Words of Wisdom (WOW) Edited selections from The Noble Eight Fold Path, The Dhammapada, and The Tao Te Ching.
September 22, 2018
The Noble Eight Fold Path
1. Right view. Clear one's path from confusion,
misunderstanding, and deluded thinking. Gain right
understanding of reality.
2. Right intention. Being resolved on renunciation, on
freedom from ill will, on harmlessness.
3. Right speach. Abstaining from lying, from divisive
speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter.
4. Right action. Abstaining from killing, abstaining from
stealing, abstaining from sexual misconduct.
5. Right livelihood. Avoid causing suffering to sentient
beings by cheating, harming or killing. Do not trade in
weapons, living beings, meat, alcoholic drink or poison.
6. Right effort. Strive to prevent the arising of evil
and unwholesome mental states that have not yet arisen. Strive
to eliminate evil and unwholesome mental states that have
already arisen. Strive to generate wholesome mental states that
have not yet arisen. Strive to maintain wholesome mental states
that have already arisen, to keep them free of delusion, to
develop, increase, cultivate, and perfect them.
7. Right mindfulness. Having put aside worldly desire and
sadness; contemplate the body as body; contemplate feelings as
feelings; contemplate mental states as mental states;
contemplate mental objects as mental objects, always resolute,
aware and mindful.
8. Right concentration. A one-pointedness of mind. A
state of awareness without any object or subject and ultimately
unto nothingness and emptiness.
1. Mind precedes its objects. They are mind-governed and
mind-made. To speak or act with a defiled mind is to draw pain
after oneself, like a wheel behind the feet of the animal
2. Mind precedes its objects. They are mind-governed and
mind-made. To speak or act with a peaceful mind, is to draw
happiness after oneself, like an inseparable shadow.
3. I have been insulted! I have been hurt! I have been
beaten! I have been robbed! Anger does not cease in those who
harbour this sort of thought.
4. I have been insulted! I have been hurt! I have been
beaten! I have been robbed! Anger ceases in those who do not
harbour this sort of thought.
5. Occasions of hatred are certainly never settled by
hatred. They are settled by freedom from hatred. This is the
6. Others may not understand that we must practice
self-control, but quarrelling dies away in those who understand
7. The Tempter masters the lazy, irresolute, ungoverned
in senses, and unrestrained in food, like the wind overcomes a
8. But the Tempter cannot master the those
self-controlled in senses, moderate in eating, and resolute,
like the wind cannot move a mountain crag.
11. To see the essence in the unessential and to see the
essence as unessential means one can never get to the essence,
wandering as one is in the road of wrong intentions.
12. But to see the essence in the essential and the
unessential as the unessential it is, means one does get to the
essence, being on the road of right intentions.
13. In the same way that rain breaks into a house with a
bad roof, desire breaks into the mind that has not been
14. While in the same way that rain cannot break into a
well-roofed house, desire cannot break into a mind that has
been practising meditation well.
15. Here and beyond the wrong-doer suffers. The
wrong-doer suffers both ways. The wrong-doer suffers and is
tormented to see their own depraved behaviour.
16. Here and beyond the doer of good is glad. The doer of
good is glad both ways. The doer of good is glad and rejoices
to see their own good deeds.
17. Here and beyond the wrong-doer is punished. The
wrong-doer is punished both ways. The wrong-doer is punished by
the thought, "I have done evil", and is even more punished when
the wrong-doer comes to a bad state.
18. Here and beyond the doer of good rejoices. The doer
of good rejoices both ways. The doer of good rejoices at the
thought, "I have done good", and rejoices even more when the
doer of good comes to a happy state.
19. Even if fond of quoting appropriate texts, the
thoughtless who does not put them into practice is like a
cowherd counting other people's cows.
20. Even if one does not quote appropriate texts much, if
one follows the principles of the Teaching by getting rid of
greed, hatred and delusion, is deep of insight with a mind free
from attachment, and not clinging to anything then one is a
partner with wisdom.
21. Attention leads to life. Carelessness leads to
22. Clearly understanding the value of attention, the
wise take pleasure in it.
23. Those who meditate with perseverance, constantly
working hard at it, are the wise who experience freedom from
24. When resolute, recollected, pure of deed,
persevering, attentive, and self-controlled, reputation is
bound to grow.
25. By resolution and attention, by discipline and
self-control, one may build an island that no flood can
26. Foolish and ignorant indulge in careless lives,
whereas the wise guards attention as the most precious
27. Don't indulge in careless behaviour. Don't be the
friend of sensual pleasures. Meditate attentively and attain
28. Carefully rid yourself of carelessness and climb the
High Castle of Wisdom. Sorrowless, observe sorrowing people,
like the clear-sighted on a mountain top looking at the ground
below upon those with limited vision.
29. Careful amidst the careless, amongst the sleeping
wide-awake, the intelligent leave all behind, like a race-horse
does a mere hack.
30. People approve of attention, while carelessness is
31. Take pleasure in being attentive, and recognize the
danger of carelessness, make progress like a forest fire,
consuming all obstacles in the way.
32. Take pleasure in being attentive, recognising the
danger of carelessness.
33.Elusive and unreliable as it is, the wise straighten
the restless, agitated mind, like a fletcher crafting an
34. Trying to break out of the Tempter's control, one's
mind writhes to and fro, like a fish pulled from its watery
home onto dry ground.
35. It is good to restrain one's mind, uncontrollable,
fast moving, and following its own desires as it is. A
disciplined mind leads to happiness.
36. The wise guard the mind for it is very hard to keep
track of, extremely subtle, and follows its own desires. A
guarded mind brings happiness.
37. The mind goes wandering off far and wide alone.
Incorporeal, it dwells in the cavern of the heart. Those who
keep it under control escape from temptation's bonds.
38. Wisdom does not come to fulfilment in an unsettled
39. Be free from the inflow of thoughts and restlessness.
Abandone both good and evil. The alert do not know fear.
40. Use wisdom to make the mind a fortress. Defend what
you have won by remaining free from attachment.
42. One's own misdirected thought can do one more harm
than an enemy or an ill-wisher.
