Chapter 39

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

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Chapter 39

Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) by Lao Tzu



English and Chinese (Wade-Giles) Terms:  Old or Ancient (hsi), One or Unity (yi), Tao, Steadfast, Plentitude, Heaven (t'ien), Earth (ti), Spirits, Valley, Creatures, Origin of the Law, Oneness, Ten Thousand Things or Myriad (wan wu), Equilibrium, Whole, Origin, Chariot, Stone, Spirits or Gods (shên), Interrelated, Coordinated, Dependent, Power of the Dao, Root of Order, Correct or Upright (cheng), Esteem or Honor (kuei), Elements, Dao, Princes, Source, Procreation, Full or Filled (ying), Generation, Obtain or Gain (), Integration, Unity, Totality, Core, Act or Make (wei), Clear or Pure (ch'ing), Wheel or Carriage (), Lowliness, Alive or Life (shêng), Essentials, Peaceful or Serene (ning), Fundamental, Simple, Common, Root or Foundation (pên), Ravine or Valley (ku), Divine or Inspired (ling), Crack or Split (lieh), Wither or Dissolve (hsieh), Pieces, Earth (ti), Shake or Quake (fa), Fear (kung), Supports, Underpinning, Prince or Duke (hou), Superior or Lofty (kao), King or Lord (wang), Could or Might (chiang), Die or Perish (mieh), Source of Authority, Fall or Stumble (chüeh), Root or Origin (pên), Alone or Solitary (ku), Gem or Jade (), Humble or Humility (chien), Stone or Rock (shih),  法本    

Términos en Español:  Uno, Firme, Plenitud, Cielo, Tierra, Espíritus, Valle, Criaturas, Unidad, Equilibrio, Todo, Origen, Carruaje, Piedra, Interrelacionados, Coordinado, Dependiente, Elementos, Príncipe, Fuente, Procreación, Generación, Integración, Totalidad, Humildad, Esencial, Fundamental, Simple, Común, Piezas, Soportes, Viejo, Antiguo, Obtener, Ganancia, Unidad, Puro, Claro, Pacífico, Sereno, Espíritus, Dioses, Divino, Inspirado, Barranco, Valle, Completo, Lleno, Grieta, Ruptura, Barranco, Cosas, Vivo, Vida, Príncipe, Rey, Rey, Señor, Correcta, Vertical, Tierra, Miedo, Morir, Pierda, Autoestima, Humildad, Humilde, Honra, Superior, Elevado, Noble, Otoño, Tropezón, Ley, Hacer, Raíz, Fundación, Alta, Solo, Solitario, Raíz, Origen, Rueda, Transporte, Gema, Piedra, Roca.




"The things which from of old have got the One, the Tao, are: 
Heaven which by it is bright and pure;
Earth rendered thereby firm and sure;
Spirits with powers by it supplied;
Valleys kept full throughout their void
All creatures which through it do live
Princes and kings who from it get
The model which to all they give.
All these are the results of the One, the Tao.  
If heaven were not thus pure, it soon would rend;
If earth were not thus sure, it would break and bend;
Without these powers, the spirits soon would fail;
If not so filled, the drought would parch each vale;
Without that life, creatures would pass away;
Princes and kings, without that moral sway,
However grand and high, would all decay.
Thus it is that dignity finds its firm root in its previous meanness, and what is lofty finds its stability in the lowness from which it rises. 
Hence princes and kings call themselves 'Orphans,' 'Men of small virtue,' and as 'Carriages without a nave.'
Is not this an acknowledgment that in their considering themselves mean they see the foundation of their dignity?
So it is that in the enumeration of the different parts of a carriage we do not come on what makes it answer the ends of a carriage.
They do not wish to show themselves as elegant-looking as jade, but prefer to be coarse-looking as an ordinary stone."
-   Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 39 



"Of old these ones attained to unity:

Heaven attained it, thereby it is pure,

Earth attained it, thereby it is steady,

 Spirits attained it, thereby they have soul,

Valleys attained it, thereby they are Idled,

The myriad things attained it, thereby live,

Princes and kings, and thereby they became

The standard of the world, by upright rule,

And what produced all this is Unity.

