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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 Three: Action

Chapter 59

Sentence for Sentence Translation:

治人事天,莫若啬: To govern people and to manage life, nothing is more important than saving time.
夫唯啬,是谓早服: Saving time is to act now to follow Tao early.
早服谓之重积德: To act now to follow Tao early means to diligently accumulate virtuous Te.
重积德则无不克: When one has achieved much virtuous Te, one can overcome all difficulties.
无不克则莫知其极: When one can overcome all difficulties, one has reached a state of unlimited power.
莫知其极则可以有国: When one has reached the state of unlimited power, one can govern a country.
有国之母,可以长久: If one governs a country with the virtues of Mother Tao, the country will last long.
是谓深根固蒂,长生久视之道: This means having deep roots and firm stalks is the way to long life and lasting vision Tao.

Interpretational Translation of Tao Te Ching Chapter 59:

In ruling a country and managing one’s life,
There is nothing more important than valuing time.
Oh, don’t waste time! To waste time is to waste life; for life is made up of time.
Therefore, act now to follow Tao!
To follow Tao now is to acquire virtuous Te every day.
To acquire enough virtuous Te is to overcome all things.
Oh overcome your own desires! Realize the true reality of all things is Tao! Begin to love yourself truly!
To overcome all things is to reach the state of wuwei of unlimited potential.
To reach wuwei is to rule a country with love.
Oh love the people! Give them freedom to follow their true nature!
To rule a country with love is to reach the mother of Tao.
Oh universal love for all! Let all living creatures live in harmony!
This is called having deep roots and firm stalks, long life Tao and eternal vision.
Oh yes, to love yourself, love others, and love nature is the essence of natural long life Tao!

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Chapter 64

Sentence for Sentence Translation:

其安易持: What is at peace is easy to maintain.
其未兆易谋: What has not yet appeared is easy to prevent.
其脆易破: What is fragile is easy to break.
其微易散: What is small is easy to disperse.
为之于未有: Act when things have not yet appeared.
治之于未乱: Govern when there are not yet troubles.
合抱之木,生于毫末: A big two-hand-embrace tree grows from a tiny seed.
九层之台,起于累土: A nine-story tower rises from a small pile of soil.
千里之行,始于足下: A ten-thousand-mile journey begins from a single step.
为者败之: Act to interfere will fail.
执者失之: Grasp to control will lose.
是以圣人无为故无败: Therefore, Shengren acts with wuwei so there is no failure.
无执故无失: No grasp so there is no loss.
民之从事,常于几成而败之: When people undertake endeavors, they often fail just when they are about to succeed.
慎终如始,则无败事: If people act as carefully at the end as in the beginning, there won’t be any failures.
是以圣人欲不欲: Therefore, Shengren desires what people don’t desire.
不贵难得之货: Don’t value hard-to-get goods.
学不学: Learn what people don’t want to learn.
复众人之所过: Restore what others have passed.
以辅万物之自然: Assist all things to return to their natural state.
而不敢为: And yet don’t dare to interfere.

Interpretational Translation of Tao Te Ching Chapter 64:

What is at peace is easy to maintain.
What has not yet appeared is easy to prevent.
What is fragile is easy to break.
What is small is easy to disperse.
Deal with it before it happens;
Manage it before it becomes chaotic.
Oh deal with things while they are fragile and small!
Oh act before symptoms appear!
That’s the way of invisible action wuwei!
A tree as big as a man’s embrace springs up from a tiny seed.
A tower of nine stories starts with a small brick.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Oh if you don’t want a tree to block your way or a tower to obstruct your view, then act early.
He who waits for events to happen before he acts is bound to fail.
He who waits for things to appear before he grasps is bound to lose.
Therefore the sage acts with invisible action wuwei.
He gets rid of the seed before it grows into a tree!
He takes away the brick before it builds up to a tower!
Oh no tree, no tower and no failure!
Nothing to grasp and nothing to lose!
When people undertake an endeavor, they usually fail when they are on the verge of success.
Oh even children become tense when they almost catch the butterfly!
Oh even the fisherman lets the big one get away when he almost has it!
Why? Because men want it so much that they lose it!
Yes, if they keep their desire in moderation from the first step to the last step, they will never fail.
Oh yes, one’s own desire is the worst enemy of all!
Hence the sage seeks liberation from desire.
He does not want to possess precious things and thus precious things don’t possess him!
Oh the sage seeks knowledge from the simplicity of nature.
Oh let men return to the simplicity of living!
Let the ten thousand things flourish on their own nature!
Oh there is a great power in simplicity;
And he who knows this power dares not to challenge it!

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