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Author: Laozi (老子); translated by James Legge

He who knows (the Tao) does not (care to) speak (about it); he who is (ever ready to) speak about it does not know it. (Such an one) cannot be treated familiarly or distantly; he is beyond all consideration of profit or injury; of nobility or meanness:—he is the noblest man under heaven.


善建者不拔,善抱者不脫,子孫以祭祀不輟。修之于身,其德乃真﹔修之 于家,其德乃餘﹔修之于鄉,其德乃長﹔修之于國,其德乃豐﹔修之于天 下,其德乃普。故以身觀身,以家觀家,以鄉觀鄉,以國觀國,以天下觀 天下。吾何以知天下然哉?以此。

Chapter 54

1. What (Tao's) skilful planter plants Can never be uptorn; What his skilful arms enfold, From him can ne'er be borne. Sons shall bring in lengthening line, Sacrifices to his shrine.

2. Tao when nursed within one's self, His vigour will make true; And where the family it rules What riches will accrue! The neighbourhood where it prevails In thriving will abound; And when 'tis seen throughout the state, Good fortune will be found. Employ it the kingdom o'er, And men thrive all around.

3. In this way the effect will be seen in the person, by the observation of different cases; in the family; in the neighbourhood; in the state; and in the kingdom. 4. How do I know that this effect is sure to hold thus all under the sky? By this (method of observation).


含「德」之厚,比于赤子。毒蟲不螫,猛獸不據,攫鳥不搏。骨弱筋柔而 握固。未知牝牡之合而朘作,精之至也。終日號而不嗄,和之至也。知和 曰「常」,知常曰「明」。益生曰「祥」。心使氣曰「強」。物壯則老, 謂之不道,不道早已。

Chapter 55

1. He who has in himself abundantly the attributes (of the Tao) is like an infant. Poisonous insects will not sting him; fierce beasts will not seize him; birds of prey will not strike him. 2. (The infant's) bones are weak and its sinews soft, but yet its grasp is firm. It knows not yet the union of male and female, and yet its virile member may be excited;—showing the perfection of its physical essence. All day long it will cry without its throat becoming hoarse;—showing the harmony (in its constitution). 3. To him by whom this harmony is known, (The secret of) the unchanging (Tao) is shown, And in the knowledge wisdom finds its throne. All life-increasing arts to evil turn; Where the mind makes the vital breath to burn, (False) is the strength, (and o'er it we should mourn.) 4. When things have become strong, they (then) become old, which may be said to be contrary to the Tao. Whatever is contrary to the Tao soon ends.


知者不言,言者不知。塞其兌,閉其門,挫其銳,解其紛,和其光,同其 塵,是謂「玄同」。故不可得而親,不可得而疏﹔不可得而利,不可得而 害﹔不可得而貴,不可得而賤。故為天下貴。

Chapter 56

1. He who knows (the Tao) does not (care to) speak (about it); he who is (ever ready to) speak about it does not know it. 2. He (who knows it) will keep his mouth shut and close the portals (of his nostrils). He will blunt his sharp points and unravel the complications of things; he will attemper his brightness, and bring himself into agreement with the obscurity (of others). This is called 'the Mysterious Agreement.' 3. (Such an one) cannot be treated familiarly or distantly; he is beyond all consideration of profit or injury; of nobility or meanness:—he is the noblest man under heaven.

Laozi's Dao De Jing 51-53 (老子道德經 51-53) Author: Laozi (老子); translated by James Legge

If I were suddenly to become known, and (put into a position to) conduct (a government) according to the Great Tao, what I should be most afraid of would be a boastful display.

第五十一章 道生之,德畜之,物形之,勢成之。是以萬物莫不尊道而貴德。道之尊, 德之貴,夫莫之命而常自然。故道生之,德畜之﹔長之育之﹔成之熟之﹔ 養之覆之。生而不有,為而不恃,長而不宰。是謂玄德。

Chapter 51

1. All things are produced by the Tao, and nourished by its outflowing operation. They receive their forms according to the nature of each, and are completed according to the circumstances of their condition. Therefore all things without exception honour the Tao, and exalt its outflowing operation.

2. This honouring of the Tao and exalting of its operation is not the result of any ordination, but always a spontaneous tribute.

3. Thus it is that the Tao produces (all things), nourishes them, brings them to their full growth, nurses them, completes them, matures them, maintains them, and overspreads them.

4. It produces them and makes no claim to the possession of them; it carries them through their processes and does not vaunt its ability in doing so; it brings them to maturity and exercises no control over them;—this is called its mysterious operation.

第五十二章 天下有始,以為天下母。既得其母,以知其子,復守其母,沒身不殆。塞 其兌,閉其門,終身不勤。開其兌,濟其事,終身不救。見小曰明,守柔 曰強。用其光,復歸其明,無遺身殃﹔是為習常。

Chapter 52 1. (The Tao) which originated all under the sky is to be considered as the mother of them all.

2. When the mother is found, we know what her children should be. When one knows that he is his mother's child, and proceeds to guard (the qualities of) the mother that belong to him, to the end of his life he will be free from all peril.

3. Let him keep his mouth closed, and shut up the portals (of his nostrils), and all his life he will be exempt from laborious exertion. Let him keep his mouth open, and (spend his breath) in the promotion of his affairs, and all his life there will be no safety for him.

