Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water. Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong, none can withstand it, because they have no way to change it. So the flexible overcome the adamant, the yielding overcome the forceful. Everyone knows this, but no one can do it.
Chanting is no more holy than listening to the murmur of a stream, counting prayer beads no more sacred than simply breathing. . . . If you wish to attain oneness with the Tao, don't get caught up in spiritual superficialities.
If the Great Way perishes there will morality and duty. When cleverness and knowledge arise great lies will flourish. When relatives fall out with one another there will be filial duty and love. When states are in confusion there will be faithful servants.
Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained...
To realize that our knowledge is ignorance, This is a noble insight. To regard our ignorance as knowledge, This is mental sickness. Only when we are sick of the sickness Shall we cease to be sick. The Sage is not sick, being sick of sickness; This is the secret of health.
When virtue is lost, benevolence appears, when benevolence is lost right conduct appears, when right conduct is lost, expedience appears. Expediency is the mere shadow of right and truth; it is the beginning of disorder.
Each new day is a blank page in the diary of your life. The secret of success is in turning that diary into the best story you possibly can. I wish you Happy New Year and diary full of best stories ever written in your life.
Simply see that you are at the center of the universe, and accept all things and beings as parts of your infinite body. When you perceive that an act done to another is done to yourself, you have understood the great truth.
. . . These are notions of the mind, which is like a knife, always chipping away at the Tao, trying to render it graspable and manageable. But that which is beyond form is ungraspable, and that which is beyond knowing is unmanageable. There is, however, this consolation: She who lets go of the knife will find the Tao at her fingertips.
The things that have acquired unity are these: Heaven by unity has become clear; Earth by unity has become steady; The Spirit by unity has become spiritual; The Valley by unity has become full; All things by unity have come into existence.
People aren't against you; they are for themselves. The most dangerous risk of all - the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later. He who conquers others is strong, he who conquers himself is mighty.
In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.
Don't think you can attain total awareness and whole enlightenment without proper discipline and practice. This is egomania. Appropriate rituals channel your emotions and life energy toward the light. Without the discipline to practice them, you will tumble constantly backward into darkness.
We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the center hole that makes the wagon move. We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want. We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable. We work with being, but non-being is what we use.
Thirty spokes meet in the hub, but the empty space between them is the essence of the wheel. Pots are formed from clay, but the empty space within it is the essence of the pot. Walls with windows and doors form the house, but the empty space within it is the essence of the home.
There is a time to go ahead and a time to stay behind. There is a time to breathe easy and time to breathe hard. There is a time to be vigorous and a time to be gentle. There is a time to gather and a time to release. Can you see things as they are And let them be all on their own?
When the great Tao is forgotten, goodness and piety appear. When the body's intelligence declines, cleverness and knowledge step forth. When there is no peace in the family, filial piety begins. When the country falls into chaos, patriotism is born.
Standing on "tip toe", one stands not firmly. Straining in stride, one cannot walk far. Flaunting of deeds, one is unfavorably noticed. Being self-righteous, one is not respected. Boasting of self, one's merit is unrecognized. Glorifying of self, one loses the opportunity for greatness. From the viewpoint of Tao These represent imperfect Te, Valued as are filth or disease.
What makes a kingdom great is its being like a down-flowing river,--the central point towards which all the smaller streams under Heaven converge; or like the female throughout the world, who by quiescence always overcomes the male. And quiescence is a form of humility.
Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.
Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.
I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.
To know people is wisdom, but to know yourself is enlightenment. to master people takes force, but to master yourself takes strength. to know contentment is wealth, and to live with strength resolve. to never leave whatever you are is to abide, and to die without getting lost- that is to live on and on.
The tree which needs two arms to span its girth sprang from the tiniest shoot. Yon tower, nine stories high, rose from a little mound of earth. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Arms are instruments of ill omen.... When one is compelled to use them, it is best to do so without relish. There is no glory in victory, and to glorify it despite this is to exult in the killing of men.... When great numbers of people are killed, one should weep over them with sorrow. When victorious in war, one should observe mourning rites.
Pride attaches undue importance to the superiority of one's status in the eyes of others; and shame is fear of humiliation at one's inferior status in the estimation of others. When one sets one's heart on being highly esteemed, and achieves such rating, then he or she is automatically involved in fear of losing status.
The journey of a thousand miles starts from beneath your feet. NOTE: Other translations exist, such as:Great trees grow from the smallest shoots;a terraced garden, from a pile of earth,and a journey of a thousand milesbegins by taking the initial step.
The superior student listens to the Way and follows it closely. The average student listens to the Way and follows some and some not. The lesser student listens to the Way and laughs out loud. If there were no laughter it would not be the Way.
To lead people, walk beside them ... As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate ... When the best leader's work is done the people say, 'We did it ourselves!
