True Words
True words are not beautiful.
Beautiful words are not truthful.
The good do not argue.
Those who argue are not good.
Those who know are not scholarly.
The scholarly do not know.

The wise do not hoard.
The more they give to others, the more they have.
The Way of heaven sharpens but does no harm.
The Way of the wise accomplishes without striving.
:Tao Te Ching

Tao Basics processes :
Tao Basics: Microcosmic Orbit Meditation
Opening the Microcosmic Orbit is the ancient foundation for healing and martial arts. It awakens, circulates, and directs Chi (or Qi), the generating life force, through the two main acupuncture channels in the body. The Microcosmic Orbit Meditation then draws in and circulates healing energy from the universal, cosmic, and earth planes to empower the body/mind. Also taught are the Inner Smile and the Six Healing Sounds, useful in reducing stress, negative emotions, fatigue and other maladies.

Fusion of the Five Elements I
In this practice of Taoist Internal Alchemy, you will learn to neutralize the negative emotions of worry, sadness, arrogance, anger and fear back into pure energy by anchoring the source of the emotions in the bodily organs, and establishing a balance through the Five Elements control cycle. The purified energy is crystallized into a radiant energy pearl within the inner cauldron. This pearl is then circulated through the Microcosmic Orbit, attracting to it the external Chi of the Three Forces: Heaven, Earth, and Cosmic Force. The formation and circulation of the pearl plays a pivotal role in the nourishment of the soul or energy body. Pre-requisite: Microcosmic Orbit Meditation

Fusion of the Five Elements II
Fusion II practice uses the crystallized energy of the pearl to nourish the positive emotions or virtues of kindness, joy, fairness, courage, gentleness and compassion as a natural expression of inner balance. This virtue energy is then condensed into the pearl and used to open the three Thrusting Channels in the core of the body. In addition, the pearl is directed to open the Belt Channels which encircle and protect the nine major energy centers of the body. Pre-requisite: Microcosmic Orbit Meditation, Fusion I 

Fusion of the Five Elements III
The third level of Fusion of the Five Elements completes the cleansing and opening of the eight extraordinary energy channels in the body by activating the Yin and Yang Bridge and Regulator Channels. This makes the entire body extremely permeable to the circulation of vital energy. Additional practices of circulating energy for protection and sealing of the aura are also included, as well as a condensed and concise daily practice incorporating all three levels of the Fusion practice. Pre-requisite: Fusion II

Iron Shirt Chi Kung I
A unique system of standing meditation and breathing exercises for both martial arts and healing, Iron Shirt Chi Kung packs Chi into the fascia and connective tissue surrounding the vital organs, strengthening, healing, armoring and protecting them from injuries due to accidents or blows.You will learn how to root yourself and direct the Earth's gravitational and healing power through your bone structure for immovable stability, and how to draw in the Chi of nature for washing the marrow and strengthening the bones. Pre-requisite: Microcosmic Orbit Meditation. 

Iron Shirt Chi Kung II: Changing the Tendons
In this second level of Iron Shirt Chi Kung, the static standing postures learned in the first level evolve into moving postures. This series of movements enables you to grow and strengthen your tendons, to stimulate your vital organs, and to increase your ability to move and discharge the Earth force through your body structure. You will develop the special ability to absorb and discharge energy through your tendons, and to integrate your mind, eyes, heart, fascia, tendons, muscles and bone structure into one coordinated force. You will also learn methods for releasing accumulated toxins in your muscles and joints, increasing the free flow of energy so that accumulated bodily wastes can be discharged without resorting to extreme fasts or special dietary aids. Pre-requisite: Iron Shirt I 

Iron Shirt Chi Kung III: Bone Marrow Nei Kung 
In the third level of Iron Shirt, you will learn how to cleanse and grow the bone marrow, regenerate sexual hormones and store them in the fascia, tendons, and marrow, as well as how to direct your internal power to the higher energy centers. This level of Iron Shirt works directly on your organs, bones, and tendons to strengthen your entire system beyond its ordinary capacity. An extremely efficient method of vibrating the internal organs enables you to shake toxic deposits out of the inner structure of each organ by enhancing Chi circulation. This once highly secret method of advanced Iron Shirt, also known as the Golden Bell System, draws the energy produced in the reproductive system into the higher energy centers to carry out advanced Taoist practices. Iron Shirt Chi Kung is one of the five essential branches of Taoist Esoteric practice. Pre-requisite: Iron Shirt I, Healing Love

Awaken Healing Light of the Tao
The Healing Tao is a precise and powerful system of meditations, internal exercises, and other practices that can enhance every aspect of your life. These methods are among the earliest known forms of body/mind training, and have been used for thousands of years for healing, self-defense and spiritual development. They require no religious commitment and can benefit everyone. In this introductory evening, Dr. Stewart will teach the foundations of channeling energy and self-empowerment, which lay the energetic groundwork for the other areas of Taoist study. 

Healing Love Through the Tao: The Multi-Orgasmic Couple
For nearly five thousand years, the Taoist arts of cultivating male and female sexual energy have remained a well guarded secret. At first these arts were practiced exclusively by the Taoist masters and were taught outwardly only to the nobility. Later they were passed from father to son, mother to daughter, in an unbroken lineage down to the present. The Taoist secrets of love, which can be practiced either alone or with a partner, teach you how to conserve, restore, balance, increase and transform your sexual energy. By circulating sexual energy through the Microcosmic Orbit, your vital functions are invigorated and rejuvenated. These practices can enhance sexual fulfillment for both women and men, and can be transformed into a powerful energy for spiritual awakening and growth. Pre-requisite: Microcosmic Orbit Meditation. 

Buddha Palm and Qigong Healing Therapy
Buddha Palm is a rare and powerful form of energetic healing from China. You will learn how to generate a strong field of vital energy, so that your very presence can have a healing effect. You will also learn to assess the energy field of others, to project specific types of therapeutic energy, and to apply ancient techniques for opening the body to the inexhaustible well of healing power in nature. The techniques you will learn can be easily integrated into any healing or martial arts practice, particularly increasing the effectiveness of acupuncture, massage and Therapeutic Touch. 

Quotes :
The Infinite Way
The Way is infinite; its use is never exhausted.
It is bottomless, like the fountainhead of all things.
It smoothes its roughness; it unties its tangles.
It softens its light; it calms its turmoil.
Deep and still, ever present.
I do not know its source.
It seems to have existed before the Lord
:Tao Te Ching

Kyusho, vital points



Kyusho, vital points of the human body, are often referred to as Mato. These points appear all over the body along lines or meridians such as those used in accupuntcure. Much of the Atemi-Waza in the American Jujitsu system target these points. When properly struck they can produce severe pain, loss of consciousness, and even death. Thus, proper use can deadly, disabling, and at the very least downright discouraging. The following is a partial list of some of the more effective Kyusho points.

Kyusho strikes are most often perfomed with the thumb tips or the bony points of the knuckles. To start make a fist, placing the thumb on top. The thumb in this position has both strking and grabbing potential. Now when you strike, instead of using the first two knuckles of your hand use the tip of the thumb to focus your power through. When striking your aim is to penetrate through the muscle touching the nerve with the tip of the bone under the forward edge of the fingernail. 

Kyusho strikes can most certainly be accomplished using the knuckles, they are just less focused. Make a traditional fist, unless you want the option to use the thumb then make the fist as described above. Striking the under and inside portion of the upper arm, focusing your power and intent through the first two knuckles, is a good exampleof a kyusho strike using the traditional fist. Striking this area using a cutting motion does wonders for attitudinal adjustmen. A cutting motion is to punch through, as if you were trying to cut away the muscle not punch into it.

Ura Kimon the gap between the 4th and 5th ribs, below the nipple 
Yanagi Kaze the adams apple 
Rangiku the temple 
Suigetsu below the pit of the stomach 
Suzu the testicles 
Yu Kasumi dimpled area behind the ear lobe 
Tsuyu Kasumi directly under the ear 
Ryumon dimpled area on or near the clavicle 
Jyujiro front part of the shoulder bone 
Hoshi Shita gap between the upper and lower bones of the arm at the elbow joint 
Daimon gap near the shoulder joint 
Asagasumi the chin 
Hoshi the armpit 
Kimon the nipple 
Kinketsu the ribs 
Koshitsubo inside the hip bones 
Koe the leg joint at the lymph nodes 
Tenmon above and below the eyes and the nose 
Amado area of the lymph glands, 2 inches above the ear 
Jin Chu area below the nose and above the upper lip 
Hachi Yo the ear 
Menbu the face and the forehead 
Shoku Kotsu the adams apple 
Tsuki Nage the area on the right side of the navel 
Inazuma the area on the left side of the navel 
Sai the left inner thigh 
Usai the right inner thigh 
Yaku the calf 
Matsukaze the left and right sides of the throats indention 
Murasame area immediately below the adams apple 
Hoshisawa the elbow joint 
U-In area immediately below the right eye 
Sa-In area immediately below the left eye 
Tento the top of the head 
Shin Chu the chest 
Wakitsubo the root of the thumb 
Butsumetsu the sides of the ribs 
Kyokei top of the five toes 
Hadome an inch below the ear lobe 

Use What Does Not Exist
Thirty spokes are united around the hub of a wheel,
but the usefulness of the wheel
depends on the space where nothing exists.
Clay is molded into a vessel,
but the usefulness of the vessel
depends on the space where nothing exists.
Doors and windows are cut out of the walls of a house,
and the usefulness of the house
depends on the space where nothing exists.