4. The perception of what is small is (the secret of) clear-sightedness; the guarding of what is soft and tender is (the secret of) strength.

5. Who uses well his light, Reverting to its (source so) bright, Will from his body ward all blight, And hides the unchanging from men's sight.

第五十三章 使我介然有知,行于大道,唯施是畏。大道甚夷,而人好徑。朝甚除,田 甚蕪,倉甚虛﹔服文采,帶利劍,厭飲食,財貨有餘﹔是為盜夸。非道也 哉!

Chapter 53

1. If I were suddenly to become known, and (put into a position to) conduct (a government) according to the Great Tao, what I should be most afraid of would be a boastful display.

2. The great Tao (or way) is very level and easy; but people love the by-ways.

3. Their court(-yards and buildings) shall be well kept, but their fields shall be ill-cultivated, and their granaries very empty. They shall wear elegant and ornamented robes, carry a sharp sword at their girdle, pamper themselves in eating and drinking, and have a superabundance of property and wealth;—such (princes) may be called robbers and boasters. This is contrary to the Tao surely!

Author: Laozi (老子); translated by James Legge

To those who are good (to me), I am good; and to those who are not good (to me), I am also good;—and thus (all) get to be good. To those who are sincere (with me), I am sincere; and to those who are not sincere (with me), I am also sincere;—and thus (all) get to be sincere.

第四十六章 天下有道,卻走馬以糞。天下無道,戎馬生于郊。禍莫大于不知足﹔咎莫 大于欲得。故知足之足,常足矣。

Chapter 46

1. When the Tao prevails in the world, they send back their swift horses to (draw) the dung-carts. When the Tao is disregarded in the world, the war-horses breed in the border lands.

2. There is no guilt greater than to sanction ambition; no calamity greater than to be discontented with one's lot; no fault greater than the wish to be getting. Therefore the sufficiency of contentment is an enduring and unchanging sufficiency.

第四十七章 不出戶,知天下﹔不窺牖,見天道。其出彌遠,其知彌少。是以聖人不行 而知,不見而明,不為而成。

Chapter 47

1. Without going outside his door, one understands (all that takes place) under the sky; without looking out from his window, one sees the Tao of Heaven. The farther that one goes out (from himself), the less he knows.

2. Therefore the sages got their knowledge without travelling; gave their (right) names to things without seeing them; and accomplished their ends without any purpose of doing so.

第四十八章 為學日益,為道日損。損之又損,以至于無為。無為而無不為。取天下常 以無事,及其有事,不足以取天下。

Chapter 48

1. He who devotes himself to learning (seeks) from day to day to increase (his knowledge); he who devotes himself to the Tao (seeks) from day to day to diminish (his doing).

2. He diminishes it and again diminishes it, till he arrives at doing nothing (on purpose). Having arrived at this point of non-action, there is nothing which he does not do.

3. He who gets as his own all under heaven does so by giving himself no trouble (with that end). If one take trouble (with that end), he is not equal to getting as his own all under heaven.

第四十九章 聖人常無心,以百姓心為心。善者,吾善之﹔不善者,吾亦善之﹔德善。 信者,吾信之﹔不信者,吾亦信之﹔德信。聖人在天下,歙歙焉,為天下 渾其心,百姓皆注其耳目,聖人皆孩之。

Chapter 49

1. The sage has no invariable mind of his own; he makes the mind of the people his mind.

2. To those who are good (to me), I am good; and to those who are not good (to me), I am also good;—and thus (all) get to be good. To those who are sincere (with me), I am sincere; and to those who are not sincere (with me), I am also sincere;—and thus (all) get to be sincere.

3. The sage has in the world an appearance of indecision, and keeps his mind in a state of indifference to all. The people all keep their eyes and ears directed to him, and he deals with them all as his children.

第五十章 出生入死。生之徒十有三﹔死之徒十有三。人之生,動之于死地,亦十有 三。夫何故?以其生生之厚。蓋聞善攝生者,路行不遇兕虎,入軍不被甲 兵。兕無所投其角,虎無所措其爪,兵無所容其刃。夫何故?以其無死地 。

Chapter 50

1. Men come forth and live; they enter (again) and die.

2. Of every ten three are ministers of life (to themselves); and three are ministers of death.

3. There are also three in every ten whose aim is to live, but whose movements tend to the land (or place) of death. And for what reason? Because of their excessive endeavours to perpetuate life.

4. But I have heard that he who is skilful in managing the life entrusted to him for a time travels on the land without having to shun rhinoceros or tiger, and enters a host without having to avoid buff coat or sharp weapon. The rhinoceros finds no place in him into which to thrust its horn, nor the tiger a place in which to fix its claws, nor the weapon a place to admit its point. And for what reason? Because there is in him no place of death.

Author: Laozi (老子); translated by James Legge

The Tao is hidden, and has no name; but it is the Tao which is skillful at imparting (to all things what they need) and making them complete.


上士聞道,勤而行之﹔中士聞道,若存若亡﹔下士聞道,大笑之。不笑不 足以為道。故建言有之:明道若昧﹔進道若退﹔夷道若纇﹔上德若谷﹔大 白若辱﹔廣德若不足﹔建德若偷﹔質真若渝﹔大方無隅﹔大器晚成﹔大音 希聲﹔大象無形﹔道隱無名。夫唯道,善貸且成。

Chapter 41

1. Scholars of the highest class, when they hear about the Tao, earnestly carry it into practice. Scholars of the middle class, when they have heard about it, seem now to keep it and now to lose it. Scholars of the lowest class, when they have heard about it, laugh greatly at it. If it were not (thus) laughed at, it would not be fit to be the Tao.

