Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo, Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California
Chapter 63 Chapter 65 Index to All the Chapters Taoism Cloud Hands Blog
Consider the Insignificant, Don't Cling, Govern (chih), The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step, Not Grasping, Tree, Tower, Transgressions (kuo), Sage, Remain Careful to the End, Disorder, Guarding the Small, Plan (mou), Disorder (luan), Great Things Have Humble Beginnings, Be Present Now, Basics, Twigs, Journey, Beginning, Work, Master, Desire, Li, Naturalness, Simplicity, Scatter, Disperse, Few Desires, Do No Harm, Sitting, Fragile, Attention, Concentration, Not Grasping, Break, Heedful, Failure, Easy (i), Leading, Guard the Minute, Act (wei), Fragile, Learning, Motionless, Sage, Ends, Action, Heedful, Virture, Order, Self Becoming (tzu-jan), Spontaneous (zifa), Ten Thousand Things, Non-Attachment, 守微
"When sitting still, they are easy to hold down
No omens yet, it is easy to plan
When fragile, they are easy to break
When small, they are easy to scatter.
Work on it when it isn't yet
Put it in order when it is not yet disordered.
A tree you can barely get your arms around grows from a tiny shoot
A nine-story tower begins as a heap of earth
A thousand mile journey begins under your feet.
Working ruins, grasping loses.
The wise person does not work, so does not ruin
Does not grasp, so does not lose.
'When the people are engaged in some task,
They are always on the point of finishing when they ruin it.'
Careful at the end just as at the beginning,
Then there will be no ruining of the work.
The wise person desires to be desireless
Does not prize goods hard to come by
Learns to be un-learned
Turns back to the place all others have gone on from.
So as to help the naturalness
Of the thousands of things
Without presuming to be a worker."
- Translated by Michael LaFargue, 1992, Chapter 64
"It is easy to sustain what is at rest.
It is easy to plan for that of which there is not even a sign.
What is fragile is easily broken.
What is minute is easily dispersed.
Act upon it before it exists.
Regulate it before it becomes chaos.
A massive tree grows from a little sprout.
A nine-story building rises from a clod of earth.
A thousand fathoms begin with a single step.
Those who impose action upon it will fail.
Thos who cling to it will loose it.
So the sage, through non-action, does not fail.
Not clinging, he does not lose.
The common people's engagement in affairs fails prior to success.
So the saying goes,
"give as much careful attention to the end as to the beginning: then the affairs will not fail"
It is on that account that the sage desires not to desire and does not value goods that are hard to get.
He learns not to learn and restores the common people's losses.
He is able to support the nature of all things and , not by daring, to impose action."
- Translated by Edward Brennan and Tao Huang, 2002, Chapter 64
"That which is at rest is easily kept hold of;
Before a thing has given indications of its presence, it is easy to take measures against it;
That which is brittle is easily broken;
That which is very small is easily dispersed.
Action should be taken before a thing has made its appearance;
Order should be secured before disorder has begun.
The tree which fills the arms grew from the tiniest sprout;
The tower of nine stories rose from a small heap of earth;
The journey of a thousand li commenced with a single step.
He who acts with an ulterior purpose does harm;
He who takes hold of a thing in the same way loses his hold.
The sage does not act so, and therefore does no harm;
He does not lay hold so, and therefore does not lose his bold.
But people in their conduct of affairs are constantly ruining them when they are on the eve of success.
If they were careful at the end, as they should be at the beginning, they would not so ruin them.
Therefore the sage desires what other men do not desire, and does not prize things difficult to get;
He learns what other men do not learn, and turns back to what the multitude of men have passed by.
Thus he helps the natural development of all things, and does not dare to act with an ulterior purpose of his own."
- Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 64
Cloud Hands Blog
"What is still at rest is easily kept quiet.
What has not as yet appeared is easily prevented.
What is still feeble is easily broken.
What is still scant is easily dispersed.
