Chapter 2

Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing)
Classic of the Way and Virtue

By Lao Tzu (Laozi)

Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo, Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California

Chapter 1     Chapter 3     Index to All the Chapters     Taoism     Cloud Hands Blog

English     Chinese     Spanish




Chapter 2

Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) by Lao Tzu



English and Chinese (Wade-Giles) Terms:  Self-Development, The Idea of Comparisons, Dwell or Occupy (ch'u), Activities or Affairs (shih), Completed or Finished (ch'êng), Beautiful or Agreeable (mei), Ugliness, Refuse or Reject (tz'u), All or World or Universe (hsia), Unselfish, Follow or Succeed (sui), Modesty, High (hao) and Low (hsia), Compliment, Associate, Connect, Simile, Definitions, Language, Musical Notes, Sage, Voice or Melody or Music (shêng), Silence, No Rewards, Effortless Action, Because or Causes (ssu), Complimentary, Making or Acting (wei), Contraries, Existense or Something (yu), Completion, Born or Emerge or Originate (shêng), Action, Existence, Non-Existence, Emptiness, Humility, Selflessness, Long (ch'ang) and Short (tuan), Unattached, Work, Accomplished, Achieved, Knows or Recognize (chih), Merit, Support or Depend (ch'ing), Contrast, Ugly or Repulsive (wu), Analogy, Metaphor, Wu Wei, Sage, Acceptance, Success, Equanimity, Semantics, Opposites, Teach by Example, Teaches or Spreads (hsing), Sage or Holy Man (shêng jên), Virtue or Good (shan), Learn by Doing, Depart or Go Away or Die (ch'ü), Self-Discipline, Heaven (t'ien), Because or Since (fu), Act Like the Dao, Tone or Sound or Pitch (yin), Together or Dependent (hsiang), Impartial, No Expectations, Harmonize or Conform (ho), Teachings or Lessons or Doctrines (chiao), Compare or Relate or Contrast (chiao), Working with and for Others, Talking or Words (yen), Alone or Only (yi), Back or Behind (ho), Ten Thousand Things or Myriad Beings or Many Things (wan wu), Claim or Assert (shih), Enduring, Working on the Self,  養身  

Términos en Español: Habitar, Actividades, Asuntos, Completado, Terminado, Hermoso, Agradable. Fealdad, Largo, Corto, Denegación, Rechazo, Todo, Mundo, Universo, Altruista, Siga, Modestia, Alta, Baja, Cumplido, Asociados, Conectar, Símil, Definiciones , Idioma, Sabio, Voz, Melodía, Música, Silencio, Sin Esfuerzo Acción, Porque, Causas, Gratuito, Hacer, Interino, Contrarios, Existense, Algo, Finalización, Nacido, Emerger, Origen, Acción, Inexistencia, Vacío, Humildad, Abnegación, Trabajo , Realizado, Cumplido, Sabe, Reconocer, Mérito, Soporte, Depender, Contraste, Feo, Repulsivo, Analogía, Metáfora, Aceptación, Éxito, Ecuanimidad, Semántica, Opuestos, Enseña, Santo, Sabio, Virtud, Buena, Salir, Desaparecer, Morir, Cielo, Porque, Desde, Tono, Sonido, Juntos, Dependiente, Imparcial, Sin Expectativas, Aarmonizar, Conformarse, Enseñanzas, Lecciones, Doctrinas, Comparar, Relacionar, Contraste, Hablar, Palabras, Solo, Solamente, Atrás, Diez Mil Cosas, Reclamación, Duradera, Muchas Cosas



"All in the world know the beauty of the beautiful, and in doing this they have the idea of what ugliness is;
They all know the skill of the skilful, and in doing this they have the idea of what the want of skill is.
So it is that existence and non-existence give birth the one to the idea of the other;
That difficulty and ease produce the one the idea of the other;
That length and shortness fashion out the one the figure of the other;
That the ideas of height and lowness arise from the contrast of the one with the other;
That the musical notes and tones become harmonious through the relation of one with another;
That being before and behind give the idea of one following another.  
Therefore the sage manages affairs without doing anything, and
Conveys his instructions without the use of speech. 
All things spring up, and there is not one which declines to show itself;
They grow, and there is no claim made for their ownership;
They go through their processes, and there is no expectation of a reward for the results.
The work is accomplished, and there is no resting in it as an achievement.  
The work is done, but how no one can see;
'Tis this that makes the power not cease to be."
-  Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 2 



"When the world understands that beauty is beautiful, ugliness will exist.
When the world understands that goodness is good, evil will exist.
From that we learn that:
Existence affirms non-existence,
Ease affirms difficulty,
Short derives from long, because that is what it is compared to,
Low derives from high, because according to that it is measured,
Echo affirms sound,
After follows before.
The sage operates without action,
And teaches his pupils without words.
Everything in the universe, when defined, is relative to everything else.
The sage does not try to differentiate things, he does not try to show his preference for things either in deed or in speech.
This does not mean that the sage does nothing or says nothing;
rather, it means that he "accepts things as they are," easily and naturally, without making any demands."
-  Translated by Chou-Wing Chohan, Chapter 2 



