Nothing in the world is as soft and accommodating as water,
And yet for overcoming the hard and inflexible,
There is nothing more effective.
Everyone knows that the liquid undermines the adamant,
That the yielding wears away at the unyielding,
Yet few of us are able to put this principle into play.
Therefore the sage says:
Only he who can embrace a society’s shame
Is qualified to rule over the entire country.
And only he who can bear its burden
Deserves to be carried on its shoulders.
These ideas may seem paradoxical at first glance,
But Tao is often like that.
You may order or download The Tao Te Ching here.
List of verses here