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Over the years, I've been transcribing my copy of the TaoTeChing into the computer so I could have radom "fortune cookie" reminders when I logged in. It's a very impressive collection of thought, and I highly recommend it.

I haven't finished typing in my book's version, and I know that [there are many other translations/interpretations/versions out there]. But here's what I've got so far, and if you want to add to it (or want to know which book I was reading from), here would be a good place to do it.

I hope it's as useful to you as it has been to me.

Enjoy! :-)


 Tao Te Ching

 The tao that can be told
 is not the eternal Tao.
 The name that can be named
 is not the eternal Name.

 The unnamable is the eternally real.
 Naming is the origin
 of all particular things.

 Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
 Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

 Yet mystery and manifestations
 arise from the same source.
 This source is called darkness.

 Darkness within darkness.
 The gateway to all understanding.
Tao Te Ching 2

 Whe people see some things as beautiful,
 other things become ugly.
 When people see some things as good,
 other things become bad.

 Being and non-being create each other.
 Difficult and easy support each other.
 Long and short define each other.
 High and low depend on each other.
 Before and after follow each other.

 Therefore the Master
 acts without doing anything
 and teaches without saying anything.
 Things arise and she lets them come;
 Things disappear and she lets them go.
 She has but doesn't possess,
 acts but doesn't expect.
 When her work is done, she forgets it.
 That is why it lasts forever.
Tao Te Ching 3

 If you overesteem great men,
 people become powerless.
 If you overvalue possessions,
 people begin to steal.

 The Master leads
 by emptying people's minds
 and filling their cores,
 by weakening their ambition
 and toughening their resolve.
 He helps people lose everything
 they know, everything they desire,
 and creates confusion
 in those who think that they know.

 Practice not-doing,
 and everything will fall into place.
Tao Te Ching 4

 The Tao is like a well:
 used but never used up.
 It is like the eternal void:
 filled with infinite possibilities.

 It is hidden but always present.
 I don't know who gave birth to it.
 It is older than God.
Tao Te Ching 5

 The Tao deosn't take sides;
 it gives birth to both good and evil.
 The Master doesn't take sides;
 she welcomes both saints and sinners.

 The Tao is like a bellows;
 it is empty yet infinitely capable.
 The more you use it, the more it produces;
 the more you talk of it, the less you understand.

 Hold on to the center.
Tao Te Ching 6

 The Tao is called the Great Mother: 
 empty yet inexhaustible,
 it gives birth to infinite worlds.

 It is always present within you.
 You can use it any way you want.
Tao Te Ching 7

 The Tao is infinite, eternal.
 Why is it eternal?
 It was never born;
 thus it can never die.
 Why is it infinite?
 It has no desires for itself,
 thus it is present for all beings.

 The Master stays behind;
 that is why she is ahead.
 She is detached from all things;
 that is why she is one with them.
 Because she has let go of herself,
 she is perfectly fulfilled.
Tao Te Ching 8

 The supreme good is like water,
 which nourishes all things without trying to.
 It is content with the low places that people disdain.
 Thus it is like the Tao.

 In dwelling, live close to the ground.
 In thinking, keep to the simple.
 In conflict, be fair and generous.
 In governing, don't try to control.
 In work, do what you enjoy.
 In family life, be completely present.

 When you are content to be simply yourself
 and don't compare or compete,
 everybody will respect you.
Tao Te Ching 9

 Fill your bowl to the brim
 and it will spill.
 Keep sharpening your knife
 and it will blunt.
 Chase after money and security
 and your heart will never unclench.
 Care about people's approval
 and you will be their prisoner.

 Do your work, then step back.
 The only path to serenity.
Tao Te Ching 10

 Can you coax your mind from its wandering
 and keep to the original oneness? 
 Can you let your body becomne
 supple as a newboarn child's?
 Can you cleanse your inner vision
 until you see nothing but the light?
 Can you love people and lead them
 without imposing your will?
 Can you deal with the most vital matters
 by letting events take their course?
 Can you step back from your own mind
 and thus understand all things?

