June 12th, 2010

Chapter 29

If one undertakes the task of governing the kingdom and engages in governing it,
I see that he cannot lead it anywhere.
A kingdom is a spiritual vessel and should not be manipulated.
Manipulating it leads to failure.
To grasp it is to miss it.
Because the natures of things vary, one acts, another copies.
One breathes lightly, another breathes heavily.
One is vigorous, one is weak.
One carries on, another fails.
Thus, the wise is not excessive, overindulgent, or extreme.

                           Translated by Chang Chung-yuan, 1975.


Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.

The universe is sacred.
You cannot improve it.
If you try to change it, you will ruin it.
If you try to hold it, you will lose it.

So sometimes things are ahead and sometimes they are behind;
Sometimes breathing is hard, sometimes it comes easily;
Sometimes there is strength and sometimes weakness;
Sometimes one is up and sometimes down.

Therefore the sage avoids extremes, excesses, and complacency.
Want to take over the world?
Think again.
The world's a holy place.
You can't just fuck around with it.
Those who try to change it destroy it.
Those who try to possess it lose it.

With Tao, you push forward,
or maybe you stay behind.
Sometimes you push yourself,
other times you rest.
Sometimes you're strong,
sometimes you're weak.
Sometimes you're up,
and sometimes you're down.

A Master lives simply,
avoiding extravagance and excess.

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