• The Dao50:01


The Tao Te Ching
by
Lao Tsu

《道德经》
老子

A New Translation by
Gia-Fu Feng & Jane English
First Vintage Books edition, 1972 


One
The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. 
The name that can be named is not the eternal name. 
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and Earth. 
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things. 
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery. 
Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations. 
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
This appears as darkness. 
Darkness within darkness. 
The gate to all mystery.

道可道,非恆道;
名可名,非恆名。
無名天地之始;
有名萬物之母。
故,
恆無,欲也,以觀其妙;
恆有,欲也,以觀其徼。
此兩者同出而異名,
同謂之玄。
玄之又玄,眾妙之門。



Two
Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty

only because there is ugliness. 
All can know good as good only because there is evil.
Therefore having and not having arise together. 
Difficult and easy complement each other. 
Long and short contrast each other: 
High and low rest upon each other; 
Voice and sound harmonize each other; 
Front and back follow one another.
Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing,

teaching no-talking. 
The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease, 
Creating, yet not possessing.
Working, yet not taking credit. 
Work is done, then forgotten. 
Therefore it lasts forever.

​天下皆知美之爲美,
斯惡已;
皆知善之爲善,
斯不善已。

有無相生,
難易相成,
長短相形,
高下相傾,
音聲相和,
前後相隨。
是以
聖人處無爲之事,
行不言之敎,
萬物作焉而不辭,
生而不有,
爲而不恃,
功成而弗居。
夫唯弗居,是以不去。​



Three
Not exalting the gifted prevents quarreling. 
Not collecting treasures prevents stealing. 
Not seeing desirable things prevents confusion of the heart.
The wise therefore rule by emptying hearts and stuffing bellies,
by weakening ambitions and strengthening bones. 
If men lack knowledge and desire,

then clever people will not try to interfere. 
If nothing is done, then all will be well.

不尙賢,
使民不爭。
不貴難得之貨,
使民不爲盜。
不見可欲,
使民心不亂。
是以聖人之治,
虛其心,
實其腹,
弱其志,
強其骨。
常使民無知無欲,
使夫智者不敢為也。
為無為,
則無不治。​



Four
The Tao is an empty vessel; it is used, but never filled. 
Oh, unfathomable source of ten thousand things! 
Blunt the sharpness, 
Untangle the knot, 
Soften the glare, 
Merge with dust. 
Oh, hidden deep but ever present! 
I do not know from whence it comes. 
It is the forefather of the gods.

道沖,
而用之或不盈。
淵兮,似萬物之宗。
挫其銳,
解其紛,
和其光,
同其塵。
湛兮,似或存。
吾不知誰之子,
象帝之先。​



Five
Heaven and Earth are impartial; 
They see the ten thousand things as straw dogs. 
The wise are impartial; 
They see the people as straw dogs.
The space between heaven and Earth is like a bellows. 
The shape changes but not the form; 
The more it moves, the more it yields. 
More words count less. 
Hold fast to the center.

天地不仁,
以萬物為芻狗;
聖人不仁,
以百姓為芻狗。
天地之閒其猶橐籥乎?
虛而不屈,
動而愈出。
多言數窮,
不如守中。​



Six
The valley spirit never dies; 
It is the woman, primal mother. 
Her gateway is the root of heaven and Earth. 
It is like a veil barely seen. 
Use it; it will never fail.

谷神不死,是謂玄牝。
玄牝之門,是謂天地根。
綿綿若存,用之不勤。​



Seven
Heaven and Earth last forever. 
Why do heaven and Earth last forever? 
They are unborn, 
So ever living. 
The sage stays behind, thus he is ahead. 
He is detached, thus at one with all. 
Through selfless action, he attains fulfillment.

天長地久。
天地所以能長且久者,
以其不自生,
故能長生。
是以聖人後其身
而身先,
外其身
而身存。
非以其無私邪?
故能成其私。​



Eight
The highest good is like water. 
Water gives life to the ten thousand things and does not strive.
It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao.
In dwelling, be close to the land. 
In meditation, go deep in the heart. 
In dealing with others, be gentle and kind. 
In speech, be true. 
In ruling, be just. 
In daily life, be competent. 
In action, be aware of the time and the season.
No fight: No blame.

