Chapter 41

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 41

Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) by Lao Tzu


English and Chinese (Wade-Giles) Terms:  Sameness and Difference, Hearing of the Tao, Hear or Listen (wên), Dao, Laughing, Opposites, Contraries, Hidden and Nameless Tao, Reason, Appearances, Hidden, Mysterious, Contradictions, Non-Rational, Power, Purity, Steadfast, Laughs or Ridicules (hsiao), Completion, Dark or Obscure (mei), Scholar or Student (shih), Superior or Supreme (shang), Sage, Sustain, Straight or Level (yi), Goodness, Established or Solid (chien), Complete or Finish (ch'êng), Bright or Luminous (ming), Empty, Full, Retreat (t'ui), Virtue, Practice or Action (hsing), Learning, Understanding, Process, Middle or Center (chung), Cycle, Imperfect, Great or Perfect (ta), Vessel or Tool (ch'i), Large or Broad (kuang), Flawed, Inferior or Low (hsia), Incomplete, Highest or Supreme (shang), Complete or Fulfill (ch'êng), Diligent or Attentive (ch'in), Perfection, Hidden or Concealed (yin), Real or True (chên), Complex, Saying or Maxim (yen), Tao, Preserve or Retain (ts'un), Humor, Act or Make (wei), White (pai), Fulfillment, Loose or Doubt (wang), Rugged or Rough (lei), Ravine or Chasm (ku), Unsteady or Frail (t'ou), Changing or Uncertain (), Advance or Progress (chin), Sullied or Tarnished (ju), Enough or Sufficient (tsu), Faint or Hushed or Tone (shêng), Substantial or Real or Genuine (chih), Square (fang), Music or Sound (yin), Corners or Boundaries (), Form or Image (hsiang), Shape or Body (hsing), Exact or Alone (wei), Good or Excellent (shan), Give or Bestow (tai),   同異 

Términos en Español: Iqualdad y Diferencia,
Reírse, Opuestos, Contrarios, Oculto, Sin Nombre, Razón, Apariciones, Misterioso, Contradicciones, Poder, Pureza, Firme, Finalización, Académico, Estudiante, Sabio, Sage, Sostener, Bondad, Vacío, Lleno, Virtud, Aprendizaje, Comprensión, Proceso, Ciclo, Imperfecto, Defectuoso, Incompleto, Perfección, Comlejo, Humor, Cumplimiento, Superior, Supremo, Escucha, Diligente, Atento, Oscuro, Retiro, Práctica, Acción, Media, Alta, Centro, Retener, Duda, Inferior, Bajo, Ríe, Hacer, Decir, Maxim, Brillante, Luminoso, Progreso, Recto, Nivel, Rugoso, Áspero, Barranco, Abismo, Grande, Blanco, Mancillado, Empañnado, Amplia, Suficiente, Establecido, Sólido, Iestable, Frágil, Sustancial, Genuino, Verdadero, Cambiante, Incierto, Cuadrado, Esquinas, Límites, Embarcación, Herramienta, Completo, Acabado, Música, Sonido, Callada, Tono, Forma, Imagen, Oculto, Exacta, Solo, Bueno, Excelente, Dar, Cumplir, Blanco. 




"When wise students hear about the Dao,
they follow it with care.
When ordinary students hear about the Dao,
they sometimes believe in it, and sometimes doubt.
When foolish students hear about the Dao,
they laugh at it out loud.
If they did not laugh at it, it would not be the Dao.
There are these age-old sayings:
the brightest way seems dark;
the way forward seems like retreat;
the way that is smooth seems to be rough;
the highest goodness seems quite empty;
the purest whiteness seems to be soiled;
the vastest goodness seems insufficient;
the staunchest goodness seems to be frail;
the most solid reality seems to change.
The greatest square has no corners;
the greatest talents ripen late;
the greatest music has no sound;
the greatest images have no form.
The Dao is hidden, beyond all name;
and yet it is the Dao that nourishes and fulfils all things."
-  Translated by Tom Chilcott, 2005, Chapter 41



