Chapters 19 – 24

<< Dao De Jing / 道德經 >>

Chapter 19


Stop holding high the banner of holiness and wisdom

And it will benefit everyone a hundred times better

Stop holding high the banner of morality and justice

And people will rediscover love

Give up trickery, renounce profit

And there won’t be bandits and thieves

These three practices alone are not enough

What’s more essential is to realize one’s true nature

Temper your desires, embrace simplicity

Stay at the center of the circle, let all things take their course

Chapter 20


Stop thinking, and put an end to all your problems

Is there really a difference between yes and no?

Good and bad go hand in hand, so how much difference is there?

Must I follow what others follow, and avoid what they avoid? How ridiculous!

The people of the world are restless and excited

As though they were feasting or at a parade

I alone am unmoved and expressionless

Like a newborn that has yet to learn to smile

Everyone has more than what they need, still they want more

I alone have nothing, like the only one left out

Not having anywhere in particular to go, I am unattached, like a homeless

My mind is so empty, I am an idiot

While other people are bright and clever, all knowing and self-assured

I alone am dull and slow

Drifting like a wave on the ocean, as aimless as the wind

While the people of the world all have a purpose, and everyone is busy

I alone am stubborn and awkward

I am really different from others

Because I obey my own nature

Chapter 21


The all-embracing character of a Master comes alone from following the Dao

The Dao is invisible and intangible, how can one follow it?

One follows it by not clinging to ideas

The Dao is elusive and evasive, yet there is light in the dark

How faintly and obscurely is the light, yet hidden inside is the essence of all things

This essence is the true life-force, which is at one with the trusting mind

Ever since the beginning, the Dao has been this way

Nothing is excluded, yet the Dao is beyond name and form

How do I figure it out?

I look inside myself and just see

Chapter 22


To yield is to keep intact

To bend is to straighten

To unload is to fulfill

To die down is to start anew

To lose is to gain

Yet to pursue gain is to get lost

Therefore the masters practice nonduality

And their wisdom is the light-post for us all

Not putting on a display, their light is clear and self-illuminating

Not justifying themselves, the truth they speak is self-evident

Not defending, they simply reside undisturbed in the Way

Striving to no goals, they are invincible

Those are not empty words when the ancient said, “To yield is to keep intact!”

Only by returning to the Dao can you truly be yourself

Chapter 23


One who realizes the nature of things says very few words

High wind doesn’t blow a whole morning

Big storm doesn’t last all day long

Why? It is just the way the Nature is

Follow the nature of things, be at one with the Dao

Accept everything as it is

And everything will fall into place

Once you develop this trusting mind

Life in true faith is possible

Chapter 24


Those who tiptoe do not stand firm

Those who stride cannot journey far

Those who put on a show do not realize

Those who justify themselves fail to be justified

Those who boast are to be unmasked

Those who cling to power will lose power

Excessive eating and unnecessary doing are not conducive to wellbeing

Therefore, the master of Dao turns away from them