上善若水。
水善利萬物而不爭,
處眾人之所惡,
故幾於道。
居善地,
心善淵,
與善仁,
言善信,
正善治,
事善能,
動善時。
夫唯不爭,
故無尤。​



Nine
Better to stop short than fill to the brim. 
Oversharpen the blade, and the edge will soon blunt. 
Amass a store of gold and jade, and no one can protect it. 
Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow. 
Retire when the work is done. 
This is the way of heaven.

持而盈之,不如其已。
揣而銳之,不可常保。
金玉滿堂,莫之能守。
富貴而驕,自遺其咎。
功遂身退,天之道。​



Ten
Carrying body and soul and embracing the one, 
Can you avoid separation? 
Attending fully and becoming supple, 
Can you be as a newborn babe? 
Washing and cleansing the primal vision, 
Can you be without stain? 
Loving all men and ruling the country, 
Can you be without cleverness? 
Opening and closing the gates of heaven, 
Can you play the role of woman? 
Understanding and being open to all things, 
Are you able to do nothing? 
Giving birth and nourishing, 
Bearing yet not possessing, 
Working yet not taking credit, 
Leading yet not dominating, 
This is the Primal Virtue.

載營魄抱一,
能無離乎?
專氣致柔,
能嬰兒乎?
滌除玄覽,
能無疵乎?
愛民治國,
能無知乎?
天門開闔,
能為雌乎?
明白四達,
能無爲乎?
生之畜之,
生而不有, 
為而不恃,
長而不宰, 
是謂玄德 。​



Eleven
Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub; 
It is the center hole that makes it useful. 
Shape clay into a vessel; 
It is the space within that makes it useful. 
Cut doors and windows for a room; 
It is the holes which make it useful. 
Therefore benefit comes from what is there; 
Usefulness from what is not there.

三十輻共一轂,
當其無,有車之用。
埏埴以為器,
當其無,有器之用。
鑿戶牖以為室,
當其無,有室之用。
故有之以為利,
無之以為用。​



Twelve
The five colors blind the eye. 
The five tones deafen the ear. 
The five flavors dull the taste. 
Racing and hunting madden the mind. 
Precious things lead one astray.
Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels

and not by what he sees. 
He lets go of that and chooses this.

五色令人目盲,
五音令人耳聾,
五味令人口爽,
馳騁畋獵令人心發狂,
難得之貨令人行妨。
是以聖人為腹不為目,
故去彼取此。​



Thirteen
Accept disgrace willingly. 
Accept misfortune as the human condition.
What do you mean by "Accept disgrace willingly"? 
Accept being unimportant. 
Do not be concerned with loss or gain. 
This is called "accepting disgrace willingly."
What do you mean by

"Accept misfortune as the human condition"? 
Misfortune comes from having a body. 
Without a body, how could there be misfortune?
Surrender yourself humbly;

then you can be trusted to care for all things. 
Love the world as your own self;

then you can truly care for all things.

寵辱若驚,
貴大患若身。
何謂寵辱若驚?
寵為下。
得之若驚,失之若驚,
是謂寵辱若驚。
何謂貴大患若身?
吾所以有大患者,為吾有身;
及吾無身,吾有何患?
故貴以身為天下,
若可寄天下。
愛以身為天下,
若可託天下。​



Fourteen
Look, it cannot be seen - it is beyond form. 
Listen, it cannot be heard - it is beyond sound. 
Grasp, it cannot be held - it is intangible. 
These three are indefinable; 
Therefore they are joined in one.
From above it is not bright; 
From below it is not dark: 
An unbroken thread beyond description. 
It returns to nothingness. 
The form of the formless, 
The image of the imageless, 
It is called indefinable and beyond imagination.
Stand before it and there is no beginning. 
Follow it and there is no end. 
Stay with the ancient Tao, 
Move with the present.
Knowing the ancient beginning

is the essence of Tao.

視之不見,名曰夷;
聽之不聞,名曰希;
摶之不得,名曰微。
此三者不可致詰,故混而為一。
其上不皦,其下不昧,
繩繩不可名,復歸於無物,
是謂無狀之狀,無物之象,
是謂惚恍。
迎之不見其首,隨之不見其後。
執今之道以御今之有,能知古始,
是謂道紀。​



Fifteen
The ancient masters were subtle,

mysterious, profound, responsive. 
The depth of their knowledge is unfathomable. 
Because it is unfathomable, 
All we can do is describe their appearance. 
Watchful, like men crossing a winter stream. 
Alert, like men aware of danger. 
Courteous, like visiting guests. 
Yielding like ice about to melt. 
Simple, like uncarved blocks of wood. 
Hollow, like caves. 
Opaque, like muddy pools.
Who can wait quietly while the mud settles? 
Who can remain still until the moment of action? 
Observers of the Tao do not seek fulfillment. 
Not seeking fulfillment,

they are not swayed by desire for change.

