"If you would retain a wholesome personality, must you not restrain your lower interests from dominating over your higher interests?
If you wish to live healthily, should you not breathe naturally, like a child, and not hold your breath until your vitality is nearly exhausted?
If you desire to realize the potentialities of your indescribable original nature, how can you insist that some selected aspect of your personality is really superior to that original nature?
If you are required to govern others, ought you not be able to guide them by example, rather than by forcing your will upon them?
If Nature's way is a joint process of initiation and completion, sowing and reaping, producing and consuming, can you rightly demand that you deserve always to play the role of the consumer?
If you desire to know the nature of the various kinds of things, must you meddle with them, experiment with them, try to change them, in order to find out?
Nature procreates all things and then devotes itself to caring for them, Just as parents give birth to children without keeping them as slaves. It willingly gives life, without first asking whether the creatures will repay for its services. It provides a pattern to follow, without requiring anyone to follow it. This is the secret of intelligent activity."
- Translated by Archie J. Bahm, 1958, Chapter 10
"Can you hold the door of your tent
Wide to the firmament?
Can you, with the simple stature
Of a child, breathing nature,
Can you continue befriending
With no prejudice, no ban?
Can you, mating with heaven,
Serve as the female part?
Can your learned head take leaven
From the wisdom of your heart?
If you can bear issue and nourish its growing,
If you can guide without claim or strife,
If you can stay in the lead of men without their knowing,
You are at the core of life."
- Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 10
"By conserving the natural and spiritual powers it is possible to escape dissolution.
By restraining the passions and letting gentleness have its sway it is possible to continue as a child.
By purging the mind of impurities it is possible to remain untainted.
By governing the people with love it is possible to remain unknown.
By continual use of the Gates of Heaven it is possible to preserve them from rust.
By transparency on all sides it is possible to remain unrecognized.
o bring forth and preserve, to produce without possessing, to act without hope of reward, and to expand without waste, this is the supreme virtue."
- Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 10
"In bringing your spiritual (ying) and bodily (p'o) souls to embrace the One,
Can (neng) you never depart (li) from it?
In concentrating your breath to attain softness,
Can you be like an infant (ying erh)?
In cleansing your mirror (lan) of the dark (hsüan),
Can you make it spotless?
In opening and closing heaven's gate (t'ien men),
Can you be the female (tz'u)?
In being enlightened (ming) and comprehending all,
Can you do it without knowledge?
In loving the people and governing the state,
Can you practice non-action?
To give birth, to nurture,
To give birth yet not to claim possession (yu),
To act (wei) yet not to hold on to,
To grow (chang) yet not to lord over (tsai),
This is called the dark virtue (yüan te)."
- Translated by Ellen Marie Chen, 2000, Chapter 10
"Bring soul and spirit into unity, they will become welded in the Inner Life.
Conquer vital force until it yields to you, you will become as a new-born child.
Purify the channels of deep perception, you will dwell safely in the Inner Life.
Govern a kingdom by loving the people, they will learn to act from the Inner Life.
Open and shut the doors of heaven, you will have repose of mind in active life.
Let your purity shine forth in all directions, men will see that you have an Inner Life.
Give it birth, nourish it,
Give it birth, but do not seek to possess.
Act but do not appropriate.
Endure but do not rule.
That is called profound Teh."
- Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 10
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu: Introduction, Bibliography, Commentary, Chapter Index
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices
Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching
Dao De Jing Resources