Heaven, but for some source of pureness nothing could maintain,

But for some source of steadiness Earth would be rent in twain,

Spirits, but for some source of spirit power, soon would fail,

And if the vales had not some source, then drouth would soon prevail.

Without some source of life all living creatures soon would die,

Princes and kings, by self-esteem alone, would helpless lie,

 And here one sees that noble things are rooted in the base,

That loftiness, but for the lowly, soon would lose its place;

So prince and king describe themselves as orphans, lonely men,

As carriages which have no wheels on which to run again,

 Is not this an acknowledgment that they are rooted in

The fabric of inferior things, and with the lowly kin?

Enumerate the different parts which go to make a cart,

Take it to pieces, and not one will play a useful part,

Hence men do not desire, like gems, to dwell in single state,

Nor be let drop, like pebble-stones, in masses congregate."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 39 




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. 






"From of old these things have obtained oneness:  
Heaven by oneness becometh pure.
Earth by oneness can endure.
Minds by oneness souls procure.
Valleys by oneness repletion secure.   
All creatures by oneness to life have been called.
And kings were by oneness as models installed.  
Such is the result of oneness.   
Were heaven not pure it might be rent.
Were earth not stable it might be bent.
Were minds not ensouled they'd be impotent.
Were valleys not filled they'd soon be spent.
When creatures are lifeless who can their death prevent?
Are kings not models, but on haughtiness bent,
Their fall, forsooth, is imminent.
Thus, the nobles come from the commoners as their root, and the high rest upon the lowly as their foundation.
Therefore, princes and kings call themselves orphaned, lonely, and unworthy.
Is this not because they take lowliness as their root?  
The several parts of a carriage are not a carriage. 
Those who have become a unity are neither anxious to be praised with praise like a gem, nor disdained with disdain like a stone."
-  Translated by Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 39 



Cloud Hands Blog



"You needn't search for power
You already have it all
To seek outside your empty core
Is looking for a fall

The seer doesn't do a thing
But sees that all is finished
Foolish people run about
And leave totality diminished

Goodness must be doing
And justice never is complete
Propriety can't satisfy
Obedience is forced defeat

When totality is lost
Goodness comes to take its place
Followed by propriety
Bewilderment and end of grace

The seer sees periphery
But also sees the open core
And thus the seer sees the whole
And dwells therein forevermore"
-  Translated by Jim Clatfelder, 2000, Chapter 39 




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

Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons





"In mythical times all things were whole:
All the sky was clear,
All the earth was stable,
All the mountains were firm,
All the riverbeds were full,
All of nature was fertile,
And all the rulers were supported.

But, losing clarity, the sky tore;
Losing stability, the earth split;
Losing strength, the mountains sank;
Losing water, the riverbeds cracked;
Losing fertility, nature disappeared;
And losing support, the rulers fell.

Rulers depend upon their subjects,
The noble depend upon the humble;
So rulers call themselves orphaned, hungry and alone,
To win the people's support."
-  Translation by Peter Merel, 1992, Chapter 39 




天無以清 將恐裂.
地無以寧 將恐發.
神無以靈 將恐歇.
谷無以盈 將恐竭. 

-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 39



hsi chih tê yi chê.
t'ien tê yi yi ch'ing.
ti tê yi yi ning.
shên tê yi yi ling.
ku tê yi yi ying.
wan wu tê yi yi shêng.
hou wang tê yi yi wei t'ien hsia chên.
ch'i chih chih.
t'ien wu yi ch'ing chiang k'ung lieh.
ti wu yi ning chiang k'ung fa.
shên wu yi ling chiang k'ung hsieh.
ku wu yi ying chiang k'ung chieh.
wan wu wu yi shêng chiang k'ung mieh.
hou wang wu yi kuei kao chiang k'ung chüeh.
ku kuei yi chien wei pên.
kao yi hsia wei chi.  
shih yi hou wang tzu wei ku kua pu ku.
tz'u fei yi chien wei pên hsieh fei hu.
ku chih shu yü wu yü.
pu yü lu lu ku yü.
lo lo ju shih. 
- Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 39