Therefore take advantage of what exists,
and use what does not exist.

:Tao Te Ching


Taoist Approach to Conflict Resolution

This article discusses the pertinence of philosophical Taoism to psychological research by examining the Taoist ideas about conflict resolution in human interaction. According to Taoism, the ultimate goals of people consist of realizing harmony with one another and achieving consonance with nature. People can attain interpersonal harmony by understanding the significance of Tao and how human behavior is regulated by the interaction of three systems at the universal, interpersonal, and intrapersonal levels.

The significance of the issue
Taoism, along with Confucianism, is one of the two major native philosophical traditions that have shaped and permeated Chinese culture, and all Asian cultures affected by China (e.g., Japan, Korea, and Vietnam) for more than 2,000 years. In addition to its profound impact on the Eastern sciences, medicine, literature, and arts, philosophical Taoism has immensely influenced people's understanding about interpersonal actions and perceptions.

Some scholars in the West have explored the implications of Taoism for psychological research. For example, Taoism has been construed as a work of metaphysical psychology, delineating how the fundamental forces of the cosmos itself are mirrored in our own individual inner structure (Needleman, 1989). There have been some attempts to apply Taoist thought to psychotherapy (Ehrlich, 1986), holistic therapy (Kelly & McFarlane, 1991), and discussion of the self-actualization theories of Rogers and Maslow (Chang & Page, 1991).

The psychological (in particular the social psychological) research in the West, however, has paid little attention to Taoist thought concerning social interactions and perceptions, which postulates that one of the two paramount goals for human beings involves achieving harmony with one another (in addition to achieving consonance with nature) by following Taoist axioms. The quintessential ideas of Taoism can be regarded as guidelines for conflict resolution in the two types of relationships.

This paper intends to explore the pertinence of Taoist ideas to social behavior by examining three issues: (1) the meanings of Tao and Te and the three systems that regulate interpersonal actions and perceptions, (2) the causes of interpersonal conflicts, and (3) how to employ Taoist nonaction to change a target person's actions or perceptions in an interpersonal conflict situation.

The Taoist texts
The primary Taoist ideas discussed in this article are derived from two main Taoist texts: Tao Te Ching and The Art of War. The Tao Te Ching is taken as an accumulated wisdom through three centuries (6th-4th centuries B. C.) rather than the work of Lao Tzu alone (Xu, 1991). Although The Art of War was written about 2,400 years ago by a Chinese military philosopher, Sun Tzu, it has become one of the most highly appreciated strategic texts in today's business world. The two books are linked in that Tao Te Ching can be viewed as a manuscript addressing human behavior at the metaphysical level, whereas the Art of War may be perceived as a practical guidebook dealing with human interaction (Li, 1985). It should be noted, however, only these two philosophers' ideas about conflict resolution are examined in this article and it does not intend to give a comprehensive review of all related Taoist thoughts. For example, although Chuang Tzu's (369BC-268BC) teaching was traditionally treated as a significant part of Taoist literature (Mair, 1983), the current discussion includes no elaborations on Chuang Tzu, because some scholars believe that his rumination primarily dwells on absolute spiritual freedom and his visions about human interaction seem to digress from those of Lao Tzu (see Xu, 1991). The debate about the similarities and differences between the two Taoists is too complicated to address in this essay.

The three systems that regulate social interaction
Taoism views social actions and perceptions as regulated by the interaction of three systems at the universal, interpersonal, and intrapersonal levels. Each of the systems consists of an opposite and corresponding pair.

First, the operation of the highest system involves the antithesis and harmony between "Tao" and "Te." Traditionally, most scholars view the term "Tao" as synonymous with the "path" or the "way," and define the term "Te" as "virtue" or "integrity." This author, however, argues that the more appropriate meaning of Tao is the "alternatives," which refer to the eternal, ultimate reality (Lao Tzu, Chap. 16 & 25), or all alternative relations or patterns governing the operation of the universe and people's interaction with nature and with one another.

This novel interpretation of Tao is preferred by this author for three reasons. It is consonant with the term's original meanings in Chinese language. In addition to the "path" or the "way," the term Tao also connotes "choice(s)," "connection(s)," "method(s)," among others. The new translation can embrace, rather than reject, the meanings of the other interpretations. In addition, like other classificatory nouns of Chinese, "Tao" is both a plural and a singular noun (Hansen, 1983). Furthermore, this translation can better epitomize the profuse Taoist notions, which include two intrinsically related themes. The first one is "Reversal is the movement of Tao" (Lao Tzu, Chap. 40). For example, the development and transformation of the universe can be characterized as the two complementary, interdependent phases of Yin and Yang, alternating in space and time. The other Taoist central idea maintains that "Weakness is the usage of Tao" (Lao Tzu, Chap. 40). The best embodiment of this axiom is water. People may obtain the cognizance of Tao by contemplating water. The highest good is like water, not only because water is good at benefiting the myriad creatures, but also because water, which is nurturing, soft, weak and flexible, can vanquish hard and strong obstacles by selecting alternatives to reach its goals. As water does not compete, nobody can compete with it (Lao Tzu, Chap. 8 & 78).

The term "Te," on the other hand, may be best viewed as the awareness of Tao or the alternative relations and as the manners that are congruous with the knowledge. The greatest Te is to follow Tao (Lao Tzu, Chap. 21) both in the process of perception and in the course of interaction. When people perceive the world and others, they should discern all alternatives concerning an entity, "Know the white, but keep the black," "know honor, yet keep disgrace" (Lao Tzu, Chap. 28). The actions in human interaction listed by Lao Tzu as exemplifying Te include bearing yet not possessing, working yet not taking credit, leading yet not dominating, creating without claiming, and guiding without interfering (Lao Tzu, Chap. 10 & 51). In particular, the supreme Te involves the comprehension of how "the soft and weak surmount the hard and strong" (Lao Tzu, Chap. 36) and how impediments can be overcome through yielding (Lao Tzu, Chap. 22).

In other words, Tao and Te represent the objective and the subjective dimensions of the universe, respectively. People who understand and conform to Tao possess Te.

Understanding the universal system has three implications for comprehending social actions: (1) Everything in the universe, including people's cognition and actions, is constantly involved in changing and developmental processes, interacting with one another. (2) Different actions result from the actor's different amounts of Te, or the understanding of the alternatives in the situation, because people's choices of actions or perceptions in the world are fettered by their knowledge of Tao that regulates the nature and people. (3) An individual can learn and develop Te only when he or she is exposed to Tao, because only Tao, which manifests as more inclusive and alternative ways of perceiving the self, others and situations, can teach the person the meanings of Te. An individual who intends to change others' actions or perceptions must understand Tao, or comprehend how Tao operates in the universe, including all alternative factors (social, natural, external, psychological, etc.) that interact with the others, to obtain real freedom and consonance in the interaction.

Second, an individual's actions and perceptions in an interpersonal situation are also governed by the interpersonal system, which consists of the self and the other(s) who are similar or dissimilar in following or defying the Taoist principles during an interaction, "Knowing the others is wisdom, knowing the self is enlightenment"(Lao Tzu, Chap. 33).

The variable "similarity" is certainly not a new concept in the Western psychological research. For example, studies have shown that similarities in demographics, personality, attitudes, values, or beliefs are associated with interpersonal attraction (e.g., Barry, 1970; Byrne, 1971). Perceiving that a person in need is similar to us (e.g., similar in dress, attitudes, nationality, ethnicity) can also increases our willingness to help (Dovidio, 1984). Equity theory (e.g., Walster, Walster & Berscheid, 1978) maintains that people are most satisfied with a relationship when the ratio between the benefits derived and contributions made is similar for both partners (similar inputs and outcomes).

