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The Book of the Way and Its Virtue

Author Don Richardson's coined the phrase "redemptive analogy" for ancient parts of cultures containing seeds of the good news, useful with both evangelism and gaining wisdom in how our Lord has revealed himself throughout history. The Tao Te Ching is clearly the "redemptive analogy" for Chinese culture. It speaks of the Way (Yeshua), the moral and potent Virtue (God's Spirit), Heaven personified (God), and the divine Kingdom.

Knowing no Chinese, I prepared this version of the text making use of many English translations. The most helpful, with extensive commentary on translation issues, was written by J. J. L. Duyvendak.

For the sake of clarity and consistency with scripture, this translation uses the word God to refer to God the Father, the Hebrew word Yeshua to refer to God the Son, and the word YHWH to refer to God in unity as Father, Son, and Spirit.

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Book One


The Way that is the Eternal Way is not fixed, but a living and active way.
The Name that is the Eternal Name is not inflexible, but a living and potent name.
As the origin of heaven and earth it is nameless; as the mother of all things it has a name.
So, as ever hidden we should look at its inner essence; as always manifest, we should look at its outer aspects.
These two, having a common origin, are named with different terms.
What they have in common is called the Mystery, the Mystery of Mysteries, and the Gate of all Wonders.

Yeshua is active and alive. YHWH is too.
Yeshua as Creator was hidden as the Word.
Yeshua as Re-creator was revealed as the Son.
Yeshua was part of, but later earned, the name YHWH.
Ponder how YHWH is sometimes hidden and sometimes revealed;
how YHWH and Yeshua are aspects of Truth,
and how their relationship reveals other aspects of Truth.


Everybody in the world perceives beauty as beauty, and thus ugliness is understood.
Everybody recognizes the good as good, and thus evil is known.
   Hidden and manifest produce one another.
   Hard and easy complete one another.
   Long and short are relative to one another.
   High and low depend on one another.
   Tone and voice harmonize with one another.
   First and last follow one another.
Therefore the Saint manages his affairs without ado, and spreads his teaching without words.
He accepts how the teeming demands are temporary:
   He produces but does not claim the product.
   He works but does not rely on the result.
   He grows but does not control.
   He accomplishes his task but does not dwell upon it. Indeed, because he does not dwell on it nobody can ever take it away from him.

Things are relative only when temporary.
See the eternal. Don't react to the temporary.
Selflessness is more than denying our desires:
identify with Yeshua, not what we do or experience.
To relate to Yeshua was to relate to the Father.
Do we similarly represent Yeshua?
Are our gain, work, growth, and successes all his?
Nothing else lasts eternally.


Not honoring talent ensures people will lack rivalry and contention.
Not prizing precious goods ensures that the people do not become robbers.
Not displaying what is desirable ensures that the people do not covet.
Therefore the Saint, in the exercise of government, empties their desires and fills their bellies, softens their ambitions and toughens their bones. This ensures that the people remain free from yearning and coveting, and prevents those who yearn from any ado.
Follow Non-Ado and everything will be in order.

If we have our basic needs met,
all we need to achieve joy, place, and purpose
can be obtained through experiencing
the limitless grace and presence of YHWH.
People who think having more than this
helps achieve joy, place, or purpose are insatiable.
Catering to them does not help them.


The Way is like an empty vessel which, when used, cannot be filled.
Fathomless, it seems to be the origin of all things!
It blunts sharpness, it unties tangles, it shades brightness, and it unites the world into one whole.
Hidden in the depths, yet it will last for ever!
I do not know whose son it is; it seems to be the common ancestor of all, the antecedent of all things.

Yeshua gives inexhaustibly.
His beginning is before creation,
and he will outlive this world.
He is Creator and Sustainer and Lord.


Heaven and Earth lack empathy: they treat all things as destined to be burned.
The Saint lacks empathy: he treats all people as destined to be burned.
Between Heaven and Earth is like a bellows. Empty and inexhaustible, the more it works the more it brings forth.
Many words are soon exhausted; better to preserve a middle course.

Love and compassion are virtues.
But sympathizing with other people's wants
only enables their insatiability.
All in this world is vanity besides basic needs,
relationships, and knowing YHWH.
Explain this by enjoying life while living simply,
and by embracing hardships without self-mortification.


"The valley spirit never dies": this refers to meekness mysteriously victorious.
"The doorway to meekness mysteriously victorious": this refers to the root of Heaven and Earth.
Like lingering gossamer it is always present but barely noticeable. Yet it can be drawn upon inexhaustibly.

The gift Yeshua offers allows humility to overcome iniquity.
This way to overcome iniquity is what we are created for.
Yeshua's presence is often overlooked yet his power is infinite!


Heaven is long-lasting and Earth abides.
What is the secret of their durability?
Is it not because they do not produce for themselves that they last so long?
Thus the Saint puts himself behind and finds himself at the head.
He puts himself outside and yet he is safe and secure.
Is it not because he meets others' needs that his needs are met?

The sun and rain and soil give without judging,
without preference, and only to others.
When we also give freely we become leaders provided with peace.


The highest potential is like water, which benefits all things without ever striving. Water stays in the lowest places which all men loathe. Therefore it comes near to the Way.
   What one values in real estate is the location;
   What one values in the mind is depth;
   What one values in relationships is kindness;
   What one values in speaking is integrity;
   What one values in ruling is orderliness;
   What one values is business is efficiency;
   What one values in action is grace.
Indeed, by not striving one remains blameless.

Anything can become the best it can be
without taking away from other things.
Examples of merits independent of comparisons:
good land, wise minds, kind hearts, kept promises,
peaceful places, effective businesses, timely deeds.
Don't compare yourself to others and covet their virtues.
Realize your potential by humbly walking with YHWH.


Better to stop filling than hold aloft a vase filled to the brim.
A sword too long tempered will soon loose its edge.
A house too full of bronze and jade cannot be guarded.
Confidence placed in wealth and honor will reap calamities.
The Way of Heaven withdraws once work is done.

Excess corrupts. Security and effectiveness come from timeliness.
Yeshua did his work and ascended.
Had he not departed, his work would have been ruined.


Can you cling to the One to harmonize your spirit and physical self?
Can you focus so your breath relieves tension, as an infant's?
Can you cleanse your inner vision to see yourself clearly?
Can you love the people and rule a state without clever manipulation?
Can you humbly accept when Heaven gives and takes away?
Can you remain detached and inactive when enlightened and seeing far in all directions?
When you produce and rear:
   Produce but do not claim the result.
   Work but do not rely on the result.
   Grow but do not control.
This is hidden virtue.