古之善為道者,微妙
玄達,深不可識。
夫唯不可識,故強為之容。
豫兮,若冬涉川;
猶兮,若畏四鄰;
儼兮,其若客;
渙兮,若冰之將釋;
敦兮,其若樸;
曠兮,其若谷;
渾兮,其若濁。
孰能濁以靜之徐清。
孰能安以動之徐生。
保此道不欲盈。
夫唯不盈,故能蔽而新成。​



Sixteen
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 way of nature is unchanging. 
Knowing constancy is insight. 
Not knowing constancy leads to disaster. 
Knowing constancy, the mind is open. 
With an open mind, you will be openhearted. 
Being openhearted, you will act royally. 
Being royal, you will attain the divine. 
Being divine, you will be at one with the Tao. 
Being at one with the Tao is eternal. 
And though the body dies,

the Tao will never pass away.

致虛極;守靜篤。
萬物並作,
吾以觀復。
夫物芸芸,各復歸其根,
歸根曰靜,
是謂復命;
復命曰常,
知常曰明。
不知常妄作,凶。
知常容。
容乃公,
公乃王,
王乃天,
天乃道,
道乃久,
沒身不殆。​



Seventeen
The very highest if barely known. 
Then comes that which people know and love. 
Then that which is feared, 
Then that which is despised.
Who does not trust enough will not be trusted.
When actions are performed 
Without unnecessary speech, 
People say, "We did it!"

太上,下知有之;
其次,親而譽之;
其次畏之;
其次侮之。
信不足焉,有不信焉。
悠兮,其貴言,
功成事遂,
百姓皆謂我自然。​



Eighteen
When the great Tao is forgotten, 
Kindness and morality arise. 
When wisdom and intelligence are born, 
The great pretense begins.
When there is no peace within the family, 
Filial piety and devotion arise. 
When the country is confused and in chaos, 
Loyal ministers appear.

大道廢,有仁義;
智慧出,有大偽;
六親不和有孝慈,
國家昏亂有忠臣。​



Nineteen
Give up sainthood, renounce wisdom, 
And it will be a hundred times better for everyone.
Give up kindness, renounce morality, 
And men will rediscover filial piety and love.
Give up ingenuity, renounce profit, 
And bandits and thieves will disappear.
These three are outward forms alone;
they are not sufficient in themselves. 
It is more important 
To see the simplicity, 
To realize one's true nature, 
To cast off selfishness 
And temper desire.

絕聖棄智,民利百倍;
絕仁棄義,民復孝慈;
絕巧棄利,盜賊無有;
此三者,以為文不足,
故令有所屬:
見素抱樸,
少私寡欲。​



Twenty
Give up learning, and put an end to your troubles.
Is there a difference between yes and no? 
Is there a difference between good and evil? 
Must I fear what others fear? What nonsense! 
Other people are contented, enjoying the sacrificial feast of the ox. 
In spring some go to the park, and climb the terrace, 
But I alone am drifting, not knowing where I am. 
Like a newborn babe before it learns to smile, 
I am alone, without a place to go.
Others have more than they need, but I alone have nothing. 
I am a fool. Oh, yes! I am confused. 
Others are clear and bright, 
But I alone am dim and weak. 
Others are sharp and clever, 
But I alone am dull and stupid. 
Oh, I drift like the waves of the sea, 
Without direction, like the restless wind.
Everyone else is busy, 
But I alone am aimless and depressed. 
I am different. 
I am nourished by the great mother.

