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De Ching –Laozhe 2.500 years ago
Exclusively brought to you by Kerby Kuek
One of Dao De Ching (The Book of Dao by Laozhe)
and The Name
Tao that can be told of is not the Absolute Tao
names that can be given are not enduring and unchanging names.
the origin of heaven and earth, it is nameless
the mother of all things, it is nameable.
when one is without passion, he is bale to see things at inner essence.
when one is full if worldly or mundane desire, he can see things at outer
two denominations bear the same origin but with different names.
of them may be called the Cosmic Mystery.
from the mystery and then into deeper mystery, one can find the door to the
secret of life.
the way, the path, the indescribable abstruse source of cosmic energy.
Theory of Opposites
the people know beauty as beauty,
the people know the good deeds as good,
deed may arise
and non-being interdependent in growth,
and easy complement each other,
and short exhibit in contrast.
and low, set measure in position.
and sound are in harmony with each other,
and rear follow each other/
affairs and teach people by following the rules of the nature rather than on the
mood of debate.
all things take their rise in growth, he will render effort,
gives them life, but does not take possession of them.
acts but does not take pride.
accomplishment, he claims no credit.
he does not claim credit, his glory is everlasting.
of Non-ado and use of law of nature to govern the people
not glorifying the talented, people will not fight for glory and position
not valuing rare objects, people will stop from stealing (crime)
not seeing things with wanton desire people’s minds will not be disturbed
the Sage governs the people by:
their minds of evil desires,
them with enough food
their strong ambitions and
this way the people may maintain peace and harmony without mundane knowledge and
such teaching given to the people, even the cunning and ambitious leaders dare
not act recklessly
by practicing non-ado and law of nature, may all live in peace.
4-Tao’s Power and Usage
(way appears empty and void but its energy so produced for nourishing all things
It seems to be the origin of all things
sharp edges round off
light existed everywhere in harmony
existence found even in dusty places
being so pure and abstruse, seems to be present everywhere
do not know whose Son it is
appearance of what existed before God
5-Heaven and the Sage
treats he creation like sacrificial straw-dogs,
Sage is not benevolent:
regards the people like sacrificial straw-dogs*
the universe is like a bellows!
but it gives a supply that never ends,
more it works out, the more it can bring out.
speaking too much our wit may be exhausted.
would be better to keep to the core or centre. (The original true self of human
and the sage are not benevolent for they have to act according to the doctrine
of naturalism, cause and effect without bias and with justice. If people have
done evil deeds, they have to face resulting consequence.
Formless True Immortal
Spirit of the Valley never dies.
is named the Mystic Female.
Door of the Mystic Female,
is the root of Heaven and Earth. It appears to exist continuously.
use of this cosmic energy is inexhaustible.
The valley is a symbol of “taoistic’ emptiness from which cosmic energy is
Female: refers to mother of creation-the Tao.
Universe is everlasting.
reason why the universe is everlasting is that it does not live for self.
the Sage cares for other first and puts his own affairs last,
he finds himself in the foremost place.
knows his body is not permanent.
he keeps is original soul and spirit pure. In this way, his true self exists
it not because he does not live for self than his true self is realized?
Deeds like Water
best of men is like water
gives benefit to all things
does not compete with them
stays in places hated by all men
it comes close to Tao
his residence, the Sage can adjust the situation and live in harmony.
his mind, his live is profound,
his relation with others, he is benevolent,
his words, he keeps faith and sincerity.
government, he loves peace and order
affairs, he loves to choose able persons.
his actions, he likes to choose the right time to fit in the nature.
does not strive with others
he is free from blame.
and Behaviours of a Person
for holding anything to fullness or extremity,’ It would be better to stop in
on sharpening a sword,’ we see that the edge cannot last long.
your hall is proud with wealth and honour, you are on the way to get disaster.
in time when you have done your work with great success.
is the Heaven’s way
of Tao is easy or difficult
keeping the spirit and the vital soul together,
you able to maintain their unity?
controlling your vital force to achieve gentleness and harmony, can you behave
like a baby?
you purify your mind without defect?
loving the people and ruling the country,
you govern according to the “Law of Nature”?
opening and closing the Gate of Heaven.
you able to understand the part of the Female?
comprehending all knowledge,
you able to keep your purified mind and get rid of emotion and desire?
give birth and to nourish,
give birth and without taking possession,
act without arrogance
be leader among persons without controlling them,’
is called the Mystic or best virtue.
Eleven (The Utility of not Being)
spokes make one wheel.
space in between and the spokes are required for the functioning of a wheel.
is moulded to make utensils,
substance that makes the wall and the space within is both essential for these
doors and windows in the house,
their non-being (empty space),
the utility of the house.
by the existence of things we benefit.
addition, by the non-existence of things we are served.
seeking for external self or sensuous world
can blind our eyes,
can deafens our ears,
can dull our tastes.
and hunting can madden our mind,
for rare valuable goods tempts persons to do wrong.
the Sage cares for the inner true self and not for the outer look of
and disgrace make one feel dismay and surprise.
the sage knowing the true is free from favour and disgrace.
does this mean?
and disgrace cause dismay and surprise’?
people are dismayed and not at ease, whenever they posses or lose of favour.
does this mean?
we vale and what we worry are within ourselves”?
have worries because we have selfish selves or bodies.
when we are enlightened to know our spirit and soul as our true selves,
else we have to worry?
if one values the people on earth as his self, he can be trusted to manage the
addition, if one loves world as his self, he can be entrusted with the world.
