All Quotes derived from

”The Living Dao:
The Art and Way of Living
A Rich & Truthful Life”

with annotations
Lok Sang HO
Lingnan University

”“Emptiness” is what I call the origin of heaven and earth;
“Existence” is what I call the mother of everything that had a birth.”

”A mystery within a mystery,
Such is the gateway to all versatility.”

”The receptive, humble spirit
(“the valley spirit”) lives on.
It is known as the Mystical Female.
The doorway of the Mystical Female is known as
the root of heaven and earth
From it, imperceptibly yet relentless,
.Runs the energy.”

”The superior good man is like water.
Just as water enlivens all living creatures and
never contests with them,
dwelling in places disdained by others,
So the superior good man is prepared to situate himself where
nobody wants.
In this way he is close to the Dao.”

”Thirty spokes make a wheel.
Forget about the spokes,
And we have the use of the wheel.
Working clay in the right way can produce a bowl.
Forget about the clay,
And we have the use of the bowl.
Carve a room off the side of a hill,
Forget about the hill,
And we have the use of the room.
We lay our hands on all kinds of materials for our advantage.
Yet we do not possess any of these materials
when we actually use their services.”

”To give birth to life, and
To nurture it, yet claiming no ownership;
To act, yet without being arrogant,
To bring up life, yet not determining its destiny:
That is the Mystical Virtue.”

”Everyone has his properties and status.
I alone look poor and lonely.
I am different from the crowd.
I alone value drawing my nutrients from Mother”

”The perfect man is the teacher of the imperfect.
The imperfect man is the assets of the perfect.
Those who do not value their teachers,
And those who do not take good care of their own assets,
However clever they are, they are really lost.
This is a key point that is often not understood.”

”The Dao gives birth to the One.
The One gives birth to the Two(yin and yang).
The Two give birth to the Three(heaven, earth, and man)
The Three give birth to all things as we know them.
All living things bear the female nature
And espouse the male nature.
In interacting with each other
these two natures result in a new harmony.”

”The Sage keeps an undiscriminating mind
for the sake of all under heaven.
While people use their eyes and ears to discriminate,
The Sage’s mind is always unsuspecting and innocent
like an infant’s.”

”Everything under heaven has a beginning.
That beginning we take as our mother.
Now that we know our mother,
We can begin to know our role as sons(and daughters).
Since we know our role as sons(and daughters),
We must guard and stay with our mother,
This way, even if our bodies perish,
We will never die.
Let the passages be blocked.
Let the doors be closed.
(So long as we stay with our mother,)
Till the end of life no worry need bother us.
(If we do the contrary,)
Then even though the roads are opened up,
And help is available,
Till the end of our lives we will still be doomed.
To be able to see the small things is to be illuminated;
To adhere to the principle of flexibility and suppleness is to be strong.90
Let people use their own light to illuminate and restore their understanding.
Let them leave nothing to regret about when their bodies perish.
This is called the gradual realization of the Eternal.”

”To be receptive to the benefit of the Virtue,
Like an infant is receptive to the mother,
One would be spared of the stings and bites
from bees, scorpions, and snakes;
One would be spared of being harmed
by fierce beasts;
And of being clawed by the predatory birds.
To be so receptive,
Then even if one has weak bones and soft sinews
One can grip things firmly.
People do not realize that
the union of the male and female with moderation95
Represents energy at its height; and that
Being together all day sounding natural calls
and not losing voice through screaming
Represents harmony at its best.
To know the harmony of the universe is
be congruent with the Eternal;
To know the Eternal is to be illuminated.
To preserve and to promote life is to bring good fortune;
To let the mind take command of the life-breath is to be strong.
Any living thing that indulges in excesses soon gets old.96
Indulging in excesses is against the Dao.
Going against the Dao, one soon dies.”

”The farmer does his preparatory work early.
To be like him, one must pay attention to the accumulation of virtue.
That way one can overcome all difficulties.
That way one’s ability knows no limit.
That way one can sustain a nation.
Virtue being the mother of a nation,
With virtue the nation can last a long time.
With deep roots and secure trunks, one is
on the way to a long life and a long view.”

”Big nations should be like a stream that flows low.
In relating to other nations under heaven.
They should be like a female animal.
Female animals often lie low and still.
By doing so they win over male animals.”

”The Sage desires to be free of desires, so he will not
value goods that most people value;
He learns to unlearn,
so he will value things that most people do not value.”

”Nothing under heaven is weaker than water.
Yet nothing however proficient in attacking the strong can win over water.
The reason is that nothing can lay a handle on water.
The weak overcomes the strong;
The soft overcomes the hard.
All under heaven know about this dictum
but few people can put it into practice.
That is why the Sage says:
“Those who take what other people discard as garbage
is the lord of Society.
Those who love the nation when it is in the grip of misfortune
can claim to be the king.”
What is right often seems to be wrong.”