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Tao Te Ching
By Lao Tsu
Chapters 31 - 40
Sharp weapons are inauspicious instruments.
Everyone hates them.
Therefore the man of the Tao is not comfortable with them.
In the domestic affairs of the gentleman
The left is the position of honor.
In military affairs the right is the position of honor.
Since weapons are inauspicious instruments, they are not the instruments of the gentleman
So he uses them without enjoyment
And values plainness.
Victory is never sweet.
Those for whom victory is sweet
Are those who enjoy killing.
If you enjoy killing, you cannot gain the trust of the people.
On auspicious occasions the place of honor is on the left.
On inauspicious occasions the place of honor is on the right.
The lieutenant commander stands on the left.
The commander-in-chief stands on the right.
And they speak, using the funerary rites to bury them.
The common people, from whom all the dead have come
Weep in lamentation.
The victors bury them with funerary rites.
The Tao is always nameless.
And even though a sapling might be small
No one can make it be his subject.
If rulers could embody this principle
The myriad things would follow on their own.
Heaven and Earth would be in perfect accord
And rain sweet dew.
People, unable to deal with It on its own terms
And so you have the beginning of division into names.
Since there are already plenty of names
You should know where to stop.
Knowing where to stop, you can avoid danger.
The Tao's existence in the world
Is like valley streams running into the rivers and seas.
If you understand others you are smart.
If you understand yourself you are illuminated.
If you overcome others you are powerful.
If you overcome yourself you have strength.
If you know how to be satisfied you are rich.
If you can act with vigor, you have a will.
If you don't lose your objectives you can be long-lasting.
If you die without loss, you are eternal.
The Tao is like a great flooding river. How can it be directed to the left or right? The myriad things rely on it for their life but do not distinguish it.
It brings to completion but cannot be said to exist.
It clothes and feeds all things without lording over them.
It is always desireless, so we call it "the small."
The myriad things return to it and it doesn't exact lordship
Thus it can be called "great."
Till the end, it does not regard itself as Great.
Therefore it actualizes its greatness.
Holding to the Great Form
All pass away.
They pass away unharmed, resting in Great Peace.
It is for food and music that the passing traveler stops.
When the Tao appears from its opening
It is so subtle, it has no taste.
Look at it, you cannot see it.
Listen, you cannot hear it.
You cannot exhaust it.
That which will be shrunk
Must first be stretched.
That which will be weakened
Must first be strengthened.
That which will be torn down
Must first be raised up.
That which will be taken
Must first be given.
This is called "subtle illumination."
The gentle and soft overcomes the hard and aggressive.
A fish cannot leave the water.
The country's potent weapons
Should not be shown to its people.
The Tao is always "not-doing"
Yet there is nothing it doesn't do.
If the ruler is able to embody it
Everything will naturally change.
Being changed, they desire to act.
So I must restrain them, using the nameless "uncarved block (original mind)."
Using the nameless uncarved block
They become desireless.
Desireless, they are tranquil and
All-under-Heaven is naturally settled.
True virtue is not virtuous
Therefore it has virtue.
Superficial virtue never fails to be virtuous
Therefore it has no virtue.
True virtue does not "act"
And has no intentions.
Superficial virtue "acts"
And always has intentions.
True jen "acts"
But has no intentions.
True righteousness "acts"
But but has intentions.
True propriety "acts" and if you don't respond
They will roll up their sleeves and threaten you.
Thus, when the Tao is lost there is virtue
When virtue is lost there is jen
When jen is lost there is Justice
And when Justice is lost there is propriety.
Now "propriety" is the external appearance of loyalty and sincerity
And the beginning of disorder.
Occult abilities are just flowers of the Tao
And the beginning of foolishness.
Therefore the Master dwells in the substantial
And not in the superficial.
Rests in the fruit and not in the flower.
So let go of that and grasp this.
These in the past have attained wholeness:
Heaven attains wholeness with its clarity;
The Earth attains wholeness with its firmness;
The Spirit attains wholeness with its transcendence;
The Valley attain wholeness when filled;
The Myriad Things attain wholeness in life;
The Ruler attains wholeness in the correct governance of the people.
In effecting this:
If Heaven lacked clarity it would be divided;
If the Earth lacked firmness it would fly away;
If the spirit lacked transcendence it would be exhausted;
If the valley lacked fullness it would be depleted;
If the myriad things lacked life they would vanish.
If the ruler lacks nobility and loftiness he will be tripped up.
Nobility has lowliness as its root
The High has the Low as its base.
Thus the kings call themselves "the orphan, the lowly, the unworthy."
Is this not taking lowliness as the fundamental? Isn't it?
In this way you can bring about great effect without burden.
Not desiring the rarity of gems
Or the manyness of grains of sand.
Return is the motion of the Tao.
Softening is its function.
All things in the cosmos arise from being.
Being arises from non-being.