January 12th, 2013

  • trevoke


Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.
All can know good as good only because there is evil.
Therefore having and not having arise together.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short contrast each other:
High and low rest upon each other;
Voice and sound harmonize each other;
Front and back follow one another.
Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing, teaching no-talking.
The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease,
Creating, yet not possessing.
Working, yet not taking credit.
Work is done, then forgotten.
Therefore it lasts forever.
If something looks beautiful to you,
something else must be ugly.
If something seems good,
something else must seem bad.

You can't have
something without nothing.
If no job is difficult,
then no job is easy.
Some things are up high
because other things are down low.
You know you're listening to music
because it doesn't sound like noise.
All that came first,
so this must be next.

The Masters get the job done
without moving a muscle
and get their point across
without saying a word.

When things around them fall apart,
they stay cool.
They don't own much,
but they use whatever's at hand.
They do the work
without expecting any favors.
When they're done,
they move on to the next job.
That's why their work is so damn good.

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

Chapter 2

2.1 When everyone knows beauty is beauty, this is bad.
2.2 When everyone knows good is good, this is not good.
2.3 So being and nonbeing produce each other:
difficulty and ease complement each other,
long and short shape each other,
2.4 high and low contrast with each other,
voice and echoes conform to each other,
before and after go along with each other.
2.5 So sages manage effortless service
and carry out unspoken guidance.
2.6 All beings work, without exception:
if they live without possessiveness,
2.7 act without presumption,
and do not dwell on success,
then by this very nondwelling
success will not leave.

Tao Teh Ching - Translated by Thomas Clear