Chapter 57

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 57

Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) by Lao Tzu



Leadership, Warfare, Simplification, Genuine Influence, Doing Nothing, Peace, Fewer Laws, Reform, Chaos, Rules,
Poverty, Weapons, Taxes, Freedom, Less Government, Self-Rule, Restraint, Quietude, Wu Wei, Simplicity, Thieves,
Good, Tranquil, Serene, Reserved, Unnecessary Cleverness and Desires, Sage, Habits of Simplicity,  淳風    



"Rule a kingdom by the Normal.
Fight a battle by (abnormal) tactics of surprise.
Win the world by doing nothing.
How do I know it is so?
Through this:
The more prohibitions there are,
The poorer the people become.
The more sharp weapons there are,
The greater the chaos in the state.
The more skills of technique,
The more cunning things are produced.
The greater the number of statutes,
The greater the number of thieves and brigands.
Therefore the sage says:
I do nothing and the people are reformed of themselves.
I love quietude and the people are righteous of themselves.
I deal in no business and the people grow rich by themselves.
I have no desires and the people are simple
and honest by themselves."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, Chapter 57 



"Rule a nation with justice.
Wage war with deception.
Become ruler of the world with peace.
How do I know that this is so?
Because of these.
The more laws and restrictions,
the poorer people become.
The sharper men's weapons,
the more trouble in the land.
The more ingenious and clever men,
the more strange things happen.
The more rules and regulations,
the more thieves and robbers.
Therefore, the sage says: I Wu-Wei,
people will rule themselves.
I enjoy peace and people become honest.
I do nothing special such as tax and war and people become rich.
I have no unjust desires for concubines or conquering. 
People return to the good and simple life."
-  Translated by Tienzen Gong, Chapter 57 




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. 






"Govern a state by (i) the normal (cheng);
Conduct warfare as (i) the abnormal (ch'i);
Take the empire when (i) there is no business.
How do I know such should be the case?
By the following:
In an empire with many prohibitions,
People are often poor;
When people have many sharp weapons,
The state is in great darkness (tzu hun);
When persons abound in ingenuity (ch'iao),
Abnormal (ch'i) objects multiply (tzu ch'i);
When laws are abundantly promulgated (tzu chang),
There are many thieves and brigands.
Therefore the sage says:
I do not act (wei),
Hence the people transform by themselves (tzu-hua);
I love tranquillity (ching),
Hence the people are normal by themselves (tzu-cheng);
I have no business,
Hence the people grow rich by themselves;
I have no desire,
Hence the people are like the uncarved wood by themselves (tzu-p'u)."
-  Translated by Ellen M. Chen, Chapter 57 



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"Rule by what is right.
Wage war by clever strategy.
Win the world by being passive.
How do I know?
By this: more restrictions mean weaker people;
more weapons mean a troubled state;
more cunning means many surprises;
more laws mean violators.
Therefore be passive and the people will be peaceful;
be serene and the people will be pricipled;
be reserved and the people will be wealthy;
be selfless and the people will be simple and serene."
-  Translated by Frank Machovec, Chapter 57 




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






"Honesty governs the empire Cleverness overcomes without weapons Wisdom prevails through non-action.
How do I know this? Because this is how it is:
The more administrations and prohibitions there are the more force and poverty.
The more force and weapons there are the more unrest and resistance.
The more cunning and calculation there are the more craftiness and setbacks.
The more orders are given the more foes of order there are.
Hence the Sage speaks:
I practice non-action and the people do what is right of themselves.
I practice silence and the people calm down.
I practice non-interference and the people attain prosperity.
I practice gentleness and patience and the people attain harmony and simplicity."
-  Translated by Schmidt, Chapter 57 



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"Albeit one governs the country by rectitude,
And carries on wars by strategems,
Yet one must rule the empire by meddling with no business.
The empire can always be ruled by meddling with no business.
Otherwise, it can never be done.
How do I know this is so?
By this:
The more restrictions and avoidances are in the empire,
The poorer become the people;
The more sharp implements the people keep,
The more confusions are in the country;
The more arts and crafts men have,
The more are fantastic things produced;
The more laws and regulations are given,
The more robbers and thieves there are.
Therefore the Sage says;
Inasmuch as I betake myself to non-action, the people of themselves become developed.
Inasmuch as I love quietude, the people of themselves become righteous.
Inasmuch as I make no fuss, the people of themselves become wealthy.
Inasmuch as I am free from desire, the people of themselves remain simple."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 57