"When the world speaks of beauty as being beautiful, ugliness is at once defined.
When goodness is seen to be good, evil is at once apparent.
So do existence and non-existence mutually give rise to one another, as that which is difficult and that which is easy, distant and near, high and low, shrill and bass, preceding and following.
The Sage therefore is occupied only with that which is without prejudice.
He teaches without verbosity; he acts without effort; he produces with possessing, he acts without regard to the fruit of action; he brings his work to perfection without assuming credit; and claiming nothing as his own, he cannot at any time be said to lose."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 2 



Creative Commons License
This webpage work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Created by Michael P. Garofalo, Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California, © 2015 CCA 4.0




Lieh-Tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living  Translated by Eva Wong
The Daodejing of Laozi   Translated by Philip Ivahoe 
Daoism: A Beginner's Guide   By James Miller
Early Daoist Scriptures  Translated by Stephen Bokencamp
Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons
Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance  By Alexander and Annellen Simpkins
Practical Taoism  Translated by Thomas Cleary
Daoism and Chinese Culture  By Livia Kohn






"It is because every one under Heaven recognizes beauty as beauty, that the idea of ugliness exists.
And equally if every one recognized virtue as virtue, this would merely create fresh conceptions of wickedness.
For truly, Being and Not-being grow out of one another;
Difficult and easy complete one another.
Long and short test one another;
High and low determine one another.
Pitch and mode give harmony to one another.
Front and back give sequence to one another.
Therefore the Sage relies on actionless activity,
Carries on wordless teaching,
But the myriad creatures are worked upon by him; he does not disown them.
He rears them, but does not lay claim to them,
Controls them, but does not lean upon them,
Achieves his aim, but does not call attention to what he does;
And for the very reason that he does not call attention to what he does
He is not ejected from fruition of what he has done."
-  Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 2 



Cloud Hands Blog



"All men know the existence of beauty,
Beauty, cleft asunder, is ugliness.
All men know the existence of Love.
Love, cleft asunder, is hatred.
Therefore "possessions" and "Inner Life" interdepend in life.
Difficult and easy interdepend in completeness.
Long and short interdepend in form.
High and low interdepend in alternation.
Tone and voice interdepend in harmony.
Before and after interdepend in sequence.
That is why the self-controlled man
makes it his business to dwell in the Inner Life;
he teaches not by words, but by actions;
he brings all beings into action, he does not refuse them;
he gives them life, but does not possess them;
he acts, but does not look for reward;
he works out perfectness, but claims no credit.
The Master, indeed, rests not on rewards.
That is why he passes not away."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 2



"Beauty originates in ugliness, virtue in vice. 
Life and death, being and nothingness:
you might as well think of them as the same thing. 
What's easy and what's difficult make each other what they are 
to the point where they are precisely identical. 
What's long and what's short are the measure of one another. 
What's high and what's low reach toward each other. 
High notes and low notes form a harmony. 
Future and past form a circle. 
So there's nothing to do but remain in the emptiness 
from which all these notions emerge and into which they are released. 
The speech of the sage is silence; his silence, speech. 
Things come and go, and he lets them. 
He doesn't seize them, and so participates in their own spontaneity. 
He does his job and lets go. 
Because he does, he acts in eternity as he finds repose in time."
-  Translated by Crispin Starwell, Chapter 2 




The Complete Works of Lao Tzu: Tao Teh Ching & Hua Hu Ching   Translation and elucidation by Hua Ching Ni
The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu   Translated by Brian Walker
Tao Te Ching  Translated by Arthur Waley
Tao - The Way   Translated by Lionel and and Herbert Giles
Taoism: An Essential Guide   By Eva Wong






"When every one recognizes beauty to be only a masquerade, then it is simply ugliness.
In the same way goodness, if it is not sincere, is not goodness.
So existence and non-existence are incompatible.
The difficult and easy are mutually opposites.
Just as the long and the short, the high and the low, the loud and soft, the before and the behind, are all opposites and each reveals the other.
Therefore the wise man is not conspicuous in his affairs or given to much talking.
Though troubles arise he is not irritated.
He produces but does not own; he acts but claims no merit, 
He builds but does not dwell therein,
Because he does not dwell therein he never departs."
-  Translated by Dwight Goddard and Henri Borel, 1919, Chapter 2   



天下皆知美之為美, 斯惡已.
皆知善之為善, 斯不善已.
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 2 



t'ien hsia chieh chih mei chih wei mei, ssu wu yi.
chieh chih shan chih wei shan, ssu pu shan yi.
ku yu wu hsiang shêng. 
nan yi hsiang ch'êng. 
ch'ang tuan hsiang chiao. 
kao hsia hsiang ch'ing.
yin shêng hsiang ho.
ch'ien hou hsiang sui.
shih yi shêng jen ch'u wu wei chih shih. 
hsing pu yen chih chiao.
wan wu tso yen erh pu tz'u.
shêng erh pu yu.
wei erh pu shih.
kung ch'eng erh fu chü.
fu wei fu ch'u.
shih yi pu ch'ü
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 2 



Audio Version in Chinese of Chapter 2 of the Tao Te Ching



tian xia jie zhi mei zhi wei mei, si e yi.
jie zhi shan zhi wei shan, si bu shan yi.
gu you wu xiang sheng.
nan yi xiang cheng.
chang duan xiang xing.
gao xia xiang qing.
yin sheng xiang he.
qian hou xiang sui.
shi yi sheng ren
chu wu wei zhi shi.
xing bu yan zhi jiao.
wan wu zuo er fu shi.
sheng er fu you.

wei er bu shi.
gong cheng er fu ju.
fu wei fu ju.
shi yi bu qu.
-  Hanyu Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 2  






Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters and English (includes a word by word key) from YellowBridge

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Pinyin Romanization, English and German by Dr. Hilmar Alquiros. 

