Flowering of Goodness    

J Krishnamurti

Tao Te Ching

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Buddhist Classics

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Tao Te Ching
Book One



     The heavy is the root of the light;
     The still is the lord of the restless.
     Therefore the gentleman when travelling all day
     Never lets the heavily laden carts out of his sight.
     It is only when he is safely behind walls and watchtowers
     That he rests peacefully and is above worries.
     How, then, should a ruler of ten thousand chariots
     Make light of his own person in the eyes of the empire?
     If light, then the root is lost;
     If restless, then the lord is lost.


     One who excels in travelling leaves no wheel tracks;
     One who excels in speech makes no slips;
     One who excels in reckoning uses no counting rods;
     One who excels in shutting uses no bolts yet what he has shut cannot be opened;
     One who excels in tying uses no cords yet what he has tied cannot be undone.
Therefore the sage always excels in saving people, and so abandons no one; always excels in saving things, and so abandons nothing.
This is called following one's discernment.
     Hence the good man is the teacher the bad learns from;
     And the bad man is the material the good works on.
     Not to value the teacher
     Nor to love the material
     Though it seems clever, betrays great bewilderment.
This is called the essential and the secret.


     Know the male
     But keep to the role of the female
     And be a ravine to the empire.
     If you are a ravine to the empire,
     Then the constant virtue will not desert you
     And you will again return to being a babe.
     Know the white
     But keep to the role of the black
     And be a model to the empire.
     If you are a model to the empire,
     Then the constant virtue will not be wanting
     And you will return to the infinite.
     Know honor
     But keep to the role of the disgraced
     And be a valley to the empire.
     If you are a valley to the empire,
     Then the constant virtue will be sufficient
     And you will return to being the uncarved block.
When the uncarved block shatters it becomes vessels. The sage makes use of these and becomes the lord over the officials.
     Hence the greatest cutting
     Does not sever.


Whoever takes the empire and wishes to do anything to it I see will have no respite. The empire is a sacred vessel and nothing should be done to it. Whoever does anything to it will ruin it; whoever lays hold of it will lose it.
     Hence some things lead and some follow;
     Some breathe gently and some breathe hard;
     Some are strong and some are weak;
     Some destroy and some are destroyed.
Therefore the sage avoids excess, extravagance, and arrogance.


One who assists the ruler of men by means of the way does not intimidate the empire by a show of arms.
     This is something which is liable to rebound.
     Where troops have encamped
     There will brambles grow;
     In the wake of a mighty army
     Bad harvests follow without fail.
One who is good aims only at bringing his campaign to a conclusion and dare not thereby intimidate. Bring it to a conclusion but do not boast; bring it to a conclusion but do not brag; bring it to a conclusion but do not be arrogant; bring it to a conclusion but only when there is no choice; bring it to a conclusion but do not intimidate.
     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