June 19th, 2010

Chapter 36

That which is to be condensed must first be dispersed.
That which is to be enervated must first be vitalized.
That which is to be devastated must first be produced.
That which is to be obtained must first be yielded.
This is called invisible illumination.
The soft overcomes the unshakable.
The weak overcomes the strong.
Just as fish stay deep in the pond.
The best arms in the nation are those that remain invisisble.

           Translated by Chang Chung-yuan, 1975.


That which shrinks
Must first expand.
That which fails
Must first be strong.
That which is cast down
Must first be raised.
Before receiving
There must be giving.

This is called perception of the nature of things.
Soft and weak overcome hard and strong.

Fish cannot leave deep waters,
And a country's weapons should not be displayed.
To make something smaller,
you need to appreciate its size.
To make something weaker,
you must recognize its strength.
To get rid of something,
you need to hold it tight.
To take something,
you must give it up entirely.

To put it another way:
Sensitivity and weakness
overcome unfeeling strength.

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