Chapters 31 – 37

<< Dao De Jing / 道德經 >>

Chapter 31


Weapons are the tools of violence
All decent men detest them
Followers of Tao refrain from using them
Except in the direst necessity
And only with utmost restraint
Peace is their highest value
They know the enemies are just humans like themselves
They don’t wish personal harm to the enemies
Nor do they rejoice in victory
For how could they delight in the slaughter of men?

Therefore, they enter a battle gravely
With sorrow and with compassion
As if attending a funeral

Chapter 32


The Tao is undefined, smaller than an electron
Yet it contains all the galaxies
If kings and lords could harness it
All things would come together in harmony
All people would need no instruction but live in peace

When the whole is divided, you have names for the parts
You must know they are provisional
And you must know when to stop
When you have institutions
You must know where their functions should end
Thus you can avert trouble and danger

All things end in the Tao
As rivers flowing home to the sea

Chapter 33


Knowing others is intelligence
Knowing oneself is wisdom
Mastering others is strength
Mastering oneself is power

If you are content
You are truly rich
If you are determined
You are invincible
If you focus on your center
You can endure anything
If you embrace death as new birth
You live forever

Chapter 34


The Great Tao flows everywhere, both to the left and to the right
Infinite things depend on it; it does not deny them
It works silently, making no claim
It nourishes everything, yet possessing nothing
Having no purpose or passion, it may be considered small
Yet all things return to it
Calling it home, it may be considered great
To the end it does not claim greatness
Thus it is truly great

Chapter 35


She who is centered in the Tao
Can go wherever she wishes safely
For she has found peace and joy in her heart

Music and good food
May make passersby stop and enjoy
While words that point to the Tao
Seem mild and flavorless
It can’t be seen, it can’t be heard
Yet when you apply it
Its supply is inexhaustible

Chapter 36


If you want to shrink something
   You must first allow it to expand
If you want to weaken something
   You must first allow it to be strong
If you want to root out something
   You must first let it shoot up
If you want to take something
   You must first give something
   – This is the Subtle Light, the way things are

Gentleness overcomes strength:
   Fish should be left in the deep pool,
   And sharp weapons of the state should be left
      Where none can see them.

The soft overcomes the hard, the slow outruns the fast
Fish should be left in deep pool; weapons should be stored where nobody knows
Let your workings remain a mystery
Just show people the results

Chapter 37


Tao abides in non-action,
Yet nothing is left undone.

If leaders could keep centered in the Tao,
The whole world would transform itself.
If the people are still driven by desires,
Let me lead as an example –
the example of nameless simplicity.
Living simple lives, people would be content
in harmony and tranquility.

Being free of desires,
the world arrives at peace.