Tao te Ching, Chapter 41
1. Scholars of the highest class, when they hear about the Tao, earnestly carry it into practice. Scholars of the middle class, when they have heard about it, seem now to keep it and now to lose it. Scholars of the lowest class, when they have heard about it, laugh greatly at it. If it were not (thus) laughed at, it would not be fit to be the Tao.
2. Therefore the sentence-makers have thus expressed themselves:-- 'The Tao, when brightest seen, seems light to lack; Who progress in it makes, seems drawing back; Its even way is like a rugged track. Its highest virtue from the vale doth rise; Its greatest beauty seems to offend the eyes; And he has most whose lot the least supplies. Its firmest virtue seems but poor and low; Its solid truth seems change to undergo; Its largest square doth yet no corner show A vessel great, it is the slowest made; Loud is its sound, but never word it said; A semblance great, the shadow of a shade.'
3. The Tao is hidden, and has no name; but it is the Tao which is skilful at imparting (to all things what they need) and making them complete.
Tao te Ching, Chapter 42
1. The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three; Three produced All things. All things leave behind them the Obscurity (out of which they have come), and go forward to embrace the Brightness (into which they have emerged), while they are harmonized by the Breath of Vacancy.
2. What men dislike is to be orphans, to have little virtue, to be as carriages without naves; and yet these are the designations which kings and princes use for themselves. So it is that some things are increased by being diminished, and others are diminished by being increased.
3. What other men (thus) teach, I also teach. The violent and strong do not die their natural death. I will make this the basis of my teaching.
Tao te Ching, Chapter 43
1. The softest thing in the world dashes against and overcomes the hardest; that which has no (substantial) existence enters where there is no crevice. I know hereby what advantage belongs to doing nothing (with a purpose).
2. There are few in the world who attain to the teaching without words, and the advantage arising from non-action.
Tao te Ching, Chapter 44
1. Or fame or life, Which do you hold more dear? Or life or wealth, To which would you adhere? Keep life and lose those other things; Keep them and lose your life:--which brings Sorrow and pain more near?
2. Thus we may see, Who cleaves to fame Rejects what is more great; Who loves large stores Gives up the richer state.
3. Who is content Needs fear no shame. Who knows to stop Incurs no blame. From danger free Long live shall he.
Go to: Tao te Ching Index