June 5th, 2010



Yield and overcome;
Bend and be straight;
Empty and be full;
Wear out and be new;
Have little and gain;
Have much and be confused.

Therefore the wise embrace the one
And set an example to all.
Not putting on a display,
They shine forth.
Not justifying themselves,
They are distinguished.
Not boasting,
They receive recognition.
Not bragging,
They never falter.
They do not quarrel,
So no one quarrels with them.
Therefore the ancients say, "Yield and overcome."
Is that an empty saying?
Be really whole,
And all things will come to you.
Learn how to stand still
if you want to go places.
Get on your knees
if you want to stand tall.
If you want wisdom,
empty your mind.
If you want the world,
renounce your riches.
Push yourself until you're exhausted,
and then you'll find your strength.

You can go far
if you don't have anything to carry.
The more you acquire,
the less you can really see.

A Master takes this to heart
and sets an example
for everybody else.

She doesn't show off
so people take notice.
She's not out to prove anything
so people take her at her word.
She doesn't brag about herself
but people know what she's done.
She hasn't got an agenda
but people know what she can do.
She's not out to get anybody
so nobody can get in her way.

"Learn how to stand still
if you want to go places."
That's not as crazy as it sounds.
Get in touch with Tao,
and you'll see what I mean.

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

Chapter 22

To bend is to maintain integrity.
To deviate is to be direct.
To be concave is to be convex.
To be exhausted is to be rejuvenated.
To be wanting is to be endowed.
To have much is to be deprived.
Therefore, the wise identifies opposites as one,
And sets an example for the world.
He remains in concealment and spontaneously is unconcealed.
He does not assert himself, therefore he is eminent.
He does not claim credit, therefore he receives credit.
He is not vain, therefore he is the best.
Because he does not oppose anyone in the world, no one can oppose him.
Thus, the ancient saying: "to bend is to maintain integrity," is the word of truth.
Indeed, integrity is attributed to this.
Through no words,
It takes place by itself.

                Translated by Chang Chung-yuan, 1975.