43. No one can do you as much good as your own properly
47. Death carries off those busy picking flowers with an
besotted mind, like a great flood does a sleeping
49. Behave like a bee which takes its food from a flower
without hurting its appearance or its scent.
50. It is not the shortcomings of others, nor what others
have done or not done that one should think about, but what one
has done or not done oneself.
51. Like a fine flower, beautiful to look at but without
scent, fine words are fruitless in those who do not act in
accordance with them.
52. Like a fine flower, beautiful to look at and scented
too, fine words bear fruit in those who act in accordance with
54. The scent of flowers cannot travel against the wind,
and nor can that of sandalwood or jasmine, but the fragrance of
good does travel against the wind.
55. Sandalwood, tagara, lotus, jasmine the fragrance of
virtue is unrivalled by such kinds of perfume.
57. Perfect of virtue, always acting with recollection,
and liberated by realisation temptation does not know the path
such people travel.
58. Like a beautiful, fragrant lotus, springing up on a
pile of rubbish, so the wise stand out among the ignorant by
virtue of wisdom.
60. Long is the night for the sleepless. Long is the road
for the weary. Long is the suffering for the foolish, who do
not recognize truth.
61. If on one's way one does not come across one's better
or an equal, then one should press on resolutely alone. There
is no companionship with a fool.
63. A fool who recognises their own ignorance is wise,
but a fool who considers themself wise is a fool.
64. Even if a fool lived with the wise the fool's entire
life, the fool would still not recognise the truth, like a
wooden spoon cannot recognise the flavour of the soup.
65. Even if one of intelligence lives with the wise only
for a moment, one of intelligence will immediately recognise
the truth, like one's tongue recognises the flavour of the
66. Stupid fools go through life as their own enemies,
doing evil deeds which have bitter consequences.
67. A deed is not well done if one suffers after doing
it, if one bears the consequences sobbing and with tears
streaming down one's face.
68. But a deed is well done if one does not suffer after
doing it, if one experiences the consequences smiling and
69. A fool thinks it like honey so long as the bad deed
does not bear fruit, but when it does bear fruit the fool
71. Like fresh milk a bad deed does not turn at once. It
follows a fool scorching the fool like a smouldering
72. A fool acquires knowledge only to disadvantage. It
destroys what good the fool has, and turns the fool's
73. One may desire a spurious respect, precedence, and
the veneration from others. "Everyone should think it was my
doing. They should accept my authority in all matters great or
small." This is a fool's way of thinking. The fool's
self-seeking and conceit just increase.
74. Take no pleasure in the respect of others. Devote
yourself to solitude.
75. Like one pointing out hidden treasure, if one finds a
person of intelligence who can recognise one's faults and take
one to task for them, one should cultivate the company of such
a wise person. Those who cultivate a person like that is the
better for it, not worse.
76. If a person disciplines, instructs and restrains them
from what is not right, that person will be dear to the good,
and disliked by the bad.
77. Don't cultivate the company of bad companions. Don't
cultivate depraved people. Cultivate companions of good
character. Cultivate superior company.
78. Those who drink in the Truth will live happily with a
peaceful mind. The wise always delight in the truth.
79. Navvies channel water, fletchers fashion arrows, and
carpenters work on wood, but the wise themselves.
80. Like a solid rock is not shaken by the wind, so the
wise are not moved by praise or blame.
81. The wise find peace on hearing the truth, like a
deep, clear, undisturbed lake.
82. The pure don't babble about sensual desires. Whether
touched by pleasure or pain, the wise show no change of
83. If one does not seek wealth or power either for
oneself or for someone else, if one does not seek one's own
advantage by unprincipled means, then one is virtuous and
84. Few are those who have crossed over to the other
shore, while the rest run along the bank. However those who
follow truth will cross over to the other shore, out of the
dominion of ruin, hard though it is to escape.
85. The wise, abandoning darkness, should cultivate what
is pure. Leaving home for the homeless life, seek joy in the
solitude which people find so hard to enjoy, and, abandoning
sensual pleasures, cleanse yourself of inner defilements,
looking on nothing as your own.
86. Those whose minds are thoroughly practiced in the
factors of enlightenment, who find delight in freedom from
attachment, in the renunciation of clinging, free from the
inflow of thoughts, they are like shining lights, having
reached liberation in the world.
89. Journey over, sorrowless, freed in every way, and
with all bonds broken for such a person there is no more
90. Recollected, take no pleasure in a fixed abode. Like
wild swans abandoning a pool, leave one resting place after
91. Those for whom there is no more acquisition, who are
fully aware of the nature of food, whose dwelling place is an
empty and imageless release the way of such people is hard to
follow, like the path of birds through the sky.
92. Those whose inflowing thoughts are dried up, who is
unattached to food, whose dwelling place is an empty and
imageless release the way of such a person is hard to follow,
like the path of birds through the sky.
93. When the senses have come to peace, like a horses
well broken by the trainer, when rid of conceit and without
inflowing thoughts one is well set.
94. Like the earth be not disturbed, like a great pillar
be firmly set and reliable, like a lake be free from
95. Freed by full realisation and at peace, the mind is
at peace, and speech and action peaceful.
97. Whether in the village or the forest, whether on high
ground or low, wherever the enlightened live, that is a
98. Delightful for them are the forests. The desire-free
find delight there, for they seek no sensual joys.
99. Better than a thousand pointless words is one saying
to the point on hearing which one finds peace.
100. Better than a thousand pointless verses is one
stanza on hearing which one finds peace.
102. Though one were to defeat thousands upon thousands
in battle, to overcome one's self, is the supreme
103. Victory over oneself is better than that over
others. When one has conquered one's self and always acts with
self-control, no one can reverse the victory.
110. Though one were to live a hundred years immoral and
with a mind unstilled by meditation, the life of a single day
is better if one is moral and practises meditation.
111. Though one were to live a hundred years without
wisdom and with a mind unstilled by meditation, the life of a
single day is better if one is wise and practises
112. Though one were to live a hundred years without
seeing the rise and passing of things, the life of a single day
is better if one sees the rise and passing of things.