2. Therefore the sentence-makers have thus expressed themselves:— 'The Tao, when brightest seen, seems light to lack; Who progress in it makes, seems drawing back; Its even way is like a rugged track. Its highest virtue from the vale doth rise; Its greatest beauty seems to offend the eyes; And he has most whose lot the least supplies. Its firmest virtue seems but poor and low; Its solid truth seems change to undergo; Its largest square doth yet no corner show A vessel great, it is the slowest made; Loud is its sound, but never word it said; A semblance great, the shadow of a shade.'

3. The Tao is hidden, and has no name; but it is the Tao which is skilful at imparting (to all things what they need) and making them complete.


道生一,一生二,二生三,三生萬物。萬物負陰而抱陽,沖氣以為和。人 之所惡,唯孤、寡、不谷,而王公以為稱。故物或損之而益,或益之而損 。人之所教,我亦教之。強梁者不得其死,吾將以為教父。

Chapter 42

1. The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three; Three produced All things. All things leave behind them the Obscurity (out of which they have come), and go forward to embrace the Brightness (into which they have emerged), while they are harmonised by the Breath of Vacancy.

2. What men dislike is to be orphans, to have little virtue, to be as carriages without naves; and yet these are the designations which kings and princes use for themselves. So it is that some things are increased by being diminished, and others are diminished by being increased.

3. What other men (thus) teach, I also teach. The violent and strong do not die their natural death. I will make this the basis of my teaching.


天下之至柔,馳騁天下之至堅。無有入無間。吾是以知無為之有益,不言 之教,無為之益,天下希及之。

Chapter 43

1. The softest thing in the world dashes against and overcomes the hardest; that which has no (substantial) existence enters where there is no crevice. I know hereby what advantage belongs to doing nothing (with a purpose).

2. There are few in the world who attain to the teaching without words, and the advantage arising from non-action.


名與身孰親?身與貨孰多?得與亡孰病?是故甚愛必大費﹔多藏必厚亡。 故知足不辱,知止不殆,可以長久。

Chapter 44

1. Or fame or life, Which do you hold more dear? Or life or wealth, To which would you adhere? Keep life and lose those other things; Keep them and lose your life:—which brings Sorrow and pain more near?

2. Thus we may see, Who cleaves to fame Rejects what is more great; Who loves large stores Gives up the richer state.

3. Who is content Needs fear no shame. Who knows to stop Incurs no blame. From danger free Long live shall he.


大成若缺,其用不弊。大盈若沖,其用不窮。大直若屈,大巧若拙,大辯 若訥。靜勝躁,寒勝熱。清靜為天下正。

Chapter 45

1. Who thinks his great achievements poor Shall find his vigour long endure. Of greatest fulness, deemed a void, Exhaustion ne'er shall stem the tide. Do thou what's straight still crooked deem; Thy greatest art still stupid seem, And eloquence a stammering scream.

2. Constant action overcomes cold; being still overcomes heat. Purity and stillness give the correct law to all under heaven.

Author: Laozi (老子); translated by James Legge

(Those who) possessed the highest benevolence were (always seeking) to carry it out, and had no need to be doing so. (Those who) possessed the highest righteousness were (always seeking) to carry it out, and had need to be so doing.

第三十六章 將欲歙之,必固張之﹔將欲弱之,必固強之﹔將欲廢之,必固興之﹔將欲 取之,必固與之。是謂微明。柔勝剛,弱勝強。魚不可脫于淵,國之利器 ,不可以示人。

Chapter 36 1. When one is about to take an inspiration, he is sure to make a (previous) expiration; when he is going to weaken another, he will first strengthen him; when he is going to overthrow another, he will first have raised him up; when he is going to despoil another, he will first have made gifts to him:—this is called 'Hiding the light (of his procedure).' 2. The soft overcomes the hard; and the weak the strong. 3. Fishes should not be taken from the deep; instruments for the profit of a state should not be shown to the people.

第三十七章 道常無為而無不為。侯王若能守之,萬物將自化。化而欲作,吾將鎮之以 無名之朴。鎮之以無名之朴,夫亦將不欲。不欲以靜,天下將自正。

Chapter 37 1. The Tao in its regular course does nothing (for the sake of doing it), and so there is nothing which it does not do. 2. If princes and kings were able to maintain it, all things would of themselves be transformed by them. 3. If this transformation became to me an object of desire, I would express the desire by the nameless simplicity. Simplicity without a name Is free from all external aim. With no desire, at rest and still, All things go right as of their will.

