The Golden Elixir Taoism Texts Daode jing

Daode jing: The Taoist Saint

Their Depth Cannot Be Understood

Of old, those who excelled in doing the Dao
were subtle, marvelous, mysterious, and penetrating:
their depth cannot be understood.

It is only because it cannot be understood
that, if I am forced, I would describe them as —
     hesitant, like one fording a stream in winter;
     tentative, like one concerned by the four neighborhoods;
     respectful, like a guest;
     dispersed, like melting ice;
     genuine, like an uncarved block;
     vast, like a valley;
     murky, like muddy water.

Book IconDaode jing, 25

Mysterious Virtue

In generating and feeding things
generate but do not own,
do but do not be dependent,
let grow but to not manage.
This is called Mysterious Virtue.

Book IconDaode jing, 10, part.

If You Do Something To It, You Damage It

Those who intend to take over the world and do something to it—
I see that they will never succeed.

The world is a divine vessel:
you cannot do anything to it,
you cannot hold it.
If you do something to it, you damage it;
if you hold it, you lose it.

Thus the Saint does not do,
     and therefore nothing is damaged,
he holds nothing,
     and therefore nothing is lost.

Book IconDaode jing, 29, part.

He Does Not Make Himself Seen


He does not make himself seen,
     therefore he is bright;
he does not deem himself to be right,
     therefore he is illustrious;
he does not brag,
     therefore he has merit;
he does not boast,
     therefore he lasts long.

It is only because he does not contend
that no one in the world contends with him.

Book IconDaode jing, 22, part.