Tao Te Ching #77: “The Way of heaven reduces excess and fills need, but the way of humans is not so”

The Way of heaven
is like drawing a bow:
the high is lowered,
the low is raised;
excess is reduced,
need is fulfilled.
The Way of heaven
reduces excess and fills need,
but the way of humans is not so:
they strip the needy
to serve those who have too much.

– Thomas Cleary


The Way of Heaven
is like stringing a bow
pulling down the high
lifting up the low
shortening the long
lengthening the short
the Way of Heaven
takes from the long
and supplements the short
unlike the Way of Humankind
which takes from the short
and gives to the long
who can take the long
and give it to the world
only those who possess the Way
thus do sages not depend on what they develop
or claim what they achieve
thus they choose to hide their skill

– Red Pine


Heaven’s Way, like unto a bow full-drawn—
Low end raised, top bent down—
Subtracts from the have-mores
And supplies those in want.
Heaven’s Way—to supply who wants
By taking from the have-mores—
Is not the Way of men,
Who take from those in need
To serve those who have more.
Who will use the surplus to serve this world below?
None but men of the Way.
Wise rulers for this reason
Act without self-satisfaction,
For their deeds shun recognition
To conceal their contribution.

– Moss Roberts


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