14- Tao is Soundless, Formless and without Appearance
at Tao (way) but you cannot see it
name is ‘without appearance’
to it but you cannot hear it!
name is Soundless
it but you cannot get it!
name if Formless
3 attributes are essences inscrutable Tao
Tao blends together and become one
upper side is not dim
on continuously, it cannot be defined
again return to the realm of nothingness, despite its effect having the force of
call it the formless Form, and the imageless Image
call it the indefinable and unimaginable
it, you do not see its face
it, you do not see its back
fast to the ancient Tao, you can manage all your present affairs correctly
the ‘Original Beginning’ of TAO, you are able to know the system and
discipline of Tao
15- The Wise Taoist of Old
ancient best Taoist masters were Subtle, mysterious and acute
deepness could not be known
they were not easily understood
would be better to tell roughly how they looked
one crossing an icy river in winter
cautious he should be
it all around there were danger
vigilant he should be
if they were guests on every occasion
ice just beginning to melt
a piece of wood being uncared
simple and genuine
a valley awaiting a guest
mixing freely, like murky water
can find quiet and peaceful rest in turmoil?
the Sage has a pure mind
can keep his calm for long?
by positive activity, it comes back to life
holding fast to TAO will keep away from insatiable desire
they will have constant renewal of life and achieve their goal.
16-How to obtain best wisdom
wisdom is obtained by utmost keeping your mind empty, pure, void and peaceful
also holding firm your mind to the state of Quietude
can observe myriad things taking their cycle of evolution and transmigration.
things have their growth but at last they have to return to their original roots
return quietly to the root is repose
is called going back to find one’s true self of life
back to find one’s true self of life is to find the Law of Nature
know the Law of Nature is enlightenment
not knowing the Law of Nature regarding everlasting spirit and soul will get
close to disaster
the Law of Nature, he is tolerant
tolerant, he is impartial
impartial, he is kingly
kingly, he is in accord with nature
in accord with Nature, he is in accord with Tao
in accord with Tao, he is everlasting
death, he would be free from reincarnation
highest and best ruler is one whose meritorious effect is over the entire
nation, yet it appears not to stem from him.
comes to one whom they love and raise.
comes to whom they fear because of punishment and reward.
comes to one they despise and defy because of his trick and rule without
ones do not command people with faith.
will lose faith in him.
a ruler must honour his promise.
a success of work done people would say this was done naturally without knowing
the effort of the ruler.
and Filial Devotion
the great TAO was abandoned,
of benevolence and righteousness* would arise.
the appearance of knowledge and cleverness, great hypocrites would exist.
the family relationship lost their harmony, there was praise of merciful parents
and filial sons.
chaos and bad rulers were rampant in a country, there was praise of loyal
TAO all persons are acting naturally. There is no need to have a code of ethics.
to pure simplicity
being a Sage and abandoning wit,
the people will be benefited a hundredfold.
humanity** and justice,
the people shall recover their innate qualities of filial devotion and kindness.
cunning and profiteering,
shall be no robbers and thieves.
above 3 statements may not suffice to teach the people.
I give the following enlightenment:
simple and plain honesty,
one’s original nature and discarding selfishness and wanton desires.
A true sage disclaims himself to be a sage. He teaches people with priority to
return to Nature by finding their true selves. To abandon wit being plotted to
satisfy one’s wanton desire.
Humanity: It should be one’s innate quality and not to be utilized to win
praise and justice hypocrisy.
20 (to see things as a whole (body)
cease learning tricks is to free your mind from worries.
is the difference between your speeches when in saying affirmative or negative
much differences are between ‘good’ and ‘evil’?
which persons fear.
indeed to be feared.
is a pity that people do not cultivate their minds free from lust, just like the
waste garden or field full of wild grass.
multitudes of people are busy and joyous as if they are celebrating a festival
or going up a terrace in spring.
for me, my mind remains quiet and peaceful, just like in innocent new born baby.
to worldly desires, I wander about without a home.
apply full effort in the pursuit of honour and profit.
I am like that of a fool
so childish and muddled
vulgar appears so smart
alone seem dull
vulgar appears bright and clever\I alone seem depressed
mind remains calm and peaceful like deep and vast sea
with ease like wind without fixed residence
in their abilities, all people have their aims
alone appear stubborn and simple
alone differ from other people,
I know the value to obtain endless sustenance from the Mother of Nature* (Unity
with Tao) an image of a sucking baby-referring to getting force of energy from
the nature of Tao.
Twenty One-(Manifestation of Tao)
you want to know the nature of great virtue
and follow alone with the Tao
what is the body of Tao?
is something elusive, evasive and formless
within it are forms and appearance
within it is creation of all things
within it is the source of life force and essence
life force being full of vitality
it is faithful and evident
name has been in existence from the past up to present
‘mother of creation’ (Power and force of TAO) is well worth studying to get
how do I obtain such Truth
is through the enlightenment of Tao.
