March 18th, 2013



Everyone under heaven says that my Tao is great and beyond compare.
Because it is great, it seems different.
If it were not different, it would have vanished long ago.

I have three treasures which I hold and keep.
The first is mercy; the second is economy;
The third is daring not to be ahead of others.
From mercy comes courage; from economy comes generosity;
From humility comes leadership.

Nowadays men shun mercy, but try to be brave;
They abandon economy, but try to be generous;
They do not believe in humility, but always try to be first.
This is certain death.

Mercy brings victory in battle and strength in defense.
It is the means by which heaven saves and guards.
Everywhere I go, people tell me,
"Tao is so powerful, so immense,
it's inconceivable!"

But it's only powerful
because it's inconceivable.
If we could wrap our minds around it,
Tao would be just another thing.

The three most important qualities in life
are compassion,
or showing kindness and mercy to others,
or knowing what a thing is worth,
and modesty,
or knowing your place in the world.

Courage stems from showing
kindness and mercy to others.
Generosity starts with knowing
what a thing is worth.
True leadership begins with knowing
your place in the world.

But these days,
I see everyone trying to act courageous
without any trace of compassion.
They try to be generous
but they don't practice moderation
in their own lives.
They act like leaders,
but they have no sense of modesty.
No good can come of this.

If you want to get ahead,
show people compassion.
When other people attack you,
defend yourself with compassion.
It's the most powerful force in the universe.

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

Chapter 67

67.1 Everyone in the world says my Way is great,
       but it seems incomparqble.
       It is just because it is great that it seems incomparable:
       when comparisons are long established it becomes trivialized.

67.2 I have three treasures that I keep and hold:
       one is mercy,
       the second is frugality,
       the third is not presuming to be at the head of the world.
67.3 By reason of mercy, one can be brave.
       By reason of frugality, obe can be broad.
       By not presuming to be at the head of the world, one can make your potential last.
67.4 Now if one were bold but had no mercy,
       if one were broad but were not frugal,
       if one went ahead without deference,
       one would die.

67.5 Use mercy in war, and you win;
       use it in defense, and you're secure.
       Those whom heaven is going to save are those it guards with mercy.

Tao Teh Ching - Cleary Translation