Taoist Proverbs


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To know yet to think that one does not know is best; Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty.

To see things in the seed, that is genius.

Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained.

We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

We make a vessel from a lump of clay; It is the space inside the vessel that makes it useful. ... Thus, while the tangible has advantages, It is the intangible that makes it useful.

We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.

What is in the end to be thrown down, Begins by being first set on high.

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.

When you are lacking in faith, others will be unfaithful to you.

When you stand with your two feet on the ground, you will always keep your balance.

The journey is the reward.

The way you can go isn't the real way. The name you can say isn't the real name, so the unwanting soul sees what is hidden, and the ever wanting soul sees only what it wants.

The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.

To act sincerely with the insincere is dangerous.

Fill your house with gold and jade, and it can no longer be guarded.

In motion be like water... at rest, like a mirror. Resound like the echo; be subtle, as though nonexistent.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

In the world, there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong, nothing can surpass it.

Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish. Do not overdo it.

It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act also.

He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.

Just remember, when you should grab something, grab it; when you should let go, let go.

He who does not trust enough, Will not be trusted.

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

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