The Taoist concept of similarity, however, suggests that the extent to which people are similar or dissimilar in complying with or spurning the Taoist precepts will affect the types of relationship they may have. Because one side's interpersonal behavior that is carried out toward the other depends upon the target's reactions to be realized, the continuation of interpersonal interactions or conflicts relies on the participants' validation of each other's actions or perceptions. According to Taoism, a person in a conflict situation may minimize the dissension by using alternatives that can transcend or invalidate the perceptions or expectations of the opponent who exacerbates the situation. For example, people should apply calm to subdue the obstreperous (Sun Tzu, Chap. 7) and utilize stillness to overcome heat (Lao Tzu, Chap. 45).

The Taoist thoughts suggest that there are three possible relations between two interacting people. (1) When both sides understand and follow Tao in their interactions, they will engender a harmonious relationship, with mutual attraction and reward, because both validate each other's Tao-following actions. (2) When both sides deviate from Tao and use similar methods in their perception and interaction (i.e., both lack alternatives; both view power, force, or violence as most effective in solving conflicts), they also validate each other's violations. Interpersonal tensions and mutual animosity will stem from this type of confirmation. (3) When the self tries to reach harmony with the other while the other attempts to intensify a confrontation, the self may diminish the interpersonal friction by following the Taoist principles, because the person who understands Tao is the one who has more alternatives or choices in perception and interaction than the person who disobeys Tao. According to Lao Tzu, "Approach the universe with Tao, and evil will have no power; not that evil is not puissant, but its power will be harmless to people" (Lao Tzu, Chap. 60).

Sun Tzu's The Art of War gives a very insightful discussion of this type of system and its effects on interpersonal behavior. According to Sun Tzu, people or groups who want to solve their conflicts with others should make a move that invalidates the aggressors' expectations (Sun Tzu, Chap. 1). To win without fighting and invalidate the other's expectation, a person must know others and know the self (Sun Tzu, Chap. 3). The victory of a military force is determined by the opponent (Sun Tzu, Chap. 6).

Third, the effects of the universal and interpersonal systems on an individual's actions and perceptions are also mediated by the intrapersonal system, which consists of two opposite mental forces within the person (e.g., the cognition that enhances an accurate social perception and the cognition that distorts the perception; the force that justifies an action and the force that condemns the action). Because Taoism views people as a microcosm or small universe that is a part of, and the correspondence of, the large universe (macrocosm), the antithesis and unity of Yin and Yang and their alternation in the universe also operate within a person. According to Lao Tzu, all the pairs of opposites, such as shrink and expand, weak and strong, fall and raise, and receiving and giving, can be seen as the two possible aspects of each object. The intrapersonal system, which consists of the tendency toward Tao and the tendency to deviate from Tao, regulates social interaction in the following two ways: (1) Any attempt to change social behavior and perceptions depends upon not only various external forces and variables, but also the internal forces of the target person, who actively interprets and responses to the situation. (2) Within the person exist two internal forces. It is possible to alter social actions and perceptions because each entity must internally contain the possibilities for it to develop in the two directions before external forces can have any influences on the entity. A change in the direction congruous with Tao depends upon the individuals' awareness of the discrepancy between their actions or perceptions and the Taoist standards they accept.

The causes of interpersonal conflicts
Although conflicts among people and between people and nature generally result from people's deviation from Tao, Lao Tzu also identifies several tangible reasons for interpersonal discord.

First, the disharmony may originate from the ignorance of the precept "Reversal is the movement of Tao" (Lao Tzu, Chap. 40), which maintains that when things develop to extremes, they will evolve in the opposite directions. Those who do not know when to stop or who attempt to alter the movement of Tao will encounter in troubles (Lao Tzu, Chap. 44).

Second, people who believe that they can subdue others by being belligerent, violent, angry, and supercilious may temporarily repress conflicts, but they cannot create interpersonal harmonies, because violence and intimidation, which are contradictory to Tao, can only perpetuate conflicts and tensions (Lao Tzu, Chap. 30 & 68)

Third, individuals who are hard, stiff, unbending, and are unaware of alternatives will inevitably put themselves in predicaments of conflict (Lao Tzu, Chap. 76).

The concept of nonaction and the meanings of changes in people's actions or perceptions
In the following discussion, I'd like to use the Taoist concept "nonaction" to illustrate how the operations of the three systems (e.g., the Tao and Te, the similarities and differences between two interacting people, and the two intrapersonal opposite forces) govern the processes of conflict resolution.

As a key connotation of Te, the nonaction (wu-wei) elucidated in various Taoist literature does not imply passiveness or acquiescence. According to Lao Tzu, Tao abides in nonaction, yet nothing is left undone (Chap. 37). When nothing is done, nothing is left undone (Chap. 48). In contrast with the concept of action, which refers to goal-directed initiatives by an actor, nonaction refers to the intentional lack of action in the natural and social worlds. Nonaction differs from omission, which refers to the failure to do or a neglect of something that is required.

According to Taoism, changes in people's perceptions or behavior are necessary and possible only when they are aberrant from Tao. If they do not deviate from Tao but someone (e.g., a researcher or psychologist) tries to alter them, then it is the someone whose thinking or actions should be rectified.

Traditional Western research on social actions and perceptions usually involves the study of how the presence of a stimulus (e.g., sex, race) affects people's actions or perceptions, but it neglects the fact that both the presence or the absence of a stimulus can produce particular changes in people's conduct or cognition.

How can an actor use nonaction to change the other's actions that exacerbate interpersonal contentions
Taoism assumes that nonaction can lead to the reduction of conflicts and changing behavior in the desired direction only when the actor understands how to use nonaction according to the operations of the three systems, each of which specifies a situation related to the other that the actor must be aware of in order to unravel conflicts.

First, an actor can use nonaction to change the other's conduct and perceptions when the actor is aware of the operation of Tao, understanding all alternative factors that can lead to the end and how things will develop without interference in the natural course of the events. Taoism indicates that an actor's actions toward the target person are only one of myriad forces (various natural or psychological forces) that influence the person. Everything in the world develops and transforms according to some laws or patterns. High winds do not last all morning. Heavy rain does not last all day (Lao Tzu, Chap. 23). The world is ruled by letting things take their course, not by interfering (Lao Tzu, Chap. 48). The Yin and Yang of Entities alternate in time and space even without interference. For example, long and short contrast each other; high and low rest upon each other; voice and sound harmonize each other; front and back follow one another. Therefore, the sage goes about nonaction, teaching through non-talking (Lao Tzu, Chap. 2).

The Taoist idea about no interference in people's actions or perceptions is also supported by the studies based on the theory of psychological reactance. They have suggested that actions may have the opposite effects desired by the actors, people may be motivated to do something antithetical to the actor's intention if they feel their freedom of doing that thing is deprived (Brehm, 1966; Brehm & Brehm, 1981). When people's freedoms to hold some attitudes are threatened by others' persuasions, they often exhibit negative attitude changes or "boomerang effect," by moving in a direction contrary to the one advocated (Heller, Pallak & Picek, 1973).

Second, an actor in a conflict situation can also use nonaction to thwart the other's offense by employing the knowledge of the interpersonal system based on the consideration of both the self and the other's alternatives in perception and interaction. The self should use the alternatives that transcend those of the other, rather than confirming the anticipations of the other who intends to escalate the conflict.

An actor's nonaction can curtail an offender's pugnacity by invalidating the assailant's expectations about the effects of an assault on the actor or by creating uncertainty that demands reduction. For example, people who engage in behaviors of rancorous nature always assume that the effects of their deeds are perceived as similar by the victims of the conducts. If a person remains untouched after being vilified, the calm actually invalidates the effectiveness of the offender's denigration. Obviously, because people's actions are regulated by how they interpret and understand situations and interaction (Harre & Gillett, 1994; Kelly, 1955; Heider, 1958; Karniol, 1990), when the offenders realize what they believed to be valid is ineffective on the victim, they are likely to change their actions and the related cognition.

Third, the Taoist nonaction may minimize interpersonal conflicts by affecting the aggressors' intrapersonal system, making them aware that they have breached some internal standards to which they adhere. In other words, achieving real interpersonal harmonies and solving interpersonal conflicts are based on the perpetrators' realization that their actions or perceptions have strayed from Tao.

It can be argued that Lao Tzu emphasizes that people should repay resentment with Te (Chap. 63), because Te, which is exemplified by nonaction, can impede the others' offenses by augmenting their awareness that their indignation is unjust. The studies based on equity theory, for example, corroborate the Taoist precept by manifesting that people are concerned with whether the outcomes they receive are congruent with what they input. Inequity is a distressing state and motivates people to restore and maintain equity by changing their behaviors (e.g., Adams, 1965; Walster, Walster, & Berscheid, 1978).

However, the nonaction of an individual who is unfairly treated may not create the perceived inequity for the assailant without at least the following three conditions: (1) The aggressor must be made known of the effects of his/her actions. For example, I cannot educate an egocentric roommate who plays loud music with nonaction if he or she is unaware of the disturbing effect. (2) The antagonist has imposed his/her expectations on the victim, not someone else. (3) The victim's nonaction serves only as a response to the offender's encroachment. That is, the nonaction must be justified.

