The Book of the Right Way of Laozi – 41

41

The highest sage who studies the way is diligent and powerful.
The middling sage who studies the way looks good but fails to follow through.
The inferior sage who studies the way is a big laugh.
If they do not elicit laughter, it is not the way.
Therefore it is said­­—
Understanding the way is like concealment.
Entering the way  is like withdrawing.
The way is barbaric and unintelligible (like a knot).
The higher character is like an empty (valley).

The ultimate attainment is like disgrace.
The universal virtue is inadequate.
Established virtue is like stealing.
The true nature is ephemeral.
The universal square cuts no corners.
The great work takes a long time.
The great sound is rarely heard.
The universal form is invisible.
The secret process cannot be labelled.
The hermit is good, generous and ultimately accomplished.

 

上士聞道,勤而行之;中士聞道,若存若亡;下士聞道,大笑之。不笑不足以為道。故建言有之:明道若昧;進道若退;夷道若纇;上德若谷;太白若辱;廣德若不足;建德若偷;質真若渝;大方無隅;大器晚成;大音希聲;大象無形;道隱無名。夫唯道,善貸且成。

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