Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching Chapter 8

Translations at a glance

J Legge    J H McDonald   Lin Yutang

Tao Te Ching Chapter 8

J Legge

The highest excellence is like (that of) water. The excellence of water appears in its benefiting all things, and in its occupying, without striving (to the contrary), the low place which all men dislike. Hence (its way) is near to (that of) the Tao.

The excellence of a residence is in (the suitability of) the place; that of the mind is in abysmal stillness; that of associations is in their being with the virtuous; that of government is in its securing good order; that of (the conduct of) affairs is in its ability; and that of (the initiation of) any movement is in its timeliness.

And when (one with the highest excellence) does not wrangle (about his low position), no one finds fault with him.

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 Tao Te Ching Chapter 8

J H McDonald

The supreme good is like water,
which benefits all of creation
without trying to compete with it.
It gathers in unpopular places.
Thus it is like the Tao.

The location makes the dwelling good.
Depth of understanding makes the mind good.
A kind heart makes the giving good.
Integrity makes the government good.
Accomplishments make your labors good.
Proper timing makes a decision good.

Only when there is no competition
will we all live in peace.

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 Tao Te Ching Chapter 8

Lin Yutang

The best of men is like water;
Water benefits all things
And does not compete with them.
It dwells in (the lowly) places that all disdain –
Wherein it comes near to the Tao.

In his dwelling, (the Sage) loves the (lowly) earth;
In his heart, he loves what is profound;
In his relations with others, he loves kindness;
In his words, he loves sincerity;
In government, he loves peace;
In business affairs, he loves ability;
In hi actions, he loves choosing the right time.
It is because he does not contend
That he is without reproach.

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