In short, nonaction that can lead to conflict resolution is based on the actor's understanding of how things will develop without active interference in their natural courses, how nonaction can invalidate the offender's expectations, and how nonaction can influence the forces within the person that enhance the accurate perceptions of reality or the development of a justice principle.

The conclusions
The above discussions indicate that although the Taoist approach was formulated more than two millennia ago, it still can provide a unique perspective for examining and understanding human behavior and conflict resolution. Because conflicts, their escalations, and resolutions characterize various types of human interaction, the Taoist model has a great potential to be applied to such diverse domains as business management, the prevention of violence, counseling and intervention, and the diminution of intergroup conflicts. In particular, I believe that the following Taoist precepts merit attention in Western psychological research:

First, Taoism assumes that there are two antithetical forces in the universal, interpersonal, and intrapersonal systems that contribute to the development of an interpersonal or intergroup conflict: the force that exacerbates the conflict and the force that diminishes it. In contrast, psychological research in the West tends to focus on the variables that intensify a conflict but is inclined to ignore the factors that reduce it. For example, most Western psychological studies of the causes of prejudice have examined the variables (e.g., social categorization, authoritarianism, realistic conflict) that, if present, will increase prejudice, but the investigations have overlooked social, cognitive, motivational, and other variables that, if present, will lessen prejudice (Sun, 1993).

Second, the Taoist ideas about interpersonal dynamics suggest that a conflict between two opponents persists often because the person who tries to attain harmony with the other does not know more alternatives (e.g., alternative ways to categorize, evaluate, explain, and act in, the situation) than the other who attempts to intensify the confrontation. This principle may also be applied to understand the issue of international conflicts. For example, a powerful nation that tries to use economic sanctions to compel a weak nation to give in on some issues often get disappointed, because the powerful nation fails to consider and evaluate the self options other than the economic sanctions and the other's alternatives in dealing with it. I believe that this principle has not been absorbed into the Western research on the maintenance mechanisms of both interpersonal and international frictions.

Third, as previously indicated, a nonaction is often more effective in solving a conflict than an action. The concept of nonaction appears to deserve more appreciation in the Western psychology.

Fourth, according to Taoism, the best way to weaken a behavior is to first strengthen it. That which shrinks, must first expand. That which fails, must first be strong. That which is cast down, must first be raised (Lao Tzu, Chap. 36). This proposition is sustained by a body of studies (see Hunsley, 1988; Wegner, 1989), and it merits further investigation.

Psychological research in the West can benefit from assimilating the Taoist ideas about human interaction

Tao Quotes from the "The Classics" (Lao-tzu (Tao-te Ching)
Excerpt of the translation of Lao Tzu's Tao-te Ching

You never find happiness until you stop looking for it. 
My greatest happiness consists precisely in doing nothing whatever that is calculated to obtain happiness: 
and this, in the minds of most people, is the worst possible course... 

The true men of old knew no lust for life, no dread of death. 
Their entrance was without gladness, their exit, yonder, without resistance. 
Easy come, easy go. 
They did not forget where from, nor ask where to, nor drive grimly forward fighting their way through life. 
They took life as it came, gladly; 
took death as it came, without care; and went away, yonder. Yonder! 

They had no mind to fight Tao. 
They did not try by their own contriving, to help Tao along. 
These are the ones we call true men. 

Minds free, thoughts gone. Brows clear, faces serene. 
(6:1, pp. 89-90)

Goods and possessions are no gain in his eyes. 
He stays far from wealth and honor. 
Long life is no ground for joy, nor early death for sorrow. 
Success is not for him to be pround of, failure is no shame. 
Had he all the world's power he would not hold it as his own. 
If he conquered everything he would not take it to himself. 
His glory is in knowing that all things come together in One and life and death are equal. 
(12:2, pp. 106-107)

The man in whom Tao acts without impediment harms no other being by his actions 
yet he does not know himself to be "kind", to be "gentle"... 
(He) does not bother with his own interests and does not despise others who do. 
He does not struggle to make money and does not make a virtue of poverty. 
He goes his way without relying on others and does not pride himself on walking alone. 
While he does not follow the crowd he won't complain of those who do. 
Rank and reward make no appeal to him; disgrace and shame do not deter him. 
He is not always looking for right and wrong, always deciding "Yes" or "No." 
The ancients said, therefore: 

Quotes of Lao Tzu -- Tao (The Way) :

The way that can be spoken of 
Is not the constant way; 
The name that can be named 
Is not the constant name. 

The nameless was the beginning of heaven and earth; 
The named was the mother of the myriad creatures. 

Hence always rid yourself of desires in order to observe its secrets; 
But always allow yourself to have desires in order to observe its manifestations. 

These two are the same 
But diverge in name as they issue forth. 
Being the same they are called mysteries, 
Mystery upon mystery - 
The gateway of the manifold secrets. 

The whole world recognizes the beautiful as the beautiful, yet this is only the ugly; 
the whole world recognizes the good as the good, yet this is only the bad. 

Thus Something and Nothing produce each other; 
The difficult and the easy complement each other; 
The long and the short off-set each other; 
The high and the low incline towards each other; 
Note and sound harmonize with each other; 
Before and after follow each other. 

Therefore the sage keeps to the deed that consists in taking no action and practises the teaching that uses no words. 

The myriad creatures rise from it yet it claims no authority; 
It gives them life yet claims no possession; 
It benefits them yet exacts no gratitude; 
It accomplishes its task yet lays claim to no merit. 

It is because it lays claim to no merit 
That its merit never deserts it. 

Not to honor men of worth will keep the people from contention; 
not to value goods which are hard to come by will keep them from theft; 
not to display what is desirable will keep them from being unsettled of mind. 

Therefore in governing the people, the sage empties their minds but fills their bellies, weakens their wills but strengthens their bones. 
He always keeps them innocent of knowledge and free from desire, and ensures that the clever never dare to act. 

Do that which consists in taking no action, and order will prevail. 

The way is empty, yet use will not drain it. 
Deep, it is like the ancestor of the myriad creatures. 

Blunt the sharpness; 
Untangle the knots; 
Soften the glare; 
Let your wheels move only along old ruts. 

Darkly visible, it only seems as if it were there. 
I know not whose son it is. 
It images the forefather of God. 

Heaven and earth are ruthless, and treat the myriad creatures as straw dogs; 
the sage is ruthless, and treats the people as straw dogs. 

Is not the space between heaven and earth like a bellows? 
It is empty without being exhausted: 
The more it works the more comes out. 

Much speech leads inevitably to silence. 
Better to hold fast to the void. 

The spirit of the valley never dies. 
This is called the mysterious female. 
The gateway of the mysterious female 
Is called the root of heaven and earth. 
Dimly visible, it seems as if it were there, 
Yet use will never drain it. 

Heaven and earth are enduring. 
The reason why heaven and earth can be enduring is that they do not give themselves life. 
Hence they are able to be long-lived. 

Therefore the sage puts his person last and it comes first, 
Treats it as extraneous to himself and it is preserved. 

Is it not because he is without thought of self that he is able to accomplish his private ends? 

Highest good is like water. 
Because water excels in benefiting the myriad creatures without contending with them and settles where none would like to be, it comes close to the way. 

In a home it is the site that matters; 
In quality of mind it is depth that matters; 
In an ally it is benevolence that matters; 
In speech it is good faith that matters; 
In government it is order that matters; 
In affairs it is ability that matters; 
In action it is timeliness that matters. 

It is because it does not contend that it is never at fault. 

Rather than fill it to the brim by keeping it upright 
Better to have stopped in time; 
Hammer it to a point 
And the sharpness cannot be preserved for ever; 
There may be gold and jade to fill a hall 
But there is none who can keep them. 
To be overbearing when one has wealth and position 
Is to bring calamity upon oneself. 
To retire when the task is accomplished 
Is the way of heaven. 

When carrying on your head your perplexed bodily soul 
Can you embrace in your arms the One and not let go? 
In concentrating your breath can you become as supple 
As a babe? 
Can you polish your mysterious mirror 
And leave no blemish? 
Can you love the people and govern the state 
Without resorting to action? 
When the gates of heaven open and shut 
Are you capable of keeping to the role of the female? 
When your discernment penetrates the four quarters 
Are you capable of not knowing anything? 

It gives them life and rears them. 

It gives them life yet claims no possession; 
It benefits them yet exacts no gratitude; 
It is the steward yet exercises no authority. 
Such is called the mysterious virtue. 

Thirty spokes share one hub. 
Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the cart. 
Knead clay in order to make a vessel. 
Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the vessel. 
Cut out doors and windows in order to make a room. 
Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the room. 