Twenty Two-Futility of contention
yield with patience is for the preservation of the whole
be bent is to become straight
be humble is to possess full bright spirit
be torn is to be renewed
be little in desires is to gain peace of mind
have plenty of desires is to gain delusive mind
the sage embraces the oneness of Tao (cosmic energy)
becomes the model of the people pf the world
is free from self-display
is therefore clear-sighted
is fee from self-assertion
therefore is distinguished
does not feel a sense of pride
therefore he earned merit
does not boast of himself
has therefore earned long respect
is because he is free from striving that no one in the world can strive with him
saying of the ancients ‘to yield is to preserve the whole’ was not vainly
he is sincere and able to keep the Law of Nature, all people will follow him
be in Accord with the Nature of Tao
argument is more in accord with the Nature of Tao
violent wind does not last for a whole morning
sudden rain does not last for the whole day
can make such phenomena?
is Heaven and Earth
Heaven and Earth do not last long in its acting
much less can man do?
those who are cultivating TAO are in accord with the Tao and they can study and
who follow Character (TAK) are identified with Character
face one suffering from loss, we must have compassionate minds to comfort him
who is in accord with Tao
is also happy to welcome him
who is identified with Character
is also glad to welcome him
comfort one suffering from loss
sufferer is happy with you
being so abstruse, someone is lacking faith in its existence
there is no need for you to argue about this subject with these people
to be greedy and eating too much
who stands on tiptoe will not stand firm
who walks with long step will not walk well
who shows off is not far-sighted
who justifies himself is not distinguished
who brags himself is not given credit
who prides himself is not the leader for long
in the eyes of Tao, are called ‘having surplus burden’
one has large surplus of food and holding too much high positions
invites jealously, disgust and trouble
man of Tao will be free from such precautions situation.
Truth of Tao
was something undefined
into existence before Heaven and Earth
also without change
on revolving ceaselessly
is worthy to be the Mother of the world
do not know its name
I called it ‘Tao’
an effort further I gave it another name called ‘The Great’
be great is to go on
go on is to be remote
be remote us to return
Heaven is great
Earth is great
King (sage) is also great
the world there are four that are great and the King (sage) is one of them
models himself after the Earth
Earth models itself after the Heaven
heaven models itself after TAO
models itself according to the Law of Nature
is the root of lightness
is the master of movement
the Sage travels all day long
does not leave behind his provision –cart
spite of his glory and dignity
has a peaceful mind and remains unmoved to such honourable condition
can the ruler of a country
light if his body for pleasure and act rashly?
acting lightly is easy to lose his root
ruler acting rashly is easy to lose his honourable status.
man (sage) doing good deeds for others leaves no trace for he is doing them
according to nature
speech out of one’s purified mind leaves no flaws to censure
skilful mathematician uses no tallies
good door is well shut without bolts and cannot be opened
good knot is tied without rope and cannot be loosened
the sage is always good at helping others. Hence he does not cast away anyone
is good at savings things
he does not cast away anything
call him a sage because he had inherited perfect virtue from the ancient people
the good man is the teacher of the bad
bad one’s evil deeds could be utilized as lessons to teach the good
perfect man does not value his teaching qualification
he does not wish to find bad one’s lessons to educate the good
his best wisdom he still looks like a fool
he is the one knowing the important tenet of the TAO
28-strong and feeble
who knows his manhood’s strength
feebleness like a female
the ravine of the world
the ravine of the world
has kept his constant virtue
return again to be pure as an innocent baby
who knows what is pure or white
the model of the world
has constant virtue to do nothing wrong
return again to the original emptiness
who is acquainted with honour and glory
advisable to keep his obscure position
the valley of the world
the valley of the world He has enough constant virtue
returns to simplicity of life
the uncared wood, it is used as tool or furniture
means of such simplicity and original nature the sage could become ministers
the sage will not cut up
being empty and receptive is a place where water from various sources flows in.
This symbolizes a leader attracting people to follow him
Emptiness: refers to surrounding where force of energy is produced for creation
of the universe
up: meaning the sage keeps his simple, pure and true self, just like natural
29-Do not act against God’s will
who wish to take the world as their own
impossible in my view
the world is God’s sacred vessel
one can keep it as his own
who takes it suffers defeat
who holds it losses it
Something is going ahead
is following behind
may take things up
may take them down
the sage avoids excess, extravagance and arrogance
30-Do not Proud of strong military force
who apply the doctrine of Tao to help the ruler will oppose all conquest by
being so destructive will as law of cause and effect bring harm to the maker
the station of soldiers thorny bushes might grow thus affecting livelihood of
a great war, bad years will surely follow
a good general only applies force for the protection of peace for the people
good general will not use force carry out invasion
the war he does not think it an act of glory
the effect he does not take pride in it
he considers the force so used is only a regrettable necessity
the war he does not love violence
to be over-matured are to quicken decay and become old
by use of force is against the nature of Tao
not in accord with Tao he must stop such bad ambition
31-The way of using weapons
weapons are instruments of evil omen
are hated by all creatures
who have Tao do not like to use them
Superior man likes the left in civilian life
on military application likes the right
are instruments of evil men
are not weapons of the superior omen
occasion of compulsory necessity, it should be used with calm restraint
in victory, he does not consider it a glory
he who calls it glorious
the one who delights in killing?
