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Selections from Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu. 
Translation 1891 by James Legge

 


"Therefore the sage manages affairs without doing anything, and conveys his instructions without the use of
speech
."

Tao Te Ching, Chapter One

The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao. The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name. 

(Conceived of as) having no name, it is the Originator of heaven and earth; (conceived of as) having a name, it
is the Mother of all things. 

Always without desire we must be found, 
If its deep mystery we would sound; 
But if desire always within us be, 
Its outer fringe is all that we shall see. 

Under these two aspects, it is really the same; but as development takes place, it receives the different names.
Together we call them the Mystery. Where the Mystery is the deepest is the gate of all that is subtle and wonderful. 

 

Tao Te Ching, Chapter Two

All in the world know the beauty of the beautiful, and in doing this they have (the idea of) what ugliness is; they
all know the skill of the skilful, and in doing this they have (the idea of) what the want of skill is. 

So it is that existence and non-existence give birth the one to (the idea of) the other; that difficulty and ease
produce the one (the idea of) the other; that length and shortness fashion out the one the figure of the other; that
(the ideas of) height and lowness arise from the contrast of the one with the other; that the musical notes and tones
become harmonious through the relation of one with another; and that being before and behind give the idea of
one following another. 

Therefore the sage manages affairs without doing anything, and conveys his instructions without the use of
speech. 

All things spring up, and there is not one which declines to show itself; they grow, and there is no claim made
for their ownership; they go through their processes, and there is no expectation (of a reward for the results). The
work is accomplished, and there is no resting in it (as an achievement). 

The work is done, but how no one can see; 
'Tis this that makes the power not cease to be. 

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