Thus what we gain is Something, yet it is by virtue of Nothing that this can be put to use. 

The five colors make man's eyes blind; 
The five notes make his ears deaf; 
The five tastes injure his palate; 
Riding and hunting 
Make his mind go wild with excitement; 
Goods hard to come by 
Serve to hinder his progress. 

Hence the sage is 
For the belly 
Not for the eye. 

Therefore he discards the one and takes the other. 

Favor and disgrace are things that startle; 
High rank is, like one's body, a source of great trouble. 

What is meant by saying favor and disgrace are things that startle? 
Favor when it is bestowed on a subject serves to startle as much as when it is withdrawn. 
This is what is meant by saying that favor and disgrace are things that startle. 
What is meant by saying that high rank is, like one's body, a source of great trouble? 
The reason I have great trouble is that I have a body. 
When I no longer have a body, what trouble have I? 

Hence he who values his body more than dominion over the empire can be entrusted with the empire. 
He who loves his body more than dominion over the empire can be given the custody of the empire. 

What cannot be seen is called evanescent; 
What cannot be heard is called rarefied; 
What cannot be touched is called minute. 

These three cannot be fathomed 
And so they are confused and looked upon as one. 

Its upper part is not dazzling; 
Its lower part is not obscure. 
Dimly visible, it cannot be named 
And returns to that which is without substance. 
This is called the shape that has no shape, 
The image that is without substance. 
This is called indistinct and shadowy. 
Go up to it and you will not see its head; 
Follow behind it and you will not see its rear. 

Hold fast to the way of antiquity 
In order to keep in control the realm of today. 
The ability to know the beginning of antiquity 
Is called the thread running through the way. 

Of old he who was well versed in the way 
Was minutely subtle, mysteriously comprehending, 
And too profound to be known. 
It is because he could not be known 
That he can only be given a makeshift description: 

Tentative, as if fording a river in winter, 
Hesitant, as if in fear of his neighbors; 
Formal like a guest; 
Falling apart like the thawing ice; 
Thick like the uncarved block; 
Vacant like a valley; 
Murky like muddy water. 

Who can be muddy and yet, settling, slowly become limpid? 
Who can be at rest and yet, stirring, slowly come to life? 
He who holds fast to this way 
Desires not to be full. 
It is because he is not full 
That he can be worn and yet newly made. 

I do my utmost to attain emptiness; 
I hold firmly to stillness. 
The myriad creatures all rise together 
And I watch their return. 
The teaming creatures 
All return to their separate roots. 
Returning to one's roots is known as stillness. 
This is what is meant by returning to one's destiny. 
Returning to one's destiny is known as the constant. 
Knowledge of the constant is known as discernment. 

Woe to him who wilfully innovates 
While ignorant of the constant, 
But should one act from knowledge of the constant 
One's action will lead to impartiality, 
Impartiality to kingliness, 
Kingliness to heaven, 
Heaven to the way, 
The way to perpetuity, 
And to the end of one's days one will meet with no danger. 

The best of all rulers is but a shadowy presence to his subjects. 
Next comes the ruler they love and praise; 
Next comes one they fear; 
Next comes one with whom they take liberties. 

When there is not enough faith, there is lack of good faith. 

Hesitant, he does not utter words lightly. 
When his task is accomplished and his work done 
The people all say, 'It happened to us naturally.' 

When the great way falls into disuse 
There are benevolence and rectitude; 
When cleverness emerges 
There is great hypocrisy; 
When the six relations are at variance 
There are filial children; 
When the state is benighted 
There are loyal ministers. 

Exterminate learning and there will no longer be worries. 

Exterminate the sage, discard the wise, 
And the people will benefit a hundredfold; 
Exterminate benevolence, discard rectitude, 
And the people will again be filial; 
Exterminate ingenuity, discard profit, 
And there will be no more thieves and bandits. 

These three, being false adornments, are not enough 
And the people must have something to which they can attach themselves: 
Exhibit the unadorned and embrace the uncarved block, 
Have little thought of self and as few desires as possible. 

Between yea and nay 
How much difference is there? 
Between good and evil 
How great is the distance? 

What others fear 
One must also fear. 

The multitude are joyous 
As if partaking of the offering 
Or going up to a terrace in spring. 
I alone am inactive and reveal no signs, 
And wax without having reached the limit. 
Like a baby that has not yet learned to smile, 
Listless as though with no home to go back to. 
The multitude all have more than enough. 
I alone seem to be in want. 
My mind is that of a fool - how blank! 
Vulgar people are clear. 
I alone am drowsy. 
Vulgar people are alert. 
I alone am muddled. 
Calm like the sea; 
Like a high wind that never ceases. 
The multitude all have a purpose. 
I alone am foolish and uncouth. 
I alone am different from others 
And value being fed by the mother. 

In his every movement a man of great virtue 
Follows the way and the way only. 

As a thing the way is 
Shadowy and indistinct. 
Indistinct and shadowy, 
Yet within it is an image; 
Shadowy and indistinct, 
Yet within it is a substance. 
Dim and dark, 
Yet within it is an essence. 
This essence is quite genuine 
And within it is something that can be tested. 

From the present back to antiquity, 
Its name never deserted it. 
It serves as a means for inspecting the fathers of the multitude. 

How do I know that the fathers of the multitude are like that? 
By means of this. 

Bowed down then preserved; 
Bent then straight; 
Hollow then full; 
Worn then new; 
A little then benefited; 
A lot then perplexed. 

Therefore the sage embraces the One and is a model for the empire. 

He does not show himself, and so is conspicuous; 
He does not consider himself right, and so is illustrious; 
He does not brag, and so has merit; 
He does not boast, and so endures. 

It is because he does not contend that no one in the empire is in a position to contend with him. 

The way the ancients had it, 'Bowed down then preserved', is no empty saying. 
Truly it enables one to be preserved to the end. 

To use words but rarely 
Is to be natural. 

Hence a gusty wind cannot last all morning, and a sudden downpour cannot last all day. 
Who is it that produces these? Heaven and earth. 
If even heaven and earth cannot go on forever, much less can man. 
That is why one follows the way. 

A man of the way conforms to the way; 
A man of virtue conforms to virtue; 
A man of loss conforms to loss. 
He who conforms to the way is gladly accepted by the way; 
He who conforms to virtue is gladly accepted by virtue; 
He who conforms to loss is gladly accepted by loss. 

When there is not enough faith, there is lack of good faith. 

He who tiptoes cannot stand; he who strides cannot walk. 

He who shows himself is not conspicuous; 
He who considers himself right is not illustrious; 
He who brags will have no merit; 
He who boasts will not endure. 

From the point of view of the way these are 'excessive food and useless excresences'. 
As there are Things that detest them, he who has the way does not abide in them. 

There is a thing confusedly formed, 
Born before heaven and earth. 
Silent and void 
It stands alone and does not change, 
Goes round and does not weary. 
It is capable of being the mother of the world. 
I know not its name 
So I style it 'the way'. 

I give it the makeshift name of 'the great'. 
Being great, it is further described as receding, 
Receding, it is described as far away, 
Being far away, it is described as turning back. 

Hence the way is great; 
Heaven is great; 
Earth is great; 
The king is also great. 
Within the realm there are four things that are great, 
And the king counts as one. 

Man models himself on earth, 
Earth on heaven, 
Heaven on the way, 
And the way on that which is naturally so. 

The heavy is the root of the light; 
The still is the lord of the restless. 

Therefore the gentleman when travelling all day 
Never lets the heavily laden carts out of his sight. 
It is only when he is safely behind walls and watch-towers 
That he rests peacefully and is above worries. 
How, then, should a ruler of ten thousand chariots 
Make light of his own person in the eyes of the empire? 

If light, then the root is lost; 
If restless, then the lord is lost. 

One who excels in travelling leaves no wheel tracks; 
One who excels in speech makes no slips; 
One who excels in reckoning uses no counting rods; 
One who excels in shutting uses no bolts yet what he has shut cannot be opened. 
One who excels in tying uses no cords yet what he has tied cannot be undone. 

Therefore the sage always excels in saving people, and so abandons no one; 
Always excels in saving things, and so abandons nothing. 

This is called following one's discernment. 

Hence the good man is the teacher the bad learns from; 
And the bad man is the material the good works on. 
Not to value the teacher 
Nor to love the material 
Though it seems clever, betrays great bewilderment. 

This is called the essential and the secret. 

Know the male 
But keep to the role of the female 
And be a ravine to the empire. 
If you are a ravine to the empire, 
Then the constant virtue will not desert you 
And you will again return to being a babe. 