Laozi Daodejing: Chapters with Chinese characters, seal script, detailed word by word concordance, Pinyin (tone#), German, French and English. 

Chinese and English Dictionary, MDGB

Chinese Character Dictionary

Dao De Jing Wade-Giles Concordance by Nina, Dao is Open

Dao De Jing English and Wade-Giles Concordance by Mike Garofalo

Tao Te Ching in Pinyin Romanization with Chinese characters, WuWei Foundation

Tao Te Ching in Pinyin Romanization

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters and English

Tao Te Ching: English translation, Word by Word Chinese and English, and Commentary, Center Tao by Carl Abbott

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, English, Word by word analysis, Zhongwen

Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition  Chinese characters, Wade-Giles Romanization, and a list of meanings for each character by Jonathan Star 

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters: Big 5 Traditional and GB Simplified

Convert from Pinyin to Wade Giles to Yale Romanizations of Words and Terms: A Translation Tool from Qi Journal

Chinese Characters, Wade-Giles and Pinyin Romanizations, and 16 English Translations for Each Chapter of the Daodejing by Mike Garofalo. 

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Pinyin and Wade Giles Romanization spellings, English; a word for word translation of the Guodian Laozi Dao De Jing Version. 

Lao Zi's Dao De Jing: A Matrix Translation with Chinese Text by Bradford Hatcher. 



"Since the world points up beauty as such,
There is ugliness too.
If goodness is taken as goodness,
Wickedness enters as well.
For is and is-not come together;
Hard and easy are complementary;
Long and short are relative;
High and low are comparative;
Pitch and sound make harmony;
Before and after are a sequence.
Indeed the Wise Man's office
Is to work by being still
He teaches not by speech
But by accomplishment;
He does for everything,
Neglecting none;
Their life he gives to all,
Possessing none;
And what he brings to pass
Depends on no one else.
As he succeeds,
He takes no credit
And just because he does not take it,
Credit never leaves him."
-  Translated by Raymond Blakney, 1955, Chapter 2




Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance   By Alexander Simkins
The Tao of Daily Life: The Mysteries of the Orient Revealed   By Derek Lin
Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony    By Ming-Dao Deng
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices
The Tao of Pooh   By Benjamin Hoff 
Scholar Warrior: An Introduction to the Tao in Everyday Life   By Ming-Dao Deng
Vitality, Energy, Spirit: A Taoist Sourcebook   Translated by Thomas Cleary






"When the people of the Earth all know beauty as beauty, there arises the recognition of ugliness.
When the people of the Earth all know the good as good, there arises the recognition of evil.
Being and non-being interdependent in growth;
Difficult and easy interdependent in completion;
Long and short interdependent in contrast;
High and low interdependent in position;
Tones and voice interdependent in harmony;
Front and behind interdependent in company.
Therefore the Sage:
Manages affairs without action;
Preaches the doctrine without words;
All things take their rise, but he does not turn away from them;
He gives them life, but does not take possession of them;
He acts, but does not appropriate;
Accomplishes, but claims no credit.
It is because he lays claim to no credit
That the credit cannot be taken away from him."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1948, Chapter 2  



"Beauty becomes recognized as beauty,
As its difference from ugliness is seen.
Goodness and love become recognized,
As their difference from evil and hatred is felt.

The Relationship of:
- Being and non-being is known through life and growth.
- Difficult and easy is known through achievement and completion.
- Long and short is known through form and contrast.
- High and low is known through relationship and position.
- Sound and voice is known through amplitude and harmony.
- Front and behind is known through position and sequence.

Wu-Wei graces the affairs of the Sage -
Teaching gracefully, Without words.
Receiving all happening as natural,
Without needing to judge or control.
Giving life and animation to all experience
Without needing to dominate.
Accomplishing, Without expecting reward.