Treat things before they exist.
Regulate things before disorder begins.
The stout tree has originated from a tiny rootlet.
A tower of nine stories is raised by heaping up bricks of clay.
A thousand miles' journey begins with a foot.
He that makes mars.
He that grasps loses.
The holy man does not make; therefore he mars not.
He does not grasp; therefore he loses not.
The people when undertaking an enterprise are always near completion, and yet they fail.
Remain careful to the end as in the beginning and you will not fail in your enterprise.
Therefore the holy man desires to be desireless, and does not prize articles difficult to obtain.
He learns, not to be learned, and seeks a home where multitudes of people pass by.
He assists the ten thousand things in their natural development, but he does not venture to interfere."
- Translated by D. T. Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 64
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices By Mike Garofalo
Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons
"Tackle difficulties when they are easy,
Accomplish great things when they are small.
Handle what is going to be rough
when it is still smooth.
Control what has not yet formed its force.
Deal with a dangerous situation while it is safe.
Manage what is hard while it is soft.
Eliminate what is vicious
before it becomes destructive.
This is called "attending to great things at small beginnings.
A tree so big it can fill the span of a man's arms
grows from a tiny sprout.
A terrace nine stories high
rises from a shovel-full of earth.
A journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step.
Thus, one of integral virtue
never sets about grandiose things,
yet is able to achieve great things.
Lightly made promises inspire little confidence.
Making light of things at the beginning,
one will meet with failure in the end.
Being prepared for hardship,
one will not be overcome by it.
In handing their affairs, people often ruin them
just as they are on the verge of success.
With heedfulness in the beginning
and all the way through to the end,
nothing is ruined."
- Translation by Hua-Ching Ni, 1979, Chapter 64
The Complete Works of Lao Tzu: Tao Teh Ching and Hua Hu Ching.
合抱之木, 生於毫末, 九層之臺, 起於累土, 千里之行, 始於足下.
慎終如始, 則無敗事, 是以聖人欲不欲, 不貴難得之貨, 學不學,
復衆人之所過, 以輔萬物之自然, 而不敢為.
Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters and English (includes a word by word key) from YellowBridge
Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Pinyin transliteration (romanization), English and German by Dr. Hilmar Alquiros.
Chinese and English Dictionary, MDGB
Chinese Character Dictionary
Tao Te Ching in Pinyin transliteration with Chinese characters, WuWei Foundation
Tao Te Ching in Pinyin transliteration
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 in Chinese characters: Big 5 Traditional and GB Simplified
Convert from Pinyin to Wade Giles to Yale transliterations of Words and Terms: A Translation Tool from Qi Journal
Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Pinyin and Wade Giles transliteration spellings, English; a word for word translation of the Guodian Laozi Version.
Lao Zi's Dao De Jing: A Matrix Translation with Chinese Text by Bradford Hatcher.
Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition By Jonathan Star. Detailed tables for each verse provide line number, all the Chinese characters, Wade-Giles Romanization, and a list of meanings for each character. An essential reference tool with word by word transliterations, meanings, interpretations.
qi an yi chi;
qi wei zhao yi mou;
qi cui yi pan;
qi wei yi san.
wei zhi yu wei you,
zhi zhi yu wei luan.
he bao zhi mu,
sheng yu hao mo;
jiu ceng zhi tai,
qi yu lei tu;
qian li zhi xing,
shi yu zu xia.
wei zhe bai zhi;
zhi zhe shi zhi.
shi yi, sheng ren
wu wei, gu wu bai;
wu zhi, gu wu shi.
min zhi cong shi,
chang yu ji cheng er bai zhi.
shen zhong ru shi,
ze wu bai shi.
shi yi sheng ren yu bu yu,
bu gui nan de zhi huo;
xue bu xue,
fu zhong ren zhi suo guo.
yi fu wan wu zhi zi ran er bu gan wei.