Why not simply honor your parents, love your children, help your brothers and sisters, be faithful to your friends, care for your mate with devotion, complete your work cooperatively and joyfully, assume responsibility for problems, practice virtue without first demanding it of others, understand the highest truths yet retain an ordinary manner? That would be true clarity, true simplicity, true mastery.
But in the present day men cast off gentleness, and are all for being bold; they spurn frugality, and retain only extravagance; they discard humility, and aim only at being first. Therefore they shall surely perish.
He who is great must make humility his base. He who is high must make lowliness his foundation. Thus, princes and kings in speaking of themselves use the terms "lonely," "friendless," "of small account." Is not this making humility their base?
The best soldiers are not warlike; the best fighters do not lose their temper. The greatest conquerors are those who overcome their enemies without strife. The greatest directors of men are those who yield place to others. This is called the Virtue of not striving, the capacity for directing mankind; this is being the compeer of Heaven. It was the highest goal of the ancients.
Give up your relentless moralizing, the continual pinpricks which pierce the skin of your fellows. The distinction between good and evil is the sickness of the mind. Give up your morals, and the people will regain a love of their fellows.
The fourth (of the four cardinal virtues) is supportiveness: this manifests as service to others without expectation of reward. (Paraphrased: Such service is not a mere conforming to some external rule of behavior, but instead a manifestation of your original nature).
The cords of passion and desire weave a binding net around you. Worldly confrontation makes you stiff and inflexible. The trap of duality is tenacious. Bound, rigid, and trapped, you cannot experience liberation.
The Tao never does anything, yet through it all things are done. If powerful men and women could venter themselves in it, the whole world would be transformed by itself, in its natural rhythms. People would be content with their simple, everyday lives, in harmony, and free of desire. When there is no desire, all things are at peace.
The sage does not hoard. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself, The more he gives to others, the more he gets himself. The Way of Heaven does one good but never does one harm. The Way of the sage is to act but not to compete.
The Tao doesn't take sides; it gives birth to both good and evil. The Master doesn't take sides; she welcomes both saints and sinners. The Tao is like a bellows: it is empty yet infinitely capable. The more you use it, the more it produces; the more you talk of it, the less you understand. Hold on to the center.
The men who are great live with that which is substantial, they do not stay with that which is superficial: they abide with realities, they remain not with what is showy. The one they discard, the other they hold.
Do you imagine the universe is agitated? Go into the desert at night and look out at the stars. This practice should answer the question..... The master settles her mind as the universe settles the stars in the sky. By connecting her mind with the subtle origin, she calms it. Once calmed, it naturally expands, and ultimately her mind becomes as vast and immeasurable as the night sky.
Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind become still. The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return. They grow and flourish and then return to the source. Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.
The Tao is great. The universe is great. Earth is great. Man is great. These are the four great powers. Man follows the earth. Earth follows the universe. The universe follows the Tao. The Tao follows only itself.
The best leaders are those their people hardly know exist. The next best is a leader who is loved and praised. Next comes the one who is feared. The worst one is the leader that is despised ... The best leaders value their words, and use them sparingly. When they have accomplished their task, the people say, "Amazing! We did it, all by ourselves!
Allow your softer, more intuitive, and less dominating feminine qualities to rise to the fore, so that you're surrendering rather than dominating, receiving rather than broadcasting, loving rather than fighting.
Those who know don't talk. Those who talk don't know. Close your mouth, block off your senses, blunt your sharpness, untie your knots, soften your glare, settle your dust. This is the primal identity. Be like the Tao. It can't be approached or withdrawn from, benefited or harmed, honored or brought into disgrace. It gives itself up continually. That is why it endures.
The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas. Tolerant like the sky, all-pervading like sunlight, firm like a mountain, supple like a tree in the wind, he has no destination in view and makes use of anything life happens to bring his way.
Why is the tao so valuable? Because it is everywhere, and everyone can use it. This is why those who seek will find, And those who reform will be forgiven; Why the good will be rewarded, And the thief who is cunning will escape.
The Master's power is like this. He lets all things come and go effortlessly, without desire. He never expects results; thus he is never disappointed. He is never disappointed; thus his spirit never grows old.
He who stands on tiptoe doesn't stand firm. He who rushes ahead doesn't go far. He who tries to shine dims his own light. He who defines himself can't know who he really is. He who has power over others can't empower himself. He who clings to his work will create nothing that endures.
In this world, there is nothing softer or thinner than water. But to compel the hard and unyielding, it has no equal. That the weak overcomes the strong, that the hard gives way to the gentle - this everyone knows. Yet no one asks accordingly.
Keep your mouth shut, and close up the doors of sight and sound, and as long as you live you will have no vexation. But open your mouth, or become inquisitive, and you will be in trouble all your life long.