第三十八章 上德不德,是以有德﹔下德不失德,是以無德。上德無為而無以為﹔下德 無為而有以為。上仁為之而無以為﹔上義為之而有以為。上禮為之而莫之 應,則攘臂而扔之。故失道而后德,失德而后仁,失仁而后義,失義而后 禮。夫禮者,忠信之薄,而亂之首。前識者,道之華,而愚之始。是以大 丈夫處其厚,不居其薄﹔處其實,不居其華。故去彼取此。

Chapter 38 1. (Those who) possessed in highest degree the attributes (of the Tao) did not (seek) to show them, and therefore they possessed them (in fullest measure). (Those who) possessed in a lower degree those attributes (sought how) not to lose them, and therefore they did not possess them (in fullest measure). 2. (Those who) possessed in the highest degree those attributes did nothing (with a purpose), and had no need to do anything. (Those who) possessed them in a lower degree were (always) doing, and had need to be so doing. 3. (Those who) possessed the highest benevolence were (always seeking) to carry it out, and had no need to be doing so. (Those who) possessed the highest righteousness were (always seeking) to carry it out, and had need to be so doing. 4. (Those who) possessed the highest (sense of) propriety were (always seeking) to show it, and when men did not respond to it, they bared the arm and marched up to them. 5. Thus it was that when the Tao was lost, its attributes appeared; when its attributes were lost, benevolence appeared; when benevolence was lost, righteousness appeared; and when righteousness was lost, the proprieties appeared. 6. Now propriety is the attenuated form of leal-heartedness and good faith, and is also the commencement of disorder; swift apprehension is (only) a flower of the Tao, and is the beginning of stupidity. 7. Thus it is that the Great man abides by what is solid, and eschews what is flimsy; dwells with the fruit and not with the flower. It is thus that he puts away the one and makes choice of the other.

第三十九章 昔之得一者:天得一以清﹔地得一以寧﹔神得一以靈﹔谷得一以盈﹔萬物 得一以生﹔侯王得一以為天下正。其致之也,天無以清,將恐裂﹔地無以 寧,將恐廢﹔神無以靈,將恐歇﹔谷無以盈,將恐竭﹔萬物無以生,將恐 滅﹔侯王無以貞,將恐蹶。故貴以賤為本,高以下為基。是以侯王自稱孤 、寡、不穀。此非以賤為本邪?非乎?故致譽無譽。是故不欲琭琭如玉, 珞珞如石。

Chapter 39 1. The things which from of old have got the One (the Tao) are— Heaven which by it is bright and pure; Earth rendered thereby firm and sure; Spirits with powers by it supplied; Valleys kept full throughout their void All creatures which through it do live Princes and kings who from it get The model which to all they give. All these are the results of the One (Tao). 2. If heaven were not thus pure, it soon would rend; If earth were not thus sure, 'twould break and bend; Without these powers, the spirits soon would fail; If not so filled, the drought would parch each vale; Without that life, creatures would pass away; Princes and kings, without that moral sway, However grand and high, would all decay. 3. Thus it is that dignity finds its (firm) root in its (previous) meanness, and what is lofty finds its stability in the lowness (from which it rises). Hence princes and kings call themselves 'Orphans,' 'Men of small virtue,' and as 'Carriages without a nave.' Is not this an acknowledgment that in their considering themselves mean they see the foundation of their dignity? So it is that in the enumeration of the different parts of a carriage we do not come on what makes it answer the ends of a carriage. They do not wish to show themselves elegant-looking as jade, but (prefer) to be coarse-looking as an (ordinary) stone.

第四十章 反者道之動﹔弱者道之用。天下萬物生于有,有生于無。

Chapter 40 1. The movement of the Tao By contraries proceeds; And weakness marks the course Of Tao's mighty deeds. 2. All things under heaven sprang from It as existing (and named); that existence sprang from It as non-existent (and not named).

Author: Laozi (老子); translated by James Legge

Now arms, however beautiful, are instruments of evil omen, hateful, it may be said, to all creatures. Therefore they who have the Tao do not like to employ them.

第三十一章 夫佳兵者,不祥之器,物或惡之,故有道者不處。君子居則貴左,用兵則 貴右。兵者不祥之器,非君子之器,不得已而用之,恬淡為上。勝而不美 ,而美之者,是樂殺人。夫樂殺人者,則不可得志于天下矣。吉事尚左, 凶事尚右。偏將軍居左,上將軍居右,言以喪禮處之。殺人之眾,以悲哀 泣之,戰勝以喪禮處之。

Chapter 31 1. Now arms, however beautiful, are instruments of evil omen, hateful, it may be said, to all creatures. Therefore they who have the Tao do not like to employ them. 2. The superior man ordinarily considers the left hand the most honourable place, but in time of war the right hand. Those sharp weapons are instruments of evil omen, and not the instruments of the superior man;—he uses them only on the compulsion of necessity. Calm and repose are what he prizes; victory (by force of arms) is to him undesirable. To consider this desirable would be to delight in the slaughter of men; and he who delights in the slaughter of men cannot get his will in the kingdom. 3. On occasions of festivity to be on the left hand is the prized position; on occasions of mourning, the right hand. The second in command of the army has his place on the left; the general commanding in chief has his on the right;—his place, that is, is assigned to him as in the rites of mourning. He who has killed multitudes of men should weep for them with the bitterest grief; and the victor in battle has his place (rightly) according to those rites.

