The road, once taken,
Is no longer all the road could have been.
As soon as something is named,
It much of its meaning is lost.
The cosmos has its origin in the nameless.
Naming things is the mother of factuality.
Move aside desire,
To reveal the wondrous.
To wish and desire,
Reveals only the wishable and desirable.
Never one without the other,
Yet differently named.
Call them deep,
Even deeper than deep:
The gate into the wondrous.
Understanding what makes beauty beautiful,
Is knowing ugliness.
Understanding what makes goodness good,
Is knowing the bad.
Thus, concerning being and not-being,
So too they are understood by each other.
The wise stay in the undone,
Following unspoken lessons.
unfolds without end,
Comes forth without shape,
Does without doing.
It completes without owning,
And what remains unclaimed,
Not praising talent,
Not cherishing the valuable,
Not watching the seductive,
That is why the wise act thusly:
Empty the heart,
Fill the stomach,
Strengthen the bones.
Knowing nothing and desiring nothing,
That is when thoughts do not dare interfere.
Only start to do nothing,
To leave nothing unfinished.
As the Dao overflows,
Using it never fills it back up.
Its unfathomable depth,
Reveals the origin of all.
As sharpness fades into softness,
All that was tangles releases itself,
Blending into the light.
Still one with the earth.
Hidden, hidden away,
The only place possibility,
Seems to exist.
I do not know whose child it is,
That is the parent of Heaven.
Heaven and earth do not make exceptions for
All creatures know the same fate as the sacrificial
The wise do not make exceptions for humans.
All families know the same destiny as the
Aren’t heaven and earth similar to
The bellows and flutes of the bagpipes?
Completely filled with emptiness when still,
Creating only when moved.
Big words lead to big exhaustion,
Being grounded there is no compare.
Immortal is the soul of the valley,
This we call the pervious mystery.
The gate to this valley,
We call the root of Heaven and Earth.
At the same time
Heaven is eternal,
Earth is boundless,
Heaven and Earth are therefor of an eternal
Because they did not originate from themselves,
They live in constancy,
Constantly producing life.
The wise put themselves last,
And so take the lead.
They least of all consider themselves,
And so remain untouched.
Is it not because they are so detached from
That they reach all their goals?
The highest of the high is as water,
For water benefits all,
Even present in the most reviled spaces,
In doing so always near.
It lives in the foundation of benevolence.
It is aware of the deepest goodness.
Spreading the most humane goodness.
Speaking the sincerest goodness.
Standing firm in reserved goodness.
Acting in talented goodness.
Moving in timeless goodness.
Of itself and without competition.
Remaining ever without competition.
To cling and overuse,
As if it can’t be used up;
To polish and sharpen,
As if the protection is soon worn off;
Filling whole rooms with gold and jade,
That no man is capable of guarding.
Allowing oneself arrogance,
On account of riches and honors,
Is surrendering to one’s own demise.
Once finished, already retreating.
That is Heaven’s way.
(The book of the way of virtue)