Those who are in accord with the Tao
do not desire to use force when leading the people.
Those who choose to use force on others
can expect others to use force on them.
The good leader achieves his goals,
but stops before going any further.
To go further than necessary is to force success.
Achieve your purpose, but do not be boastful.
Achieve your purpose, but do not show off.
Achieve your purpose, but do not be arrogant.
Achieve your purpose, but do not try to possess it.
When things become overgrown,
they start to decay and will come to an early end.
-Lao-tzu- (Tao Te Ching, verse 30, interpretation by Robert Brookes)
Those who attempt to lead by force
will find that this never ends with success.
People are mysterious entities –
try to take hold of them and you will only lose them.
Thus, sometimes it is better to show the way,
and sometimes it is better to follow.
Some people blow hot, while others blow cold;
some people are strong, while others are weak;
some people can overcome adversity, while others give in.
Therefore, the wise person avoids extremes,
withdraws from extravagance,
and discards arrogance.
-Lao-tzu- (Tao Te Ching, verse 29, interpretation by Robert Brookes)
Know the male, but hold to the female.
Imagine a river flowing through a valley,
never departing from its original path.
Do this and you will return to a state of innocence.
Perceive the bright, but hold to the dark.
Like a river, let yourself flow with virtue,
and set a faultless example for the world.
Do this and you will return to a state of perfection.
Be aware of honor, but hold to humility.
Like a valley, let virtue fill you,
sufficient yet everlasting.
Do this and you will return to the state of the uncarved block.
Just as when the uncarved block is shaped it loses its simplicity,
when the wise person loses his simplicity he is no longer wise.
Therefore it is best to stay on the original path..
-Lao-tzu- (Tao Te Ching, verse 28, interpretation by Robert Brookes)
The adept traveler leaves no tracks,
the adept speaker reveals no opportunity for reproach,
the adept accountant needs no calculator.
The skilled locksmith opens doors that are locked to others,
the experienced sailor ties knots that others cannot untie.
The wise person is excellent at helping others,
and does not reject any of them.
Indeed, the wise person is excellent at taking care of all things,
and therefore does not reject the physical world.
This is called practicing enlightenment.
The good person is the bad person’s teacher,
and the bad person is the good person’s lesson.
To honor the teacher you must also cherish the lesson.
Even though this wisdom may seem perplexing,
it is one of the Tao’s crucial mysteries.
-Lao-tzu- (Tao Te Ching, verse 27, interpretation by Robert Brookes)
Heavy is the origin of lightness,
and tranquility is the ruler of acting rashly.
Therefore when the wise person travels in the world
he never loses sight of his heavy load,
even when he sees magnificent sights.
He dwells in peace, unattached.
How can you be said to be a wise person,
if you behave frivolously in front of everyone?
To be frivolous is to be separated from the source,
just as acting rashly means you have lost control of yourself.
-Lao-tzu- (Tao Te Ching, verse 26, interpretation by Robert Brookes)
Before the birth of all things, there existed an undifferentiated whole.
A solitary void: unchanging, yet operating everywhere,
It is therefore considered the source of everything.
I do not know its true name, although some call it Tao.
If compelled to characterize it, I would simply call it great.
For to be great implies that it is far-reaching,
to be far-reaching implies distance,
and to be distant implies returning to the source.
Thus the Tao is great,
Heaven is great,
Earth is great,
the wise person is also great.
In the universe there are four great ones,
and the wise person is one of them.
The wise person follows the laws of Earth,
Earth follows the laws of Heaven,
and Heaven follows the law of Tao.
The Tao, with nothing to follow,
is natural unto itself.
-Lao-tzu- (Tao Te Ching, verse 25, interpretation by Robert Brookes)
When on tiptoe you cannot stand firm,
when running you cannot go far,
make a display of yourself and you will not be illustrious.
Be righteous and you will not be distinguished,
boast of your abilities and you will not have merit,
be conceited and you will not endure.
People who act in such ways are likely to be detested,
and their path will be burdensome.
However to those who follow the Tao,
these things are like having too much to eat,
and are avoided.
-Lao-tzu- (Tao Te Ching, verse 24, interpretation by Robert Brookes)
To speak few words is the natural way.
The strong wind cannot last the whole morning,
the torrential rain cannot last all day.
It is nature that causes these things,
but even nature cannot cause them to go on forever.
If nature cannot do this, then certainly man cannot do so.
Therefore in whatever you do, let it be done through the Tao.
Follow the Tao and act with virtue.
If you do not follow the Tao, then loss and failure will follow you.
The Tao happily accepts all followers, but so do loss and failure.
Faith in oneself is not enough.
Indeed, the wise person is not worthy of such faith from others.
-Lao-tzu- (Tao Te Ching, verse 23, interpretation by Robert Brookes)
That which is incomplete will be made complete,
that which is crooked will straighten,
that which is empty will be filled,
that which is worn out will be renewed.
He who has little can only gain,
but gain too much and the way will be lost.
Therefore the wise person holds to the Tao,
and he is the example for all people.
Because he does not show himself, he shines brightly.
Because he is not righteous, he is distinguished.
Because he does not boast, he is successful.
Because he is not proud, he endures.
Because he is not contentious, no one contends with him.
The ancients said:
That which can bend will remain whole.
Is this not true?
To be humble is to remain in the Tao.
-Lao-tzu- (Tao Te Ching, verse 22, interpretation by Robert Brookes)
The person of great virtue
has a quality that can come only from the Tao.
The Tao itself is elusive, indistinct.
Indistinct and elusive,
within it is form.
Vague and intangible,
from it comes reality.
Profound and mysterious,
within it is spirit.
This spirit is quite real,
from it comes truth.
Since ancient times, the Tao has never departed.
By means of it, all things are created.
How do I know this is so?
Because it is the nature of the Tao.
-Lao-tzu- (Tao Te Ching, verse 21, interpretation by Robert Brookes)