who delights killing
not be successful in his desire to rule the government
of good omen favour the left
of bad omen favour the right
the army the commander stands on the left
the commander in chief stands on the right
was said he was in charge if the rite of mourning
killing of multitude should be mourned with tears and sorrow
victory in battle should be looked upon as funereal rite
ancient Chinese believed the arrangement orientation –left being symbol of
good omen while right being the symbol of bad omen)
dislikes war to settle problems as disputes are settled according to law of
32-The Best way to stop in time
is absolute and nameless
as it is in its primordial simplicity (like a piece of uncared wood)
is inferior to nothing in the world
a ruler could keep to it
people would spontaneously submit themselves to him and live peacefully
Heaven and Earth being in accord
sweet dew would fall down
to nature without the command of men
the arising of civilization all names and systems are given by men
men must know to stop in time and begin to learn the practice of Tao in order to
is ever present and surrounding the whole universe, just like streams and rivers
all running into seas and ocean.
who knows others is clever
who knows himself has reflection or insight
who conquer others has force
who conquers himself and keeps his benevolent and purified mind is truly
powerful and strong
who knows what enough is rich
who is determined has strength of will
who cultivates TAO may die
his spirit lives forever-this is longevity
magnitude of Heaven and Earth
great Tao is pervading everywhere
goes left or right naturally
things depend on it for their production
it does not deny them
its work is accomplished it does not claim possession
loves and feeds all things without claiming lordship
is regarded as without desires or passion-therefore it may be called small
the home of all things, it does not claim to be the master thereof
it may be called ‘The Great’
the sage does not claim to be great
greatness is fully shown
is being abstruse and mysterious
the great formless Tao
people will follow
without meeting harm
live in peace, security and happiness
and delicious food can only attract passing guests to stop for a while
the words of Tao being mild to the taste posses lasting effect
at, it cannot be seen
to, it cannot be heard
it, its supply is inexhaustible
doctrine of reversion
who knows withdrawal or retreat
get expansion later
who is to be weakened
first be made wrong
who is to be dismissed or put in the inferior position
first be put in high position
who is to be taken away from
first be given
is called ‘hiding the light’ being so evident but going on unnoticed
soft and weak overcomes the hard and strong
must not be taken away from deep water
weapons of the country
not be shown to others
through it everything is done
the ruler can keep the TAO
things will grow and transform naturally
such growth and transformation become an object of passion?
would restrain it by nameless original simplicity
can curb the desires of men
the desires or passions are curbed, there will peace and quietude
the world will be peaceful and in order
and virtue being the best: benevolence and righteousness being the second
man if highest virtue, after doing a lot of good things, will not display them
and claim credit
virtue is real
main of lower virtue, after doing something good, will show off and claim merit
virtue is considered not perfect
man of highest virtue acts in accord with “doctrine of Nature’ Tao
any ulterior motive
man of lower virtue acts with ulterior motive
most benevolent person acts, without ant motive for he has a purified mind
righteous person sometimes acts without real understanding the nature of Tao
his performance is considered on occasion having motive
having highest sense of propriety ac and show its performance but find no
response from others
they would try to do it with force of arm
Tao is lost them comes to the doctrine of virtue
virtue is lost, then comes to the doctrine of benevolence
benevolence is lost, then comes to the doctrine of righteousness
righteousness is lost, then comes to the doctrine of propriety
propriety is only husk of loyalty and faith
is the beginning leading to disorder
on argument with mundane knowledge without knowing the true self or the Nature
is just flowering of TAO
is the origin of stupidity and blind followers of Taoism
the great noble man manages affairs in accord with Tao in top priority
comes next to handle affairs with benevolence and righteousness
he considers what is fundamental
disregards what is superficial and flowery
he prefers to what is inner (purity of mind) to what is outer
Root of Tao
ancient time there were those acquiring the Oneness (Tao)
oneness, the Heaven is clear
oneness, the Earth is Stable
oneness, the deities having spiritual power
oneness, the valleys were made full
oneness, all creatures and things could live and grow
oneness, the rulers can rule the world with justice and peace
creatures and things having close relationship with oneness (Tao)
clarity, the heaven will break
stability, the Earth will have disasters like earthquakes and flood
spiritual power, the deities may lose their mythical abilities
being filled, the valleys would dry up
this ceaseless power and energy all things might no longer live
justice and humanity to rule, the ruler may face downfall
speaking, humility is the root which nobility or greatness grow
the nobility or greatness must be built from the foundation of the lower
is why the rulers call themselves; the worthless and lonely ones’
it a proof to show that they are in need of the support from ordinary people?
taking down various connected parts of a chariot, there would be no chariot
do not wish to be looked upon as valuable as jade and to look down on others as
of Reversion and Evolution
of reversion is the evolution or action of Tao
or gentleness is the operation of Tao
things and creatures of the world come from being
being comes from non-being (Tao)
the scholars of the highest class hear the Tao (truth)
put in into practice earnestly
scholars of the middle class hear of the Tao
waver between belief and disbelief
the scholars of the lowest class hear about the Tao
will give out loud laughter
it were not laughed at, it would not be fit to be called the Tao
there are the following mottoes:
understands Tao appears to look like a fool
is progressing in Tao seems to walk backward
is in accord with Tao speaks simple and straightforward words
with highest virtue appear like a receptive valley
man with purified mind does not care much about honour and disgrace
person of distinct nature and character seems to be incapable and keeps humble
virtuous person seems to look like simple and ordinary despite his meritorious
deeds for the people
firm virtue appears simple and he acts in accord with the Nature
space (heaven) has no corners
talent takes time to become mature
sound generated during the rotation of heavenly planets is inaudible to men on
Tao is formless
Tao is hidden and nameless
it is this Tao that is best to give out power and energy for the successful
creation of creatures and things
Made by Tao
Tao produces one
produces all creatures and things
created world carries the Yin at its back and the Yang in front
the union of the vital force of Yin and Yang, harmonious nature has been so
be virtue less, the lonely and the worthless is what people dislike is
the rulers humbly call themselves these names
sometimes things are benefited by being diminished and suffer harm by being
have been enlightened by this motto
I shall also teach
violent and strong persons do not die naturally’
above motto will be used by me as the basis of my teaching
43-The Soft overcomes the hard and strong
softest thing in the world passes through and overcomes the hardest.
