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THE TAO AND ITS CHARACTERISTICS








The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring
The Tao that can be trodden is

(Conceived of as) having no name, it is the Originator
(Conceived of as) having no nam

Always without desire we must be found, If
Always without desire we must b

Under these two aspects, it is really the same; but
Under these two aspects, it is

All in the world know the beauty of the beautiful,
All in the world know the beau

So it is that existence and non-existence give birth the
So it is that existence and non

Therefore the sage manages affairs without doing anything, and conveys his
Therefore the sage manages affa

All things spring up, and there is not one which
All things spring up, and there

Not to value and employ men of superior ability is
Not to value and employ men of

Therefore the sage, in the exercise of his government, empties their
Therefore the sage, in the exer

He constantly (tries to) keep them without knowledge and without desire,
He constantly (tries to) keep t

The Tao is (like) the emptiness of a vessel; and
The Tao is (like) the emptines

We should blunt our sharp points, and unravel the complications
We should blunt our sharp point

I do not know whose son it is It
I do not know whose son it is

Heaven and earth do not act from (the impulse of)
Heaven and earth do not act fr

May not the space between heaven and earth be compared
May not the space between heave

The valley spirit dies not, aye the same;
The valley spirit dies not, aye

Heaven is long-enduring and earth continues long The reason why
Heaven is long-enduring and ea

Therefore the sage puts his own person last, and yet
Therefore the sage puts his own

The highest excellence is like (that of) water The
The highest excellence is like

The excellence of a residence is in (the suitability of)
The excellence of a residence i

And when (one with the highest excellence) does not wrangle
And when (one with the highest

It is better to leave a vessel unfilled, than to
It is better to leave a vessel

When gold and jade fill the hall, their possessor cannot
When gold and jade fill the hal

0 When the intelligent and animal souls are held
0 When the intelligent and anim

In loving the people and ruling the state, cannot he
In loving the people and ruling

(The Tao) produces (all things) and nourishes them; it produces them
(The Tao) produces (all things)

The thirty spokes unite in the one nave; but it
The thirty spokes unite in the

Colour's five hues from th' eyes their sight will take;
Colour's five hues from th' ey

Therefore the sage seeks to satisfy (the craving of) the
Therefore the sage seeks to sat

Favour and disgrace would seem equally to be feared; honour
Favour and disgrace would seem

What is meant by speaking thus of favour and disgrace?
What is meant by speaking thus

Therefore he who would administer the kingdom, honouring it as
Therefore he who would administ

We look at it, and we do not see it,
We look at it, and we do not s

Its upper part is not bright, and its lower part
Its upper part is not bright, a

We meet it and do not see its Front; we
We meet it and do not see its F

The skilful masters (of the Tao) in old times, with
The skilful masters (of the Ta

Shrinking looked they like those who wade through a stream
Shrinking looked they like thos

Who can (make) the muddy water (clear)? Let it
Who can (make) the muddy water

They who preserve this method of the Tao do not
They who preserve this method o

The (state of) vacancy should be brought to the utmost
The (state of) vacancy should

The report of that fulfilment is the regular, unchanging rule
The report of that fulfilment i

In the highest antiquity, (the people) did not know that
In the highest antiquity, (the

How irresolute did those (earliest rulers) appear, showing (by their reticence)
How irresolute did those (earli

When the Great Tao (Way or Method) ceased to be
When the Great Tao (Way or Met

When harmony no longer prevailed throughout the six kinships, filial sons
When harmony no longer prevaile

If we could renounce our sageness and discard our wisdom,
If we could renounce our sagen

Those three methods (of government) Thought olden ways
Those three methods (of governm

0 When we renounce learning we have no troubles
0 When we renounce learning we

The multitude of men look satisfied and pleased; as if
The multitude of men look satis

The grandest forms of active force From
The grandest forms of active fo

The partial becomes complete; the crooked, straight; the empty, full; the
The partial becomes complete;

Therefore the sage holds in his embrace the one thing
Therefore the sage holds in his

That saying of the ancients that 'the partial becomes complete'
That saying of the ancients tha

Abstaining from speech marks him who is obeying the spontaneity of
Abstaining from speech marks h

Therefore when one is making the Tao his business, those
Therefore when one is making th