- Pinyin transliteration, Chapter 64
"What is at rest is easy to hold.
What is not yet manifested is easy to forestall.
What is brittle is easy to melt.
What is minute is easy to disperse.
Act before a thing is there; create order before there is disorder.
A tree of an arm's span has grown from a tiny fibre.
A tower nine storey's high was raised from a heap of earth.
A journey of a thousand leagues started with what was under one footstep.
In promoting their affairs men often spoil them when they are about to succeed.
Heed the end as much as the beginning, then no affairs will be spoiled.
Therefore the Saint desires not to desire and does not prize goods that are difficult to obtain.
He learns not to learn and reverts to what all men pass by.
Thus he sustains the natural course of the ten thousand thing, but he dares not act."
- Translated by Jan J. L. Duyvendak, 1954, Chapter 64
"Before it move, hold it,
Before it go wrong, mould it,
Drain off water in winter before it freeze,
Before weeds grow, sow them to the breeze.
You can deal with what has not happened, can foresee
Harmful events and not allow them to be.
Though-- as naturally as a seed becomes a tree of arm-wide girth-
There can rise a nine-tiered tower from a man's handful of earth
Or here at your feet a thousand-mile journey have birth,
Quick action bruises,
Quick grasping loses.
Therefore a sane man's care is not to exert
One move that can miss, one move that can hurt.
Most people who miss, after almost winning,
Should have 'known the end from the beginning.'
A sane man is sane in knowing what things he can spare,
In not wishing what most people wish,
In not reaching for things that seem rare.
The cultured might call him heathenish,
This man of few words, because his one care
Is not to interfere but to let nature renew
The sense of direction men undo."
- Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 64
"That which lies still is easy to hold;
That which is not yet manifest is easy to forestall;
That which is brittle (like ice) easily melts;
That which is minute easily scatters.
Deal with a thing before it is there;
Check disorder before it is rife.
A tree with a full span's girth begins from a tiny sprout;
A nine-storied terrace begins with a clod of earth.
A journey of a thousand li beings at one's feet.
He who acts, spoils;
He who grasps, lets slip.
Because the Sage does not act, he does not spoil,
Because he does not grasp, he does not let slip.
The affairs of men are often spoiled within an ace of
By being careful at the end as at the beginning
Failure is averted.
Therefore the Sage desires to have no desire,
And values not objects difficult to obtain.
Learns that which is unlearned,
And restores what the multitude have lost.
That he may assist in the course of Nature
And not presume to interfere."
- Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 64
Tao Te Ching Translated by Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo
Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching Translated by John C. WuLao-Tzu and the Tao-Te-Ching Translated by Livia Kohn
Dao De Jing: The Book of the Way Translated by Moss Roberts
"What is secure is easy to hold
What has yet to begin is easy to plan for
What is thin is easy to break up
What is minute is easy to scatter
Attend to things before they come to be
Arrange things before they entangle
A tree which fills the joined embrace
Has grown from a slender shoot
A tower which reaches nine stories
Begins as a basket of earth
A journey of a thousand li
Begins from beneath the feet
Those who interfere spoil things
Those who grab lose things
This is why wise ones do not interfere and so do not spoil
Do not grab and so do not lose
People in their pursuits & affairs
(are) ever on the verge of achieving and still ruin things
Take care at the end as well as at the beginning
And then there will be no ruined affairs
This is why wise ones desire to have no desires
Do not prize goods which are hard to obtain
Learn to unlearn
And return to what everyone else has passed by
Thus helping the myriad beings to realize themselves
While not presuming to interfere"
- Translated by Bradford Hatcher, 2005, Chapter 64
"What’s stable is easy to secure,
The unmanifest to plan against,
The fragile to splinter,
The incipient to dissolve.
Act before events occur:
Decision can prevent disorder.
A tree of girth
Grows from a twig.
A nine-tier tower
From a basket of earth;
And a thousand-mile journey
Begins where one stands.
