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Tao Quotes

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16
Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24
Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28 Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32
Chapter 33 Chapter 34 Chapter 35 Chapter 36 Chapter 37 Chapter 38 Chapter 39 Chapter 40
Chapter 41 Chapter 42 Chapter 43 Chapter 44 Chapter 45 Chapter 46 Chapter 47 Chapter 48
Chapter 49 Chapter 50 Chapter 51 Chapter 52 Chapter 53 Chapter 54 Chapter 55 Chapter 56
Chapter 57 Chapter 58 Chapter 59 Chapter 60 Chapter 61 Chapter 62 Chapter 63 Chapter 64
Chapter 65 Chapter 66 Chapter 67 Chapter 68 Chapter 69 Chapter 70 Chapter 71 Chapter 72
Chapter 73 Chapter 74 Chapter 75 Chapter 76 Chapter 77 Chapter 78 Chapter 79 Chapter 80
Chapter 81              

 

 

Secret Four: Silence

Chapter 70

Sentence for Sentence Translation:

吾言甚易知,甚易行: My words are very easy to understand, and very easy to practice.
天下莫能知,莫能行: Yet no one in the world knows them or practices them.
言有宗;事有君: My words have ancient roots; my deeds have ancient lords.
夫唯无知,是以不我知: Because the people do not know, hence they do not know me.
知我者希,则我者贵: Those who understand me are few and those who follow me are precious.
是以圣人被褐怀玉: Therefore Shengren wears coarse clothes and embraces precious jade.

Interpretational Translation of Tao Te Ching Chapter 70:

Oh my words are very easy to understand, and very easy to practice.
Yet the people in the world don’t understand them and are unable to practice them.
Oh man! You are just too busy seeking!
The farther you seek the less you find!
Oh listen! When the answer is easy, Tao is answering!
Experience! My words are not empty words!
They have ancient roots.
Real! My actions are not hypothetical actions!
They have been done by ancient lords.
Oh people just don’t know their roots and hence they don’t know me.
Those who know me are few and those who follow me are precious.
Thus the sage wears coarse clothes and embraces jade inside.
Oh man! You have conquered the highest mountain and
You have reached the deepest sea.
Yet the greatest treasure lies within you, undiscovered.
So right here and now! Listen to your inner voice! Begin your journey inside to find your eternity!

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Chapter 41

Sentence for Sentence Translation:

上士闻道,勤而行之: When superior scholars hear of Tao, they practice it immediately.
中士闻道,若存若亡: When mediocre scholars hear of Tao, they question if it is real or not real-
下士闻道,大笑之: When inferior scholars hear of Tao, they laugh out loud.
不笑不足以为道: If it is not being laughed at, it is not enough to be Tao.
故建言有之:Therefore, the established words saying the following:
明道若昧: Illuminated Tao seems obscure.
进道若退: Advancing Tao seems retreating.
夷道若类: Profound Tao seems ordinary.
上德若谷: Superior Te seems empty.
大白若辱: Great whiteness seems tarnished.
广德若不足: Abundant Te seems not enough.
建德若偷: Established Te seems easily uprooted.
质真若渝: Real quality seems changeable.
大方无隅: Great square has no corners.
大器晚成: Great vessel has late completion.
大音希声: The greatest sound is silence.
大象无形: The greatest image has no shape.
道隐无名: Tao is hidden with no name.
夫唯道,善贷且成: It is only Tao that is good at bestowing and completion.

Interpretational Translation of Tao Te Ching Chapter 41:

Oh faith! A great scholar hears of Tao and practices it diligently.
Oh doubt! An average scholar hears of Tao and gives it a thought now and then.
Oh stupid! A foolish scholar hears of Tao and laughs out loud.
If it is not being laughed at, it is not enough to be the long life Tao.
Thus it is said:
He who is enlightened with Tao seems stupid.
He who leads from behind seems timid.
He who is profound seems ordinary.
Oh how true that if one does not understand a man, one tends to regard him as a fool!
Yes, he who has obtained virtuous Te is humble but seems empty;
Has great purity but seems tarnished;
Has abundance to share with others but seems not enough;
Has great strength but seems frail;
Has real quality but seems unreal.
Oh it’s true that the greatest appears beyond the ordinary:
The greatest square has no corners.
The greatest vessel has late completion.
The greatest sound is silence.
The greatest image has no shape.
Oh nameless! Tao is hidden in everything and in every thought.
Oh only Tao and Tao only that gives birth to all things and completes all things the greatest way!