Yeshua asks us to let him care for us.
Our spirit, body, and concerns are in his care.
By accepting, we increase in perception, selfless love, humility, and stability.
He asks us what we strive for and worry about,
since only if our gain, work, and growth are his will they last eternally.


The thirty spokes that join a cylinder make it a hub, but using the cart relies on the hub's empty interior.
The clay is molded into a vessel, but using the vessel relies on its empty interior.
Cutting doors and windows makes a room a house, but using the house relies on its interior.
While what is outside gives definition, an empty interior makes things useful.

To be useful to God we do not need to abandon our individuality,
but we do need to empty ourselves so we may be filled with the divine.


   The five colors blind the eye.
   The five notes deafen the ear.
   The five flavors cloy the palate.
   Galloping and hunting madden the mind.
   Precious goods invite crime.
Therefore the Saint cares for the belly and not for the eye.
Indeed, he rejects the one and chooses the other.

Excess corrupts.
It causes the pleasant to become repulsive.
This is why people who think prosperity
beyond having their basic needs met helps them
to achieve joy, place, or purpose become insatiable.
Wanting more than enough will always lead to
wanting too much.


Honor and shame are both sources of pride.
A disaster has value as your own body.
What is the meaning of "Honor and shame are both sources of pride"?
Receiving honor or shame will threaten humility by causing you to worry about yourself.
That is the meaning of: "Honor and shame are both sources of pride"?
What is the meaning of "A disaster has value as your own body"?
The reason why I suffer disasters is that I have a body.
As soon as I have no body--or if I had no sense of self--what disaster could I suffer?
Therefore, only he who is willing to give his body for the sake of All-under-heaven may be entrusted with All-under-heaven.
Only he who can give it with selfless love is worthy of ruling All-under-heaven.

When we look at YHWH and not ourselves,
We experience divine grace, and care not about honor or shame.
Whose judgment matters besides YHWH's?
What in this world can harm us?
Yeshua was willingly to selflessly suffer death for the sake of the world.
So the Father deemed him worthy of ruling the world.


Looking, we cannot see it. It is called invisible.
Listening, we cannot hear it. It is called inaudible.
Grasping, we cannot touch it. It is called intangible.
As these three properties are unfathomable, they indeed merge into one.
Its rising is not bright, nor is its setting dark, yet continually and unfathomably it rises and then returns to nothingness.
Thus it is called the formless form, the imageless image, unfathomable and unimaginable.
We approach it but cannot see its face. We follow it but cannot see its back.
Yet if we cling to the ancient Way to manage our lives, we will understand the origins of creation. The Way has a thread of the very beginning.

Yeshua is approachable yet hidden.
We cannot make him reveal himself, even though we are able to follow him.
By clinging to him we understand him, as well as ourselves and creation.


The most ancient followers of the Way were subtle in mystery and profound in discernment. Too deep to be understood, we are forced to only describe them.
   How cautious, like one who walks a frozen stream in winter!
   How alert, like one who fears his enemies on all sides!
   How courteous, like one who is a guest!
   How yielding, like ice about to melt!
   How whole, like uncarved wood!
   How open, like a valley!
   How mysterious, like muddy water!
What clears the muddiness? Be still and the muddiness will clear itself.
What gives patience? Have confidence that the right action will present itself.
Those who followed the Way did not desire to be full. Indeed, because they were not full, they waited like a seed, hidden and ready to sprout at the best time.

How can we be like the apostles?
We can imitate their virtues.
They were often in danger yet always generous;
always proclaiming truth yet not always understandable.
Most of all, they did not live for themselves,
but patiently followed Yeshua, waiting for him to use them.


I attain utmost emptiness and observe single-minded quietness by contemplating how the all things all operate and then return to nothingness.
Indeed, all things flourish and then return to the root from which they sprang. Returning to the root can be peaceful if one has surrender and trust.
Surrender and trust are a constant law. Knowing this constant is enlightenment. Those who do not know this constant run foolishly into disasters. Knowing this constant we endure, accepting things as they are. Therefore we are unprejudiced and all-embracing, as is Heaven. By showing grace as Heaven does we become great and one with the Way. Abiding with the Way forever, we are safe and whole even after losing our body.

Accept that things flourish and then fade.
Choosing whom or what you want to see flourish will cause you trouble.
Simply show grace to everyone.
Become one with Yeshua as he abides in you.
Then your life will be great and your fading will be peaceful.


Optimally, people do not even know they are under authority.
   Next best is to love and praise the rulers.
   Next best is to fear them.
   Worst is to despise them.
If those in authority do not trust the people to act correctly, then the people will not believe that those in authority are acting correctly.
Thus wise rulers think more than they speak, and value their words. And the work went smoothly, was completed, and the people all thought: "We have done it ourselves!"

If in a position of authority, when possible act as YHWH does.
He rules all, but may be ignored.
He is worthy of love and praise,
but willing to let people take credit for his work.
He gives people too much freedom,
knowing the only other option is being a tyrant.
Make few rules,
only help when help is requested,
and let people decide how to do the work you want done.


When the great Way is abandoned people talk about "charity" and "justice".
When cleverness and knowledge appear, people talk about "hypocrisy".
When the six family relationships lack harmony, people talk about "devoted children".
When a kingdom falls into disorder, people talk about "loyal ministers".

If everyone followed Yeshua,
there would be no need to speak of virtues.
The more that virtues are discussed,
the more evil the world must be.


Abolish legalism and minimize doctrine: the people will benefit a hundredfold.
Abolish charity and minimize justice: the people will return to caring for family members.
Abolish shrewdness and minimize wealth: thieves and robbers will disappear.
These three are merely words and not sufficient. There is something that includes them all.
Display the potential of undyed silk and the wholeness of uncarved wood: abolish selfishness and minimize desires.

Cultural virtues can be snares.
A religion with too much detail in rules and beliefs becomes dead.
A government with too many programs replaces family and neighborhood.
A society with too many material values creates crime.
Instead of focusing on so many things stay ready to be used by YHWH.
Then you will see great life, relationships, wholeness, and happiness.


Abolish study of etiquette and customs and you will be free from care.
How vast is such study! What is the difference between "yes" and "yes please"? What is the difference between propriety and impropriety? Which things that others respect are actually worthy of respect?
What nonsense this is!
I am alone when all men are joyful in celebration, as with a holiday sacrifice or ascending the Spring Terrace. I am passive, like an infant which has yet to smile. I am weary, like an adult with no home.
When all men appear to have plenty, only I am left out. What a fool I appear to be!
When others appear intelligent and bright, I appear stupid and dim.
When others appear discerning and sharp, I appear confused and dull.
I rest like the sea although I appear to move aimlessly like the wind.
Let all men follow etiquette and custom. I alone appear ignorant and stubborn.
Yet what makes me most different from others is that I am sustained by the Creator.