Those who take the lead shall fail.
Those who cling lose hold.
This is why men of wisdom,
Taking no lead, do not fail,
Not clinging, do not lose hold.
How often do people, assuming a task,
Ruin it at the verge of success?
Hence the saying,
“Careful at the end as at the start,
And your task shall not abort.”
This is why the worldly wise
Seek what others do not seek,
“Prize not goods hard to find,”
Learn what others do not learn:
Redeem the wrongs many have done.
In this way support and sustain
The self-becoming of the myriad,
And do not presume to act upon them."
- Translated by Moss Roberts, 2001, Chapter 64
"That which has balance is easy to maintain.
That which has not arisen is easy to forestall.
That which is brittle is easy to shatter.
That which is minuscule is easy to scatter.
Therefore, manage problems before they arise;
Create order before disorder sets in.
A tree as large as the arms' embrace grows from a downy shoot.
A terrace nine stories high rises from a shovelful of earth.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
One who acts from the delusion of grandiosity fails.
One who clings to the delusion of grandiosity loses.
The sage does not act from delusion, and therefore he does not fail,
Nor does he cling to delusion, and therefore he does not lose.
Because of the delusion of grandiosity,
On the verge of success, people often fail.
If they would take as much care at the end as at the beginning,
They would not fail in their affairs.
The sage does not desire what the masses desire;
He does not treasure what the masses treasure.
He studies what the masses do not study;
He returns to the source of knowledge ignored by the masses.
Thus, without acting in delusion,
The sage supports all beings as they naturally exist."
- Translated by Yasuhiko Genku Kimura, Chapter 64
"Things are easier to control while things are quiet.
Things are easier to plan far in advance.
Things break easier while they are still brittle.
Things are easier hid while they are still small.
Prevent problems before they arise.
Take action before things get out of hand.
The tallest tree
begins as a tiny sprout.
The tallest building
starts with one shovel of dirt.
A journey of a thousand miles
starts with a single footstep.
If you rush into action, you will fail.
If you hold on too tight, you will lose your grip.
Therefore the Master lets things take their course
and thus never fails.
She doesn't hold on to things
and never loses them.
By pursing your goals too relentlessly,
you let them slip away.
If you are as concerned about the outcome
as you are about the beginning,
then it is hard to do things wrong.
The master seeks no possessions.
She learns by unlearning,
thus she is able to understand all things.
This gives her the ability to help all of creation."
- Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 64
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
"His Restfulness is easily maintained.
Events foreseen by him are easily arranged for.
By him weak things are easily bent,
And small things are easily scattered.
He can stop an evil before it comes into existence.
He can keep a twig straight before it becomes crooked.
Behold the girth of this tree!
It grew from a small filament of a stalk.
This tower of nine stories has its base upon a small space on the earth.
The journey of a thousand miles began with a footstep on the ground.
He who makes, unmakes.
He who grasps, lets go.
That is why the self-controlled man by Inner Life can make and by Inner life unmake, by Inner Life can grasp and by Inner Life let go.
Men in business affairs come near perfection, then fail.
If they were as attentive at the end as at the beginning their business would succeed.
That is why the self-controlled man desires to have no wishes; he sets no value upon rare objects; he learns without study; he helps all beings by the outflow of his personality; and he does this without planning to do it."
- Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 64
"What is motionless is easy to hold;
What is not yet foreshadowed is easy to form plans for;
What is fragile is easy to break;
What is minute is easy to disperse.
Deal with a thing before it comes into existence;
Regulate a thing before it gets into confusion.
The common people in their business often fail on the verge of succeeding.
Take care with the end as you do with the beginning,
And you will have no failure."
- Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 64
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-DaoAwakening 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 ZiporynThe Inner Chapters of Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi) Translated by A. C. Graham
"That which is at rest is easy to be kept hold of,
And what has made no sign, and is yet concealed from all,
Is easy to be taken care of then by proper measures,
Break it while it is feeble, scatter it while it is small.
