Tao Te Ching, Pt. 10

Translation by Derek Lin

Permission is hereby granted to site visitors who wish to quote from this original work. Please credit as your source www.Taoism.net and Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths in 2006.

Chapter 71

To know that you do not know is highest
To not know but think you know is flawed

Only when one recognizes the fault as a fault
can one be without fault

The sages are without fault
Because they recognize the fault as a fault
That is why they are without fault


Chapter 72

When people no longer fear force
They bring about greater force

Do not limit their place
Do not reject their livelihood
Because the ruler does not reject them
Therefore they do not reject the ruler

Therefore the sages:
Know themselves but do not glorify themselves
Respect themselves but do not praise themselves
Thus they discard that and take this


Chapter 73

The bold in daring will be killed
The bold in not daring will survive

Of these two, one may benefit, the other may harm
The one hated by Heaven – who knows the reason?
Even the sages still find this difficult

The Tao of Heaven:
Does not contend and yet excels in winning
Does not speak and yet excels in responding
Is not summoned and yet comes on its own
Is unhurried and yet excels in planning
The heavenly net is vast
Loose, and yet does not let anything slip through


Chapter 74

People do not fear death
How can they be threatened with death?
If people are made to constantly fear death
Then those who act unlawfully
I can capture and kill them
Who would dare?
There exists a master executioner that kills
If we substitute for the master executioner to kill
It is like substituting for the great carpenter to cut
Those who substitute for the great carpenter to cut
It is rare that they do not hurt their own hands


Chapter 75

The people’s hunger
Is due to the excess of their ruler’s taxation
So they starve
The people’s difficulty in being governed
Is due to the meddling of their ruler
So they are difficult to govern
The people’s disregard for death
Is due to the glut in their ruler’s pursuit of life
So they disregard death
Therefore those who do not strive for living
Are better than those who value living


Chapter 76

While alive, the body is soft and pliant
When dead, it is hard and rigid
All living things, grass and trees,
While alive, are soft and supple
When dead, become dry and brittle
Thus that which is hard and stiff
is the follower of death
That which is soft and yielding
is the follower of life
Therefore, an inflexible army will not win
A strong tree will be cut down
The big and forceful occupy a lowly position
While the soft and pliant occupy a higher place


Chapter 77

The Tao of Heaven
Is like drawing a bow
Lower that which is high
Raise that which is low
Reduce that which has excess
Add to that which is lacking

The Tao of heaven
Reduces the excessive
And adds to the lacking

The Tao of people is not so
It reduces the lacking
In order to offer to the excessive

Who can offer their excess to the world?
Only those who have the Tao
Therefore sages act without conceit
Achieve without claiming credit
They do not wish to display their virtue!


Chapter 78

Nothing in the world is softer or weaker than water
Yet nothing is better at overcoming the hard and strong
This is because nothing can replace it

That the weak overcomes the strong
And the soft overcomes the hard
Everybody in the world knows
But cannot put into practice

Therefore sages say:
The one who accepts the humiliation of the state
Is called its master
The one who accepts the misfortune of the state
Becomes king of the world
The truth seems like the opposite


Chapter 79

After settling a great dispute
There must be remaining resentments
How can this be considered good?
Therefore the sage holds the left part of the contract
But does not demand payment from the other person
Those who have virtue hold the contract
Those without virtue hold the collections

The Heavenly Tao has no favorites
It constantly gives to the kind people


Chapter 80

Small country, few people
Let them have many weapons but not use them
Let the people regard death seriously
And not migrate far away

Although they have boats and chariots
They have no need to take them
Although they have armors and weapons
They have no need to display them

Let the people return to tying knots and using them
Savor their food, admire their clothes
Content in their homes, happy in their customs

Neighboring countries see one another
Hear the sounds of roosters and dogs from one another
The people, until they grow old and die
Do not go back and forth with one another


Chapter 81

True words are not beautiful
Beautiful words are not true
Those who are good do not debate
Those who debate are not good
Those who know are not broad of knowledge
Those who are broad of knowledge do not know

Sages do not accumulate
The more they assist others, the more they possess
The more they give to others, the more they gain

The Tao of heaven
Benefits and does not harm
The Tao of sages
Assists and does not contend

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