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Chapter 45

Sentence for Sentence Translation:

大成若缺: Great completion seems imperfect.
其用不弊: Yet its use is never exhausted.
大盈若冲: Great fullness seems empty.
其用不穷: Yet its use has no end.
大直若屈: Great straightness seems bent.
大巧若拙: Great skill seems clumsy.
大辩若讷: Great eloquence seems stammering.
躁胜寒: Movement overcomes cold;
静胜热: Quietness overcomes heat.
清静为天下正: Clear quietness is the world’s rightness.

Interpretational Translation of Tao Te Ching Chapter 45:

Great completion seems imperfect,
Yet its use is never exhausted.
Oh yes! Its imperfection makes its use perfect!
Great fullness seems empty,
Yet its use has no end.
Oh yes! Its emptiness makes its use full!
Therefore, great straightness seems bent;
Great skill seems clumsy;
Great eloquence seems stammering.
Oh yes! Being bent, clumsy, and stammering is part of being greatness!
Motion overcomes cold;
Stillness overcomes heat.
Oh, not too cold and not too hot!
Oh, yes cool! Only stillness within motion can keep the heat from being overheated!
Therefore the ruler who is calm and quiet amid the ever changing world can make the correct call for all!

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Chapter 15

Sentence for Sentence Translation:

古之善为士者: From the ancient times, those people who are good at following Tao,
微妙玄通: Act in a subtle mysterious way through the communication with Heaven,
深不可识: So profound that they can’t be recognized.
夫唯不可识,故强为之容: Because they can’t be recognized, therefore reluctantly I try to describe their characteristics.
豫兮若冬涉川: Cautiously oh, as if they were crossing a river in the winter time.
犹兮若畏四邻: Vigilantly oh, as if they were afraid of the neighbors of the four sides.
俨兮其若客: Reserved oh, as if they were guests.
涣兮若冰之将释: Relaxed oh, as if they were the ice about to melt.
敦兮其若朴: Honest oh, as if they were as simple as uncarved wood.
旷兮其若谷: Open oh, as if they were valleys.
浑兮其若浊: Undistinguished oh, as if they were as obscured as muddy water.
孰能浊以止: Who is able to stop the muddiness by
静之徐清: Keeping it still to allow the dirt to settle to become clear gradually?
孰能安以久: Who is able to remain still for long,
动之徐生: And move to keep on living gradually?
保此道者不欲盈: Those who keep this Tao do not want to be full.
夫唯不盈,故能蔽不新成: Because they are not full, therefore, they can remain obscured and not be replaced.

Interpretational Translation of Tao Te Ching Chapter 15:

Oh like so many masters before him, he who has obtained Tao is mysteriously wonderful and subtly profound.
The depth of his wisdom is immeasurable.
Oh yes, immeasurable! So we can only get a glimpse of his inner world through his appearance and actions:
Oh cautious! He takes one step at a time as if crossing a winter stream.
Oh silent! He keeps quiet as if vigilant of the surrounding neighbors listening.
Oh peace! He refrains from being aggressive as if being a guest instead of a host.
Oh soft! He remains soft and yielding like ice about to melt.
Oh moderate! He lives simply and honestly like a block of uncarved wood.
Oh altruistic! He loves all living creatures with an open heart, liken to a valley nourishing all plants and animals.
Oh humble! He lives as one of the common people in the world, liken to dust in a muddy pool.
Who can keep the mind quiet and clear amidst the commotions of daily life?
Who can remain soft and quiet to allow the body to move naturally and breathe gently to achieve longevity?
Oh the master who has obtained Tao can!
The master doesn’t seek fulfillment on a grand scale but only seeks the brief stillness in between breaths.
Oh yes, stillness in motion is the secret of long life!
Like a swimmer having a brief rest in between strokes,
Like a pendulum having a timeless moment in between swings,
Oh the master gives himself a rest in between breaths. It’s his moment of eternity!
Therefore, the old master is just like an old grandfather clock, keeps on ticking without fanfare and without the danger of being replaced!

