The wise person is without a decided mind, thus his actions are based on the minds of the people.
The wise person treats the good person with goodness, he also treats the bad person with goodness — this is how you become good.
The wise person gives the truthful person his trust, he also gives the untruthful his trust — this is how you become trustworthy.
The wise person lives in the world with united and harmonious activity, his heart and mind mixing with the people as water mixes in the ocean, seeing all people as his innocent children.
(from Tao Te Ching, verse 49, translation by Robert Brookes)
He who pursues knowledge desires to accumulate more each day.
He who pursues the Tao desires to diminish more each day. He continues to decrease until attaining the realization of non-action — not acting, but leaving nothing undone.
Thus you lead by not interfering, since striving to lead will never be enough.
(from Tao Te Ching, verse 48, translation by Robert Brookes)
You do not need to step out of your door to understand the ways of the world. You do not even need to look out of your window to perceive the way of the Tao.
The greater the distance you travel, the greater your understanding is diminished.
Therefore, the wise person: does not need to go out and yet he knows, does not need to see and yet he understands, does not strive and yet he succeeds.
(from Tao Te Ching, verse 47, translation by Robert Brookes)
When the Tao prevails in the world, fast horses do slow work in the field. When the world is without Tao, horses are bred for war.
There is no greater misfortune than not knowing what is enough. There is no greater fault than the desire to possess.
Therefore, if you are satisfied that what you have is enough, you will always be content!
(from Tao Te Ching, verse 46, translation by Robert Brookes)
The most perfect thing can seem flawed, but this does not impair its usefulness. The greatest abundance can seem inadequate, but this does not limit its utility.
The greatest truth appears wrong, the greatest intelligence appears stupid, the greatest gain appears to be a loss.
Activity overcomes the feeling of being cold, and keeping still conquers the feeling of being hot. Peaceful tranquility — this is the right way in the world.
(from Tao Te Ching, verse 45, translation by Robert Brookes)
Your name or your health — which is closer to you? Your health or your possessions — which is worth more? To gain or to lose — which is more harmful?
Those with excessive desires incur great cost. Those who guard wealth surely suffer great loss.
To avoid disappointment, know what is sufficient. To avoid trouble, know when to stop. If you are able to do this, you will last a long time.
(from Tao Te Ching, verse 44, translation by Robert Brookes)
The softest substances on earth overcome the hardest, and that which has no form can penetrate the smallest of spaces.
Through this I know that not-acting has its advantage, and that it is best to teach without words. Rarely is this practiced or even understood.
(from Tao Te Ching, verse 43, translation by Robert Brookes)
The Tao produced the one, the one divided into the two, the two became the three, and the three are the source of the ten thousand things. Each of the ten thousand things carry yin and embrace yang, their merging produces chi which creates balance.
People feel disdain towards the solitary, desolate, hapless — yet leaders often refer to themselves by these terms. Thus sometimes people gain when they are diminished, and sometimes people suffer when they gain.
What others teach, so do I: Those who are aggressive and violent never die in peace. I take this in hand and make it the basis of my teaching.
(from Tao Te Ching, verse 42, translation by Robert Brookes)
When hearing of the teaching of the Tao: The wise person is diligent about putting it into practice, the average person can only sometimes follow it, the inferior person laughs at it — but if they did no laugh, it would not be the teaching of the Tao.
There are these established sayings: The enlightened path appears dark, and advancing on this path may seem like retreating. For the path that looks smooth is often rugged.
The greatest virtue appears empty, and the greatest purity appears tarnished. The most magnificent virtue seems insufficient, and firmly established virtue seems frail. Real virtue is fluid and changeable.
The perfect square has no boundaries. The greatest talent is slow to mature. The perfect sound is hard to discern. The greatest form is without shape.
The Tao remains in the background, nameless. Yet it is because of this that the Tao is able to nourish and bring success.
(from Tao Te Ching, verse 41, translation by Robert Brookes)
Turning back is the Tao’s motion, yielding is the Tao’s method.
The world and the ten thousand things are born from the ‘what is’, and the ‘what is’ is born from the ‘what is not’.
(from Tao Te Ching, verse 40, translation by Robert Brookes)