Pleasing people is difficult.
So many rules make up polite and respectful behavior!
In comparison, Yeshua gives us few rules.
Seek his favor, not that of people.
This will create times when you do not fit in,
but you will not mind.
You will appear disturbed and lost,
but really your foundation is peaceful and secure.


Only the Way can act with pure virtue.
The Way taking a form is an idea mysterious and beyond comprehension.
Yet, despite being beyond comprehension and mysterious: there is its form!
Yet, despite being mysterious and beyond comprehension: it has become a thing!
This truth is confusing like darkness, yet gives life. This life is genuine, but requires belief.
From antiquity until now the Way has had the same name: Creator of all things.
This mysterious truth teaches about the Creator of all things.

How awe-inspiring that Yeshua took a form!
The Creator of the universe became a thing!
This is a strange truth that gives life if you believe,
and you can get to know Yeshua!


   What is bent becomes whole.
   What is crooked becomes straight.
   What is empty becomes filled.
   What is worn becomes renewed.
   He who has little will gain.
   He who has much will be confused.
Therefore the Saint clings to the One and becomes a pattern for all things.
   He does not show himself; therefore he shines.
   He does not affirm himself; therefore he is acknowledged.
   He does not boast; therefore he is given credit.
   He does not flaunt his success; therefore he is invited to lead.
Indeed, because he does not compete with anyone no one can compete with him.
The old saying: "What is bent becomes whole" is not empty talk. Believe in what is truly whole and become like it.

Causing things to develop is YHWH's role.
Trust him to do it! Even for your own life!
He is complete, and will make you complete.
Trying in our own strength to create completeness
is meddling that leads to confusion.


It is natural to speak and act briefly.
A whirlwind does not blow all morning, nor does a rainstorm last all day. Who is it that makes these? Heaven and Earth. If even Heaven and Earth do not make outbursts last long, should people?
Therefore follow the Way in action. Open yourself to the Way to become one with it. Open yourself to virtue to become one with it. Open yourself to loss to become one with it.
Open yourself to the Way and rejoice in obtaining the Way. Open yourself to virtue and rejoice in obtaining virtue. Open yourself to loss and rejoice in obtaining loss.
Without trusting in this you are not trustworthy.

Seek Yeshua, virtue, and loss of selfishness.
If you have other priorities you are trying too much,
meddling in YHWH's work,
and will have exhaustion and failure.


   On tiptoe one stands unsteadily.
   Straddle-legged one cannot go forward.
   He who shows himself does not shine.
   He who affirms himself is not acknowledged.
   He who boasts is not given credit.
   He who is flaunts his success is not invited to lead.
The Way calls these: "Leftover food and wasted action."
They are loathed by all. Therefore, a person of the Way does not behave like this.

How much of what we do is unnecessary striving?
Do what Yeshua values and he will make you whole.


There were things in a form of unity before heaven and earth were formed.
Still, boundless, isolated, changeless, yet now it is in everything and never tires. It may be regarded as the mother of all things.
I do not know its personal name, so I call it the Way and can only describe it as Greatness. As Greatness it departs, goes far, and returns.
The Way is great, heaven is great, earth is great, and the king is great. In the world there are four great things and the king is one of them. Humanity patterns itself after the earth, the earth patterns itself after heaven, heaven patterns itself after the Way, and the Way follows itself.

YHWH was a unity of Father and Yeshua before creation.
But before creation YHWH had nothing to sustain.
So YHWH decided to create and sustain the world.
Blessed are we to know the name Yeshua!
In greatness he departed heaven, came to earth, and returned to heaven.
He was great before creation, while first in heaven,
when on earth, and now when seated on the throne.
Humanity was created from the earth and is still earthly.
But YHWH has invited us to participate in his work
of transforming the earth to be like heaven.


Heaviness is the root of lightness. Stillness is the master of restlessness.
Therefore the Saint travels all day with his wagon, quiet and at ease although there are magnificent views.
Why should a lord of ten thousand chariots react with lightness to all things?
If he conducts himself lightly he will lose his root. If he is restless he will lose his self-mastery.

Our eternal life is grounded in Yeshua.
We should act from this foundation, not react to circumstance.
If we are easily swayed or double-minded,
we will become less connected to Yeshua,
and lose our self-control.


A skillful traveler need not follow the wheel-ruts.
A skillful speaker need not offer blame or praise.
A skillful accountant needs no counting-tallies.
A skillful locksmith need not use bar or bolt to make a door impossible to open.
A skillful binder need not use twine or knot to make a bundle impossible to unwrap.
The Saint is thus considered always skilled at saving men, for he need not reject any man.
He is always skilled at saving things, for he need not reject any thing.
   This is called a twofold understanding.
Thus this good man is the master of all men who are not good, and these not good men are the material for his goodness.
However wise one may be it is a great error to not value one's master, or to waste one's potential as material.
   This is called the chief wonder.

The skilled are not constrained to only work with optimal materials.
Yeshua can bring salvation to anyone who truly repents,
no matter how evil their heart they can escape slavery to sinfulness.
Do not consider yourself too wicked for Yeshua to save!
This is an insult to Yeshua's ability to turn wickedness into goodness.
Do not consider yourself too weak for God to use!
This is an insult to God's ability to show his strength through your weakness.
Share with all people Yeshua's offers of salvation and strength.


Knowing what is boastful but keeping to what is humble is being a watershed for all things.
   As a watershed for all things, his experience makes virtue collect.
   He is born again.
Knowing what is revealed but keeping to what is hidden is being a pattern for all things.
   As a pattern for all things, his image makes virtue strong.
   He returns to the infinite.
Knowing what is glorious but keeping to what does not shine is being a valley for all things.
   As a valley for all things, his meekness makes virtue sufficient.
   He returns to wholeness.
Vessels are carved from uncut wood by removing substance.
   The Saint can use each vessel for its special purpose.
   But great works do not require removing substance.

The humble accept the experiences that increase virtue.
The heavenly models how virtue is strong.
The meek can feel complete possessing only virtue.
Acquiring virtue from experiences is more valuable than acquiring skill.


