55

One who is rich in character
Can be said to be like a newborn baby.
Snakes and scorpions will not sting him,
Wild animals will not attack him,
And birds of prey will not swoop down upon him.
His bones are flexible,
And his muscles soft—
Yet his grip is so strong!
He is unaware of coitus,
And yet his penis stands erect—
His vitality is at full potential indeed!
He can scream all day and not become hoarse—
In what great shape his body must be!

To know this freshness is to be in accord with the eternal,
And to be in accord with the eternal is to be enlightened.

Though vitality inevitably wanes,
Artificial attempts to increase it are ill-fated.
An overuse of vital energy is bound to backfire:
Those who struggle against their decay
Grow old before their time.
This is a departure from the way of nature—
And whatever departs from this way
Meets an untimely end.

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



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