June 10th, 2010

Chapter 27

The best action is free from marks [either good or evil].
The best words are free from stains [either good or bad].
The best calculation is free from calculation and measure.
The best closure has no bolts, yet it cannot be opened.
The best knot has no cord, yet it cannot be untied.
Thus, the wise knows how to rescue men; hence, no one is excluded.
This is called penetration to illumination.
Therefore the virtuous is the model for the unvirtuous.
The unvirtuous is the origin of the virtuous.
If one does not appreciate the virtuous or cherish the unvirtuous,
Although one is intelligent, one is not free from confusion.
This is called the indispensable wonder.

                       Translated by Chang Chung-yuan, 1975.


A good walker leaves no tracks;
A good speaker makes no slips;
A good reckoner needs no tally.
A good door needs no lock,
Yet no one can open it.
Good binding requires no knots,
Yet no one can loosen it.

Therefore the sage takes care of all men
And abandons no one.
He takes care of all things
And abandons nothing.

This is called "following the light."

What is a good man?
A teacher of a bad man.
What is a bad man?
A good man's charge.
If the teacher is not respected,
And the student not cared for,
Confusion will arise, however clever one is.
This is the crux of mystery.
With enough practice,
you could come and go without a trace,
speak without stumbling over words,
do complicated math problems
in your head.

You could build a door with no lock
that nobody could open.
You could tie something down
with no knots,
without even a rope,
and nobody could pry it loose.

Masters have time to help everybody,
and ignore nobody.
They use their resources wisely,
wasting nothing.
Some people call this
"following the light."

Good people teach others
because they have the potential
to be good too.
Brains count for nothing
if you fail to respect your teachers
or to honor the potential in others.
That's one of the most important lessons of Tao.

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