15

The ancient sages were masters of making their way in the world.
Since we can scarcely comprehend the depths of their understanding,
All we can do is reflect on their outward attitude:

Careful, like a man crossing a frozen stream,
Vigilant, like someone surrounded on all sides by threat,
Courteous, like an honored guest,
Yielding, like thawing ice,
Unassuming, like uncarved wood,
Receptive, like an empty valley,
Yet incomprehensible as a turbid pool.

Muddy water once settled becomes clear,
And settled water once again becomes agitated.
He who can remain constant and avoid the vicissitudes of excess,
Avoids becoming buffeted by changing currents,
And naturally cleaves to the path which cuts right through.

___________
You may order or download The Tao Te Ching here.
List of verses here



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