Superior character does not display virtue
for all to see,
and thus is truly virtuous.
always keeps virtue in sight,
and thus lacks true virtue.
The highest virtue is without action,
Yet things always get done.
Lesser virtue creates much effort
in order to get things done.
requires effort to keep its name.
requires effort to maintain itself.
require a response or it raises a hand to enforce.
In this way, the natural Tao is lost
and cultivated virtue is all that is left.
When virtue is lost,
Superior kindness follows.
When kindness is lost,
Superior righteousness follows.
When superior righteousness is lost,
Rules of propriety prevail.
The veneer of false sincerity thins
and chaos begins.
The great master abides in the deep truth of Tao
and does not dwell in shallowness.
She stays with the fruit and not the flower.