The Classic Words of TAO & VIRTUE
THE LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE and POWER
Translated by John Louis Albert TrottierCopyright 1994
Part 2 38 High Virtue (Power) is completely virtuous (powerful) without chasing after virtue (power); Therefore it has Virtue (Power). Low Virtue (Power) is always chasing after virtue (power) and never frees itself from the chase; Therefore it is without Virtue (Power). High Virtue (Power) is without problems and is without private goals to serve: Low Virtue (Power) not only makes problems but has private goals to serve. High humanity makes problems but is without private goals to serve: High morality not only makes problems but has private goals to serve. High ceremony makes problems but is without response; Then it raises its arms to show itself. Losing Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ), man uses Virtue (Power). Losing Virtue (Power), humans use humanity. Losing humanity, people use morality. Losing morality, humans use ceremony. Ceremony is the shell of faith and loyalty; It is the beginning of all, not understanding and mix-up. Knowing the future, is only, the attractive without substance part, of the Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ), And the beginning of foolishness. The full-grown human Can enter the substance rather than the shell; Can enter totality rather than the promise. They prefer what is within instead of appearance. 39 There are many things that have achieved Oneness. The sky achieved Oneness and became clear; The earth achieved Oneness and became calm; The spirits achieved Oneness and became charged with powers; The fountains achieved Oneness and became full; All of the plants and animals achieved Oneness and became reproductive; Leaders achieved Oneness and became the greatest rulers of the world. All of them are what they are by virtue ( the power ) of Oneness. If the sky were not clear, it would be likely to fall to pieces; If the earth were not calm, it would be likely to burst into bits; If the spirits were not charged with powers, they would be likely to cease from being; If the fountains were not full, they would be likely to dry up; If all the plants and animals were not reproductive, they would be likely to cease to exist; If the leaders were not the greatest rulers, they would be likely to stumble and fall. Truly, humility is the root from which greatness springs, The High must be built upon the foundation of the low. That is why leaders describe themselves "The Helpless One," "The Little One," and "The Worthless One." To gain the peoples support. They realize their dependence upon the lowly. Get honor by not being honored. It is not wise to shine like jade and sound like stone-chimes. (The true leader has substance rather just appearance.) 40 The movement of the Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ) consists of Returning. (In science, for every physical action there is a physical reaction. It is the same in social order.) The use of the Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ) consists of perception. (Understand the root cause and you will understand the process.) All things under heaven are born of the Visible; The Visible is born of the Invisible. (The principals that we do not directly perceive create what we see. Chaos has a pattern if only we use our intuition.) 41 When a wise scholar hears the Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ), They practice it without fail. When a average scholar hears the Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ), They move between belief and unbelief. When a worthless scholar hears the Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ), They laugh loudly at it. If such a one does not laugh at it, The Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ) would not be the Tao ( the Laws of the Universe )! To the untrained observer; Who understands the Tao, seems foolish; Who progresses in the Tao, seems to fail; Who follows the Tao, seems to wander. The wise people of old have truly said: The bright Way looks dim. The forward Way looks backward. The smooth Way looks rough. High Virtue (Power) looks low like a bottomless pit. Great clearness looks spotted. Unending Virtue (Power) looks like it is not enough. Proved Virtue (Power) looks pitiful. Solid Virtue (Power) looks as though melted. Greatest space has no corners. Great talents are slowly mastered. Great music has the rarest sound. Great Form is shapeless. The Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ) is hidden and nameless; It alone knows how to give help and to make whole. 42 Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ) gave birth to One, ( The Unified Field ) One gave birth to Two, ( Energy and Matter, E=MC2 ) Two gave birth to Three, ( Gravity, Nuclear and Electro-Magnetic Forces) Three gave birth to all things. All the things carry the Yin (physical(matter)) on their backs and hold the Yang (spiritual(energy)) to their chest, Getting their vital balance from the proper blending of the two vital Breaths. (Physical(matter) and Spiritual(energy)) What is more hated by men than to be "helpless( in need of help)," "little( no desire to be superior )," and "worthless ( no desire to be rich )"? These are the very names the true leaders call themselves. You can gain by losing (putting ourselves in a position to gain), And you can lose by gaining (receiving our hearts desire and feeling lost ). What others have taught I repeat: "A person who lives for destruction will attract destruction to themself." (Destruction attracts destruction. Construction attracts construction. Weakness attracts destruction. Virtue (power) attracts construction.) I will make this chapter my most important teaching. 