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Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]

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Chapter 51

The Operation (of the Dao) in Nourishing Things

Nursing Virtue / Virtue As A Nurse

  Original Legge's Translation Susuki's Translation Goddard's Translation
1 All things are produced by the Dao, and nourished by its outflowing operation. They receive their forms according to the nature of each, and are completed according to the circumstances of their condition. Therefore all things without exception honour the Dao, and exalt its outflowing operation.
Reason quickens all creatures. Virtue feeds them. Reality shapes them. The forces complete them. Therefore among the ten thousand things there is none that does not esteem Reason and honor virtue.

Tao gives life to all creatures; de [teh] feeds them; materiality shapes them; energy completes them. Therefore among all things there is none that does not honor Dao and esteem de [teh].


This honouring of the Dao and exalting of its operation is not the result of any ordination, but always a spontaneous tribute.

Since the esteem of Reason and the honoring of virtue is by no one commanded, it is forever spontaneous.

Honor for Dao and esteem for de [teh] is never compelled, it is always spontaneous.


Thus it is that the Dao produces (all things), nourishes them, brings them to their full growth, nurses them, completes them, matures them, maintains them, and overspreads them.

Therefore it is said that Reason quickens all creatures, while virtue feeds them, raises them, nurtures them, completes them, matures them, rears them, and protects them.

Therefore Dao gives life to them, but de [teh] nurses them, raises them, nurtures, completes, matures, rears, protects them.

4 It produces them and makes no claim to the possession of them; it
carries them through their processes and does not vaunt its ability in doing so; it brings them to maturity and exercises no control over them;--this is called its mysterious operation.
To quicken but not to own, to make but not to claim, to raise but not to rule, this is called profound virtue. Tao gives life to them but makes no claim of ownership; de [teh] forms them but makes no claim upon them, raises them but does not rule them. This is profound vitality (de [teh]).
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