June 22nd, 2010

Chapter 39

In the remote past there were those who attained the One.
Attaining the One, heaven became pure.
Attaining the One, earth became peaceful.
Attaining the One, God became spiritual.
Attaining the One, the ocean became full.
Attaining the One, ten thousand things came into life.
Attaining the one, rulers became the models of the world.
All of them became so through the One.
Without becoming pure, heaven would have broken.
Without becoming peaceful, earth would have quaked.
Without becoming spiritual, God would have crumbled.
Without becoming full, the ocean would have drained.
Without coming into life, ten thousand things would have perished.
Without becoming the models of the world, rulers would have stumbled.
Therefore, the worthless serves as the foundation of the worthy.
The inferior serves as the basis of the superior.
Thus rulers call themselves isolated men, without merit, and worthless.
Is this not enough to prove that the worthless is the foundation of the worthy?
Hence, the perfect fame is no fame.
Rulers do not want to be esteemed as tingling jade, they would rather be plain, solid rock.

                                        translated by Chang Chung-yuan, 1975.


These things from ancient times arise from one:
The sky is whole and clear.
The earth is whole and firm.
The spirit is whole and strong.
The valley is whole and full.
The ten thousand things are whole and alive.
Kings and lords are whole, and the country is upright.
All these are in virtue of wholeness.

The clarity of the sky prevents its falling.
The firmness of the earth prevents its splitting.
The strength of the spirit prevents its being used up.
The fullness of the valley prevents its running dry.
The growth of the ten thousand things prevents their drying out.
The leadership of kings and lords prevents the downfall of the country.

Therefore the humble is the root of the noble.
The low is the foundation of the high.
Princes and lords consider themselves "orphaned", "widowed" and "worthless".
Do they not depend on being humble?

Too much success is not an advantage.
Do not tinkle like jade
Or clatter like stone chimes.
Since time began,
this is what it's meant
to be in touch with Tao:

Tao made the heavens clear.
Tao made the earth solid.
Tao made our spirits strong.
Tao made the valleys fertile.
Tao gave all living things life.
Tao gave rulers authority.

Without Tao,
the heavens would collapse.
Without Tao,
the earth would crumble.
Without Tao,
our spirits would fade away.
Without Tao,
the valleys would dry up.
Without Tao,
all life would become extinct.
Without Tao,
rulers would stumble and fall.

Humility gives us power.
Our leaders should think of themselves
as insignificant, powerless,
unworthy of their stature.
Isn't that what humility is all about?

Be strong,
but pay no attention to hollow praise.
Don't call attention to yourself.
Don't make a scene.

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