Lao Zi
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Chapter 29
I think that one will not succeed
When he desires to govern the state and act upon it.
The state as a sacred vessel should not be acted upon,
Nor should it be held on to.
He who acts upon it will harm it.
He who holds on to it will lose it.
Thus the sage takes no action, and therefore fails in nothing;
He holds on to nothing, and therefore loses nothing.

Of all the creatures some lead and some follow;
Some breathe and some blow;
Some are strong and some are weak;
Some rise up and some fall down
Hence the sage discards the extremes,
The extravagant and the excessive.

Meanwhile, he desires to have no desires.
He does not value rare treasures.
He learns what is unlearned.
He returns to what is missed.
Thus he helps all things in natural development,
But does not dare to take any action.

Chapter 30
He who assists the ruler with the Dao
Never seeks to dominate the world with military force.
The use of force is intrinsically dangerous:
Wherever armies are stationed,
Briers and thorns grow wild.
As soon as great wars are over,
Years of famine are sure to afflict the land.
Therefore an adept commander (of a defensive force) will
Stop when he has achieved his aim.
He does not use force to dominate the world.
He achieves his aim but does not become arrogant.
He achieves his aim but does not boast about it.
He achieves his aim only because he has no other choice.
This is called achieving the aim without using force to dominate.
The strong and powerful rob and harm the old and weak.
This is called contrary to the Dao.
Whatever is contrary to the Dao will soon perish.

Chapter 31
Weapons are nothing but instruments of evil.
They are used only when there is no other choice.
Therefore, he who wins a battle is not praiseworthy.
If he thinks himself praiseworthy,
He delights in the victory.
He who delights in the victory,
Delights in the slaughter of men.
He who delights in the slaughter of men
Will not succeed under Heaven.
For the multitude killed in the war
Let us mourn them with sorrow and grief.
For the victory won by force,
Let us observe the occasion with funeral ceremonies.

Chapter 32
The Dao is eternal and has no name.
Though it is simple and seems minute,
Nothing under Heaven can subordinate it.
If kings and lords were able to maintain it,
All people would submit to them spontaneously.
Heaven and Earth unite to drip sweet dew,
Without the command of men, it drips evenly over all.
Once a system comes into being,
Names are instituted.
Once names are instituted,
One has to know where and when to stop.
It is by knowing where and when to stop
That one can be free from danger.
Everything under Heaven is embraced by the Dao,
Just like every river or stream running into the sea.

Chapter 33
He who knows others is knowledgeable.
He who knows himself is wise.
He who conquers others is physically strong.
He who conquers himself is mighty.
He who is contented is rich.
He who acts with persistence has will.
He who does not lose his place will endure.
He who dies but is not forgotten enjoys a long life.

Chapter 34
The great Dao flows everywhere.
It may go left, it may go right.
All things rely on it for existence,
And never does it turn away from them.
When it accomplishes its work,
It does not claim credit for itself.
It preserves and nourishes all things,
But it does not claim to be master over them.
Thus it may be called the minute.
All things come to it as to their home,
Yet it does not act as their master.
Hence it may be called the great.
This is always the case with the sage
Who is able to achieve his greatness
Just because he himself never strives to be great.

Chapter 35
If you hold fast to the great image,
All the people under Heaven will come to you.
They will come and do no harm to each other,
But will all enjoy comfort, peace and health.
Music and dainties can make passers-by tarry,
While the Dao, if spoken out, is insipid and tasteless.
Being looked at, it is imperceptible.
Being listened to, it is inaudible.
Being utilized, it is inexhaustible.


Chapter 1-4 | Chapter 5-12 | Chapter 13-18 | Chapter 19-23 | Chapter 24-28 | Chapter 29-35
Chapter 36-40 | Chapter 41-49 | Chapter 50-54 | Chapter 55-60 | Chapter 61-66
| Chapter 67-73 | Chapter 74-81 |


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