In never assuming importance,
When the Sage's work is complete,
It remains, everlastingly."
-  Translated by Alan B. Taplow, 1982, Chapter 2 



"When everyone in the world became conscious of the beauty of the beautiful it turned to evil;
They became conscious of the goodness of the good and ceased to be good.
Thus not-being and being arise the one from the other.
So also do the difficult and the easy; the long and the short; the high and the low; sounds and voices; the preceding and the following.
Therefore the Holy Man abides by non-attachment is his affairs, and practices a doctrine which cannot be imparted by speech.
He attends to everything in its turn and declines nothing; produces without claiming; acts without dwelling thereon; completes his purposes without resting in them.
Inasmuch as he does this he loses nothing."
-   Translated by Medhurst C. Spurgeon, 1905, Chapter 2



Creative Commons License
This webpage work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Created by Michael P. Garofalo, Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California, © 2015 CCA 4.0




Revealing the Tao Te Ching: In-Depth Commentaries on an Ancient Classic  By Hu Xuzehi
Tao Te Ching  Annotated translation by Victor Mair  
Reading Lao Tzu: A Companion to the Tao Te Ching with a New Translation  By Ha Poong Kim
The Philosophy of the Daodejing  By Hans-Georg Moeller  

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices   By Mike Garofalo

Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation  By Roger T. Ames and David T. Hall
Tao Te Ching on The Art of Harmony   By Chad Hansen. 
The Way and Its Power: Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching and Its Place in Chinese Thought   By Arthur Waley






"The Beautiful being once recognized as such by the world, the Repulsive appears as its converse.
Goodness being once recognized as such, Evil appears in like manner.
Thus, existence and non-existence produce each other;
The difficult and the easy bring about each other;
The long and the short impart form to each other;
The high and low comply or change places with each other;
Sounds and voices harmonize with each other;
Priority and sequence alternate with each other.  
Wherefore the Sage pursues a policy of inaction, and teaches men in silence he conforms to the Course of Nature. 
He proceeds silently and spontaneously, and thus the people learn to govern themselves by his example without needing the interferences of legislation. 
He forms all things without shrinking from the labor; produces them without claiming the possession of virtue; acts without presuming on his ability.
He completes his achievements without taking any credit to himself.
It is only he who thus does not stand upon his merit; and therefore his merit does not depart from him."
-  Translated by Frederic H. Balfour, 1884, Chapter 2 



"It is the world of man that defines ugly by comparing it with that which man calls beautiful.
Skillful is considered such by comparison to that which is called 'without skill'.
Alive and non-alive are delineated by nature.
Difficult and easy are abstracted by our perception.
Long and short are defined by the one against the other.
High and low are reckoned so by the contrast of the one with the other.
Music is seen as pleasing if the notes and tones are recognized as being harmonious with each other.
One in front, and one behind are recognized as one following the other.
It is for this reason that the sage lives in the condition of wu-wei (unattached action, or; doing-not doing),
And teaches without words.
He knows that names and images are fleeting, and all things will transform.
One who seems to follow tonight might lead another time.
He sees all that is done as neither large nor small.
All things are neither grand nor miniscule.
Actions are neither difficult, nor done with ease. He acts without expectation.
Things spring up around him, and he accepts them, but does not possess them.
Things go away, and he recognizes their departure without grief or joy.
When the work is done he leaves it be.
Because he does not dwell in it, it will last."
-  Translated by Rivenrock, Chapter 2 



"When all in the world understand beauty to be beautiful, then ugliness exists.
When all understand goodness to be good, then evil exists.
Thus existence suggests non-existence;
Easy gives rise to difficult;
Short is derived from long by comparsion;
Low is derived from high by position;
Resonance harmonises sound;
After follows before.
Therefore the sage carries on his business without action, and gives his teaching without words."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 2




Tao Te Ching  Translated by Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo  

Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching  Translated by John C. Wu

Lao-Tzu and the Tao-Te-Ching  Translated by Livia Kohn

Dao De Jing: The Book of the Way Translated by Moss Roberts






"All men know that beauty and ugliness are correlatives, as are skill and clumsiness;
one implies and suggests the other.
So also existence and non-existence pose the one the other;
so also is it with ease and difficulty, length and shortness; height and lowness.
Also Musick exists through harmony of opposites; time and space depend upon contraposition.
By the use of this method, the sage can fulfil his will without action, and utter his word without speech.  
All things arise without diffidence; they grow, and none interferes; they change according to their natural order, without lust of result.
The work is accomplished; yet continueth in its orbit, without goal.
This work is done unconsciously; this is why its energy is indefatigable."
-  Translated by Aleister Crowley, 1918, Chapter 2 



"When people find one thing beautiful, another consequently becomes ugly.
When one man is held up as good, another is judged deficient.
Similarly, being and non-being balance each other; difficult and easy define each other; long and short illustrate each other;
high and low rest upon each other; voice and song meld into harmony; what is to come follows upon what has been.
The wise person acts without effort and teaches by quiet example.
He accepts things as they come, creates without possessing, nourishes without demanding, accomplishes without taking credit.
Because he constantly forgets himself, he is never forgotten."
-  Translated by Brian Browne Walker, 1996, Chapter 2 



"When people see things as beautiful,
ugliness is created.
When people see things as good,
evil is created.

Being and non-being produce each other.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low oppose each other.
Fore and aft follow each other.

