Thursday, February 24, 2011

78: Water Surpasses All


Nothing in the world is softer and weaker than water.
Yet, to attack the hard and strong,
Nothing surpasses it.
Nothing can take its place.
The weak overcomes the strong.
The soft overcomes the hard.
Everybody in the world knows this,
Still nobody makes use of it.
Therefore the sage says:
To bear the country's disgrace
Is to rule the shrines of soil and grain.
To bear the country's misfortunes
Is to be the king of the world.
True words seem false.

Water Surpasses All

Lao Tzu returns to what must be his favorite metaphor for the primary quality of Tao, the Way. Water is yielding, which is exactly what makes it superior. As the Roman poet Ovid pointed out: Dripping water hollows out the stone, not through force but through persistence...

Here is my full commentary on this Tao Te Ching chapter:
Tao Te Ching Chapter 78 Translation and Commentary

1 comment:

  1. Thank you...I find your commentary very useful. "Humble" was the word I was looking for.