114. Though one were to live a hundred years without
seeing the truth, the life of a single day is better if one
sees the truth.
115. Be urgent in good; hold your thoughts off evil. When
one is slack in doing good the mind delights in evil.
116. If one has done evil, let one not keep on doing it.
Let one not create an inclination to it. The accumulation of
evil means suffering.
117. If one has done good, let one keep on doing it. Let
one create an inclination to it. The accumulation of good means
118. The evil encounter good so long as the evil
behaviour does not bear fruit, but when the evil behaviour
bears fruit, then the evil encounter the evil
119. The good encounter evil so long as the good
behaviour does not bear fruit, but when the good behaviour
bears fruit, then the good encounter the good
120. Do not think lightly of evil that not the least
consequence will come of it. A whole waterpot will fill up from
dripping drops of water. A fool fills with evil, just a little
at a time.
121. Do not think lightly of good that not the least
consequence will come of it. A whole waterpot will fill up from
dripping drops of water. The wise fill with good, just a little
at a time.
122. One should avoid evil like a merchant with much
goods and only a small escort avoids a dangerous road, and like
one who loves life avoids poison.
123. If there is no wound on one's hand, one can handle
poison. Poison has no effect where there is no wound. There is
no evil for the non-doer.
124. Whoever does harm the innocent, the evil comes back
on that fool, like fine dust thrown into the wind.
126. Not in the sky, nor in the depths of the sea, nor
hiding in the cleft of the rocks, there is no place on earth
where one can take one's stand to escape from an evil
127. Not in the sky, nor in the depths of the sea, nor
hiding in the cleft of the rocks, there is no place on earth
where one can take one's stand to not be overcome by
128. All fear violence, all are afraid of death. Seeing
the similarity to oneself, one should not use violence or have
129. All fear violence, life is dear to all. Seeing the
similarity to oneself, one should not use violence or have it
132. Don't speak harshly to anyone. If you do people will
speak to you in the same way. Harsh words are painful and their
retaliation will hurt you.
133. If you don't disturb yourself, like a broken gong
does not vibrate, then irritability no longer exists for
134. Like a cowherd driving cows off to the fields, so
old age and death take away the years from the living.
135. Even when doing evil, the fool does not realise it.
The idiot is punished by the idiot's own deeds, like one is
scorched by fire.
143. Like a thoroughbred horse touched by the whip, be
strenuous and determined. Then you will be able to rid yourself
of suffering by means of morality, energetic behaviour,
stillness of mind and reflection, after you have become full of
wisdom, good habits and recollection.
144. Navies channel water, fletchers fashion arrows, and
carpenters work on wood, but the good discipline
150. Even kings' splendid carriages wear out, and the
body is certain bound to grow old, but the Truth found is not
subject to aging.
151. The ignorant age like an ox. The flesh may increase,
but not understanding.
156. Knowing that one is dear to oneself, one should
guard oneself well.
157. First establish yourself in what is right. Then if
you teach others, you will not be corrupted.
158. If one would only apply to oneself what one teaches
others, when one was well disciplined oneself one could train
others. It is oneself who is hard to train.
159. One is one's own guardian. What other guardian could
one have? With oneself well disciplined one obtains a rare
160. The evil done to one's self and which had its origin
and being in one's self breaks the foolish, like a diamond
breaks a precious stone.
161. Those of great immorality are like a creeper,
suffocating the tree they are on. They do to themselfs just
what an enemy would wish.
164. By oneself one does evil. By oneself one is defiled.
By oneself one abstains from evil. By oneself one is purified.
Purity and impurity are personal matters. No one can purify
165. One should not neglect one's own welfare for that of
someone else, however great. When one has understood what one's
own welfare really consists of, one should apply oneself to
166. Don't practice an ignoble way of life, don't indulge
in a careless attitude. Don't follow a wrong view, and don't be
attached to the world.
167. Wake up and don't be careless, but lead a life of
well-doing. Those who follow righteousness live happily.
168. Lead a life of righteousness, and not a life of
wrong-doing. Those who follow righteousness live
170. Look at the world as a gilded royal carriage, in
which fools get bogged down, while the wise have no attachment
171. Even if previously careless, when one later stops
being careless, one illuminates the world, like the moon
breaking away from a cloud.
172. When bad deeds are covered over by good ones, they
illuminate the world, like the moon breaking away from a
173. Blinded indeed is this world. Few are those who see
182. To abstain from all evil, the practice of good, and
the thorough purification of one's mind is wise.
184. Not to speak harshly and not to harm others, self
restraint, moderation in food, a secluded dwelling, and the
cultivation of the higher levels of consciousness is
196. Happy indeed we live who are free from hatred among
those who still hate. In the midst of the hate-filled, we live
free from hatred.
197. Happy indeed we live who are free from disease among
those still diseased. In the midst of the diseased, we live
free from disease.
198. Happy indeed we live who are free from worry among
those who are still worried. In the midst of the worried, we
live free from worry.
199. Happy indeed we live who have nothing of our own. We
shall feed on joy.
200. A victor only breeds hatred, while the defeated
lives in misery, but a those at who are at peace within live
happily, abandoning up ideas of victory and defeat.
201. There is no fire like desire. There is no weakness
like anger. There is no happiness greater than peace.
202. Hunger is the supreme disease. Mental activity is
the supreme suffering.
203. Health is the supreme possession. Contentment is the
supreme wealth. A trustworthy friend is the supreme
204. After enjoying the taste of solitude and the taste
of peace, one is freed from distress and evil.
206. Those who keep company with a fool, will suffer. It
is always painful to live with fools, like with an enemy, but
the wise are good to live with.
207. One should cultivate the company of the wise, in the
same way as the moon keeps to a path among the stars.
208. One who applies themself to what is not really an
appropriate subject for application, and fails to apply
themself to what is, missing the real purpose to grasp after
what appeals to them, may well envy those who do apply
209. Never have anything to do with likes and dislikes.
The absence of what one likes is painful, as is the presence of
what one dislikes.
210. Therefore don't take a liking to anything. To lose
what one likes is hard, but there are no bonds for those who
have no likes and dislikes.