 Giving birth and nourishing,
 having without possessing,
 acting with no expectations,
 leading and not trying to control:
 this is the supreme virtue.
Tao Te Ching 11

 We join spokes together in a wheel,
 but it is the center hole
 that makes the wagon move.

 We shape clay into a pot,
 but it is the emptiness inside
 that holds whatever we want.

 We hammer wood for a house,
 but it is the inner space
 that makes it livable.

 We work with being,
 but non-being is what we use.
Tao Te Ching 12

 Colors blind the eye.
 Sounds deafen the ear.
 Flavors numb the taste.
 Thoughts weaken the mind.
 Desires wither the heart.

 The Master observes the world
 but trusts his inner vision.
 He allows things to come and go.
 His heart is open as the sky.
Tao Te Ching 13

 Success is as dangerous as failure.
 Hope is as hollow as fear.

 What does it mean that success is as dangerous as failure?
 Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
 your position is shaky.
 When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
 you will always keep your balance.

 What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
 Hope and fear are both phantoms
 that arise from thinking of the self.
 When we don't see the self as self,
 what do we have to fear?

 See the world as your self.
 Have faith in the way things are.
 Love the world as your self;
 then you can care for all things.
Tao Te Ching 14

 Look, and it can't be seen.
 Listen, and it can't be heard.
 Reach, and it can't be grasped.

 Above, it isn't bright.
 Below, it isn't dark.
 Seamless, unnamable,
 it returns to the realm of nothing.
 Form that includes all forms,
 image without an image,
 subtle, beyond all conception.

 Approach it and there is no beginning;
 follow it and there is no end.
 You can't know it, but you can be it,
 at ease in your own life.
 Just realize where you come from:
 this is the essence of wisdom.
Tao Te Ching 15

 The ancient Masters were profound and subtle.
 Their wisdom was unfathomable.
 There is no way to describe it;
 all we can describe is their appearance.

 They were careful
 as someone crossing an iced-over stream.
 Alert as a warrior in enemy territory.
 Courteous as a guest. 
 Fluid as melting ice.
 Shapable as a block of wood.
 Receptive as a valley.
 Clear as a glass of water.

 Do you have the patience to wait
 till your mud settles and the water is clear?
 Can you remain unmoving
 till the right action arises by itself?

 The Master doesn't seek fulfillment.
 Not seeking, not expecting,
 she is present, and can welcome all things.
Tao Te Ching 16

 Empty your mind of all thoughts.
 Let your heart be at peace.
 Watch the turmoil of beings,
 but contemplate their return.

 Each separate being in the universe
 returns to the common source.
 Returning to the source is serenity.

 If you don't realize the source,
 you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
 When you realize where you come from,
 you naturally become tolerant,
 disinterested, amused,
 kindhearted as a grandmother,
 dignified as a king.
 Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
 you can deal with whatever life brings you,
 and when death comes, you are ready.
Tao Te Ching 17

 When the Master governs, the people
 are hardly aware that he exists.
 Next best is a leader who is loved.
 Next, one who is feared.
 The worst is one who is despised.

 If you don't trust the people,
 you make them untrustworthy.

 The Master doesn't talk, he acts.
 When his work is done,
 the people say, "Amazing:
 we did it, all by ourselves!" 
Tao Te Ching 18

 When the great Tao is forgotten,
 goodness and piety appear.
 When the body's intelligence declines,
 cleverness and knowledge step forth.
 When there is no peace in the family,
 filial piety begins.
 When the country falls into chaos,
 patriotism is born.
Tao Te Ching 19

 Throw away holiness and wisdom,
 and people will be a hundred times happier.
 Throw away morality and justice,
 and people will do the right thing.
 Throw away industry and profit,
 and there won't be any thieves.

 If these three aren't enough,
 just stay at the center of the circle
 and let all things take their course.
Tao Te Ching 20

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 21

 The Master keeps her mind
 always at one with the Tao;
 that is what gives her her radiance.

 The Tao is ungraspable.
 How can her mind be at one with it?
 Because she doesn't cling to ideas.