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





"A realm is governed by ordinary acts,
A battle is governed by extraordinary acts;
The world is governed by no acts at all.
And how do I know?
This is how I know.
Act after act prohibits
Everything but poverty,
Weapon after weapon conquers
Everything but chaos,
Business after business provides
A craze of waste,
Law after law breeds
A multitude of thieves.
Therefore a sensible man says:
If I keep from meddling with people, they take care of themselves,
If I keep from commanding people, they behave themselves,
If I keep from preaching at people, they improve themselves,
If I keep from imposing on people, they become themselves."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, Chapter 57




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






"By uprightness, govern the kingdom.
By rarely using soldiers
And by means of non-administration
Take the world.
By what means do I know this to be so?
By this:
The world greatly shuns and avoids the poor
And the people remain completely impoverished.
The people greatly sharpen weapons
And the kingdom and households grow dark.
The people become excessively crafty and clever
And strange things start to happen.
Laws and directives are increasingly promulgated
And thus more robbers and thieves exist.
Therefore do the sages say:
I do not administer, and the people change themselves.
I am pleased with stillness, and the people correct themselves.
I do not meddle in their affairs, and the people grow rich by themselves.
I do not desire, and the people simplify themselves."
-  Translated by Aalar Fex, Chapter 57  




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






"Lead by not leading.
Do not script laws and concepts.
Rid yourself of weapons and fears.
Let go of desire and stop valuing items.
Your belly will be full and the grass will be green."
-  Translated by Ray Larose, Chapter 57 




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

The Tao of Zen by Ray Grigg

Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons

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  

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices






"To govern a kingdom, use righteousness.
To conduct a war, use strategy.
To be a true world-ruler, be occupied with Inner Life.
How do I know this is so?
By this:
The more restrictive the laws, the poorer the people.
The more machinery used, the more trouble in the kingdom.
The more clever and skilful the people, the more do they make artificial things.
The more the laws are in evidence, the more do thieves and robbers abound.
That is why the self-controlled man says:
If I act from Inner Life the people will become transformed in themselves.
If I love stillness the people will become righteous in themselves.
If I am occupied with Inner Life the people will become enriched in themselves.
If I love the Inner Life the people will become pure in themselves."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 57




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






"Let the upright rule the state,

And the crafty the army lead,

But the realm can only be made one' s own

When from active scheming freed.


How do I know this is so?

By facts that are open to all,

As you multiply prohibitive laws

The people into poverty fall.


You increase disorder as well,

When you increase the weapons of war,

And the more and more artful and cunning men grow,

The more and more crafty contrivance they show,

And the more laws and more thieves there are.


Said the sage, I do nothing, and men

Of themselves transformed will be,

I love to keep still, they have uprightness,

I do no scheming, and wealth they possess,

I have no ambition, and plain-mindedness

Will come spontaneously."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 57 




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 righteous man may rule the nation.
The strategic man may rule the army.
But the man who refrains from active measures should be the king.
How do I know this?
When the actions of the people are controlled by prohibited laws, the country becomes more and more impoverished.
When the people are allowed the free use of arms, the Government is in danger.
The more crafty and dexterous the people become, the more do artificial things come into use.
And when those cunning arts are publicly esteemed, then do rogues prosper.
Therefore the wise man says:-
I will design nothing: and the people will shape themselves.
I will keep quiet; and the people will find their rest.
I will not assert myself; and the people will come forth.
I will discountenance ambition; and the people will revert to their natural simplicity."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 57 







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Previous Chapter of the Tao Te Ching #56

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching 





Tao Te Ching
Commentary, Interpretations, Research Tools, Resources
Chapter 57


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 reference tool! 

Yellow Bridge Dao De Jing Comparison Table, Chapter 57   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 commentary on each Chapter. 

The Complete Works of Lao Tzu: Tao Teh Ching & Hua Hu Ching  Translation and elucidation by Hua Ching Ni.

Tao Te Ching Commentaries - Google Search 

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

Tao Te Ching: A Bibliography and Index of Translations on the Web

Chapter 57 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.  Offline as of 25 May 2013. 

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 57, 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 by
Michael P. Garofalo

Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Grove, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California

This webpage was last modified or updated on October 23, 2013. 
This webpage was first distributed online on February 2, 2011.


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Ripening Peaches: Daoist Studies and Practices

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

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Index to Cloud Hands and Valley Spirit Websites


Gushen Grove Notebooks for the Tao Te Ching 



Index to Translators of the Tao Te Ching

Thematic Index 1-81  

Chapter Index 1-81    

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