"When a superior scholar hears of Reason he endeavors to practise it.
When an average scholar hears of Reason he will sometimes keep it and sometimes lose it.
When an inferior scholar hears of Reason he will greatly ridicule it.
Were it not thus ridiculed, it would as Reason be insufficient.
Therefore the poet says:
"The Reason--enlightened seem dark and black,
The Reason--advanced seem going back,
The Reason--straight-levelled seem rugged and slack.
"The high in virtue resemble a vale,
The purely white in shame must quail,
The staunchest virtue seems to fail.
"The solidest virtue seems not alert,
The purest chastity seems pervert,
The greatest square will rightness desert.
"The largest vessel is not yet complete,
The loudest sound is not speech replete,
The greatest form has no shape concrete."
Reason so long as it remains latent is unnamable.
Yet Reason alone is good for imparting and completing."
-  Translated by D.T. Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 41



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 a superior man hears of the Tao,
he immediately begins to embody it.
When an average man hears of the Tao,
he half believes it, half doubts it.
When a foolish man hears of the Tao,
he laughs out loud.
If he didn't laugh,
it wouldn't be the Tao.
Thus it is said:
The path into the light seems dark,
the path forward seems to go back,
the direct path seems long,
true power seems weak,
true purity seems tarnished,
true steadfastness seems changeable,
true clarity seems obscure,
the greatest are seems unsophisticated,
the greatest love seems indifferent,
the greatest wisdom seems childish.
The Tao is nowhere to be found.
Yet it nourishes and completes all things."
-  Translated by Stephen Mitchell, 1988, Chapter 41 



Cloud Hands Blog



"When the lofty hear of Way
they devote themselves.
When the common hear of Way
they wonder if it's real or not.
And when the lowly hear of Way
they laugh out loud.
Without that laughter, it wouldn't be Way.
Hence the abiding proverbs:
Luminous Way seems dark.
Advancing Way seems retreating.
Formless Way seems manifold.
High Integrity seems low-lying.
Great whiteness seems tarnished.
Abounding Integrity seems lacking.
Abiding Integrity seems missing.
True essence seems protean.
The great square has no corners,
and the great implement completes nothing.
The great voice sounds faint,
and the great image has no shape.
Way remains hidden and nameless,
but it alone nourishes and brings to completion."
-  Translated by David Hinton, Chapter 41 




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






"Scholars of the highest class, when they hear about the Tao, earnestly carry it into practice.
Scholars of the middle class, when they have heard about it, seem now to keep it and now to lose it.
Scholars of the lowest class, when they have heard about it, laugh greatly at it.
If it were not laughed at, it would not be fit to be the Tao.
Therefore the sentence-makers have thus expressed themselves:
'The Tao, when brightest seen, seems light to lack;
Who progress in it makes, seems drawing back;
Its even way is like a rugged track.
Its highest virtue from the vale doth rise;
Its greatest beauty seems to offend the eyes;
And he has most whose lot the least supplies.
Its firmest virtue seems but poor and low;
Its solid truth seems change to undergo;
Its largest square doth yet no corner show
A vessel great, it is the slowest made;
Loud is its sound, but never word it said;
A semblance great, the shadow of a shade.'
The Tao is hidden, and has no name; but it is the Tao which is skilful at imparting
to all things what they need and making them complete."
-  Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 41 



上士聞道, 勤而行之.
中士聞道, 若存若亡, 下士聞道, 大笑之. 
故建言有之, 明道若昧.

夫唯道, 善貸且成. 
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 41



shang shih wên tao, ch'in erh hsing chih.
chung shih wén tao, jo ts'un jo wang, hsia shih wên tao, ta hsiao chih.
pu hsiao pu tsu yi wei tao.
ku chien yen chê chih.
ming tao jo mei.
chin tao.
jo t'ui yi tao jo lei.
shang tê jo ku.
ta pai jo ju.
kuang tê jo pu tsu.
chien tê jo t'ou.
chih chên jo yü.
ta fang wu yü.  
ta ch'i wan ch'eng.
ta yin hsi shêng.
ta hsiang wu hsing.
tao yin wu ming.
fu wei tao shan tai ch'ieh ch'êng.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 41 


Audio Version in Chinese of Chapter 41 of the Tao Te Ching


shang shi wen dao, qin er xing zhi.
zhong shi wen dao, ruo cun ruo wang, xia shi wen dao, da xiao zhi.
bu xiao bu zu yi wei dao. 
gu jian yan che zhi. 
ming dao ruo mei.
jin dao.
ruo tui yi dao ruo lei.
shang de ruo gu.
da bai ruo ru. 
guang de ruo bu zu.
jian de ruo tou. 
zhi zhen ruo yu.
da fang wu yu. 
da qi wan cheng. 
da yin xi sheng. 
da xiang wu xing.
dao yin wu ming. 
fu wei dao shan dai qie cheng.
-  Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 41 





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. 