211. From preference arises sorrow, from preference
arises fear, those freed from preference have no sorrow and
certainly no fear.
212. From affection arises sorrow, from affection arises
fear, those freed from affection have no sorrow and certainly
213. From pleasure arises sorrow, from pleasure arises
fear, those freed from pleasure have no sorrow and certainly no
214. From sensuality arises sorrow, from sensuality
arises fear, those freed from sensuality have no sorrow and
certainly no fear.
215. From craving arises sorrow, from craving arises
fear, those freed from craving have no sorrow and certainly no
216. Well may people hold dear the those endowed with
morality and insight, who are well established in
righteousness, seers of the truth, and applying themselves to
their own business.
217. One whose longing has been aroused for the
indescribable, whose mind has been quickened by it, and whose
thought is not attached to sensuality is truly called one who
is bound upstream.
220. Abandon anger, give up pride, and overcome all
fetters. Suffering does not befall one who is without
attachment to names and forms, and possesses nothing of their
221. To governing rising anger like a chariot going out
of control, is to be a charioteer. The rest are just holding
222. Overcome anger with freedom from anger. Overcome
evil with good. Overcome meanness with generosity, and overcome
a liar with truthfulness.
223. Speak the truth, don't get angry, and always give,
even if only a little, when you are asked.
225. Inflowing thoughts come to an end in those who are
ever alert of mind, training themselves night and day, and ever
226. They criticise one who sits in silence, they
criticise one who talks a lot. They even criticise one who
speaks in moderation. There is no one in the world who is not
227. There never has been, there never will be, and there
is not now any one exclusively criticised or exclusively
230. Guard against physical unruliness. Be restrained in
body. Abandoning physical wrong doing, lead a life of physical
231. Guard against mental unruliness. Be restrained in
mind. Abandoning mental wrong doing, lead a life of mental well
232. Guard against verbal unruliness. Be restrained in
speech. Abandoning verbal wrong doing, lead a life of verbal
233. The wise who are restrained in body, speech and mind
such are the well and truly restrained.
238. Little by little, moment by moment, the wise should
cleanse themself of blemishes, like a smith purifying
239. Just as the rust which develops on iron, derives
from it but then proceeds to eat it away, so a person of
unrestrained behaviour is drawn to ruin by unrestrained
240. Lack of repetition is the blight of scriptures. Lack
of repairs is the blight of buildings. The blight of beauty is
laziness, and carelessness is the blight of a guard.
241. The blight of a giver is meanness. Bad mental states
242. But the supreme bight is ignorance. Destroy this
blight and be free of blights.
247. Don't let greed and wrong doing subject you to
250. There is no fire like desire. There is no hold like
anger. There is no net like ignorance. There is no river like
251. Other people's faults are easily seen. One can
winnow out other people's faults like chaff. One hides one's
own faults though, like a dishonest gambler hides an unlucky
252. When one notices the mistakes of others and is
always finding fault with them, the inflow of one's thoughts
just increases and one is a long way from the cessation of this
257. One is not learned by virtue of much speaking. Those
who are patient, without anger and fearless, are to be called
258. One is not a bearer of the teaching by virtue of
much speaking. One who, has only studied a little, has
experienced the truth in person, and who has not forgotten the
teaching is indeed a bearer of the teaching.
259. One is not an elder by virtue of having white hair.
One is just advanced in years, and called "grown old in vain".
Those who are truthful, non violent, restraint and self
control, is to be called an elder.
261. It is not just by fine speech or by flower-like
beauty that one is admirable, if one is envious, mean and
deceitful, but when that sort of behaviour has been eliminated,
rooted out and destroyed, that faultless sage is said to be
269. One is not noble if one harms other living
creatures. It is by non violence to all forms of life that one
is called noble.
270. It is not just by means of morality and religious
observances, not by great learning nor by attainments in
meditation, nor by living alone, nor by thinking,"I am enjoying
a spiritual happiness which ordinary people do not know" that
one achieves peace if one has not achieved the elimination of
272. Dispassion is the best of mental states, and of
human beings the best is the seer.
276. All processes are impermanent. When one sees this
with understanding, then one is disillusioned with the things
of suffering. This is the Path of Purification.
277. All processes are painful. When one sees this with
understanding, then one is disillusioned with the things of
suffering. This is the Path of Purification.
278. All processes are out of my control. When one sees
this with understanding, then one is disillusioned with the
things of suffering. This is the Path of Purification.
279. The lazy are incapable of recognising the way of
280. Be guarded in speech, restrained of mind and not
doing anything wrong physically. Perfect these three forms of
281. From meditation springs wisdom. From lack of
meditation, loss of wisdom. Recognising these alternative roads
of progress and decline, one should so direct oneself so that
one's wisdom will increase.
282. Cut down the forest, not just a tree. Out of the
forest of desire springs danger. By cutting down both the
forest of desire and the brushwood of longing, be rid of the
283. So long as the least sensual desire has not been
eradicated, the mind is fettered like a sucking calf to its
284. Pluck out your desire, like one does an autumn lotus
with one's hand. Devote yourself to the path of peace.
285. "Here I will spend the rainy season, and here the
hot season." This is the way a fool thinks. It does not occur
to the fool what may happen in between.
289. If sacrificing a slight happiness can obtain a
greater happiness, then sacrifice the lesser happiness with a
view to the greater happiness.
290. Seeking happiness by inflicting suffering on others,
does not reach freedom from hatred, but involves the toils of
291. What IS their affair is put aside. What is NOT their
affair gets done. The inflow of thoughts in such brazen and
careless people just goes on increasing. They whose
recollection of the body is always well established, however,
have nothing to do with what is not their affair, always
persevering in what IS their affair. The inflow of thoughts in
such recollected and aware people simply dies away.
301. It is hard to take up a life of renunciation, and
difficult to find satisfaction in it, but it is also difficult
to live in bad households, and painful to live with people
unlike oneself, when one is forever tangled in suffering and
restless. Therefore don't always be restless, and don't let
yourself be tangled in suffering.
303. The good are conspicuous a long way off, like a
Himalayan peak, while the bad are just not noticed, like arrows
shot into the dark.
