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Lao Tzu for Everyone

Students, Scholars

& Seekers

Peter Gilboy, Ph.D.

             第 二十 二

Line 1  曲則全枉則正

Line 2  洼則盈敝則新

Line 3  少則得多則惑

​​Line 4  是以聖人執一



Line 5  不自視故明不自見故章

Line 6  不自伐故有功弗矜


Line 7  夫唯不爭故莫能與之爭

Line 8 古之所胃曲全者幾語哉  

Line 9  誠全歸之


The Paradox

of Humility.


     Being humble requires no skill at all. It is not like being a plumber or a teacher or an engineer. There is nothing to acquire and nothing to do; nor, of course, is there a paycheck to pick up.

     Any effort to be humble is a performance, a show. It is an impersonation of someone who is humble. The person who is actually humble needs not try to be.  Trying to be humble is an admission that one is not yet humble, and instead must to strive to behave that way.

    Humility is a byproduct of wisdom. Wisdom comes first. Humility–that effortless quality of being–naturally follows.

​​​​​​​. . . . . .

Click on each line number

 for Chinese-English interlinear

& commentary



and be whole.


and be straight.








and be full.

Wear out—

and be brand new.











Have little—

and be benefited.

Have much—

and be confused.










That being the case,

the sage holds to the One,

and in doing so becomes

a shepherd to the world.






The sage does not show off

and thus shines.

The sage does not flaunt

himself or herself,

and thus stands out.










The sage does not boast.

And so, while there are results,

there is no need to count them
as his or her own.

That's why these

accomplishments endure.







You see, it is only

because the sage

does not contend with others

that there is no one

to contend with him or her..







When the ancients said

"Bend and be whole,"

they just about said it all.




Truly, this wholeness

is what returns us home.



​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​. . . . . . .



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