The Tao is pervasive

34

The Tao is pervasive,
flowing to the left and right.

It accomplishes its tasks, completes its affairs,
but makes no claim on them.
The ten thousand things return to it,
but it does not act as their master.
It is eternally without desire,
so it may be named among the small.
The ten thousand things return to it,
but it does not act as their master,
so it may be named among the great.

The master accomplishes greatness.
Because he does not act great,
he is able to accomplish the great.

The Tao is eternally nameless

32

The Tao is eternally nameless.

Though the uncarved block is small,
there is no one in the world
who can rule over it.
If lords and kings were to maintain it,
the ten thousand things would naturally submit.

Heaven and earth combine to produce sweet dew,
which falls equally on all things.
No one needs to make it so.

When the whole is divided, names arise.
As soon as there are names,
one must know when to stop.
Knowing when to stop, one can avoid danger.

The Tao’s presence in the world
is like the relationship of valley streams
to rivers and seas.

Weapons are instruments of evil omen

31

Weapons are instruments of evil omen;
creatures of the world abhor them.
Therefore, followers of the Tao reject them.

In peace, the wise man honors the left;
in war, the commander prefers the right.

Therefore, weapons are not instruments of the wise.
Weapons are instruments of evil omen,
to be used when there is no other choice.
He uses them with calm and reverence.
He does not take delight in killing others.
Taking delight in killing others,
you will not achieve in the world.

On happy occasions, the left is preferred;
on sad occasions, the right is preferred.

The deputy commander stands on the left;
the commander stands on the right.

They stand as in a mourning ritual.
After killing others, we stand in grief and sorrow.
Victory is observed as a funeral service.

One who uses the Tao to assist rulers

30a

One who uses the Tao to assist rulers
counsels to not use force of arms.
Such a course will create resistance.

Where armies have camped,
thorns and briars grow.

Do what needs to be done and nothing more.
Do not use force to seize for yourself.

The skilled one achieves and nothing more;
does not use force to seize for oneself.

Achieving without pride;
achieving without bragging;
achieving without boasting;
achieving what is necessary.
This is called achieving without force.

Know the masculine and keep the feminine

28

Know the masculine and keep the feminine,
and be the valley of the world.
Be the valley of the world,
and eternal integrity will not desert you.
If eternal integrity does not desert you,
you will return to the state of infancy.

Know the pure and keep the impure,
and be the valley of the world.
Be the valley of the world,
and eternal integrity will suffice.
If eternal integrity suffices,
you will return to the state of the uncarved block.

Know the white and keep the black,
and be a model for the world.
Be a model for the world,
and eternal integrity will not waver.
If eternal integrity does not waver,
you will return to the infinite.

When the uncarved block is cut,
it becomes tools.
When the master is used,
he becomes the ruler of officials.
Great carving cuts little.

/ / /

Sorry. A day late.

A good walker leaves no tracks

27

A good walker leaves no tracks.
A good speaker speaks without flaws.
A good reckoner needs no counters.
A good doorkeeper
has neither lock nor key,
yet it cannot be opened.
A good knotter
has neither cord nor twine,
yet it cannot be untied.

Therefore, the master attends to everyone
and rejects no one.
The master attends to all things
and wastes nothing.
This is called following the light.

Everything that is good
is the teacher of the good man.
Everything that is bad
is the resource of the good man.
If one does not honor his teacher,
if one does not love his resource,
though he is knowledgeable, he is deluded.

This is the essential mystery.