Tao Te Ching
The way gives them life;
Virtue rears them;
Things give them shape;
Circumstances bring them to maturity.
Therefore the myriad creatures all revere the way and honor virtue. Yet the way is revered and virtue honored not because this is decreed by any authority but because it is natural for them to be treated so.
Thus the way gives them life and rears them;
Brings them up and nurses them;
Brings them to fruition and maturity;
Feeds and shelters them.
It gives them life yet claims no possession;
It benefits them yet exacts no gratitude;
It is the steward yet exercises no authority.
Such is called the mysterious virtue.
The world had a beginning
And this beginning could be the mother of the world.
When you know the mother
Go on to know the child.
After you have known the child
Go back to holding fast to the mother,
And to the end of your days you will not meet with danger.
Block the openings,
Shut the doors,
And all your life you will not run dry.
Unblock the openings,
Add to your troubles,
And to the end of your days you will be beyond salvation.
To see the small is called discernment;
To hold fast to the submissive is called strength.
Use the light
But give up the discernment.
Bring not misfortune upon yourself.
This is known as following the constant.
Were I possessed of the least knowledge, I would, when walking on the great way, fear only paths that lead astray. The great way is easy, yet people prefer by-paths.
The court is corrupt,
The fields are overgrown with weeds,
The granaries are empty;
Yet there are those dressed in fineries,
With swords at their sides,
Filled with food and drink,
And possessed of too much wealth.
This is known as taking the lead in robbery.
Far indeed is this from the way.
What is firmly rooted cannot be pulled out;
What is tightly held in the arms will not slip loose;
Through this the offering of sacrifice by descendants will never come to an end.
Cultivate it in your person
And its virtue will be genuine;
Cultivate it in the family
And its virtue will be more than sufficient;
Cultivate it in the hamlet
And its virtue will endure;
Cultivate it in the state
And its virtue will abound;
Cultivate it in the empire
And its virtue will be pervasive.
Hence look at the person through the person; look at the family through the family; look at the hamlet through the hamlet; look at the state through the state; look at the empire through the empire.
How do I know that the empire is like that? By means of this.
One who possesses virtue in abundance is comparable to a new born babe:
Poisonous insects will not sting it;
Ferocious animals will not pounce on it;
Predatory birds will not swoop down on it.
Its bones are weak and its sinews supple yet its hold is firm.
It does not know of the union of male and female yet its male member will stir:
This is because its virility is at its height.
It howls all day yet does not become hoarse:
This is because its harmony is at its height.
To know harmony is called the constant;
To know the constant is called discernment.
To try to add to one's vitality is called ill-omened;
For the mind to egg on the breath is called violent.
A creature in its prime doing harm to the old
Is known as going against the way.
That which goes against the way will come to an early end.
...Excerpt from the Tao Te Ching
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Daily Words of Wisdom
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