Some people feel forced to take all things and control them.
   I have seen it cannot be done.
All things are set apart and thus contained together.
   People cannot rule them.
   He who acts, spoils things. He who grabs, loses things.
For things naturally rush ahead, then lag behind;
   Pant warmly, then breathe coolly;
   Become strong, then become feeble;
   Start afresh, then decay.
Therefore the Saint accepts things as they are. He avoids forcing things. He avoids extremes.

Let YHWH own the world.
Learn to enjoy how he gives and takes away.
Help him with his plans, which are better than our own plans.


He who leads others in following the Way will not control things by force of arms.
   Those things like to turn against their wielder.
   Wherever armies were stationed thistles and thorns will grow.
   After a great campaign bad years will follow.
A skillful follower of the Way conquers by being resolute. He dares not conquer through violence.
   He accomplishes but does not boast,
   Gains victory but does not show himself,
   Leads but does not flaunt his success.
He does what is necessary when there is no other choice: forced to conquer, he does not use violence.
Governance claimed through rallied strength has a temporal foundation, and thus is not of the Way, and short-lived.

Yeshua leads us to fight Satan, not people.
Soldiers have a terrible job that lacks choice.
Followers of Yeshua have the luxury of shunning evil
and being able to resist Satan without wrestling.
Trust YHWH to raise up and cast down rulers.


Truly, fine arms cause evil tidings loathed by all beings. The man who follows the Way avoids them.
In domestic protocol the left side is the place of honor, but in military protocol the right side is the place of honor. Why is this?
Since fine arms cause evil tidings they are not instruments proper for a nobleman.
   Only as a last resort he wields them, for he values peace and quiet above all.
   When he fights he finds no beauty in it.
   If he found beauty in it he would be taking pleasure in the slaughter of men!
   Those who take pleasure in the slaughter of men will never control all things.
On joyful occasions the left side is the place of honor; on sad occasions the right is valued.
The civil minister stands on the left but the military commander stands on the right:
   It is as if he is already mourning those whom he will slaughter.
When the military commander must slaughter many men he should bewail such need with sorrow and lamentation.
Upon a victory in war, his priority is to honor the dead with proper mourning and funerals.

Those who follow Yeshua need not use violence against men.
They are apart from the world in their responsibility to honor YHWH.
Pity the soldier, who must use violence to manifest the plans of men.
Support the soldier, who is also set apart from the world,
but is set apart in his responsibility to honor the dead.


The Way, unnamed from eternity, had unconstrained potential. Humble, it was inferior to nothing in the world.
   If a ruler follows it everyone ruled would follow. Heaven and earth would be in harmony and send down sweet dew.
   Not needing to be told, people would follow commands from above.
As soon as it had form it was named.
The name exists so the Saint knows where to abide. One who knows where to abide is safe from all danger.
The Way wants to flow into all things as torrents flow through valleys to the river and the sea.

Yeshua took on birth and life that we could know how to abide in him.
This cleans our consciences by removing iniquity.
Then we abide in Yeshua, and he abides in us, like rivers of living water.


He who knows others is shrewd;
   He who knows himself is enlightened.
He who conquers others has power;
   He who conquers himself has strength.
He who knows contentment is rich;
   He who acts intentionally has purpose.
He who departs not from his allotted place will live long;
   He who dies without perishing has life.

Society values shrewdness, power,
and contentment in your social role.
Those who follow Yeshua value enlightenment, inner strength, and purpose in our eternal role.


The great Way is neutral; it may go left or it may go right.
All things depend on it for their existence, and it denies them not.
When a work has been completed, it does not claim the result.
It loves and nourishes all things, but it does not lord this over them.
   Thus it may be named with the humblest things.
All things will come before it, but it does not lord this over them.
   Thus it may be named with the greatest things.
Because it never asserts its own greatness, therefore its greatness is fully achieved.

Why is Yeshua is worthy of worship?
Through him YHWH created the world.
Also, one day all will kneel before him,
but until that day he is completely humble.


He who grasps the great Image [the Way] will seem welcoming to All-under-heaven.
Those who flock to him will suffer no harm, but will dwell in peace and unity.
   Music and dainties will make a passing stranger pause,
   But words uttered about the Way seem stale and flavorless!
   Looked at, they are not worth seeing.
   Listened to, they are not worth hearing.
But used, they cannot be exhausted!

The life we gain through following Yeshua is attractive.
People recognize how it fills our lives with harmony.
But the same people are not interested in being taught by or about Yeshua,
because Yeshua's words are only understandable to those who rely on YHWH.


   What you wish to contract, you must first allow to expand.
   What you wish to weaken, you must first allow to strengthen.
   What you wish to tear down, you must first allow to build up.
   What you wish to take, you must first allow to give.
This is wisdom from seeing the subtle: the soft and pliable overcomes the hard and inflexible.
Just as fish should not be taken from the deep, the state's weapons should not be displayed.

Let YHWH own the world.
He has plans for all things in their proper time
to prosper and recede.
Be part of his plans; do not try to force the world.


The Way never makes any ado and yet it does everything.
If the kings and lords would follow the Way then all things would mature naturally.
If, as they develop, desire begins to stir within them then the Way's primal simplicity would influence them.
This alone can subdue people's desires.
Being without desire they would have peace, and All-under-heaven would settle naturally.

God has good plans for all things.
If people would simply let God's plans happen,
we would all prosper in peace and wholeness!

Book Two


Pure virtue does not focus on itself as virtue; therefore it has virtue.
   False "virtue" always asserts itself as virtue; therefore it has no virtue.
Pure virtue makes no ado and is not self-serving.
   False virtues make ado and are self-serving.
   Kindness makes ado, but is not self-serving.
   Propriety makes ado and is self-serving.
   Rituals of etiquette make ado, and not finding response, bare the arms and become aggressive.
   After the Way is abandoned, false virtues are asserted.
   After false virtues are abandoned, kindness is asserted.
   After kindness is abandoned, propriety is asserted.
   After propriety is abandoned, rituals of etiquette are asserted.
   Rituals of etiquette are the mere husk of loyalty and good faith, and the beginning of disorder.
Knowing what will come is merely fruit of knowing the Way.
   Focusing on future trends is the beginning of folly.
Therefore, the mature Saint is concerned with the substance, not the husk.
   He focuses on the seed and not the fruit.
   He prefers what is within to what is without.

Focus on Yeshua, not virtue.
The more you know Yeshua the more virtuous you will become.
But focusing on virtue will not help you get closer to Yeshua.
After people stop focusing on Yeshua
first they design their own morals
then they try offering kindness to everyone
then they invent norms of socially correct behavior
then they become aggressively legalistic
and finally there is chaos.
Those who follow Yeshua will see this as it happens.
But do not focus on it!
Focus on Yeshua.


