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Tao Te Ching Chapter 32 | Lao-Tzu | Comparative Translations

The Way of Virtue






The Tao, considered as unchanging, has no name. Though in its primordial simplicity it may be small, the whole world dares not deal with (one embodying) it as a minister. If a feudal prince or the king could guard and hold it, all would spontaneously submit themselves to him. Heaven and Earth (under its guidance) unite together and send down the sweet dew, which, without the directions of men, reaches equally everywhere as of its own accord. As soon as it proceeds to action, it has a name. When it once has that name, (men) can know to rest in it. When they know to rest in it, they can be free from all risk of failure and error. The relation of the Tao to all the world is like that of the great rivers and seas to the streams from the valleys.

The Tao can't be perceived.

Smaller than an electron,

it contains uncountable galaxies.


If powerful men and women

could remain centered in the Tao,

all things would be in harmony.

The world would become a paradise.

All people would be at peace,

and the law would be written in their hearts.


When you have names and forms,

know that they are provisional.

When you have institutions,

know where their functions should end.

Knowing when to stop,

you can avoid any danger.


All things end in the Tao

as rivers flow into the sea.




Translated by J. Legge





Translated by Stephen Mitchell
















 

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