43 The softest of all things Wears down the hardest of all things. Only No thing can enter into no-space. I know the advantages of doing everything at its own speed. Few things under heaven teach as much as the lessons of Silence, Or are as helpful as the fruits of proper timing. 44 Your name and your body, which is more valuable? Your body and your wealth, which is more prized? Gain and loss, which is more painful? Too much love for anything will cost you a lot in the end. The storing up of too much worldly goods will mean a big loss. Know when you have enough and be immune from disgrace. Know when to stop and be protected from dangers. Only this way can you last long. 45 The greatest perfection is never completed, So its use never runs out. The greatest fullness has always room for more, So its use goes on forever. The greatest straightness is curved. The greatest skill is looks effortless. The greatest speaking is slow. Moving around overcomes cold, Calm overcomes heat. The peaceful and calm Is the Normal of the World. 46 When the world is in possession of the Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ), The galloping horses are led to fertilize the fields with their droppings. ( People create goods for exchange and contend with each other in sport.) When the world has become Taoless ( without the Laws of the Universe ), War horses breed themselves in the suburbs. (People create tools of destruction and contend with each other over the ownership of countries.) There is no disaster like not knowing what is enough. There is no evil like greed. They who know what is enough will always have enough. 47 Without going out of your door, You can know the ways of the world. Without looking through your window, You can see the Tao (the Laws of the Universe). You can travel far, And know very little. The Complete Thinker knows without traveling, Sees without looking, And achieves without Effort. (Because they understand the Laws of the Universe and the Power of their application.) 48 Rote Learning involves daily getting more; The practice of Tao (the Laws of the Universe) involves daily getting rid of. Keep on getting rid of and getting rid of, Until you reach the state of Effortlessness. Effortlessness and nothing is left undone. To win the world, give up all. If you still have private goals, You will never win the world. 49 The Complete Thinker has no interests of their own, But takes the interests of the people as their own. They are kind to the kind; They are also kind to the not kind: Kindness is Power. They are faithful to the faithful They are also faithful to the not faithful: Faithfulness is Power. In the middle of the world, the Complete Thinker is shy and does not brag. For the world they keep their heart in its largest state. All the people try to listen and see: The Complete Thinker acts without prejudice. 50 When one is out of Life, one is in Death. The partners of Life are thirteen; the partners of Death are thirteen; When a living person moves into the Realm of Death, his partners are also thirteen. How is this? Because they draws upon the property of Life too heavily. They who knows well how to live meets no tigers or wild buffaloes on their road, comes out from the battle-ground not touched by the soldiers of war. For, in them, a buffalo would find no target for his horns, a tiger nothing to put his claws upon, and a soldier of war no place for its tool to enter. How is this? Because there is no room for Death in them. 51 TAO ( THE LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE ) gives them life, Virtue (Power) nurses them, Matter shapes them, Environment completes them. All things worship Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ) and pray to Virtue (Power). They have not been commanded to worship Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ) and pray to Virtue (Power), But they always do so automatically. It is Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ) that gives them life: Its Virtue (Power) that nurses them, grows them, raises them, shelters them, comforts them, feeds them and covers them under her wings. To give life but to demand nothing, To do your work but to set no importance to it, To be a leader, not a rule maker, This is called Hidden Virtue (Power). 52 All-under Heaven have a common Beginning This Beginning is the Mother of the world. Having known the Mother, We may proceed to know her children. Having known the children, We should go back and hold on to the Mother In so doing, you will take no risk Even though your body be destroyed. Block all the passage ways! Shut all the doors! And to the end of your days you will not be worn out. Open the passages! Multiply your activities! And to the end of your days you will remain helpless. To see the small is to have insight. To hold on to flexibility is to be strong. If, in using your factual intelligence You return to your insight. You will not bring destruction upon yourself. This is the way of learning the Changeless. 53 If I had the smallest seed of wisdom, I would walk the Great Way, And my only fear would be to lose my way from it. The Great Way is very smooth and straight; And yet the people like better the complicated paths. The courtyard is very clean and well decorated, ( Their cities appear powerful. ) But the fields are very weedy and wild, And the grain silo's are very empty! ( But they have lost the skill to feed themselves. ) They wear beautiful clothes, ( They value appearances over substance.) They carry destructive weapons, ( They use the tools of destruction to get their needs. ) They over fill themselves with food and drink, ( They indulge themselves in the fruits of the conquered. ) They own more riches than they can use! ( They are greedy. ) They are the messengers of lawlessness! As for Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ), what do they know about it? 54 What is well planted cannot be uprooted. What is well accepted cannot slip away. Your descendants will pray for you for ages