Taoist Proverbs


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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.

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.

He who is contented is rich.

Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.

A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.

He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.

No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small.

He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.

One cannot reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others.

An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.

He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.

One who is too insistent on his own views, finds few to agree with him.

Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.

Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.

People in their handlings of affairs often fail when they are about to succeed. If one remains as careful at the end as he was at the beginning, there will be no failure.

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.

I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.

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