Tao Te Ching #37: “By not wanting, there is calm, and the world will straighten itself”

The Way is always uncontrived,
yet there’s nothing it doesn’t do.
If lords and monarchs could keep to it,
all being would evolve spontaneously.
When they have evolved and want to act,
I would stabilize them with nameless simplicity.
Even nameless simplicity would not be wanted.
By not wanting, there is calm,
and the world will straighten itself.

– Thomas Cleary


The Tao makes no effort at all
yet there is nothing it doesn’t do
if a ruler could uphold it
the people by themselves would change
and changing if their desires stirred
he could make them still
with simplicity that has no name
and stilled by nameless simplicity
they would not desire
and not desiring be at peace
the world would fix itself

– Red Pine


The Dao in constant circum-motion,
Pursuing no end leaves nothing not done—
Let lords and kings to this conform
And all shall turn to them in trust.
Should then desires assert themselves,
We shall humble them with stark no-naming—
Yes, humble them with the starkness of no-naming,
And thus there shall be no desire;
And out of the repose of no-desire,
The world on its own will come to order.

– Moss Roberts