Act before it exists, regulate before disorder,
The mighty tree that fills the arms has grown from a tiny sprout,
From a little mound of earth was raised the tower of nine stories,
And the journey of a thousand miles began with the first step out.
He that makes mars, he that grasps loses;
The sage will neither make, nor mar, nor grasp, and cannot lose,
But people fail in business, on the verge of its succeeding,
By losing at the end the care they first began to use.
And so the sage does not desire the things desired by others,
He does not prize the treasures that are difficult to obtain,
He learns what others do not learn, he turns back to their leavings,
And helps spontaneous nature, but
dares not to constrain."
- Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 64
"At rest is easy to hold.
Not yet impossible is easy to plan.
Brittle is easy to break.
Fine is easy to scatter.
Create before it exists.
Lead before it goes astray.
A tree too big to embrace Is born from a slender shoot.
A nine-story rises from a pile of earth.
A thousand-mile journey Begins with a single step.
Act and you ruin it.
Grasp and you lose it.
Therefor,e the Sage Does not act
And so does not ruin
Does not grasp
And so does not lose.
People commonly ruin their work When they are near success.
Proceed at the end as at the beginning
And your work won't be ruined.
Therefore the Sage Desires no desires
Prizes no prizes
Studies no studies
To what others pass by.
The Sage helps all beings find their nature,
But does not presume to act."
- Translated by Stephen Addiss, 1993, Chapter 64
Tao Te Ching: An Illustrated Journey Translated by Stephen Mitchell
Tao Te ChingTranslated 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
"What is small is easily held.
What is expected is easily provided for.
What is brittle is easily broken.
What is small is soon dispersed.
Transact your business before it takes shape.
Regulate things before confusion begins.
The tree which fills the arms grew from a tender shoot.
The castle of nine stories was raised on a heap of earth.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
Whoever designs only destroys.
Whoever grasps, loses.
The Sage does not act thus, therefore he does no harm.
He does not grasp, and therefore he never loses.
But the common people, in their undertakings, fail on the eve of success.
If they were as prudent at the end as they are at the beginning, there would be no such failures.
Therefore the Sage is only ambitious of what others despise, and sets no value on things difficult to obtain.
He acquires no common learning, but returns to that which people have passed by.
Thus he aims at simple development in all things, and acts without design."
- Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 64
"It is easy to maintain a situation while it is still secure;
It is easy to deal with a situation before symptoms develop;
It is easy to break a thing when it is yet brittle;
It is easy to dissolve a thing when it is yet minute.
with a thing while it is still nothing;
Keep a thing in order before disorder sets in.
tree that can fill the span of a man's arms
Grows from a downy tip;
A terrace nine storeys high
Rises from hodfuls of earth;
A journey of a thousand miles
Starts from beneath one's feet.
does anything to it will ruin it;
Whoever lays hold of it will lose it.
the sage, because he does nothing, never ruins anything;
And, because he does not lay hold of anything, loses nothing.
their enterprises the people
Always ruin them when on the verge of success.
Be as careful at the end as at the beginning
And there will be no ruined enterprises.
the sage desires not to desire
And does not value goods which are hard to come by;
Learns to be without learning
And makes good the mistakes of the multitude
In order to help the myriad creatures to be natural and to refrain from daring to act."
- Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 64
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Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching
Tao Te Ching
Commentary, Interpretations, Research Tools, Resources
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 64 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 64 in the Rambling Taoist Commentaries by Trey Smith. The Rambling Taoists are Trey Smith and Scott Bradley.
Reading Lao Tzu: A Companion to the Tao Te Ching with a New Translation By Ha Poong Kim. Xlibris, 2003, 198 pages.
Chapter 64, 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.
Chapter 64 of the Dao De Jing by Laozi
Commentary, Study Aides, Resources, Related Thoughts, Reflections
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