Chapter 58

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 58

Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) by Lao Tzu



Transformations According to Circumstances, Sages, Good and Bad, Effortless, Self-Regulating, Good Government, State, Law, Sage, Less Government, Facilitate, Adaptation to Change, Liberal Government, Wise Leader, Modeling, Kindness, Cutting, Process, Happiness, Facilitating, Non-Harming, Hiding One's Light, Justice, Peace, Honest, Straightforward, Direct, Illuminate, Bright, Dazzle, Goodness, Evil, Rectitude, Just, Upright, Enlightened, Fair, Candor, Kindness,  順化   



"When the ruler looks repressed the people will be happy and satisfied;
When the rule looks lively and self-assured the people will be carping and discontented.
“It is upon bad fortune that good fortune leans, upon good fortune that bad fortune rests.”
But though few know it, there is a bourn where there is neither right nor wrong;
In a realm where every straight is doubled by a crooked,
And every good by an ill, surely mankind has gone long enough astray?
Therefore the Sage
Squares without cutting,
Shapes the corners without lopping,
Straightens without stretching,
Gives forth light without shining."  
-  Translated by Arthur Waley, Chapter 58  



"Group process evolves naturally.
It is self-regulating.
Do not interfere.
It will work itself out.
Efforts to control process usually fail.
Either they block process or make it chaotic.
Learn to trust what is happening.
If there is silence, let it grow; something will emerge.
If there is a storm, let it rage, it will resolve into calm.
Is the group discontented?
You can't make it happy.
Even if you could, your efforts might well deprive the group of a very creative struggle.
The wise leader knows how to facilitate the unfolding group process, because the leader is also a process.
The group's process and the leader's process unfold in the same way, according to the same principle.
The leader knows how to have a profound influence without making things happen.
For example, facilitating what is happening is more potent than pushing for what you wish were happening.
Demonstrating or modeling behaviour is more potent than imposing morality.
Unbiased positions are stronger than prejudice.
Radiance encourages people, but outshining everyone else inhibits them."
-  Translated by John Heider, Chapter 58 




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 the government is unobtrusive, the people will be simple and honest.
When the government is dictatorial, the people will be seized with panic.
Fortune depends on misfortune.
Misfortune is hidden in fortune.
He who knows how to stay within the limits will not have misfortune.
Correctness will lead to deceit.
Good will lead to evil.
Nothing can remain always the same.
People have been confused by this since ancient times.
That is why the sage
behaves correctly without hurting others,
behaves honestly without damaging others,
behaves straightforwardly without vilifying others,
behaves brightly without dazzling others."
-  Translated by Chao-Hsiu Chen, Chapter 58  



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"When the government (cheng) is dull,
Its people are wholesome;
When the government is efficient (ch'a),
Its people are deficient (ch'üeh).
Calamities (huo) are what blessings depend on,
In blessings are latent calamities (huo).
Who knows where is the turning point (chi)?
Because there is no longer the normal (cheng),
The normal reverts and appears as the strange (ch'i),
The good reverts and appears as the uncanny.
Rulers (jen) have lost their way,
For a long stretch of days.
Therefore the sage is square but not cutting (ko),
Sharp but not injurious,
Straight but not overreaching,
Bright (kuang) but not dazzling."
-  Translated by Ellen M. Chen, Chapter 58 




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






"When the government is dull,
The people are simple.
When the government is keen,
The people are discontented.
Bad fortune is what good fortune leans on;
Good fortune is where bad fortune lurks.
Who knows the fortune's end?
There is nothing straight.
What is straight turns monstrous.
What is beautiful turns grotesque.
Man has been deluded
From time immemorial.
Therefore the sage
Is square without cutting;
Honest without scraping;
Straight without overbearing;
Bright without dazzling."
-  Translated by Ha Poong Kim, Chapter 58 



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"When the government is blunt and inactive the people will be happy and prosperous;
When the government is discriminative, the people will be dissatisfied and restless.
It is upon misery that happiness rests;
It is under happiness that misery lies.
Who then can know the supremacy (good government)?
Only when the government does no rectifying.
Otherwise the rectitude will again become stratagem,
And good become evil.
Men have been ignorant of this, since long ago.
Therefore the Sage is square but does not cut others;
He is angled but does not chip others;
He is straight but does not stretch others;
His is bright but does not dazzle others."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 58 