 The Tao is dark and unfathomable.
 How can it make her radiant?
 Because she lets it.

 Since before time and space were,
 the Tao is.
 It is beyond _is_ and _is not_.
 How do I know this is true?
 I look inside myself and see.
Tao Te Ching 22

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 23

 Express yourself completely,
 then keep quiet.
 Be like the forces of nature:
 when it blows, there is only wind;
 when it rains, there is only rain;
 when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.

 If you open yourself to the Tao,
 you are at one with the Tao
 and you can embody it completely.
 If you open yourself to insight,
 you are at one with insight
 and you can use it completely.
 If you open yourself to loss,
 you are at one with loss
 and you can accept it completely.

 Open yourself to the Tao,
 then trust your natural responses;
 and everything will fall into place.
Tao Te Ching 24

 He who stands on tiptoe
 doesn't stand firm.
 He who rushes ahead
 doesn't go far.
 He who tries to shine
 dims his own light.
 He who defines himself
 can't know who he really is.
 He who has power over others
 can't empower himself.
 He who clings to his work
 will create nothing that endures.

 If you want to accord with the Tao,
 just do your job, then let go.
Tao Te Ching 25

 There was something formless and perfect
 before the universe was born.
 It is serene. Empty.
 Solitary. Unchanging.
 Infinite. Eternally present.
 It is the mother of the universe.
 For lack of a better name,
 I call it the Tao.

 It flows through all things,
 inside and outside, and returns
 to the origin of all things.

 The Tao is great.
 The universe is great.
 Earth is great.
 Man is great.
 These are the four great powers.

 Man follows the earth.
 Earth follows the universe.
 The universe follows the Tao.
 The Tao follows only itself.
Tao Te Ching 26

 The heavy is the root of the light.
 The unmoved is the source of all movement.

 Thus the Master travels all day
 without leaving home.
 However splendid the views,
 she stays serenely in herself.

 Why should the lord of the country
 flit about like a fool?
 If you let yourself be blown to and fro,
 you lose touch with your root.
 If you let restlessness move you,
 you lose touch with who you are.
Tao Te Ching 27

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 28

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 29

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 30

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 31

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 32

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 33

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 34

 The great Tao flows everywhere.
 All things are born from it,
 yet it doesn't create them.
 It pours itself into its work,
 yet it makes no claim.
 It nourishes infinite worlds,
 yet it doesn't hold on to them.
 Since it is merged with all things
 and hidden in their hearts,
 it can be called humble.
 Since all things vanish into it
 and it alone endures,
 it can be called great.
 It isn't aware of its greatness;
 thus it is truly great.
Tao Te Ching 35

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 36

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 37

 The Tao never does anything,
 yet through it all things are done.

 If powerful men and women
 could center themselves in it,
 the whole world would be transformed
 by itself, in its natural rhythms.
 People would be content
 with their simple, everyday lives,
 in harmony, and free of desire.

 When there is no desire,
 all things are at peace.
Tao Te Ching 38

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 39

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 40

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 41

 When a superior man hears of the Tao,
 he immediately begins to embody it.
 When an average man hears of the Tao,
 he half believes it, half doubts it.
 When a foolish man hears of the Tao,
 he laughs out loud.
 If he didn't laugh,
 it wouldn't be the Tao.

 Thus it is said:
 The path into the light seems dark,
 the path forward seems to go back,
 the direct path seems long,
 true power seems weak,
 true purity seems tarnished,
 true steadfastness seems changeable,
 true clarity seems obscure,
 the greatest art seems unsophisticated,
 the greatest love seems indifferent,
 the greatest wisdom seems childish.

 The Tao is nowhere to be found,
 Yet it nourishes and completes all things.
Tao Te Ching 42

 The Tao gives birth to One.
 One gives birth to Two.
 Two gives birth to Three.
 Three gives birth to all things.

 All things have their backs to the female
 and stand facing the male.
 When male and female combine,
 all things achieve harmony.

