Chapters 13 – 18

<< Dao De Jing / 道德經 >>

Chapter 13


Praise is as treacherous as blame

It is not a well-balanced and grounded position either up or down

Hope is as illusional as fear

They both arise from clinging to the self

When we don’t see the self as a separate entity

What do we have to fear?

Treat the world the way you treasure your body

As if the world is your sole responsibility

See the world as precious as your body

Then everything will work out just fine

Chapter 14


Look and it can’t be seen, which is called the invisible

Listen and it can’t be heard, which is called the inaudible

Reach and it can’t be grasped, which is called the intangible

These three are indefinable, therefore they are joined as the One

From above it is not bright

From below it is not dark

A seamless state beyond description and definition

Simply it returns to nothingness

The form of the formless that includes all forms

The image without an image, subtle and elusive, beyond all conception and imagination

Stand before it and you see no beginning

Follow it and you find no end

Stay with the ancient Dao, be in the present

Realizing where you come from is the essence of wisdom

Chapter 15


The ancient Masters were profound and subtle

The depth of their realization is unfathomable

There is no way to describe it; all we can describe is the appearance

Ever so careful, they’re like someone treading on iced-over stream in winter

Ever so alert, like a warrior being aware of danger on all sides

Always courteous, like a guest

Readily yielding, like melting ice

Unadorned, like uncarved wood

Open and receptive, like a valley

Undifferentiated and impartial, like muddy water

Can you wait quietly while your mud settles?

Can you remain still till the moment of action arises by itself?

Masters of the Dao don’t seek fulfillment

Not seeking fulfillment, they are not constantly swayed by desire for change

Chapter 16


Empty yourself of everything

Let the mind become still

Watch the turmoil and unrest of beings

Contemplating their eventual return

Returning to the source is quiet and peace

If you don’t realize the source

You keep stumbling in confusion and sorrow

Once you realize the source

You naturally become openminded and tolerant

Dispassionate yet compassionate

Being at one with the Dao

You can deal with whatever life brings you

And when death comes, you are ready

For although the body dies, the Dao forever lasts

Chapter 17


The best leader is one whose existence is subtly known

The second best is one who is loved and praised

Then comes the one who is feared

Worse than that is the one who is despised

If you don’t trust the people

You yourself is not trustworthy

The best leader doesn’t talk incessantly

When his/her work is done, the people say, “How amazing, we did it!”

Chapter 18


When people deviate from the Dao

The doctrine of ‘righteousness’ and ‘morality’ emerges

When intelligence and cleverness come into being

Great hypocrisy follows on the heels

When family relationships are off balance

There comes the advocacy of filial piety

When the country falls into chaos

Patriotism is born