304. Living alone, sleeping alone, travelling alone, and
resolute, alone and self disciplined, take pleasure in living
in the forest.
325. My mind used formerly to go off wandering wherever
it felt like, following its own inclination, but today I shall
control it carefully, like a mahout does a rutting
326. Take pleasure in being careful. Guard your mind
well. Extricate yourself from the mire.
327. If you find an intelligent companion, a wise and
well-behaved person going the same way as yourself, then go
along with them, overcoming all dangers, pleased at heart and
328. But if you do not find an intelligent companion, a
wise and well-behaved person going the same way as yourself,
then go on your way alone.
329. It is better to travel alone. There is no
companionship with a fool. Go on your way alone and commit no
evil, without cares.
330. It is good to have companions when occasion arises,
and it is good to be contented with whatever comes. Merit is
good at the close of life, and the elimination of all suffering
332. Good is good behaviour up to old age, good is the
acquisition of understanding, and abstention from evil is
333. The desire of the thoughtless grows like a creeper.
They drift from one life to another like a monkey looking for
fruit in the forest.
334. When one is overcome by this wretched, clinging
desire in the world, one's sorrows increase like grass growing
up after a lot of rain.
335. But when one masters this wretched desire, which is
so hard to overcome, then one's sorrows just drop off, like a
drop of water off a lotus.
336. Dig up the root of craving, as one does a weed for
its fragrant root. Don't let temptation destroy you.
337. In the same way that even a felled tree will grow
again if its root is strong and undamaged, so if latent desire
has not been rooted out, then suffering shoots up again and
338. When craving is strong, then numerous desire-based
thoughts pull the deluded along.
339. The streams (of craving) flow everywhere, and the
creeper hoots up and establishes itself, so when you see the
creeper shooting up, cut away its root with your
341. People beset by desire run here and there, like a
snared rabbit, and those trapped in the bonds of attachments
keep returning for a long time to suffering.
342. People beset by desire run here and there, like a
snared rabbit, so one should get rid of one's craving if it is
freedom from desire that one wants.
343. When one out of the forest of desire is drawn back
into the forest, then free from the forest as one is, one runs
back into it. Free, one is running back to chains.
344. The wise say that it is not an iron, wooden or fibre
fetter which is a strong one, but the besotted hankering after
trinkets, and family, that, say the wise, is the strong fetter.
It drags one down, and loose as it feels, it is hard to break.
Breaking this fetter, people renounce the world, free from
longing and abandoning sensuality.
346. Those on fire with desire follow the stream of their
desires, like a spider follows the strands of its self-made
web. Breaking the bond, the wise walk on free from longing, and
leaving all suffering behind.
347. Let go the past, let go the future, and let go what
is in between, transcending the things of time.
353. The gift of the Truth beats all other gifts. The
flavour of the Truth beats all other tastes. The joy of the
Truth beats all other joys, and the cessation of desire
conquers all suffering.
354. Riches destroy a fool, but not those who are seeking
the other shore. The fool destroys by craving for riches, and
destroys others too.
355. Weeds are the blight of fields. Desire is the blight
of humankind. Consequently being free from desire bears great
356. Weeds are the blight of fields. Anger is the blight
of humankind. Consequently being free from anger bears great
357. Weeds are the blight of fields. Delusion is the
blight of humankind. Consequently being free from delusion
bears great fruit.
358. Weeds are the blight of fields. Self-seeking is the
blight of humankind. Consequently being free from self-seeking
bears great fruit.
359. Restraint of the eyes is good. So is restraint of
the ears. Restraint of the nose is good, and so is restraint of
360. Restraint of the body is good. So is restraint of
speech. Restraint of mind is good, and so is restraint in
361. Be restrained of hand, restrained of foot,
restrained of speech and restrained in the highest faculty,
with joy turned inwards, mind still, alone and
362. When one is restrained of tongue, quotes wise
sayings, and is peaceful, expounding both letter and deed that
speech is good to hear.
364. One should not underestimate what one has, and one
should not live envying others. One who envies others does not
achieve stillness of mind in meditation.
366. Be without self-identification with any object or
idea, do not grieve for what does not exist.
367. Those who live full of goodwill will reach the
satisfaction of stilling the mind.
368. Empty the boat. Empty it will sail lightly for you
when you have cut away desire and aversion.
370. Meditate, don't be careless, don't let your mind
take pleasure in the senses.
371. There is no meditation without wisdom, and there is
no wisdom without meditation.
376. In the same way that the jasmine drops its withered
flowers, you too should discard desire and aversion.
377. Peaceful of body, peaceful of speech and with mind
thoroughly stilled, thosee who themself of attachment to the
world are at peace.
378. You should encourage yourself, yourself. You should
restrain yourself, yourself. When you are self-protected like
that, you will live happily.
379. One is one's own guard. What other guard could one
have? One is one's own destiny. Therefore one should train
oneself, like a merchant does a thoroughbred horse.
382. Cut the stream and go across, abandon sensuality.
When you have achieved the stilling of the activities of the
mind, you will know the unconditioned.
385. Meditate, free from stain, settled in mind, with job
accomplished, without inflowing thoughts, and having achieved
390. Do no wrong with body, speech or mind, be restrained
in all three spheres.
396. Cut off all fetters, do not get, is beyond bonds
that is liberated.
397. Cut off both bond and strap, halter as well as
bridle, removed the barrier.
398. Endure undisturbed criticism, ill-treatment and
bonds, be strong in patience, and that strength is
399. Be without anger, devout, upright, free from
craving, and disciplined in body.
400. Like water on a lotus leaf, like a mustard seed on
the point of an pin, be not stuck to the senses.
404. Abandon violence to all living creatures moving or
still, neither kill or causes killing.
405. Be unagitated amongst the agitated, at peace among
the violent, without clinging among those who cling.
406. Be one from whom desire and aversion, conceit and
hypocrisy have fallen away, like a mustard seed on the point of
407. Be one who utters only gentle, instructive and
truthful speech, criticising no-one.
408. Be one who takes nothing in the world that has not
been given, long or short, big or small.
