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Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]

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Chapter 77

The Way of Heaven

Heaven's Reason / Dao Of Heaven

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

May not the Way (or Dao) of Heaven be compared to the (method of) bending a bow? The (part of the bow) which was high is brought low, and what was low is raised up.

Is not Heaven's Reason truly like stretching a bow? The high it brings down, the lowly it lifts up. Those who have abundance it depleteth; those who are deficient it augmenteth. Tao of heaven resembles the stretching of a bow. The mighty it humbles, the lowly it exalts. They who have abundance it diminishes and gives to them who have need.

(So Heaven) diminishes where there is superabundance, and supplements where there is deficiency.

Such is Heaven's Reason. It depleteth those who have abundance but completeth the deficient.

That is Dao of heaven; it depletes those who abound, and completes those who lack.


It is the Way of Heaven to diminish superabundance, and to supplement deficiency. It is not so with the way of man. He takes away from those who have not enough to add to his own superabundance.

Man's Reason is not so. He depleteth the deficient in order to serve those who have abundance.

The human way is not so. Men take from those who lack to give to those who already abound.


Who can take his own superabundance and therewith serve all under heaven? Only he who is in possession of the Dao!

Where is he who would have abundance for serving the world?

Where is the man who by his abundance can best serve the world?

5 Therefore the (ruling) sage acts without claiming the results as his; he achieves his merit and does not rest (arrogantly) in it:--he does not wish to display his superiority. Indeed, it is the holy man who acts but claims not; merit he acquires but he does not dwell upon it, and does he ever show any anxiety to display his excellence? The wise man makes but claims not, he accomplishes merit, yet is not attached to it, neither does he display his excellence. Is it not so?
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