July 1st, 2010

Chapter 48

To learn,
One accumulates day by day;
To study Tao,
One reduces day by day.
Through reduction and further reduction
One reaches non-action.
And everything is acted upon
Therefore, one often wins over the world
Through non-action.
Through action, one may not win over the world.
             Translated by Chang Chung-yuan, 1975.


In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.
In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.

Less and less is done
Until non-action is achieved.
When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.

The world is ruled by letting things take their course.
It cannot be ruled by interfering.
we try to learn something new every day.

But if we want to get right with Tao,
we have to let go of something every day.

We do less and less,
until we end up doing nothing.
And it's when we do nothing
that we get the job done.

Let events take their course,
and everything will turn out
in your favor.
If you act on your ambitions,
they will never pan out.

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