Tao Te Ching
by Lao Tze


1. The (state of) vacancy should be brought to the utmost degree,

and that of stillness guarded with unwearying vigour. All things

alike go through their processes of activity, and (then) we see them

return (to their original state). When things (in the vegetable

world) have displayed their luxuriant growth, we see each of them

return to its root. This returning to their root is what we call the

state of stillness; and that stillness may be called a reporting that

they have fulfilled their appointed end.

2. The report of that fulfilment is the regular, unchanging rule. To

know that unchanging rule is to be intelligent; not to know it leads

to wild movements and evil issues. The knowledge of that unchanging

rule produces a (grand) capacity and forbearance, and that capacity

and forbearance lead to a community (of feeling with all things).

From this community of feeling comes a kingliness of character; and he

who is king-like goes on to be heaven-like. In that likeness to

heaven he possesses the Tao. Possessed of the Tao, he endures long;

and to the end of his bodily life, is exempt from all danger of decay.