which is the formless vital power of energy can penetrate into any space without
I know the benefit of taking non-action*.
a few in the world could reach the standard of teaching by setting good example
instead of words
advantage of non-action (TAO0 is beyond comparison in the world.
of TAO reaches everywhere. Mankind relies on it for existence.
44-True Self and the Fame
for fame and one’s true self, (soul and spirit), which is the dearer?
for one’s true self and wealth, which is more worthy?
for gain of honour and loss of one’s true self, which is more valuable?
excessive passion and desires will cost you to pay a high price in the end.
who hoards much loses much
contented person will suffer no disgrace.
knows when to stop is free from peril?
he will live long
hoard much will invite jealousy and hatred, thus leading to disaster.
45-Purity and the Nature
highest perfect appears like imperfection, Virtue of humility.
its application is never exhausted.
achievements seem empty in the mind of the sage
yet its use is endless
is most straight appears crooked
greatest skill appears clumsy
greatest eloquence seems like stammering
heat overcomes cold for a while
quietude and calmness indicate the law of Nature to be observed for peace and
order o the world
46-Tao and No Tao in the World
the world is in accord with TAO
are sent back to do farming work
the world is not in the accord with TAO
horses breed themselves in the wilderness
is no greater misfortune than the lack of contentment
is no greater guilt than the passion for selfish possession
he who knows what enough is will have contentment
47-The Principle of the Nature
going outside one’s door.
can understand what is happening in the world.
looking out from one’s window,
can see the TAO of Heaven
farther one goes,
less one knows
sages get their knowledge without travelling far away
all things and names of Nature without seeing them,
their aims without purpose of achieving them
who has purified mind free from delusion, attachment and worldly desires can
truly understand what happens in the world.
48-Te Mysterious Non –Action
the pursuit of learning
knows more day by day
the practice of TAO (way) one aims at losing human desires day by day
on losing and losing
you reach the state of non-action
the doctrine of non-action everything can be done
can win the world by doing things according to Law of Nature
one have private ends and selfish desires
will not win the world
means making use of natural force of energy to achieve one’s object.
49-The Mind of The Sage
sage has no constant mind
treats the minds of the people as his mind
is kind to the kind
is also kind to the unkind
is kindness of virtue
is faithful to the faithful
is also faithful to the unfaithful
is the faith of virtue
sage is mindful of the people who have gone astray
wishes to guide them to follow the truth of Tao
the people will follow his enlightenment attentively
the sage regards as his own children
50-Life and Death
come forth and live
they enter again and die
every ten, three can take care of their life
are ministers of death
are also three in every ten, whose purpose is to live but whose movement of
desires lead them to death
is it so?
of their intense passions and greedy desires causing them early death
has been said that one who is a best preserver of life is truly aware of his
meets no tigers or wild buffaloes on land
will not be harmed by weapons in battle-field
horns of buffalo are useless to attack him
claws of tigers are powerless t to hurt him
the soldier cannot use weapons to carry out attack against him
is it so?
he is beyond death and his true self (spirit and soul) is everlasting!
51-The Mystic Virtue of Tao
gives birth to all things and creatures
Virtue nourishes them
receive their forms according to nature
they are completed in accord with circumstances
all things in the universe honour TAO and highly value Tao
the command from anyone but only follow the Law of Nature
Tao produces them
nourishes them, let them grow nurses them
them, matures them
them and shelters them
produces them but does not claim possession of them
acts without claiming merit and ability
is superior but exercises no control over them
is called “the mystic virtue”
2-The Origin of Tao
2-The Origin of Tao
was origin of the universe
may be considered as the Mother of Creation (TAO)
the Mother, we may know her sons
knowing her sons, we must follow the way of Mother of Creation, Thus our life is
free from any peril
maintain vitality, energy and spirit one who cultivates TAO must keep closed the
six doors of sensation.
so doing he will have great success in the practice of TAO without rendering
on ability to handle affairs without closing the ‘Six Doors of Sensation’
one’s whole life is beyond redemption
who keeps softness is strong
the light of enlightenment, one can return to clear-sightedness
he is free from disaster
such a way he is in accord with TAO
doors are eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind; with purification of mind
these 6 doors will be shut: therefore, one will be free from delusion, passion
and attachment. This is important for practice of TAO
53- Action of Tao
I possess some wisdom to walk on the main oath (Tao)
shall be careful and avoid the devious by-paths
main path being smooth and straight is easy to walk on
people love the small by-paths
following are few examples:
official courts are corruptible and lacking justice and humanity.