第三十二章 道常無名,朴雖小,天下莫能臣。侯王若能守之,萬物將自賓。天地相合 ,以降甘露,民莫之令而自均。始制有名,名亦既有,夫亦將知止,知止 可以不殆。譬道之在天下,猶川谷之于江海。

Chapter 32 1. The Tao, considered as unchanging, has no name. 2. Though in its primordial simplicity it may be small, the whole world dares not deal with (one embodying) it as a minister. If a feudal prince or the king could guard and hold it, all would spontaneously submit themselves to him. 3. Heaven and Earth (under its guidance) unite together and send down the sweet dew, which, without the directions of men, reaches equally everywhere as of its own accord. 4. As soon as it proceeds to action, it has a name. When it once has that name, (men) can know to rest in it. When they know to rest in it, they can be free from all risk of failure and error. 5. The relation of the Tao to all the world is like that of the great rivers and seas to the streams from the valleys.

第三十三章 知人者智,自知者明。勝人者有力,自勝者強。知足者富。強行者有志。 不失其所者久。死而不亡者壽。

Chapter 33 1. He who knows other men is discerning; he who knows himself is intelligent. He who overcomes others is strong; he who overcomes himself is mighty. He who is satisfied with his lot is rich; he who goes on acting with energy has a (firm) will. 2. He who does not fail in the requirements of his position, continues long; he who dies and yet does not perish, has longevity.

第三十四章 大道氾兮,其可左右。萬物恃之以生而不辭,功成不名有,衣養萬物而不 為主。常無欲,可名于小﹔萬物歸焉而不為主,可名為大。以其終不自為 大,故能成其大。

Chapter 34 1. All-pervading is the Great Tao! It may be found on the left hand and on the right. 2. All things depend on it for their production, which it gives to them, not one refusing obedience to it. When its work is accomplished, it does not claim the name of having done it. It clothes all things as with a garment, and makes no assumption of being their lord;—it may be named in the smallest things. All things return (to their root and disappear), and do not know that it is it which presides over their doing so;—it may be named in the greatest things. 3. Hence the sage is able (in the same way) to accomplish his great achievements. It is through his not making himself great that he can accomplish them.

第三十五章 執大象,天下往。往而不害,安平太。樂與餌,過客止。道之出口,淡乎 其無味。視之不足見,聽之不足聞,用之不足既。

Chapter 35 1. To him who holds in his hands the Great Image (of the invisible Tao), the whole world repairs. Men resort to him, and receive no hurt, but (find) rest, peace, and the feeling of ease. 2. Music and dainties will make the passing guest stop (for a time). But though the Tao as it comes from the mouth, seems insipid and has no flavour, though it seems not worth being looked at or listened to, the use of it is inexhaustible.

Author: Laozi (老子); translated by James Legge

第二十六章 重為輕根,靜為躁君。是以君子終日行不離輜重。雖有榮觀,燕處超然。 奈何萬乘之主,而以身輕天下?輕則失根,躁則失君。

Chapter 26 1. Gravity is the root of lightness; stillness, the ruler of movement. 2. Therefore a wise prince, marching the whole day, does not go far from his baggage waggons. Although he may have brilliant prospects to look at, he quietly remains (in his proper place), indifferent to them. How should the lord of a myriad chariots carry himself lightly before the kingdom? If he do act lightly, he has lost his root (of gravity); if he proceed to active movement, he will lose his throne.

第二十七章 善行,無轍跡,善言,無瑕謫﹔善數,不用籌策﹔善閉,無關楗而不可開 ,善結,無繩約而不可解。是以聖人常善救人,故無棄人﹔常善救物,故 無棄物。是謂襲明。故善人者,不善人之師﹔不善人者,善人之資。不貴 其師,不愛其資,雖智大迷,是謂要妙。

Chapter 27 1. The skilful traveller leaves no traces of his wheels or footsteps; the skilful speaker says nothing that can be found fault with or blamed; the skilful reckoner uses no tallies; the skilful closer needs no bolts or bars, while to open what he has shut will be impossible; the skilful binder uses no strings or knots, while to unloose what he has bound will be impossible. In the same way the sage is always skilful at saving men, and so he does not cast away any man; he is always skilful at saving things, and so he does not cast away anything. This is called 'Hiding the light of his procedure.' 2. Therefore the man of skill is a master (to be looked up to) by him who has not the skill; and he who has not the skill is the helper of (the reputation of) him who has the skill. If the one did not honour his master, and the other did not rejoice in his helper, an (observer), though intelligent, might greatly err about them. This is called 'The utmost degree of mystery.'

第二十八章 知其雄,守其雌,為天下谿。為天下谿,常德不離,復歸于嬰兒。知其白 ,守其黑,為天下式,常德不忒,復歸于無極。知其榮,守其辱,為天下 谷。為天下谷,常德乃足,復歸于朴。為天下式。朴散則為器,聖人用之 ,則為官長,故大制不割。

Chapter 28 1. Who knows his manhood's strength, Yet still his female feebleness maintains; As to one channel flow the many drains, All come to him, yea, all beneath the sky. Thus he the constant excellence retains; The simple child again, free from all stains.

Who knows how white attracts, Yet always keeps himself within black's shade, The pattern of humility displayed, Displayed in view of all beneath the sky; He in the unchanging excellence arrayed, Endless return to man's first state has made.

Who knows how glory shines, Yet loves disgrace, nor e'er for it is pale; Behold his presence in a spacious vale, To which men come from all beneath the sky. The unchanging excellence completes its tale; The simple infant man in him we hail.

2. The unwrought material, when divided and distributed, forms vessels. The sage, when employed, becomes the Head of all the Officers (of government); and in his greatest regulations he employs no violent measures.

