November 30th, 2009

Chapter seventy-eight: Paradoxes

Nothing in the world
is as soft, as weak, as water;
nothing else can wear away
the hard, the strong,
and remain unaltered.
Soft overcomes hard,
weak overcomes strong.
Everybody knows it,
nobody uses the knowledge.

So the wise say:
By bearing common defilements,
you become a sacrificer at the altar of earth;
by bearing common evils
you become a lord of the world.

Right words sound wrong.

Lao Tsu, Tao te Ching.
Interpreted by Ursula K. Le Guin.
goban
  • trevoke

78

Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.
Therefore the sage says:
He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people is fit to rule them.
He who takes upon himself the country's disasters deserves to be king of the universe.
The truth often sounds paradoxical.
-
-
Nothing is softer
or more yielding
than water.
Yet, given time,
it can erode even the hardest stone.
That's how the weak
can defeat the strong,
and the supple
can win out over the stiff.

Everybody knows it.
So why don't we apply it to our own lives?

Lao Tzu used to say:
"Take on people's problems,
and you can be their leader.
Deal with the world's problems,
and you'll be a Master."

Sometimes the truth makes no sense.
-

The first version is from the Fortune files. The second version is the Beatrice Tao.