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Tao Te Ching
By Lao Tsu
Chapters 51 - 60
Tao gives birth to it,
Virtue rears it,
Materiality shapes it,
Activity perfects it.
Therefore, there are none of the myriad things who do not venerate the Tao or esteem its virtue.
This veneration of the Tao and esteeming of its virtue is something they do naturally, without being forced.
Therefore, Tao gives birth.
Its virtue rears, develops, raises, adjusts and disciplines,
Nourishes, covers and protects,
Produces but does not possess,
Acts without expectation,
Leads without forcing.
This is called "Mysterious Virtue."
All things have a beginning, which we can regard as their Mother.
Knowing the mother, we can know its children.
Knowing the children, yet still cleaving to the mother
You can die without pain.
Stop up the holes
Shut the doors,
You can finish your life without anxiety.
Open the doors,
Increase your involvements,
In the end you can't be helped.
Seeing the subtle is called illumination.
Keeping flexible is called strength.
Use the illumination, but return to the light.
Don't bring harm to yourself.
This is called "practicing the eternal."
If I had just a little bit of wisdom
I should walk the Great Path and fear only straying from it.
Though the Way is quite broad
People love shortcuts.
The court is immaculate,
While the fields are overgrown with weeds,
And the granaries are empty.
They wear silk finery,
Carry sharp swords,
Sate themselves on food and drink
Having wealth in excess.
They are called thieving braggarts.
This is definitely not the Way.
The well-established cannot be uprooted.
The well-grasped does not slip away.
Generation after generation carries out the ancestor worship without break.
Cultivate it in yourself and virtue will be real.
Cultivate it in the family and virtue will overflow.
Cultivate it in the town and virtue will be great.
Cultivate it in the country and virtue will abundant.
Cultivate it in the world and virtue will be everywhere.
Therefore, take yourself and observe yourself.
Take the family and observe the family.
Take the town and observe the town.
Take the country and observe the country.
Take the world and observe the world.
How do I know the world as it is?
One who remains rich in virtuous power
Is like a newborn baby.
Bees, scorpions and venomous snakes do not bite it,
The wild beasts do not attack it,
Birds of prey do not sink their claws into it.
Though its bones are weak
And muscles soft,
Its grip is strong.
Without knowing of the blending of male and female
S/he is a perfect production,
The ultimate in vitality.
S/he cries all day without getting hoarse.
S/he is the ultimate in harmony.
Understanding harmony is called the Constant.
Knowing the Constant is called illumination.
Nourishing life is called blessing.
Having control of your breath is called strength.
After things blossom they decay, and
This is called the non-Tao.
The non-Tao expires quickly.
She who knows does not speak.
She who speaks does not know.
Close your holes, shut your doors,
Soften your sharpness, loosen your knots.
Soften your glare and merge with the everyday.
This is called mysteriously attaining oneness.
Though you cannot possess it, you are intimate with it
And at the same time, distant.
Though you cannot possess it, you are benefited by it,
And harmed by it.
You cannot possess it, but are esteemed through it
And humbled by it.
Therefore the world values you.
*** Use fairness in governing the state.
Use surprise tactics in war.
Be unconcerned and you will have the world.
How do I know it is like this?
The more regulations there are,
The poorer people become.
The more people own lethal weapons,
The more darkened are the country and clans.
The more clever the people are,
The more extraordinary actions they take.
The more picky the laws are,
The more thieves and gangsters there are.
Therefore the sages say:
"I do not force my way and the people transform themselves.
I enjoy my serenity and the people correct themselves.
I do not interfere and the people enrich themselves.
I have no desires
And the people find their original mind.
When the government is laid back
The people are relaxed.
When the government is nitpicking
The people have anxiety.
Misfortune depends upon fortune.
Fortune conceals misfortune.
What has a definite delimitation?
The normal reverts to strangeness.
Goodness reverts to perversion.
People certainly have been confused for a long time.
Therefore the sage squares things without cutting.
Edges without separating.
Straightens without lining up.
Shines but does not glare.
In governing the country and serving Heaven
There is nothing like frugality.
Only by being frugal can you recover quickly.
When you recover quickly you accumulate virtue.
Having accumulated virtue,
There is nothing you can't overcome.
When there is nothing you can't overcome
Who knows the limits of your capabilities?
These limits being unfathomable
You can possess the country.
The Mother who possesses the country can be long-living.
This is called "planting the roots deeply and firmly."
The way to long life and eternal vision.
Ruling a large country is like cooking a small fish.
When you govern people with the Tao
Demons will have no power.
Not that they don't have power,
But their power will not harm people.
Since the sage doesn't harm people,
The two will not harm each other.
Here their power merges and returns.