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"Nothing exceeds moderation."

Tao Te Ching - Chapter 59

Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu.

The Taoist Classic by Lao Tzu
Translated and Explained


59

When leading people and serving Heaven,

Nothing exceeds moderation.

Truly, moderation means prevention.

Prevention means achieving much virtue.


When much virtue is achieved,

Nothing is not overcome.

Nothing not overcome means

Nobody knows the limits.

When nobody knows the limits,

One can rule the country.


The one who rules like the mother lasts long.

This is called deep roots and a solid base,

the Way to long life and clarity.



Rule with Moderation

A leader serving Heaven tries to rule in accordance with nature, following Tao, the Way. Moderation is the key. One should not interfere more than necessary, not act if not sure of how, and not overdo things. There is no feat so great that its good exceeds the benefit of reluctance to perform great feats.

       When moderation is used, there is sensitivity to actual needs and there are remaining resources to deal with them, should they appear. Also, with a moderate perspective, one becomes aware of problems while they are still small. If you want to act as little as possible, you see the small things that need to be considered and dealt with. A wise leader has no longing to cause revolutions, but pays attention to detail.

       The preventive perspective is indeed in accordance with Tao, and therefore it constantly increases virtue. The leader becomes nobler, and so does the people. Sensible leadership promotes sensibility.

       Wherever there are leaders – in the family, in the workplace, in the community, or in the whole country – everybody matures from the leader's example and becomes wiser by following the leader's directions. So, when the leadership is done with ease, it will all the time get easier.

       Since virtue is in accordance with Tao, everything gets easier along the Way, and there is no limit as to what can be solved or accomplished.

       If the leader knows how to act and when not to act, there is nothing that cannot be overcome. Even if people are not aware of why this is so, they will feel it, take comfort in it, and respect the leadership. They will voluntarily submit to it and support it. Then it's possible to rule the whole country.

       Even the mightiest ruler needs the approval of the people, at the very least its acceptance. No quantity of weaponry and soldiers will do as a substitute. People are sure to approve of a leader who seems to have limitless ability. With such a leader they feel safe.

       Sadly, this might be the case even if the leader is heading towards disaster.

       No matter how powerful and massively supported, the worthy leader must rule like a mother. Lao Tzu surely refers to the mother of all, which is Tao, but also to the motherly fashion of leadership. It's based on care and yielding, on acting with caution and consideration.

       The mother works for her children, and not for her own benefit. It may not be true for every mother who ever lived, but it's certainly the principle of Tao, the mother of all. Therefore, anyone being motherly in that fashion will be saluted, supported, and successful.

       That's the Way by which to last for long and find clarity.

© Stefan Stenudd.

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Tao Te Ching Explained


Preface


Introduction


Literature


The 81 Chapters of Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
translated and explained by Stefan Stenudd.
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Tao Te Ching Explained


James Legge's Tao Te Ching


Aleister Crowley's Tao Te Ching


The 1st Chapter of Tao Te Ching in 76 Versions


Lao Tzu - Legendary Author of Tao Te Ching





My Taoism Books:


Tao Te Ching - The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Te Ching

The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. The great Taoist philosophy classic by Lao Tzu translated, and each of the 81 chapters extensively commented. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

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Stefan Stenudd, Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction. Stefan Stenudd


About me

I'm a Swedish author and aikido instructor. In addition to fiction, I've written books about Taoism and other East Asian traditions. I'm also an historian of ideas, researching ancient thought and mythology. Click the image to get to my personal website.

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