Therefore the Master
can act without doing anything
and teach without saying a word.
Things come her way and she does not stop them;
things leave and she lets them go.
She has without possessing,
and acts without any expectations.
When her work is done, she take no credit.
That is why it will last forever."
-  Translated by John H. McDondald, 1996, Chapter 2  




Walking the Way: 81 Zen Encounters with the Tao Te Ching by Robert Meikyo Rosenbaum

The Tao of Zen by Ray Grigg

Tao Te Ching: Zen Teachings on the Taoist Classic by Takuan Soho 

Buddhism and Taoism Face to Face: Scripture, Ritual, and Iconographic Exchange in Medieval China by Christine Mollier  






"People through finding something beautiful
Think something else unbeautiful,
Through finding one man fit
Judge another unfit.
Life and death, though stemming from each other, seem to conflict as stages of change,
Difficult and easy as phases of achievement,
Long and short as measures of contrast,
High and low as degrees of relation;
But, since the varying of tones gives music to a voice
And what is the was of what shall be,
The sanest man
Sets up no deed,
Lays down no law,
Takes everything that happens as it comes,
As something to animate, not to appropriate,
To earn, not to own,
To accept naturally without self-importance:
If you never assume importance
You never lose it."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 2




Tao Te Ching
 Chapter Number Index

Standard Traditional Chapter Arrangement of the Daodejing
Chapter Order in Wang Bi's Daodejing Commentary in 246 CE
Chart by Mike Garofalo
Subject Index

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70
71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80




"Wenn auf Erden alle das Schöne als schön erkenne,
so ist dadurch schon das Häßliche gesetzt.
Wenn auf Erden alle das Gute als gut erkennen,
so ist dadurch schon das Nichtgute gesetzt.
Denn Sein und Nichtsein erzeugen einander.
Schwer und Leicht vollenden einander.
Lang und Kurz gestalten einander.
Hoch und Tiefverkehren einander.
Stimme und Ton sich vermählen einander.
Vorher und Nachher folgen einander.

Also auch der Berufene:
Er verweilt im Wirken ohne Handeln.
Er übt Belehrung ohne Reden.
AlIe Wesen treten hervor,
und er verweigert sich ihnen nicht.
Er erzeugt und besitzt nicht.
Er wirkt und behält nicht.
Ist das Werk vollbracht,
so verharrt er nicht dabei,
Und eben weil er nicht verharrt,
bleibt er nicht verlassen."
-  Translated by Richard Wilhelm, 1911, Chapter 2



"Because the world recognized beauty as beauty, ugliness is known to be ugly.
Everyone knows goodness to be goodness, and to know this is to know what is not good.
Similarly, existence implies non-existence;
The hard and the easy complement each other; We recognize what is long by comparison with what is short;
High by comparison with low;
The shrill by comparison with the sonorous.
Before and after, earlier and later, back and front -
All these complement one another.
Therefore the Sage, the self-controlled man, dwells in action-less activity, poised between contraries.
He teaches without employing words.
He beholds al things that have been made - he does not turn his back on them.
He achieves, but does not claim merit;
He does not call attention to what he does, not claim success.
Regarding nothing as his own, he loses nothing that is his."
-  Translated by Herman Ould, 1946, Chapter 2 



"The whole world knows the beautiful as beautiful
Only because of the existence of the ugly;
The whole world knows the good as good
Only because of the existence of the bad.
Hence the Being and the Nothingness exist in opposition;
The difficult and the easy complement each other;
The long and the short manifest themselves by comparison;
The high and the low are inclined as well as opposed to each other;
The consonants and vowels harmonize with each other;
The front and the back follow each other.
Thus the sage behaves
Without taking active action,
Teaches without using words,
Lets all things rip without interference,
Gives them life without claiming to be their owner,
Benefits them without claiming to be their benefactor, succeeds without claiming credit.
Because he does not claim credit,
His credit is never lost."
-  Translated by Gu Zengkun, Chapter 2




Tao Te Ching: An Illustrated Journey   Translated by Stephen Mitchell

Tao Te Ching   Translated by David Hinton

The Book of Tao: Tao Te Ching - The Tao and Its Characteristics   Translated by James Legge

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: Growth of a Religion   By Isabelle Robinet

Zhuangzi (Chuang Tsu), Daoist Scripture: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations, Notes

Zhuangzi: Basic Writings   Translated by Burton Watson

Zhuangzi Speaks: The Music of Nature   An illustrated comic by Chih-chung Ts'ai

Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons







"When beauty is known as beautiful, lo! ugliness is there,

When good is known as good, then bad and good together go,

Being and Non-existence, linked like brothers forward press,

And difficult and easy, both in mutual currents flow.

The long and short are side by side, each by the other shown,

The high inclines to meet the low, the low to meet the high,

The after follows the before, in mutual consequence,

And tone and voice unite and blend in mutual harmony.

