Soft and Supple is Best, Yielding is Wise, Tenderness, Withered and Dry,
Flexibility, Disciples of Death,
Beware of Strength 戒強
"At birth, a man is soft and weak.
At death, he is strong and powerful.
From grass to trees, all things begin life weak and frail.
At death, they are withered and dry.
Therefore, the Strong and Powerful are disciples of Death.
The Soft and Weak are disciples of Life.
Thus military strength does not ensure Victory.
A tree's strength is like the army;
the Big and Strong decline,
the Soft and Weak prevail."
- Translation by Karl Kromal, Chapter 76
"Man alive is tender, gentle,
Hard and fast in death.
Living plants are tender, fragile,
Dry and frail in death.
For fast and hard are marks of dying,
And gentle, tender marks of life.
Strength in arms bring destruction,
And the strong branch will be broken.
Let strength and might be put below,
And tender, gentle in control."
- Translated by Moss Roberts, 2001, Chapter 76
Men are born soft and supple;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plats are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.
Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.
The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail.
- Translated by Stephen Mitchell, 1988, Chapter 76
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
"When people are born they are supple, and when they die
they are stiff..
When trees are born they are tender, and when they die they are brittle.
Stiffness is thus a companion of death, flexibility a companion of life.
So when an army is strong it doe not prevail. When a tree is strong, it is cut for use.
So the stiff and strong are below, the supple and yielding on top."
- Translated by Thomas Cleary, 1991, Chapter 76
"When people are born, they are soft and yielding.
When people die, they are stiff and unyielding.
Ten-thousand things (everything) like grass and trees, when they are born, they are soft and supple.
When they die, they are rigid and dry.
Stiffness and unyielding are death’s companions.
Softness and yielding are life’s companions.
Unyielding armies will not win.
Unyielding trees become weapons.
Great strength dwells below.
Weakness dwells above."
- Translated by Alan Sheets, 2002, Chapter 76
"A man living is yielding and receptive.
Dying, he is rigid and inflexible.
All Things, the grass and trees:
Living, they are yielding and fragile;
Dying, they are dry and withered.
Thus those who are firm and inflexible
Are in harmony with dying.
Those who are yielding and receptive
Are in harmony with living.
Therefore an inflexible strategy will not triumph;
An inflexible tree will be attacked.
The position of the highly inflexible will descend;
The position of the yielding and receptive will ascend."
- Translated by R. L. Wing, 1986, Chapter 76
"Human beings are soft and supple when alive, stiff and
straight when dead.
The myriad creatures, the grasses and trees are soft and fragile when alive, dry and withered when dead.
Therefore, it is said:
The rigid person is a disciple of death;
The soft, supple, and delicate are lovers of life.
An army that is inflexible will not conquer;
A tree that is inflexible will snap.
The unyielding and mighty shall be brought low;
The soft, supple, and delicate will be set above."
- Translated by Victor H. Mair, Chapter 76
"When people are born they are gentle and soft.
At death they are hard and stiff.
When plants are alive they are soft and delicate.
When they die, they wither and dry up.
Therefore the hard and stiff are followers of death.
The gentle and soft are the followers of life.
Thus, if you are aggressive and stiff, you won't win.
When a tree is hard enough, it is cut. Therefore
The hard and big are lesser,
The gentle and soft are greater."
- Translated by Charles Muller, Chapter 76
"People are soft and weak in life,
hard and strong in death.
The ten thousand plants and trees are soft and frail in life,
withered and brittle in death.
Things hard and strong follow death's ways and things soft and weak follow life's:
so it is that strong armies never overcome and strong trees always suffer the axe.
Things great and strong dwell below.
Things soft and weak dwell above."
- Translated by David Hinton, Chapter 76
Cloud Hands Blog, January 28, 2012: Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 76
Dao Te Ching by Lao Tsu, Posts to the Cloud Hands Blog
"Man at his birth is supple and weak: at his death, firm
So it is with all things.
Trees and plants, in their early growth, are soft and brittle; at their death, dry and withered.
Thus it is that firmness and strength are the concomitants of death; softness and weakness, the concomitants of life.
Hence he who relies on the strength of his forces does not conquer; and a tree which is strong will fill the outstretched arms, (and thereby invites the feller.)
Therefore the place of what is firm and strong is below, and that of what is soft and weak is above."
- Translated by Andre Gauthier, Chapter 76
"While a person is alive, he is soft and yeilding;
When dead, in the end they become stretched out stiff and rigid.
All living things including trees and plants are flexible and fragile while alive;
When dead, they become dry, withered and rotten.
Therefore it is said that those who are stiff and rigid are companions of death; while those who are soft, yeilding, flexible and fragile are companions of life.
A rigid weapon thus will be defeated;
A rigid tree thus will break.
What is rigidly large dwells below;
What is soft, yielding, flexible and fragile dwells above."
- Translated by Nina Correa, 2005, Chapter 76
"the ancient child asks
how do you get out of the bodymind's way and let it live
by allowing your soul to take the lead of your life
the ancient child asks
how do you let the soul take the lead of your life
be as gentle and tender as a newborn
soft, yielding, supple, and full of lifeforce
avoid stiffness, rigidity, and naked force
emulate the living things in the world delicately
and at a distance
avoid hardening your bodymind and spirit
avoid those unyielding things that stink of decay
embody those things that are tender and pliant
which grant life and freedom
avoid mustering your talents and collecting your strengths
in a forceful or headstrong manner
an unyielding tree will snap under a strong wind
or fall easily under a dull axe
pattern yourself after a great tree
will deep roots and strong branches
and you will exalt your bodymind and spirit."
- Translated by John Bright-Fey, Chapter 76
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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 76 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 76 in the Rambling Taoist Commentaries by Trey Smith. The Rambling Taoists are Trey Smith and Scott Bradley.
Valley Spirit, Gu Shen, Concept, Chapter 6
Das Tao Te King von Lao Tse The largest collection of very nicely formatted complete versions of the Tao Te Ching. The collection includes 209 complete versions in 27 languages, plus 28 Chinese versions. There are 112 English language versions of the Tao Te Ching available at this website. A variety of search methods and comparison methods are provided, as well a a detailed index.
Lao-tzu's Taoteching Translated by Red Pine (Bill Porter). Includes many brief selected commentaries for each Chapter draw from commentaries in the past 2,000 years. Provides a verbatim translation and shows the text in Chinese characters. San Francisco, Mercury House, 1996, Second Edition, 184 pages. An invaluable resource for commentaries.
Reading Lao Tzu: A Companion to the Tao Te Ching with a New Translation By Ha Poong Kim. Xlibris, 2003, 198 pages.
Chapter 76, Line by Line Comparisons of 27 Translations of the Tao Te Ching Compiled by the St. Xenophon Wayist Seminary
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices
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.
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. 274 pages.
The Tao and Method: A Reasoned Approach to the Tao Te Ching. By Michael Lafargue. New York, SUNY Press, 1994. 660 pages.
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.
Gushen Grove Notebooks for the Tao Te Ching
Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Grove, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California
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