Verses of the Tao Te Ching

  1. The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao.
  2. When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly.
  3. If you overesteem great men, people become powerless.
  4. The Tao is an empty vessel; it is used, but never filled.
  5. Heaven and Earth are impartial; they see the 10,000 things as straw dogs.
  6. The Tao is called the Great Mother: empty yet inexhaustible, it gives birth to infinite worlds.
  7. Heaven and Earth last forever.
  8. The highest good is like water.
  9. Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.
  10. Can you coax your mind from its wandering and keep to the original oneness?
  11. Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub; it is the center hole that makes it useful.
  12. Colors blind the eye.
  13. Success is as dangerous as failure.
  14. Look, and it can’t be seen.
  15. The ancient Masters were profound and subtle.
  16. Empty yourself of everything.
  17. The best leaders are those the people hardly know exist.
  18. When the great Tao is forgotten, goodness and piety appear.
  19. Throw away holiness and wisdom, and people will be a hundred times happier.
  20. Stop thinking, and end your problems.
  21. The Master keeps her mind always at one with the Tao.
  22. If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial.
  23. Express yourself completely, then keep quiet.
  24. He who stands on tiptoe doesn’t stand firm.
  25. There was something formless and perfect before the universe was born.
  26. The heavy is the root of the light.
  27. A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving.
  28. Know the male, yet keep to the female.
  29. Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it?
  30. Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men doesn’t try to force issues or defeat enemies by force of arms.
  31. Weapons are the tools of violence; all decent men detest them.
  32. The Tao can’t be perceived.
  33. Those who know others are intelligent.
  34. The great Tao flows everywhere.
  35. She who is centered in the Tao can go where she wishes, without danger.
  36. If you want to shrink something, you must first allow it to expand.
  37. The Tao never does anything, yet through it all things are done.
  38. The Master doesn’t try to be powerful; thus she is truly powerful.
  39. In harmony with the Tao, the sky is clear and spacious, the earth is solid and full, all creatures flourish together, content with the way they are, endlessly repeating themselves, endlessly renewed.
  40. Return is the movement of the Tao.
  41. When a superior man hears of the Tao, he immediately begins to embody it.
  42. The Tao gives birth to One.
  43. The softest thing in the universe overcomes the hardest thing in the universe.
  44. Fame or integrity: which is more important?
  45. True perfection seems imperfect, yet it is perfectly itself.
  46. When a country is in harmony with the Tao, the factories make trucks and tractors.
  47. Without going outside, you may know the whole world.
  48. In the pursuit of knowledge, every day something is added.
  49. The Master has no mind of her own.
  50. The Master gives himself up to whatever the moment brings.
  51. Every being in the universe is an expression of the Tao.
  52. In the beginning was the Tao.
  53. The great Way is easy, yet
  54. What is rooted is easy to nourish.
  55. He who is in harmony with the Tao is like a newborn child.
  56. Those who know don’t talk.
  57. Govern a country with upright integrity; deploy the army with surprise tactics.
  58. If you want to be a great leader, you must learn to follow the Tao.
  59. In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.
  60. Governing a large country is like cooking a small fish.
  61. A great nation is like a great man.
  62. The Tao is the center of the universe.
  63. Act without doing; work without effort.
  64. What is at rest is easy to hold.
  65. The ancient Masters didn’t try to educate the people, but kindly taught them to not-know.
  66. How do I know the way to follow?
  67. Some say that my teaching is nonsense.
  68. The best athlete wants his opponent at his best.
  69. The generals have a saying: “Rather than make the first move it is better to wait and see.”
  70. My teachings are easy to understand and easy to put into practice.
  71. Not-knowing is true knowledge.
  72. When they lose their sense of awe, people turn to religion.
  73. The Tao is always at ease.
  74. If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to.
  75. When taxes are too high, people go hungry.
  76. Men are born soft and supple.
  77. As it acts in the world, the Tao is like the bending of a bow.
  78. Nothing in the world is softer or weaker than water.
  79. Failure is an opportunity.
  80. If a country is governed wisely, its inhabitants will be content.
  81. Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not truthful.



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