Tao Te Ching
In his every movement a man of great virtue
Follows the way and the way only.
As a thing the way is
Indistinct and shadowy,
Yet within it is an image;
Shadowy and indistinct,
Yet within it is a substance.
Dim and dark,
Yet within it is an essence.
This essence is quite genuine
And within it is something that can be tested.
From the present back to antiquity
Its name never deserted it.
It serves as a means for inspecting the fathers of the multitude.
How do I know that the fathers of the multitude are like that? By means of this.
Bowed down then preserved;
Bent then straight;
Hollow then full;
Worn then new;
A little then benefited;
A lot then perplexed.
Therefore the sage embraces the One and is a model for the empire.
He does not show himself, and so is conspicuous;
He does not consider himself right, and so is illustrious;
He does not brag, and so has merit;
He does not boast, and so endures.
It is because he does not contend that no one in the empire is in a position to contend with him.
The way the ancients had it, 'Bowed down then preserved', is no empty saying. Truly it enables one to be preserved to the end.
To use words but rarely
Is to be natural.
Hence a gusty wind cannot last all morning, and a sudden downpour cannot last all day. Who is it that produces these? Heaven and earth. If even heaven and earth cannot go on forever, much less can man. That is why one follows the way.
A man of the way conforms to the way; a man of virtue conforms to virtue; a man of loss conforms to loss. He who conforms to the way is gladly accepted by the way; he who conforms to virtue is gladly accepted by virtue; he who conforms to loss is gladly accepted by loss.
When there is not enough faith, there is lack of good faith.
He who tiptoes cannot stand; he who strides cannot walk.
He who shows himself is not conspicuous;
He who considers himself right is not illustrious;
He who brags will have no merit;
He who boasts will not endure.
From the point of view of the way these are 'excessive food and useless excrescences'. As there are Things that detest them, he who has the way does not abide in them.
There is a thing confusedly formed,
Born before heaven and earth.
Silent and void
It stands alone and does not change,
Goes round and does not weary.
It is capable of being the mother of the world.
I know not its name
So I style it 'the way'.
I give it the makeshift name of 'the great'.
Being great, it is further described as receding,
Receding, it is described as far away,
Being far away, it is described as turning back.
Hence the way is great; heaven is great; earth is great; and the king is also great. Within the realm there are four things that are great, and the king counts as one.
Man models himself on earth,
Earth on heaven,
Heaven on the way,
And the way on that which is naturally so.
...Excerpt from the Tao Te Ching
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Daily Words of Wisdom
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