Tao Te Ching #51: “this is called Dark Virtue”

The Way gives birth,
virtue nurtures,
things form,
momentum completes.
Therefore all beings honor the Way
and value its Virtue.
The honor of the Way
and the value of Virtue
are not granted by anyone,
but are always naturally so.
So the Way gives birth and nurtures,
makes grow and develops,
completes and matures,
builds up and breaks down.
It produces but does not possess;
it acts without presumption,
it fosters growth without ruling.
This is called hidden Virtue.

– Thomas Cleary


The Way begets them
Virtue keeps them
matter shapes them
usage completes them
thus do all creatures respect the Way
and honor Virtue
their respect for the Way
and honor of Virtue
are not conferred
but simply natural
for the Way begets and keeps them
raises and trains them
steadies and adjusts them
maintains and protects them
but it doesn’t possess what it begets
or depend on what it develops
or control what it raises
this is called Dark Virtue

– Red Pine


Ten thousand Dao begets and breeds,
Which its power tends and feeds
As objects all take varied shape,
As things to use reach final form.
For this the natural myriad
Honor the Way, esteem its power.
Such honor and such high esteem
No mandate from above decreed;
it is their norm of self-becoming.

Dao indeed begets and breeds,
All its power tends and feeds
And fosters and then raises up
And brings to full maturity
And still preserves and still protects.
For Dao begets but does not keep,
Works it way but does not bind:
Authority that does not rule.
Such is the meaning of “hidden power.”

– Moss Roberts