Once beauty is identified as precious,
Ugliness is seen everywhere.
Once the good is held up as an ideal,
The commonplace is considered bad.
Difficult and easy,
Long and short,
High and Low,
Sound and Silence,
Before and After—
Each of them are complementary parts of a bigger unity,
But our conditioned minds don’t perceive it that way.
We drive each aspect as far apart as possible from its complement,
And increasingly obsess over their division.
Therefore, the sage acts without struggle or coercion
And teaches by example and allusion rather than rote and rule.
Things come and he welcomes them.
Things go and he bids them adieu.
He helps with no expectation of gain,
Works with no expectation of reward,
Performs with no anticipation of results,
Completes projects but takes no credit.
Since he takes nothing from the World,
The World takes nothing from him.
And his impact upon the World long endures.
You may order or download The Tao Te Ching here.
List of verses here