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Tao Te Ching Chapter 76 | Lao-Tzu | Comparative Translations

The Way of Virtue





Man at his birth is supple and weak; at his death, firm and strong. (So it is with) all things. Trees and plants, in their early growth, are soft and brittle; at their death, dry and withered.


Thus it is that firmness and strength are the concomitants of death; softness and weakness, the concomitants of life.


Hence he who (relies on) the strength of his forces does not conquer; and a tree which is strong will fill the out-stretched arms, (and thereby invites the feller.)


Therefore the place of what is firm and strong is below, and that of what is soft and weak is above.

Men are born soft and supple;

dead, they are stiff and hard.

Plants are born tender and pliant;

dead, they are brittle and dry.


Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible

is a disciple of death.

Whoever is soft and yielding

is a disciple of life.


The hard and stiff will be broken.

The soft and supple will prevail.




Translated by J. Legge





Translated by Stephen Mitchell
















 

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