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Chapter 23

Sentence for Sentence Translation:

希言自然: To talk little is natural.
飘风不终朝,骤雨不终日: Violent winds cannot last all morning. Stormy rains cannot last all day.
孰为此者?天地: Who causes this? Heaven and Earth.
天地尚不能久,而况于人乎: If even Heaven and Earth cannot last long, what can man do?
故从事于道者,道者同于道: Therefore those who follow Tao will become one with Tao.
德者同于德: Those who follow Te will become one with Te.
失者同于失: Those who follow Loss will become one with Loss.
同于道者,道亦乐得之: Those who become one with Tao, Tao will be happy to receive them.
同于德者,德亦乐得之: Those who become one with Te, Te will also be happy to receive them.
同于失者,失亦乐得之: Those who become one with Loss, Loss will also be happy to receive them.
信不足焉,有不信焉: Those who are not trustworthy enough will have untrustworthy followers.

Interpretational Translation of Tao Te Ching Chapter 23:

Silence is natural.
Oh see the flowers, vegetables and fruits all grow in silence.
Oh see the stars and the moon and the sun all move in silence.
Violent wind does not last all morning.
Stormy rain does not last the whole day.
Who causes this? Heaven and Earth.
Oh Heaven and Earth sometimes get angry!
Even if Heaven and Earth with virtuous Te cannot make anger last,
What chance does man have?
When Tao is lost Te appears; when Te is lost Loss appears.
If you stay with Tao, you experience peace and quiet all the time.
If you stay with Te, you experience peace and quiet most of the time.
If you stay with Loss, you experience anger all the time.
Now that you have a choice:
Tao welcomes you if you choose to be one with it.
Te welcomes you if you choose to be one with it.
Loss welcomes you if you choose to be one with it.
Like follows like and distrust attracts distrust.
So, if you don’t trust Tao, Tao won’t trust you.
So, what is your choice?

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Chapter 16

Sentence for Sentence Translation:

致虚极,守静笃: Reach the utmost emptiness and keep still absolutely.
万物并作: The ten thousand things rise together.
吾以观其复: I hereby observe their return.
夫物芸芸,各复归其根: Everything flourishes and then everything again returns to its root.
归根曰静,静曰覆命: Returning to the root is called stillness; stillness is called returning to life.
覆命曰常,知常曰明: Returning to life is called the unchanging natural law; understanding the unchanging natural law is called enlightenment.
不知常,妄作凶: Not to understand the unchanging natural law is to bring about misfortunes through reckless actions.
知常容: Understanding the unchanging natural law leads to tolerance;
容乃公: Tolerance leads to impartiality;
公乃王: Impartiality leads to lordship;
王乃天: Lordship leads to Heaven;
天乃道: Heaven leads to Tao;
道乃久: Tao is everlasting;
没身不殆: The entire life is without danger.

Interpretational Translation of Tao Te Ching Chapter 16:

Oh here I just sit,
Breathing softly and quietly,
Emptying myself of all thoughts.
Somehow my body disappears.
Oh as I meditate deeper,
My mind becomes absolutely still.
Somehow it too disappears.
Here I am - One with all and all with one.
Hereby I witness the wonder of creation.
Oh the ten thousand things are interconnected,
Rising and falling simultaneously!
Oh all things grow and flourish and then
Return to the root!
Oh the root! The source! The Oneness of Tao!
Returning to the root is returning to stillness;
From stillness, life returns again.
Returning to life is the unchanging Oneness of Tao.
Oh all creatures return to Oneness and from Oneness all return to life in different shapes and forms.
Oh summer, all trees and plants grow luxuriantly.
Oh winter, leaves and flowers all fall back to their roots.
Yes, life and death is a cycle.
Yes, this cycle may take a life time or just one breath.
Breathe out, return to Oneness of stillness;
Breathe in, return to life!
Yes, Oneness is the true reality of all things.
Therefore, knowing Oneness is enlightenment.
Oh enlightenment! He who knows that he is a part of the whole, a part limited in space and time!
Oh confusion! He who experiences himself as something separated from the rest of the universe! Therefore knowing Oneness leads to tolerance.
Yes tolerance! See yourself in others! Tolerance leads to impartiality.
Yes impartiality! All men are created equal, no more or no less, but a part of the whole.
Impartiality leads to lordship.
Yes lordship! To love the people by ruling a country in accordance with Oneness brings peace.
Lordship leads to Heaven.
Yes Heaven! Universal love for all creatures under Heaven!
Heaven leads to Tao.
Yes, Tao! Natural long life Tao for all living creatures!
Oh sit still, be quiet, and empty yourself.
To experience life as a cycle of manifestation of Tao!
To witness the immortality of life as Oneness of Tao!

