Teh Ching                  Chapters 61-81




 A GREAT country is like the lowland toward which all
streams flow. It is the Reservoir of all under heaven,
the Feminine of the world.
  The Feminine always conquers the Masculine by her
quietness, by lowering herself through her quietness.
  Hence, 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
stooping; the other, by remaining low.
  What a great country wants is simply to embrace
more people; and what a small country wants is simply
to come to serve its patron. Thus, each gets what it
wants. But it behooves a great country to lower itself.





 THE Tao is the hidden Reservoir of all things.
A treasure to the honest, it is a safeguard to
 the erring.

 A good word will find its own market.
A good deed may be used as a gift to another.
That a man is straying from the right path
Is no reason that he should be cast away.

 Hence, at the Enthronement of an Emperor,
Or at the Installation of the Three Ministers,
Let others offer their discs of jade, following it up
 with teams of horses;
It is better for you to offer the Tao without moving
 your feet!

 Why did the ancients prize the Tao?
Is it not because by virtue of it he who seeks finds,
And the guilty are forgiven?
That is why it is such a treasure to the world.





 DO the Non-Ado.
Strive for the effortless.
Savour the savourless.
Exalt the low.
Multiply the few.
Requite injury with kindness.

 Nip troubles in the bud.
Sow the great in the small.

 Difficult things of the world
Can only be tackled when they are easy.
Big things of the world
Can only be achieved by attending to their small
Thus, the Sage never has to grapple with big things,
Yet he alone is capable of achieving them!

 He who promises lightly must be lacking in faith.
He who thinks everything easy will end by finding
 everything difficult.
Therefore, the Sage, who regards everything as difficult,
Meets with no difficulties in the end.





 WHAT is at rest is easy to hold.
What manifests no omens is easily forestalled.
What is fragile is easily shattered.
What is small is easily scattered.

 Tackle things before they have appeared.
Cultivate peace and order before confusion and disorder
 have set in.

 A tree as big as a man's embrace springs from a tiny
A tower nine stories high begins with a heap of earth.
A journey of a thousand leagues starts from where your
 feet stand.

 He who fusses over anything spoils it.
He who grasps anything loses it.
The Sage fusses over nothing and therefore spoils
He grips at nothing and therefore loses nothing.

 In handling affairs, people often spoil them just
 at the point of success.
With heedfulness in the beginning and patience
 at the end, nothing will be spoiled.

 Therefore, the Sage desires to be desireless,
Sets no value on rare goods,
Learns to unlearn his learning,
And induces the masses to return from where
 they have overpassed.
He only helps all creatures to find their own nature,
But does not venture to lead them by the nose.





 IN the old days, those who were well versed in the
practice of the Tao did not try to enlighten the
people, but rather to keep them in the state of simplicity.
For, why are the people hard to govern? Because they
are too clever! Therefore, he who governs his state
with cleverness is its malefactor; but he who governs
his state without resorting to cleverness is its
benefactor. To know these principles is to possess a
rule and a measure. To keep the rule and the measure
constantly in your mind is what we call Mystical
Virtue. Deep and far-reaching is Mystical Virtue! It
leads all things to return, till they come back to Great





 HOW does the sea become the king of all streams?
Because it lies lower than they!
Hence it is the king of all streams.

 Therefore, the Sage reigns over the people by humbling
 himself in speech;
And leads the people by putting himself behind.

 Thus it is that when a Sage stands above the people,
 they do not feel the heaviness of his weight;
And when he stands in front of the people, they do not
 feel hurt.
Therefore all the world is glad to push him forward
 without getting tired of him.

 Just because he strives with nobody,
Nobody can ever strive with him.





 ALL the world says that my Tao is great, but seems
queer, like nothing on earth. But it is just because
my Tao 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 Not Daring to Be First in the World. Because
I am merciful, therefore I can be brave. Because I am
frugal, therefore I can be generous. Because I dare not
be first, therefore I can be the chief of all vessels.

  If a man wants to be brave without first being
merciful, generous without first being frugal, a leader
without first wishing to follow, he is only courting

  Mercy alone can help you to win a war. Mercy alone
can help you to defend your state. For Heaven will
come to the rescue of the merciful, and protect him
with its Mercy.





 A GOOD soldier is never aggressive;
A good fighter is never angry.
The best way of conquering an enemy
Is to win him over by not antagonising him.
The best way of employing a man
Is to serve under him.
This is called the virtue of non-striving!
This is called using the abilities of men!
This is called being wedded to Heaven as of old!





 THE strategists have a saying:
 I dare not be a host, but rather a guest;
 I dare not advance an inch, but rather retreat a foot.

 This is called marching without moving,
Rolling up one's sleeves without baring one's arms,
Capturing the enemy without confronting him,
Holding a weapon that is invisible.

