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Flow: Chapter 78, Tao Te Ching

Here is my attempt to translate of one of the teachings of Laozi, from Chapter 78 of the Tao Te Ching:

天下莫 (Nothing in this world) 柔弱 (is as gentle and weak) 于水 (as water).
而 (But to) 攻坚 (defeat) 强者 (the strong)
莫 (nothing) 之能胜 (can succeed)
以其无 (if it does not) 以易之 (change).
弱之 (The weak) 胜 (overcome) 强 (strong),
柔 (as gentle) 之 (can) 胜 (overcome) 刚 (hard).

Still working on the last lines, which seem to say the above is an impractical and confusing paradox. Can’t figure out yet if they are meant to be sarcastic in tone.

天下莫不知莫能行
是以圣人云,
受国之垢是谓社稷主
受国不祥是为天下王
正言若反

Posted in History, Poetry, Security.


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