Audio Version in Chinese of Chapter 39 of the Tao Te Ching


xi zhi de yi zhe.   
tian de yi yi qing.   
di de yi yi ning.   
shen de yi yi ling.
gu de yi yi ying.   
wan wu de yi yi sheng.   
hou wang de yi yi wei tian xia zhen. 
qi zhi zhi.
tian wu yi qing jiang kong lie.   
di wu yi ning jiang kong fa.   
shen wu yi ling jiang kong xie.   
gu wu yi ying jiang kong jie.   
wan wu wu yi sheng jiang kong mie.   
hou wang wu yi gui gao jiang kong jue. 
gu gui yi jian wei ben.   
gao yi xia wei ji.  
shi yi hou wang zi wei gu gua bu gu. 
ci fei yi jian wei ben ye fei hu? 
gu zhi shu yu wu yu. 
bu yu lu lu ru yu.   
luo luo ru shi.
-   Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 39 






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. 



"Of old, these came to be in possession of the One:
Heaven in virtue of the One is limpid;
Earth in virtue of the One is settled;
Gods in virtue of the One have their potencies;
The valley in virtue of the One is full;
The myriad creatures in virtue of the One are alive;
Lords and princes in virtue of the One become leaders of the empire.
It is the One that makes these what they are.

Without what makes it limpid heaven might split;
Without what makes it settled earth might sink;
Without what gives them their potencies gods might spend themselves;
Without what makes it full the valley might run dry;
Without what keeps them alive the myriad creatures might perish;
Without what makes them leaders lords and princes might fall.

Hence the superior must have the inferior as root;
The high must have the low as base.

Thus lords and princes refer to themselves as 'solitary', 'desolate', and 'hapless'.
This is taking the inferior as root, is it not?

Hence the highest renown is without renown,
Not wishing to be one among many like jade
Nor to be aloof like stone."
-  Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 39  




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






"In harmony with the Tao,
the sky is clear and spacious,
the earth is solid and full,
all creature flourish together,
content with the way they are,
endlessly repeating themselves,
endlessly renewed.

When man interferes with the Tao,
the sky becomes filthy,
the earth becomes depleted,
the equilibrium crumbles,
creatures become extinct.

The Master views the parts with compassion,
because he understands the whole.
His constant practice is humility.
He doesn't glitter like a jewel
but lets himself be shaped by the Tao,
as rugged and common as stone."
-   Translated by Stephen Mitchell, Chapter 39 



"The masters of old attained unity with the Tao.
Heaven attained unity and became pure.
The earth attained unity and found peace.
The spirits attained unity so they could minister.
The valleys attained unity that they might be full.
Humanity attained unity that they might flourish.
Their leaders attained unity that they might set the example.
This is the power of unity.

Without unity, the sky becomes filthy.
Without unity, the earth becomes unstable.
Without unity, the spirits become unresponsive and disappear.
Without unity, the valleys become dry as a desert.
Without unity, human kind can't reproduce and becomes extinct.
Without unity, our leaders become corrupt and fall.

The great view the small as their source,
and the high takes the low as their foundation.
Their greatest asset becomes their humility.
They speak of themselves as orphans and widows,
thus they truly seek humility.
Do not shine like the precious gem,
but be as dull as a common stone."
-  Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 39 


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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






"The ancients attained oneness.
Heaven attained oneness and became clear.
Earth attained oneness and became stable.
Spirits attained oneness and became divine.
The valleys attained oneness and became fertile.
Creatures attained oneness and lived and grew.
Kings and nobles attained oneness and became leaders.
What made them so is oneness.

Without clarity, heaven would crack.
Without stability, the earth would quake.
Without divinity, spirits would dissipate.
Without fertility, the valleys would be barren.
Without life and growth, creatures would die off.
Without leadership, kings and nobles would fall.