These, of old, attained unity:
   Heaven attained unity in its clarity.
   Earth attained unity in its tranquility.
   The angels attained unity in their activity.
   The deep attained unity in its fullness.
   Creation attained unity in its fruitfulness.
   Kings and princes attained unity in ruling by worthy example.
Unity sustains these.
   If heaven was no longer clear it would fragment.
   If earth was no longer tranquil it would shatter.
   If angels were no longer active they would dissipate.
   If the deep was no longer full it would be exhausted.
   If creation was no longer fruitful it would become extinct.
   If kings and princes no longer ruled by worthy example they would fall.
For greatness has the humble as its root.
The exalted is built upon the lowly.
   Therefore the kings and princes call themselves orphans with meager inheritances.
   They regard the humble as their root!
Too much honor leads to no honor.
Do not shine like jade on display.
Be a lowly foundation, scattered like gravel.

We fulfill our purpose
and maintain our identity
through unity with Yeshua.
In this manner we are useful to others,
and are honored without seeking honor.


The Way moves by reversing.
The Way uses weakness as strength.
Heaven and earth and all things are reborn through the named.
The named is born out of the nameless.

Yeshua makes strength out of our weakness.
He recreates all things.
Yeshua as Creator was hidden as the Word.
Yeshua as Re-creator was revealed as the Son.


When a wise man hears about the Way he diligently follows it.
When a mediocre man hears about the Way he wavers between belief and unbelief.
When a foolish man hears about the Way he laughs loudly at it.
If it such a man did not laugh at, it would not be worth regarding as the Way.
For there is an established saying:
   The Way's brightness can seem dim
   The Way's advances can seem retreats;
   The Way's smoothness can seem rough;
      Our highest efforts are empty;
      Our best purity is stained;
      Our strongest efforts are inadequate;
      Our established virtues are feeble;
   The greatest solid is pierced;
   The greatest square has no corners;
   The greatest vessel is the last completed;
   The greatest music has the rarest sound;
   The greatest Image has no form.
The Way is hidden and nameless.
Indeed, because the Way is able to lend of itself it is able to provide completion.

Yeshua, as creator, is nameless
because he contributes anonymously to all creation.
Yeshua fits none of our categories
because he creator, not part of this world.
His best can seem backwards,
but lasts eternally.
But our best is not eternal
and thus comparatively worthless.
The last part of creation will be
when our creator finishes establishing himself.


One produced two.
   Two produced three
   Three produce all other things.
These other things carry the dark but embrace the light.
   The breath rises softly to produce harmoniously.
People loathe being orphaned, widowed, or poor,
   yet kings and dukes call themselves thus
   for things may gain by decrease or decrease by gain.
What others have taught I repeat:
   men of violence will not reach their natural death.
   The father's doctrine is my teacher.

The world was created by three.
The divine Spirit gives freedom.
Rising within us, it frees us from serving darkness
so that we may succeed in embracing light.
The divine son gives mercy.
In unity with his humility may we gain through decrease.
The divine Father gives justice.
Greed and violence lead to ruin;
His teachings are the laws for life.
So is the world sustained by these three that are divine,
or by their freedom, mercy, and justice?


The softest of things overcomes the hardest of things.
That which has no substance enters where there is no space.
Few things in the world are as instructive as wordless teaching,
or as beneficial as the fruits of Non-Ado.

The Spirit can rule the body.
It does so subtly, without ado.
What instruction is comparable
to being taught directly by the Spirit of YHWH?
What virtues are comparable
to the fruits of the Spirit of YHWH?


Which is more important, your name or your body?
Which is more prized, your body or your possessions?
Which is more destructive, your gain or your loss?
The more you spend on others, the more you will spend on yourself.
The more you store up, the more you will lose.
One who is content is safe from disgrace.
One who knows where to abide is safe from danger.
He will last long.

We cannot buy safety or happiness
for ourselves or for others.
Instead nurture your virtue;
in integrity help others have virtue.
This help can make an eternal difference.
Abide in Yeshua.


The most flawless seems cracked.
   But it never wears out.
The greatest fullness seems empty.
   But it never runs dry.
The most straight seems crooked.
The most skillful seems clumsy.
The most eloquent seems awkward.
Stamping overcomes cold.
   Stillness overcomes heat.
Purity and stillness are normal in All-under-heaven.

The Father is present even when he appears absent.
The Spirit fills us even when we feel empty.
Yeshua is righteous, skilled at saving, and speaking truth.
In stillness we can see these things.


When the world follows the Way, warhorses will be used as cart-horses.
When the world abandons the Way, warhorses will be raised in sacred places.
The greatest disaster is to obtain more desires.
The greatest lack is not knowing how much is enough.
The greatest sin is covetousness.
To be content with enough is to always feel rich.

We can have Yeshua!
We need seek after nothing else.


Without opening the door you can know All-under-heaven.
Without looking out the window you can see the Way of Heaven.
The further you seek the less you will understand.
Therefore the Saint understands without traveling,
   knows about things unseen,
   and achieves without acting.

A person unable to know YHWH at home, in stillness
will not benefit from searching, or going elsewhere.


Learning is daily accumulation.
Following the Way is daily diminishing.
Diminish, and again diminish, until you reach Non-Ado.
Abiding in Non-Ado ensures nothing is left incomplete.
Gain the world by constantly abiding in Non-Ado.
Serving your own ends you are unable to gain the world.

Following Yeshua involves dying to our desires.
The Spirit allows all things to develop naturally.
Abide in the Spirit and experience the world as it is intended to be.


The Saint has no prejudices.
He gives all people the benefit of the doubt.
"I am on good terms with the righteous and the wicked: thus I obtain goodness.
"I am faithful to the trustworthy and the untrustworthy: thus I obtain faithfulness."
In the midst of All-under-heaven the Saint makes no distinctions.
For the sake of All-under-heaven he allows chaos in his heart.
The people rivet their ears and eyes on him.
The Saint treats them all like innocents.

We should love others as we love ourselves.
What does this mean?
How easily we accept excuses for our failings!
Extend this same forgiveness to others.
We care for ourselves even when we sin.
Extend this same kindness to others.
We are faithful to ourselves even though we abandon goals we set.
Extend this same support to others.
At times we still see in ourselves the neediness and innocence of infancy.
Extend this same insight to others.


