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Tao Te Ching Chapter 77 | Lao-Tzu | Comparative Translations

The Way of Virtue





May not the Way (or Tao) of Heaven be compared to the (method of) bending a bow? The (part of the bow) which was high is brought low, and what was low is raised up. (So Heaven) diminishes where there is superabundance, and supplements where there is deficiency.


It is the Way of Heaven to diminish superabundance, and to supplement deficiency. It is not so with the way of man. He takes away from those who have not enough to add to his own superabundance.


Who can take his own superabundance and therewith serve all under heaven? Only he who is in possession of the Tao!


Therefore the (ruling) sage acts without claiming the results as his; he achieves his merit and does not rest (arrogantly) in it:--he does not wish to display his superiority.

As it acts in the world, the Tao

is like the bending of a bow.

The top is bent downward;

the bottom is bent up.

It adjusts excess and deficiency

so that there is perfect balance.

It takes from what is too much

and give to what isn't enough.


Those who try to control,

who use force to protect their power,

go against the direction of the Tao.

They take from those who don't have enough

and give to those who have far too much.


The Master can keep giving

because there is no end to her wealth.

She acts without expectation,

succeeds without taking credit,

and doesn't think that she is better

than anyone else.




Translated by J. Legge





Translated by Stephen Mitchell

















 

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