Therefore humility is the basis for nobility,
and the low is the basis for the high.
Thus kings and nobles call themselves
orphans, lonely, and unworthy.
Do they not depend upon the common people for support?
Dismantle the parts of a chariot, and there is no chariot.
Rather than tinkle like jade, rumble like rocks."
-  Translated by Sanderson Beck, 1996, Chapter 39 



"There were those in ancient times possessed of the One;
Through possession of the One, the Heaven was clarified,
Through possession of the One, The Earth was stabilized,
Through possession of the One, the gods were spiritualized,
Through possession of the One, the valleys were made full,
Through possession of the One, all things lived and grew,
Through possession of the One, the princes and dukes
   became the ennobled of the people.
   - that was how each became so.

Without clarity, the Heavens would shake,
Without stability, the Earth would quake,
Without spiritual power, the gods would crumble,
Without being filled, the valleys would crack,
Without the life-giving power, all things would perish,
Without the ennobling power, the princes and dukes would stumble.
therefore the nobility depend upon the common man for support,
And the exalted ones depend upon the lowly for their base.

That is why the princes and dukes call themselves
   "the orphaned," "the lonely one," "the unworthy."
Is is not true then that they depend upon the common man for support?
Truly, take down the parts of a chariot,
   And there is no chariot (left).
Rather than jingle like the jade,
   Rumble like the rocks."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 39  




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






"The wholeness of life has, from of old, been made manifest in its parts:
Clarity has been made manifest in heaven,
Firmness in earth,
Purity in the spirit,
In the valley conception,
In the river procreation;
And so in a leader ate the people made manifest
For wholeness of use.
But for clarity heaven would be veiled,
But for firmness earth would have crumbled,
But for purity spirit would have fumbled,
But for conception the valley would have failed,
But for procreation the river have run dry;
So, save for the people, a leader shall die:
Always the low carry the high
On a root for growing by.
What can stand lofty with no low foundation?
No wonder leaders of a land profess
Their stature and their station
To be servitude and lowliness!
If rim and spoke and hub were not,
Where would be the chariot?
Who will prefer the jingle of jade pendants if
He once has heard stone growing in a cliff!"
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 39



"Since time began,
this is what it’s meant
to be in touch with Tao:

Tao made the heavens clear.
Tao made the earth solid.
Tao made our spirits strong.
Tao made the valleys fertile.
Tao gave all living things life.
Tao gave rulers authority.

Without Tao,
the heavens would collapse.
Without Tao,
the earth would crumble.
Without Tao,
our spirits would fade away.
Without Tao,
the valleys would dry up.
Without Tao,
all life would become extinct.
Without Tao,
rulers would stumble and fall.

Humility gives us power.
Our leaders should think of themselves
as insignificant, powerless,
unworthy of their stature.
Isn’t that what humility is all about?

Be strong,
but pay no attention to hollow praise.
Don’t call attention to yourself.
Don’t make a scene."
-  Translated by Ron Hogan, 1995, Chapter 39 




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  






"These are they which from of Old have obtained Unity.
Heaven obtained Unity by purity;
he earth obtained Unity by repose;
Spiritual beings obtained Unity by lack of bodily form;
The valleys obtained Unity by fulness;
All beings obtained Unity by life;
Princes and people obtained Unity by being under the rule of Heaven.
These all obtained permanence by Unity.
The innermost of Heaven is purity, if not so, it would be obscured;
The innermost of Earth is repose, it not so, it would disintegrate;
The innermost of spiritual beings is lack of bodily form, if not so, they would die;
The innermost of valleys is fulness of water, if not so, they would be sterile;
The innermost of creatures is life, if not so, they would perish.
The high honour of prince and people is in their being together under the rule of Inner Life, if not so, they would soon lose harmony,
The root of honour is in humility,
The standpoint of high estate is in lowliness.
That is why prince and people call themselves orphans, solitary men, chariots without wheels.
The active principle of their Unity is in lowliness.
Who can deny this?
If you take a chariot to pieces, you have no chariot (it has lost its Unity).
Do not desire to be isolated as a single gem, nor to be lost in a crowd as pebbles on the beach."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 39