 There is no greater calamity than to under-estimate
 the strength of your enemy.
For to under-estimate the strength of your enemy is
 to lose your treasure.

 Therefore, when opposing troops meet in battle,
 victory belongs to the grieving side.





 MY words are very easy to understand, and very
 easy to practise:
But the world cannot understand them, nor practise

My words have an Ancestor.
My deeds have a Lord.
The people have no knowledge of this.
Therefore, they have no knowledge of me.

The fewer persons know me,
The nobler are they that follow me.
Therefore, the Sage wears coarse clothes,
While keeping the jade in his bosom.





 To realize that our knowledge is ignorance,
This is a noble insight.
To regard our ignorance as knowledge,
This is mental sickness.

Only when we are sick of our sickness
Shall we cease to be sick.
The Sage is not sick, being sick of sickness;
This is the secret of health.





 WHEN the people no longer fear your power,
It is a sign that a greater power is coming.

 Interfere not lightly vith their dwelling,
Nor lay heavy burdens upon their livelihood.
Only when you cease to weary them,
They will cease to be wearied of you.

 Therefore, the Sage knows himself,
But makes no show of himself,
Loves himself,
But does not exalt himself.
He prefers what is within to what is without.





 HE who is brave in daring will be killed;
He who is brave in not daring will survive.
Of these two kinds of bravery, one is beneficial,
 while the other proves harmful.
Some things are detested by Heaven,
But who knows the reason?
Even the Sage is baffled by such a question.

 It is Heaven's Way to conquer without striving,
To get responses without speaking,
To induce the people to come without summoning,
To act according to plans without haste.

 Vast is Heaven's net;
Sparse-meshed it is, and yet
Nothing can slip through it.





 WHEN the people are no longer afraid of death,
Why scare them with the spectre of death?

 If you could make the people always afraid of death,
And they still persisted in breaking the law,
Then you might with reason arrest and execute them,
And who would dare to break the law?

 Is not the Great Executor always there to kill?
To do the killing for the Great Executor
Is to chop wood for a master carpenter,
And you would be lucky indeed if you did not hurt
 your own hand!





 WHY are the people starving?
Because those above them are taxing them
 too heavily.
That is why they are starving.

 Why are the people hard to manage?
Because those above them are fussy and have
 private ends to serve.
That is why they are hard to manage.

 Why do the people make light of death?
Because those above them make too much of life.
That is why they make light of death.

 The people have simply nothing to live upon!
They know better than to value such a life! 





 WHEN a man is living, he is soft and supple.
When he is dead, he becomes hard and rigid.
When a plant is living, it is soft and tender.
When it is dead, it becomes withered and dry.

 Hence, the hard and rigid belongs to the company
 of the dead:
The soft and supple belongs to the company of
 the living.

 Therefore, a mighty army tends to fall by its own
Just as dry wood is ready for the axe.

 The mighty and great will be laid low;
The humbie and weak will be exalted.





 PERHAPS the Way of Heaven may be likened to the
stretching of a composite 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 Way of Heaven diminishes the more-than-
enough to supply the less-than-enough. The way of
man is different: it takes from the less-than-enough to
swell the more-than-enough. Who except a man of
the Tao can put his superabundant riches to the
service of the world?

 Therefore, the Sage does his work without setting
any store by it, accomplishes his task without dwelling
upon it. He does not want his merits to be seen.





 NOTHING in the world is softer and weaker than
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 practised by none.

 Therefore, the Sage says:
To receive the dirt of a country is to be the lord of
 its soil-shrines.
To bear the calamities of a country is to be the prince of
 the world.
Indeed, Truth sounds like its opposite!





 WHEN a great wound is healed,
There will still remain a scar.
Can this be a desirable state of affairs?
Therefore, the Sage, holding the left-hand tally,
Performs his part of the covenant,
But lays no claims upon others.

 The virtuous attends to his duties;
The virtueless knows only to levy duties upon
 the people. The Way of Heaven has no private affections,
But always accords with the good.





 AH, for a small country with a small population!
Though there are highly efficient mechanical
contrivances, the people have no use for them. Let them
mind death and refrain from migrating to distant places.
Boats and carriages, weapons and armour there may still
be, but there are no occasions for using or displaying
them. Let the people revert to communication by
knotting cords. See to it that they are contented with
their food, pleased with their clothing, satisfied with
their houses, and inured to their simple ways of living.
Though there may be another country in the
neighbourhood so close that they are within 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.





 SINCERE words are not sweet,
Sweet words are not sincere.
Good men are not argumentative,
The argumentative are not good.
The wise are not erudite,
The erudite are not wise.

 The Sage does not take to hoarding.
The more he lives for others, the fuller is his life.
The more he gives, the more he abounds.

The Way of Heaven is to benefit, not to harm.
The Way of the Sage is to do his duty, not to strive
 with anyone.