Taoist Proverbs (71)

Composure is the ruler of instability.

If you boast, you will have no merit.
If you promote yourself, you will have no success.

Countless words count less than the silent
balance between yin and yang

The sage shuns excess, shuns grandiosity, shuns arrogance.

The sage accomplishes without abiding in her accomplishments...
because she does not abide in them, they never leave her.

The sage is sharp but not cutting, pointed but not piercing,
straight but not unrestrained, brilliant but not blinding.

Do only what needs to be done without using violence.

Although all forms are dynamic, and we all grow and transform,
each of us is compelled to return to our root. Our root is quietude.

Life and death are one thread,
the same line viewed from different sides.

When you attain wholeness, everything will flock to you.

Let the Tao be present in the universe and the universe will sing.

Embracing Tao, you become embraced.
Supple, breathing gently, you become reborn.
Clearing your vision, you become clear.

Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally
forward in whatever way they like.

If you look to others for fulfillment,
you will never truly be fulfilled.

Every step is on the path.

All streams flow to the sea because it is lower
than they are. Humility gives it its power.

Allow the heart to empty itself of all turmoil!
Retrieve the utter tranquility of the mind.

If you try to change it, you will ruin it.
Try to hold it, and you will lose it.

Just remain in the center; watching.
And then forget that you are there.

It is the child that sees the primordial secret of Nature
and it is the child of ourselves we return to.

It is not wise to rush about. If too much energy is used,
exhaustion follows. This is not the way of Tao.

There is a time to live and a time to die
but never to reject the moment.

If you want to awaken all of humanity,
then awaken all of yourself.

Heaven and earth are impartial.
They allow all things to die.

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.
Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow.

In the end the treasure of life is missed by those
who hold on, and gained by those who let go.

From wonder into wonder, existence opens.

Great acts are made up of small deeds.

Truly the greatest gift you have to give
is that of your own self-transformation.

After a heavy snowfall the more rigid branches
of the pine break under the weight of the snow.

A clever mind is not a heart.

As soon as you have made a thought, laugh at it.

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.

Because the sage doesn't know who he is,
people recognize themselves in him.
Because he has no goal in mind,
everything he does succeeds.

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.

Be gentle and you can be bold;
be frugal and you can be liberal;
avoid putting yourself before others
and you can become a leader among men.

For all things difficult to acquire, the intelligent man works with perseverance.

Do not mistake understanding for realization,
and do not mistake realization for liberation.

When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.

When you are lacking in faith,
others will be unfaithful to you.

If a person seems wicked, do not cast him away.
Awaken him with your words, elevate him
with your deeds, repay his injury with your kindness.

When the Tao is present in the universe, the horses haul manure.
When the Tao is absent, war horses are bred outside the city.

In harmony with the Tao, the sky is clear and spacious,
the earth is solid and full, all creatures flourish together, content with the way they are.

What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.

In the confrontation between the stream and the rock,
the stream always wins; not through strength, but through perseverance.

What is in the end to be thrown down,
begins by being first set on high.

It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act also.

We make a vessel from a lump of clay; It is the space
inside the vessel that makes it useful.

Just remember, when you should grab something,
grab it; when you should let go, let go.

There is more to knowing than just being correct.

Knowing is delusion; not knowing is confusion.
The true Way is as vast and boundless as outer space.

The Tao has no expectations. It does not speak or
make demands. It does not blame or take sides.

Move and the way will open.

The mind of a perfect man is like a mirror.
It grasps nothing. It expects nothing.
It reflects but does not hold.

Nature is not anthropomorphic.

The master observes the world but trusts his inner vision.
He allows things to come and go.
He prefers what is within to what is without.

No matter how much you try to hold on
to something, it will all be gone.

The journey is the reward.

No one can see their reflection in running water.
It is only in still water that we can see.

Tao is the way and the way is Tao.

Ordinary mind is the Way. If you seek it you cannot find it.
The Way is not a matter of knowing or not knowing.

Tao: the wellspring to peace and happiness.

Other people are excited, as though they were a parade.
I alone don't care, I alone am expressionless
like an infant before it can smile.

Problems cannot be resolved all at once.
Slowly untie the knots. Divide to conquer.

A strong wind does not blow all morning.
A cloudburst does not last all day.
How much less so the efforts of man?

When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.

If you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.

A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,
does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.

Accomplish but do not boast, accomplish without show,
accomplish without arrogance,
accomplish without grabbing, accomplish without forcing.

While the tangible has advantages,
It is the intangible that makes it useful.

All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy,
and great things in that which is small.

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