And so the sage, in his affairs, does not on doing dwell,

Proceeds in silence like the myriad things which come to be,

Which growing, claim no ownership, producing, no reward,

And claiming naught, assuming naught, continue ceaselessly."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 2






"Therefore, Lao Tzu states,
In heaven and earth,
Beauty is attached as beauty by merely discerning it from ugliness.
Good is willed as good by merely distinguishing it from the evil.
Being and Nothing come from each other,
Difficult and Easy depend on each other,
Long and Short are shaped to each other.
High and Low are bent to each other.
Sound and Voice harmonize each other.
Front and Back follow each other.
Thus, the sage keeps himself in no-action (wu-wei),
He teaches his wisdom without words.
The Ten Thousand Things rise and fall.
Tao "creates" everything without possessing,
Accomplishes with no claim,
Thus, no adherence, no vanish."
-  Translated by Eichi Shimomisse, 1998, Chapter 2 





"When all under heaven know beauty as beauty, already there is ugliness;
When everyone knows goodness, this accounts for badness.
Being and nonbeing give birth to each other,
Difficult and easy complete each other,
Long and short form each other,
High and low fulfill each other,
Tone and voice harmonize with each other,
Front and back follow each other - it is ever thus.
For these reasons,
The sage dwells in affairs of nonaction, carries out a doctrine without words.
He lets the myriad creatures rise up but does not instigate them;
He acts but does not presume;
He completes his work but does not dwell on it.
Simply because he does not dwell on them, his accomplishments never leave him."
-  Translated by Victor H. Mair, 1990, Chapter 2 




Further Teachings of Lao-Tzu: Understanding the Mysteries (Wen Tzu)   Translated by Thomas Cleary

The Lunar Tao: Meditations in Harmony with the Seasons   By Deng Ming-Dao

Awakening to the Tao   By Lui I-Ming (1780) and translated by Thomas Cleary

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices   By Mike Garofalo

Zhuangzi: The Essential Writings with Selections from Traditional Commentaries   Translation and commentary by Brook Ziporyn

The Inner Chapters of Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi)   Translated by A. C. Graham






"When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises
When it knows good as good, evil arises
Thus being and non-being produce each other
Difficult and easy bring about each other
Long and short reveal each other
High and low support each other
Music and voice harmonize each other
Front and back follow each other
Therefore the sages:
Manage the work of detached actions
Conduct the teaching of no words
They work with myriad things but do not control
They create but do not possess
They act but do not presume
They succeed but do not dwell on success
It is because they do not dwell on success
That it never goes away"
-  Translated by Derek Linn, 2006, Chapter 2 



"If everyone understands the beautiful as beauty, there must be ugliness.
If everyone understands goodness as good, there must be not good.

Being and not being are mutually arising;
Difficult and easy are complementary;
Long and short arise from comparison;
Higher and lower are interdependent;
Vocalization and verbalization harmonize with each other;
Before and after accompany each other.

This is why the Sage manages affairs of Non-action and performs wordless teaching.
The myriad things are made without the slightest word.
Nature gives birth but does not possess.
It acts but does not demand subservience.
Only because it claims no credit is it indispensable."
-  Translated by Tam C. Gibbs, 1981, Chapter 2  



"Dans le monde, lorsque tous les hommes ont su apprécier la beauté (morale),
alors la laideur (du vice) a paru.
Lorsque tous les hommes ont su apprécier le bien, alors le mal a paru.
C'est pourquoi l'être et le non-être naissent l'un de l'autre.
Le difficile et le facile se produisent mutuellement.
Le long et le court se donnent mutuellement leur forme.
Le haut et le bas montrent mutuellement leur inégalité.
Les tons et la voix s'accordent mutuellement.
L'antériorité et la postériorité sont la conséquence l'une de l'autre.
De là vient que le saint homme fait son occupation du non-agir.
Il fait consister ses instructions dans le silence.
Alors tous les êtres se mettent en mouvement, et il ne leur refuse rien.
Il les produit et ne se les approprie pas.
Il les perfectionne et ne compte pas sur eux.
Ses mérites étant accomplis, il ne s'y attache pas.
Il ne s'attache pas à ses mérites ; c'est pourquoi ils ne le quittent point."
-  Translated by Stanislas Julien, 1842, Chapter 2



"The whole world knows: when beauty tries to be beautiful it changes into ugliness by that very fact.
The whole world knows: when kindness tries to appear kind it changes into unkindness by that very fact.
So close are Being and Non-Being that one arises from the other.
So suddenly easy becomes difficult short becomes long high becomes low loud becomes soundless the first becomes the last.
That is why the Sage strives to act without action to teach without speaking.
He lets things happen and does not try to stay them.
He labors and is not greedy.
He acts and does not demand anything.
He receives and does not retain anything."
-  Translated by K.O. Schmidt, 1975, Chapter 2 




Spanish Language Versions of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing)
Tao Te Ching en Español

Lao Tsé Tao Te Ching   Traducido al español por Anton Teplyy

Tao Te Ching   Traducido por Stephen Mitchell, versión española  

Tao Te Ching   Traducido al español por el Padre Carmelo Elorduy

Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons   Consejos de Estilo de Vida de Sabios

Tao Te Ching en Español

Lao Tzu-The Eternal Tao Te Ching   Traducido al español por Yuanxiang Xu y Yongjian Yin 

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices   By Mike Garofalo    Maduración Duraznos: Estudios y Prácticas Taoístas por Mike Garofalo

Tao Te Ching - Wikisource

Tao Te Ching   Traducido al español por William Scott Wilson. 