第二十九章 將欲取天下而為之,吾見其不得已。天下神器,不可為也,不可執也。為 者敗之,執者失之。故物或行或隨,或噓或吹,或強或羸,或載或隳,是 以聖人去甚,去奢,去泰。

Chapter 29 1. If any one should wish to get the kingdom for himself, and to effect this by what he does, I see that he will not succeed. The kingdom is a spirit-like thing, and cannot be got by active doing. He who would so win it destroys it; he who would hold it in his grasp loses it.

2. The course and nature of things is such that What was in front is now behind; What warmed anon we freezing find. Strength is of weakness oft the spoil; The store in ruins mocks our toil. Hence the sage puts away excessive effort, extravagance, and easy indulgence.

第三十章 以道佐人主者,不以兵強天下。其事好還。師之所處,荊棘生焉。大軍之 后,必有凶年。善者果而已,不敢以取強。果而勿矜,果而勿伐,果而勿 驕。果而不得已,果而勿強。物壯則老,是謂不道,不道早已。

Chapter 30 1. He who would assist a lord of men in harmony with the Tao will not assert his mastery in the kingdom by force of arms. Such a course is sure to meet with its proper return. 2. Wherever a host is stationed, briars and thorns spring up. In the sequence of great armies there are sure to be bad years. 3. A skilful (commander) strikes a decisive blow, and stops. He does not dare (by continuing his operations) to assert and complete his mastery. He will strike the blow, but will be on his guard against being vain or boastful or arrogant in consequence of it. He strikes it as a matter of necessity; he strikes it, but not from a wish for mastery. 4. When things have attained their strong maturity they become old. This may be said to be not in accordance with the Tao: and what is not in accordance with it soon comes to an end.

Author: Laozi (老子); translated by James Legge

第二十一章 孔德之容,惟道是從。道之為物,惟恍惟惚。惚兮恍兮,其中有象﹔恍兮 惚兮,其中有物。窈兮冥兮,其中有精﹔其精甚真,其中有信。自今及古 ,其名不去,以閱眾甫。吾何以知眾甫之狀哉?以此。 Chapter 21

The grandest forms of active force From Tao come, their only source. Who can of Tao the nature tell? Our sight it flies, our touch as well. Eluding sight, eluding touch, The forms of things all in it crouch; Eluding touch, eluding sight, There are their semblances, all right. Profound it is, dark and obscure; Things' essences all there endure. Those essences the truth enfold Of what, when seen, shall then be told. Now it is so; 'twas so of old. Its name—what passes not away; So, in their beautiful array, Things form and never know decay.

How know I that it is so with all the beauties of existing things? By this (nature of the Tao).

第二十二章 曲則全,枉則直,窪則盈,敝則新,少則多,多則惑。是以聖人抱一為天 下式。不自見,故明﹔不自是,故彰﹔不自伐,故有功﹔不自矜,故長。 夫唯不爭,故天下莫能與之爭。古之所謂「曲則全」者,豈虛言哉!誠全 而歸之。

Chapter 22

1. The partial becomes complete; the crooked, straight; the empty, full; the worn out, new. He whose (desires) are few gets them; he whose (desires) are many goes astray.

2. Therefore the sage holds in his embrace the one thing (of humility), and manifests it to all the world. He is free from self-display, and therefore he shines; from self-assertion, and therefore he is distinguished; from self-boasting, and therefore his merit is acknowledged; from self-complacency, and therefore he acquires superiority. It is because he is thus free from striving that therefore no one in the world is able to strive with him.

3. That saying of the ancients that 'the partial becomes complete' was not vainly spoken:—all real completion is comprehended under it.

第二十三章 希言自然。故飄風不終朝,驟雨不終日。孰為此者?天地。天地尚不能久 ,而況于人乎?故從事于道者,同于道﹔德者,同于德﹔失者,同于失。 同于道者,道亦樂得之﹔同于德者,德亦樂得之﹔于失者,失亦樂得之。 信不足焉,有不信焉。

Chapter 23

1. Abstaining from speech marks him who is obeying the spontaneity of his nature. A violent wind does not last for a whole morning; a sudden rain does not last for the whole day. To whom is it that these (two) things are owing? To Heaven and Earth. If Heaven and Earth cannot make such (spasmodic) actings last long, how much less can man!

2. Therefore when one is making the Tao his business, those who are also pursuing it, agree with him in it, and those who are making the manifestation of its course their object agree with him in that; while even those who are failing in both these things agree with him where they fail.

3. Hence, those with whom he agrees as to the Tao have the happiness of attaining to it; those with whom he agrees as to its manifestation have the happiness of attaining to it; and those with whom he agrees in their failure have also the happiness of attaining (to the Tao). (But) when there is not faith sufficient (on his part), a want of faith (in him) ensues (on the part of the others).

第二十四章 企者不立﹔跨者不行﹔自見者不明﹔自是者不彰﹔自伐者無功﹔自矜者不 長。其在道也,曰:餘食贅形。物或惡之,故有道者不處。

Chapter 24

He who stands on his tiptoes does not stand firm; he who stretches his legs does not walk (easily). (So), he who displays himself does not shine; he who asserts his own views is not distinguished; he who vaunts himself does not find his merit acknowledged; he who is self-conceited has no superiority allowed to him. Such conditions, viewed from the standpoint of the Tao, are like remnants of food, or a tumour on the body, which all dislike. Hence those who pursue (the course) of the Tao do not adopt and allow them.