"Of old, these attained the One: Heaven attaining the One Became clear.
Earth attaining the One Became stable.
Spirits attaining the One Became sacred.
Valleys attaining the One Became bountiful.
Myriad beings attaining the One Became fertile.
Lords and kings attaining the One Purified the world.
If Heaven were not clear, It might split.
If Earth were not stable, It might erupt.
If spirits were not sacred, They might fade.
If valleys were not bountiful, They might wither.
If myriad beings were not fertile, They might perish.
If rulers and lords were not noble, They might stumble.
Therefore, Noble has humble as its root, High has low as its foundation.
Rulers and lords call themselves Poor and lonely orphans.
Isn't this using humility as a root?
They use many carriages, But have no carriage;.
They do not desire to glisten like jade, But drop like a stone."
-  Translated by Stephen Addis, 1993, Chapter 39 




Further Teachings of Lao-Tzu: Understanding the Mysteries (Wen Tzu)   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






"Certain things have, by unity, lasted from most ancient times, namely:-
The transparency of Heaven;
The steadfastness of Earth;
The incorporeality of spirits;
The watery plenitude of valleys;
The life of all creations;
The government of kings and princes;
All these endure by unity.
But for the cause of its transparency Heaven would be in danger of obscuration.
But for the cause of its steadfastness the Earth would be in danger of disintegration.
But for the cause of their incorporeality spirits would be in danger of decease.
But for the cause of their plenitude the valleys would be in danger of sterility.
But for the cause of their vitality all creation would be in danger of destruction.
But for the cause of their honour and greatness princes and kings would be in danger of an overthrow.
Herein we see how honour is derived from that which is without distinction; and how greatness rests upon, and is sustained by, that which is insignificant.
Hence do princes and kings call themselves "orphans," "solitary men," and "chariots without wheels."
Do they not thereby acknowledge their authority to be vested in, and supported by, their superiors?
Who can deny it?
Surely "a chariot without wheels" is no chariot at all!
It is as hard for a man to be isolated like a single gem as to be lost in the crowd like a common pebble."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 39 



"Those of old that attain the One:
Heaven attains the One thus is clear,
Earth attains the One thus is peaceful,
Spirits attain the One thus are efficacious,
Valleys attain the One thus are replenished,
Ten thousand beings attain the One thus come to be,
Princes and barons attain the One thus are exalted in the world.
All because they attain the One.
Heaven, without that which renders it clear, might crack,
Earth, without that which renders it peaceful, might explode,
Spirits, without that which makes them efficacious, might cease,
Valleys, without that which replenishes them, might become empty,
Ten thousand beings, without that which sustains them in existence, might become extinct,
Barons and kings, without that which exalts them to high positions, might be toppled.
Therefore the exalted is rooted in the humble,
The high has the low for foundation.
Therefore barons and kings call themselves orphaned, widowed and unworthy.
Is this not taking the humble for one's root?
Is it not?
Therefore the most famous has no fame.
Do not tinkle like jade,
Or chime like stones!"
-  Translated by Ellen Marie Chen, 2000, Chapter 39 




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






"From of old the things that have acquired Unity are these:
Heaven by Unity has become clear;
Earth by Unity has become steady;
The Spirit by Unity has become spiritual;
The Valley by Unity has become full;
All things by Unity have come into existence;
Princes and kings by Unity have become rulers of the world.
If heaven were not clear, it would be rent.
If earth were not steady it would be tumbled down.
If the Spirit were not active, it would pass away.
If the Valley were not full, it would be dried up.
If all things were not existing, they would be extinct.
If princes and kings were not rulers, they would be overthrown.
The noble must be styled in terms of the humble;
The high must take the low as their foundation.
Therefore princes and kings must call themselves 'the ignorant', 'the virtueless' and 'the unworthy'.
Does this not mean that they take the humble as their root?
What men hate most are 'the ignorant', 'the virtueless' and 'the unworthy'.
And yet princes and kings chose them as their titles.
Therefore the highest fame is to have no fame.
Thus kings are increased by being diminished;
They are diminished by being increased.
It is undesirable to be as prominent as a single gem,
Or as monotonously numerous as stones."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 39 