Hence, those with whom he agrees as to the Tao
Hence, those with whom he agree

He who stands on his tiptoes does not stand firm;
He who stands on his tiptoes do

There was something undefined and complete, coming into existence before Heaven
There was something undefined

I do not know its name, and I give it
I do not know its name, and I g

Great, it passes on (in constant flow) Passing on,
Great, it passes on (in constan

Man takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes
Man takes his law from the Eart

Gravity is the root of lightness; stillness, the ruler of movement
Gravity is the root of lightne

Therefore a wise prince, marching the whole day, does not
Therefore a wise prince, marchi

The skilful traveller leaves no traces of his wheels or footsteps;
The skilful traveller leaves n

Therefore the man of skill is a master (to be
Therefore the man of skill is a

Who knows his manhood's strength, Yet still his
Who knows his manhood's streng

The unwrought material, when divided and distributed, forms vessels The
The unwrought material, when di

If any one should wish to get the kingdom for
If any one should wish to get

The course and nature of things is such that
The course and nature of things

0 He who would assist a lord of men
0 He who would assist a lord of

Wherever a host is stationed, briars and thorns spring up
Wherever a host is stationed, b

A skilful (commander) strikes a decisive blow, and stops
A skilful (commander) strikes a

When things have attained their strong maturity they become old This
When things have attained their

Now arms, however beautiful, are instruments of evil omen, hateful, it
Now arms, however beautiful, a

The superior man ordinarily considers the left hand the most honourable
The superior man ordinarily con

On occasions of festivity to be on the left hand
On occasions of festivity to be

The Tao, considered as unchanging, has no name
The Tao, considered as unchang

Though in its primordial simplicity it may be small, the
Though in its primordial simpli

Heaven and Earth (under its guidance) unite together and send
Heaven and Earth (under its gui

As soon as it proceeds to action, it has a
As soon as it proceeds to actio

The relation of the Tao to all the world is
The relation of the Tao to all

He who knows other men is discerning; he who knows
He who knows other men is disc

He who does not fail in the requirements of his
He who does not fail in the req

All-pervading is the Great Tao! It may be found
All-pervading is the Great Tao

All things depend on it for their production, which it
All things depend on it for the

Hence the sage is able (in the same way) to
Hence the sage is able (in the

To him who holds in his hands the Great Image
To him who holds in his hands

Music and dainties will make the passing guest stop (for
Music and dainties will make th

When one is about to take an inspiration, he is
When one is about to take an i

The soft overcomes the hard; and the weak the strong
The soft overcomes the hard; an

Fishes should not be taken from the deep; instruments for
Fishes should not be taken from

The Tao in its regular course does nothing (for the
The Tao in its regular course

If princes and kings were able to maintain it, all
If princes and kings were able

If this transformation became to me an object of desire,
If this transformation became t

(Those who) possessed in highest degree the attributes (of the Tao)
(Those who) possessed in highe

(Those who) possessed in the highest degree those attributes did nothing
(Those who) possessed in the hi

(Those who) possessed the highest benevolence were (always seeking) to carry
(Those who) possessed the highe

(Those who) possessed the highest (sense of) propriety were (always seeking)
(Those who) possessed the highe

Thus it was that when the Tao was lost, its
Thus it was that when the Tao w

Now propriety is the attenuated form of leal-heartedness and good faith,
Now propriety is the attenuated

Thus it is that the Great man abides by what
Thus it is that the Great man a

The things which from of old have got the One
The things which from of old h

If heaven were not thus pure, it soon would rend;
If heaven were not thus pure, i

Thus it is that dignity finds its (firm) root in
Thus it is that dignity finds i

0 The movement of the Tao
0 The movement of the Tao

All things under heaven sprang from It as existing (and
All things under heaven sprang

Scholars of the highest class, when they hear about the
Scholars of the highest class,

Therefore the sentence-makers have thus expressed themselves:-- 'The Tao,
Therefore the sentence-makers h

The Tao is hidden, and has no name; but it
The Tao is hidden, and has no n

The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three; Three
The Tao produced One; One prod

What men dislike is to be orphans, to have little
What men dislike is to be orpha

What other men (thus) teach, I also teach The
What other men (thus) teach, I

The softest thing in the world dashes against and overcomes
The softest thing in the world