"Men of stamina, knowing the way of life,
Steadily keep to it;
Unstable men, knowing the way of life,
Keep to it or not according to occasion;
Stupid men, knowing the way of life
And having once laughed at it, laugh again the louder.
If you need to be sure which way is right, you can tell by their laughing at it.
They fling the old charges:
'A wick without oil,'
'For every step forward a step or two back.'
To such laughers a level road looks steep,
Top seems bottom,
'White appears black,
'Enough is a lack,'
Endurance is a weakness,
Simplicity a faded flower.
But eternity is his who goes straight round the circle,
Foundation is his who can feel beyond touch,
Harmony is his who can hear beyond sound,
Pattern is his who can see beyond shape:
Life is his who can tell beyond words
Fulfillment of the unfulfilled."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 41 




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






"When the best shih hears Tao, he puts out great effort to practice it.
When the average shih hears Tao, he will keep it sometimes, and sometimes forget about it.
When the poorest shih hears Tao, he just has a big laugh."
If he does not laugh, it must not quite be Tao.
Yes, the 'Well-Founded Sayings' has it: The bright Tao seems dark the Tao going forward seems to be going backward the smooth Tao seems rough.
The loftiest Te seems like a valley great purity seems sullied abundant Te seems insufficient
Well-founded Te seems flimsy what is pure and natural seems faded the best square has no corners
A great bronze takes long to finish great music has a delicate sound the Great Image has no shape.
Tao is something concealed, nameless.
It is just Tao, good at sustaining a person and completing him."
-  Translated by Michael LaFargue, 1992, Chapter 41 



"When the highest type of men hear the Tao (truth),
   they try hard to live in accordance with it.
When the mediocre type hear the Tao,
   they seem to be aware and yet unaware of it.
When the lowest type hear the Tao,
   They break into loud laughter -
   If it were not laughed at, it would not be Tao.

Therefore there is the established saying:
   "Who understands Tao seems dull of comprehension;
   Who is advance in Tao seems to slip backwards;
   Who moves on the even Tao (Path) seems to go up and down."

Superior character appears like a hollow (valley);
Sheer white appears like tarnished;
Great character appears like infirm;
Pure worth appears like contaminated.
   Great space has no corners;
   Great talent takes long to mature;
   Great music is faintly heard;
   Great form has no contour;
   And Tao is hidden without a name.
It is this Tao that is adept at lending (its power)
   and bringing fulfillment."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 41


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




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





"When seers see their nothingness
They never let it out of sight
But others see it now and then
And miss out on its true delight
Still others only laugh it off
And look at it with ridicule
It wouldn't be the real truth
If it weren't laughed at by the fool
The brightest way seems darkness
Just going on seems like retreat
The simple way seems difficult
Capacity seems like defeat
Clarity can seem obscure
And love seem not to care
Totality seems not enough
And truth can seem to err
Awareness doesn't have a name
To all appearances is null
Yet it produces everything
And so this empty place is full." 
-  Translated by Jim Clatfelter, 2000, Chapter 41 



"When the man of highest capacities hears Tao
He does his best to put it into practice.
When the man of middling capacity hears Tao
He is in two minds about it.
When the man of low capacity hears Tao
He laughs loudly at it.
If he did not laugh, it would not be worth the name of Tao.
Therefore the proverb has it:
“The way out into the light often looks dark,
The way that goes ahead often looks as if it went back.”
The way that is least hilly often looks as if it went up and down,
The “power” that is really loftiest looks like an abyss,
What is sheerest white looks blurred.
The “power” that is most sufficing looks inadequate,
The “power” that stands firmest looks flimsy.
What is in its natural, pure state looks faded;
The largest square has no corners,
The greatest vessel takes the longest to finish,
Great music has the faintest notes,
The Great From is without shape.
For Tao is hidden and nameless.
Yet Tao alone supports all things and brings them to fulfillment."
-  Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 41




