|The Heart of Emptiness
All the innumerable forms of de [teh] correspond to the norm of Dao, but the nature of the Dao’s activity is infinitely abstract and illusive. Illusive and obscure, indeed, but at its heart are forms and types. Vague and illusive, indeed, but at its heart is all being. Unfathomable and obscure, indeed, but at its heart is all spirit, and spirit is reality. At its heart is truth.
From of old its expression is unceasing, it has been present at all beginnings. How do I know that its nature is thus? By this same Dao.
|Increase by Humility
At that time the deficient will be made perfect; the distorted will be straightened; the empty will be filled; the worn out will be renewed; those having little will obtain and those having much will be overcome.
Therefore the wise man, embracing unity as he does, will become the world’s model. Not pushing himself forward he will become enlightened; not asserting himself he will become distinguished; not boasting of himself he will acquire merit; not approving himself he will endure. Forasmuch as he will not quarrel, the world will not quarrel with him.
Is the old saying, “The crooked shall be made straight,” a false saying? Indeed, no! They will be perfected and return rejoicing.
同于失。 同于道者，道亦樂得之﹔同于德者，德亦樂得之﹔于失者，失亦樂得之。 信不足焉，有不信焉。
|Emptiness and Not-Doing
Taciturnity is natural to man. A whirlwind never outlasts the morning, nor a violent rain the day. What is the cause? It is heaven and earth. If even heaven and earth are not constant, much less can man be.
Therefore he who pursues his affairs in the spirit of Dao will become Dao-like. He who pursues his affairs with de [teh], will become de [teh]-like. He who pursues his affairs with loss, identifies himself with loss.
He who identifies himself with Dao, Dao rejoices to guide. He who identifies himself with de [teh], de [teh] rejoices to reward. And he who identifies himself with loss, loss rejoices to ruin. If his faith fail, he will receive no reward of faith.
|Troubles and Merit
It is not natural to stand on tiptoe, or being astride one does not walk. One who displays himself is not bright, or one who asserts himself cannot shine. A self-approving man has no merit, nor does one who praises himself grow.
The relation of these things (self-display, self-assertion, self-approval) to Dao is the same as offal is to food. They are excrescences from the system; they are detestable; Dao does not dwell in them.
|Describing the Mysterious
There is Being that is all-inclusive and that existed before Heaven and Earth. Calm, indeed, and incorporeal! It is alone and changeless!
Everywhere it functions unhindered. It thereby becomes the world’s mother. I do not know its nature; if I try to characterize it, I will call it Dao.
If forced to give it a name, I will call it the Great. The Great is evasive, the evasive is the distant, the distant is ever coming near.
Tao is Great. So is Heaven great, and so is Earth and so also is the representative of Heaven and Earth.
Man is derived from nature, nature is derived from Heaven, Heaven is derived from Dao. Dao is self-derived.
|The Virtue of Dignity
The heavy is the root of the light; the quiet is master of motion.
Therefore the wise man in all the experience of the day will not depart from dignity. Though he be surrounded with sights that are magnificent, he will remain calm and unconcerned.
How does it come to pass that the Emperor, master of ten thousand chariots, has lost the mastery of the Empire? Because being flippant himself, he has lost the respect of his subjects; being passionate himself, he has lost the control of the Empire.
善行，無轍跡，善言，無瑕謫﹔善數，不用籌策﹔善閉，無關楗而不可開 ，善結，無繩約而不可解。是以聖人常善救人，故無棄人﹔常善救物，故 無棄物。
|The Function of Skill
Good walkers leave no tracks, good speakers make no errors, good counters need no abacus, good wardens have no need for bolts and locks for no one can get by them. Good binders can dispense with rope and cord, yet none can unloose their hold.
Therefore the wise man trusting in goodness always saves men, for there is no outcast to him. Trusting in goodness he saves all things for there is nothing valueless to him. This is recognizing concealed values.
Therefore the good man is the instructor of the evil man, and the evil man is the good man’s wealth. He who does not esteem his instructors or value his wealth, though he be otherwise intelligent, becomes confused. Herein lies the significance of spirituality.
|Returning to Simplicity
He who knows his manhood and understands his womanhood becomes useful like the valleys of earth (which bring water). Being like the valleys of earth, eternal vitality (de [teh]) will not depart from him, he will come again to the nature of a little child.
He who knows his innocence and recognizes his sin becomes the world’s model. Being a world’s model, infinite de [teh] will not fail, he will return to the Absolute.
He who knows the glory of his nature and recognizes also his limitations becomes useful like the world’s valleys. Being like the world’svalleys, eternal de [teh] will not fail him, he will revert to simplicity.
Radiating simplicity he will make of men vessels of usefulness. The wise man then will employ them as officials and chiefs. A great administration of such will harm no one.
|Not Forcing Things (Wu Wei)
One who desires to take and remake the Empire will fail. The Empire is a divine thing that cannot be remade. He who attempts it will only mar it.
He who seeks to grasp it, will lose it. People differ, some lead, others follow; some are ardent, others are formal; some are strong, others weak; some succeed, others fail.
Therefore the wise man practices moderation; he abandons pleasure, extravagance and indulgence.
|Be Stingy of War
When the magistrate follows Dao, he has no need to resort to force of arms to strengthen the Empire, because his business methods alone will show good returns.
Briars and thorns grow rank where an army camps. Bad harvests are the sequence of a great war. The good ruler will be resolute and then stop, he dare not take by force.
One should be resolute but not boastful; resolute but not haughty; resolute but not arrogant; resolute but yielding when it cannot be avoided; resolute but he must not resort to violence.
By a resort to force, things flourish for a time but then decay. This is not like the Dao and that which is not Dao-like will soon cease.