farming fields are weedy and not well attended to
granaries are empty
these corruptible officers still wearing beautiful and elegant clothes to show
off their nobility
carrying sharp swords
they are in hot pursuit of delicious food and wine
possess super –abundance of property and wealth
rulers and officers may be called robbers
this is contrary to the Tao
people walking the devious side way leading to greedy desires
54-The importance of Virtue
is well planted is not uprooted
is firmly embraced is not easy to let go
generation to generation his offspring can carry out ancestral sacrifices
the way (TAO) yourself; your virtue will be genuine
the way in the family; your virtue is so sincere and abundant that your family
members will be prosperous because of enlightened by your virtuous deeds
the way in the state; people having virtue would enjoy prosperity
the way in the world; people would become virtuous throughout the universe
after understanding the truth of TAO, I can use it to judge and observe myself,
other families, other villages, other states and the future development of the
do I know about the world?
is though the study of TAO
55- A Person with Highest Virtue
who has highest virtue?
like a child
insects will not sting him
beats will not attack him
birds of prey would not maul him
bones are soft, his tendon tender but his grip of the first is tight and strong
does not know the sexual union of male and female, but his organ has vital force
is because he is full of vitality and unspoiled vigour
the whole day, he could maintain his voice not being hoarse
shows that he has obtained perfect harmony of the nature
know such harmony is in accord with the everlasting TAO
to know the everlasting TAO is the one who has obtained enlightenment and
understands what the true self is.
use of harmony to improve one’s life is a good omen
act rashly without harmonious mind appears strong but in effect it is wrong
to be over-matured are to quicken decay and become old
by use of force is against the Nature of TAO
he who is against perishes young
56-Understanding of Tao
who knows does not speak
who speaks does not know
man of TAO will keep his mouth shut to avoid useless debate
all sensual doors
blunt one’s sharp points
untie all tangles
have harmony with brightness and lights
mix up with people in the mundane world but keeping his true self and simplicity
is called mystic unity
intimacy and hatred cannot touch him
and loss cannot move him
and disgrace cannot affect him
he is the noblest man in the world
formless TAO cannot be truly expressed by words and knowledge. Only by
purification of mind and keeping away from passion one can enter the State of
person has six sensual doors (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind)
generating seven emotions of happiness rage, sadness, joyousness, love, hatred
and lust. Six desires and seven emotions, if not properly controlled, are far
away from TAO.
57-How the State Be Ruled
state must be ruled by justice and righteousness
win the battle by means of surprising tactics
win the world by freedom of action and purpose
do I know such truth?
the following, I am enlightened:
more prohibitive enactments issued by the Government, the poorer, the people
more sharp weapons possessed by the people
greater the chaos in the state
more skills of technique
more strange evil things would appear
greater the number of laws
greater the number of thieves and robbers
the sage says:
do according to the nature; the people are reformed of themselves
am fond of quietude and the people would be influenced to become correct and
apply the principle of non-intervention: the people would become rich
have no passion and the people are simple and pure by themselves.
58-Ways to Govern the State
the government is liberal and broad-minded
people will be simple and honest
the Government is too attentive and strict and its officers are full of selfish
people will be cunning and have too much worry
one considers disaster may often give rise to felicity
one considers felicity may often end with disaster
would be able to know its final result and the cycle reversion?
most people are abnormal
is normal and correct truth is regarded as strange and worthless
is good teaching is regarded as sinister?
is a pity that mankind has been under delusion and gone astray for long
the sage maintains his principle of teaching without the intention of harming
Sage has integrity and does not hurt others
is straightforward and keeps away from extremity
is bright but not dazzling
59-To manage Human affairs and serve the heaven
managing human affairs and serving the Heaven there is no better way than
keeping one’s vitality and spirit.
keeping vitality and spirit his purity of mind and virtue is complete
accumulated virtuous deeds he is ever-victorious
be ever-victorious is to have infinite source of power and energy
who has infinite source of power and energy is fit to carry out the burden of
dulling the country
could be ‘mother of the country ‘Hence the country can long secure
is deeply rooted with strength
this is the way to immortality and correct vision of TAO
60- The Simple, pure and Harmonious World
To rule a large country is
like frying a small fish
Who rules the world in
accord with TAO would discover that the evil ghosts lose their spiritual power
to do people harm
Even the powerful spirits
are not harmful
Not only are the spirits not
The Sage is also not harmful
When both do not do any
harmful things, one’s original true self is restored. Thus harmony and peace
art of frying a small fish is not to stir it but cook it with care as to keep it
away breaking up into pieces. This is a metaphor indicating that to rule the
people with care to prevent chaos
61-Big and Small Countries
A great nation is like the
big sea in the lowland towards which all streams and rivers flow in. It is the
concourse of the world
The females always overcome
the males by their stillness
Stillness may be regarded as
Therefore a great nation by
condescending o small countries can win over them
If a small country can lower
itself in front of a big nation it will gain the support of the big nation
The one wins by humility
The other by keeping in low
The ultimate aim of the big
nation is to protect all the people and lead then live a peaceful and simple
And what a small country
wants is to be treated equally
In such a way both may get
what the want
Therefore a big nation, as a
mode, should learn to place itself in the low position
62- The Mysterious Essence of The Tao
Tao is the mysterious
essence of the world
It is the treasure of the
And also the bad men always
use it for protection
Beautiful sayings with
‘truth’ can win admiration from others
A noble person with
cultivation of TAO is fit to be chosen as a teacher
If one has done something
wrong and intends to repent his crime
Why reject him?
