In the world,
nothing is softer than water,
yet it is the best thing for wearing down hard things.
Its yielding defeats the strong,
its softness defeats the hardness.
Everyone knows this,
but few can practice it.
The sage says that
she who honors the world’s troubles
is fit to govern the world.
She who takes on the disasters of the world
deserves to become the queen.
These words are paradoxical.