Though everyone knows that Tao is great,
It appears utterly confounding.
Of course, it is only because it is confounding
That it can remain so great—
If its meaning could be easily picked apart,
It would have long ago lost its value!

Here are three great virtues for mankind to treasure:
The first is compassion,
The second is moderation,
The third is humility.

Compassion gives rise to courage,
Moderation gives rise to prosperity,
And humility gives rise to cooperation.

One can be courageous without compassion,
Prosperous without moderation,
And cooperative without humility.
But this goes against the way of Tao,
And so will usher in a great decay.

Above all, compassion can accomplish anything:
From winning a war,
To protecting a populace.
Truly, everything that endures in nature
Is predicated upon, and preserved by compassion.

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


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