Lao Tzu - Tao Te Ching   Traducido al español por Javier Cruz

Tao te king   Translated by John C. H. Wu, , versión española  

Daodejing   Español, Inglés, y Chino Versiones Lingüísticas de la Daodejing





"Todo el mundo toma lo bello por bello,
y eso es porque conocen qué es lo feo.
Todo el mundo toma el bien por el bien,
y eso es porque conocen qué es el mal.
Porque, el Ser y el No-Ser se engendran mutuamente.
Lo fácil y lo difícil se complementan.
Lo largo y lo corto se forman el uno de otro.
Lo alto y lo bajo se aproximan.
El sonido y el tono armonizan entre sí.
El antes y el después se suceden recíprocamente.
Por ello, el Sabio maneja sus asuntos sin interferir,
y difunde sus enseñanzas sin adoctrinar.
No niega la existencia de las innumerables cosas.
Las construye sin atribuirse nada.
Hace su trabajo sin acumular nada por él.
Cumple su tarea sin vanagloriarse de ella, y,
precisamente por no vanagloriarse,
nadie se la puede quitar."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capítulo 2



"Cuando se reconoce la Belleza en el Mundo
Se aprende lo que es la Fealdad;
Cuando se reconoce la Bondad en el Mundo
Se aprende lo que es la Maldad.

De este modo:
Vida y muerte son abstracciones del crecimiento;
Dificultad y facilidad son abstracciones del progreso;
Cerca y lejos son abstracciones de la posición;
Fuerza y debilidad son abstracciones del control;
Música y habla son abstracciones de la armonía;
Antes y después son abstracciones de la secuencia.

El sabio controla sin autoridad,
Y enseña sin palabras;
Él deja que todas las cosas asciendan y caigan,
Nutre, pero no interfiere,
Dá sin pedirle,
Y está satisfecho."
-  Translated by Antonio Rivas Gonzálvez, 2004, Capítulo 2



"Al conocer lo bello como bello todos conocen la fealdad en el mundo.
Todos saben que el bien es el bien y entonces conocen el mal.
Así es como:
Ser y no-ser se engendran uno a otro.
Lo difícil y lo fácil mutuamente se integran.
Ancho y angosto se forjan uno a otro.
Alto y bajo se corresponden uno a otro.
Voz y tono se armonizan uno a otro.
Por eso el hombre sabio encausa los asuntos sin actuar.
Enseña estando callado.
No se opone a los seres que nacen ni se apodera de sus vidas.
Nunca se queda en la obra cumplida.
Por no permanecer en ella no hay quien se la pueda arrebatar."
Translation from Logia Medio Dia, 2015,
Capítulo 2



Creative Commons License
This webpage work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Created by Michael P. Garofalo, Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California, © 2015 CCA 4.0





Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching



Next Chapter of the Tao Te Ching #3

Previous Chaper of the Tao Te Ching #1

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching






Tao Te Ching
Commentary, Interpretations, Research Tools, Resources
Chapter 2


Tao Te Ching Translations OnlineTerebess Asia Online.  124 nicely formatted complete English language translations of the Daodejing.  Alphabetical Index.  Each webpage has all 81 chapters of the Tao Te Ching by the English language translator.  Outstanding collection - the best on the Internet!! 

Daodejing by Laozi: Chapters with Chinese characters, seal script, detailed word by word concordance, Pinyin (tone#), German, French and English.  This is an outstanding resource for serious students of the Tao Te Ching

Yellow Bridge Dao De Jing Comparison Table   Provides side by side comparisons of translations of the Tao Te Ching by James Legge, D. T. Suzuki, and Dwight Goddard.  Chinese characters for each paragraph in the Chapter are on the left; place your cursor over the Chinese characters to see the Pinyin Romanization of the Chinese character and a list of meanings. 

Center Tao.  Includes a brief commentary on each Chapter.  A keyword glossary for each chapter is provided. 

Tao Te Ching Commentaries - Google Search 

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Pinyin Romanization, English and German by Dr. Hilmar Alquiros. 

Translators' Index, Tao Te Ching Translators Sorted Alphabetically by Translator, Links to Books and Online Versions

Taoism and the Tao Te Ching: Bibliography, Resources, Links

Spanish Language Translations of the Tao Te Ching, Daodejing en Español

Concordance to the Daodejing

The Tao of Zen.  By Ray Grigg.  Tuttle, 2012, 256 pages.  Argues for the view that Zen is best characterized a version of philosophical Taoism (i.e., Laozi and Zhuangzi) and not Mahayana Buddhism. 

Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition  By Jonathan Star.  Translation, commentary and research tools.  New York, Jeremy P. Tarcher, Penguin, 2001.  Concordance, tables, appendices, 349 pages.  A new rendition of the Tao Te Ching is provided, then a verbatim translation with extensive notes.  Detailed tables for each verse provide line number, all the Chinese characters, Wade-Giles Romanization, and a list of meanings for each character.  An excellent print reference tool! 

Two Visions of the Way: A Study of the Wang Pi and the Ho-Shang Kung Commentaries on the Lao-Tzu.  By Professor by Alan Kam-Leung Chan.   SUNY Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture.  State University of New York Press, 1991.  Index, bibliography, glossary, notes, 314 pages.  ISBN: 0791404560.     

