March 29th, 2013



Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.
Therefore the sage says:
He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people is fit to rule them.
He who takes upon himself the country's disasters deserves to be king of the universe.
The truth often sounds paradoxical.
Nothing is softer
or more yielding
than water.
Yet, given time,
it can erode even the hardest stone.
That's how the weak
can defeat the strong,
and the supple
can win out over the stiff.

Everybody knows it.
So why don't we apply it to our own lives?

Lao Tzu used to say:
"Take on people's problems,
and you can be their leader.
Deal with the world's problems,
and you'll be a Master."

Sometimes the truth makes no sense.

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

Chapter 78

78.1 Nothing in the world is more flexible
       and yielding than water.
       Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong,
       none can withstand it,
       because they have no way to change it.
78.2 So the flexible overcomes the adamant,
       the yielding overcome the forceful.
       Everyone knows this,
       but no one can do it.
78.3 This is why the sages say
       those who can take on the disgrace of nations
       are leaders of lands;
       and those who can take on the misfortune of nations
       are rulers of the world.
       True sayings seem paradoxical.
Tao Teh Ching - Cleary Translation