Hold to the Tao and all things will follow.
They follow and do not come to harm,
but will enjoy harmony and good good health.
Music and fine food might cause passing strangers to stop,
but the words spoken about the Tao fall flat, they are tasteless –
looking at it is insufficient,
listening to it is insufficient,
but use it, and it is inexhaustible.
-Lao-tzu- (Tao Te Ching, verse 35, interpretation by Robert Brookes)
The Tao flows everywhere, in all directions.
All things depend upon it, but it turns nothing away.
It is successful in its purpose, but it does not claim credit;
it nourishes all things, but it does not claim ownership.
Always without desire it is home to even the most insignificant,
and still it is not their ruler.
Therefore the wise person does not act out of the desire
for personal success,
yet he always achieves his goal.
-Lao-tzu- (Tao Te Ching, verse 34, interpretation by Robert Brookes)
Those who know others have wisdom,
but those who know themselves have enlightenment.
Those who conquer others have power,
but those who conquer themselves are powerful.
Be content where you are, and you will always be wealthy.
Act with perseverance and you will meet with success.
Do not lose your center and you will endure.
He who dies is not forgotten, and in this way lives on.
-Lao-tzu- (Tao Te Ching, verse 33, interpretation by Robert Brookes)
The Tao is nameless and as pure as uncarved wood.
Although the Tao seems insignificant, no one can command it.
The leader that can act in accordance with it
will find that everything is naturally in accord with him.
When heaven and earth in their symmetry combine,
the world is benefited by rainfall.
People will also naturally follow their course in harmony,
without need of regulation.
When people first had regulation,
it became necessary to label things as ‘this’ or ‘that’.
This naming could go on and on,
but it is best to know when to stop.
Knowing when to stop is the the basis of avoiding troubles.
To picture the Tao’s presence in the world, think of streams turning into great rivers,
and great rivers turning into seas.
-Lao-tzu- (Tao Te Ching, verse 32, interpretation by Robert Brookes)
Weapons are never the implements of good fortune,
and they are to be detested.
Therefore, the wise leader avoids them.
Normally the wise leader values patience,
but when at war he values action.
Since he is opposed to the use of weapons,
he uses them only when it is unavoidable,
and even then with great restraint.
To praise victory in war is to rejoice in the slaughter of men.
The slaughter of men causes grief and sorrow to the people,
therefore he who rejoices in this will not be successful.
Fortune follows the restrained,
misfortune follows the ambitious.
Therefore victory in war should not be celebrated,
but instead should be met with mourning.
-Lao-tzu- (Tao Te Ching, verse 31, interpretation by Robert Brookes)
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)