 Ordinary men hate solitude.
 But the Master makes use of it,
 embracing his aloneness, realizing
 he is one with the whole universe.
Tao Te Ching 43

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 44

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 45

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 46

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 47

 Without opening your door,
 you can open your heart to the world.
 Without looking out your window,
 you can see the essence of the Tao.

 The more you know,
 the less you understand.

 The master arrives without leaving,
 sees the light withought looking,
 achieves without doing a thing.
Tao Te Ching 48

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 49

 The Master has no mind of her own.
 She works with the mind of the people.

 She is good to people who are good.
 She is also good to people who aren't good.
 This is true goodness.

 She is trusts people who are trustworthy.
 She is also trusts people who aren't trustworthy.
 This is true trust.

 The Master's mind is like space.
 People don't understand her.
 They look to her and wait.
 She treats them like her own children.
Tao Te Ching 50

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 51

 Every being in the universe
 is an expression of the Tao.
 It springs into existence,
 unconscious, perfect, free,
 takes on a physical body,
 lets circumstances complete it.
 That is why every being 
 spontaneously honors the Tao.

 The Tao gives birth to all beings,
 nourishes them, maintains them,
 cares for them, comforts them, protects them,
 takes them back to itself,
 creating without possessing,
 acting without expecting,
 guiding without interfering.
 That is why love of the Tao
 is in the very nature of things.
Tao Te Ching 52

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 53

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 54

 Whoever is planted in the Tao
 will not be rooted up.
 Whoever embraces the Tao
 will not slip away.
 Her name will be held in honor
 from generation to generation.

 Let the Tao be present in your life
 and you will become genuine.
 Let it be present in your family
 and your family will flourish.
 Let it be present in your country
 and your country will be an example
 to all countries in the world.
 Let it be present in the universe
 and the universe will sing.

 How do I know this is true?
 By looking inside myself.
Tao Te Ching 55

 He who is in harmony with the Tao
 is like a newborn child.
 Its bones are soft, its muscles are weak,
 but its grip is powerful.
 It doesn't know about the union
 of male and female,
 yet its penis can stand erect,
 so intense is its vital power.
 It can scream its head off all day,
 yet it never becomes hoarse,
 so complete is its harmony.

 The Master's power is like this.
 He lets all things come and go
 effortlessly, without desire.
 He never expects results;
 thus he is never disappointed.
 He is never disappointed;
 thus his spirit never grows old.
Tao Te Ching 56

 Those who know don't talk.
 Those who talk don't know.

 Close your mouth,
 block off your senses,
 blunt your sharpness,
 untie your knots,
 soften your glare,
 settle your dust.
 This is the primal identity.

 Be like the Tao.
 It can't be approached or withdrawn from,
 benefited or harmed,
 honored or brought into disgrace.
 It gives itself up continually.
 That is why it endures.
Tao Te Ching 57

 If you want to be a great leader,
 you must learn to follow the Tao.
 Stop trying to control.
 Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
 and the world will govern itself.

 The more prohibitions you have,
 the less virtuous people will be.
 The more weapons you have,
 the less secure people will be.
 The more subsidies you have,
 the less self-reliant people will be.

 Therefore the Master says:
 I let go of the law,
 and people become honest.
 I let go of economics,
 and people become prosperous.
 I let go of religion,
 and people become serene.
 I let go all desire for the common good,
 and the good becomes common as grass.
Tao Te Ching 58

 If a country is governed with tolerance,
 the people are comfortable and honest.
 If a country is governed with repression,
 the people are depressed and crafty.

 When the will to power is in charge,
 the higher the ideals, the lower the results.
 Try to make people happy,
 and you lay the groundwork for misery.
 Try to make people moral,
 and you lay the groundwork for vice.

 Thus the Master is content
 to serve as an example
 and not to impose her will.
 She is pointed, but doesn't pierce.
 Straightforward, but supple.
 Radiant, but easy on the eyes.
Tao Te Ching 59

 For governing a country well
 there is nothing better than moderation.