Know the white 
But keep to the role of the sullied 
And be a model to the empire. 
If you are a model to the empire, 
Then the constant virtue will not be wanting 
And you will return to the infinite, 

Know honour 
But keep to the role of the disgraced 
And be a valley to the empire. 
If you are a valley to the empire, 
Then the constant virtue will be sufficient 
And you will return to being the uncarved block. 

When the uncarved block shatters it becomes vessels. 
The sage makes use of these and becomes the lord over the officials. 

Hence the greatest cutting does not sever. 

Whoever takes the empire and wishes to do anything to it I see will have no respite. 
The empire is a sacred vessel and nothing should be done to it. 
Whoever does anything to it will ruin it; 
whoever lays hold of it will lose it. 

Hence some things lead and some follow; 
Some breathe gently and some breathe hard; 
Some are strong and some are weak; 
Some destroy and some are destroyed. 

Therefore the sage avoids excess, extravagance, and arrogance. 

One who assists the ruler of men by means of the way does not intimidate the empire by a show of arms. 

This is something which is liable to rebound. 
Where troops have encamped 
There will brambles grow; 
In the wake of a mighty army 
Bad harvests follow without fail. 

One who is good aims only at bringing his campaign to a conclusion and dare not thereby intimidate. 
Bring it to a conclusion but do not brag; 
Bring it to a conclusion but do not be arrogant; 
Bring it to a conclusion but only when there is no choice; 
Bring it to a conclusion but do not intimidate. 

A creature in its prime doing harm to the old 
Is known as going against the way. 
That which goes against the way will come to an early end. 

It is because arms are instruments of ill omen and there are Things that detest them that the one who has the way does not abide by their use. 
The gentleman gives precedence to the left when at home, but to the right when he goes to war. 
Arms are instruments of ill omen, not the instruments of the gentleman. 
When one is compelled to use them, it is best to do so without relish. 
There is no glory in victory, and so to glorify it despite this is to exult in the killing of men. 
One who exults in the killing of men will never have his way in the empire. 
On occasions of rejoicing precedence is given to the left; 
On occasions of mourning precedence is given to the right. 
A lieutenants place is on the left; 
The general's place is on the right. 
This means that it is mourning rites that are observed. 
When great numbers of people are killed, one should weep over them with sorrow. 
When victorious in war, one should observe the rites of mourning. 

The way is for ever nameless. 
Though the uncarved block is small 
No one in the world dare claim its allegiance. 
Should lords and princes be able to hold fast to it 
The myriad creatures will submit of their own accord, 
Heaven and earth will unite and sweet dew will fall, 
And the people will be equitable, though no one so decrees. 
Only when it is cut are there names. 
As soon as there are names 
One ought to know that it is time to stop. 
Knowing when to stop one can be free from danger. 

The way is to the world as the River and the Sea are to rivulets and streams. 

He who knows others is clever; 
He who knows himself has discernment. 
He who overcomes others has force; 
He who overcomes himself is strong. 

He who knows contentment is rich; 
He who perseveres is a man of purpose; 
He who does not lose his station will endure; 
He who lives out his days has had a long life. 

The way is broad, reaching left as well as right. 
The myriad creatures depend on it for life yet it claims no authority. 
It accomplishes its task yet lays claim to no merit. 
It clothes and feeds the myriad creatures yet lays no claim to being their master. 

For ever free of desire, it can be called small; 
Yet as it lays no claim to being master when the myriad creatures turn to it, it can be called great. 

It is because it never attempts itself to become great that it succeeds in becoming great. 

Have in your hold the great image 
And the empire will come to you. 
Coming to you and meeting with no harm 
It will be safe and sound. 
Music and food 
Will induce the wayfarer to stop. 

The way in its passage through the mouth is without flavor. 
It cannot be seen, 
It cannot be heard, 
Yet it cannot be exhausted by use. 

If you would have a thing shrink, 
You must first stretch it; 
If you would have a thing weakened, 
You must first strengthen it; 
If you would have a thing laid aside, 
You must first set it up; 
If you would take from a thing, 
You must first give to it. 

This is called subtle discernment: 
The submissive and weak will overcome the hard and strong. 

The fish must not be allowed to leave the deep; 
The instruments of power in a state must not be revealed to anyone. 

The way never acts, yet nothing is left undone. 
Should lords and princes be able to hold fast to it, 
The myriad creatures will be transformed of their own accord. 
After they are transformed, should desire raise its head, 
I shall press it down with the weight of the nameless uncarved block. 
The nameless uncarved block 
Is but freedom from desire, 
And if I cease to desire and remain still, 
The empire will be at peace of its own accord. 


Te (Virtue) 


A man of the highest virtue does not keep to virtue and that is why he has virtue. 
A man of the lowest virtue never strays from virtue and that is why he is without virtue. 
The former never acts yet leaves nothing undone. 
The latter acts but there are things left undone. 
A man of the highest benevolence acts, but from no ulterior motive. 
A man of the highest rectitude acts, but from ulterior motive. 
A man most conversant in the rites acts, but when no one responds rolls up his sleeves and resorts to persuasion by force. 

Hence when the way was lost there was virtue; 
When virtue was lost there was benevolence; 
When benevolence was lost there was rectitude; 
When rectitude was lost there were the rites. 

The rites are the wearing thin of loyalty and good faith 
And the beginning of disorder; 
Foreknowledge is the flowery embellishment of the way 
And the beginning of folly. 

Hence the man of large mind abides in the thick not in the thin, in the fruit not in the flower. 

Therefore he discards the one and takes the other. 

Of old, these came to be in possession of the One: 
Heaven in virtue of the One is limpid; 
Earth in virtue of the One is settled; 
Gods in virtue of the One have their potencies; 
The valley in virtue of the One is full; 
The myriad creatures in virtue of the One are alive; 
Lords and princes in virtue of the One become leaders of the empire. 
It is the One that makes these what they are. 

Without what makes it limpid heaven might split; 
Without what makes it settled earth might sink; 
Without what gives them their potencies gods might spend themselves; 
Without what makes it full the valley might run dry; 
Without what keeps them alive the myriad creatures might perish; 
Without what makes them leaders lords and princes might fall. 

Hence the superior must have the inferior as root; 
The high must have the low as base. 

Thus lords and princes refer to themselves as 'solitary', 'desolate', and 'hapless'. 
This is taking the inferior as root, is it not? 

Hence the highest renown is without renown, 
Not wishing to be one among many like jade 
Nor to be aloof like stone. 

Turning back is how the way moves; 
Weakness is the means the way employs. 

The myriad creatures in the world are born from 
Something, and Something from Nothing. 

When the best student hears about the way 
He practises it assiduously; 
When the average student hears about the way 
It seems to him there one moment and gone the next; 
When the worst student hears about the way 
He laughs out loud. 
If he did not laugh 
It would be unworthy of being the way. 

Hence the Chien yen has it: 
The way that is bright seems dull; 
The way that is forward seems to lead backward; 
The way that is even seems rough. 
The highest virtue is like the valley; 
The sheerest whiteness seems sullied; 
Ample virtue seems defective; 
Vigorous virtue seems indolent; 
Plain virtue seems soiled; 
The great square has no corners. 
The great vessel takes long to complete; 
The great note is rarefied in sound; 
The great image has no shape. 

The way conceals itself in being nameless. 
It is the way alone that excels in bestowing and in accomplishing. 

The way begets one; 
One begets two; 
Two begets three; 
Three begets the myriad creatures. 

The myriad creatures carry on their backs the yin and embrace in their arms the yang and are the blending of the generative forces of the two. 

There are no words which men detest more than 'solitary', 'desolate', and 'hapless', yet lords and princes use these to refer to themselves. 

Thus a thing is sometimes added to by being diminished and diminished by being added to. 

What others teach I also teach. 
'The violent shall not come to a natural end.' 
I shall take this as my precept. 

Exterminate learning, and there will no longer be worries. 

The most submissive thing in the world can ride roughshod over the hardest in the world; 
That which is without substance entering that which has no crevices. 

That is why I know the benefit of resorting to no action. 
The teaching that uses no words, the benefit of resorting to no action, these are beyond the understanding of all but a very few in the world. 

Your name or your person, 
Which is dearer? 
Your person or your goods, 
Which is worth more? 
Gain or loss, 
Which is a greater bane? 
That is why excessive meanness 
Is sure to lead to great expense; 
Too much store 
Is sure to end in immense loss. 
Know contentment 
And you will suffer no disgrace; 
Know when to stop 
And you will meet with no danger. 
You can then endure. 

Great perfection seems chipped, 
Yet use will not wear it out; 
Great fullness seems empty, 
Yet use will not drain it; 
Great straightness seems bent; 
Great skill seems awkward; 
Great eloquence seems tongue-tied. 

Restlessness overcomes cold; 
Stillness overcomes heat. 

Limpid and still, 
One can be a leader in the empire. 