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Chapter 26

Sentence for Sentence Translation:

重为轻根,静为躁君: Heaviness is the root of lightness. Quietness is the lord of restlessness.
是以圣人终日行不离辎重: Therefore, Shengren practices Tao all day without departing from quietness and heaviness.
虽有荣观,燕处超然: Although he has magnificent palaces, Shengren lives calmly above all temptations.
奈何万乘之主,而以身轻天下: Why should a lord of ten thousand chariots behave so lightly in the world?
轻则失臣,躁则失君: Lightness will lose the ministers; restlessness will lose the lordship.

Interpretational Translation of Tao Te Ching Chapter 26:

The heavy is the root of the light.
The quiet is the master of the agitated.
Oh heavy! The unmovable moves all that moves!
Oh quiet! Nothing strengthens authority more than quietness!
Therefore, the sage travels a whole day without losing his quietness and heaviness.
Although he lives amid palaces and beauties, he stays undisturbed and lives above all temptations.
Oh yes! Nothing lengthens life more than moderation!
Tell me then, why should a lord of ten thousand chariots behave so lightly in the world?
Doesn’t he know that to behave lightly is to lose his supporters?
To be agitated is to lose his lordship?
Oh, be quiet! Be calm! Be long life Tao!

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Chapter 71

Sentence for Sentence Translation:

知不知,上: Knowing that one does not know is the best.
不知知,病: Not knowing that one does not know but presuming one knows is sickness.
夫唯病病,是以不病: Only by recognizing the sickness as sickness, one is not sick.
圣人不病,以其病病。是以不病: Shengren is not sick, because he is aware of this sickness as sickness; therefore he is free from this sickness.

Interpretational Translation of Tao Te Ching Chapter 71:

He who knows that he doesn’t know is the best.
Oh do we know whence the next earthquake comes?
Oh do we know whence our fortune comes and whence our fortune goes?
Alas! He who doesn’t know but thinks he knows is sick.
Oh what is a sick man but he who talks a lot and pretends a lot!
Yes, presumption of knowledge is the ultimate ignorance!
Therefore if one realizes that the presumption to know is sickness, one is not sick.
Oh the sage is well!
He knows that human knowledge has its limitations.
Therefore he remains humble and avoids the sickness of the human arrogance of knowing it all.

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Chapter 56

Sentence for Sentence Translation:

知者不言,言者不知: Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.
塞其兑: Close the openings.
闭其门: Shut the doors.
挫其锐: Blunt the sharpness.
解其纷: Untie the knots.
和其光: Harmonize the light.
同其尘: Become one with the dust.
是谓玄同: This is called Mysterious Oneness.
故不可得而亲,亦不可得而疏: Hence, it cannot be affected by closeness, nor can it be affected by separation.
不可得而利,亦不可得而害: It cannot be affected by profits, nor can it be affected by loss.
不可得而贵,亦不可得而贱: It cannot be affected by honor, nor can it be affected by disgrace.
故为天下贵: Therefore, it is treasured by the world.

Interpretational Translation of Tao Te Ching Chapter 56:

He who knows doesn’t talk.
He who talks doesn’t know.
Oh he who knows Oneness does not talk but acts!
Oh he who speaks too much does not walk his talk!
Close your mouth so you don’t complain!
Shut your doors so the desires won’t enter your core!
Blunt your sharpness so you don’t criticize!
Resolve your worries so you don’t need to hurry!
Soften your light so you don’t make others blind!
Become one with the dust so you don’t lose people’s trust!
This is called Mysterious Oneness.
In the state of Mysterious Oneness,
He is not moved by life or death.
Yes, he loves life but isn’t attached to it!
Yes, he dislikes death but doesn’t avert it!
For life and death are integral parts of Oneness!
Oh he is not swayed by gain or loss.
Yes, he profits from his gain so he can share with others.
Yes, he is harmed by his loss but he is happy for others who gain.
For gain and loss are the yin and yang of Oneness!
Oh he is not touched by wealth or poverty!
Yes, he is wealthy and honorable but he is not arrogant.
Yes, he is poor and disgraced but he knows opportunity lies behind it.
For wealth and poverty belong to the same Oneness.
Oh he who knows Oneness accepts his fate with gratitude.
He does not criticize, condemn and complain!
He is energetic, optimistic and altruistic!
Therefore, he is loved by the world.

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