We come forth into life and enter into death.
One-third of men follow life.
One-third of men follow death.
One-third of men say they follow life but in their actions follow death.
   Why is that? Because they are overly protective of their life.
Indeed, I have heard that those expert in following life travel without meeting the tiger or rhinoceros and go into battle without weapons or armament.
A rhinoceros would find no place to put its horn.
A tiger would fine no place to put its claws.
A weapon would find no place to put its point.
  Why is that? Because he has no vulnerable spot.

Followers of Yeshua need not fear death.
After death they gain eternal life.
Before death they have YHWH's protection.
Since all people are vulnerable, the only true protection
is being in the place YHWH wants you to be, doing his work.
Since all people die, the only true danger
is being brought to eternal life sooner than otherwise.


The Way gives them life.
Virtue nurtures them.
Their family gives them their form.
Environment refines them.
Therefore all things, without exception, honor the Way and value Virtue.
They have not been commanded to honor the Way and value Virtue but do so spontaneously.
The Way gives life, Virtue nurtures: these care for, raise, prosper, lead, support, and shelter.
These produce but do not claim the product.
These work but do not rely on the result.
These lead but do not control.
This is called hidden Virtue.

Yeshua is our creator.
The Spirit of God causes our growth.
But neither will coerce us. Both act quietly
Although their work in us can be difficult for others to see,
it causes us to want to worship and praise!


All-under-heaven have a common beginning.
This beginning may be regarded as the mother of All-under-heaven.
Knowing the mother, we may understand how we as should be as children.
Knowing we are children, we should cleave to the mother.
Then we will be protected from danger, even if we lose our lives.
   Close the mouth and live simply at home, and until the end of your body it will not fail.
   Open your mouth and travel widely, and until the end of your body nothing will avail.
   Valuing what appears insignificant requires enlightenment.
   Embracing your weaknesses produces strength.
   Using your vision only to walk in the light avoids calamities.
This is called "practicing the eternal".

Our primary role as children of YHWH
is to cleave to YHWH.
If we rely on God's presence, strength, and guidance
we will be following God's will for our lives,
and thus we will be protected.
Pray before speaking or making plans;
stay centered in the will of God.


With only the tiniest grain of knowledge of the great Way I can follow it.
My only fear is straying from it.
The great Way is straight and smooth.
But people prefer twisted paths.
When leaders trust in superstition
   then even when the fields are full of weeds and the granaries are empty
   the leaders wear ornaments and fancy clothes,
   gird themselves with sharp swords,
   eat their fill of food,
   and seek excess wealth.
I call this robbing and bragging.
What do they know about the Way?

Even those who barely know Yeshua can follow him.
His way is clear to his disciples.
Those who do not follow him also make themselves clear.


What is well planted cannot be uprooted.
What is firmly clasped will not slip away.
Then many generations will faithfully offer sacrifices.
Cultivate Virtue in your person and it becomes integral.
   Cultivate Virtue in your family and it abides.
   Cultivate Virtue in your village and it lives and grows.
   Cultivate Virtue in your state and it flourishes abundantly.
   Cultivate Virtue in All-under-heaven and it becomes universal.
Thus, although each person will be judged by his or her integrity,
   families will be seen as families,
   villages will be seen as villages,
   states will be seen as states,
   and All-under-heaven will be seen as All-under-heaven.
Thus I know what about All-under-heaven
through what is in myself.

Unity with the Spirit of God is true integrity.
This ensures the best for us and our communities.
In the future all the world will offer sacrifices to YHWH.
Practice unity with the Spirit now in preparation for that day.


One who is filled with Virtue is newly-born like an infant,
   but poisonous insects and snakes will not sting him,
   nor will fierce animals seize him,
   nor will birds of prey will not claw him.
An infant's bones are tender and its sinews soft, but it has a firm grasp.
It does not recognize the union of male and female, knowing only their completeness.
   This is like bodily essence attaining perfection.
It can cry and howl all day long without becoming hoarse:
   This is like bodily harmony attaining perfection.
Harmony is known through constancy.
Constancy is known through enlightenment.
   Attempts to extend one's life are unnatural.
   Attempts to control one's breath are inflexible.
   Those who spend strength on such attempts grow old and wither.
   This is contrary to the Way, so it ceases to be.

Those filled with the Spirit of YHWH are born again,
made innocent and strong like an infant,
filled with an infant's love for parents,
and also miraculously protected.
Such harmony is maintained
by faithfully following Yeshua's way,
not through exercising the body in any manner.


The Way knows but seldom speaks.
   Mankind speaks but seldom knows.
   Close the mouth and live simply at home.
The Way blunts sharpness, it unties tangles, it shades brightness, and it unites the world into one whole.
   This refers to meekness mysteriously uniting contrasts.
We can neither court it nor shun it;
   we can cause it neither benefit nor harm;
   we can neither increase its honor nor rob it of its dignity.
It is the most revered in All-under-heaven.

Be quiet in mind, speech, and activity to hear Yeshua.
Avoid extremes. Seek him as he is, and where you are.
We can neither pursue nor escape him. Worship him.
(This chapter weaves together chapters 2, 6, and 52.)


A nation is made right by laws.
A war is won by exceptional strategies.
Yet the world is gained by Non-Ado.
How do I know this is so? By this:
   Having more taboos and prohibitions makes the people poorer.
   Having more deadliness of weapons makes the nation confused.
   Having more cunning in craftsmen makes bizarre devices abound.
   Having more new laws announced makes more thieves and robbers.
Therefore the Saint has said:
   "I practice Non-Ado and so the people transform themselves.
   I love stillness and so the people live simply and correctly.
   I do not engage in enterprise and so the people have true riches.
   I have no desires and so the people focus on their potential."

Spiritual leaders let God complete people.
Spiritual truths are simple, although deep.
Spiritual lives are prayerful and patient.


When laws are near-sighted the people look simple and faultless.
   When laws are eagle-eyed the people look like sneaky troublemakers.
Bad fortune is what good fortune leans on.
   Good fortune is what bad fortune hides in.
What is the end of this process? Nothing is naturally correct!
   The normal becomes the bizarre
   and the auspicious becomes ominous.
For a long time indeed have people found this confusing!
So the Saint demonstrates solidity without being blocky,
   integrity without being imposing,
   straightness without being judgmental,
   and brightness without being blinding.

Those who follow Yeshua are reliable yet flexible
and holy yet forgiving.
Do not judge people or events.
Let YHVH who knows all understand and judge.