絕學無憂。
唯之與阿,相去幾何?
善之與惡,相去何若?
人之所畏,不可不畏?
荒兮其未央哉!
眾人熙熙,
如享太牢,
如登春臺。
我獨泊兮其未兆,
若嬰兒之未孩,
乘乘兮若無所歸。
眾人皆有餘,
而我獨若遺。
我愚人之心也哉!沌沌兮!
俗人昭昭,我獨昏昏;
俗人察察,我獨悶悶。
忽兮其若晦,
寂兮似無所止。
眾人皆有以,我獨頑且鄙。
我獨異於人,
而貴求食於母。​



Twenty-one
The greatest Virtue

is to follow Tao and Tao alone. 
The Tao is elusive and intangible. 
Oh, it is intangible and elusive,

and yet within is image. 
Oh, it is elusive and intangible,

and yet within is form. 
Oh, it is dim and dark,

and yet within is essence. 
This essence is very real,

and therein lies faith. 
From the very beginning until now

its name has never been forgotten. 
Thus I perceive the creation. 
How do I know the ways of creation? 
Because of this.

孔德之容,
唯道是從。
道之為物,
惟恍惟惚。
惚兮恍其中有象;
恍兮惚其中有物。
窈兮冥兮,
其中有精;
其精甚真,其中有信。
自古及今,
其名不去,
以閱眾甫。
吾何以知眾甫之然哉?
以此。​



Twenty-two
Yield and overcome; 
Bend and be straight; 
Empty and be full; 
Wear out and be new; 
Have little and gain; 
Have much and be confused.
Therefore the wise embrace the one 
And set an example to all. 
Not putting on a display, 
They shine forth. 
Not justifying themselves, 
They are distinguished. 
Not boasting, 
They receive recognition. 
Not bragging, 
They never falter. 
They do not quarrel, 
So no one quarrels with them. 
Therefore the ancients say,

"Yield and overcome." 
Is that an empty saying? 
Be really whole, 
And all things will come to you.

曲則全,
枉則直,
窪則盈,
弊則新,
少則得,
多則惑,
是以聖人抱一,
為天下式。
不自見故明,
不自伐故彰,
不自是故有功,
不自矜故長。
夫惟不爭,
故天下莫能與之爭。
古之所謂曲則全者,
豈虛言哉!
誠全而歸之。​



Twenty-three
To talk little is natural. 
High winds do not last all morning. 
Heavy rain does not last all day. 
Why is this? Heaven and Earth! 
If heaven and Earth

cannot make things eternal, 
How is it possible for man?
He who follows the Tao 
Is at one with the Tao. 
He who is virtuous 
Experiences Virtue. 
He who loses the way Is lost. 
When you are at one with the Tao, 
The Tao welcomes you. 
When you are at one with Virtue, 
The Virtue is always there. 
When you are at one with loss, 
The loss is experienced willingly.
He who does not trust enough 
Will not be trusted.

希言自然。
故飄風不終朝,
驟雨不終日。
孰為此者?
天地尚不能久,
而況於人乎?
故從事於道者,
道者同於道,
德者同於德,
失者同於失。
同於道者,道亦樂得之;
同於德者,德亦樂得之;
同於失者,失亦樂得之。
信不足焉,
有不信焉。​



Twenty-four
He who stands on tiptoe is not steady. 
He who strides cannot maintain the pace. 
He who makes a show is not enlightened. 
He who is self-righteous is not respected. 
He who boasts achieves nothing. 
He who brags will not endure. 
According to followers of the Tao,
"These are extra food & unnecessary luggage." 
They do not bring happiness. 
therefore followers of the Tao avoid them.

跂者不立,
跨者不行,
自見者不明,
自是者不彰。
自伐者無功,
自矜者不長。
其在道也,
曰餘食贅行。
物或惡之,
故有道者不處也。​



Twenty-five
Something mysteriously formed, 
Born before heaven and Earth. 
In the silence and the void, 
Standing alone and unchanging, 
Ever present and in motion. 
Perhaps it is the mother of ten thousand things. 
I do not know its name 
Call it Tao. 
For lack of a better word, I call it great.
Being great, it flows 
I flows far away. 
Having gone far, it returns.
Therefore, "Tao is great; 
Heaven is great; 
Earth is great; 
The king is also great." 
These are the four great powers

of the universe, 
And the king is one of them.
Man follows Earth. 
Earth follows heaven. 
Heaven follows the Tao. 
Tao follows what is natural.

