All under the heavens hate to be


All under the heavens hate to be
orphaned, widowed, and without worth.
But this is how lords describe themselves.

Some gain by losing,
and some lose by gaining.

What people teach, I also teach:

A violent man does not die a natural death.
I will use this as the father of my teaching.


The Tao gave birth to one


The Tao gave birth to one.
One gave birth to two.
Two gave birth to three.
Three gave birth to ten thousand.

The ten thousand things carry yin
and embrace yang.
By merging these two breaths,
they achieve harmony.

When wise students hear of the Tao


When wise students hear of the Tao,
they apply themselves diligently.
When average students hear of the Tao,
sometimes they keep it and sometimes lose it.
When foolish students hear of the Tao,
they laugh at it loudly.
If they did not laugh,
it would not be considered the Tao.

Therefore, it is said:
The bright way seems dim.
The path forward seems backward.
The level way seems rough.

True power seems like a valley.
Pure white seems soiled.
Ample power seems insufficient.
Steadfast power seems unsteady.
Real substance seems mutable.

The great square has no corners.
The great vessel is never completed.
The great note is hard to hear.
The great form has no shape.
The Tao is hidden and nameless.

The Tao alone is good at beginning
and good at completing.