For governing men and serving Heaven nothing is equal to a harvest.
To have a harvest one needs to follow immediately.
To follow immediately is to garner a double harvest of Virtue.
To garner a double harvest of Virtue is to overcome everything.
To overcome everything is reach an invisible height.
Only he who has reached an invisible height inherits the Kingdom.
Only he who has the "mother" of the Kingdom lasts eternally.
This is the way to be deep-rooted and firmly planted in the Way,
   the secret of eternal life and lasting vision.

Be led by the Spirit
in willingness and timeliness.
Your days will be fruitful;
your work will be successful;
you will recognize your place in the Kingdom.
With Yeshua abiding in you, you will know eternal life.
With you abiding in Yeshua, you will understand your circumstances.


Ruling a great state is like cooking small fish.
When the One of the Way reigns over All-under-heaven demons will be powerless.
(Not that the demons have no powers, but these spiritual beings do no harm to men.
Not that these spiritual beings would not harm men, but the Saint prevents harm to the people.)
When two do not harm one another, then Virtue converges and returns.

The most important task when ruling
is to protect good progress.
A ruler should not poke at fragile things!
Yeshua's rule is now notable for protecting us from evil
so we may have the peace and unity
that allows us to be filled with the Spirit.


A great state like a watershed to which streams flow is the place of convergence for All-under-heaven.
   It is the meekness of All-under-heaven.
Meekness always overcomes loftiness by stillness.
   Stillness is the lowest position.
Therefore, by lowering itself before a little state a great state gains the little one.
   By serving a great state, a little state gains the great one.
   The one gains by becoming low, the other by being low.
A great state only wishes to embrace and feed more people.
   A little state only wishes to be received and to serve.
   Each shall get what it wishes if the great becomes low.

The Kingdom offers to welcome and nourish the world.
Its goodness is visible in its humility, meekness, and peace.
Yet it is great, and one day all other kingdoms will serve it.


The Way for the ten thousand things makes us a treasury and dwelling.
   The good store all their treasure there.
   The not-good only seek it as a refuge.
Skillful words bring honor.
   Honorable conduct bring acceptance.
   Even among the not-good, who will be rejected?
Therefore, when an emperor is inaugurated or the three ministers are installed let others offer jade disks and ride
in the five chariots. It is better to offer the Way while sitting still.
Why did the ancients prize the Way so highly?
Did not they say, "He who seeks, finds. He who is guilty is forgiven."?
It is the most revered in All-under-heaven.

Yeshua prepares a place for us in the world to come.
Into it righteous store up a treasure of good deeds.
The wicked only seek the Kingdom when in trouble,
and only seek its peace and safety.
Even the wicked can amass honor and friends in this world.
Better is finding Yeshua,
receiving forgiveness,
and storing up treasures for the world to come.


Do in Non-Ado.
   Act by non-action.
   Savor the tasteless.
   Lift up the low.
   Multiply the few.
   Forgive offenses with Virtue.
Prune difficulties while they are still buds.
   Plant great things while they are still seeds.
The most difficult things in the world start out easy to affect.
   The greatest things in the world begin as something tiny.
Therefore the Saint never handles big things yet is able to achieve the great.
Now, he who takes promises lightly will have little faith.
   He who thinks everything is easy will find everything is difficult.
Thus the Saint treats all things as difficult but to the end find nothing too difficult.

How do we practice stillness? Value timeliness.
All things oscillate, undulate, ebb and flow.
Tiny nudges affect things at a far extreme or just beginning.
The Spirit who knows where things are headed
will tell us the time and place for our actions to be fruitful.


   What is at rest is easy to grasp.
   What has not yet happened is easy to plan for.
   What is brittle is easy to break.
   What is minute is easy to scatter.
Handle things before they manifest. Create order before there is disorder.
   A tree as large as a man's embrace grows from a tiny seed.
   A tower nine stories high starts with a shovel of dirt.
   A journey of a thousand leagues starts with what is under a foot sole.
He who acts, spoils things. He who grabs, loses things.
   Therefore the Saint does not act and spoils nothing.
   He does not grab and loses things.
When carrying out their affairs men often spoil what is about to succeed. Heed the end as much as the beginning so no affairs are spoiled.
Therefore the Saint desires not to desire and does not prize precious goods.
   He learns not to learn and reverts to what all men pass by.
   Thus he sustains the natural course of the ten thousand things without presuming to act.

How do we practice Non-Ado? Value foresight.
The Spirit who knows where things are headed
will tell us what to plan, what to prepare for, what to be alert for.
By not trusting in our own understanding
we can be relaxed and enjoy the moment
as we help YHVH manifest his plans.


Of old those who where well versed in the practice of the Way, rather than try to enlighten people, kept the people simple.
If people are hard to rule, it is because of too much knowledge.
   Therefore he who rules a state using knowledge is like a robber of the state.
   He who rules a state without using knowledge is a boon for the state.
He who knows these two things consults the pattern for all things.
Always to be mindful of consulting the pattern for all things is called hidden Virtue.
Hidden Virtue is deep and far-reaching. It leads all things to return until in the end they attain the Great Harmony.

By not trusting in our own understanding
we learn to naturally listen to the Spirit.
This broken world is being re-created.
The Spirit can lead us to become like Yeshua,
ready for the world to come.


How are the River and the sea able to be kings of the hundred valleys?
   Because they are lower than these.
   Hence they are able to be kings of the hundred valleys.
Therefore, if one wishes to reign over the people he should speak as one lower.
   If one wishes to lead the people he should put his own interests behind.
Thus when the Saint stands above the people they do not feel his weight.
   When he stands in front of the people they do not feel impeded.
Therefore All-under-heaven gladly pushes him forward and does not weary.
   Because he does not compete with anyone no one can compete with him

If you feel no need
to carry the weight of your presence or interests,
neither will others,
even if you lead them.


All the world says that my Way, though Great, seem untraditional.
Indeed, because it is Great it is untraditional. If it were traditional it would long ago have become legalistic.
I have three treasures which I hold and guard.
   The first is selflessness.
   The second is frugality.
   The third is not daring to be first in the world.
Having selflessness, I am able to be courageous.
   Having frugality, I am able to be generous.
   Not daring to be first in the world, I am able to become the chief of all vessels.
These days people reject selflessness and are only courageous.
   They reject frugality and are only generous.
   They reject being last and are only first.
   This is death!
Truly, he who fights with selflessness, conquers; he who guards himself with it is safe.
For Heaven will save the selfless, protecting them with its own selflessness.

Let YHVH protect your self, possessions, and place.
You can give of these more fully
after experiencing how he guards and replaces these.