有物混成,
先天地生,
寂兮寥兮,
獨立而不改,
周行而不殆,
可以為天下母。
吾不知其名,
字之曰道,
強為之名曰大。
大曰逝,
逝曰遠。
遠曰反。
故道大,
天大,
地大,
王亦大。
域中有四大,
而王處一焉。
人法地,
地法天,
天法道,
道法自然。​



Twenty-six
The heavy is the root of the light. 
The still is the master of unrest.
Therefore the sage, traveling all day, 
Does not lose sight of his baggage. 
Though there are beautiful things to be seen, 
He remains unattached and calm.
Why should the lord of ten thousand chariots

act lightly in public? 
To be light is to lose one's root. 
To be restless is to lose one's control.

重為輕根,
靜為躁君,
是以君子終日行不離輜重;
雖有榮觀,
燕處超然。
奈何以萬乘之主,
而身輕天下?
輕則失臣,
躁則失君。​



Twenty-seven
A good walker leaves no tracks; 
A good speaker makes no slips; 
A good reckoner needs no tally. 
A good door needs no lock, 
Yet no one can open it. 
Good binding requires no knots, 
Yet no one can loosen it.
Therefore the sage takes care of all men 
And abandons no one. 
He takes care of all things 
And abandons nothing.
This is called "following the light."
What is a good man? 
A teacher of a bad man. 
What is a bad man? 
A good man's charge. 
If the teacher is not respected, 
And the student not cared for, 
Confusion will arise, however clever one is. 
This is the crux of mystery.

善行,無轍跡;
善言,無瑕謫;
善計,不用籌策;
善閉,無關鍵而不可開;
善結,無繩約而不可解。
是以聖人常善救人,
故無棄人;
善救物,
故無棄物,
是謂襲明。
故善人,不善人之師;
不善人,善人之資。
不貴其師,
不愛其資,
雖智大迷。
是謂要妙。​



Twenty-eight
Know the strength of man, 
But keep a woman's care! 
Be the stream of the universe! 
Being the stream of the universe, 
Ever true and unswerving, 
Become as a little child once more.
Know the white, 
But keep the black! 
Be an example to the world! 
Being an example to the world, 
Ever true and unwavering, 
Return to the infinite.
Know honor, 
Yet keep humility. 
Be the valley of the universe! 
Being the valley of the universe, 
Ever true and resourceful, 
Return to the state of the uncarved block.
When the block is carved, it becomes useful. 
When the sage uses it, he becomes the ruler. 
Thus, "A great tailor cuts little."

知其雄,
守其雌,
為天下谿。
為天下谿,常德不離,
復歸於嬰兒。
知其白,
守其黑,
為天下式。
為天下式,常德不忒,
復歸於無極。
知其榮,
守其辱,
為天下谷。
為天下谷,常德乃足,
復歸於朴。
朴散則為器,
聖人用之則為官長。
故大制不割。​



Twenty-nine
Do you think you can

take over the universe and improve it? 
I do not believe it can be done.
The universe is sacred. 
You cannot improve it. 
If you try to change it, you will ruin it. 
If you try to hold it, you will lose it.
So sometimes things are ahead

and sometimes they are behind; 
Sometimes breathing is hard,

sometimes it comes easily; 
Sometimes there is strength

and sometimes weakness; 
Sometimes one is up

and sometimes down.
Therefore the sage avoids extremes,

excesses, and complacency.

將欲取天下而為之,
吾見其不得已。
天下神器,
不可為也。
為者敗之,
執者失之。
故物或行或隨,
或呴或吹,
或強或羸,
或載或隳。
是以聖人去甚。
去奢、去泰。​



Thirty
Whenever you advise a ruler

in the way of Tao, 
Counsel him not to use force

to conquer the universe. 
For this would only cause resistance. 
Thorn bushes spring up

wherever the army has passed. 
Lean years follow in the wake of a great war. 
Just do what needs to be done. 
Never take advantage of power.
Achieve results, 
But never glory in them. 
Achieve results, 
But never boast. 
Achieve results, 
But never be proud. 
Achieve results, 
Because this is the natural way. 
Achieve results, 
But not through violence.
Force is followed by loss of strength. 
This is not the way of Tao. 
That which goes against the Tao

comes to an early end.

以道佐人主者,
不以兵強天下,
其事好還。
師之所處,荊棘生焉。
大軍之後,必有凶年。
故善者果而已矣,
不敢以取強。
果而勿矜,
果而勿伐,
果而勿驕,
果而不得已,
果而勿強。
物壯則老,
是謂不道,
不道早已。​


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