|Chapter 61 The Virtue of Humility
A great state that is useful is like a bond of unity within the Empire; it is the Empire’s wife.
The female controls the male by her quietude and submission.
Thus a great state by its service to smaller states wins their allegiance. A small state by submission to a great state wins an influence over them.
Thus some stoop to conquer, and others stoop and conquer.
Great states can have no higher purpose than to federate states and feed the people. Small states can have no higher purpose than to enter a federation and serve the people. Both alike, each in his own way, gain their end, but to do so, the greater must practice humility.
|Chapter 62 The Practice of Dao
The Dao is the asylum of all things; the good man’s treasure, the bad man’s last resort.
With beautiful words one may sell goods but in winning people one can accomplish more by kindness.
Why should a man be thrown away for his evil? To conserve him was the Emperor appointed and the three ministers. Better than being in the presence of the Emperor and riding with four horses, is sitting and explaining this Dao.
The reason the Ancients esteemed Dao was because if sought it was obtained, and because by it he that hath sin could be saved. Is it not so? Therefore the world honors Dao.
|Chapter 63 A Consideration of Beginnings
One should avoid assertion (wu wei) and practice inaction. One should learn to find taste in the tasteless, to enlarge the small things, and multiply the few.
He should respond to hatred with kindness.
He should resolve a difficulty while it is easy, and manage a great thing while it is small.
Surely all the world’s difficulties arose from slight causes, and all the world’s great affairs had small beginnings.
Therefore the wise man avoids to the end participation in great affairs and by so doing establishes his greatness.
Rash promises are lacking in faith and many things that appear easy are full of difficulties.
Therefore the wise man considers every thing difficult and so to the end he has no difficulties.
|Chapter 64 Consider the Insignificant
That which is at rest is easily restrained, that which has not yet appeared is easily prevented. The weak is easily broken, the scanty is easily scattered.
Consider a difficulty before it arises, and administer affairs before they become disorganized. A tree that it takes both arms to encircle grew from a tiny rootlet. A pagoda of nine stories was erected by placing small bricks. A journey of three thousand miles begins with one step.
If one tries to improve a thing, he mars it; if he seizes it, he loses it. The wise man, therefore, not attempting to form things does not mar them, and not grasping after things he does not lose them. The people in their rush for business are ever approaching success but continually failing.
One must be as careful to the end as at the beginning if he is to succeed.
Therefore the wise man desires to be free from desire, he does not value the things that are difficult of attainment.
He learns to be unlearned, he returns to that which all others ignore. In that spirit he helps all things toward their natural development, but dares not interfere.
|Chapter 65 The Virtue of Simplicity
In the olden days those who obeyed the spirit of Dao did not enlighten the people but kept them simple hearted.
The reason people are difficult to govern is because of their smartness; likewise to govern a people with guile is a curse; and to govern them with simplicity is a blessing. He who remembers these two things is a model ruler. Always to follow this standard and rule is de [teh], the profound.
Profound de [teh] is deep indeed and far reaching. The very opposite of common things, but by it one obtains obedient subjects.
|Chapter 66 To Subordinate Self
The reason rivers and seas are called the kings of the valley is because they keep below them.
Therefore the wise man desiring to be above his people must in his demeanor keep below them; wishing to benefit his people, he must ever keep himself out of sight.
The wise man dwells above, yet the people do not feel the burden; he is the leader and the people suffer no harm. Therefore the world rejoices to exalt him and never wearies of him.
Because he will not quarrel with anyone, no one can quarrel with him.
|Chapter 67 Three Treasures
All the world calls Dao great, yet it is by nature immaterial. It is because a thing is seemingly unreal that it is great. If a man affects to be great, how long can he conceal his mediocrity?
Tao has three treasures which he guards and cherishes. The first is called compassion; the second is called economy; the third is called humility.
A man that is compassionate can ‘be truly brave; if a man is economical he can be generous; if he is humble he can become a useful servant.
If one discards compassion and is still brave, abandons economy and is still generous, forsakes humility and still seeks to be serviceable, his days are numbered.
On the contrary if one is truly compassionate, in battle he will be a conqueror and in defence he will be secure. When even Heaven helps people it is because of compassion that she does so.
|Chapter 68 Compliance With Heaven
He who excels as a soldier is the one who is not warlike; he who fights the best fight is not wrathful; he who best conquers an enemy is not quarrelsome; he who best employs people is obedient himself.
This is the virtue of not-quarreling, this is the secret of bringing out other men’s ability, this is complying with Heaven. Since of old it is considered the greatest virtue (de [teh]).
|Chapter 69 The Function of the Mysterious
A military expert has said: I do not dare put myself forward as a host, but always act as a guest. I hesitate to advance an inch, but am willing to withdraw a foot.
This is advancing by not advancing, it is winning without arms, it is charging without hostility, it is seizing without weapons.
There is no mistake greater than making light of an enemy. By making light of an enemy we lose our treasure.
Therefore when well-matched armies come to conflict, the one who is conscious of his weakness conquers.
|Chapter 70 The Difficulty of Understanding
My words are very easy to understand and very easy to put into practice, yet in all the world no one appears to understand them or to practice them.
Words have an ancestor (a preceding idea), deeds have a master (a preceding purpose), and just as these are often not understood, so I am not understood.
They who understand me are very few, and on that account I am worthy of honor. The wise man wears wool (rather than silk) and keeps his gems out of sight.