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






"When superior people hear of the Way, they carry it out with diligence.
When middling people hear of the way, it sometimes seems to be there, sometimes not.
When lesser people hear of the Way, they ridicule it greatly.
If they didn't laugh at it, it wouldn't be the Way.
So there are constructive sayings on this: The Way of illumination seems dark, the Way of advancement seems retiring, the Way of equality seems to categorize; higher virtue seems empty, greater purity seems ignominious, broad virtue seems insufficient,
constructive virtue seems careless.
Simple honesty seems changeable, great range has no boundaries, great vessels are finished late; the great sound has a rarefied tone, the great image has no form, the Way hides in namelessness.
Only the Way can enhance and perfect."
-  Translated by Thomas Cleary, 1991, Chapter 41 



"When a superior person hears of the Tao,
She diligently puts it into practice.
When an average person hears of the Tao,
he believes half of it, and doubts the other half.
When a foolish person hears of the Tao,
he laughs out loud at the very idea.
If he didn't laugh,
it wouldn't be the Tao.

Thus it is said:
The brightness of the Tao seems like darkness,
the advancement of the Tao seems like retreat,
the level path seems rough,
the superior path seem empty,
the pure seems to be tarnished,
and true virtue doesn't seem to be enough.
The virtue of caution seems like cowardice,
the pure seems to be polluted,
the true square seems to have no corners,
the best vessels take the most time to finish,
the greatest sounds cannot be heard,
and the greatest image has no form.

The Tao hides in the unnamed,
Yet it alone nourishes and completes all things."
-  Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 41  




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  






"When great scholars heard of Tao, they diligently followed it.
When mediocre scholars heard of Tao, sometimes they kept it, sometimes they lost it.
When inferior scholars heard of Tao, they laughed at it.
Whether they laugh or whether they follow, Tao remains active.
Therefore the poets have said:
Brightness of Tao seems to be dark,
Progress in Tao seems going back,
The aim of Tao seems confused.
The highest Tao seems lowliest,
Great purity seems full of shame,
The fullest Teh seems incomplete.
Teachers of Teh have lost their zeal
And certain Truth appears to change.
A great square with inner angles,
A great vase unfinished,
A great voice never heard,
A great Image with inner form.
Tao is hid within its Name,
But by Tao the Masters bless,
And all things bring to perfectness."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 41



"The best students, learning of the Tao, set to work earnestly to practice the Way.
Mediocre students now cherish it, now let it go.
The worst students mock at it.
Were it not thus mocked, it were unworthy to be Tao.

Thus spake the makers of Saws: the Tao at its brightest is obscure.
Who advanceth in that Way, retireth.
Its smooth Way is rough.
Its summit is a valley.
Its beauty is ugliness.
Its wealth is poverty.
Its virtue, vice.
Its stability is change.
Its form is without form.
Its fullness is vacancy.
Its utterance is silence.
Its reality is illusion.

Nameless and imperceptible is the Tao; but it informeth and perfecteth
all things."
-  Translated by Aleister Crowley, 1918, Chapter 41 




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






"Scholars of the highest type, who hear about the Tao,

Practice it with diligence unceasing;

Scholars of the middle sort, when they have heard of it,

May keep it, or may find its hold releasing;

But scholars of the lowest class, who hear about the Tao,

Laugh with laughter constantly increasing;

Were they not to laugh at it, the the lowest class of men,

Its fitness as the Tao would soon be ceasing.

And so the sentence-makers have spoken of it so,

The Tao when at its brightest, only darkness seems to show,

The most advanced who follow it, appear to backward go.

The even path they travel is a rugged sort of trail,

The highest virtue that they find is like a sunken vale,

The purity they boast about, disgraceful is and stale.

The broadest virtue is a thing they somehow seem to lose,

The firmest virtue that they hold is like a poor refuse,

 And changeable and fickle is the rectitude they use.

Their greatest square is grown so great no corners can it show,

Their vessels are so huge they never have the time to grow,

Their voices are so very loud they cannot make a sound,

And the forms that they produce so vast that shape is never found. 

