Lao Tse — Tao Te Ching

75. Looking at the majority of people, one may think that they are constantly hungry. They are always concerned with accumulation and multiplication of their supplies. They cannot stop in this activity!

In all affairs, they aspire only to personal profit, by any means!

They do not understand the principles of life suggested by Tao: about loving others and caring about them, about non-doing.

They live not looking at Tao, ignoring Tao, wasting their life power for doing things which have no true value. They have a too strong “love for life”, and therefore they die too early.

On the contrary, those who neglect their earthly lives for the sake of everyone’s good increase the value of their lives before Tao.

76. The body of man at birth is gentle and lithe, but after death it becomes hard. All vegetal beings too are gentle and lithe at birth, and after death they become dry and easily broken.

A powerful tree either breaks in a storm or is cut down by an axe. A lithe and gentle tree has an advantage here.

The one who is gentle and lithe walks the path of life. The one who is not gentle and lithe walks the path of death.

77. Let the Life of Primordial Tao be an example for us!

The one who does violence to people, who humiliates and robs them opposes Tao.

But the one who never acts selfishly, who gives one’s own surplus to others, who performs deeds not for the sake of glory, who lives with calm, without worldly passions, who submerges into the tender and subtle calm of Tao and helps deserving people on this Path, such a person becomes similar to Tao.

78. Water is gentle and yielding. Yet, it destroys the hard. Nothing compares to it in overcoming the hard.

Gentle and tender overcome hard and coarse. Only wise people understand the essence of this statement…

79. Big emotional resentment has consequences. Calm can be regarded as goodness.

Therefore, the wise give an oath not to condemn anyone.

Kind people live in accordance with this rule; evil people do not.

Primordial Tao is always on the side of kind people.

80. About the state structure, I think the following:

It is good if a country is small and its population is rare.

Even if there are many weapons, they should not be used. War ships and chariots should not be used either. Warriors should not wage war.

One has to make life in a country such that people do not want to leave this country.

It is good if everyone has good food, beautiful clothes, cozy houses, and a joyful life.

It is good to look with love at neighboring states, to listen to how cocks crow there and dogs bark.

It is good if people who have reached old age cognize Perfection and leave this world so that they do not need to return here again.

81. True words are not necessarily exquisite. Beautiful words are not necessarily trustable.

The kind are not necessarily eloquent. The eloquent are not necessarily kind.

They who know do not argue. And they who do not know argue.

The wise are not selfish, they act for the good of others.

Great Tao takes care of the good of all living beings. Everything that It does towards living beings does not contain violence and does not harm anyone.

The wise also act without violence and do not harm anyone.


Classics of Spiritual Philosophy and the Present

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