June 19th, 2011


Is not existence
Like a drawn bow?
The ends approach,
The height shortens, the narrowness widens.
True living would take from those with too much
Enough for those with too little,
Whereas man exacts from those with too little
to give more to those with too much.
Now who shall have wealth enough to share with all humans
Save one who can freely draw from the common means?
A sane one needs no better support, no richer reward,
Than this common means,
Through which she is all men's equal.

The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (The Witter Bynner version), Terebess Asia Online (TAO)



The Tao of heaven is like the bending of a bow.
The high is lowered, and the low is raised.
If the string is too long, it is shortened;
If there is not enough, it is made longer.

The Tao of heaven is to take from those who have too much and give to those who do not have enough.
Man's way is different.
He takes from those who do not have enough and give to those who already have too much.
What man has more than enough and gives it to the world?
Only the man of Tao.

Therefore the sage works without recognition.
He achieves what has to be done without dwelling on it.
He does not try to show his knowledge.
Lao Tzu said using Tao
was like pulling on a bowstring:
The top bends down,
the bottom bends up,
and all the energy
is focused in the middle.

Tao takes energy from where it is,
and sends it where it needs to be.
But most people take from those
who don't have enough,
so those who have too much already
can have more.

So who in this world
is truly generous to others?
People who are in touch with Tao.
They do their work
without taking credit.
They get the job done and move on.
They aren't interested in showing off.

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