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Chapter 36
In order to contract it,
It is necessary to expand it first.
In order to weaken it,
It is necessary to strengthen it first.
In order to destroy it,
It is necessary to promote it first.
In order to grasp it,
It is necessary to offer it first.
This is called subtle light.

The soft and the tender overcome the hard and the strong.
(Just as) fish should not be taken away from deep water,
The sharp weapons of the state should not be displayed to the people.

Chapter 37
The Dao invariably takes no action,
And yet there is nothing left undone.
If kings and lords are able to maintain it,
All things will submit to them due to self-transformation.
If, after submission, they have resurging desires to act,
I should subdue them by the nameless simplicity.
When they are subdued by the nameless simplicity,
They will be free of desires.
Being free of desires, they will be tranquil,
And the world will of itself be rectified.

Chapter 38
The man of superior De is not conscious of his De,
And in this way he really possesses De.
The man of inferior De never loses sight of his De,
And in this way he has no true De.
The man of superior De takes no action
And thus nothing will be left undone.
The man of inferior De takes action
And thus something will be left undone.
The man of superior humanity takes action
And so acts without purpose.
The man of superior righteousness takes action
And so acts on purpose.
The man of superior propriety takes action,
And when people do not respond to it,
He will stretch out his arms and force them to comply.
Therefore, only when the Dao is lost does De disappear.
Only when De is lost does humanity appear.
Only when humanity is lost does righteousness appear.
Only when righteousness is lost does propriety appear.
Now propriety is a superficial expression of loyalty and
Faithfulness, and the beginning of disorder.
The man of foreknowledge has but the flower of the Dao,
And this is the beginning of ignorance.
Hence the great man dwells in the thick instead of the thin.
He dwells in the fruit instead of the flower.
Therefore he rejects the latter and accepts the former.

Chapter 39
Of those in the past that obtained the One:
Heaven obtained the One and became clear;
The earth obtained the One and became tranquil;
The Gods obtained the One and became divine;
The valleys obtained the One and became full;
All things obtained the One and became alive and kept growing;
Kings and lords obtained the One and the world became peaceful.

Taking this to its logical conclusion we may say:
If Heaven had not thus become clear,
It would soon have cracked;
If the earth had not thus become tranquil.
It would soon have broken apart:
If the Gods had not thus become divine,
They would soon have perished;
If the valleys had not thus become full,
They would soon have dried up;
If all things had not thus become alive and kept growing,
They would soon have become extinct;
If kings and lords had not thus become honorable and noble,
They would soon have toppled and fallen.

It is always the case
That the noble takes the humble as its root.
And the high takes the low as its base.
Hence kings and lords call themselves
The orphaned, the solitary or the unworthy.
This is regarding the humble as the root of the noble,
Is it not?
People disdain the "orphaned," "solitary" or "unworthy."
And yet kings and lords call themselves by these terms.
Therefore the highest honor needs no flattering.
Thus with everything°™
Sometimes it may increase when decreased,
And sometimes it may decrease when increased.
For this reason°™
They desire not to dazzle and glitter like jade,
But to remain firm and plain like stone.

Chapter 40
Reversion is the movement of the Dao.
Weakness is the function of the Dao.
All things under Heaven come from Being-within-form.
And Being-within-form comes from Being-without-form.

 

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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