409. Be one who has no desires, without longings,
410. Be one who has no attachments and has been freed
from uncertainty by realisation.
411. Be one who has even here and now transcended the
fetter of both good and evil, who is sorrowless, faultless and
412. Be stainless, pure, clear and free from impurities
like the moon, the search for pleasure extinguished.
413. Be one who has transcended the treacherous mire of
ignorance, who has crossed over, reached the other shore,
meditating, motionless of mind, free from uncertainty, and who
is at peace by not clinging to anything.
414. Be one who by here and now abandoning sensuality,
has gone forth a homeless wanderer, the search for pleasure
415. Be one who by here and now abandoning craving, has
gone forth a homeless wanderer, the search for pleasure
417. Be one who has abandoned pleasure and displeasure,
is cooled off and without further fuel.
420. Be one who has nothing, before, after or in between,
possessionless and without attachment.
421. Be who is motionless of mind, washed clean and
The Tao Te Ching
1. The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The
name that can be named is not the eternal name. Unnameable is
the essence. Naming is the beginning of ten thousand particular
things. Named are the manifestations. Nameless is the
2. Whenever there is beauty there is ugliness. Whenever
there is good there is bad. Long and short complete each other.
High and low support each other. Difficult and easy need each
other. Sound and silence fulfill each other. Front and back
follow each other. Form and space shape each other. Life and
death give birth to each other. Manifestations and Mystery come
from the same source.
3. Be one with the Tao. Act without forcing. Teach by
showing. Things come let them come. Things go let them go. Give
birth without possessing, achieve without expecting, create
without taking credit, work without needing praise. Complete
your work, then forget it. Your work lasts forever.
4. The Tao is like a fertile valley, filled with
creativity, Gateway of the Female, roots of Heaven and
5. The Tao is like a well, empty but inexhaustible, dark,
enduring, deep, ancestor of ten thousand things. However much
you use it, you never have to fill it. However much you use it,
you never use it up.
6. Edge without sharpness, knot without tangle, hole
without emptiness, door without opening. Soft glare. Clear fog.
Submerged, indistinct, motherless, older than the gods.
7. Thirty spokes, a rim, and a hub make a wheel. The hole
in the center moves the cart. Clay molds into a pot. The
emptiness inside holds the food. Roof, walls, and floor frame a
house. The space within is where we live. Existence gives the
form. Nonexistence gives the meaning.
8. Look for it and you cannot see it. Listen for it and
you cannot hear it. Reach for it and you cannot touch it. Grasp
at it and you cannot hold it. Approach it and it has no
beginning. Follow it and it has no end.
9. When the superior hear about the Tao, they immediately
endeavor to practice it. When the average hear about the Tao,
they try it part way. When the lesser hear about the Tao, they
laugh. That is why they are lesser, and the Tao is the
10. Seek, and with this you will find. If you have
committed wrongs, with this you will escape.
11. For the good, their treasure. For the bad, their
12. The Tao is impartial. It gives birth to both good and
evil. Be impartial. Use whatever life sends.
13. Heaven covers. Earth supports. Heaven and Earth
14. In living, honor the land. In thinking, be deep. In
speaking be truthful. In working, be skillful. In dealing with
others, be compassionate. In giving, be generous. In ruling be
fair. In acting, be timely.
15. The ten thousand things are female on one side and
male on the other. Using both creates vitality. Balancing both
16. Know the male but hold to the female. Know the white
but hold to the black. Know the peaks but hold to the valleys.
Know complexity but hold to simplicity. Know sound but hold to
silence. Know action but hold to stillness. Know knowledge but
hold to innocence. Know the manifestations but hold to the
17. Activity counters cold. Tranquility counters
18. The Tao is the Great Mother. The ten thousand things
are all her children. Know the Mother and you will know the
children. Know the children and you will know the
19. First we name. Then we describe. Then we compare.
Then we set one first, another last. As soon as we start to
name it is time to stop.
20. Fill yourself with utmost emptiness. Embrace internal
tranquility. The ten thousand things, see how they arise and
flow around you each one coming into being, growing, adapting,
changing, fulfilling, then returning to the source as you sit
in stillness in the center, watching.
21. Be aware, observe, notice. Appreciate the small. Find
flavor in the delicate.
22. Live wood is soft and tender. Dead wood is hard and
strong. The live leaf is supple. The dead leaf is brittle. The
army that is not flexible never wins a battle. The tree that
survives the storm is the one that bends in the wind.
23. Yield and prevail. If you can bend, you can be
preserved unbroken. If you can flex, you can be kept straight.
If you can be emptied, you can be filled. If you can be worn
out, you can be renewed. Those with little can receive much.
Those with much can be confused.
24. The Tao is like water. Water takes the lowest way. It
flows around obstacles. It has no projections, but it
penetrates that which has no crevices. It is the softest of all
things, but it grinds rock. It resists nothing, but is
irresistible. It asks for nothing, but nourishes everything. It
strives for nothing, but transforms everything.
25. One who is one with the Tao is like a newborn boy
child. His body is soft and pliant but his grasp is strong. He
does not yet know the union of male and female, but his organ
stands up. He can scream all day without getting hoarse or
sleep utterly peacefully. He does just what he should be doing
at each moment. He is completely natural.
26. Be cautious, like one who fords a river in winter
careful, like one restrained in speaking formal, like a host
courteous, like a guest generous, like a fertile valley plain,
like uncarved wood natural, like a tree in the wilderness calm
and serene, like a still pool of deep water.
27. Be detached. Work with joy, without caring for the
achievement. Travel with joy, without focusing on the
28. On disaster good fortune perches. Beneath good
fortune disaster crouches. Straight becomes crooked, which
becomes straight again. Good gives rise to evil, which gives
rise to good again. There is no beginning or ending.
29. The bright way may seem dark. The straight way may
seem crooked. The smooth way may seem rough. The way forward
may seem to go backward. True love may seem heartless. True
integrity may seem dishonest. True fullness may seem empty. And
even the eternal may seem to change.
