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Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]

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Chapter 8

The Placid and Contented Nature

Easy By Nature / The Nature of Goodness

  Original Legge's Translation Susuki's Translation Goddard's Translation
1 The highest excellence is like (that of) water. The excellence of water appears in its benefiting all things, and in its occupying, without striving (to the contrary), the low place which all men dislike. Hence (its way) is near to (that of) the Dao.
Superior goodness resembleth water. The water's goodness benefiteth the ten thousand things, yet it quarreleth not.Water dwelleth in the places which the multitudes of men shun; therefore it is near unto the eternal Reason
True goodness is like water, in that it benefits everything and harms nothing. Like water it ever seeks the lowest place, the place that all others avoid. It is closely kin to the Dao.
2 The excellence of a residence is in (the suitability of) the place; that of the mind is in abysmal stillness; that of associations is in their being with the virtuous; that of government is in its securing good order; that of (the conduct of) affairs is in its ability; and
that of (the initiation of) any movement is in its timeliness.
The dwelling of goodness is in lowliness. The heart of goodness is in commotion. When giving, goodness showeth benevolence. In words, goodness keepeth faith. In government goodness standeth for order. In business goodness exhibiteth ability. The movements of goodness keep time.
For a dwelling it chooses the quiet meadow; for a heart the circling eddy. In generosity it is kind; in speech it is sincere; in authority it is order; in affairs it is ability; in movement it is rhythm.
3 And when (one with the highest excellence) does not wrangle (about his low position), no one finds fault with him.
It quarreleth not. Therefore it is not rebuked. In as much as it is always peaceable it is never rebuked.
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