Tis true the Tao is hidden; that it is nameless here;

But for giving and imparting, and for making all things clear,

And for making them complete, it is the Tao without a peer."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 41 






"When the best seeker hears of Tao he strives with great effort to know it
When an average seeker hears of Tao he thinks of it now and again
When the poorest seeker hears of Tao he laughs out loud
Tao is always becoming what we have need for it to become
If it could not do this it would not be Tao
There is an old saying,
The clear way seems clouded
The straight way seems crooked
The sure way seems unsteady
The greatest power seems weak
The purest white seems tainted
The abundant seems empty
The stable seems shaky
The certain seems false
The Great Square has no corners
The Great Vessel is never filled
A beginner may be clumsy but after practice ?what talent!
A large drum may sit silently but when banged ?what noise!
Tao lies hidden yet it alone is the glorious light of this world"
-  Translated by Johathan Star, 2001, Chapter 41 




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






"The true student hears of the Tao; he is diligent and practices it.
The average student hear of it; sometimes he appears to be attentive, then again he is inattentive.
The half hearted student hears of it; he loudly derides it.
If it did not provoke ridicule it would not be worthy of the name Tao.
Again there are those whose only care is phraseology.
The brilliancy of the Tao is an obscurity;
the advance of the Tao is a retreat;
the equality of the Tao is an inequality;
the higher energy is as cosmic space;
the greatest purity is as uncleanness;
the widest virtue is as if insufficient;
established virtue is as if furtive;
the truest essence is as imperfection;
the most perfect square is cornerless;
the largest vessel is last completed;
the loudest sound has fewest tones;
the grandest conception is formless.
The Tao is concealed and nameless,
yet it is the Tao alone which excels in imparting and completing."
-  Translated by C. Spurgeon Medhurst, 1905, Chapter 41 



"The wise student hears of the Tao and practices it diligently.
The average student hears of the Tao and gives it thought now and again.
The foolish student hears of the Tao and laughs aloud.
If there were no laughter, the Tao would not be what it is.
Hence it is said:
The bright path seems dim;
Going forward seems like retreat;
The easy way seems hard;
The highest Virtue seems empty;
Great purity seems sullied;
A wealth of Virtue seems inadequate;
The strength of Virtue seems frail;
Real Virtue seems unreal;
The perfect square has no corners;
Great talents ripen late;
The highest notes are hard to hear;
The greatest form has no shape;
The Tao is hidden and without name.
The Tao alone nourishes and brings everything to fulfillment."
-  Translated by Gai-fu Feng and Jane Enlish, 1989, Chapter 41 




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





"Los estudiantes sabios escuchan al Tao
y lo practican diligentemente.
Los estudiantes mediocres escuchan al Tao
y lo abandonan una y otra vez.
Los estudiantes vulgares escuchan al Tao
y se ríen de él.
Si gente como esa no se riera,
el Tao no sería lo que es.
En consecuencia se dice que:
El pasado brillante parece empañado.
Progresar parece retroceder.
El modo fácil parece arduo.
La mayor Virtud parece vacía.
La gran pureza parece sombría.
La Virtud más sana parece inadecuada.
La fuerza de la Virtud parece frágil.
La Virtud real parece irreal.
El perfecto cuadrado parece sin ángulos.
Los grandes talentos maduran tarde.
Las notas más agudas son difíciles de oír.
Las más grandes formas no tienen forma.
El Tao es oculto y sin nombre.
Sólo el Tao alimenta y
logra que todo se realice."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capitulo 41



"La persona sabia, al llegar a saber sobre Tao, se esfuerza por alcanzar la autorealización en Tao.
Pero aquel que no es sabio, al llegar a saber sobre Tao,
     por momentos Lo mantiene en su mente, por momentos Lo pierde.
Los tontos, en cambio, al oír sobre Tao, Lo ridiculizan y llaman a Aquellos Que han conocido a Tao dementes,
     extraviados... La sabiduría les parece una locura; la justicia suprema, un vicio;
     la impecabilidad, un depravación y la gran verdad, una mentira...
Si, el gran cuadrado no tiene ángulos y no es posible oír el gran sonido y no es posible ver la gan imagen.
Tao está oculto a sus miradas y lleva a la Perfección sólo a los dignos!"
-  Translated by Anton Teplyy, 2008, Capitulo 41





Lao Tzu, Lao Zi



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Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching 





Tao Te Ching
Commentary, Interpretations, Research Tools, Resources
Chapter 41


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. 

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.  Offline on January 30, 2014. 

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 41 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 

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 41, 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 24, 2014. 
This webpage was first distributed online on April 22, 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


Comments, Feedback, Kudos, Suggestions

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