These things in the past obtained the One:
The heavens obtained the One through clearness.
The earth obtained the One through stability.
The spirits obtained the One through supernatural powers.
The valley obtained the One through being filled.
The rulers obtained the One through acting in a way that brings everything in the world to a straight course.
It is said:
The heavens must not stop being clear or there would be anxiety that it would split apart.
The earth must not stop being stable or there would be anxiety that it would crumble.
The spirits must not stop having supernatural power or there would be anxiety that they would become impotent.
The valley must not stop being able to be filled or there would be anxiety that it will be glutted.
The rulers must not stop being valued for their high position or there would be anxiety that they would fall.
Some things must be valued, yet that is based on their devaluation.
Some things must be lofty, yet their foundation is built on what is below.
So, it’s only natural for rulers to speak about themselves as alone, isolated and “The One Without Grain”.
Is this how they devalue their own competency?
What a contradiction.
Therefore they cause their carriages to be counted while claiming they have none.
It is correct therefore for them not to want to shine like sparkling jade charms which attract attention.
Being hard and cold like a rock."
-  Translated by Nina Correa, 2005, Chapter 39 




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






"De las cosas antiguas no faltan las que alcanzaron la Unidad:
El Cielo alcanzó la Unidad y se hizo diáfano;
La Tierra alcanzó la Unidad y se volvió tranquila;
El Chi alcanzó la Unidad y se hizo poderoso;
Los manantiales alcanzaron la Unidad y quedaron colmados;
Los diez mil seres alcanzaron la Unidad y pudieron reproducirse;
Los reyes y príncipes alcanzaron la Unidad y se
convirtieron en gobernantes soberanos del mundo.
Todos ellos son lo que son en virtud de la Unidad.
Si el Cielo no fuera diáfano, estallaría en pedazos;
Si la Tierra no estuviera tranquila, se derrumbaría en fragmentos;
Si los manantiales no estuvieran colmados, se secarían;
Si el Chi no fuera poderoso, dejaría de existir;
Si los diez mil seres no pudieran reproducirse,
acabarían por extinguirse;
Si los reyes y príncipes no fueran los gobernantes soberanos, vacilarían y caerían sus imperios.
Por esto, lo humilde es la raíz de la nobleza.
Por sobre el pueblo se funda la aristocracia.
Es por esto por lo que reyes y príncipes se denominan a sí mismos
"El Desvalido", "El Ignorante" y "El Indigno".
Esto es porque ellos saben que dependen del humilde.
Por lo tanto, el honor máximo es de aquel que no lo pretende.
El Sabio no prefiere ser como el jade,
sino como el más vulgar guijarro."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capitulo 39



Desde antiguo, los seres que han alcanzado el Uno son:
El cielo por el Uno tuvo la claridad;
La tierra por el Uno tuvo la estabilidad;
El Espíritu por el Uno tuvo la actividad;
El Valle por el Uno tuvo la plenitud.
Por el Uno, todos los seres entraron en la existencia:
Si el cielo no fuese puro, podría desgarrarse.
Si la tierra no fuese estable, podría derrumbarse:
Si el Espíritu no fuese activo, dejaría de existir;
Si el Valle no fuese pleno, se consumiría. 
Sin la potencia creadora de vida, los seres se extinguirían. 
Se reyes y príncipes no fueran gobernantes podrían ser depuestos. 
El noble debe formarse en términos del humilde. 
El de alta posición debe considerar al inferíor como su fundamento. 
Por tanto, reyes y príncipes se llaman a sí mismos (el ignorante, el injusto, el indigno). 
No significa esto que toman al humilde como su origen? 
-  Translated from Chinese into English by Ch'u Ta-Kao, Translated from English into Spanish by Caridad Diaz Faes, Capitulo 39 







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Previous Chapter of the Tao Te Ching #38

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching 





Tao Te Ching
Commentary, Interpretations, Research Tools, Resources
Chapter 39


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

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 39 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 

Das Tao Te King von Lao Tse  The largest collection of very nicely formatted complete versions of the Tao Te Ching.  The collection includes 209 complete versions in 27 languages, plus 28 Chinese versions.  There are 112 English language versions of the Tao Te Ching available at this website.  A variety of search methods and comparison methods are provided, as well a a detailed index

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 39, 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, 2011-2014. 
Indexed and Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo


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This webpage was last modified or updated on October 26, 2014. 
This webpage was first distributed online on April 16, 2011. 


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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


One Old 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



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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

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