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Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]

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Chapter 63

Thinking in the Beginning

Consider Beginnings / A Consideration of Beginnings

  Original Legge's Translation Susuki's Translation Goddard's Translation
1

(It is the way of the Dao) to act without (thinking of) acting; to conduct affairs without (feeling the) trouble of them; to taste without discerning any flavour; to consider what is small as great,
and a few as many;

Assert non-assertion. Practise non-practice. Taste the tasteless. Make great the small. Make much the little.

One should avoid assertion (wu wei) and practice inaction. One should learn to find taste in the tasteless, to enlarge the small things, and multiply the few.

2

And to recompense injury with kindness.

Requite hatred with virtue.

He should respond to hatred with kindness.

3

(The master of it) anticipates things that are difficult while they are easy, and does things that would become great while they are small.

Contemplate a difficulty when it is easy. Manage a great thing when it is small.

He should resolve a difficulty while it is easy, and manage a great thing while it is small.

4

.All difficult things in the world are sure to arise from a previous state in which they were easy, and all great things from one in which they were small.

The world's most difficult undertakings necessarily originate while easy, and the world's greatest undertakings necessarily originate while small.

Surely all the world's difficulties arose from slight causes, and all the world's great affairs had small beginnings.

5

Therefore the sage, while he never does what is great, is able on that account to accomplish the greatest things.

Therefore the holy man to the end does not venture to play the great, and thus he can accomplish his greatness.

Therefore the wise man avoids to the end participation in great affairs and by so doing establishes his greatness.

6

He who lightly promises is sure to keep but little faith; he who is continually thinking things easy is sure to find them difficult.

Rash promises surely lack faith, and many easy things surely involve in many difficulties.

Rash promises are lacking in faith and many things that appear easy are full of difficulties.

7 Therefore the sage sees difficulty even in what seems easy, and so never has any difficulties Therefore, the holy man regards everything as difficult, and thus to the end encounters no difficulties. Therefore the wise man considers every thing difficult and so to the end he has no difficulties.
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