There are few in the world who attain to the
There are few in the world who

Or fame or life, Which do
Or fame or life, Which do

Thus we may see, Who cleaves
Thus we may see, Who cleav

Who is content Needs fear no shame
Who is content Needs fear no

Who thinks his great achievements poor Shall find
Who thinks his great achieveme

Constant action overcomes cold; being still overcomes heat Purity and
Constant action overcomes cold;

When the Tao prevails in the world, they send back
When the Tao prevails in the w

There is no guilt greater than to sanction ambition; no
There is no guilt greater than

Without going outside his door, one understands (all that takes place)
Without going outside his door

Therefore the sages got their knowledge without travelling; gave their (right)
Therefore the sages got their k

He who devotes himself to learning (seeks) from day to
He who devotes himself to lear

He diminishes it and again diminishes it, till he arrives
He diminishes it and again dimi

He who gets as his own all under heaven does
He who gets as his own all unde

The sage has no invariable mind of his own; he
The sage has no invariable min

To those who are good (to me), I am good;
To those who are good (to me),

The sage has in the world an appearance of indecision,
The sage has in the world an ap

0 Men come forth and live; they enter (again)
0 Men come forth and live; they

Of every ten three are ministers of life (to themselves);
Of every ten three are minister

There are also three in every ten whose aim is
There are also three in every t

But I have heard that he who is skilful in
But I have heard that he who is

All things are produced by the Tao, and nourished by
All things are produced by the

This honouring of the Tao and exalting of its operation
This honouring of the Tao and e

Thus it is that the Tao produces (all things), nourishes
Thus it is that the Tao produce

It produces them and makes no claim to the possession
It produces them and makes no c

(The Tao) which originated all under the sky is to
(The Tao) which originated all

When the mother is found, we know what her children
When the mother is found, we kn

Let him keep his mouth closed, and shut up the
Let him keep his mouth closed,

The perception of what is small is (the secret of
The perception of what is small

Who uses well his light, Reverting to its
Who uses well his light, Rev

If I were suddenly to become known, and (put into
If I were suddenly to become k

The great Tao (or way) is very level and easy;
The great Tao (or way) is very

Their court(-yards and buildings) shall be well kept, but their fields
Their court(-yards and building

What (Tao's) skilful planter plants Can
What (Tao's) skilful planter p

Tao when nursed within one's self,
Tao when nursed within one's se

In this way the effect will be seen in the
In this way the effect will be

How do I know that this effect is sure to
How do I know that this effect

He who has in himself abundantly the attributes (of the
He who has in himself abundant

(The infant's) bones are weak and its sinews soft, but
(The infant's) bones are weak a

To him by whom this harmony is known,
To him by whom this harmony is

When things have become strong, they (then) become old, which
When things have become strong,

He who knows (the Tao) does not (care to) speak
He who knows (the Tao) does no

He (who knows it) will keep his mouth shut and
He (who knows it) will keep his

(Such an one) cannot be treated familiarly or distantly; he
(Such an one) cannot be treated

A state may be ruled by (measures of) correction; weapons
A state may be ruled by (measu

How do I know that it is so? By
How do I know that it is so? B

Therefore a sage has said, 'I will do nothing (of
Therefore a sage has said, 'I w

The government that seems the most unwise, Oft
The government that seems the

Shall we then dispense with correction? The (method of)
Shall we then dispense with cor

Therefore the sage is (like) a square which cuts no
Therefore the sage is (like) a

For regulating the human (in our constitution) and rendering the (proper)
For regulating the human (in o

It is only by this moderation that there is effected
It is only by this moderation t

He who possesses the mother of the state may continue
He who possesses the mother of

0 Governing a great state is like cooking small
0 Governing a great state is li

Let the kingdom be governed according to the Tao, and
Let the kingdom be governed acc

When these two do not injuriously affect each other, their
When these two do not injurious

What makes a great state is its being (like) a
What makes a great state is it

(To illustrate from) the case of all females:--the female always overcomes
(To illustrate from) the case o

Thus it is that a great state, by condescending to
Thus it is that a great state,

The great state only wishes to unite men together and
The great state only wishes to

Tao has of all things the most honoured place
Tao has of all things the most

(Its) admirable words can purchase honour; (its) admirable deeds can raise
(Its) admirable words can purch