without end. Feed Virtue (Power) in your own person, And it becomes a real part of you. Feed Power in the family, And it will stay. Feed Power in the community, And it will live and grow. Feed Power in the state, And it will be generously successful. Feed Power in the World, And it will become total. A person must be judged as a person; A family must be judged as family; A community must be judged as a community; A state must be judged as a state; The world must be judged as a world. How do I know about the world? By what is within me. 55 One who is high in Virtue (Power) is like the new-born babe. Wasps and poisonous snakes don't sting, Murderous beasts do not seize, Birds who hunt do not beat, Its bones are flexible, its muscles relaxed, Its grip is strong. It does not know the sex, Growing in its wholeness, and keeping its spirit in its Life Force is at its greatest. It screams all day long without getting hoarse, Because of its perfect harmony. To know harmony is to know the Changeless. To know the Changeless is to have understanding. To hurry the growth of life is dangerous. To control the breath by choice is to over force it. To be overgrown is to rot. This is against Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ), Whatever is against Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ) soon ceases to be. 56 They who know may not speak. They who speak may not know. Block all the passage ways! ( Be content with your position. ) Shut all the doors! ( Remove all distractions. ) Unsharpen all edges! ( Be kind not sharp in your dealings with life. ) Untie all knots! (Understand the the root of all problems.) Blend all lights! ( View all you see based on the Laws of the Universe.) Bring the world together into one completeness! ( Understand the oneness of the World. ) This is called the Beyond Understanding Completeness, Which you cannot attract or push away, Benefit or hurt, Honor or reduce. It is the Highest Truth of the world. 57 You lead a group with correctness; You fight a war by moves not thought of by your enemies; You win the world by not using effort. How do I know this is so? By what is within me! The more things that are forbidden and limited in the world, The poorer the people become. (Freedom for the people is required for a full life.) The more destructive the weapons the people possess, The greater confusion controls the land. (People are dangerous to other people and the greater the tools of destruction in their hands the more they will destroy.) The more clever and tricky the men, The more often strange things happen. (People who cheat the Laws of the Universe cause a lack of balance which can not last.) The more well spoken the laws and rulings, The more robbers and thieves there are. (The more rules there are, the more likely people will break them in the course of life. Then after breaking some rules the other rules are less respected and criminals are considered normal citizens.) The Complete Thinker says: I live a simple life, and the people change themselves. I love quiet, and the people settle down in their regular jobs. I look to effortlessness, and the people grow rich. I have no desires, and the people return to Simplicity. 58 Where the leader is quiet, quiet, The people are simple and happy. Where the leader is dishonest, dishonest, The people are tricky and unhappy. Bad fortune is what good fortune leans on, Good fortune is what bad fortune hides in. Who knows the final end of this process? Is there not a normal of right? What is normal, soon becomes not normal, And what is good soon turns bad. Long indeed have the people been in difficulty. The Complete Thinker: makes even without cutting, Is honest without hurting, Is direct without effort, Teaches without causing the mind to be excited. 59 In governing a people and in serving Heaven, There is nothing like not being wasteful. To not be wasteful is to return before going away from the path. To return before going away from the path is to have a double supply of Virtue (Power). To have a double supply of Virtue (Power) is to overcome everything. To overcome everything is to have no limits. Only they who have no limits can have a kingdom. Only they who have the true understanding of the Tao can last long. This is the way to be deep-rooted and firm-planted in the Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ). This is the secret of long life and lasting understanding. 60 Ruling a big kingdom is like cooking a small fish. ( You have to be careful not to burn it.) When a person of Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ) rules over the world, demons have no spiritual powers. Not that the demons have no spiritual powers, but the spirits themselves do no harm to humans. Not that the spirits do no harm to humans, but the Complete Thinker does no harm to the people. If only the leader and people would stop from hurting each other, all the good things of life would get together in the kingdom. 61 A great Country is like the lowland to which all streams flow. It is the lake of all under heaven, the Feminine of the world. The Feminine always conquers the Masculine by her quietness, by lowering herself through her quietness. If a great country can lower itself before a small country, it will win over the small country; and if a small country can lower itself before a great country, it will win over the great country. The one wins by lowering itself; the other, by remaining low. What a great country wants is simply to accept more people; and what a small country wants is simply to serve its protector. Each gets what it wants. But it benefits a great country to lower itself. 