October 4th, 2012

Chapter 64

When it is peaceful, it is easy to maintain
When it shows no signs, it is easy to plan 
When it is fragile, it is easy to break
When it is small, it is easy to scatter
Act on it when it has not yet begun
Treat it when it is not yet chaotic
A tree thick enough to embrace
Grows from the tiny sapling
A tower of nine levels
Starts from the dirt heap
A journey of a thousand miles
Begins beneath the feet

The one who meddles will fail
The one who grasps will lose
Therefore, sages do not meddle and thus do not fail
They do not grasp and thus do not lose

People, in handling affairs
Often come close to completion and fail
If they are as careful in the end as the beginning
Then they would have no failure

Therefore, sages desire not to desire
They do not value goods that are hard to acquire
They learn to unlearn
To redeem the fault of the people
To assist the nature of all things
Without daring to meddle

           Translation by Derek Lin


Accurate Translation of the Tao Te Ching
goban
  • trevoke

64

Peace is easily maintained;
Trouble is easily overcome before it starts.
The brittle is easily shattered;
The small is easily scattered.

Deal with it before it happens.
Set things in order before there is confusion.

A tree as great as a man's embrace springs up from a small shoot;
A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth;
A journey of a thousand miles starts under one's feet.

He who acts defeats his own purpose;
He who grasps loses.
The sage does not act, and so is not defeated.
He does not grasp and therefore does not lose.

People usually fail when they are on the verge of success.
So give as much care to the end as to the beginning;
Then there will be no failure.

Therefore the sage seeks freedom from desire.
He does not collect precious things.
He learns not to hold on to ideas.
He brings men back to what they have lost.
He help the ten thousand things find their own nature,
But refrains from action.
-
-
It's easy to maintain balance.
Trouble can be nipped in the bud.
Fragile things break easily,
and small things are easy to lose.

Deal with the situation
before it becomes a problem.
Keep everything straight
so it can't get messed up.

Every tree was once a seed.
Every skyscraper started out
with a shovelful of dirt.
And--stop me if you've heard this one before--
a journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step.

When you try too hard,
you defeat your own purpose.
Cling to stuff,
and you will suffer loss.
The Masters make no effort,
so they never fail.
They aren't attached to things,
so they never feel loss.

People often screw up
when the job's nearly done.
Pay as much attention
to the finishing touches
as you do to the initial steps,
and you won't screw up like that.

The Masters try to be free from desire.
They don't collect precious things.
They don't cling to any beliefs.
They pay attention
to what everybody else ignores.
They help the world get right with Tao,
but don't try to change a thing.
-

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