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What makes the rivers so noble and respected
Is that they skillfully adopt the lower position.
This is why the fertile valleys all flourish around them.

In the same way, he who wants to rule the people,
Must act with the greatest humility.
He who intends to be the face of the populace,
Must be utterly self-effacing.
To lead, he must place his ego behind.

In this way,
Though the sage actually sits above them,
The people do not feel his weight.
Though he stands out in front,
He does not block the way.
The world never tires of exalting him—
It is because his needs do not contend with theirs
That they never find any reason to contend with him.

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



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