons but not use them Let the people regard death seriously And not migrate far away

Although they have boats and chariots They have no need to take them Although they have armors and weapons They have no need to display them

Let the people return to tying knots and using them Savor their food, admire their clothes Content in their homes, happy in their customs

Neighboring countries see one another Hear the sounds of roosters and dogs from one another The people, until they grow old and die Do not go back and forth with one another

Chapter 81

True words are not beautiful Beautiful words are not true Those who are good do not debate Those who debate are not good Those who know are not broad of knowledge Those who are broad of knowledge do not know

Sages do not accumulate The more they assist others, the more they possess The more they give to others, the more they gain

The Tao of heaven Benefits and does not harm The Tao of sages Assists and does not contend

Translation by Derek Lin

Credit source and Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained,

published by SkyLight Paths in 2006

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