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Look, it cannot be seen --
it is beyond form.

Listen, it cannot be heard --
it is beyond sound.

Grasp, it cannot be held --
it is intangible.

These three are indefinable;
Therefore they are joined in one.

From above it is not bright;
From below it is not dark;

An unbroken thread beyond description.
It returns to nothingness.

The form of the formless,
The image of the imageless,

It is called indefinable
and beyond imagination.

Stand before it and there is no beginning.
Follow it and there is no end.

Stay with the ancient Tao,
Move with the present.

Knowing the ancient beginning
is the essence of Tao.

Yield and overcome;
Bend and be straight;
Empty and be full;
Wear out and be new;
Have little and gain;
Have much and be confused.

...The ancients say,
"Yield and overcome."
Is that an empty saying?
Be really whole,
And all things will come to you.

Yielding is the way of the Tao.
Going forward seems like retreat ...
For one gains by losing
And loses by gaining.
The truth often sounds paradoxical.
Know the white,
But keep the black,
Be an example to the world!

Being an example to the world,
Ever true and unwavering,
Return to the infinite.

Know honor,
Yet keep humility.
Be the valley of the universe!

Being the valley of the universe,
Ever true and resourceful,
Return to the state of the uncarved block.

Accept disgrace willingly...
Accept being unimportant...

Surrender yourself humbly;
then you can be trusted
to care for all things.

Love the world as your own self;
then you can truly care for all things.

Achieve results,
But never glory in them.

Achieve results,
But never boast.

Achieve results,
But never be proud.

Achieve results,
Because this is the natural way.

Creating without claiming,
Doing without taking credit,
Guiding without interfering,

This is Primal Virtue.
Mask your brightness.
Be at one with the dust of the earth.

This is
Primal union.
...The sage works without recognition.
He achieves what has to be done
without dwelling on it.
He does not try to show his knowledge.
He who has achieved this state
Is unconcerned with friends and enemies,
With good and harm,
with honor and disgrace.
This therefore is the highest state of man.
...The sage, traveling all day,
Does not lose sight of his baggage.

Though there are beautiful things
to be seen,
He remains unattached and calm.

There is no greater sin than desire,
No greater curse than discontent,

No greater misfortune than wanting something for oneself.

Therefore he who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery. Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.

These two spring from the same source
but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.

...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.

If I have even just a little sense,
I will walk on the main road and
my only fear will be of straying from it.

Keeping to the main road is easy,
But people love to be sidetracked.

To die but not to perish is
to be eternally present.
Practice non-action.
Work without doing.
The Tao of the sage is
work without effort.
In the pursuit of learning,
every day something is acquired.

In the pursuit of Tao,
every day something is dropped.

Why is the sea king of a hundred streams?
Because it lies below them...

If the sage would guide the people,
he must serve with humility.

If he would lead them,
he must follow behind.

In this way when the sage rules,
the people will not feel oppressed...

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