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Tao Te Ching Chapter 55 | Lao-Tzu | Comparative Translations

The Way of Virtue





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.


(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).


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.)


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.

He who is in harmony with the Tao

is like a newborn child.

Its bones are soft, its muscles are weak,

but its grip is powerful.

It doesn't know about the union

of male and female,

yet its penis can stand erect,

so intense is its vital power.

It can scream its head off all day,

yet it never becomes hoarse,

so complete is its harmony.


The Master's power is like this.

He lets all things come and go

effortlessly, without desire.

He never expects results;

thus he is never disappointed.

He is never disappointed;

thus his spirit never grows old.




Translated by J. Legge





Translated by Stephen Mitchell















 

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