30. Sincere words may not be beautiful. Beautiful words
may not be sincere. The wise may not be learned. The learned
may not be wise. The good may not be rich. The rich may not be
good. Those who know may not speak. Those who speak may not
31. Success is as treacherous as failure. Praise is as
useless as blame. Fortune, fame, and favor are as dangerous as
disgrace. High status and position can bring you great
32. You can lose by gaining. You can gain by
33. Trapped in desires, you see only your desires.
Trapped in desires, you see surfaces. Free from desires, you
see the subtleties. Free from desires, you experience the
34. Look to achievement for satisfaction and you will
never be satisfied. Look to riches for contentment and you will
never be content. Look to possessions for happiness and you
will never be happy. Look to position for security and you will
never be secure. Appreciate what you have. Rejoice in how
things are. You lack nothing when you realize there is nothing
35. Practice non-knowing. You do not know what is good
and what is evil. So cleanse your mind of desire for particular
ends, and accept everything, and let everything happen, and
take joy in everything, and use everything that comes your
36. To know that you know not is sanity. To know not that
you know not is sickness. Be your own healer. Cure yourself of
37. Heal the people. Teach them non-knowing. When people
think they know, they can not be guided. When people know that
they do not know, they can find their own way.
38. Desire not to desire. Value what is everywhere. Learn
what to unlearn. Return to what the masses pass by.
39. Put yourself last and be first, put yourself below
and be above, give up personal desires and find all desires
satisfied, gives up self interest and find interests realized,
let go of everything and be one with everything, empty yourself
completely and be completely fulfilled.
40. In seeking knowledge, day by day something is added.
In following Tao, day by day something is dropped. Day by day
you do less and less deliberately. Day by day you do not do
more and more. You do less and less and do not do more and
more, until everything happens spontaneously. Then you act
without acting, and do without doing, and achieve without
forcing. And nothing is done. And nothing is left
41. Muddy water, when still, gradually becomes clear. Be
still. Let your mud settle and your mind clear. Wait quietly
until the right action comes naturally.
42. Grasp at something and lose it. Act with purpose and
defeat the purpose.
43. The soldier who goes out ready to die comes back with
life and victory. The soldier who goes out caring mostly for
living dies and is forgotten.
44. Heaven favors who knows what or why? Bravery may lead
to death and loss. Caution may lead to life and victory.
Without fighting you can be good at winning. Without speaking
you can be good at responding. Without deliberateness you can
be good at planning. No one summons the Tao. It comes on its
own. Heavens net is vast and cast wide, and nothing slips
45. Do not act on the ten thousand things. Simply help
them be themselves. Do not try to change the people. Simply
show them who they are. Lead them back to where they came from.
Lead them back to what they have always known.
46. Do not speak. Act. Do not teach. Show. When you rule,
people hardly know you are there. When your work is done,
people say, Look! We did this! All by ourselves!
47. Be impartial. Be good to the good. Be good to the
bad. Such is true good.
48. The good teach. The bad are the raw material. Cherish
the teacher and the raw material.
49. Insincere words can be bought and sold. Empty deeds
can be used as gifts. Things we see as bad should they ever be
rejected? People we see as bad should they ever be
50. Know the tally, but do not call for the rewards or
punishments. Those with virtue can do the accounting. Those
without virtue collect the taxes.
51. Accept everyone as children of the Tao, and treat
everyone with compassion, generosity, and understanding.
52. The world says I am great, but strange. If I were not
strange, I could not be great. If I were like everyone else, I
would be insignificant.
53. Something there is that formed out of Chaos pure and
deep and still standing alone, unchanging Mother of Heaven and
Earth. I do not know its name. I only call it Tao.
54. I have three treasures I hold and cherish:
compassion, frugality, and not needing to be ahead of all under
heaven. Compassion gives me courage. Frugality allows
generosity. Not needing to be ahead lets me lead the
55. Other people are noisy and exuberant. I am silent
like something that has not yet given any sign like a baby who
has not yet smiled. Other people have many possessions. I have
nothing. Other people know where they are going and what they
are doing. I am ignorant. Other people judge things and make
many fine distinctions. I find everything subtle and complex.
Other people act with purpose. I drift and float. Formless am I
like the ocean shapeless, unmoving, unresting. I suck from the
breast of the Mother.
56. Heaven covers everything. Can you be as generous?
Earth supports everything. Can you be as tolerant?
57. Can you play the part of the female? Can you accept,
allow, adapt, flex, bend, change? Can you use everything that
comes your way?
58. Can you be natural and spontaneous? Can you be like a
59. Can you love the people? Can you teach and lead and
serve them? Can you love them without trying to change them?
Can you lead them and leave them free?
60. Can you embrace the One? Can you cleanse and polish
and purify the bright mirror of your soul? Can you concentrate
and focus your breath and energy? Can you step outside yourself
and understand all within the four reaches?
61. Give birth without owning. Love without possessing.
Teach without making dependent. Lead without trying to control.
Act by helping things happen naturally. Guide by helping things
grow naturally. Empty yourself, and let the Tao fill you and
move through you and use you as part of the pattern.
62. The Tao takes no action. Yet everything happens. If
leaders could hold to it, the world would transform
spontaneously. If, after the transformation, some wanted to
take action, I would calm them with nameless simplicity.
63. If I had just the smallest speck of wisdom, I could
walk on the Great Way, and the only fear I would have would be
of going astray. The Great Way is straight and smooth and easy
to follow. But people delight in the crooked and rough and
64. My words are easy to understand and easy to put into
practice. But few understand, and few put them into
65. If everyone understood, what use would I be? It is
because few understand that I can be of great value.
66. A few will stop to hear about the Tao. Everyone will
stop for food or music.
67. The light rests on the heavy. The mountain grows from
the valley. The noble is rooted in the common. Clear water
floats over mud. Know your roots. Love, understand, and honor
68. In expression, to be brief is natural. A whirlwind
does not last all morning. A cloudburst does not last all
69. Boasting and bragging are extra food and unnecessary
baggage. They impede traveling on the Way.
