The world calls my teaching great, and like nothing else. Because it is great it seems useless. If it seemed useful, how long ago would it have disappeared!
I have three treasures, guard and preserve them: The first is compassion. The second is moderation. The third is humility.
The compassionate have the power to be brave, the frugal can afford to be generous. One who does not dare to be first can therefore succeed and endure.
If you renounce compassion but try to be brave; if you forsake frugality but try to be generous; if you discard humility but try to lead — things are sure to end in failure.
Mercy in battle brings victory. Compassion in defense brings invulnerability. As this is in accord with nature, nature is the protector.
(from Tao Te Ching, verse 67, translation by Robert Brookes)