A peaceful equilibrium

Is easy to preserve

The unmanifest

Is easy to prevent

That which is thin

Is easy to dissolve

That which is vague

Is easy to dispel

Deal with things

Before they emerge

Set things in order

Before they become confused

A tree too big to embrace

Grows from the tiniest seed

A nine-story tower

Rises from heaps of earth

A thousand mile journey

Begins with a single footfall

Act and you ruin it

Grasp and you lose it

Therefore the sage

Does not act

And so does not ruin

Does not grasp

And so does not lose

People in pursuit of their affairs

Often near success

And yet get defeated

If you can be as cautious at the end

As you were at the beginning

Then your work need not be ruined

Therefore the sage

Desires not to desire

Treasures having no treasures

Learns through unlearning

And returns to what others pass by

He helps all beings

To find their natural selves

Without ever acting presumptuously



2 thoughts on “TAO TE CHING 64

  1. Well, there’s a lot of levels to the concept of Wu Wei or ‘non’doing.’ Whilst it does have the meaning of not acting unnecessarily, and thus giving things the space they need to resolve themselves, it also means acting spontaneously and selflessly, instead of in response to useless habits, fears, and expectations. You allow action to arise naturally within you in accordance with the demands of the time, like a leaf responding to the pressure of a breeze.


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