24 – Excess

One cannot stand firm on tiptoes. One cannot walk far with long strides. One who flaunts herself cannot be enlightened. The self-righteous cannot be distinguished. The boaster gets no praise. Self-praise cannot last long. If one is with Tao, these actions are excessive and burdensome. All things detest them. To…

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23 – Following the Tao

It is natural to speak less. Fierce winds do not outlast the morning. Violent rains do not outlast the day. What causes this? Heaven and Earth. Heaven and Earth cannot even make these things last. Then, how much less so for man? Therefore, one who devotes every day to Tao…

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22 – Being the Opposite

To be flexible is to become perfectly whole. If crooked, you’ll become straight. If empty, you will be filled. If worn out, you will be renewed. If you have little, you will gain much. By this, the Sage sets an example for the world. Read the essay on Chapter 22…

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21 – The Virtuous Master

The virtuous Master lives according to Tao. Tao is entirely elusive, very indistinct. Vague, though its center contains form. Vague and elusive, though its center has substance. Deeply hidden in its center is a life force. Its essence is very real and contains within it the heart of faith. From…

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20 – The Lazy Sage

A life without cultivation has no center. All the people are happily busying themselves with celebration and feasting on life, taking in the sights like its springtime. I, alone, stay calm and centered with no desires like a newborn who has not yet learned to smile. Lazy, as if I…

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19 – Three Lessons

Eliminate holiness and abandon wisdom, and everyone will benefit a hundred times over. Eliminate philanthropy and proper behavior and the people will return to true devotion. Eliminate cleverness and abandon profits, and thieves will disappear. These three things are false adornments. Recognize the simplicity of embracing one’s natural state of…

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18 – Hypocrisy

When the Great Tao is forgotten, kindness and morality appear. When intellect and knowledge are emphasized, there is great hypocrisy in the heart. Family is no longer in harmony when there is preaching of duty and affection. The nation is in disorder when patriotic loyalty is admired. Read the essay…

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17 – Leadership

The best leaders are hardly known. The second best leaders are loved and honored. The next level is the feared leader. Then there is the leader that is despised. A lack of trust in one’s own life makes one untrusting. The sage leads quietly indeed – Accomplishing deeds in order…

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16 – Constancy

Attain the highest emptiness. Maintain constant tranquility. We observe the Ten Thousand Things pulse in unity and return to the void. All things bloom luxuriously and each returns again to its source. Returning to source is the supreme stillness. This is known as the return to destiny, the natural pattern…

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15 – The True Masters

The true masters of ancient times cultivated the art of the deep understanding of the subtle essence. So deep as to be unrecognizable, we can only describe their demeanor. Deliberate, as if crossing a frozen stream in winter. Alert, as if faced on all sides by enemies. Dignified, as if…

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