Daodejing 29


Desiring to possess all under heaven by force
I think this never works.

All under heaven is sacred.
It cannot be taken over by force.
It is uncontrollable.

Possessiveness destroys;
Control loses.

Hence, the sage “does nothing” (wu wei)
and destroys nothing.
Controls nothing and loses nothing.

Things are either leading or following
Either cursing or praising
Either strong or weak
Either safe or dangerous.

Thus, a Sage sheds all excesses, extravagances, and extremes.

*Translation by LU Wenlong & Keith Wayne Brown, ©2013.
A key concept in Laozi, the term “wu-wei” can be translated as “without doing”, “without having”, “having no action”, or “non-action.”


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