第二十五章 有物混成,先天地生。寂兮寥兮,獨立而不改,周行而不殆,可以為天地 母。吾不知其名,強字之曰道,強為之名曰大。大曰逝,逝曰遠,遠曰反 。故道大,天大,地大,人亦大。域中有四大,而人居其一焉。人法地, 地法天,天法道,道法自然。

Chapter 25

1. There was something undefined and complete, coming into existence before Heaven and Earth. How still it was and formless, standing alone, and undergoing no change, reaching everywhere and in no danger (of being exhausted)! It may be regarded as the Mother of all things.

2. I do not know its name, and I give it the designation of the Tao (the Way or Course). Making an effort (further) to give it a name I call it The Great.

3. Great, it passes on (in constant flow). Passing on, it becomes remote. Having become remote, it returns. Therefore the Tao is great; Heaven is great; Earth is great; and the (sage) king is also great. In the universe there are four that are great, and the (sage) king is one of them.

4. Man takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes its law from Heaven; Heaven takes its law from the Tao. The law of the Tao is its being what it is.

Author: Laozi (老子); translated by James Legge


致虛極,守靜篤,萬物並作,吾以觀復。夫物芸芸,各復歸其根。歸根曰 靜,靜曰復命。復命曰常,知常曰明。不知常,妄作凶。知常容,容乃公 。公乃王,王乃天,天乃道,道乃久,沒身不殆。

Chapter 16

1. The (state of) vacancy should be brought to the utmost degree, and that of stillness guarded with unwearying vigour. All things alike go through their processes of activity, and (then) we see them return (to their original state). When things (in the vegetable world) have displayed their luxuriant growth, we see each of them return to its root. This returning to their root is what we call the state of stillness; and that stillness may be called a reporting that they have fulfilled their appointed end. 

2. The report of that fulfilment is the regular, unchanging rule. To know that unchanging rule is to be intelligent; not to know it leads to wild movements and evil issues. The knowledge of that unchanging rule produces a (grand) capacity and forbearance, and that capacity and forbearance lead to a community (of feeling with all things). From this community of feeling comes a kingliness of character; and he who is king-like goes on to be heaven-like. In that likeness to heaven he possesses the Tao. Possessed of the Tao, he endures long; and to the end of his bodily life, is exempt from all danger of decay. 


太上,下不知有之﹔其次,親而譽之﹔其次,畏之﹔其次,侮之。信不足 焉,有不信焉。悠兮其貴言。功成事遂,百姓皆謂:「我自然」。

Chapter 17

1. In the highest antiquity, (the people) did not know that there were (their rulers). In the next age they loved them and praised them. In the next they feared them; in the next they despised them. Thus it was that when faith (in the Tao) was deficient (in the rulers) a want of faith in them ensued (in the people). 

2. How irresolute did those (earliest rulers) appear, showing (by their reticence) the importance which they set upon their words! Their work was done and their undertakings were successful, while the people all said, 'We are as we are, of ourselves!' 


大道廢,有仁義﹔智慧出,有大偽﹔六親不和,有孝慈﹔國家昏亂,有忠 臣。

Chapter 18

1. When the Great Tao (Way or Method) ceased to be observed, benevolence and righteousness came into vogue. (Then) appeared wisdom and shrewdness, and there ensued great hypocrisy. 

2. When harmony no longer prevailed throughout the six kinships, filial sons found their manifestation; when the states and clans fell into disorder, loyal ministers appeared. 


絕聖棄智,民利百倍﹔絕仁棄義,民復孝慈﹔絕巧棄利,盜賊無有。此三 者,以為文不足。故令有所屬:見素抱朴,少私寡欲。

Chapter 19

1. If we could renounce our sageness and discard our wisdom, it would be better for the people a hundredfold. If we could renounce our benevolence and discard our righteousness, the people would again become filial and kindly. If we could renounce our artful contrivances and discard our (scheming for) gain, there would be no thieves nor robbers. 

2. Those three methods (of government) Thought olden ways in elegance did fail And made these names their want of worth to veil; But simple views, and courses plain and true Would selfish ends and many lusts eschew.


絕學無憂。唯之與阿,相去幾何?善之與惡,相去若何?人之所畏,不可 不畏。荒兮其未央哉!眾人熙熙,如享太牢,如登春台。我獨泊兮其未兆 ,如嬰兒之未孩。 兮,若無所歸。眾人皆有餘,而我獨若遺。我愚人 之心也哉!沌沌兮。俗人昭昭,我獨昏昏。俗人察察,我獨悶悶。澹兮其 若海,飉兮若無止。眾人皆有以,我獨頑且鄙。我獨異於人,而貴食母。

Chapter 20

1. When we renounce learning we have no troubles.

   The (ready) 'yes,' and (flattering) 'yea;'—

   Small is the difference they display.

   But mark their issues, good and ill;—

   What space the gulf between shall fill?

What all men fear is indeed to be feared; but how wide and without end is the range of questions (asking to be discussed)! 

2. The multitude of men look satisfied and pleased; as if enjoying a full banquet, as if mounted on a tower in spring. I alone seem listless and still, my desires having as yet given no indication of their presence. I am like an infant which has not yet smiled. I look dejected and forlorn, as if I had no home to go to. The multitude of men all have enough and to spare. I alone seem to have lost everything. My mind is that of a stupid man; I am in a state of chaos. 

