Tao Te Ching #73: “But which man knows what heaven condemns, what precedents it’s guided by?”

Boldness in daring means killing;
boldness in not daring means life.
These two may help and may harm.
Who knows the reason
for what heaven dislikes?
This is why even sages
find it hard for them.
The Way of heaven
win well without contest,
responds well without speech,
comes of itself uncalled,
relaxed yet very resourceful.
The net of heaven is vast;
the holes are large
but don’t let it slip.

– Thomas Cleary


Daring to act means death
daring not to act means life
of these two
one benefits
the other harms
what Heaven dislikes
who knows the reason
the Way of Heaven
is to win without a fight
to answer without a word
to come without a summons
and to plan without a thought
the Net of Heaven is all-embracing
its mesh is wide but nothing escapes

– Red Pine


Be brave in daring; kill or be killed;
Be brave in not daring; live and let live;
One of the two brings gain, one harm.
But which man knows what heaven condemns,
What precedents it’s guided by?

The way of heaven masters all:
It prevails though striving not,
It replies though speaking not,
Comes although uncalled,
And gives good counsel though affected not.
Heaven’s net, cast far and wide,
Seems slack yet nothing slips outside.

– Moss Roberts