62 The Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ) is the hidden Source of all things. A treasure to the honest, it is a protection to the confused. A good word will find its own location. A good deed may be used as a gift to another. A person missing the right path Is no reason they should be thrown away. At the official times of empowerment, Let others offer their discs of jade, following it up with cars and boats; It is better for you to offer the Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ) without moving your feet! Why did the people of the past prize the Tao ( the Laws of the Universe )? It is because by the virtue (the power) of it, he who looks finds, And the guilty are forgiven. That is why it is such a treasure to the world. 63 Do the Effortlessness. Try for the effortless. Enjoy the joyless. Raise high the low. Multiply the few. Return hurt with kindness. Stop troubles in the beginning. Plant the great with the small. Difficult things of the world. Can only be tackled when they are easy. Big things of the world Can only be completed by paying attention to their small beginnings. The Complete Thinker never has to struggle with the big things, But they alone are capable of completing them! They who promises lightly must be lacking in faith. They who thinks everything easy will end by finding difficulty. The Complete Thinker, who regards everything as difficult, Meets with no difficulties in the end. 64 What is not moving is easy to hold. What shows no predictions is easily made not to happen. What is delicate is easily smashed. What is small is easily widely separated and lost. Do things before they have become visible. ( Plan ahead.) Help peace and order before confusion and disorder have set in. ( Punish the destructive without delay.) A tree as big as a man's embrace starts from a tiny sprout. (Big things start small.) A tower nine stories high begins with a heap of earth. A journey of three thousand miles starts from where your feet stand. They who trouble over anything spoils it. They who hold anything loses it. The Complete Thinker troubles over nothing and then spoils nothing. Tries to hold nothing and then loses nothing. In handling business, people often spoil it just at the point of success. With carefulness in the beginning and patience at the end, nothing will be spoiled. The Complete Thinker wants to be want-less. Sets no value on rare goods. Learns to relearn learning. And convinces the people to return from where they have passed. They only helps all creatures to find their own nature, but does not try to lead them by the nose. 65 In the old days, those who were good at the practice of Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ) did not try to teach the people, but to keep them in the state of simple life. Why are the people hard to govern? Because they are too tricky! They who govern their state with trickiness is its wrongdoer; They who govern their state without resorting to trickiness is its protector. To know these principles is to have a rule and a measure. To keep the rule and the measure constantly in your mind is what we call Virtue (Power) that is hidden! It leads all things to return, till they come back to the Great Balance! 66 How does the sea become the King of all streams? Because it lies lower than they! That is why it is the king of all streams. The Complete Thinker rules over the people by lowering themself in speech; Leads the people by putting themself behind. When a Complete Thinker stands above the people, They do not feel the heaviness of weight; When they stands in front of the people, the people do not feel hurt. All the world is glad to push them forward without getting tired of them. Because they compete with nobody, Nobody can ever compete with them. 67 All the world says that my Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ) is great, but seems strange, like nothing on earth. But it is just because my Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ) is great that it is like nothing on earth! If it were like anything on earth, how small it would have been from the very beginning! I have Three Treasures, Which I hold fast and watch over closely. The first is Mercy. The second is Frugality. The third is Daring to Be Not First in the World. Because I am merciful, I can be brave. Because I am frugal, I can be generous. Because I dare not to be first, I can lead. If a person wants to be brave without first being merciful, generous without first being frugal, a leader without first wishing to follow, they are only asking for destruction! Mercy alone can help you win a war. Mercy alone can help you defend your state. Heaven will come to the rescue of the merciful, and protect them with its Mercy. 68 A good soldier is never the first to fight; A good fighter is never angry. The best way of beating an enemy Is to win them over by not disagreeing with them. The best way of employing a person Is to serve under them. This is called the virtue (power) of non-striving! This is called using the abilities of people! This is called being wedded to Heaven like in the past! 69 The planners of fights have a saying: I do not want to receive guests, but I would like to be a guest; I do not want to go forward an inch, but I would like to go back a foot. This is called marching without moving, Rolling up one's sleeves without baring one's arms, Capturing the enemy without facing them, Holding a weapon that is invisible. There is no greater disaster than to under-estimate the strength of your enemy. For to under-estimate the strength of your enemy is to lose your treasure. When disagreeing armies meet in battle, victory belongs to the sorrowing side. 70 My words are very easy to understand, and very easy to practice: But the civilization today cannot understand them, nor practice them My words have an Ancestor. My deeds have a Lord. The people have no knowledge of this. They have no knowledge of me. The fewer persons know me, The greater they are that follow me. The Complete Thinker looks like the common man, While keeping the Laws of the Universe and the Power of their application in his heart. 