70. Self praise is no praise. When you describe an
imaginary carriage, dream as you wish, embellish as you want,
enumerate all the features as you will there is still no
71. A jade necklace shines brightly, displays itself for
everyone, jingles constantly. Be not like the jade. Just rumble
occasionally like a rock.
72. Give yourself to others, then be even greater. Use
what you have for others, then have even more. The Tao nurtures
everything and harms nothing. Help all and hurt none.
73. Give, but do not give yourself away. Serve, but serve
yourself first. The best commander is not killed or captured.
How could the armies prevail without the commander?
74. Travel all day without ever losing sight of your
baggage. When safely within a walled in hostel, relax and
transcends all cares.
75. Look for virtue and success, and you find them
everywhere. Look for failure and loss, and they constantly
76. Use the Way as the means, and the end will be one
with the Way. Follow the Way and the Way will be straight
77. Too much light causes blindness. Too much sound
causes deafness. Too much indulgence in physical pleasures
causes distraction and dissipation. Having too many possessions
impedes traveling on the Way.
78. Hold to the center. Dwell in the substance, not in
the surface, in the fruit, not in the flower, in reality, not
in appearances, in the essence, not in the ornament.
79. Fill your cup too full and it will spill. Sharpen
your knife too much and it will blunt. Acquire too much and you
will be unable to protect it. Climb too high and you will be
unable to maintain it. Too much pride brings on its own
disaster. Too much study leads to exhaustion. More words mean
less. Walk too far and you will pass your destination.
80. The skillful carver does little cutting. The skillful
traveler leaves few tracks and traces. The skillful binding
takes few knots, but does not come undone. The skillful speaker
uses few words.
81. Be sharp, but do not cut. Be pointed, but do not
pierce. Be straightforward, but not unrestrained. Be bright,
but do not dazzle.
82. The greatest mistake is desiring too much. The
greatest sorrow is not knowing when you have enough. The
greatest fault is needing to compete. The greatest defect is
not knowing when to stop.
83. Stop trouble before it starts. Make order before
there is chaos. Deal with the small before it is large. Deal
with the few before they are many. Begin the difficult while it
is easy. Approach the great work through a series of small
tasks. The largest evergreen grows from a tiny seedling. The
journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
84. If you rush into action, you may stumble. If you
stand on tiptoe you do not stand stable. Failure comes most
often near completion. Be as careful at the end as the
85. One who is one with the Tao acts without acting. One
who is less with the Tao acts with purpose. The greatest self
is not self conscious. The lesser self is always aware of
itself. The greatest integrity is spontaneous. The lesser
integrity is deliberate. The greatest virtue is unaware of
virtue. The lesser virtue never loses sight of virtue.
86. To know others is knowledge. To know Self is wisdom.
To control others shows power. To control Self is to be truly
powerful. To know when you have enough is to be rich. To know
when to act is to act appropriately. To know when to hold your
place is to endure.
87. You cannot get too close to the Tao. You cannot shun
the Tao. You can not help the Tao. You cannot harm the Tao. You
can not ennoble the Tao. You can not debase the Tao. The Tao is
the noblest thing under heaven.
88. The best leader is invisible. The next best is loved
and praised. The next is feared. The worst is ridiculed.
89. The best warrior is not warlike. The best fighter is
not aggressive. The best commander avoids combat. The best
ruler serves the people.
90. Ruling a large state is like frying a small fish.
Cook it too much and you ruin it. Poke at it too much and it
91. When government is weak and invisible, people are
open and honest. When government is powerful and interfering,
people are secretive and devious.
92. Too many taxes and the people starve. Too many rules
and regulations and the people chafe and fret. When there is
too much reward for success or too little room for succeeding,
people will compete desperately. When goods are priced too high
or wages too low, people will steal. When they are constantly
shown good things they cannot have, people will rebel.
93. When mansions are kept very clean, and rich people
wear fine clothes, and carry sharp swords, and gorge themselves
on expensive foods, and have luxurious possessions while the
fields of the poor are full of weeds, and in the villages, the
ganaries are empty this is thievery! This is not the
94. When the Way is lost, there is virtue. When virtue is
lost there is humanity. When humanity is lost there is
righteousness. When righteousness is lost, there is propriety.
Propriety is the beginning of chaos. When people do not
respond, it rolls up its sleeves and uses force.
95. Killing people in place of the master executioner is
like cutting wood in place of the head carpenter. Cut wood in
place of the head carpenter, and you are likely to cut your own
96. When a nation loses the Way, weapons abound, and
warhorses are stabled in the suburbs.
97. Weapons are instruments of ill omen. They should
never be made into things of beauty. To worship weapons is to
glorify in killing.
98. Do not deal in violence. Violence rebounds. Do not
glorify in war. Use weapons only when there is no other choice.
After war the famines come. Where armies go, thorns and
99. The world is a sacred vessel. You cannot improve it.
Act on it to improve it and you ruin it. Try to control it and
you come to ruin.
100. The Way of Heaven is like the flexing of a bow. The
high is drawn down. The low is brought up. When the string is
pulled, all the parts move.
101. You do not need to leave home in order to see the
world. You do not have to look out your window in order to find
the way. The harder you search the less you find. The farther
you go the less you see.
102. See without looking, find without searching, and
arrive without going anywhere.
103. Build your foundation upon it. What is firmly
founded cannot be torn down. Embrace it. What is embraced
tightly will be held. Cultivate it in yourself. Nurture it in
your family. Practice it in your city. Express it in your
state. Spread it throughout the universe. Let it
104. Square without corners, vessel without walls,
soundless tone, formless image that is the shape of the Tao.
Accept, allow, adapt, flex, bend, change that is the method of
the Tao. Create, complete, fulfill, reverse, return, renew that
is the movement of the Tao.
105. Every particular thing is a manifestation of the
Tao. The Tao gives rise to all things. The Tao fulfills them.
To the Tao they return. That is why everything venerates the
Tao. That is why we find the Tao when we look inside
106. There is a time for living and a time for dying, a
time for planting and a time for reaping, a time for motion and
a time for stillness, a time for working and a time for
107. The Tao gives birth to all things, nourishes them,
shelters them, cares for them, comforts them, and in the end,
receives them back into itself.