Therefore it is better to
cultivate TAO than to be an emperor or powerful noble ministers. It is even
better than possession of precious jade and riding best horses
Why did the ancients highly
value this TAO?
The reason was that if they
were contrary to TAO they would commit sins
Once committing sins, how
could they avoid punishment resulting from cause and effect?
Therefore, TAO is the
treasure of the World
63-Managing Affairs by The Sage
The Sage manages affairs in
accord with the NATURE
Attend to affairs with
purity of mind
The sage tastes the
flavorless not caring for taste of desires
No matter it is big or
small, many or few
He requites hatred with
He handles difficult matters
while they are easy
Handling big matters while
they are small
Difficult problems in the
universe must be handled while they are easy
Great problems in the
universe must be handles while they are small
The Sage will not deal with
great problems in a hurry but rather handle them step by step
One, who lightly makes a
promise, will often find hard to keep it
One who takes light of
problems will meet with difficulties
Therefore even the Sage
takes into consideration things as difficult
And for this reason he never
Chapter 64-Method of Cultivation and Management
What is at rest is easy to
What has not yet happened is
easy to plan ahead
What is fragile is easily
What is small is easily
Action is taken before a
thing has made its appearance
To establish order and peace
before disorder has begun
A tree as big as tow men’s
embrace grew up from tiny sprout
The tower of nine storey was
first built with a small heal of earth
A journey of one thousand
miles begins with the first step
He who acts without heeding
to the above points will suffer defeat
He who takes hold of a thing
in the same manner also loses his hold
Therefore, the Sage who acts
in accord with the nature does not suffer defeat
Because the Sage is free
from attachment and keeps his true self, he will not be affected by any sense of
In managing affairs people
often ruin them just at the point of success
By being careful at the end
as at the beginning
Failure could be avoided
Therefore the sage desires
what other people do not desire
And do not pray for precious
The Sage learns what other
men do not learn
The sage keeps on reminding
people to find theory own essence of mind and not to do any sinful deeds
Thus he may help the
development of myriads of things according to Nature
And does not dare to act
with any selfish ulterior motive
The Sage learns philosophy
of life while other men mostly learn how to get wealth and fame
65- Return to purity and simplicity
The ancients who understand
TAO well knew how to govern a state
They aimed not at
enlightening people with wits and cunning tactics
But to keep them in the
state of simplicity and honestly
Why are the people hard to
It is because they have too
much wits and cunning tactics
IF a rule uses wits and
cunning tactics to govern the state
It would lead to chaotic
The ruler who does not seek
to rule the state with wits and cunning tactics is the state’s blessing
Those who know these two
principles possess the excellent standard of ruling
And to know always such
excellent standard is called the ‘mystic virtue’
Such ‘Mystic Virtue’ is
far-reaching, so deep in its rationale. It may seem contrary to materialistic
But then it is the way
leading to purity, simplicity and Grand harmony
66- Lowness and Humility
How did the seas and rivers
become the master of all streams?
By being good to keeping low
Hence they are the masters
of all streams
Therefore, in order to be a
leader among people
One must be humble in his
TO lead the people, one must
respect and walk behind them
In spite if taking high
position the Sage keeps and acts with humility
The people do not feel his
weight and pressure
He walks in front, the
people will not do him harm
Hence the people pf the
world are happy to elect hum as leader without hesitation
Because he does not strive
No one in the world is able
to strive with him.
People in the world say that
my TAO is great but it does not appear to be
TAO is great because it is
like nothing in the world
If it were like anything in
the world how small it would be from the very beginning
I have ‘three treasures’
Possess them and keep them
The first is compassion
The second is frugality
The third is never to be
first in the world (humility)
Because of compassion, there
Because of frugality he has
obtained the essence of TAO to help others in all respect
Because of humility one can
develop one’s talent leading to mature success
Nowadays people prefer
courage first and yet abandon compassion
Prefer extravagance and
extremity and yet abandon frugality
They are on the way to
For Comparison is victorious
in fighting against the evil
And strong in defense
Heaven is on the side of a
person with compassionate mind
68 –The Best Fighter
The skillful soldier is not
An able fighter always keeps
his temper and does not express anger easily
The great conqueror will not
declare war rashly
His fighting tactics are
only for protection of order and peace after the war
The good users of manpower
place themselves below others
This is the virtue of
And the ability to employ
Such is called the virtuous
compliance with the ancient heavenly way (TAO)
69-The real Victory
The military strategies have
a saying ‘If I cannot take the offensive, then I could refer to take the
defensive. If I cannot advance an inch, then I would retreat a foot. If is
called movement of soldiers without being easily detected
To carry out attack without
gesture of committing brutalities
To fight only for justice
and peace by holding up weapons
There is no greater disaster
than to underestimate the strength of your enemy
TO do so may lose your life
and the treasures of compassion, frugality and humility
Thus in war, the army with
TAO in mind will win at last
70-The Truth of my Words
My teachings are very easy
to understand and easy to put them into practice
But the world cannot
understand them nor practice them
My words have principles
In managing affairs I have
given out implied direction
The people have no knowledge
Therefore they have no
knowledge of me
Since there are only a few
who know me
Therefore the TAO that I
teach is highly precious
Hence the Sage is like an
ordinary person wearing coarse clothing inside which here is a piece of
People have no real
knowledge of TAO because their minds are polluted by mundane greedy desire
Knowing and Not Knowing
A person understands TAO but does not claim such real
He is a person of high class in the knowledge of TAO
A person who is ignorant of Tao claims such
He is suffering from the illness of exaggeration
The awakened and enlightened person realizes such
Therefore he will not get such illness
The Sage is free from such illness because he knows the
Love and my own self
When people have done evil deeds and have no fear of
Great disaster may come
We must widen our mind so that everywhere is our
We must find our true self, which is eternal
Because he values his true self, nothing in the world
could reject him
The Sage knows himself but does not show off himself
The sage cares his true self and disregards fame and
Therefore he cares for his true self rather than his
73 Cause and Effect
When one is over daring and loves violence he may be
When one is daring but careful he can protect his life
Both of these are courageous
One is useful while the outer is harmful
Heaven dislikes violent and brutal persons
Who can know the reason?