When the way prevails in the empire, fleet-footed horses are relegated to ploughing in the fields; 
When the way does not prevail in the empire, war-horses breed on the border. 

There is no crime greater than having too many desires; 
There is no disaster greater than not being content; 
There is no misfortune greater than being covetous. 

Hence in being content, one will always have enough. 

Without stirring abroad 
One can know the whole world; 
Without looking out the window 
One can see the way of heaven. 
The further one goes 
The less one knows. 
Therefore the sage knows without having to stir, 
Identifies without having to see, 
Accomplishes without having to act. 

In the pursuit of learning one knows more every day; 
In the pursuit of the way one does less every day. 
One does less and less until one does nothing at all, and when one does nothing at all there is nothing that is undone. 

It is always through not meddling that the empire is won. 
Should you meddle, then you are not equal to the task of winning the empire. 

The sage has no mind of his own. 
He takes as his own the mind of the people. 

Those who are good I treat as good. 
Those who are not good I also treat as good. 
In so doing I gain in goodness. 
Those who are of good faith I have faith in. 
Those who are lacking in good faith I also have faith in. 
In so doing I gain in good faith. 

The sage in his attempt to distract the mind of the empire seeks urgently to muddle it. 
The people all have something to occupy their eyes and ears, and the sage treats them all like children. 

When going one way means life and going the other means death, three in ten will be comrades in life, three in ten will be comrades in death, and there are those who value life and as a result move into the realm of death, and these also number three in ten. 
Why is this so? Because they set too much store by life. 
I have heard it said that one who excels in safeguarding his own life does not meet with rhinoceros or tiger when travelling on land nor is he touched by weapons when charging into an army. 
There is nowhere for the rhinoceros to pitch its horn; 
There is nowhere for the tiger to place its claws; 
There is nowhere for the weapon to lodge its blade. 
Why is this so? Because for him there is no realm of death. 

The way gives them life; 
Virtue rears them; 
Things give them shape; 
Circumstances bring them to maturity. 

Therefore the myriad creatures all revere the way and honor virtue. 
Yet the way is revered and virtue honored not because this is decreed by any authority but because it is natural for them to be treated so. 

Thus the way gives them life and rears them; 
Brings them up and nurses them; 
Brings them to fruition and maturity; 
Feeds and shelters them. 

It gives them life yet claims no possession; 
It benefits them yet exacts no gratitude; 
It is the steward yet exercises no authority. 
Such is called the mysterious virtue. 

The world had a beginning 
And this beginning could be the mother of the world. 
When you know the mother 
Go on to know the child. 
After you have known the child 
Go back to holding fast to the mother, 
And to the end of your days you will not meet with danger. 

Block the openings, 
Shut the doors, 
And all your life you will not run dry. 
Unblock the openings, 
Add to your troubles, 
And to the end of your days you will be beyond salvation. 

To see the small is called discernment; 
To hold fast to the submissive is called strength. 
Use the light 
But give up the discernment. 
Bring not misfortune upon yourself. 

This is known as following the constant. 

Were I possessed of the least knowledge, I would, when walking on the great way, fear only paths that lead astray. 
The great way is easy, yet people prefer by-paths. 

The court is corrupt, 
The fields are overgrown with weeds, 
The granaries are empty; 
Yet there are those dressed in fineries, 
With swords at their sides, 
Filled with food and drink, 
And possessed of too much wealth. 
This is known as taking the lead in robbery. 

Far indeed is this from the way. 

What is firmly rooted cannot be pulled out; 
What is tightly held in the arms will not slip loose; 
Through this the offering of sacrifice by descendants will never come to an end. 

Cultivate it in your person 
And its virtue will be genuine; 
Cultivate it in the family 
And its virtue will be more than sufficient; 
Cultivate it in the hamlet 
And its virtue will endure; 
Cultivate it in the state 
And its virtue will abound; 
Cultivate it in the empire 
And its virtue will be pervasive. 

Hence look at the person through the person; 
Look at the family through the family; 
Look at the hamlet through the hamlet; 
Look at the state through the state; 
Look at the empire through the empire. 

How do I know that the empire is like that? 
By means of this. 

One who possesses virtue in abundance is comparable to a new born babe: 
Poisonous insects will not sting it; 
Ferocious animals will not pounce on it; 
Predatory birds will not swoop down on it. 
Its bones are weak and its sinews supple yet its hold is firm. 
It does not know the union of male and female yet its male member will stir: 
This is because its virility is at its height. 
It howls all day yet does not become hoarse: 
This is because its harmony is at its height. 
To know harmony is called the constant; 
To know the constant is called discernment. 
To try to add to one's vitality is called ill-omened; 
For the mind to egg on the breath is called violent. 

A creature in its prime doing harm to the old 
Is known as going against the way. 
That which goes against the way will come to an early end. 

One who knows does not speak; 
One who speaks does not know. 

Block the openings; 
Shut the doors. 
Blunt the sharpness; 
Untangle the knots; 
Soften the glare; 
Let your wheels move only along old ruts. 

This is known as mysterious sameness. 

Hence you cannot get close to it, nor can you keep it at arm's length; 
You cannot bestow benefit on it, nor can you do it harm; 
You cannot ennoble it, nor can you debase it. 

Therefore it is valued by the empire. 

Govern the state by being straightforward; 
Wage war by being crafty; 
But win the empire by not being meddlesome. 

How do I know that it is like that? 
By means of this. 

The more taboos there are in the empire 
The poorer the people; 
The more sharpened tools the people have 
The more benighted the state; 
The more skills the people have 
The further novelties multiply; 
The better known the laws and edicts 
The more thieves and robbers there are. 

Hence the sage says, 
I take no action and the people are transformed of themselves; 
I prefer stillness and the people are rectified of themselves; 
I am not meddlesome and the people prosper of themselves; 
I am free from desire and the people of themselves become simple like the uncarved block. 

When the government is muddled 
The people are simple; 
When the government is alert 
The people are cunning. 

It is on disaster that good fortune perches; 
It is beneath good fortune that disaster crouches. 

Who knows the limit? Does not the straightforward exist? 
The straighforward changes again into the crafty, and the good changes again into the monstrous. 
Indeed, it is long since the people were perplexed. 

Therefore the sage is square-edged but does not scrape, 
Has corners but does not jab, 
Extends himself but not at the expense of others, 
Shines but does not dazzle. 

In ruling the people and in serving heaven it is best for a ruler to be sparing. 
It is because he is sparing 
That he may be said to follow the way from the start; 
Following the way from the start he may be said to accumulate an abundance of virtue; 
Accumulating an abundance of virtue there is nothing he cannot overcome; 
When there is nothing he cannot overcome, no one knows his limit; 
When no one knows his limit 
He can possess a state; 
When he possesses the mother of a state 
He can then endure. 
This is called the way of deep roots and firm stems by which one lives to see many days. 

Governing a large state is like boiling a small fish. 

When the empire is ruled in accordance with the way, 
The spirits lose their potencies. 
Or rather, it is not that they lose their potencies, 
But that, though they have their potencies, they do not harm the people. 
It is not only they who, having their potencies, do not harm the people, 
The sage, also, does not harm the people. 
As neither does any harm, each attributes the merit to the other. 

A large state is the lower reaches of a river: 
The place where all the streams of the world unite. 

In the union of the world, 
The female always gets the better of the male by stillness. 

Being still, she takes the lower position. 

Hence the large state, by taking the lower position, annexes the small state; 
The small state, by taking the lower position, affiliates itself to the large state. 

Thus the one, by taking the lower position, annexes; 
The other, by taking the lower position, is annexed. 
All that the large state wants is to take the other under its wing; 
All that the small state wants is to have its services accepted by the other. 
If each of the two wants to find its proper place, 
It is meet that the large should take the lower position. 

The way is the refuge for the myriad creatures. 
It is that by which the good man protects, 
And that by which the bad is protected. 

Beautiful words when offered will win high rank in return; 
Beautiful deeds can raise a man above others. 

Even if a man is not good, why should he be abandoned? 

Hence when the emperor is set up and the three ducal ministers are appointed, he who makes a present of the way without stirring from his seat is preferable to one who offers presents of jade disks followed by a team of four horses. 
Why was this way valued of old? 
Was it not said that by means of it one got what one wanted and escaped the consequences when one transgressed? 

Therefore it is valued by the empire. 

Do that which consists in taking no action; 
Pursue that which is not meddlesome; 
Savor that which has no flavor. 

Make the small big and the few many; 
Do good to him who has done you an injury. 

Lay plans for the accomplishment of the difficult before it becomes difficult; 
Make something big by starting with it when small. 

Difficult things in the word must needs have their beginnings in the easy; 
Big things must needs have their beginnings in the small. 

Therefore it is because the sage never attempts to be great that he succeeds in becoming great. 

