|Chapter 51. Virtue As A Nurse
Tao gives life to all creatures; de [teh] feeds them; materiality shapes them; energy completes them. Therefore among all things there is none that does not honor Dao and esteem de [teh].
Honor for Dao and esteem for de [teh] is never compelled, it is always spontaneous.
Therefore Dao gives life to them, but de [teh] nurses them, raises them, nurtures, completes, matures, rears, protects them.
Tao gives life to them but makes no claim of ownership; de [teh] forms them but makes no claim upon them, raises them but does not rule them. This is profound vitality (de [teh]).
|Chapter 52. Return to Origin
When creation began, Dao became the world’s mother.
When one knows one’s mother he will m turn know that he is her son. When he recognizes his sonship, he will in turn keep to his mother and to the end of life will be free from danger. He who closes his mouth and shuts his sense gates will be free from trouble to the end of life. He who opens his mouth and meddles with affairs cannot be free from trouble even to the end of life.
To recognize one’s insignificance is called enlightenment. To keep one’s sympathy is called strength. He who uses Dao’s light returns to Dao’s enlightenment and does not surrender his person to perdition. This is called practicing the eternal.
|Chapter 53. Gain By Insight
Even if one has but a little knowledge he can walk in the ways of the great Dao; it is only self-assertion that one need fear.
The great Dao (Way) is very plain, but people prefer the bypaths.
When the palace is very splendid, the fields are likely to be very weedy, and the granaries empty.
To wear ornaments and gay colors, to carry sharp swords, to be excessive in eating and drinking, and to have wealth and treasure in abundance is to know the pride of robbers.
This is contrary to Dao.
|Chapter 54. To Cultivate Intuition
The thing that is well planted is not easily uprooted. The thing that is well guarded is not easily taken away.
If one has sons and grandsons, the offering of ancestral worship will not soon cease.
He who practices Dao in his person shows that his de [teh] is real. The family that practices it shows that their de [teh] is abounding. The township that practices it shows that their de [teh] is enduring. The state that practices it shows that their de [teh] is prolific. The empire that practices it reveals that de [teh] is universal.
Thereby one person becomes a test of other persons, one family of other families, one town of other towns, one county of other counties, and one empire of all empires.
How do I know that this test is universal? By this same Dao.
|Chapter 55. To Verify the Mysterious
The essence of de [teh] is comparable to the state of a young boy.
Poisonous insects will not sting him, wild beasts will not seize him, birds of prey will not attack him. The bones are weak, the muscles are tender, it is true, but his grasp is firm. He does not yet know the relation of the sexes, but he has perfect organs, nevertheless. His spirit is virile, indeed! He can sob and cry all day without becoming hoarse, his harmony (as a child) is perfect indeed!
To recognize this harmony (for growth) is to know the eternal’. To recognize the eternal is to know enlightenment.
To increase life (to cause things to grow) is to know blessedness. To be conscious of an inner fecundity is strength. Things fully grown are about to decay, they are the opposite of Dao.
The opposite of Dao soon ceases.
|Chapter 56. The Virtueof the Mysterious
The one who knows does not speak; the one who speaks does not know. The wise man shuts his mouth and closes his gates.
He softens his sharpness, unravels his tangles, dims his brilliancy, and reckons himself with the mysterious.
He is inaccessible to favor or hate; he cannot be reached by profit or injury; he cannot be honored or humiliated. Thereby he is honored by all.
|Chapter 57. The Habit of Simplicity
The empire is administered with righteousness; the army is directed by craft; the people are captivated by non-diplomacy. How do I know it is so? By this same Dao.
Among people the more restrictions and prohibitions there are, the poorer they become. The more people have weapons, the more the state is in confusion. The more people are artful and cunning the more abnormal things occur. The more laws and orders are issued the more thieves and robbers abound.
Therefore the wise man says: If a ruler practices wu wei the people will reform of themselves. If I love quietude the people will of themselves become righteous. If I avoid profit-making the people will of themselves become prosperous. If I limit my desires the people will of themselves become simple.
|Chapter 58. Adaptation to Change
When an administration is unostentatious the people are simple. When an administration is inquisitive, the people are needy.
Misery, alas, supports happiness. Happiness, alas, conceals misery. Who knows its limits? It never ceases.
The normal becomes the abnormal. The good in turn becomes unlucky. The people’s confusion is felt daily for a long time.
Therefore the wise man is square, yet does not injure, he is angular but does not annoy. He is upright but is not cross. He is bright but not glaring.
|Chapter 59. To Keep Dao
In governing the people and in worshipping heaven nothing surpasses moderation. To value moderation, one must form the habit early.
Its early acquisition will result in storing and accumulating vitality. By storing and accumulating vitality nothing is impossible.
If nothing is impossible then one is ignorant of his limits. If one does not know his limitations, one may possess the state.
He who possesses moderation is thereby lasting and enduring.
It is like having deep roots and a strong stem. This is of long life and enduring insight the Dao (way).
|Chapter 60. To Maintain Position
One should govern a great state as one fries small fish (i.e., do not scale or clean them).
With Dao one may successfully rule the Empire. Ghosts will not frighten, gods will not harm, neither will wise men mislead the people. Since nothing frightens or harms the people, de [teh] will abide.