Therefore when the sovereign occupies his place as the Son
Therefore when the sovereign oc

Why was it that the ancients prized this Tao so
Why was it that the ancients pr

(It is the way of the Tao) to act without
(It is the way of the Tao) to

(The master of it) anticipates things that are difficult while
(The master of it) anticipates

He who lightly promises is sure to keep but little
He who lightly promises is sure

That which is at rest is easily kept hold of;
That which is at rest is easil

The tree which fills the arms grew from the tiniest
The tree which fills the arms g

He who acts (with an ulterior purpose) does harm; he
He who acts (with an ulterior p

Therefore the sage desires what (other men) do not desire,
Therefore the sage desires what

The ancients who showed their skill in practising the Tao
The ancients who showed their

The difficulty in governing the people arises from their having much
The difficulty in governing the

He who knows these two things finds in them also
He who knows these two things f

That whereby the rivers and seas are able to receive
That whereby the rivers and se

In this way though he has his place above them,
In this way though he has his p

Therefore all in the world delight to exalt him and
Therefore all in the world deli

All the world says that, while my Tao is great,
All the world says that, while

But I have three precious things which I prize and
But I have three precious thing

With that gentleness I can be bold; with that economy
With that gentleness I can be b

Gentleness is sure to be victorious even in battle, and
Gentleness is sure to be victor

He who in (Tao's) wars has skill
He who in (Tao's) wars has skil

A master of the art of war has said, 'I
A master of the art of war has

There is no calamity greater than lightly engaging in war
There is no calamity greater th

0 My words are very easy to know, and
0 My words are very easy to kno

There is an originating and all-comprehending (principle) in my words, and
There is an originating and all

They who know me are few, and I am on
They who know me are few, and I

To know and yet (think) we do not know is
To know and yet (think) we do

It is simply by being pained at (the thought of)
It is simply by being pained at

When the people do not fear what they ought to
When the people do not fear wh

Let them not thoughtlessly indulge themselves in their ordinary life; let
Let them not thoughtlessly indu

It is by avoiding such indulgence that such weariness does
It is by avoiding such indulgen

Therefore the sage knows (these things) of himself, but does
Therefore the sage knows (these

He whose boldness appears in his daring (to do wrong,
He whose boldness appears in h

It is the way of Heaven not to strive, and
It is the way of Heaven not to

The people do not fear death; to what purpose is
The people do not fear death;

There is always One who presides over the infliction death
There is always One who preside

The people suffer from famine because of the multitude of
The people suffer from famine

The people are difficult to govern because of the (excessive) agency
The people are difficult to gov

The people make light of dying because of the greatness
The people make light of dying

Man at his birth is supple and weak; at his
Man at his birth is supple and

Thus it is that firmness and strength are the concomitants
Thus it is that firmness and st

Hence he who (relies on) the strength of his forces
Hence he who (relies on) the st

Therefore the place of what is firm and strong is
Therefore the place of what is

May not the Way (or Tao) of Heaven be compared
May not the Way (or Tao) of He

It is the Way of Heaven to diminish superabundance, and
It is the Way of Heaven to dimi

Who can take his own superabundance and therewith serve all
Who can take his own superabund

Therefore the (ruling) sage acts without claiming the results as his;
Therefore the (ruling) sage act

There is nothing in the world more soft and weak
There is nothing in the world

Every one in the world knows that the soft overcomes
Every one in the world knows th

Therefore a sage has said, 'He who accepts his
Therefore a sage has said, 'H

Words that are strictly true seem to be paradoxical
Words that are strictly true se

When a reconciliation is effected (between two parties) after a great
When a reconciliation is effec

Therefore (to guard against this), the sage keeps the left-hand portion
Therefore (to guard against thi

In the Way of Heaven, there is no partiality of
In the Way of Heaven, there is

0 In a little state with a small population,
0 In a little state with a smal

Though they had boats and carriages, they should have no
Though they had boats and carri

I would make the people return to the use of
I would make the people return

They should think their (coarse) food sweet; their (plain) clothes beautiful;
They should think their (coarse

There should be a neighbouring state within sight, and the
There should be a neighbouring

Sincere words are not fine; fine words are not sincere
Sincere words are not fine; fi

The sage does not accumulate (for himself) The more
The sage does not accumulate (f