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






"The government that exerciseth the least care serveth the people best;
that which meddleth with everybody's business worketh all manner of harm.
Sorrow and joy are bedfellows; who can divine the final result of either?
Shall we avoid restriction?
Yea; restriction distorteth nature, so that even what seemeth good in it is evil.
For how long have men suffered from misunderstanding of this.
The wise man is foursquare, and avoideth aggression; his corners do not
injure others.
He moveth in a straight line and turneth not aside therefrom;
he is brilliant but doth not blind with his brightness."
-  Translated by Aleister Crowley, Chapter 58 



"If a government is unobtrusive,
the people become whole.
If a government is repressive,
the people become treacherous.

Good fortune has its roots in disaster,
and disaster lurks with good fortune.
Who knows why these things happen,
or when this cycle will end?
Good things seem to change into bad,
and bad things often turn out for good.
These things have always been hard to comprehend.

Thus the Master makes things change
without interfering.
She is probing yet causes no harm.
Straightforward, yet does not impose her will.
Radiant, and easy on the eye."
-  Translated by J. H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 58 




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






"When the governor is magnanimous,
The people will become simple;
When the governor is harsh,
The people will become cunning.
Disaster hides itself behind good fortune;
Good fortune leans against disaster.
Who knows the secret?
There is no definite answer.
The normal changes into the abnormal;
The good changes into the evil.
People have been long perplexed.
Thus the sage is square and upright
But does not wound the people;
He is edged but does not cut the people;
He is candid but does not behave wantonly;
He gives light but does not dazzle."
-  Translated by Gu Zhengkun, Chapter 58 




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 a nation is ruled
with a light touch,
people lead simple lives.
When a government
is harsh and demanding,
people will spend their time
trying to outsmart it.
Happiness is rooted in misery,
and misery lurks beneath all joy.
Who knows what could happen tomorrow?
Everything is relative;
what's considered proper today
may become improper.
Correct appearances
may hide dishonesty and sinfulness.
No wonder so many people get confused.
The Masters have sharp minds,
not sharp tongues.
They are austere,
but never judgmental.
They are straightforward,
but not provocative.
They are brilliant,
but not flashy."
-  Translated by Ron Hogan, Chapter 58  




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






"If the government is from the heart the people will be richer and richer.
If the government is full of restrictions the people will be poorer and poorer.
Miserable! you rely on coming happiness.
Happy! you crouch under dread of coming misery.
You may know the end from the beginning.
If a ruler is in line with Inner Life his strategy will come right, his bad luck will become good,
and the people will be astonished.
Things have been so for a long time.
That is why the self-controlled man is just and hurts no one, is true and takes no license;
he shines, and offends not by his brightness."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 58 




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






"With a government of liberality

The people all enjoy prosperity,

When government has keen and prying eyes,

Then poverty and misery arise.


For happiness, alas! but only hides

The place behind where misery abides,

And misery ever leans on happiness;

Who knows its end? or is it limitless?


When uprightness in turn appears as strange,

Then goodness, too, to strangeness soon will change,

Confusion of mankind! its day of wrong!

Assuredly it has continued long.


Therefore, the sage is square, hut injures none,

Is angular, but hurt has never done,

Is strict, yet no restriction undertakes,

And dazzles not while he illuminates."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 58     




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






"A free and generous government gives the people a chance to develop.
When a government is rigid and exacting the people are cramped and miserable.
Misery is but the shadow of happiness.
Happiness is but the cloak of misery.
When will there be an end to them?
If we dispense with rectitude, distortion will assert itself; and what was good in its way will give place to what is evil.
Verily the people have been under a cloud for a long time.
Therefore the wise man is full of rectitude, but he does not chirp and carve at others.
He is just, but he does not admonish others.
He is upright, but he does not straighten others.
He is enlightened, but he does not offend with his brightness."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 58 







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Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching 





Tao Te Ching
Commentary, Interpretations, Research Tools, Resources
Chapter 58


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 58   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 58 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 58, 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 Center, 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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Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

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    

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




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