71 To understand that our knowledge is not complete, This is a great understanding. To think about our innocence as knowledge, This is mental sickness. Only when we are sick of our sickness Shall we cease to be sick. The Complete Thinker is not sick, being sick of sickness; This is the secret of health. 72 When people no longer fear your power, It is a sign that a greater power is coming. Interfere not lightly with a persons house, (Do not intrude on their privacy.) Do not make heavy taxes upon their work. Only when you stop tiring them, Will they stop being tired of you. The Complete Thinker knows self, But makes no show of self; Loves self, But does not lift self above others. They prefer what is within to what is without. 73 The man who is brave and takes unneeded chances will be killed; The man who is brave and does not take unneeded chances will survive. Of these two kinds of bravery, one proves harmful, while the other is helpful. Some things are hated by the Laws of the Universe, But who knows the reason? Even the Complete Thinker does not understand such a question. It is the Universal Law, to win without effort. It is the Universal Law to get answers without speaking. It is the Universal Law To get the people to come without calling them. It is the Universal Law To act agreeing to plans without hurry. Powerful, beyond knowing are the Laws of the Universe: Visible only by its results and yet Only the formless can create new results. 74 When the people are no longer afraid of death, Why scare them with the spirit of death? If you could make the people always afraid of death, And they still break the law, Then you might arrest and execute them, And who would dare break the law? Is not the Great Executioner always there to kill? To do the killing for the Great Executioner Is to chop wood for a master carpenter, And you would be lucky indeed if you did not hurt your own hand! 75 Why are the people starving? Because those above them are taxing them too much. That is why they are starving. Why are the people hard to manage? Because those above them are troublesome and selfish. That is why they are hard to manage. Why do the people make jokes about death? Because those above them make too much of life. That is why they make jokes about death. The people have nothing to live on! They know better than to value such a life! 76 When a person is living they are soft and easy to bend. When they are dead, they become hard and stiff. When a plant is living, it is soft and tender. When it is dead, it becomes withered and dry. The hard and stiff belongs to the company of the dead: The soft and easy to bend belongs to the company of the living. A mighty army can to fall by its own weight, Just as dry wood is ready for the ax. The mighty and great will be put low; The humble and weak will be raised high. 77 Maybe the Laws of the Universe (Tao) may be compared to the stretching of a bow! The upper part is depressed, while the lower is raised. If the bow-string is too long, it is cut short: if too short, it is added to. The Laws of the Universe (Tao) makes smaller the more-than-enough to supply the less than enough. The way of people is different: it takes from the poor to give the rich. Who except a person of the Tao ( the Laws of the Universe ) can put their never ending riches to the service of the world? The Complete Thinker does work without setting any store by it, accomplishes tasks without dwelling upon them. They do not want their merits to be seen. 78 Nothing in the world is softer and weaker than water; But, for attacking the hard and strong, there is nothing like it! For nothing can take its place. That the weak overcomes the strong, and the soft overcomes the hard, This is something known by all, but practiced by none. The Complete Thinker says: To receive the dirt of a country is to be the lord of its soil-shrines. to hold up under the disasters of a country is to be the prince of the world. ( To be strong in the face of discrace and disaster, is to be truly Noble. ) Indeed, the Truth sound like its opposite! 79 When a great wound is healed, There will still remain a scar. Can this be a desirable thing? The Complete Thinker, holding the left-hand tally ( the count of things to come), Performs their part of the agreement, But puts no demands on others. The virtuous (powerful) do their work; The virtue-less (powerless) knows only to put taxes on the people. The Laws of the Universe (Tao) have no private feelings, But always agrees with the constructive. 80 Ah, for a small country with a small population ! Though there are very handy mechanical inventions, the people have no use for them. Let them notice death and not go to far away places. Ships and tanks, and weapons of war, there may still be, but there are no occasions for using or displaying them. Let the people go back to sending messages by knotting cords. (Let nothing be urgent) See to it that they are happy with their food, pleased with their clothing, satisfied with their houses, and use the simple ways of living. Though there may be another country so close that they are in sight of each other and the crowing of cocks and barking of dogs in one place can be heard in the other, yet there is no traffic between them, and throughout their lives the two peoples have nothing to do with each other. 81 Honest words are not sweet, Sweet words are not honest. Good people are not bad-tempered, The bad-tempered are not good. The wise do not think of themselves as knowing more than others, the ones who think of themselves as knowing more than others are not wise. The Complete Thinker does not collect riches. The more they lives for others, The fuller is their life. The more they give, the more they win. The Laws of the Universe (Tao) are to help, not to hurt. The Way of the Complete Thinker is to do their duty, not to compete with anyone.