Ordinary men look bright and intelligent, while I alone seem to be benighted. They look full of discrimination, while I alone am dull and confused. I seem to be carried about as on the sea, drifting as if I had nowhere to rest. All men have their spheres of action, while I alone seem dull and incapable, like a rude borderer. (Thus) I alone am different from other men, but I value the nursing-mother (the Tao). 

Author: Laozi (老子); translated by James Legge


三十輻共一轂,當其無,有車之用。埏埴以為器,當其無,有器之用。鑿 戶牖以為室,當其無,有室之用。故有之以為利,無之以為用。

Chapter 11

The thirty spokes unite in the one nave; but it is on the empty space (for the axle), that the use of the wheel depends. Clay is fashioned into vessels; but it is on their empty hollowness, that their use depends. The door and windows are cut out (from the walls) to form an apartment; but it is on the empty space (within), that its use depends. Therefore, what has a (positive) existence serves for profitable adaptation, and what has not that for (actual) usefulness.


五色令人目盲﹔五音令人耳聾﹔五味令人口爽﹔馳騁畋獵,令人心發狂﹔ 難得之貨,令人行妨。是以聖人為腹不為目,故去彼取此。

Chapter 12

1. Colour's five hues from th' eyes their sight will take; Music's five notes the ears as deaf can make; The flavours five deprive the mouth of taste; The chariot course, and the wild hunting waste Make mad the mind; and objects rare and strange, Sought for, men's conduct will to evil change.

2. Therefore the sage seeks to satisfy (the craving of) the belly, and not the (insatiable longing of the) eyes. He puts from him the latter, and prefers to seek the former.


寵辱若驚,貴大患若身。何謂寵辱若驚?寵為下,得之若驚,失之若驚, 是謂寵辱若驚。何謂貴大患若身?吾所以有大患者,為吾有身,及吾無身 ,吾有何患?故貴以身為天下,若可寄天下﹔愛以身為天下,若可托天下 。

Chapter 13

1. Favour and disgrace would seem equally to be feared; honour and great calamity, to be regarded as personal conditions (of the same kind).

2. What is meant by speaking thus of favour and disgrace? Disgrace is being in a low position (after the enjoyment of favour). The getting that (favour) leads to the apprehension (of losing it), and the losing it leads to the fear of (still greater calamity):—this is what is meant by saying that favour and disgrace would seem equally to be feared. And what is meant by saying that honour and great calamity are to be (similarly) regarded as personal conditions? What makes me liable to great calamity is my having the body (which I call myself); if I had not the body, what great calamity could come to me?

3. Therefore he who would administer the kingdom, honouring it as he honours his own person, may be employed to govern it, and he who would administer it with the love which he bears to his own person may be entrusted with it.


視之不見,名曰「夷」﹔聽之不聞,名曰「希」﹔搏之不得,名曰「微」 。此三者不可致詰,故混而為一。其上不皦,其下不昧。繩繩不可名,復 歸於無物。是謂無狀之狀,無物之象,是謂惚恍。迎之不見其首,隨之不 見其後。執古之道,以御今之有。能知古始,是謂道紀。

Chapter 14

1. We look at it, and we do not see it, and we name it 'the Equable.' We listen to it, and we do not hear it, and we name it 'the Inaudible.' We try to grasp it, and do not get hold of it, and we name it 'the Subtle.' With these three qualities, it cannot be made the subject of description; and hence we blend them together and obtain The One.

2. Its upper part is not bright, and its lower part is not obscure. Ceaseless in its action, it yet cannot be named, and then it again returns and becomes nothing. This is called the Form of the Formless, and the Semblance of the Invisible; this is called the Fleeting and Indeterminable.

3. We meet it and do not see its Front; we follow it, and do not see its Back. When we can lay hold of the Tao of old to direct the things of the present day, and are able to know it as it was of old in the beginning, this is called (unwinding) the clue of Tao.


古之善為士者,微妙玄通,深不可識。夫唯不可識,故強為之容:豫兮若 冬涉川﹔猶兮若畏四鄰﹔儼兮其若客﹔渙兮若冰之釋﹔敦兮其若朴﹔曠兮 其若谷﹔混兮其若濁。孰能晦以理之徐明?孰能濁以靜之徐清?孰能安以 動之徐生?保此道者不欲盈。夫唯不盈,故能蔽而新成。

Chapter 15

1. The skilful masters (of the Tao) in old times, with a subtle and exquisite penetration, comprehended its mysteries, and were deep (also) so as to elude men's knowledge. As they were thus beyond men's knowledge, I will make an effort to describe of what sort they appeared to be.

2. Shrinking looked they like those who wade through a stream in winter; irresolute like those who are afraid of all around them; grave like a guest (in awe of his host); evanescent like ice that is melting away; unpretentious like wood that has not been fashioned into anything; vacant like a valley, and dull like muddy water.

3. Who can (make) the muddy water (clear)? Let it be still, and it will gradually become clear. Who can secure the condition of rest? Let movement go on, and the condition of rest will gradually arise.

4. They who preserve this method of the Tao do not wish to be full (of themselves). It is through their not being full of themselves that they can afford to seem worn and not appear new and complete.

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