Tao Te Ching #62: “advancing calmly on this Way”

The Way is the pivot of all things:
the treasure of good people,
the safeguard of those who are not good.
Find words can be sold,
honored acts can oppress people;
why should people who are not good abandon them?
Therefore to establish an emperor
and set up high officials,
one may have a great jewel
and drive a team of horses,
but that is not as good
as advancing calmly on this Way.
Why did the ancients value this Way?
By it one can attain without long seeking
and escape from the faults one has;
therefore it is valued by the world.

– Thomas Cleary


The Tao is creation’s sanctuary
treasured by the good
it keeps the bad alive
beautiful words might be the price
noble deeds might be the gift
how can we abandon
people who are bad
thus when emperors are enthroned
or ministers installed
though there be great disks of jade
followed by teams of horses
they don’t rival one who sits
and offers up this Way
the ancients thus esteemed it
for did they not proclaim
who seeks thereby obtains
who errs thereby escapes
thus the world esteems it

– Red Pine


A midden for the myriad,
The Way is sacred to men of merit
And a safeguard to all who do wrong.
Fine words may buy high station,
Find deeds win men’s acclaim,
But why turn from those who do wrong?
For when the son of heaven is enthroned,
And his three elder statesmen were installed,
Better to counsel them in the Way
Than ride an envoy’s four-horse coach
Heralded by the jade disc of state.
Why did men of old honor the Way?
Has it not been said, “Through the Way
Shall right be found, wrongdoers paid”?
For this the world honors the Way.

– Moss Roberts