Even the Sage regards it as a difficult question
It is Heaven’s Way to conquer without striving
Through Heaven does not speak, yet it can give out good
Showing its appearance without arrangement of
Acting in justice according to the mechanism of cause
The meshes of the net of Heaven are large but letting
Under Tyrannical Rule
Under tyrannical rule, the people are not afraid of
Why threaten them with death?
If the people are afraid of death
I could lawfully arrest the wrong doer and sentence him
Who else would dare to do wrong?
There is appointed executioner whose duty is to kill
To do the killing in behalf of the executioner is like
cutting wood for the master carpenter
In so doing it seldom avoids hurting his own hands
Under Tyrannical Rule
Why the people are hungry?
It is because they are heavily taxed
Why are the people difficult to govern?
It is because of excessive interference from their
rulers who have selfish desires and aims
Why are the people not afraid of death and begin to
It is because their rulers are indulgent and enjoying
One who loves simplicity and purity of life truly
values his own life
Hard and Soft
When man is born he is supple and soft
At death he is firm and stiff
So it is with all things, Plants and trees are soft and
brittle in their early growth
At their death they become fry and withered
From the above points one who keeps hard and strong
forever is on the way to death
On the contrary one who keeps soft and supple is on way
to everlasting life
A country relying on the strength of military forces
does not conquer
When a tree is hard and strong it will be cut down
The humble and weak will be placed above
Tao is mysterious and abstruse
The Tao of Heaven may be likened to bending of a bow
The supper part comes down while the lower part goes up
Of the bowstring is too long it is cut short
If it is too short, it is added to
It is the way of Heaven to diminish where there is
great abundance and to supplement where deficiency is
This is not so with men’s way
He takes away from those who have not enough to serve
the powerful and the rich
Who could use one’s superabundance to help the poor
in the world?
Only the man in possession of TAO
Therefore the sage acts but does not take possession
He accomplishes without claiming credit
He does not want his meritorious deeds to be seen
The benefit of softness and weakness
In the world there is nothing softer and weaker than
But nothing is superior to it in overcoming the hard
Nothing can take its place
The weak overcomes the strong and the soft overcomes
This fact is known by all bits no one can put it into
Therefore the Sage says:
He who could accept calumny and humiliation for the
sake of the nation is fit to be called master of the nation
He who could suffer and bear himself sins and disasters of the world is qualified to be king of the world
My words that are really true seem to be paradoxical
The Virtue of Heaven
When reconciliation is arranged after a great hatred
It is sure to leave some hatred behind
How could it be regarded as good and satisfactory?
Therefore the sage could be regarded as keeping the
Contract and would not press for speedy fulfillment of
the contractual obligation by the other party
The virtue less is not only pressing for return in
respect of money or things given to others.
But the way of heaven is impartial
It is always on the side of the good man
“Left-tally contract-ancient contract was made by
lines cut on bamboo tally slips which were split into twp, the lender kept the
left-hand portion, while the borrower kept the right portion.
The simple and pure small country dream of utopia
Let there be a small country with a small population
Though there were tenfold or hundredfold very able
Yet their abilities should not be fully used
Let the people value their lives and stop migrating to
Though they had boats and carriages they should have no
occasion to ride in them
Though they had weapons and armor
They had no occasion to display them
The people were taught to tie ropes for reckoning
Then people would enjoy their food
Despite coarse clothing they felt it beautiful
They found comfort in their homes
They were happy in their customs
The neighboring country was within sight
And the people could hear the barking of dogs and
crowing of cocks from their neighborhood
And the people till the end of their life
Would never think of migration because they enjoyed
simple and pure living
The Mission of the Sage
Sincere words are not fine
Fine words are not sincere
A good man does not argue
Who argues is not a good man
Wise man may not be very ‘learned’
Learned man mat not be wise
The Sage does not accumulate wealth and property but
only keeps his essence of pure mind
He works for other people
And become richer himself
He gives to other people
And has greater abundance
The Way of Heaven
Is to benefit and bless people and does no harm
The way of the Sage is to carry out the mission of the Tao and does not strive with anyone
E-mail address of Mr. Kerby Kuek : Kerbykuek@gmail.com