One who makes promises rashly rarely keeps good faith; 
One who is in the habit of considering things easy meets with frequent difficulties. 

Therefore even the sage treats some things as difficult. 
That is why in the end no difficulties can get the better of him. 

It is easy to maintain a situation while it is still secure; 
It is easy to deal with a situation before symptoms develop; 
It is easy to break a thing when it is yet brittle; 
It is easy to dissolve a thing when it is yet minute. 

Deal with a thing while it is still nothing; 
Keep a thing in order before disorder sets in. 

A tree that can fill the span of a man's arms 
Grows from a downy tip; 
A terrace nine storeys high 
Rises from hodfuls of earth; 
A journey of a thousand miles 
Starts from beneath one's feet. 

Whoever does anything to it will ruin it; 
Whoever lays hold of it will lose it. 

Therefore the sage, because he does nothing, never ruins anything; 
And, because he does not lay hold of anything, loses nothing. 

In their enterprises the people 
Always ruin them when on the verge of success. 
Be as careful at the end as at the beginning 
And there will be no ruined enterprises. 

Therefore the sage desires not to desire 
And does not value goods which are hard to come by; 
Learns to be without learning 
And makes good the mistakes of the multitude 
In order to help the myriad creatures to be natural and to refrain from daring to act. 

Of old those who excelled in the pursuit of the way did not use it to enlighten the people but to hoodwink them. 
The reason why the people are difficult to govern is that they are too clever. 

Hence to rule a state by cleverness 
Will be to the detriment of the state; 
Not to rule a state by cleverness 
Will be a boon to the state. 
These two are models. 
Always to know the models 
Is known as mysterious virtue. 
Mysterious virtue is profound and far-reaching, 
But when things turn back it turns back with them. 

Only then is complete conformity realized. 

The reason why the River and the Sea are able to be king of the hundred valleys is that they excel in taking the lower position. 
Hence they are able to be king of the hundred valleys. 

Therefore, desiring to rule over the people, 
One must in one's words humble oneself before them; 
And, desiring to lead the people, 
One must, in one's person, follow behind them. 

Therefore the sage takes his place over the people yet is no burden; 
takes his place ahead of the people yet causes no obstruction. 
That is why the empire supports him joyfully and never tires of doing so. 

It is because he does not contend that no one in the empire is in a position to contend with him. 

The whole world says that my way is vast and resembles nothing. 
It is because it is vast that it resembles nothing. 
If it resembled anything, it would, long before now, have become small. 

I have three treasures 
Which I hold and cherish. 
The first is known as compassion, 
The second is known as frugality, 
The third is known as not daring to take the lead in the empire; 
Being compassionate one could afford to be courageous, 
Being frugal one could afford to extend one's territory, 
Not daring to take the lead in the empire one could afford to be lord over the vessels. 

Now, to forsake compassion for courage, to forsake frugality for expansion, to forsake the rear for the lead, is sure to end in death. 

Through compassion, one will triumph in attack and be impregnable in defence. 
What heaven succours it protects with the gift of compassion. 

One who excels as a warrior does not appear formidable; 
One who excels in fighting is never roused in anger; 
One who excels in defeating his enemy does not join issue; 
One who excels in employing others humbles himself before them. 

This is known as the virtue of non-contention; 
This is known as making use of the efforts of others; 
This is known as matching the sublimity of heaven. 

The strategists have a saying, 
I dare not play the host but play the guest, 
I dare not advance an inch but retreat a foot instead. 

This is known as marching forward when there is no road, 
Rolling up one's sleeves when there is no arm, 
Dragging one's adversary by force when there is no adversary, 
And taking up arms when there are no arms. 

There is no disaster greater than taking on an enemy too easily. 
So doing nearly cost me my treasure. 
Thus of two sides raising arms against each other, 
It is the one that is sorrow-stricken that wins. 

My words are very easy to understand and very easy to put into practice, 
Yet no one in the world can understand them or put them into practice. 
Words have an ancestor and affairs have a sovereign. 

It is because people are ignorant that they fail to understand me. 
Those who understand me are few; 
Those who harm me are honoured. 

Therefore the sage, while clad in homespun, conceals on his person a priceless piece of jade. 

To know yet to think that one does not know is best; 
Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty. 

It is by being alive to difficulty that one can avoid it. 
The sage meets with no difficulty. 
It is because he is alive to it that he meets with no difficulty. 

When the people lack a proper sense of awe, then some awful visitation will descend upon them. 

Do not constrict their living space; 
Do not press down on their means of livelihood. 
It is because you do not press down on them that they will not weary of the burden. 

Hence the sage knows himself but does not display himself, 
Loves himself but does not exalt himself. 

Therefore he discards the one and takes the other. 

He who is fearless in being bold will meet with his death; 
He who is fearless in being timid will stay alive. 
Of the two, one leads to good, the other to harm. 

Heaven hates what it hates, 
Who knows the reason why? 

Therefore even the sage treats some things as difficult. 

The way of heaven 
Excels in overcoming though it does not contend, 
In responding though it does not speak, 
In attracting though it does not summon, 
In laying plans though it appears slack. 

The net of heaven is cast wide. 
Though the mesh is not fine, yet nothing ever slips through. 

When the people are not afraid of death, wherefore frighten them with death? 
Were the people always afraid of death, and were I able to arrest and put to death those who innovate, then who would dare? 
There is a regular executioner whose charge it is to kill. 
To kill on behalf of the executioner is what is described as chopping wood on behalf of the master carpenter. 
In chopping wood on behalf of the master carpenter, there are few who escape hurting their own hands instead. 

The people are hungry: 
It is because those in authority eat up too much in taxes 
That the people are hungry. 
The people are difficult to govern. 
It is because those in authority are too fond of action 
That the people are difficult to govern. 
The people treat death lightly: 
It is because the people set too much store by life 
That they treat death lightly. 

It is just because one has no use for life that one is wiser than the man who values life. 

A man is supple and weak when living, but hard and stiff when dead. 
Grass and trees are pliant and fragile when living, but dried and shrivelled when dead. 
Thus the hard and the strong are the comrades of death; 
The supple and the weak are the comrades of life. 

Therefore a weapon that is strong will not vanquish; 
A tree that is strong will suffer the axe. 
The strong and big takes the lower position, 
The supple and weak takes the higher position. 

Is not the way of heaven like the stretching of a bow? 
The high it presses down, 
The low it lifts up; 
The excessive it takes from, 
The deficient it gives to. 

It is the way of heaven to take from what has in excess in order to make good what is deficient. 
The way of man is otherwise: it takes from those who are in want in order to offer this to those who already have more than enough. 
Who is there that can take what he himself has in excess and offer this to the empire? 
Only he who has the way. 

Therefore the sage benefits them yet exacts no gratitude, 
Accomplishes his task yet lays claim to no merit. 

Is this not because he does not wish to be considered a better man than others? 

In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. 
Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it. 
This is because there is nothing that can take its place. 

That the weak overcomes the strong, 
And the submissive overcomes the hard, 
Everyone in the world knows yet no one can put this knowledge into practice. 

Therefore the sage says, 
One who takes on himself the humiliation of the state 
Is called a ruler worthy of offering sacrifices to the gods of earth and millet. 
One who takes on himself the calamity of the state 
Is called a king worthy of dominion over the entire empire. 

Straightforward words seem paradoxical. 

When peace is made between great enemies, 
Some enmity is bound to remain undispelled. 
How can this be considered perfect? 

Therefore the sage takes the left-hand tally, but exacts no payment from the people. 
The man of virtue takes charge of the tally; 
The man of no virtue takes charge of exaction. 

It is the way of heaven to show no favoritism. 
It is for ever on the side of the good man. 

Reduce the size of the population and the state. 
Ensure that even though the people have tools of war for a troop or a battalion they will not use them; 
And also that they will be reluctant to move to distant places because they look on death as no light matter. 

Even when they have ships and carts, they will have no use for them; 
And even when they have armor and weapons, they will have no occasion to make a show of them. 

Bring it about that the people will return to the use of the knotted rope, 
Will find relish in their food 
And beauty in their clothes, 
Will be content in their abode 
And happy in the way they live. 

Though adjoining states are within sight of one another, 
And the sound of dogs barking and cocks crowing in one state can be heard in another, 
yet the people of one state will grow old and die without having had any dealings with those of another. 

Truthful words are not beautiful; 
Beautiful words are not truthful. 
Good words are not persuasive; 
Persuasive words are not good. 
He who knows has no wide learning; 
He who has wide learning does not know. 

The sage does not hoard. 
Having bestowed all he has on others, he has yet more; 
Having given all he has to others, he is richer still. 

The way of heaven benefits and does not harm; 
The way of the sage is bountiful and does not contend. 

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