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Tao Te Ching
By Lao Tsu
Chapters 61 - 70
The great state should be like a river basin.
The mixing place of the world,
The feminine of the world.
The feminine always overcomes the masculine by softness
Because softness is lesser.
Therefore if a large state serves a small state
It will gain the small state.
If a small state serves a large state
It will gain the large state.
Therefore some serve in order to gain
And some gain despite their servitude.
The large state wants nothing more
Than to unite and feed its people.
The small state wants nothing more
Than to enter into the service of the right person.
Thus both get what they want.
Greatness lies in placing oneself below.
The Tao is hidden deeply in all things.
It is the treasure of the good
And the refuge of the not-so-good.
With skillful words you can be successful.
With honorable actions you can be included.
People may not be so good, but how can you deny them?
Therefore, even though there are great jewels brought in by teams of horses at the coronation of the emperor and the installation of the three princes,
This is not as good as staying where you are
And advancing in this Tao.
Why did the ancients so value the Tao?
You can't say that it was for seeking gain
Or to have punishments to deter crime.
Therefore it is the most prized in the world.
Do without "doing."
Get involved without manipulating.
Taste without tasting.
Make the great small,
The many, few.
Respond to anger with virtue.
Deal with difficulties while they are still easy.
Handle the great while it is still small.
The difficult problems in life
Always start off being simple.
Great affairs always start off being small.
Therefore the sage never deals with the great
And is able to actualize his greatness.
Now light words generate little belief,
Much ease turns into much difficulty.
Therefore the sage treats things as though they were difficult,
And hence, never has difficulty.
That which is at rest is easy to grasp.
That which has not yet come about is easy to plan for.
That which is fragile is easily broken.
That which is minute is easily scattered.
Handle things before they arise.
Manage affairs before they are in a mess.
A thick tree grows from a tiny seed.
A tall building arises from a mound of earth.
A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.
Contriving, you are defeated;
Grasping, you lose.
The sage doesn't contrive, so she isn't beaten.
Not grasping, she doesn't lose.
When people are carrying out their projects
They usually blow it at the end.
If you are as careful at the end
As you were at the beginning,
You won't be disappointed.
Therefore the sage desires non-desire,
Does not value rare goods,
Studies the unlearnable
So that she can correct the mistakes of average people
And aid all things in manifesting their true nature
Without presuming to take the initiative.
The ancients who were skillful at the Tao
Did not illuminate the people
But rather kept them simple.
When the people are difficult to rule
It is because of their cleverness.
If you use cleverness to rule the state
You are a robber of the state.
If you don't use cleverness to rule the state
You are a blessing to the state.
If you understand these two points, you know the proper norm for governing.
To be continuously understanding the proper norm is called
How deep and far-reaching Mysterious Virtue is!
It makes all return
Until they reach the Great Norm.
The reason the river and sea can be regarded as
The rulers of all the valley streams
Is because of their being below them.
Therefore they can be their rulers.
So if you want to be over people
You must speak humbly to them.
If you want to lead them
You must place yourself behind them.
Thus the sage is positioned above
And the people do not feel oppressed.
He is in front and they feel nothing wrong.
Therefore they like to push him front and never resent him.
Since he does not contend
No one can contend with him.
The reason everybody calls my Tao great
Is because there is nothing quite like it.
It is exactly because it is great
That there is nothing quite like it.
If there were something that were consistently like it
How could it be small?
I have three treasures which I hold and cherish.
The first is compassion,
The second is frugality,
The third is not daring to put myself ahead of everybody.
Having compassion, I can be brave.
Having frugality, I can be generous.
Not daring to put myself ahead of everybody
I can take the time to perfect my abilities.
Now if I am brave without compassion
Generous without frugality, or
Go to the fore without putting my own concerns last,
I might as well be dead.
If you wage war with compassion you will win.
If you protect yourself with compassion you will be impervious.
Heaven will take care of you,
Protecting you with compassion.
The best warrior is never aggressive.
The best fighter is never angry.
The best tactician does not engage the enemy.
The best utilizer of people's talents places himself below them.
This is called the virtue of non-contention.
It is called the ability to engage people's talents.
It is called the ultimate in merging with Heaven.
Strategists have a saying:
"I prefer to be able to move, rather than be in a fixed position
Prefer to retreat a foot rather than advancing an inch."
This is called progress without advancing;
Preparing without showing off;
Smashing where there is no defense;
Taking him without a fight.
There is no greater danger than under-estimating your opponent.
If I under-estimate my opponent
I will lose that which is most dear.
When opponents clash
The one who is sorry about it will be the winner.
My words are easy to understand
And easy to practice.
Yet nobody understands them or practices them.
My words have an origin;
My actions have a principle.
It is only because of your not understanding this
That you do not understand me.
Since there are few who understand me
I am valued.
Therefore the sage wears coarse clothes.
Yet hides a jewel in his bosom.