Chinese Reading of the Daodejing  Wang Bi's Commentary on the Laozi with Critical Text and Translation.  By Professor Rudolf G. Wagner.  A SUNY Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture.  English and Mandarin Chinese Edition.  State University of New York Press; Bilingual edition (October 2003).  540 pages.  ISBN: 978-0791451823.  Wang Bi (Wang Pi, Fusi), 226-249 CE, Commentary on the Tao Te Ching.

Chapter 2 in the Rambling Taoist Commentaries by Trey Smith.  The Rambling Taoists are Trey Smith and Scott Bradley. 

The Philosophy of the Daodejing  By Hans-Georg Moeller.  Columbia University Press, 2006, 176 pages.  

Valley Spirit, Gu Shen, Concept, Chapter 6 

Tao Te Ching English Translations from Terebess Asia Online.  Over 30 translations. 

Lao-tzu's Taoteching
 Translated by Red Pine (Bill Porter).  Includes many brief selected commentaries for each Chapter draw from commentaries in the past 2,000 years.  Provides a verbatim translation and shows the text in Chinese characters.  San Francisco, Mercury House, 1996, Second Edition, 184 pages.  An invaluable resource for commentaries.   

Reading Lao Tzu: A Companion to the Tao Te Ching with a New Translation  By Ha Poong Kim.  Xlibris, 2003, 198 pages. 

Chapter 2, Line by Line Comparisons of 27 Translations of the Tao Te Ching Compiled by the St. Xenophon Wayist Seminary 

Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation  By Roger T. Ames and David T. Hall.  Ballantine, 2003, 256 pages. 

Thematic Index to the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu: Te-Tao Ching - A New Translation Based on the Recently Discovered Ma-wang-tui Texts (Classics of Ancient China) Translated with and introduction and detailed exposition and commentary by Professor Robert G. Henricks.  New York, Ballantine Books, 1992.  Includes Chinese characters for each chapter.  Bibliography, detailed notes, 282 pages. 

Lieh-Tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living.  Translated by Eva Wong.  Lieh-Tzu was writing around 450 BCE.  Boston, Shambhala, 2001.  Introduction, 246 pages. 

Revealing the Tao Te Ching: In-depth Commentaries on an Ancient Classic.  By Hu Huezhi.  Edited by Jesse Lee Parker.  Seven Star Communications, 2006.  240 pages. 

Cloud Hands Blog   Mike Garofalo writes about Taoism, Gardening, Taijiquan, Walking, Mysticism, Qigong, and the Eight Ways.

Tao Te Ching: A New Translation and Commentary.  By Ellen Chen.  Paragon House, 1998.  Detailed glossary, index, bibliography, notes, 274 pages. 

The Tao and Method: A Reasoned Approach to the Tao Te Ching.  By Michael Lafargue.  New York, SUNY Press, 1994.  640 pages.  Detailed index, bibliography, notes, and tables.  An essential research tool. 

The Whole Heart of Tao: The Complete Teachings From the Oral Tradition of Lao Tzu.
By John Bright-Fey.  Crane Hill Publishers, 2006.  376 pages.












Laozi, Dao De Jing


Gushen Grove Notebooks for the Tao Te Ching

Research and Indexing by
Michael P. Garofalo

Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California
Green Way Research, 2010-2015. 
Indexed and Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo


This webpage was last modified or updated on July 27, 2015.
This webpage was first distributed online on November 3, 2010. 


Creative Commons License
This webpage work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Created by Michael P. Garofalo, Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California, © 2015 CCA 4.0



Michael P. Garofalo's E-mail

Brief Biography of Michael P. Garofalo, M.S.

Valley Spirit Center, Red Bluff, California

Study Chi Kung or Tai Chi with Mike Garofalo



Ripening Peaches: Daoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: Resources and Guides

Cloud Hands Blog

Valley Spirit Qigong

Ways of Walking

The Spirit of Gardening

Months: Cycles of the Seasons

Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu, Zhuang Zhou, Master Chuang)  369—286 BCE

Chan (Zen) and Taoist Poetry

Yang Style Taijiquan

Chen Style Taijiquan

Taoist Perspectives: My Reading List


Bodymind Theory and Practices, Somaesthetics

The Five Senses

How to Live a Good Life: Advice from Wise Persons

Grandmaster Chang San Feng


Qigong (Chi Kung) Health Practices

One Old Daoist Druid's Final Journey: Notebooks of the Librarian of Gushen Grove

Cloud Hands: T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Index to Cloud Hands and Valley Spirit Websites


Gushen Grove Notebooks for the Tao Te Ching 



Index to English Language Translators of the Tao Te Ching

Thematic Index 1-81  

Chapter Index 1-81    

Concordance to the Daodejing

Recurring Themes (Terms, Concepts, Leimotifs) in the Tao Te Ching

Spanish Language Translations of the Tao Te Ching


The Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) circa 500 BCE





Cloud Hands Blog


Return to the Top of this Webpage




Tao Te Ching
 Chapter Number Index

Standard Traditional Chapter Arrangement of the Daodejing
Chapter Order in Wang Bi's Daodejing Commentary in 246 CE
Chart by Mike Garofalo
Subject Index

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70
71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80