   A good captain is not aggressive.
   A good fighter is not angry.
   A good conqueror does not engage his adversaries.
   A good employer serves his men.
This is called Virtue in not striving.
   This is called using the strength of men.
   This is called being united with Heaven as of old.

Serve, not react.


The strategists have a saying:
   "I dare not be host; I prefer being guest.
   I dare not advance an inch; I prefer retreating a foot."
This is called:
   to march without progressing,
   to roll up the sleeves without baring the arms,
   to attack without having an adversary,
   to draw without having a sword.
There is no greater calamity than underestimating one's adversary.
   If I underestimate my adversary then I risk losing my treasures.
So he who mourns when opposing arms are crossed will win.

Be ready without initiating.
Prepare without provoking.
Act without reacting.
Do in Non-Ado.
Mourn when you must initiate, provoke, react, or muddle.
This preserves selflessness, frugality, and not daring to be first.


My methods are very easy to understand and very easy to put into practice.
   But the world can neither understand them nor practice them.
My words have an Ancestor. My actions have a Lord. Because these are not understood men do not understand me.
   Those who understand me are rare.
   Those who pattern themselves after me are highly prized.
Thus the Saint wears rough cloth while carrying treasure in his heart.

Are Yeshua's followers
so much his disciples and God's children
that they are confusing to try to understand apart from this?


Best to perceive we do not perceive.
To perceive ignorance as perception is a sickness.
Only when sick of our sickness will one become not sick.
The Saint is not sick, being sick of sickness.
Therefore he is not sick.

We cannot fully understand our iniquity.
We can only realize and stop tolerating
that we fall greatly short of God's standards.


The greatest authority happens when people feel no authority from the authorities.
   Do not restrict them in their dwellings.
   Do not weary them in their livelihood.
Indeed, when they are not wearied by the leader they will not be weary of the leader.
Therefore the Saint knows himself but does not display himself.
   He is loves himself but does not prize himself.
   He rejects the latter and chooses the former.

Yeshua enables those willing to receive him,
but in this world does not restrict those who reject him.


He who is brave in daring will be killed.
   He who is brave in not-daring will live.
Of these two courses the one is profitable and the other harmful.
   Who knows the cause of what heaven dislikes?
   Thus the Saint treats all things as difficult.
The Way of Heaven
   conquers without striving,
   replies without speaking,
   causes things to arrive without summoning,
   and fulfills plans without haste.
Heaven's net is wide and its meshes sparse but nothing escapes.

God has not explained his preference for peace over strife.
When we act in peace as his Spirit leads we will be timely and effective.


Since the people do not fear death, why threaten them with death?
Even if one could cause the people always to fear death, and those who make bizarre devices could be seized and killed, who would dare to do so?
There is a Chief Executioner who often kills, but to kill in place of the Chief Executioner…?
   This may be called "chopping in place of the Master Carpenter".
   Chopping in place of the Master Carpenter, few will escape maiming their hands!

People do not take death seriously.
Rather than fix this,
focus on helping people take Yeshua seriously,
including letting him be in charge.


If the people starve, it is because of the quantity of taxes consumed by those above them.
   That is why they starve.
If the people are hard to govern, it is because of the intrusiveness of those above them.
   That is why they are hard to govern.
If the people think lightly of death, it is because they are overly protective of their life.
   That is why they think lightly of death.
Truly, not grasping this life tightly is wiser than valuing life.

Store up your treasure in heaven.
Look to the World to Come.


Man in life is soft and supple.
   In death he is hard and rigid.
The ten thousand things, plants and trees, in life are soft and yielding.
   In death they are dry and withered.
So what is hard and rigid is a follower of death, while what is soft and yielding is a follower of life.
Thus a great army too rigid does not conquer.
   A tree is to rigid breaks and is dried.
What is hard and rigid will placed below. What is soft and yielding will be placed above.

Repentance and humility grant eternal life.
A hardened heart ends in death.


The Way of Heaven, how like the stringing of a bow it is!
   What is up is pressed down; what is down is raised up.
      The string's excess is reduced; its want is supplied.
The Way of Heaven reduces where there is a surplus and supplies where there is want.
   The way of men, however, is not so. They reduce where there is want to supply where there is surplus.
Who is able to serve All-under-heaven with his surplus? Only one who knows the Way.
Therefore the Saint, when he acts, does not rely on the result. When the work is finished he does not rest in it.
He has no desire to display his talents.

In our own strength we can do ephemeral goodness.
To do eternal good we must be guided by Yeshua.


Nothing in the world is softer or suppler than water.
   But in attacking what is hard and strong nothing surpasses it.
   And nothing can harm it.
The weak overcomes the strong and the soft overcomes the hard.
Everyone in the world knows this but no one practices it.
Therefore a Saint has said:
   "He who receives the dirty of a state is master, erecting shrines.
   He who bears the evils of a state is called King of All-under-heaven."
True words seem paradoxical.

Because Yeshua bore the world's evil
he is worthy of being King of God's kingdom.


After a great offense is forgiven there will remain some offense.
How then can one stand well with others?
The Saint, although aware of other people's obligations, does not speak of them.
   He who knows Virtue forgives offenses.
   He who does not know Virtue demands payment.
The Way of Heaven shows no favoritism. It always gives good to people.

We must forgive other people's offenses against us.
Then God will forgive our offenses against him.


   A small country with few inhabitants,
   where known but unused are bizarre devices which can do the work of ten or a hundred men,
   and where death is regarded as grave.
The people do not desire to move to distant places.
   There are boats and carriages but no one loads them.
   There are weapons and armor but no one displays them.
The people:
   measure their own land,
   savor their own food,
   appreciate their own clothing,
   enjoy their own homes,
   and delight in their own customs.
Then even if a neighboring country is within sight and people hear the other country's cocks crowing and dogs barking,
   still the inhabitants, throughout their lives, would never visit the other!

What will the World to Come be like?
People will be content in knowing God and knowing each other.
Life will be full when needless complexities
are understood to be distractions from relationships.


Sincere words are not appetizing.
   Appetizing words are not sincere.
Sound texts do not dispute.
   Disputing texts are not sound.
Clever sayings are not universal.
   Universal truths do not sound clever.
The Saint does not hoard.
   Regarding everything as belonging to others, he has greater abundance himself.
   Giving everything to others, he has the more himself.
The Way of Heaven gives goodness, not harm.
   The Saint's Way works but does not strive.

Scripture includes unpleasant truths.
Scripture does not stoop to argue with other religious texts.
Scripture does not rely on proverbs.
Scripture as God's word
reaches fullness in knowing Yeshua.