14 to 18 days before the New Moon
The opening verse, with literal translation, is:
Of this subjugation we know not
what shall be the limit; and when one knows not what the limit shall
be, he may be the ruler of a state.
He who possesses the mother of the state may continue long.
The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao.
The delusion of the people (on this point) has indeed
subsisted for a long time.
Therefore the sage is (like) a square which cuts no one (with its
angles); (like) a corner which injures no one (with its sharpness).
He is straightforward, but allows himself no license; he is bright,
but does not dazzle.
For regulating the human (in our constitution) and rendering
the (proper) service to the heavenly, there is nothing like
It is only by this moderation that there is effected an early
return (to man's normal state).
The multitude ofmen all have enough and to spare.
Lacking any theoretical limit on possible perspectives, guiding systems of naming, we lack any limit onschemes of practical knowledge. No matter how much we advance and promote a practical guide, a way of dealingwith things, there are things we will be deficient at. To have any developed viewpoint is to leave somethingout. This, however, is not a reason to avoid language and a perspective; it is the simple result of thelimitless knowledge and limited lives.
I alone seem to have losteverything.
If Heaven and Earth
cannot make such (spasmodic) actings last long, how much less can man!
Therefore when one is making the Tao his business, those who are
also pursuing it, agree with him in it, and those who are making the
manifestation of its course their object agree with him in that; while
even those who are failing in both these things agree with him where
Hence, those with whom he agrees as to the Tao have the happiness
of attaining to it; those with whom he agrees as to its manifestation
have the happiness of attaining to it; and those with whom he agrees
in their failure have also the happiness of attaining (to the Tao).
(But) when there is not faith sufficient (on his part), a want of
faith (in him) ensues (on the part of the others).
He who stands on his tiptoes does not stand firm; he who stretches
his legs does not walk (easily).