 The mark of a moderate man
 is freedom from his own ideas.
 Tolerant like the sky,
 all-pervading like sunlight,
 firm like a mountain,
 supple like a tree in the wind,
 he has no destination in view
 and makes use of anything
 life happens to bring his way.

 Nothing is impossible for him.
 Because he has let go,
 he can care for the people's welfare
 as a mother cares for her child.
Tao Te Ching 60

 Governing a large country
 is like frying a small fish.
 You spoil it with too much poking.

 Center your country in the Tao
 and evil will have no power.
 Not that it isn't there,
 but you'll be able to step out of its way.

 Give evil nothing to oppose
 and it will disappear by itself.
Tao Te Ching 61

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 62

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 63

 Act without doing;
 work without effort.
 Think of the small as large
 and the few as many.
 Confront the difficult
 while it is still easy;
 accomplish the great task
 by a series of small acts.

 The Master never reaches for the great;
 thus she achieves greatness.
 When she runs into a difficulty,
 she stops and gives herself to it.
 She doesn't cling to her own comfort;
 thus problems are no problem for her.
Tao Te Ching 64

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 65

 The ancient Masters
 didn't try to educate the people,
 but kindly taught them to not-know.

 When they think that they know the answers,
 people are difficult to guide.
 When they know that they don't know,
 people can find their own way.

 If you want to learn how to govern,
 avoid being clever or rich.
 The simplest pattern is the clearest.
 Content with an ordinary life,
 you can show all people the way
 back to their own true nature.
Tao Te Ching 66

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 67

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 68

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 69

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 70

 My teachings are easy to understand
 and easy to put into practice.
 Yet your intellect will never grasp them,
 and if you try to practice them, you'll fail.

 My teachings are older than the world.
 How can you grasp their meaning?

 If you want to know me,
 look inside your heart.
Tao Te Ching 71

 Not-knowing is true knowledge.
 Presuming to know is a disease.
 First realize that you are sick;
 then you can move toward health.

 The Master is her own physician.
 She has healed herself of all knowing.
 Thus she is truly whole.
Tao Te Ching 72

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 73

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 74

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 75

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 76

 Men are born soft and supple;
 dead, they are stiff and hard.
 Plants are born tender and pliant;
 dead, they are brittle and dry.

 Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
 is a disciple of death.
 Whoever is soft and yielding
 is a disciple of life.

 The hard and stiff will be broken.
 The soft and supple will prevail.
Tao Te Ching 77

 As it acts in the world, the Tao
 is like the bending of a bow.
 The top is bent downward;
 the bottom is bent up.
 It adjusts excess and deficiency
 so that there is perfect balance.
 It takes from what is too much
 and gives to what isn't enough.

 Those who try to control,
 who use force to protect their power,
 go against the direction of the Tao.
 They take from those who don't have enough
 and give to those who have far too much.

 The master can keep giving
 because there is no end to her wealth.
 She acts without expectation,
 succeeds without taking credit,
 and doesn't think that she is better
 than anyone else.
Tao Te Ching 78

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 79

 Fill this space!
Tao Te Ching 80

 If a country is governed wisely,
 its inhabitants will be content.
 They enjoy the labor of their hands
 and don't waste time inventing
 labor-saving machines.
 Since they dearly love their homes,
 they aren't interested in travel.
 There may be a few wagons and boats,
 but these don't go anywhere.
 There may be an arsenal of weapons,
 but nobody ever uses them.
 People enjoy their food,
 take pleasure in being with their families,
 spend weekends working in their gardens,
 delight in the doings of the neighborhood.
 And even though the next country is so close
 that people can hear its roosters crowing and its dogs barking,
 they are content to die of old age
 without ever having gone to see it.
Tao Te Ching 81

 True words aren't eloquent;
 eloquent words aren't true.
 Wise men don't need to prove their point;
 men who need to prove their point aren't wise.

 The Master has no possessions.
 The more he does for others,
 the happier he is.
 The more he gives to others,
 the wealthier he is.

 The Tao nourishes by not forcing.
 By not dominating, the Master leads.

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