Truthful words are not beautiful.
Beautiful words are often not truthful.
Good man do not argue.
Those who argue are not good.
Those who know, do not know everything.
Those who know everything, do not know.
The sage never tries to store things up.
The more he does for others, the more he has.
The more he gives to others, the greater his abundance.
Tao of heaven benefits, not harms.
Tao of the sage is working without claiming.
A small country has fewer people.
Though there are machines that can work ten or hundred times faster than man,
they are not needed.
The people want to be buried home, not travel far.
Though they have boats and carriages, no one uses them.
Though they have armor and weapons, no one displays them.
Men return to the knotting of rope in place of writing.
Their food is good, their clothes fine, their homes secure;
they are happy in their traditions.
Though they live within sight of their neighbors,
and crowing cocks and barking dogs are heard across the way,
they will not engage (visit) each other in their entire life.
After the settlement of a big case,
someone could breach the agreement.
What can one do about it?
The sage keeps his half of the bargain, and not blame the others.
A man of Virtue performs his part,
A man without Virtue requires others to fulfill their obligations.
The Tao of heaven is impartial.
It awards virtuous men all the time.
Nothing is more soft and yielding than water,
for cutting things hard and strong, nothing is better,
because it persists.
The weak can overcome the strong;
the supple can overcome the stiff.
Everyone knows this,
yet no one puts it into practice.
Therefore, the sage says:
who shoulders the humiliation of the people, fits to rule them,
who shoulder the country’s disaster, deserves to be the king.
The truth often sounds paradoxical.
The Tao of heaven is like the art of archery,
tall man, aim low;
short man, aim high.
If the string is too long, shorten it;
not enough, lengthen it.
The Tao of heaven is just like that,
short the long, long the short.
Man’s way is different.
He takes from those who do not have enough,
to give to those who already have too much.
Who can have anything left for taking?
Only the man of Tao, as sage,
works without taking,
achieves without keeping,
does not show his greatness.
The flesh of living is soft,
hard and stiff after death.
Green plants are tender and filled with sap,
withered and dry after death.
Therefore, the stiff and unbending (meaning strong) is the sign of death.
The gentle and yielding, the sign of life.
Thus an army without flexibility, never wins a battle.
A tree that is unbending, easily broken.
The hard and strong will fall.
The soft and weak will overcome.
Why are the people starving?
Because the rulers eat up the money in taxes.
Therefore, the difficulty of governing starving people is,
caused by the rules’ own doing.
Therefore, they are rebellious.
Why are the people not afraid of death?
Because the rulers demand too much for their comfort.
And people take death lightly.
Only those rulers who live on little, are good for people.
If men are not afraid to die,
it is of no avail to threaten them with death.
Making men fears death,
kill those who breaks laws,
who will dare to break the law?
The official executioner, does the execution.
To do his job for him,
is the same as an apprentice to perform a job of the master carpenter,
he will often hurt his own hands.
A brave man who acts on his braveness will kill and be killed.
A brave man who not acts on his braveness will preserve life.
Of these two, one is good, the other is harmful.
God (Tien) despise something. Who knows what it is?
Even the sage is unsure of what it is.
The Tao of heaven, not compete, yet often victory,
not asking, yet often answered,
not calling, yet comes by itself,
seems unplanned, yet follows a plan.
Heaven’s net (laws) casts wide.
Though its meshes are coarse, nothings slips through.
When men are not afraid of authority,
the supreme authority cannot enter their houses,
cannot scare their children.
Only if you try not scare them,
they will not sick of you.
Therefore, the sage (ruler) knows his authority, but makes no show;
has self-respect but is not arrogant.
He let go of that, chooses this.